Time To Bump Peace Up The Agenda

Australia has been constantly at war for 16 years, by far the longest stretch ever. Being at war has become the normal state of affairs for us. We spend $95 million every day on war and its preparation, even though the 2016 Defence White Paper said that the prospect of another country invading Australia in the foreseeable future is remote.

Our wars receive very little discussion, as if the need for them is self-evident. Our elected representatives are not consulted about proposed deployments of troops, what they are meant to do on our behalf, whether the proposal is even legal, and what the costs (human, environmental, economic, political) might be. There is zero debate in parliament on these things and no vote on them. The lessons from the disastrous 2003 invasion of Iraq, which Australia joined on the decision of one man, PM John Howard, are stark but unheeded.

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Refugee Justice in the Global Crisis: Where to from Here?

Pessoptimism, noun, the inextricably intertwined feelings of hope and despair, of desire and knowledge, under the current untenable political conditions

Stephen Wright describes aptly the state of refugee justice in Australia today as a symptom of much broader malaise:

‘The existence of the detention centre on Nauru is a critical marker of the failure of our ability to maintain a commons, and of the failure of the Left’s imagination. The self-immolations of Hodar Yasin and Omid Masoumali are not just the suffering of offshore detention made visible. They are our commons burning.’1 Continue reading →


  1. Stephen Wright, ‘On Setting Yourself on Fire’, Overland, Summer 2016, winner of the Overland/NUW Fair Australia Prize. 

Legacy of the Russian Revolution: An interview with Bea Campbell

In a wide-ranging interview, UK writer and political commentator, Bea Campbell, spoke to Green Agenda editor, Clare Ozich, about the legacy of the Russian Revolution and communism; feminism and the end of equality; Green politics; and the current state of UK politics.

 

 

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Public debates on rights: necessary and positive

Green Agenda co-editor, Simon Copland, responds to Hayley Conway and Mary Tomsic 

In Voting on the Rights of Others Hayley Conway argued against public votes on the rights of others as “a vote affirming the rights of a minority doesn’t lead to systemic change.” She continued:

“Systemic change is needed to end discrimination. Winning the ‘yes’ vote in the postal survey will not end homophobia and the campaign itself has given great licence for public homophobia, abuse, and misinformation.”

I think Conway has created a straw man with this argument, refuting something that no one has ever claimed about the postal survey on marriage equality, or the use of the public votes on rights in general.

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Voting On The Rights Of Others: A Debate

The postal survey on marriage equality in Australia has opened deep questions about the intersection between human rights and democracy. In this discussion community campaigner Hayley Conway and researcher Mary Tomsic debate what role citizens should play in voting for the rights of others.

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Democracy In Colour: An Interview With Tim Lo Surdo

Green Agenda editor Clare Ozich spoke with Tim Lo Surdo, Founder and National Director of Democracy in Colour, Australia’s first national racial justice advocacy organisation led by people of colour. Tim and Clare disucssed Democracy in Colour’s purpose and mission, the nature of racism in Australia and the connections between different forms of oppression.

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How Should We Respond To The Rise Of The Far-Right?

The rise of the far right in countries around the world is opening up important questions about how the left should respond. While anti-fascist groups have become active, their tactics have been criticised and debated.

Following our interview with Jason Wilson on the threat of the far-right, Green Agenda presents two differing perspectives on how the left should respond to the rise of the far-right. In the first piece Jasmina Brankovich presents a defence of the antifa as a way to organise against right wing groups. Then, in a piece first published in Waging Non-Violence, Kazu Haga argues that tactical non-violent direct action is the best response.

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The Threat Of The Far Right: Why Take It Seriously?

The recent white supremicist rally and murder of Heather Heyer in Charlottesville, Virginia have brought attention to the rise of far right groups in the United States. The Australian journalist Jason Wilson, who now lives in Portland, has been reporting on the rise of these groups since the election of Donald Trump. Prior to attending a far-right rally hosted by the organisation ‘Patriot Prayer’ in Portland, Green Agenda editor Simon Copland sat down with Wilson to talk about Donald Trump, the rise of far-right in the U.S., and how the left should respond.

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Community As The Antidote: Social Justice And Populism

Green Agenda editor Clare Ozich participated in a discussion on social justice and populism at a Conversation Salon organised and moderated by Muslim feminist and social justice advocate and entrepreneur Hana Assafiri.

Below is an edited transcript of Clare’s remarks and Hana’s response. The conversation was an excellent example of plurality and building on ideas to establish a contemporary and relevant inclusive discourse. Continue reading →

The Trouble With Consensus Is … We Don’t Do It Enough

Co-founder of the Victorian Greens Facilitators Network, Jim Buckell, responds to Sarah Maddison

In her interview with Clare Ozich in Green Agenda, Sarah Maddison puts consensus decision making under the spotlight. In doing so, she perpetuates some common myths: it’s too slow; makes for bad decisions; marginalises dissent. Then she advances a new one (to me anyway): it can apparently be impossibly difficult to review or overturn an old consensus decision.

I’m certain these pitfalls are not systemic. They don’t arise because consensus is a flawed concept. These myths take hold because so few of us see consensus practised well, including Sarah Maddison I suspect. Groups take all manner of shortcuts or press to a vote because of time constraints. Continue reading →