This Week

Monday – Labour in Oceania’s position in the world system before invasion
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The first in a course on labour history in Australia. There will be a short presentation, then open discussion, Entry is free. Refreshments available by donation
What was your face before your mother was born?
Can there be a working class in Australia before there was an Australia? Before there was a working class?
What was the composition of labour prior to the invasion of Oceania?
– Did labour exist in aboriginal cultures?
– Did labour exist in Torres Strait islander culture?
– How did labour exist in Maori cultures?
– Labour in European military and trading ships, its composition
– Labour and the working class in the isles of britain:
  • Position of the Irish and Scottish (a Scottish foreman is most desirable)
  • Enclosure of English agriculture and the working class’s composition
  • Urban and mining working classes in the Isles of Britain.

https://www.facebook.com/events/1386244405008503/

Tuesday – Mad Max Fury Road

Hey, its a Holywood film with minimally decent politics. It actually passes the Bechdel test.Riley Keough as Capable, Courtney Eaton as Cheedo The Fragile, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley as The Splendid Angharad in Mad Max: Fury Road.

MRA and PUA tears will be served as refreshments.

https://www.facebook.com/events/423781111159489/

Wednesday – Socialistic sci-fi11873387_698346630310299_1199737696070282935_n

Our monthly fiction reading group.  We’re looking at contemporary utopia.  Fun reads of places that would be awesome to live in.  This month we’re doing Iain M. Banks’ “the Player of Games”
https://www.facebook.com/events/117964941882766/

Wednesday – Anarchafem night302930_10150432593006505_1195068033_n

An autonomous night for women and non-binary folk.

Free Spanish Classes

11896075_10154126231963916_5065739110743519754_nGet the basics of Spanish and something else in a relaxed environment. All levels are welcome but we will start from the very basics. We will discuss culture too. All with a focus on Latin America. Planning on inviting compañeros from different countries to talk about their local Spanish and culture, including some food if feeling really inspired maybe?

Come and share what you know, your ideas to make it fun, your questions, thoughts, bring a friend, feel free to suggest topics in advance.

Every Saturday starting 17.00 until we get tired (i.e. 18.30 app).

https://www.facebook.com/events/1611111905804654/

Up coming at Black Rose

Monday: screening Bastard Boys:11899749_10153516251196505_4019853934393249204_n

A dramatisation of the epic 1998 Waterfront Struggle between the MUA and a government determined to smash the unions. A working class fight against the Liberal Party, the Farmers Federation, and SAS scabs.

Screening starts at 7pm

Tuesday:  Sex Work and Radical Politics.
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An introduction to current radical thought about sex worker organising. Elena Jeffreys chairing, speakers include SWOP NSW and Scarlet Alliance. Discussing sex worker organising, and the latest law reform issues in New South Wales.

Discussion starts at 7pm

Thursday:  Wom*n and non-binary folk night.

Autonomously organised events.  Starts from 5pm.

Saturday:  Free Spanish language 
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¿Como de dice <dumpster diving> en espanol?

Get the basics of Spanish and something else in a relaxed environment. All levels are welcome but we will start from the very basics. We will discuss culture too. All with a focus on Latin America. Planning on inviting compañeros from different countries to talk about their local Spanish and culture, including some food if feeling really inspired maybe?

Come and share what you know, your ideas to make it fun, your questions, thoughts, bring a friend, feel free to suggest topics in advance.

Every Saturday starting 17.00 until we get tired (i.e. 18.30 app).

aus_map_covered_text_linedMonday:  Labour History in Australia

Labour in Oceania’s position in the world system before Invasion.  What was your face before your mother was born?  Can there be a working class in Australia before there was an Australia? Before there was a working class?

Weekly Theme:

What was the composition of labour prior to the invasion of Oceania?
Did labour exist in Aboriginal cultures?
Did labour exist in Torres Strait islander culture?
How did labour exist in Maori cultures?
Labour in European military and trading ships, its composition
Labour and the working class in the isles of britain:
Position of the Irish and Scottish (a Scottish foreman is most desirable)
Enclosure of English agriculture and the working class’s composition
Urban and Mining working classes in the Isles of Britain

Australian Labour History: Composition, Decomposition, Recomposition…

11828837_10153474133071505_8937599942099914592_nOver 13 weeks we’re going to discuss the history of our class in Australia, looking at periods where we grew strong, fought, won, and then watched as our wins were turned into losses.  We’ll look at the history of our class from the perspective of work and the household, race and gender.  This isn’t a history with a particular political tendency: it is a chance for us to get together and talk about our lives and how we are still living the history we learnt at work, or on the sly in our lives by living.  Its designed as a pick-and-choose smorgasbord where each week stands alone and every week is interesting.  Most of our time we’ll spend in discussion, with only brief introductions and plenty of questions to ask and answer.

We will be meeting every monday night, from 7pm, in the Black Rose, at 22 Enmore rd Newtown.  Entry is free.  Refreshments available by donation.

Suggestions are very very welcome!

Why Study and Engage in Labour History

Theoretical questions

Course aims

Course methods

Voluntary assessment

Safer spaces culture

Comradely Co-learning

Learning aids

Textbook

Weekly guide – Each week in this course is an independent discussion, treat it like a smorgasbord and come as you can.

31/ 08 – Labour in Oceania’s position in the world system before invasion

What was your face before your mother was born?

https://www.facebook.com/events/1386244405008503/

07/09 – Labour during invasion (1788 – 1840s)

17/09 – Australia as liberal capitalism (1840s – 1880s)

21/09 – The failure of the Shearer’s strike and the development of labourist, anarchist, reformist and socialist politics in Australia (1880s – 1900)

28/09 – Harvester Wage determination and its discontents (1900 – 1910; wage determination generally)

Weekly Theme: Wages for Housework, gender and making households, gender and getting a wage

05/10 – The IWW and Trades Hall Reds, The ALP and the OBU movement

12/10 – Weevils in the flour: The CPA and labour in the 1930s (CPA generally)

19/10 – The ALP and War, Labour and War, the CPA and War – Labour’s challenge after the war

26/10 – Under the Hook: The 1950s and 1960s, wage stagnation, Menzies Forgotten people

02/11 – Weevils at work: Flow and ebb, the Accord, Medicare, the 1970s and 1980s, Equal wages

09/11 – Film Week: Sunday too far away

16/11 – Weevils without work: mass unemployment, mass training, the 1990s and 2000s

23/11 – Where to next?

Each week in this course is an independent discussion, treat it like a smorgasbord and come as you can.

Suggestions are very, very welcome!

None of us are perfect and neither is this set of discussions.  We’d love to hear suggestions to improve!

Why Study and Engage in Labour History

Labour History is the history of our class and our struggle, cooption, failures and potential to win.  It is our laboratory of struggle and a school for victory.  This course looks at the history of labour in Australia primarily through the concept of class composition: who we are, how we have worked, how we have lived, how we have won in a moment, and had that victory turn to ashes in our mouths, only to find new ways to win.  This is a course that puts our self-activity at the centre of our history.

This isn’t a history of particular parties or tendencies (though some will be discussed), this is a history of our class in Australia.  This isn’t a history with a particular political tendency or perspective driving its history.  It is a history driven by our need to know.  It is a history driven by our need to know our own class history, and ask questions about what is good for our class and what we can do as members of our class in different times and circumstances.

Most of this course will be discussions by participants (more of 60% of the time spent).  We will rely on what we have learnt ourselves in work, out of work, and in our lives.  History isn’t dead paper, but our living past, and our lives involve the past we’re going to talk about together.  Everyone has some knowledge of all these things already, from their lives.  If you don’t want to treat this like a uni or tafe course skip to the weekly outline: that’s where the meat is.

This course aims to start guided discussions with little dense material.  Apart from the theme of our class’s self-activity, it seeks to look at labour history as a history of wage determination, struggle and everyday life, with the organisations and institutions thrown up by our process of living as secondary.  It seeks to cover internal differentiation inside the class, on the basis of industrial organisation (rural labour, blue, white and pink collar labour).  It also seeks to engage the household division of labour into gender and sexuality, and the racial division of labour into white, semi-white, non-white, and indigenous labour.

The period chosen is a survey, that will lightly cover the general features of Australian labour history.

The methodology in use throughout this course will historiographical.  This means the attempt to critically read a wide variety of deceptive texts to produce a meaningful understanding.

Theoretical questions

  1. What is labour? Is it just the reduction of human potential to standardised work without skill?  Do we like being labour?
    1. Labour is used in Marxist and anarchist theory to talk about work in capitalism as a specific class society. It differs from useful human activity and from different class society’s forms of useful activity in how people make a living from doing things and who gets rich off it.
  2. Are class structure, class formation and class consciousness useful ideas?
    1. class structure is used in Marxism to talk about how all the classes in a society relate to each other and what positions people find themselves in by making a living. It can be specific, so workers in England in 1840 and workers in Australia in 1940 have different relations in class structures to farmers or industrialist bourgeoisie.
    2. class formation is used in Marxism to talk about both how a class comes into being for the first time, and how it is kept in being by how people have to make a living. It’s historically specific too, the formation of the Australian working class now when half of young people have a Uni or TAFE education is different to the class formation in 1900 when almost no workers had formal tertiary education.
    3. class consciousness is used in Marxism and anarchism to talk about how large bodies of working people in capitalism think and most importantly act about their position in the world, to change it, for a society run by working people. It can be used in a hard way (only a successful revolutionary working class worldwide has class consciousness), or partly, to talk about partial class consciousnesses.
  3. Are class composition, class decomposition and class recomposition useful ideas?
    1. These ideas come out of autonomist Marxism. They all refer to the working class’s thoughtful organisation of ourselves.  A composition is how we live our lives, survive and fight for what we want.  It is also what we want!  It could be our communities or institutions or even our ideas (fewer people reference the French Revolution today than in 1870).
    2. As we become strong, the bosses try to decompose our relationships. We demand free education to get better white collar and trade jobs.  The bosses let so many people get this kind of education that the wages are easier to drop in these jobs.  Then the jobs aren’t as good as they were, and the strength we had to demand free education is gone.  We’ve got a problem.
    3. Recomposition is when we realise we’ve been done over, and old ideas or methods or organisations don’t work, and we reorganise ourselves in new ways to fight the boss. Capitalism has been going on so long, and we’ve fought them so well, that they’ve shed their skins like and given us new problems that are harder to grasp.
  4. Is the fight for counter-hegemony by labourers a useful idea?
    1. Counter-hegemony is an idea used in Marxism from the 1960s, based on Gramsci, to talk about workers organising culture and society in capitalism, and binding people away from the bosses to a new will. The bosses have a hegemony: they control society through soft techniques like education or media, not just with cops and armies.  This is the bosses’ hegemony over society.  The counter-hegemony is us organising power over culture and society, not just workers’ militia.
  5. How does race work in the Australian working class?
  6. What classes exist in Australia?
  7. How does the household, gender forms and sexual forms work in the Australian working class?
  8. Is our class always right?

Course aims

Participants:

  1. Will make historical readings of labour in Australia
  2. Analyse class composition, decomposition and recomposition in historical circumstances
  3. Read the isolation and solidarity of our class’s unity in diversity
  4. Develop historical arguments that are useful in their own lives and struggle
  5. Facilitate historical discussion by co-learning
  6. Engage in potential recompositional co-learning

(Co-learning means talking about our lives together rather than being lectured at.)

Course methods

This course will primarily use guided small group discussions (70 minutes) to achieve its aims.   These discussions will be supplemented by brief introductions (20 minutes) from the facilitator, and potentially from other interested participants.

Discussion will be supplemented by voluntary readings and voluntary further readings.  These readings will encompass primary historical sources from the time, secondary historical sources and theoretical texts.

Voluntary assessment

If you want to be assessed, the facilitator is happy to discuss ways to develop and progress your reading, thinking, speaking and writing.

Safer spaces culture

These discussions will be conducted in a space which has a safer spaces culture.  Everyone in the space is expected to accept the needs of others, and to not place their own needs over others.  In particular discussion will be facilitated so everyone can speak .  If you are comfortable calling out bad behaviours, please do.  If you aren’t comfortable, there is a complaints box in the bathroom or please contact one of the spaces’ collective members to discuss what happened.

As a warning: we will be discussing history of our fights with the bosses.  In Australia this involves invasion, concentration camps, genocide, slavery, racial violence, systematic racism, sexual exploitation, organised and interpersonal violence, poverty, the bosses winning too often, and our class losing too often.  While we might discuss horrible things, we will not be horrible with each other.

Comradely Co-learning

As participants including the facilitator may discuss ongoing struggles, and solidarity is expected from participants in keeping any confidences given.

Learning aids

The facilitator is google dependent and will try to get material available by google drive.

Textbook

If you really want a textbook, I’d recommend getting a hold of either the first or second edition of:

RW Connell and TH Irving Class Structure in Australian History 1980 / 1992

Other texts are listed against weekly discussions.

Weekly guide – Each week in this course is an independent discussion, treat it like a smorgasbord and come as you can.

1 Labour in Oceania’s position in the world system before invasion

What was your face before your mother was born?

Can there be a working class in Australia before there was an Australia?  Before there was a working class?

Weekly Theme:

What was the composition of labour prior to the invasion of Oceania?

  • Did labour exist in aboriginal cultures?
  • Did labour exist in Torres Strait islander culture?
  • How did labour exist in Maori cultures?
  • Labour in European military and trading ships, its composition
  • Labour and the working class in the isles of britain:
    • Position of the Irish and Scottish (a Scottish foreman is most desirable)
    • Enclosure of English agriculture and the working class’s composition
    • Urban and Mining working classes in the Isles of Britain

2 Labour during invasion (1788 – 1840s)

Recomposing labour in Australia: frontier, enclosure, conviction, state sponsored capitalism and free labour

3 Australia as liberal capitalism (1840s – 1880s)

Recomposing Australia as dependent upon free labour and land theft

Capital in australia as state capital substituting for the lack of private capital and massive graft.

4 The failure of the Shearer’s strike and the development of labourist, anarchist, reformist and socialist politics in Australia (1880s – 1900)

Recomposing labour after the failure of free labour.  Slavery and slavery in Australia.

5 Harvester Wage determination and its discontents (1900 – 1910; wage determination generally)

Recomposing labour as pliant, white, male and British.  The Australian Settlement?

Weekly Theme: Wages for Housework, gender and making households, gender and getting a wage

  • Harvester as a social wage
  • Origins of Harvester in the poor law
  • Wages for housework paid directly to males
  • Arbitration or Wages boards: both strangling direct action

6 The IWW and Trades Hall Reds, The ALP and the OBU movement

Recomposing labour as red or rat.  Mass labour.

  • NSW Railway Strike

7 Weevils in the flour: The CPA and labour in the 1930s (CPA generally)

Dog collar acts, the failure of deflation under labour pressure, rebirth of the unions under CPA, ALP

8 The ALP and War, Labour and War, the CPA and War – Labour’s challenge after the war

One Great Labour Movement for the War.  Two divided labour movements for socialism.

  • 1942
  • NSW and Federal labour
  • 1949 strike

9 Under the Hook: The 1950s and 1960s, wage stagnation, Menzies Forgotten people

Labour outside of the Labour Movement.  The pliant Labour Movement.  Wage limits and wage acceptance.  The Labour Movement outside of work.

  • Menzies forgotten people
  • Bowling clubs and quarter acres and cars
  • Wage restraint by government, unions and workers
  • Equal wage fight
  • Above award wages for blue collars
  • Massive take off for the white collars
  • Open mass migration
  • Post war manufacturing boom: why make cars in Australia?
  • Centralised wage determination

10 Weevils at work: Flow and ebb, the Accord, Medicare, the 1970s and 1980s, Equal wages

A new social wage demanded by a new radical labour.  A new social wage inflicted by the CPA and ALP.

  • Unrestricted wage and prices growth
  • Black Ban, Green Ban, Pink Ban, Black Ban Yellow Cake
  • Maoists against Frazer, greens against Labor
  • Balmain Labour and Nick Origlass predating Whitlam
  • Cheap commodities
  • Hawkie the Accord
  • Ready work
  • End of the family wage, dual income households, changes to the gendered structure of social labour
  • How many wage earners?
  • Metals Accord
  • Medicare and Free Uni and Medicare and HECS
  • White collar work gone mad
  • Closing migration
  • Papuan independence

11 Film Week: Sunday too far away

Male, White, British, Blue Collar, Labour Movement, Wage Fixated and Rural

Questions:

12 Weevils without work: mass unemployment, mass training, the 1990s and 2000s

The Social Wage and the Social Foreman.

  • Collapse of the Accord and ALP government
  • Union mergers and “Servicing / Organising”. Superunions
  • Unemployment (Lowenstein, Weevils at Work again)
  • Housing and the wage and wageless
  • Collapse of social wage incomes
  • An end to “The Australian Settlement”?
  • Howard’s new racial australia
  • Patrick’s strike
  • Closing the transtasman border to New Zealand and Aoteroan workers
  • Workchoices

Questions:

Why is life so hard when our society has such material plenty?

Does the individual wage and job determine what labour is performed socially for capitalism?

Why do people go to Uni?  TAFE?  Where has all the apprenticeships gone?

Why are cars and houses so expensive?

Are the Greens just the ALP for white collar workers in government social services?

13 Where to next

This week at Black Rose

At 7pm Tuesday June 2 we’ll be hosting a discussion on organising in Australian Prisons, presented by Brett Collins, a coordinator at Justice Action.

Brett has been active in campaigning for prisoners’ rights for 30 years. He is an ex-prisoner, and has in the past been involved in establishing halfway houses and a prisoners union. Justice Action currently lobbies for the rights of prisoners, across issues such as forced medication, the upcoming smoking ban in prisons and access to education.

Come hear a talk from Brett introducing us to the history and current state of prison activism in Australia, followed by a discussion about alternatives to incarceration and how radical folks can support inmates and fight for a world without prisons.

no-more-prisons More info about Justice Action: http://www.justiceaction.org.au/


At 8pm Wednesday May 20 the Black Rose collective will host our now weekly potluck and games night at Monster Mouse Studios, 21 Maude Lane in Marrickville.

Then from 5-10pm on Thurs May 21, we will be hosting our weekly Anarcha-Feminist arvo.

And from 7pm on Sat May 23 we’ll be hosting our weekly Sober Saturday Night at Black Rose.

A night of radical sobriety. Challenging the drinking culture of capitalism.

Home made chai, music, games, and more!

Upcoming stuff at BR

At 7pm Monday May 25 we’ll be screening the 2011 doco: The Black Power Mixtape

The Black Power Mixtape is a compilation feature documentary that illustrates the story of the Black Power movement in African-Amercian communities. It features rare archival footage shot between 1967 and 1975, including some of the leading figures of black panthers in the U.S., like Stokely Carmichael, Bobby Seale, Huey P. Newton and Angela Davis. This movie is a powerful reminder of what the black power movement is about and what it was trying to achieve.

“When someone asks me about violence, I just find it incredible, because what it means is that the person who’s asking that question has absolutely no idea what black people have gone through, what black people have experienced in this country.” Angela Davis


Then at 7pm Tues May 26 we’ll be holding a radical discussion on ‘New atheism’ and racism. The talk will focus on the recent Chomsky vs Harris debate and new varieties of islamophobic and militaristic atheism.

Next Week at BR

At 7pm on Tuesday May 19 we’ll be hosting a discussion on why consensus sux.

We hope to have a discussion and debate regarding the pro’s and con’s of different forms of libertarian organising.


At 8pm Wednesday May 20 the Black Rose collective will host our now weekly potluck and games night at Monster Mouse Studios, 21 Maude Lane in Marrickville.

Then from 5-10pm on Thurs May 21, we will be hosting our weekly Anarcha-Feminist arvo.

And from 7pm on Sat May 23 we’ll be hosting our now weekly Sober Saturday Night at Black Rose.

A night of radical sobriety. Challenging the drinking culture of capitalism.

Home made chai, music, games, and more!

We’re not sure how to do this but we want to have a regular night that challenges drinking culture. So bring your ideas too!

Latest stuff at the Rose

On Thursday May 7 we hosted our first Anarcha-Feminist gathering! This event will now take place every Thursday evening from 6pm-10pm at BR.

During that time Black Rose will be open exclusively to women & trans identifying people. The activity on the night will depend on what attendees wish, but we aim to hold a range of activities including discussions, workshops and craft activities.


At 7pm on Monday May 11 we’ll be screening Dear White People (2014)

Dear White People is a fucking funny satire of what its like to be a person of colour in an ultra white institution like university.

Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XwJhmqLU0so


At 7pm on Tuesday May 12 we’ll be hosting a discussion on The Freedom Rides, and how nothing has changed.

Indigenous activist and Usyd SRC president Kyol Blakeney will be giving a presentation on the 50th anniversary of 1965 Freedom Rides and the ongoing structural oppression of aboriginal people.

http://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/video/2015/feb/22/freedom-ride-50-years-on-kyol-blakeney-video


On Wednesday May 13 we’ll be screening: Over the Edge (1979 punk film)

Over the Edge was inspired by actual events that took place in Foster City, California in the early 1970s. Those events were chronicled in a November 11, 1973, article the San Francisco Examiner entitled “Mousepacks: Kids on a Crime Spree”.

Depicting suburban life in the late 1970s and including themes of teenage rebellion and drug and alcohol use by junior high school students, and a rock music soundtrack featuring such bands as Cheap Trick, the Cars, and the Ramones, Over the Edge has achieved cult film status.

Popcorn provided. Coffee, Tea & Beer by donation.

TRAILER: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ereen__ld8g

This sceening will commence at 6pm sharp. film length is approx an hour and a half, which means you’ll be able to get out in time to head to people’s kitchen at monster mouse!