Good morning and happy April! As of yesterday Brisbane has become less of a hellscape of humidity and I am liking it VERY much. This morning I put a jumper on! Onwards and upwards towards autumn.
Huge, MASSIVE congratulations to all those involved in the Chemist Warehouse strike, which ended last week in a victory for the workers. Workers will get a pay rise of 8% in the first year of the agreement and 18.75% over the four-year term; all labour hire casuals will be converted to permanent employment after six months; and all workers who were on strike will be converted to permanent employment immediately. (How great is that last one?! Direct benefits for going on strike!) There will also be mandatory training for managers to tackle the problem of sexual harassment in the workplace, which is good, but honestly I think the power that workers have gained from going out on strike and winning will be much more effective in stamping out all forms of intimidation at work. Well done to the Chemist Warehouse workers, the NUW, and all other comrades and supporters. I hope this inspires further strikes around the country. To the barricades!
Taking a hard turn now towards wallpaper, I will always use up one of my free LRB articles to read anything by Terry Eagleton, including an analysis of William Morris’ particular brand of socialist thought. This piece dives into the (very rich and interesting, imo) relationship between socialism and aesthetics, and is full of Eagleton’s particular brand of caustic owns. (Morris, he says, “was afflicted by a repellent English heartiness, given to swinging children from his hair and carrying coal-scuttles in his teeth.”) His critique of British ‘radical-Romantic’ anti-capitalism is similarly cutting: “It was embarrassingly nostalgic, enraptured by the dream of an organic society of colourful peasants and clean-limbed artisans before the Fall into modernity … Its Romanticism was thus radical and reactionary together – a bizarre blend of communalism and neo-feudalism in which the predatory capitalist was ousted by the paternalist landlord.”
Very disgusting to see my alma mater, the University of Queensland, going all-in with the Ramsay Centre for ““““Western Civilisation”””” which is, predictably, absolutely chock-a-block with far-right ghouls. In Overland, Nick Reimer writes about the Ramsay Centre in the wake of the Christchurch massacre, and really spells out its noxious ideology. (Fellow Chapo listeners may be interested to hear that longtime friend of the show Rod Dreher is one of the Ramsay Centre’s guest speakers for 2019!!!!) If you’re a fellow alumnus, or even if you’re not, considering contacting UQ to express your anger and discomfort over UQ hosting what amounts to a Centre for It’s OK to Be White.
The indigenous suicide rate is basically a national emergency at this point, but very few mainstream media outlets are talking about it. For Indigenous X, Shannon Dodson writes about intergenerational trauma and its effect on the social, emotional, physical, and mental wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. “When you think about the fact that most Indigenous families have been affected, in one or more generations, by the forcible removal of one or more children, that speaks volumes. The institutionalisation of our mob has had dire consequences on our sense of being, mental health, connection to family and culture.“ Crushing but important reading.
Anyone who knows me IRL knows that I spend much of my time contemplating the existential horror of wage labour and longing for my job to be automated, so this Novara episode on post-work futures is very much my jam. James Butler (whose voice I enjoy much more than Aaron Bastani’s, sorry not sorry) interviews Will Stronge from the think tank Autonomy, on work and its relationship with politics and technological change. Admittedly I have only listened to the first 20 minutes while doing the dishes the other night, but it was thoroughly enjoyable and I intend to listen to the remaining 40 minutes shortly! If this isn’t professional link rounding-up I don’t know what is.
Finally, I would like to take this opportunity to formally endorse Beto O’Rourke’s run for President. Beto embodies the kind of bold, uniting, and frankly sexy politics that we here at Flood Media can get behind. He offers a transformative, people-powered vision to change America - and indeed the world - for the better. Let us be clear: we must hold our nerve and build a resolve to share in our common dreams, lest our dreams be divided; we must never falter and allow the sacrifices of those who have sacrificed so much go unsacrificed for, but rather sacrifice for our common ambition to dream. My calves are cramping just thinking about it.
Until next week!