On dissent: Winter 2021 Edition call for contributions

On dissent: Winter 2021 Edition call for contributions - Image of man with blindfold and mouth covering that says 'shh'

We’re calling for contributions for our Winter 2021 edition of Green Agenda: on the work of dissent in politics and policy. Submit your short pitch to contribute to the debate on sustainability, social justice, peace and nonviolence, and democracy.

The notion of dissent – an unwillingness to cooperate, to say no, to object – is central to the idea of green political action. To dissent is to refuse the tempting pull of business as usual – a business of coal, of capitalism and conservatism in which Australian politics is deeply invested. Politics in Australia runs on a willingness to follow this tide. To say nothing even when the planet is burning, or children are behind bars. 

Both the old parties are complicit in this culture of silence and silencing. The past years have seen both seek to squash the right to protest, scared of the momentum created by mass direct actions in support of Aboriginal sovereignty, police violence, and environmental destruction. Going on strike, a key pillar of industrial action and lever for workers to demand rights are upheld, is “all but outlawed” in Australia. Activists who seek to reveal the cruelty of Australian industrial farming through filming the devastating conditions suffered by animals have been accused of ‘extremism’ and even ‘terrorism’, and threatened with ‘ag-gag’ laws to prevent such public interest actions. This even plays out in the spaces reserved for public debate – last week, the ALP and the Coalition closed ranks and removed one of the main opportunities for crossbench Senators to raise issues, and to demand votes, in parliament. In Senator Rachel Siewert’s words, “these two major parties do not want to be held accountable.” To lock the gate, to raise a fist, to refuse are all political acts under threat in contemporary Australia. 

In the Winter 2021 edition, we’re exploring the role of dissent in Australian politics. We want to re-assert the importance of non-cooperation, of throwing the (proverbial) stone, and explore how and why tactics of dissent are essential to a democratic politics. 

We’re looking for pieces that speak to the role of dissent across a range of issue areas: How is it used? How is it abused? Who has the right to say no, and who does not? What role is dissent playing in Australian politics today? What can we do to protect dissent from ever-encroaching attempts to have it curbed? What are the consequences when we cannot refuse? What are the necessary limits on dissent? What does it look like to embrace dissent as a central political tactic, and what can it achieve? 

We’d love to receive proposals from a range of policy and practice – please get in touch with your ideas. 

There are also some great pieces already here at Green Agenda that you can look to for inspiration.

Submitting a pitch – deadline 11 July 2021

We welcome contributions from everyone. Contributions from young people, First Nations people, women, members of the LGBTIQA+ community, and people from within the Asia-Pacific region are especially encouraged. You are also welcome to submit a co-authored piece.

We are looking for short opinion pieces, policy, politics and practice reflections, and are also open to photo essays or other creative pieces.

To submit a pitch summarising your piece or idea, of no more than 200 words, fill in our Contributions Form. Please include “Winter Edition 2021 Pitch” at the start of your brief. Final written pieces need to be a minimum of 1000 words (1000-2500 words is ideal) or of equivalent contribution if in another medium.

We are pleased to be able to compensate authors for their pieces. Commissioned authors will be paid $200 for their piece.

The deadline for abstracts is 11 July 2021, with approximately four weeks from commission agreement to submit.