American Teacher Union Insurgency and the Creation of a New Militant Minority: a Report on the 2018 Labor Notes Conference in Chicago – Adrian Skerritt

In May this year there were teachers’ strikes North Carolina. In Arizona recently, 70,000 teachers marched in the capital Phoenix. Similar scenes in Oklahoma, Puerto Rico and of course West Virginia. It is possible to speak now about a teacher insurgency in the US. Many of the activists who have played leading roles in these historic strikes met in Chicago in April at the Labor Notes conference, the most important gathering of trade … Read more

Bolshevism Down Under: the Impact of October 1917 on Australian Labour Movement Politics – Jeff Rickertt

This talk was presented at ‘October 1917: Forgotten Possibilities’, a public meeting convened in Brisbane on 29 October 2017 by The Cloudland Collective with the support of the Brisbane Labour History Association. The event was called to mark the 100th anniversary of the Russian revolution and discuss its contemporary relevance. The other speakers were Alison Stewart and Andrew Bonnell. Alison’s talk appears as an earlier post to this blog.   One hundred years … Read more

The 1967 March from the University to the City: Why Marching Still Matters – Adrian Skerritt

This paper was presented on 9 September 2017 at a conference organised by The Civil Liberties ’67 Reunion Committee to mark the 50th anniversary of the historic civil liberties march from The University of Queensland to the centre of Brisbane. Police violence against the marchers that day radicalised many students and ushered in a new period of resistance to authoritarian government in Queensland… Newman’s assault on the public sector and civil liberties shocked Queensland … Read more

The Road to Solidarity, Indonesia June 2017 – Jeff Rickertt

In June 2017 labour historian and activist Jeff Rickertt visited Indonesia with Bob Carnegie, Queensland state secretary of the Maritime Union of Australia. Here is an expanded version of an article Jeff wrote about the trip for the Queensland MUA’s Branch News….   Our driver couldn’t find the place. He had exited the highway, driven down major roads, crossed railway lines and taken us through poor residential neighbourhoods. He had eventually found the … Read more

‘Uniting the Breakout: from Gonski to Permanency’ – The Activist Teachers Network

One uncanny characteristic about an octopus is its innate ability to escape from a box. In 2012, the Activist Teachers Network (ATN) published a pamphlet titled ‘Resisting Austerity – From NY to Your School’. It featured a cartoon of an octopus delivered in a box, representing the New York neo-liberal model of education, that the then Prime Minister Julia Gillard was determined to impose in Australia. Gillard was then the doyen of schools funding, … Read more

‘Robots Are Coming For Your Job!’ – Liz Ross

What is the future of work? What will happen to the jobs we do today? Is the future going to be a technological Garden of Eden as Marx sketched out in the 1800s or a dystopian, violent hell-hole? Three different writers have given their opinions. In 1931 John Maynard Keynes predicted a future of increased leisure time because new technology would take over much of the work, solving our ‘economic problem’ or the … Read more

‘Work, Technology and the Future’ – Jeff Rickertt

Work, Technology and the Future: A Review of Why the Future is Workless by Tim Dunlop (NewSouth Publishing, 2016). The rapid development of artificial intelligence, 3D printing and robotics – the so-called Fourth Industrial Revolution – has many people worried that humanity might be entering an age of permanent joblessness. Even Bill Gates is concerned. What will happen, he asks, when we ‘cross the threshold of job-replacement of certain activities all … at … Read more