If working-class people had real power, what would society look like? If you live in Australia’s largest city, you don’t have to look far to find an answer. If you’ve ever seen the Sydney Opera House, you’ve seen a building constructed under workers’ control. If you’ve ever strolled through the Rocks, you’ve walked through a historic area that organised workers saved from demolition.
In jail for her anti-war stance in 1916, Rosa Luxemburg, the great Polish-German revolutionary, wrote what became known as The Junius Pamphlet:
One hundred years ago, in October 1922, Benito Mussolini’s paramilitary blackshirts marched on the Italian capital to demand the dissolution of the government of Prime Minister Luigi Facta. The March on Rome is the foundational myth of fascist power. Through this daring act, so the story goes, the strongman Mussolini installed himself as head of the Italian government.
The anniversary of the Russian Revolution—25 October 1917—is a day of commemoration for socialists. The revolution remains the only time workers have overthrown the ruling order and, in so doing, opened up the possibility of socialism. It represented everything the world’s ruling classes fear and despise, and they unleashed horrific barbarity in response. So at the same time as celebrating the revolution, we must never forget what was done to crush the spirit of rebellion.
At 9.30am on 3 October 1952, a mushroom cloud billowed up above the Monte Bello Islands, 130 kilometres off the coast of Western Australia. The next day, the West Australian reported: “At first deep pink, it quickly changed to mauve in the centre, with pink towards the outside and brilliantly white turbulent edges. Within two minutes the cloud, which was still like a giant cauliflower, was 10,000 feet [three kilometres] high”.
On the afternoon of 9 October 2012, then prime minister Julia Gillard famously declared in parliament, “I will not be lectured about sexism and misogyny by this man, I will not. Not now, not ever”.