Good morning, Floodlings. Another week is upon us, and with it, another link roundup …
First of all, of course, we are all thinking of the victims of Friday’s attack in Christchurch, their families, and Muslim communities everywhere. Ash Sarkar (she of “I’m a communist, you idiot” fame) has for a while been offering cogent analyses of Islamaphobia in the West, and her Twitter feed is a good place to start digging further into this stuff. Also, and this should go without saying, egg every racist. Kia kaha, Muslim friends and comrades.
This piece by Nayuka Gorrie, in the Saturday Paper, does a really good job of crystallising some of the thoughts about public drunkenness that periodically float around my head. I work in Fortitude Valley, which is home to most of what passes for nightlife in Brisbane, but also to a large population of rough sleepers and people with drug and alcohol issues. Anyway, it is really fascinating to witness the mainstream view of public drunkenness in the Valley: it’s fine and normal when it’s the middle-class white kids who get trashed at the local bars every weekend, but when it’s black people and folks sleeping rough, then it’s a safety threat requiring a police response. As Nayuka writes, “We have a cultural obsession with inebriation. So, clearly, it is not public drunkenness that is the issue, it is who is drunk. The continued criminalisation of public drunkenness, and Aboriginal arrests for the offence, highlights an infuriating fact – we are arrested because police want us to be.”
Last week I wrote about the land rights struggle happening at Deebing Creek, near Ipswich. Some great comrades have been (literally) on the ground there from the beginning, and now two of them - Feargal and Bill - have recorded an episode for Living the Dream! This campaign is particularly interesting and heartening because of the strong links of solidarity that are being built and maintained between Aboriginal communities and unions. (Not that these are necessarily two distinct groups - Jesse Leach, the young Bundjalung man who climbed a sacred scar tree on the mission site when the police raided the camp a few weeks ago, is a CFMEU member.) Anyway, give the episode a listen, and remember to sign and share the parliamentary e-petition - now at nearly 7,000 signatures.
Re-reading Asad Haider’s Mistaken Identity is high on my to-do list for this year, only I think my copy has been absorbed into the collection of books that continually circulate between my friends. If you have it, can you please return it? In the meantime, I found this interview with Haider a very worthwhile read. Especially this nugget, on the potential of identity politics to return to its radical roots: “I think we have to be open to understanding that our identities are not foundations for anything; they are unstable, they are multifarious — and that can be unsettling … The way we can overcome the fragmentation that identity seems to lead to now is precisely by recognizing what the Combahee River Collective proposed: being able to assert a political autonomy and also being in coalitions.”
All solidarity to striking workers at Chemist Warehouse! Workers at three sites - including Eagle Farm in Brisbane - are striking for increased wages and a safe workplace, free from sexual harassment. Get your scripts elsewhere while the strike is on, and get out to support workers on the picket line if you can. In Overland, this is a great little cartoon by Sam Wallman on ‘What is a strike?’ I would like to particularly applaud the quote from Bahaa, Chemist Warehouse delegate: “We are pissed off. And we will stick with the union. So we will win.”
If you don’t already read the blog Hard Crackers, can I take this opportunity to recommend it to you? It’s like listening to a stories told by erudite but utterly unpretentious friend. There’s always lots of good stuff on there, but this recent post by Curtis Price, on the changing racial makeup and dynamics of Alabama, moved me. Zhandarka Kurti’s ‘Loss Prevention’ is also great. You know what, it’s all great.
Until next week!