“Australia has always pursued a world without nuclear weapons”, tweeted Foreign Affairs Minister Penny Wong on 5 March, the first International Day for Disarmament and Non-Proliferation Awareness. “We are redoubling our efforts towards this goal and to strengthening the non-proliferation regime.”
To wage a war for empire, the political, industrial, economic and social forces in society must be combined and organised to unleash murder and destruction on a colossal scale. To stop such an obscenity is no easy thing.
Rachel Corrie, an American Palestine-solidarity activist, was crushed to death by an Israeli bulldozer twenty years ago this month. She was murdered by the Israeli Defence Force (IDF) while attempting to defend a Palestinian home from demolition in Rafah, a city in the blockaded Gaza Strip. Samir Nazrallah, whose home Corrie was trying to protect, told Al-Monitor: “I was watching what was happening through a hole in the house’s wall. I remember that the driver pulled out the soil from under Rachel’s feet, which made her lose balance, and then, when she fell, he ran over her”.
In Sydney’s largest ever protest, hundreds of thousands of workers took to the streets in May 1932 to denounce the coup by the state governor, Sir Philip Game, that overthrew Jack Lang’s Labor government.
“Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free”. In her 1883 sonnet “The New Colossus”, Jewish-American poet and activist Emma Lazarus imagined the newly built Statue of Liberty speaking these words, symbolising hope for “tempest-tost” refugees seeking safety and a better life. Engraved on a bronze plaque, her poem adorns the pedestal upon which “Lady Liberty” stands to this day.
What a breath of fresh air it was to hear the words “Fuck the police!” at Mardi Gras once again. Senator Lidia Thorpe’s outraged cry was one of the few things at Mardi Gras in 2023 that echoed the original spirit of the event.