How Christmas Became Christmas: The Pagan and Christian Origins of the Beloved Holiday.
How Christmas Became Christmas: The Pagan and Christian Origins of the Beloved Holiday.
The 10th anniversary of Julia Gillard’s so-called misogyny speech is a reminder of what might have been. Chiefly, the loss of a potentially great Australian leader.
The speech itself resonated around Australia and the world. The Macquarie Dictionary even redefined the word misogyny on the back of it. But beyond the commemorative songs, seminars, studies and symposiums lies the story of the squandered opportunities of the most recent former Labor government.
Maybe things will work out better for Anthony Albanese. After all, he had a front-row seat when Labor burned its two leading lights and opened the door for nine years of generally poor Coalition government. Meanwhile the Gillard story is a reminder of how Labor often wins the culture wars and loses the political ones.
But it is also apparent in 2022 that myths are being bedded down into the authorised record. History as written by the rhetoricians. Time has blurred the factors behind Gillard’s rise and fall.
The U.S. military has no shortage of goods, given its whopping expenditures on weaponry and equipment of all sorts; among the troops, it doesn’t lack for courage or fighting spirit, not yet, anyway. But it does lack honor, especially at the top.
Much is gone when a military ceases to tell the truth to itself and especially to the people from whom its forces are drawn. And courage is wasted when in the service of lies.
Courage wasted: Is there a worst fate for a military establishment that prides itself on its members being all volunteers and is now having trouble filling its ranks?
Imagine Right- Wing and Conservative Australian loudmouths railing at our Republicans and what they perceive as disrespect of Indigenous Australians for not mourning, bending and kowtowing to the death of the Queen. They aren’t saying anything about the slave trade in Africa or the pillaging and destruction of a prosperous nation like India.
Africans aren’t nearly as polite in reminding us what was done to their forefathers in the name of The British Monarchy. Even the Germans and French left some colonies in a better state than the British because they weren’t as brutally interfered with. The difference is witnessed in Tanzania’s and Senegal’s Democracies to the lack of it in Nigeria
Though Queen Elizabeth II was revered by many in Africa, her death also reignited a different sort of conversation – one that touched on the legacy of the British Empire and the brutality the monarchy meted out to people in its former colonies.
In a younger generation of Africans growing up in a post-colonial world, some lamented that the Queen never faced up to the grim aftermath of colonialism and empire, or issued an official apology. They said they wanted to use the moment to recall the oppression and horrors their parents and grandparents endured in the name of the Crown, and to urge for the return of crown jewels – rare massive diamonds – taken from the continent.
In Common Sense, he called England’s King George III “the Royal Brute of Great Britain,” who “hath wickedly broken through every moral and human obligation, trampled nature and conscience beneath his feet, and by a steady and constitutional spirit of insolence and cruelty procured for himself a universal hatred.” Thomas Paine’s Common Sense, published in 1776. Paine wasn’t just contemptuous of one particular British ruler but of monarchs in general.
Trump now joins this abject company, this rogues gallery of former high officials of the United States of America who were considered guilty of sedition or treason. Burr and Davis escaped any punishment. The question is whether Trump will, as well.Trump joins Aaron Burr and Jefferson Davis as Former High Office-Holder Investigated for Sedition
The history of Labor has always been to clean up the self-crowned “better managers” mess.They have always been there to give the nation a “progressive shove”, and get going again. When we are on the road to progress, and moving forward the LNP step up the chorus calling it a mess and echoing “we are the better managers”. If the 24/7 news cycle actually printed the news along with a little critical precise of our historical facts the LNP might just feel they need to pitch in and actually help this country instead of themselves and their minority of friends. I remember feeling the dark shadow of fear that pass over us when Abbott came to Government. Simply compare Fraser Abbott and Howard with Whitlam, Hawke, Keating,Rudd and Gillard.
No sooner back in office and the ALP is hit with a crisis. The gas shortages plaguing the east coast have all the makings of a giant clusterfrig from the parties of government.
Labor, while holding power only a third of the time in Australia’s history, seems doomed to get the call from the electorate just as trouble is brewing.
Jim Scullin’s team took office in October 1929, the month the Wall Street crash unleashed the Great Depression. John Curtin took over in 1941 as Japan was preparing to widen the war in the Pacific. Gough Whitlam’s ambitious program was derailed when the quadrupling of oil prices in 1973 unleashed rampant inflation and unemployment in the Western world.
Bob Hawke had better luck, coming to power in 1983 as a long drought broke. But Kevin Rudd was hit with the global financial crisis in 2008.
We can only wish Team Albo better luck in the long term.
BACK TO THE FUTURE OCTOBER 2018
We know Scott Morrison has held several portfolios, immigration and treasurer the most important. The electorate might have hoped that these experiences would have endowed him with a modicum of general knowledge about how government works, some feel for how international diplomacy is carried out, some notion of what to say, to whom, and when. But, after just a few short weeks, we are left disillusioned. Our accidental PM seems to have learned almost nothing of these crucial political skills – every day he shows he’s not up to the job.
Unlike some nations, Australia’s origin story wasn’t marked by revolution or a democratic movement. Rather, it was a way for the colonial bourgeoisie to unite against the union movement and close the nation to non-white immigration.
America’s Republicans adapted and politicized CRT to have it removed from their school’s curriculums. The LNP in Australia does the same simply playing Simon Says or Monkey see monkey does and have attempted to do the same. Tudge and now Robert LNP are also trying to change the educational course of Australian history and racially mythologize it. However, their effort in “cancelling culture” has been totally forgotten over the course of this 2022 Election
Because Black history is the history of America. We are witnessing a unique and horrible phenomenon: the total denial of the story of American colonialism and the importance and horrors of the slave trade. The Republican party has made a decision that white children and youth ( who seem to be the only children and youth they care at all about) are not to be exposed to any materials that might make them aware that our ancestors were not models of moral perfection- they might feel a twinge of discomfort, or maybe even question the racism that is the Republican daily diet.
Little has changed today.
The US Civil War was a revolutionary upheaval that crushed slavery and stoked hopes of a broader emancipation against the rule of property. We should draw on that memory today for struggles against racism and capitalism.
The very notion of Democracy and the Separation of Powers lead to a Godless State. However, Scott Morrison believes he was chosen to correct that. He believes he’s more than a member of an elected government but a member of God’s “elect” born to rule and that’s why he’s neither a liar nor a bully. He’s simply right!!
For much of the twentieth century, communism was a global movement, with branches in almost every nation, that sought to do away with the present state of things. It demanded and inspired unswerving loyalty from its members, who built a counterculture embracing almost every aspect of their lives. In this way, communist parties were unlike typical bourgeois parties, who extend politics only to elections and stakeholder management.
This history has been cut from any schools curriculum
Though little discussed today, Australian communism was a movement that changed the lives of its members — and the course of national history.
Swedish social democracy produced one of the most humane societies in history. That wouldn’t have happened without a militant labor movement and a working-class political party.
Let’s be clear from the jump: The pretext for the January 6 attacks were the incessant lies that the 2020 presidential election was rigged. That talk came from not just former President Donald Trump but also his allies, including Fox News.
Critical lessons from Frantz Fanon
Hamza Hamouchene Frantz Fanon died 60 years ago today. In his last decade, he was deeply involved in Algeria’s anti-colonial struggle — providing lessons that can still be used in the country’s fight against dictatorship today.
A new podcast investigates some of the big decision points in history and asks: Could things have been different?
Source: Deconstructed: Rewriting History
Comments like Frost’s demonstrate ignorance towards the many structural inequalities experienced by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and other marginalised peoples in Australia.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities are also battling vaccine and COVID misinformation. Commentary from Frost and other Instagram influencers is not only dangerous, but also spreads inaccurate narratives of white victimhood.
It is a privilege to reject life-saving health interventions while others experience structural barriers to appropriate medical care.
The close relationship between actors in Australian and US intelligence of course goes back prior to the Prime Ministership of Whitlam, as evidenced by Australia’s secret role in the overthrowal of the Allende Government in Chile and the Sukarno Government in Indonesia.
As the war hawks today swirl at the spectre of a Chinese paper tiger, it seems we are locked into a more offensive UK-US alliance structure and a government determined to undermine our rights and welfare at every turn. What a betrayal those days of Hawke now seem to those who long for a country that supports social justice and an independent foreign policy. Surely this is the task of a new Labor Government.
Trump knew he had a very short time to break everything and he did. Because he knew it takes much longer to fix things. However he was the one who did it.
Trump was a true rule-breaker who did manage to do quite a lot in the international arena, where he had far greater leeway to make changes beyond congressional control. Much of that activity was destructive, because Trump proved quite adept at smashing things. Indeed, Trump smashed things—the Iran nuclear deal, détente with Cuba—not just because of a peevish desire to destroy his predecessor’s legacy but as part of a scorched-earth policy to FUBAR the federal government for generations to come. As a result, Biden will spend much of his term picking up the pieces—and that’s a whole lot harder when you’re in handcuffs.
Contrary to claims about “fascist” vaccine mandates currently circulating on the Right, the Nazis actually relaxed German vaccine mandates — and hoped doing the same for people they conquered would kill them faster.
Touring Australia in 1974, Frank Sinatra launched into a sexist tirade against female journalists. Trade unions hit back — by shutting down Sinatra’s tour.
Who have been Australia’s most accomplished prime ministers? Curiously, it’s a question that is seldom asked. We enthusiastically compile lists of the greatest films or sporting champions, but rarely do we apply the same energy to thinking about prime-ministerial virtuosity.
Tennis has often been considered an exclusive sport — but in the 1930s, trade unionists came together to challenge the private clubs with their own tournament: the “Workers’ Wimbledon.”
Source: The Workers’ Wimbledon
The commission will bring the good, the bad and the ugly; imperatives that will help us identify who we are and importantly, where we are going. My hopes? That truth-telling will move to restore Indigenous culture and identity and empower Indigenous people to take control of their future; financially, economically and socially. If we are to measure ourselves in terms of our maturity as a society, then mature societies own the entire history. We don’t get to pick the bits we like, we must own the lot. The fact that Victoria has stepped up to the mark to do this, by way of the commission, shows a level of maturity that other jurisdictions must move towards.
Though he is unsparing in his accounts of colonial violence, Peck’s endgame is not to make white viewers wallow in lonely self-hatred; it’s to encourage change. Citing Rwanda, he argues that the conditions that enabled the Holocaust were not unique, and that humanity will keep committing atrocities until we take a stark look at our history and choose not to repeat it. No wonder Peck feels an affinity for Baldwin, who framed white America’s repressed guilt over centuries of cruelty to Black America as the root of both groups’ misery. “To accept one’s past—one’s history—is not the same thing as drowning in it,” he wrote, “it is learning how to use it.” To that end, Exterminate All the Brutes makes an electrifying instruction manual.
Which brings us to the present, where the bastards have metastasized and proliferated until the whole country is threatened. The cancerous growth on the dark side of our politics and the mean and brutish side of our natures has swollen to monstrous size.Money Honey: An Abridged Review of Some Truly Rotten Bastards, From Then and Now | The Smirking Chimp
The acts are now facts, they happened. Today I am sure while the USA would have no qualms whatsoever about entering a war or bombing campaign against any other country on Earth for whatever reason (Washington after all since the turn of the millennium has proved itself to be the Queen of Liars), I would wager that the United Kingdom would not dare to behave today the way in which it behaved in the past when it had the power and the weapons to mow down defenceless “natives”: “Shoot when you see the whites of their eyes, what?” I would also wager that most Britons would be horrified if someone told them the full McCoy about their history.
“It is the job of the National Archives to document history, not alter it to serve the president’s ego.”
“Apologizing is not enough,” she said. “The National Archives must explain to the public why it even took the Orwellian step of trying to rewrite history and erasing women’s bodies from it, as well as who ordered it.”
Legendary scholar and activist Angela Davis’s work around issues of gender, race, class and prisons has influenced critical thought and social movements across several generations. Amy Goodman sat down with her in Washington, D.C., in October to discuss freedom struggles over the past 50 years, and where people’s movements are going next.
The mass right wing parties of Europe in the 1920s and 1930s were led by charismatic leaders who whipped up the hatreds of mobs by denouncing immigrants and ethnic and religious groups as threats to the nation and as terrorists and saboteurs.
Somehow when politicians set such a tone, in which alternative political leaders and movements are not just seen as a legitimate loyal opposition, but are depicted as criminal traitors who must be locked up, one thing that happens is that bombs start to go off, planted by members of the far Right parties.
If you don’t believe me about the connection, consider a few news articles from the 1920s and early 1930s, as the Fascists came to power in Italy and increasingly agitated in Germany:
I have been studying Australian history both in an academic setting and as a general interest for a number of years now (not including the minimum education we all received throughout primary and early secondary school – the overview of colonialism and Captain Cook, some history of Indigenous Australia and the 1850s Victorian gold rush). Thanks to second-wave feminism and the establishment of women’s history as a legitimate field of study, I can read into the nation’s past to examine the perspectives and experiences of Australian women, and these histories are only continuing to expand. What I have real difficulty in finding is any information on Australia’s queer history, not so much in the late twentieth-century when pride activism became prominent, but in our colonial and pre-colonial period. There is a lack of resources in this area, and an even greater lack of discussion in the academic and education fields.
Now, following last year’s changes to media control and diversity rules, Nine and Fairfax Media have “merged”. It seems more like a takeover, with 51.1 per cent of equity to be held by Nine. The CEO, Hugh Marks and chair of the board, another former Treasurer, in this case Liberal Peter Costello, will come from Nine. The new company will be known as NEC (Nine Entertainment Co.).
If shareholders and the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission approve the transaction, the Fairfax name will be gone from the Australian media.
Two companies, with very different histories and cultures, will be forced to work together in the never-ending search for efficencies and revenue in a brutal landscape for newspapers, magazines and television.
Frank and Kerry Packer (whose 1990s attempt to gain control of John Fairfax & Sons was stymied) are no doubt dancing a jig in heaven (or in hell), as the television company they founded is on the cusp of gaining control of the press assets they envied. Rupert Murdoch remains Australia’s last media titan.
The famous – and by now overused – expression that history is written by the victors can be countered in many ways. One way is by unpacking the victors’ publications in order to expose the lies, fabrications and misrepresentations, as well as their less conscious actions.
A rereading of these open sources about the Nakba, mostly written by Israelis themselves, unlocks fresh historiographical perspectives on the big picture of that period – while declassified documents allow us to see that picture in a higher resolution.
This reprise could have been done at any moment between 1948 and today – as long as historians were willing to employ the critical lens needed for such an examination.
Fifty years ago today the streets of Paris staged a battle between 6,000 student demonstrators and 1,500 gendarmes – within days it had snowballed into civil dispute that saw 10 million French workers go on general strike and brought the economy to a virtual halt. Andreas Whittam Smith recalls the events of ‘Mai 68’
With Europe into its so-called Dark Ages, the Islamic world was entering its Golden Age.
The House of Wisdom, between the 8th and 13th centuries, attracted Muslim, Christian and Jewish scholars from throughout the known world to study and translate the tracts that had underpinned modern thought to that time into Arabic.
Every important and available book and paper known to exist was collected for translation from Greek, Latin, Persian, Indian and even Chinese sources.
By the 9th century, the House of Wisdom contained the world’s largest library, and up to 500 scholars worked feverishly on their own discoveries.
The idea that the Earth was round, its circumference measurable, was no stranger here. Physicians investigated the causes of infection. The number zero, invented as a useful concept in India, reached Baghdad somewhere around AD 770 and became a crucial element in mathematics. Without zero there would never have been a computer, let alone Google.
The pleasure of harnessing knowledge spread rapidly across Arab North Africa, through refined cities like Fez, and beyond.
Why is the US (and Australia) ideologically clinging to last century’s energy sources and technology? How dumb are we?
USA & Australia = Dumb and Dumber a History of Energy transformation live (OD)
PRECEDENT IN HISTORY
Not so 50 years ago this month, when the elastic-sided boot was on the other foot and the then leader of the Country Party (later re-named National Party), John McEwen, made it public he would not continue in Coalition with the Liberals if one William McMahon became its leader.
Prime Minister Harold Holt had drowned in the surf, but heir apparent McMahon was seen as too much of a free-trader – a neo-con – while McEwen, the farmer, was hard in favour of tariff protection and campaigned against “dumping” of overseas produced goods at low prices in Australia. He thought of McMahon, morally, as a poor kind of man — as a chronic leaker of Government business to journalists.
We also heard, in grubby whispers, he was influenced by the rumours about McMahon being gay, a story famously junked in that vernacular exclamation from McMahon’s wife Sonia:
“Bill’s not a homo!”
The National Party in those days were all for “conservative values”, no exemptions for sexual licence of any kind, even for party leaders.
Students often get only a superficial view of the atrocity that built the country, a new study finds.
This is a gross whitewashing of history, clearly aimed at erasing from the record Israel’s well-documented and systematic ethnic cleansing of the majority Palestinian population whose presence on the land stood in the way of the Zionist goal of creating a “Jewish state.”
In fact, in the months before Israel’s “independence” was declared on 15 May, and before any Arab armies had intervened, the ethnic cleansing of Palestine was already well under way.
The Zionist leadership finalized its “Plan Dalet” to expel Palestinians in March 1948. Palestinians from the cities of Haifa and Jaffa, and dozens of villages, had already been expelled before 15 May. The notorious massacre by Zionist forces in the village of Deir Yassin took place on 9 April, and by early May it is estimated that up to 250,000 Palestinians had already fled or been forced from their homes.
By the end of Israel’s so-called “War of Independence,” some 750,000 Palestinians out of 1.2 million had been displaced and more than 500 cities, towns and villages had been destroyed or depopulated.
Accurately reporting this chronology would make it impossible to sustain Israeli myths about 1948, or to obscure events, as The New York Times does, as mere violence by “both sides.In article on Jerusalem, New York Times falsifies history of 1948, 1967 | The Electronic Intifada
In our early 19th century single-sex prisons the only bond strong enough to withstand the inducements to inform on your fellows, and the punishments meted out to surly inmates, was romantic love.This is why prison officials went to such extreme lengths to separate same-sex convict couples by relocating them to prisons hundreds of kilometres apart.Their fears were real. Same-sex bonds were at the centre of prison rebellions like the flash mob at the Cascades Female Factory or the Ring on Norfolk Island.
The “meaning” of the Vietnam War is no different from the meaning of the genocidal campaign against the Native Americans, the colonial massacres in the Philippines, the atomic bombings of Japan, the levelling of every city in North Korea. The aim was described by Colonel Edward Lansdale, the famous CIA man on whom Graham Greene based his central character in The Quiet American.Quoting Robert Taber’s The War of the Flea, Lansdale said: “There is only one means of defeating an insurgent people who will not surrender, and that is extermination. There is only one way to control a territory that harbours resistance, and that is to turn it into a desert.”