The federal election has sparked some discussion around what position the radical left in this country should take on electoral activity. The anarchist publication Red & Black Notes recently carried a contribution from Tommy Lawson, arguing for a principle of abstention from parliamentary elections.
Few people today are so naive as to believe that recycling, using a “keep cup”, switching off lights or having shorter showers will be enough to avert the unfolding environmental and climate catastrophe. The accumulation of evidence of the global and systemic nature of the problem has been sufficient to convince most that any genuine solution must involve radical changes to society as a whole, rather than just a shift in the consumption choices of individuals.
I’m a socialist gay activist, so I’m used to being attacked for my politics. You learn to take it in your stride. But one of the most dumbfounding denunciations I ever received was issued by a few other apparently progressive queer activists, who slammed me in May 2017 for the heinous crime of speaking at a protest against the Liberal Party.
Various commentators, including Adam Schwab in Crikey, have proclaimed that it is a major contradiction for leftists, “who once championed human rights and freedoms” to back the state “adopting authoritarian methods of dealing with the virus”.
Israel is one of the strangest countries in the world. Its supporters say that it’s the only democracy in the Middle East, a beacon of liberal values in a repressive and superstitious region. It’s a place where even the military are queer-friendly and pro-vegan, a country founded by the inheritors of Europe’s socialist traditions. But those same international supporters include many of the world’s most prominent right-wing authoritarians, from former US President Donald Trump to India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the British fascist Tommy Robinson.
Brazen Hussies, a documentary about the women’s liberation movement in Australia, gets off to a promising start. Using a vast array of archival footage, the film shows both the stultifying reality of women’s oppression in Australia in the 1960s and the exhilarating sense of hope engendered by fighting to change it. This alone makes it worth watching.