Hoddle Street Protests, the signs and the times

His ceremonial robe drags through piles of dirt and grass. A ruffled, frilly collar pushes up into his chin while his face, contorted into a smiling grimace, catches the camera’s eye as he is carried by three policemen through a park about to be bulldozed to make way for a highway, the F-19. His is just one body in a procession of protestors being hauled away from crude makeshift barricades by Victoria’s police force, through front-end loaders and backhoes waiting to start their work on Alexandra Parade Park’s deconstruction.

The smile says it all. He knows he’s on the wrong side of the law but on the right side of his community. After all, they are the ones who elected him to represent their interests. And on this sunny Saturday in April, 1977, Fitzroy Mayor Bill Peterson, in the full ceremonial robes of his office, stood proudly with his constituents behind a rampart of junk, blockading the construction of what is now the Eastern Freeway.

Read more of this post


Across the Mighty Mississippi into Memphis, Tennessee

When the sun hit the car in the morning I was woken several times. And several times I went back to sleep. Around eight I finally decided that I needed to get on the road again and get to Nashville. I went back into the bathroom and cleaned myself up, bought more filtered coffee and filled it with creaming powder, then I got back on the road again. The whole stop had emptied. There were no more trucks, only an empty lot of dirt and large gravel rocks hemmed by woodlands. This felt like real hillbilly country. The people, however, were very friendly.


Read more of this post

Obama supporters call for bolder support from Obama

According to members of the Trinity United Church of Christ on Chicago’s South Side the most important policies that President Barack Obama needs to pursue in his second term are education and housing, especially within America’s poorer communities.

When he lived in Chicago, Obama regularly attended Trinity, an African-America congregation proud of its roots. The bombastic and sometimes inscrutable preachings of Rev. Jeremiah Wright were often used to bludgeon then-Senator Obama for being anti-American.

But on the eve of his public inauguration in Washington DC members of the Trinity Church were celebrating Obama’s swearing in on the 50-year anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech. 2013 also marks 150 years since Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation.

Read more of this post

Walmart: What’s the true Cost of Convenience and Savings?

Walmart. Everyone has heard of it but not everybody has been there. I’ve been there. I’ve been there a few times actually, but only once whilst being in the United States. (When I lived in China I went to Walmart quite a few times due to a lack of alternatives,  unfortunately there very little about China that is not unethical. Trying to live ethically in China is like trying to start a vegetable garden on the moon; the place is an ethical vacuum). When you’re planning a trip across the US and you need cheap supplies like a pillows and eskis/coolers, then you would probably pop into the Walmart at some stage.

On my way out of LA I stopped in Walmart and bought up a few items. I got snacks and supplies including a massive bottle of Jack Daniels* that cost me less than a smaller bottle costs in Australia. Such savings should be a godsend but there are plenty of reasons to turn away from the chain of mega boxstores that help you “Save Money” so you can “Live More”. Read more of this post

#DumpsterDiving @QueenVictoria Markets

It’s hard to believe that so much food could be thrown away. But the average Australian wastes an average 200kg a year. So there’s a lot of food out there simply being wasted. Elementary Ethics went foraging for food @QueenVic Markets in Melbourne to see what was still good eating #dumpsterdiving

  1. At first there was no diving; just piles and piles of food sitting there, wanting someone to take it and put it to good use

Sharing is the new caring: Shareable Magazine Launch @HubMelbourne

Do you own a car? Or a power drill? It might surprise you to know that on average your car sits idle for 22 hours a day. Your drill, you’re only going to use that for about 20 minutes. And you’ll own it for years, or a lifetime. So if you own these things, why not share them? #ShareableAus

Read more of this post

“Retweet to Support…”: Outsourcing Activism in the age of Protest 2.0

When I romantically regale my youth, I like to think I was a bit of a radical. On a couple of occasions I wagged school and made my way into Sydney to join May Day and other protest marches. I was there one chilly Autumn morning when my ilk of leftists and assorted radicals barricaded a building on Clarence Street when mounted police charged the line. Marbles were rolled, horses and police fell to the ground, things turned ugly. But the few hundred people that had gathered at the building were there to stand against—among many other things—the treatment of asylum seekers in off-shore detention centres. The MLC Building where the clash took place was home to Australasian Correctional Management, the private corporation contracted to run the Australia’s detention centres. At the end of the day, however, the reasons why people stood there didn’t matter. The media only focused on the clashes between protestors and police. The story was good pictures: a portrayal of violence. But the detentions centres continued to operate, unphased.

It was easy then to heap criticism on protest movements. The powerful were unreachable. Their media and PR campaigns–their ability ricochet bad press–was unassailable. Protests were held in futility. They were a nuisance. But in less than a decade things have changed. Those days of blockades in picket lines were the days before Protest 2.0, before Twitter and Facebook, before “slacktivism”, before Arm-Chair Activism.

Read more of this post