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Mechanics’ Institutes

Mechanics’ Institutes were radical, voluntary, self-help organisations which began in Scotland and England in the early 1800’s and soon were transplanted to the colonies. The first Mechanics’ Institute was established in Melbourne in 1839 just four years after the colonisation process began.

On the Wane

Blaming “the other” has recently been a sure fire way of winning political office in nominally democratic societies. President Donald Groper’s United States electoral campaign was a text book example of how blaming the other can pay political dividends.

Whether it’s the Divided Nation crowd in Australia, the National Front in France or a host of other parties that build their political fortunes on blaming their country’s ills on “the other”, blaming “the other” has paid handsome political dividends in terms of parliamentary seats won.

Lucky

If I hear one more guest on a radio show, television show, newspaper column, YouTube video or the world wide web tell me how lucky, that’s right, lucky we are because Australians have access to public hospitals, public health, overtime payments, workplace awards, holiday pay, long service leave, sick pay, maternity leave etc, I’m going to scream! I know of no other country where people have such scant knowledge about why most, not all, Australians enjoy these privileges.

Cyber Slavery

The transformation of the Roman Republic into a hereditary dictatorship was directly related to the increasingly important role slaves played in the Roman Empire. The military expansion of the Roman Empire was accompanied by a dramatic increase in the number of slaves in Roman society. The pivotal role plebeians (members of the Roman working class) played in the expansion of the empire became less important as the number of slaves the patricians (ancient Roman nobility) acquired as the Roman Empire expanded during periods of military conquests.

One Hundred Days

I forgive President Donald Groper Trump for being a racist, a misogynist and for cornering the market on fake news but I can’t forgive him for being a dodgy tax evading billionaire. I feel sorry for all those Americans who, sickened by the state of United States business as usual politics, decided to cast their vote for the Groper. I also feel sorry for those 50% of eligible electors who are so disillusioned with what is laughingly called democratic politics in the United States who didn’t even bother to show up at the polls.

An arrow across Chevron’s bow

Take a bow, warrior, your bow has shot an arrow across Chevron’s bow. The full bench of the Federal Court has found Chevron, the transnational corporation that’s developing our gas on the North West Shelf, who covered themselves with glory by paying $254 (that’s right two hundred and fifty four dollars) tax in 2015 while making millions of dollars of profit, has been rorting the system.

Who Will Respond?

Letter sent to all Members of the Victorian Legislative Assembly and the Legislative Council.

Turkey vs the SDF

SYRIA UPDATE: A few days ago, Turkey conducted airstrikes against the predominantly Kurdish SDF, which is our main ally on the ground the force responsible for 95% of the gains against ISIS. Turkey is now carrying out artillery strikes along the borders of the Kurdish canton of Afrin, and have reportedly been moving forces towards the SDF-held city of Tel Abyad. The stated aim of the Turkish government is to invade SDF territory, take Tel Abyad, and then move west into Kobane canton. They also want to take Manbij and the territory around Raqqa.

The Shambling Mound's Twelfth and Thirteenth Weeks


Even observers of The Shambling Mound are entitled to a break, and that's exactly what I did last week thank you very much. A quick visit to one of the more isolated spots of New Zealand was thoroughly enjoyable although it did seem strangely appropriate to catch the tail-end of a hurricane and undergo a short blackout.

Workers At Either End of the Bayonet

I’ve never understood Australians fascination with ANZAC Day. On the 25th April 1915 a British force with an Australian contingent invaded the Dardanelles in an attempt to force the Ottoman Empire (Germany’s major ally) out of the war. The invasion was a failure. Over 8,000 Australians died in a campaign that resulted in the deaths of over 100,000 soldiers on both sides.

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