2019 has been a strange year. Capitalists have been fighting back. In the West we have three clowns running the show: Scott Morrison, Donald Trump and now Boris Johnson in the UK. It seems that Morrison would rather be in US, or at least in Hawaii, than be here … bushfires can’t provide a smokescreen for happy clapper incompetence.
Globally there have been set backs in the East and in South. In Latin America the capitalists have taken over in Bolivia, Chile Ecuador, Colombia and elsewhere. Cuba is still fighting the economic blockade tightened by Trump. Bolivian President Evo Morales and hisfamily barely escaped with their lives after a coup in Bolivia. The right-wing politician Jeanine Anez has declared herself President while waving an impossibly large bible in her hand.
Strike the Beast Hard – Gaviota … Sue Monk and Sergio Aldunate singing the beautiful Ruben Galindo Strike the Beast hard – the beast is imperialism – because if you don’t it will leave you hungry. Strike it because they’ll kill you (something Evo Morales found out recently) And they’ll cover you with earth. To sing then to live!
IWD and May Day
During 2019 there were two big working class events – as there are in any given year – International Women’s Day and May Day. These two days are important for theunion movement because each of them grew out of the union movement both here and overseas.
This year the leader of the waterside workers and seamen, Bob Carnegie broke with ALP bosses and urged workers to oppose the ADANI mine in Carmichael in Central Queensland.
The bosses fought back and Carnegie was deposed as State Secretary of the MUA. Here is an excerpt of a speech given by Bob Carnegie showing solidarity with the mining workers – however the bosses managed to overcome his opposition to coal. He introduces a miner’s union organiser the Hutchinson Dispute where wharfies in Brisbane and Sydney were sacked by text message. [Bob Carnegie’s Speech].
That was Chris from the Miners who locked on with Bob Carnegie during the 1998 MUA Dispute. All of their members were sacked by Patricks Stevedores in a conspiracy between CEO Chris Corrigan and the Federal government led by John Howard and Peter Reith to get rid of the MUA altogether.
Let’s go to Alistair Hulett’s version of the song ‘Dirty Old Town’. Alistair Hulett was a working class poet and singer, once a member of the International Socialists. This song is also sung by Ewan McColl from the Pogues. [Alistair H sings Dirty Old Town].
Of course Alistair was of Scottish descent but spent over 25 years in Australia. He was a political activist and musician. After he passed away in 2010 his friends and comrades set up a memorial trust to help musicians interested in social justice. Here’s a song that won the 2018 award. It is by Teri Young and is called Fishing at Okehampton Bay. [Song Plays].
Teri Young was the winner of the 2018 Songs for Social Justice Award – it is critical of the giant salmon fish farm set up at Okehampton Bay on the East coast of Tasmania.
On the environmental front XR made a big splash in 2019 with an international crusade against the burning of fossil fuels. Locally laws were introduced to stop Extinction Rebellion from entering the CBD in Brisbane.
This was an initial setback for the movement but may prove to be a plus in 2020 as people are finding ways around the anti-lock-on laws. Politically the fight is on two fronts – the environment blockades and the democratic rights struggle to stand against climate change. The environmental struggle is in full swing as shown in this report by Andy who is interviewing Hannah from XR. [Interview plays].
Feraliza sings Like it or Not.
That was Feraliza singing about the existential threat that is Climate Change.
Another existential threat is the ongoing war against terror better described as a war of terror. This war is being conducted by the coalition of the willing including Australia. No stranger to imperialism, the Australian government is conducting wars in Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria, although you wouldn’t know it from reporting in mainstream media.
During 2019 Donald Trump nearly got us into another war, this time with Iran. And this may still happen given the genocidal policies of the US administration, now responsible for over a million dead in Iraq. No International war crimes charges against the US administration. Sure Congress has impeached Trump for seeking assistance from a foreign power to roll his political opponents at home.
But that won’t come to much as the US Senate will UN-impeach him in 2020.
Meanwhile his following is growing because he can claim underdog status because he is being pursued by the American elite.
Things are on the up for Trump as they would be for Boris were it not for Brexit and for Morrison were it not for the bushfires.
On Brexit, half of Britain don’t want it and an overwhelming majority of Scots don’t wish to be part of Britain so they are likely to secede. Another hope is that Ireland will be unified over a century after the Easter Rebellion in 1916. This is a rebel song sung by Sinead O’Connor.
Don’t be cold Englishman
Oh please talk to me Englishman
What good will shutting me out get done
Meanwhile crazies are killing our sons
Oh listen Englishman.
Saving UQ Union complex
2019 saw a campaign to save the University of Qld Union complex from demolition. [Interview with Jeff Rickertt plays]. We received word this month that the heritage council refused our application for heritage listing so maybe a direct action campaign will be necessary.
Bring Julian Home
Another campaign is Bring Julian Assange home. There was a forum organised at Kurilpa Hall where about 200 people turned up calling for Assange’s release. Julian’s father John Shipton and anti-war activist Ciaron O’Reilly were interviewed by Independent Australai journos Dave Donovan and Michelle Pini. Plus there were some questions form the audience. [Bring Julian Home interview plays]
Vale Sam Watson
Political activists in Brisbane were shaken by the untimely death of Sam Watson and aboriginal leader who has done much for progressive causes over a period of 50 years.Sam handed out how-to-vote cards in the 1967 referendum to include aboriginal people in the census.
Eulogy for a Black Man by Kev Carmody
27 Dec 2019