Losing Santhia, part three: exodus from Jaffna, war in the Vanni

Ben Hillier The early monsoon came heavy, leaving parts of Jaffna peninsula waterlogged. The place is a sultry, taxing fog. West of the Point Pedro-Maruthankerny Road, an inland sea overwhelms the flatlands and paddies from which islands of palmyra reach for the clouds. To the east it’s sand dunes and...CONTINUE READING

Never powerless. Norm Wallace, 1926-2018

Liz Ross Norm Wallace, treasurer and assistant secretary of the Builders Labourers Federation until 1988, was no stranger to struggle. Described by the construction union as “a hard man with an amazing passion for social justice”, Norm’s life spanned from undercover work in Z Special Unit, formed d...CONTINUE READING

A people’s history of the Vietnam War

Lily Campbell Images of battle-weary soldiers and children drenched in napalm are burned into the minds of those who lived through or have studied the Vietnam War, a conflict that left up to 5 million people dead. The war is often painted as a dark chapter in the history of an otherwise free and democra...CONTINUE READING

Explaining US hostility to Iran

Omar Hassan The Trump administration is famous for its abusive tweets and infantile militarism. Yet no country suffers under such persistent and active hostility from the US government as Iran. In the first two years of his presidency, Trump has threatened to declare war against Iran on numerous occas...CONTINUE READING

What is socialism?

Rick Kuhn We are all socialists now”, said sir William George Granville Venables Vernon Harcourt, later a senior British government minister, in 1887. Newsweek carried the front page headline “We’re all socialists now” in 2009. Both the politician and the publication were vehement defenders of capit...CONTINUE READING

‘I’m part of the union!’ How the Builders Labourers Federation set the benchmark

Liz Ross You don’t get me, I’m part of the union, Till the day I die! The Strawbs’ hit “I’m part of the union” became an instant union anthem when it was released in 1973, a time of mass workers’ struggle around the world. You’ll still hear it today at union rallies and meetings, celebrating victor...CONTINUE READING

Skinheads vs. boneheads: the battle over a working class subculture

Paul DM The image of the skinhead is for many associated with violent neo-Nazis. Footage of shaven-headed thugs covered in nationalist symbols taking to the streets and attacking immigrants, refugees or members of other oppressed groups is all too familiar. Committed to the “fourteen words” (we mu...CONTINUE READING

Why is parliamentary politics so volatile? 

Ben Hillier Australia is one of the most successful capitalist societies in history. An economy with 27 years of uninterrupted growth and relatively high levels of social mobility. A stable bourgeois democracy in which the military is rarely deployed to the streets and where states of emergency are ca...CONTINUE READING

Why do we waste so much on the military?

Eleanor Morley Australian war spending is about $35 billion a year and rising. The military is undergoing a significant rearmament program as imperialist tensions around the world sharpen. A $90 billion naval shipbuilding program is the latest jewel in the crown for defence minister Marise Payne. The Roy...CONTINUE READING