Link Roundup: June 10

Good morning, Floodlets. Brisbane is finally experiencing some kind of winter, and I type this while wearing a cardigan, and experiencing mildly cold hands! Oh the thrill of it. Anyway, enough about me, and onto this week’s links:

First up this week, F I N A L L Y there is a piece about Australian politics in Jacobin that actually talks some sense, and (no brag) I know the author. Ali Pennington is a cool and terrifyingly intelligent lady and her piece, ‘We Need a Political Vision’, gets into the meat of the history and present of the Australian labour movement. As she writes, “a labor movement that primarily fights over distribution is in a weak position to assert a dignified collective control over its broader destiny … A defensive or conditional solidarity is remarkably entrenched in the Australian psyche. As global economic and environmental crises bang on our door, this particularism has become a gaping wound in Australian working-class consciousness.” A must read.

On a lighter (but no less genuine) note, reader Sue sent me a frankly visionary piece she wrote on her blog about new possibilities for the Parliament House Winter Menu:

Considering the levels both of depression, authoritarianism, kowtowing to Washington and nature disinterestedness in Australian politicians, now that the days have darkened to match our erstwhile leaders’ vision for our country, I can’t think of a better time for the Parliament House kitchen staff to perform a feat of culinary rebellion never before seen. One that will change the country’s vision to technicolour. Onto our pollies’ winter menu must go a variety of mushroom dishes: magic mushroom soup, magic mushroom risotto, magic mushies on toast.

I confess I’ve often had similar thoughts, along the lines of supplying the Midwinter Ball with pure MDMA. As Sue points out, in the wake of increasingly worrying authoritarian behaviour from the government, there’s no better time to start rewiring some brain chemistry in Parliament House towards good. vibes. only!!! You know what to do, kitchen staff.

The latest issue of n+1 is a total banger (if you haven’t already read the Alyssa Battistoni essay I linked to a couple of weeks ago, get to it), and today from its depths I have plundered Andrea Long Chu’s ‘The Pink’, about her bottom surgery. I find Chu to be one of the most thoughtful, interesting, reflective writers out there, and she doesn’t disappoint in this essay, which tells the story of her surgery but also considers “the situation of the vagina in feminist politics today” and weaves in beautiful musings about subjectivity and identity. Highly recommend.

Friends of Flood Feargal McGovern and Bill Storey-Smith are the hosts of ‘The Workers Hour’, a new show on 4ZZZ which “seeks to build the culture of trade unionism and solidarity by giving a platform to trade unions and workers to talk about the struggles in their workplace, as well as events and struggles outside the workplace that they are involved.” They debuted on the airwaves last week with a show discussing the recent successful strike at Chemist Warehouse (feat. an interview with one of the NUW delegates) and the land rights struggles at Deebing Creek. You can listen back here, and catch them live on air every Tuesday from 9am - 10am on 102.1 FM.

In case last week’s link roundup didn’t quite satisfy your “rage at Queensland Labor” urges, here’s another cool decision by everyone’s favourite party: a big new jail! Love to be a strong progressive voice locking people in cages while 20,000 Queenslanders languish on the social housing waiting list. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people will be over-represented in this new jail, but I am sure that none of the $620 million it’s taking to build this jail could possibly be redirected to services that support these communities. Of !!!ourse not. While you’re at it, why don’t you build a big new coal mine on land held by traditional own - oh, yes, of course that’s already happening. Anyway, the Courier-Mail article I linked there is obviously trash, so perhaps your time would be better spent reading about prison abolition? There are a wealth of resources out there, but for now, two excellent pieces on prisons, race, and capitalism: ‘Ending the Criminal Class’, by Simon Copland, and ‘Bring Us Your Chained and Huddled Masses’, by Christian Parenti. The first is from an Australian perspective and the latter from an American one, but both are rich, thoughtful pieces that really bring home the injustice and cruelty of the carceral system. Also recommend sending to your lowkey racist aunt who believes police officers and prison guards have “difficult jobs”.

Finally, I’m loathe to link to my own Twitter here (narrator: she wasn’t) but I need everyone to scream along with me at one of the top ten most cursed things I’ve seen in my life.

Until next week!

Photo by Andrew Ridley on Unsplash