Dedicated to all the astronomers and activists of Earth, and life as we know it. Long may you live!!!
It's no coincidence that the man who did the most to awaken our generation to the awe and mystery of the cosmos was also one of the most ardent anti-nuclear activists the world has ever seen. Astronomer Carl Sagan made great contributions in the field of planetary sciences before his name became almost synonymous with extra-terrestrial intelligence. When he entered the realm of mass-communication with his comprehensively mind-blowing television series Cosmos, millions of star-gazers and space-cadets around the world came to love his New York accent and his waving arms telling us there were "billions and billions" of stars out there just like our sun. In our own galaxy. His question: so why haven't we heard from anyone else?
A Kiwi theatre-goer gets caught up in World Cup FEVER!
by Tom Doig
I'm not a big soccer fan; hell, I'm not even an Australian citizen. So when I found myself at a friend's house waiting for the Australia-Japan game to start, I was barracking for Japan Â after all, they had much better haircuts. But sport does strange things to people. By the end of the second half I was cheering the mighty Cahill, booing the Egyptian ref (bloody pyramid-builders!), spilling my beer - and when we won, I was ecstatic. Go Aussie! I mean, you Australians must be very pleased with yourselves.
They were. Biking home down Sydney Road, every driver was leaning on his car-horn, while blokes leaned out of car windows, waving Aussie flags and Aussie scarves and yelling "Go Aussie!" and "Aussie Aussie Aussie!" and sometimes "Aaauuussssiiiieeee!" Captivated, I biked past my house, following the jubilant traffic towards the city. In between the green-and-gold people hooting and hooraying across the road, there were dejected little clumps of Japanese fans waiting for taxis, immobile, face-paint looking incongruous and sad. When I finally headed home, nearly two hours after the game had finished, I was hooked Â not on the soccer, but on the fans.
There's a derogatory term for people like me: "theatre-goer". It refers to people who go to big sporting events for the atmosphere, rather than the game itself. When I told some of my hippy friends I was going to Fed Square for the Croatia game, they were aghast. "What kind of drunken idiot goes to Fed Square to watch sports?" they asked, horrified. That's what I wanted to know.
To make it to Fed Square for the 5am kick-off, I stayed up all night drinking. When I got there at 4.30am, Fed Square was already full to capacity, closed off by policemen and security guards in bright yellow vests. I trudged excitedly through the mud down to the second screen at Birrung Marr. I got up close to the action, so close that each pixel was the size of someone's head, and when nothing was happening it was like a banal acid flashback. Strangers hugged each other, and took endless pictures on their mobile phones. The game - we didn't lose. The fans lost it. There was an impromptu victory parade on Swanston Street. A taxi had its back windscreen smashed in; a tram's glass door panel was shattered, and a few of the pizza cafes' glass facades had been fractured.
As the sun rose over Spring Street, a young guy scrambled up the windscreen of a delivery truck onto the roof, where he hollered and jumped up and down. Two more guys joined him, and the three of them jumped and rocked the truck - fans on the ground rocked the truck - the cops charged in on horseback, hitting people out of the way.
By the time the celebrations made it back to Fed Square, the 8am spandex set were weaving through the staggering fans on their $4000 bicycles at full speed, dinging their little bike bells, nearly flattening the cops trying to direct traffic. But the emblem of the anarchy was a rogue packet of crumpets lying in the gutter by Bourke Street Mall. A waste of good breakfast product Â has everyone lost their minds?!
I resisted the urge to go to the Welcome Stranger, and pedalled shakily home to bed.
Before the Italy game, Elizabeth Street was a mess. Pissed kids bellowing what could only I've been ’Adavance Australia Fair'; teenage boys running up to any, every girl with Aussie face-paint, yelling ’Aussie!' and copping a feel; some dude with blood running down his painted cheek, strutting along the tramlines Å
I got to Fed Square nearly two hours before kick-off, but the cops had already closed it off. Walking down to Birrung Marr, I joined a mob who tried to rush Fed Square from the river side. We got past the first group of security guards, ran up some stairs and hit the orange-and-white barricades. "You're not going anywhere," the security guards said. "Get past us, and there's still two more barricades. DonÂ¹t bother." I didn't bother. The atmosphere at Birrung Marr was electric. Whenever a shot of Guus Hiddink came onscreen, screamed his name in unison. Then we lost.
A tiny pocket of Italian fans bounced up and down, while everyone else went flat. Back on Elizabeth Street, a dozen hardcore Aussie fans chanted "Fuck the Italian bastards', before lining up for pizza. I headed to Lygon Street to watch it burn. Lygon Street didnÂ¹t burn. There was just a few dozen Aussie fans chanting "get a fucking passport", a line of cops on horses, and a few Italian boys chanting "ThereÂ¹s gonna be a riot".
A few of the Aussie fans mooned the Italians, and I was struck by something Â not a bottle, but the fact that half the exposed arses weren't white! There were quite a few Aussie-born Viet and Chinese crew yelling angrily at the "wogs". These ABCs were angry, at something, and they had green-and-gold paint all over their faces. But it surely wouldn't have taken much for the rest of the mob to turn on them Â video footage of an Australia-China table tennis final from the 80's would've done it.
As I was leaving, one of the mobÂ¹s ringleaders came striding past me. He was about 17, wearing a long brown jacket and jeans Â no green, no gold. He looked very pleased with himself. "Have a good night?" I asked. "Fucken awesome," he replied. "The cops can't pin anything on me. If they pick me up, I've only had two glasses of wine. I've done nothing. Now I've gotta get a taxi back to Eltham, to check in with my parole officer at 9am."
This guy was from a juvenile delinquents' correction centre, and proud of it; he is schizophrenic, but "fine as long as I take ma pills mate". I wanted to ask him what being an Aussie means to him; what he thinks of Italians; what he thought of Medina Cantalejo's decision - but it didn't seem relevant anymore.
First published in Undergrowth #3: Tales of the Simulacrum. Sept, 2004.
Listening to Indymedia radio streaming live from the Republican National Convention protests in New York City, I hear people calling from outside the jailhouse as their fellow activists are released. The crowds cheer and chant, updates are given, stories are fed back into a massive communications web, bypassing the corporate media who are ignoring the 500,000 people protesting the Bush administration and the more than 2,000 people arrested. On the other side of the planet I listen and tap my keyboard, adding a feature to Melbourne Indymedia about federal police harassing a local anarchist at the request of the FBI.
Internationally respected co-founder of Mutoid Waste Co., Robin "Mutoid" Cooke is a sculptor, installation artist and visionary behind the annual Earthdream festivals in outback Australia uniting Aboriginal Dreamtime consciousness of the land with activist and doof music culture. Earthdream is a 13 year on-going experiment in the autonomous application of Lateral Governance systems within (and without) the activist community (Robin believes that the hierarchical systems are doomed to implode!) The philosophy of thought Robin promotes unites ancient tribal wisdom from Mayan, tribal and New Age circles, and tries to integrate it for the Australian counter-cultural community. Robin was recently showcased on the ABC's Stateline program, focusing on Mutonia, a large freak sculpture garden - including the 'Planehenge' sculpture - he has created over many years near Lake Eyre, providing a rich visual backdrop to his ideas and work. We present his provoking 2012 article here as a memetic bridge between cultures, from a white, anarchist elder of a tribe with no name, part of a global community still coming into focus.
I went to a conference in the bush, some months ago. We had some big ideas about living the new world, the lot of us.
We were all dressed up and ready to reject convention for a little experimental moment or two. We set up tents and generators and sound systems around a little dam in the hills where the trees stood greying in dried mud, near a big pink hacienda that the property ownes lived in, and we ate lumpy porridge and hash cookies around flaming steel drums with our temporary neighbours in the tent city. There was a bondage marquee and everything.
There were some big parties there too. I remember one night in the courtyard of the hacienda seeing the kids from the next kombi dressed up in silver and black bodysuits and masks, twirling flames on the dance floor with a cheering audience of five hundred people. They made a better spectacle than they did porridge. There were big magenta lights in rotating concentric spirals on the audience, and speaker stacks tall enough to pop passing cattle in a consummate bass kick. There were flaming kerosene ropes of woven kevlar, and moth-people on stilts. There were paramedics in green overalls, including an undercover cop.
All in all, a fine show, especially when you're tripping off your hairless nipples.
As I stood there, agape, a small man in parachute pants and a baseball cap shouted in my ear, 'Hey mate, are ya on anything?'
My drug-paranoid cop-detectors were tingling. The man was so obviously undercover that he may as well have had a flashing blue light on his head and a nightstick in his jocks.
'Ah, no, my friend,' I squeaked in a gap between flanged snare hits, 'I'm here for the music.'
'Shit, that's no good,' he said, 'Put ya finger in `ere,' playing with his front pocket.
That was a tense moment. But he fished out a little baggie of cocaine before I could make any disastrous social errors.
'Go on,' he said, 'It doesn' cost me anything,' and held his stash out to me.
He swigged champagne from a bottle while I stuffed my nose. There was a conversational pause for me to choke on my confused sinuses in. Damn. I don't do cocaine very often. His voice rose over my splutters and the sound system: `I just come back, from the indig'nous welcome to the land. Didja see the Bundgalung welcome dance?'
*Cough* I said.
'They're the tradish'nal land owners round here. Gotta give `em respect for lettin' us have tha party, eh?. Shit, they're a tough crew, though. Had a bitta drink with `em before. Whew.'
The fire twirling was winding up, and the sound system getting louder.
'Hey, you should drop by and see `em, say thanks. They're the mob playin' cricket all day by the big marquee.'
I realised I had nothing to say to this man and his shiny teeth.
'Bundgalung? Right. I see my friends over there looking like they need me...'
I turned back to the crowd, who were officially commencing the shaking of their booties to the phat techno soundz.
Yeah. I was going to show them up. So I did.
I pulled moves so awesome that other innocent partiers thew me envious looks. They were daring me to go further, challenging my style. I wasn't rising to the bait, I was unstoppable, I was a techno Travolta. Limbs icily controlled, motions clinically precise, motions simple and transcendently passionate, an essay in the art of modern dance.
Twelve years after forest blockading began, conservation activists and loggers are still at odds amongst East-Gippsland's old growth forests, says Rak Razam. But the odds are changing.
"Last summer about 1:30 in the morning I was about 50 metres up [a sit in Ferntree forest] on a very big tree. A logger climbed up on top of the machine cabled to the sit and jumped on the cable. It flipped me over like a pinball machine, threw me into the tree and left bruises and stab wounds all up this leg - it was one massive bruise. And there I was hanging upside down with everything I had in the sit gone, and I'm screaming 'f--- offff... help, camera, camera!" Everyone else is 150 metres up the hill and I'm alone without a torch in the pitch dark, half way up a tree - and I'd just attached the safety, I mean, just, seconds..."
Sixty Days Reflections on Camp Sovereignty by Scott Foyster
"What you are a doing is a disgrace!"
The shrill voice of a lone dissenter breaks the somber mood of the early afternoon. One, two, three, four police surround the man and drag him off. Throughout the barage of abuse Aunty Beryl continues reading the list of Victorian Indigenous soidiers who fought to defend this country. There's over 200, all forgotten, all ignored in the ceremony which just happened down the road. In front of Aunty Beryl, three possum skins lie, two painted red, one yellow. They are covered in photocopied photos of the soliders and their families. There is also a massacre map of Victoria highlighting all the known places where Victorian Aborigines were killed between 1836-1851. The scariest fact is dot 33 which simply reads: 1842 Skull Creek, Gippsland- unknown number killed. Walking past the photocopies later I overhear Robbie Thorpe angrily musing on the numbers that could mean: tens, twenties, hundreds, a thousand. Annoyed, he walks off stopping at a photo of an Indigenous woman to aks about its origins.
An overview of Indonesian art collective Taring Padi, who have been mixing art and politics in their street posters, painting, and illustration since 1998.
Words by Heidi Arbuckle
Art by Taring Padi collective.
When Taring Padi first formed in December 1998, the collective could have been mistaken for the cultural wing of the defunct Indonesian Communist Party. At the time, Taring Padi went by the title Institute of People-Oriented Culture, and released a cultural manifesto that outlined a platform it dubbed `The Five Cultural Evils': a rap on anti-imperialism, anti-capitalism, anti-militarism, anti-feudalism and anti-elitism. Taring Padi was planned along the lines of a mock politburo and numerous other bureaus that tackled matters of pedagogy, dissemination, agitation, propaganda, ethical conduct, and housekeeping. They even appointed a Taring Padi `President', who was divested of any real power, and thus performed as a plesetan or parody of the long-standing Indonesian President Suharto who by popular demand had finally relinquished grip of his thirty-two year military reign in May 1998.