May Day 1946: Pilbara Aboriginal workers strike

Sandra Bloodworth At least 800 Aboriginal people walked off about 25 sheep and cattle stations across the Pilbara in north-west Australia and from workplaces in Port Hedland and Marble Bar on May Day, 1946. The date was chosen because of its significance as the international day of the working class. This r...CONTINUE READING

The condition of the working class today

Kate Jeffreys In the early 1840s, Friedrich Engels’ wealthy father sent him to work in the offices of his holdings in Manchester, hoping to cure his son of radicalism. Instead, the 22-year-old spent his time documenting the brutal reality of working life in industrial Britain. Everything he saw convince...CONTINUE READING

Our place in the cosmos

Sarah Jean More than 500 million people have watched Carl Sagan’s brilliant 1980 TV series Cosmos: a personal voyage and its repeats. The follow-up, Cosmos: a spacetime odyssey, hosted by astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, draws on three decades of new discoveries and a slick new CGI spaceship. Cosm...CONTINUE READING

‘Aboriginal art – it’s a white thing’

Sarah-Lou Harris Racism, conservatism, exploitation: there’s no dodging the issues with Aboriginal artist Richard Bell, who takes each in turn. He is, after all, the man who scandalously declared on canvas: “Aboriginal Art – It’s a White Thing”. Fusing art and politics in a style described as “direct visua...CONTINUE READING

The global grind: capitalism through coffee

Ben Hillier The coffee industry provides a prism through which the nature and history of capitalism can be viewed, writes Ben Hillier ​. Coffee’s roots lie in the Islamic world, but it was European capitalism that created a global addiction. “[U]ntil the mid-seventeenth century, most people in England...CONTINUE READING

School of Rebellion returns

Maddy MacLean Last year I was lucky enough to be involved in the School of Rebellion at the Marxism conference in Melbourne. My favourite moment came when I was discussing the differences between short and long term happiness with a group of children no older than seven years old. We decided that shoes...CONTINUE READING

Riotous behaviour in Australian history

Mick Armstrong There is a long and proud history of rioting in Australia. It is a legitimate form of struggle that working class people and sections of the oppressed have resorted to time and again to defend their interests. Indeed, they have found them an exhilarating experience – a brief moment of libe...CONTINUE READING

Border crimes: The case for global freedom of movement

Diane Fieldes National identification is today taken for granted by virtually the whole of humanity. An underlying assumption is that such identification is natural and therefore of very long duration. Similarly, the idea of national borders and the need to police them is assumed to have a long history....CONTINUE READING

Workers’ power on Melbourne’s trams

Katie Wood Katie Wood talks to former tram conductor Doug Jordan about a long and bitter fight to save more than a thousand jobs in Melbourne’s public transport system. “The revolution began at dawn – it was the day the workers took over the trams. It was the day the connies put the bosses to flight,...CONTINUE READING