Indentured labourers and Nauru in the 1940s

Liam Ward In Australian labour history, the words “Chinese labour” and “cheap” are run together frequently and repeated uncritically. They conjure an image of passive pliant dupes at best, or at worst people who were outright scabs. But the stereotype is a racist lie. The truth is that both before a...CONTINUE READING

Yu Kwan-Sun, the soul of Korea

Kim Bullimore In 1920 and 1921, more than two million Koreans from all walks of life took to the streets to demand an end to Japanese colonial occupation and for Korean independence. Among those who risked their lives as part of the anti-colonial Samsil movement (also known as the Man Sei or “Long Live”...CONTINUE READING

Eugene Leviné, the nomadic agitator

Omar Hassan “We Communists are dead men on leave”, declared Eugene Leviné to a courtroom preparing to sentence him to death. The trial unfolded in the aftermath of a doomed uprising in the German state of Bavaria in 1919, and the establishment was baying for blood. Leviné refused to be cowed. In a spe...CONTINUE READING

Women are right to be angry

Jade Eckhaus Flick on almost any TV show, rifle through a magazine, listen to most of the top 100 songs on the radio and you’ll learn the truth: there’s a big scary problem in the world today. That problem is angry women. The internet is full of advice for the poor dears who have been forced to deal fi...CONTINUE READING

System change, not climate change

Danica Cheesley The Australian Climate Commission’s recently released report “The Critical Decade 2013” warns that, unless global carbon emissions are reduced to almost zero by 2030, irreversible, catastrophic climate destruction will occur. This destruction has already begun. Sea levels are rising at unp...CONTINUE READING

What do we mean by socialism?

“Corus does not make steel. It makes money.” Sir Brian Moffat, chairman of one of the largest steel companies in the world (Corus), was nothing if not honest as he announced mass sackings in 2001. His frank comment highlights the truth about capitalism – production is motivated by profit,...CONTINUE READING
Yakov Sverdlov

Yakov Sverdlov, the imperious chairman

Alex Chklovski Few people have heard of Yakov Sverdlov, the brilliant Bolshevik organiser. But he is important. Without Sverdlov, the Russian Revolution might not have succeeded. And without people like him, no revolution will succeed. Sverdlov was a practical revolutionary – taking seriously Marx’s maxi...CONTINUE READING

Melbourne’s cabinet makers

Liam Ward In Australian labour history, the words “Chinese labour” and “cheap” are run together frequently and are repeated uncritically. It conjures an image of passive pliant dupes at best, or at worst of people who were outright scabs. But the stereotype itself is a racist lie. The truth is that...CONTINUE READING

What will it take to revive our union movement?

Jerome Small As we lurch towards a likely Abbott landslide, Jerome Small takes stock of the union movement Despite the huffing of the conservative press, unions have made few gains under Gillard. Very little of the ground lost under Howard’s WorkChoices laws has been recovered. The biggest resources bo...CONTINUE READING