Sunday, November 29, 2015

Sydney Climate Change Rally – 29 November 2015

Turnbull Puzzlement ...

Sydney Tongan Community
Bogans Against Climate Change

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Yanis Varoufakis on economics of war, terror and refugees

Yanis Varoufakis on economics of war, terror and refugees

CPSU: Biggest Climate March The World Has Ever Seen

The last weekend of November will see the biggest climate march the world has ever seen.

In towns and cities across the globe, citizens will gather on the eve of the world leaders meeting in Paris for the United Nations climate summit, to demand real action on climate change.

The CPSU has endorsed these rallies and will march with our members in cities across Australia.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Joe Hill Centenary – Rebel Girl

Lil Rev and Bucky Halker – Joe Hill Roadshow

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Poetical Essay on The Existing State of Things by Percy Bysshe ShelleyPercy Bysshe Shelley – 1811

Percy Bysshe Shelley
DESTRUCTION marks thee! o’er the blood-stain’d heath
Is faintly borne the stifled wail of death;
Millions to fight compell’d, to fight or die
In mangled heaps on War's red altar lie.
The sternly wise, the mildly good, have sped
To the unfruitful mansions of the dead.
Whilst fell Ambition o’er the wasted plain
Triumphant guides his car—the ensanguin’d rein
Glory directs; fierce brooding o’er the scene,
With hatred glance, with dire unbending mien,
Fell Despotism sits by the red glare
Of Discord’s torch, kindling the flames of war.
For thee then does the Muse her sweetest lay
Pour ’mid the shrieks of war, ’mid dire dismay;
For thee does Fame’s obstrep’rous clarion rise,
Does Praise’s voice raise meanness to the skies.
Are we then sunk so deep in darkest gloom,
That selfish pride can virtue’s garb assume?
Does real greatness in false splendour live?
When narrow views the futile mind deceive,
When thirst of wealth, or frantic rage for fame,
Lights for awhile self-interest’s little flame,
When legal murders swell the lists of pride;
When glory’s views the titled idiot guide,
Then will oppression’s iron influence show
The great man’s comfort as the poor man’s woe.
Is’t not enough that splendour’s useless glare,
Real grandeur’s bane, must mock the poor man’s stare;
Is’t not enough that luxury’s varied power
Must cheat the rich parader’s irksome hour,
While what they want not, what they yet retain,
Adds tenfold grief, more anguished throbs of pain
To each unnumbered, unrecorded woe,
Which bids the bitterest tear of want to flow;
But that the comfort, which despotic sway
Has yet allowed, stern War must tear away.
    Ye cold advisers of yet colder kings,
To whose fell breast no passion virtue brings,
Who scheme, regardless of the poor man’s pang,
Who coolly sharpen misery’s sharpest fang,
Yourselves secure. Your’s is the power to breathe
O’er all the world the infectious blast of death,
To snatch at fame, to reap red murder’s spoil,
Receive the injured with a courtier’s smile,
Make a tired nation bless the oppressor’s name,
And for injustice snatch the meed of fame.
Were fetters made for anguish, for despair?
Must starving wretches torment, misery bear?
Who, mad with grief, have snatched from grandeur’s store,
What grandeur’s hand had snatched from them before.
Yet shall the vices of the great pass on,
Vices as glaring as the noon-day sun,
Shall rank corruption pass unheeded by,
Shall flattery’s voice ascend the wearied sky;
And shall no patriot tear the veil away
Which hides these vices from the face of day?
Is public virtue dead?—is courage gone?
Bows its fair form at fell oppression’s throne?
Yes! it’s torn away—the crimes appear,
Expiring Freedom asks a parting tear,
A powerful hand unrolls the guilt-stain’d veil,
A powerful voice floats on the tainted gale,
Rising corruption’s error from beneath,
A shape of glory checks the course of death;
It spreads its shield o’er freedom’s prostrate form,
Its glance disperses envy’s gathering storm;
No trophied bust need tell thy sainted name,
No herald blazon to the world thy fame,
Nor scrolls essay an endless meed to give;
In grateful memory still thy deeds must live.
No sculptured marble shall be raised to thee,
The hearts of England will thy memoirs be.
To thee the Muse attunes no venal lyre,
No thirsts of gold the vocal lays inspire;
No interests plead, no fiery passions swell;
Whilst to thy praise she wakes her feeble shell,
She need not speak it, for the pen of fame
On every heart has written BURDETT’S name;
For thou art he, who dared in tumult’s hour,
Dauntless thy tide of eloquence to pour;
Who, fearless, stemmed stern Despotism’s source,
Who traced Oppression to its foulest course;
Who bade Ambition tremble on its throne—
How could I virtue name, how yet pass on
Thy name!—though fruitless thy divine essay,
Though vain thy war against fell power’s array,
Thou taintless emanation from the sky!
Thou purest spark of fires which never die!
    Yet let me pause, yet turn aside to weep
Where virtue, genius, wit, with Franklin sleep;
To bend in mute affliction o’er the grave
Where lies the great, the virtuous, and the brave;
Still let us hope in Heaven (for Heaven there is)
That sainted spirit tastes ethereal bliss,
That sainted spirit the reward receives,
Which endless goodness to its votary gives.
Thine be the meed to purest virtue due—
Alas! the prospect closes to the view.
Visions of horror croud upon my sight,
They shed around their forms substantial night.
Oppressors’ venal minions! hence, avaunt!
Think not the soul of Patriotism to daunt;
Though hot with gore from India’s wasted plains,
Some Chief, in triumph, guides the tightened reins;
Though disembodied from this mortal coil,
Pitt lends to each smooth rogue a courtier’s smile;
Yet does not that severer frown withhold,
Which, though impervious to the power of gold,
Could daunt the injured wretch, could turn the poor
Unheard, unnoticed, from the statesman’s door
This is the spirit which can reckless tell
The fatal trump of useless war to swell;
Can bid Fame’s loudest voice awake his praise,
Can boldly snatch the honorary bays.
Gifts to reward a ruthless, murderous deed,
A crime for which some poorer rogue must bleed.
Is this then justice?—stretch thy powerful arm,
Patriot, dissolve the frigorific charm,
Awake thy loudest thunder, dash the brand
Of stern Oppression from the Tyrant’s hand;
Let reason mount the Despot’s mouldering throne,
And bid an injured nation cease to moan.
Why then, since justice petty crimes can thrall,
Should not its power extend to each, to all?
If he who murders one to death is due,
Should not the great destroyer perish too?
The wretch beneath whose influence millions bleed?
And yet encomium is the villain’s meed.
His crime the smooth-tongued flatterers conquest name,
Loud in his praises swell the notes of Fame.
Oblivion marks the murdering poor man’s tomb,
Brood o’er his memory contempt and gloom;
His crimes are blazoned in deformed array,
His virtues sink, they fade for aye away.
Snatch then the sword from nerveless virtue’s hand,
Boldly grasp native jurisdiction’s brand;
For justice, poisoned at its source, must yield
The power to each its shivered sword to wield,
To dash oppression from the throne of vice,
To nip the buds of slavery as they rise.
Does jurisprudence slighter crimes restrain,
And seek their vices to controul in vain?
Kings are but men, if thirst of meanest sway
Has not that title even snatched away.—
    The fainting Indian, on his native plains,
Writhes to superior power’s unnumbered pains;
The Asian, in the blushing face of day,
His wife, his child, sees sternly torn away;
Yet dares not to revenge, while war’s dread roar
Floats, in long echoing, on the blood-stain’d shore.
In Europe too wild ruin rushes fast:
See! like a meteor on the midnight blast,
Or evil spirit brooding over gore,
Napoleon calm can war, can misery pour.
May curses blast thee; and in thee the breed
Which forces, which compels, a world to bleed;
May that destruction, which ’tis thine to spread,
Descend with ten-fold fury on thy head.
Oh! may the death, which marks thy fell career,
In thine own heart’s blood bathe the empoisoned spear;
May long remorse protract thy latest groan,
Then shall Oppression tremble on its throne.
Yet this alone were vain; Freedom requires
A torch more bright to light its fading fires;
Man must assert his native rights, must say
We take from Monarchs’ hand the granted sway;
Oppressive law no more shall power retain,
Peace, love, and concord, once shall rule again,
And heal the anguish of a suffering world;
Then, then shall things, which now confusedly hurled,
Seem Chaos, be resolved to order’s sway,
And errors night be turned to virtue’s day.—

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

The Dismissal – 11 November 1975 – Audio Recordings

Shelley – Poetical Essay on the Existing State of Things – 1811

An incendiary lost poem by Percy Bysshe Shelley, in which the young poet attacks the “cold advisers of yet colder kings” who “coolly sharpen misery’s sharpest fang … regardless of the poor man’s pang”, was made public for the first time in more than 200 years on Tuesday. It was only attributed to him 50 years after his death and was later rediscovered in a private collection in 2006. It has been bought by Oxford University for an undisclosed sum.

The 20-page pamphlet, which is the only copy known to survive, will also be available online.
Shelley wrote the work during 1810 and 1811, while studying for his first year at the university.
It addresses issues such as the abuse of the press, dysfunctional political institutions, and the global impact of war.

Printed by a stationers on Oxford High Street, it also contains a 10-page poem of 172 lines written under the alias of a "gentleman of the University of Oxford".

Shelley was just 18 and in his first year at Oxford University when he wrote his Poetical Essay on the Existing State of Things. The 172-line poem, accompanied by an essay and Shelley’s notes, was written in support of the Irish journalist Peter Finnerty, who had been jailed for libelling the Anglo-Irish politician Viscount Castlereagh.

Printed in 1811 by a stationers on Oxford High Street, under the alias of “a gentleman of the University of Oxford”, it was only attributed to Shelley 50 years after his death, when copies were already said to be impossible to find. The work was considered lost until it was rediscovered in a private collection in 2006, and has only been viewed by a handful of scholars since.

Now the 20-page printed pamphlet – the only known copy of the text in existence – has been acquired by the Boolean Library. The library has digitised the text to make it available to the general public for the first time. It will display the physical copy, which is the 12 millionth book to join its collections, until December.

The themes Shelley addresses, said Oxford as it made its announcement, “remain as relevant today as they were 200 years ago”. Michael Rossington, professor of Romantic literature at the University of Newcastle, said it was a “tremendously exciting” moment, with the poem revealing Shelley’s “early interest in the big issues of his day and his belief that poetry can be used to alter public opinion and effect change”.

“This substantial poem has been known about for years, but as far as we know it hasn’t been read by any Shelley biographers or scholars since it was composed, and people are intrigued to find out exactly what it’s about,” said Rossington.

In the poem, Shelley calls for “a total reform in the licentiousness, luxury, depravity, prejudice, which involve society”.

A fiery denunciation of war and oppression, the abuse of press and dysfunctional political institutions, his poem goes even further, asking if “rank corruption” shall “pass unheeded by”, mourning how “Millions to fight compell’d, to fight or die / In mangled heaps on War’s red altar lie”. He also fulminates against the “cold advisers of yet colder kings … who scheme, regardless of the poor man’s pang, / Who coolly sharpen misery’s sharpest fang, / Yourselves secure.”

The poet and former children’s laureate Michael Rosen, who has agitated for the poem to be made public since it was rediscovered in 2006, said that at times in the poem Shelley strays close to sedition, despite the young writer’s assertion at the start that the poem is not “subversive of the existing interests of Government”.

“It was dangerous of Shelley to write that ‘Man must assert his native rights, must say / we take from Monarchs’ hand the granted sway’”, said Rosen.

“The poem has great topicality for now with its mention of ministers supporting war and foreign oppression … Edward Said was at pains to point out that he couldn’t find any objection to colonialism and imperialism in English literature. Here it is. Shelley spends a good few lines on pointing out the oppression of British imperialism in India,” said Rosen, highlighting how Shelley writes that “The fainting Indian, on his native plains, / Writhes to superior power’s unnumbered pains.”

“Even as Lynton Crosby comes up with yet another phrase to sustain this government in power (‘we must live within our means’), this poem appears. Wonderful reminder that ’twas ever thus,” said the poet.

Rosen pointed out that the poem also sees Shelley write of government advisers, “To whose fell breast no passion virtue brings”, who have the power to “breathe / O’er all the world the infectious blast of death”, and to “Make a tired nation bless the oppressor’s name”.

Rosen said the poem was full of “portable triggers, lines of political outrage for people to catch and hold”. He added: “Political writing is often like that, but in times of oppression and struggle, this is no bad thing: a portable phrase to carry with us may help us.”

Saturday, November 07, 2015

Climate Change Victory – Keystone XL Tar Sands Pipeline Rejected

We just made history together. 4 years to the day after we surrounded the White House, President Obama has rejected the Presidential Permit for the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline!

This is huge.

A head of state has never rejected a major fossil fuel project because of its climate impacts before. The President's decision sets the standard for what climate action looks like: standing up to the fossil fuel industry, and keeping fossil fuels in the ground.

Make no mistake: this victory belongs to us, the movement. President Obama's courage today is a reflection of the courage shown by thousands of people who have sat in, marched and organized (and opened a lot of emails) against this pipeline.

This fight started with First Nations in Canada where the tar sands are extracted, and spread to farmers, ranchers and tribal nations along the pipeline route. Since then, people from all walks of life have joined hands against Keystone, and the 830,000 barrels per day of destructive tar sands oil it would have carried through the country to be burned.

Together, we have shown what it takes to win: a determined, principled, unrelenting grassroots movement that takes to the streets whenever necessary, and isn't afraid to put our bodies on the line.

Politicians in Washington DC didn’t make this happen. Our movement did. We want to thank everyone who has been a part of this campaign -- from calling Congress to getting arrested on the White House fence.

Powered by our organizing, the tide is turning against the fossil fuel industry -- every major new project they propose is being met by organized opposition on the ground, and politicians are lining up to stand behind our movement and say that we must keep the vast majority of fossil fuels underground.

Resistance is growing because the fossil fuel industry is more reckless than ever: from Texas where the Southern leg of Keystone XL pumps toxic tar sands, to Alberta where Big Oil foolishly plans to expand its mines, to California where they want to frack during a historic drought, to the enormous coal pits of Australia and Appalachia.

We have more tools than ever to work with. A strong fossil fuel resistance is already taking shape across the globe. Since we began fighting Keystone XL, the movement for divestment from fossil fuels has grown into a global powerhouse able to move tens of billions of dollars and undercut the social license of the fossil fuel industry. Fracking bans have stopped drilling in towns, counties and now whole states across the country. Communities are seizing their energy futures by demanding 100% renewable power in record numbers.

And when world leaders meet in Paris later this year, they’ll do so knowing what our movement can do, and what climate action really looks like: keeping fossil fuels in the ground.

Today we can approach all of our work with new eyes. We know that we can fight, and we can win.

Wednesday, November 04, 2015

Murrumu Walubara Yidindji renounces citizenship to reclaim Australia

November 2, 2015

Murrumu Walubara Yidindji is the foreign minister of Yidindji sovereign nation, an Indigenous tribal group that has renounced ties with Australia.

A small Aboriginal tribal group that has established its own government and renounced legal ties with Australia aims to make history by entering into the first Indigenous treaty with the Commonwealth.

The Sovereign Yidindji Government, whose lands stretch south of Port Douglas, through Cairns, inland across the Atherton Tablelands and 80km out to sea, says it wants to help Australia overcome the legal conundrum of operating on Yidindji territory without consent.

"The Commonwealth of Australia does not have consent or a treaty to enter Yidindji territory."

Murrumu Walubara Yidindji, the foreign affairs minister, said his government was similar to the Vatican City State – with its own laws, language and institutions.

To the Yidindji people, Australia is a "foreign entity".

"The Commonwealth of Australia does not have consent or a treaty to enter Yidindji territory, so we had to show the leadership to create our own institutions of government," Murrumu told Fairfax Media on a visit to Sydney.

"It doesn't have any validity in law."

Formerly a journalist known as Jeremy Geia, Murrumu has renounced his Australian citizenship, relinquished his passport and bank accounts, and eschews Australian currency.

"Australia, we can see the injury you've got," he said.

"We can cure it and we're not going to send you a bill for it. It's a hearts and minds game and all we're saying is we have our own jurisdiction."

On Sunday, he sent his condolences as Yidindji foreign affairs minister to the people of Russia after an horrific plane crash in which all 224 passengers on board perished.

Read more:

Sunday, November 01, 2015

Sydney: Joe Hill Centennial Concert, Saturday 21 November 2015

Working-class hero, Joe Hill, died 100 years ago and there will be a concert to celebrate his life, music and legacy at the Teachers Federation Auditorium, 37 Reservoir Street, Surry Hills on Saturday 21st November from 7.30pm.

Joe Hill was a Union organiser and songwriter for the IWW (Industrial Workers of the World) aka the Wobblies. Hill was framed for murder in the state of Utah – the authorities weren’t able to prove their allegations but his political activism was enough to convict him – and he was shot 19th November 1915 at the age of 36 to become the man who never died. His spirit lives on in songs like Casey Jones, The Preacher and the Slave, songs still sung at Union rallies; and many will never forget Paul Robeson singing the tribute to Hill ‘I dreamed I saw Joe Hill last night’ during the construction of the Sydney Opera House in 1960.

The performers on Saturday 21st November are George Mann (USA) who has been part of the Joe Hill 100 Roadshow in America over the last few months and is giving a brief tour of eastern Australia; Maurie Mulheron, renowned for his infectious interpretation of Pete Seeger songs; The Sydney Trade Union Choir; Margaret and Bob Fagan; and a surprise guest or two. Come along prepared to sing your hearts out.

Tickets are available online for $20/$15 at  Any proceeds go to APHEDA – Union Aid Abroad. The venue is a five minute walk from Central Station. Enquiries: or phone 0427 958 788.  The concert is a joint initiative of the NSW Teachers Federation and the Folk Federation of NSW.