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Staying Positive Amidst Disorder: A vision for incoming progressive...
Apr
23
7:00 PM19:00

Staying Positive Amidst Disorder: A vision for incoming progressive...

As a former Australian diplomat with ten years’ experience writing political analysis for government, Anthony Skews is well placed to provide a comprehensive introduction to left-wing thought for the contemporary ‘post-fact’, politically polarised era. He will give a talk about his new book: Politics for the New Dark Age: Staying positive amidst disorder

Our societies are growing more unequal, more hierarchical, meaner and less human every year.

Voters appalled by the direction of current politics respond to leaders that articulate a cohesive and genuine progressivism. This book provides the framework for politicians and activists to deliver that vision, organised around the themes of cooperative solutions to social problem-solving and a social contract centred on rights and the equal dignity of all people.

Drawing on contemporary Australian examples, Politics for the New Dark Age: Staying positive amidst disorder shows how the partisan divide recurs in policy debates from civil rights, to inequality, to economic growth, to the environment and foreign policy. It argues that we should recommit to fighting for our democracy in order to manage these social differences and channel them into opportunities for social progress.

Above all, this book argues for an alternative future.

About the author: Anthony Skews is a former Australian diplomat with ten years’ experience writing political analysis for government. A graduate of the University of Melbourne and Australian National University, he is currently writing his dissertation in political science at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva. With a background in science, international law and political theory, he brings together a unique perspective on modern social and political life informed by his personal commitment to social and economic justice.

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Alternative Development Strategies in Africa - Feeding the Farmers First
Mar
5
7:00 PM19:00

Alternative Development Strategies in Africa - Feeding the Farmers First

Terry Leahy will give a talk about his recently released book Food Security for Rural Africa: Feeding the Farmers First.

At least fifty years of projects aimed at the rural poor in Africa have had very little impact. Up to half of the children of these countries are still suffering from stunting and malnutrition. Soil degradation and poor crop yields are ubiquitous. Projects are almost always aimed at helping local people to solve their problems by growing for the market. In some countries, projects link poor villagers into cooperatives to produce a commercial output. In other countries, projects target more competent entrepreneurial villagers. Almost all these projects fail after several years. Even those that are successful make few inroads into the problems.

The slogan 'feeding the farmers first' is particularly applicable to much of Africa. Customary tenure land ownership means that most of the rural poor have access to some land to grow food. Household food security can come from household production. Focusing on particular people and projects, the book gives a sociological analysis of why this is so difficult to manage, and how the problems can be managed. This book challenges the models promoted by academics in the field of development studies and argues against the strategies adopted by most donor organizations and government bodies. It explains why commercial projects have been so ubiquitous even though they rarely work. It gives practical tips on how to set up villages and farms to achieve sustainable solutions that also provide plenty of nutritious food. The book is written to be accessible and engaging. For anyone planning to work in the rural areas of Africa, this book is required reading.

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Clinton Fernandes on Aus Gov Espionage against East Timor
Feb
5
7:00 PM19:00

Clinton Fernandes on Aus Gov Espionage against East Timor

Clinton Fernandes will discuss the background to the prosecution of Canberra lawyer Bernard Collaery and his client, a former officer of the Australian Secret Intelligence Service (ASIS) known only as Witness K. The charges relate to revelations that the Australian government spied on the government of East Timor during oil and gas treaty negotiations in 2004.

Clinton’s new book, Island Off The Coast Of Asia, covers Australia’s foreign relations and discusses the espionage operation against East Timor. The book will be available for sale on the night.

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Political correctness and the rise of the right - Q/A with Jeff Sparrow
Oct
8
7:00 PM19:00

Political correctness and the rise of the right - Q/A with Jeff Sparrow

  • 54 Victoria Street Carlton, VIC, 3053 Australia (map)
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Journalist and author Jeff Sparrow will be in conversation with Roz Ward (socialist and co-founder of the Safer Schools Co-alition) to discuss his new book: Trigger Warnings: Political correctness and the rise of the right. 

If Trump – and others like Trump – can turn hostility to PC into a winning slogan, how should the left respond? In the face of a vicious new bigotry, should progressives double-down on identity politics and gender theory? Must they abandon political correctness and everything associated with it to reconnect with a working class they’ve alienated? Or is there, perhaps, another way entirely?

In Trigger Warnings, Jeff Sparrow excavates the development of a powerful new vocabulary against progressive causes. From the Days of Rage to Gamergate, from the New Left to the alt-right, he traces changing attitudes to democracy and trauma, symbolism and liberation, in an exhilarating history of ideas and movements. Challenging progressive and conservative orthodoxies alike, Trigger Warnings is a bracing polemic and a persuasive case for a new kind of politics.

Update: you can see a youtube screening of this event at link!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_juBjfeZfho

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Adani and the War Over Coal - Quentin Beresford
Sep
27
7:00 PM19:00

Adani and the War Over Coal - Quentin Beresford

Quetin Beresford will give a talk about his new book: Adani and the War over Coal

Coal is the political, economic and cultural totem for debates about climate change. Quentin Bereford’s searing book takes apart the pivotal role of the Adani Carmichael mine and the conflict over coal in Australia. Looking into the social, environmental and economic elements of this big fight, this book tells the full story of one of the lightning rod issues of our time.

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The Many Socialisms of Ernie Lane
Sep
11
7:00 PM19:00

The Many Socialisms of Ernie Lane

In this presentation activist and author Jeff Rickertt will attempt to make sense of Australian pre-Bolshevik socialism by examining the ideological evolution of pioneering radical, Ernest Henry Lane. Drawing from his recent biography of Lane, Jeff will make the case that Lane can be regarded as a bridge linking pre-modern with social democratic and Marxian traditions of socialism in Australia, and that he and his comrades, for all their political inconsistencies, blazed the track that the CPA would eventually make its own.

Jeff Rickertt is a labour activist and historian from the Deep North. He publishes and lectures extensively on the history of Queensland trade unionism and radical politics. Jeff’s current project is a history of Queensland meatworkers and their union, the AMIEU. His book The Conscientious Communist: Ernie Lane and the Rise of Australian Socialism was published by Australian Scholarly Publishing in 2016.

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Digital tech for planet and people rather than the already privileged?
Aug
28
7:00 PM19:00

Digital tech for planet and people rather than the already privileged?

Technological change might seem beyond the reach of politics. But the streamlined utopias envisioned by Silicon Valley tech giants conceal power dynamics operating in the here and now. From automation to cryptocurrencies, smart cities and beyond, the digital age presents enormous opportunities for addressing some of the greatest problems we face, such as climate change, wealth inequality and the democracy deficit. But huge challenges are also looming, especially if we leave corporations and governments in charge of designing the future. How can we effect change in such a complex world? 



Lizzie O'Shea is lawyer, broadcaster and writer. She has mainly worked in human rights. She is publishing a book next year with Verso about the politics and history of digital technology.

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Populism Now!: The Case For Progressive Populism - David McNight
May
25
7:00 PM19:00

Populism Now!: The Case For Progressive Populism - David McNight

Dr David McNight will give a talk about his new book - Populism Now: The Case For Progressive Populism

Populism can be a dirty word. Brexit and the election of Donald Trump have certainly given it a bad name. But rather than associating it with demagoguery and exclusion, might we better see it as a backlash against free market globalisation? Might it be harnessed as a positive force able to thrive in difficult times?


This timely and persuasive book exposes the failures of globalisation: greedy banks, predatory privatisation, corporate tax avoidance and a growing underclass of temporary overseas workers. David McKnight argues that a progressive populism could address the genuine economic grievances of everyday people, without scapegoating immigrants or ethnic minorities. In fact, a progressive form of populism may be the best way of defeating the racist backlash of right-wing populism. It may also be the best way to save the planet.

In a world where the super-rich get richer, one that is charged with hate-filled language as people look for someone else to blame, the case for progressive populism must be heard. This important book helps give it voice.

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Book Launch - Capitalism: A Crime Story - Harry Glasbeek
May
22
7:00 PM19:00

Book Launch - Capitalism: A Crime Story - Harry Glasbeek

In Conjunction with the Search Foundation, NIBS will host a lecture by Canadian Harry Glasbeek, Professor Emeritus and Senior Scholar at Osgoode Hall Law School, York University.

In his new book (part of a triology) Capitalism: A Crime Story, Harry makes the case that if the rules and doctrines of liberal law were applied as they should be according to law’s own pronouncements and methodology, corporate capitalism would be much harder to defend.

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Humphrey McQueen: The Robots are coming! What would Marx say?
May
8
7:00 PM19:00

Humphrey McQueen: The Robots are coming! What would Marx say?

How many of us are on first name terms with a robot? Who is not time-poor? These questions sum up conflicting prospects for life under the rule of capital into the twenty-first century. Automation threatens paid employment while we are being subjected to the prolongation of intensified, albeit oft fragmented working periods within the same day. This contrary is more than a paradox. Its transient manifestations have sustained accumulation processes throughout capitalism’s 230-year existence.

The talk will laud Luddites for acting on their recognition that machines are weapons to intensify exploitation and destroy community. The effects of technologies are determined by social relations of production, not the other way around. Vulgar Marxians get excited about UBER and driverless vehicles without attending to the composition of capital. The dynamics for automation will be examined through the interlocking of active and reserve armies of labour. The discussion will wind towards BrainComputerInterface in the exercise of the state power and warfare.

Humphrey McQueen is a Canberra-based historian and activist at work on yet one more Marxist account of the origins of capitalism, to be titled The revolution inside capital. For access to a selection of his writings over fifty years, see www.surplusvalue.org.au His $2 pamphlet, 150 Years Young, on the sesqui-centenary of Capital is in stock.

Pre-Book tickets at link below 

https://www.eventbrite.com.au/e/the-robots-are-coming-what-would-marx-say-what-can-we-do-tickets-44826266570

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Book Launch - Ariel Salleh - Ecofeminism as Politics Nature, Marx and the Postmodern
May
4
7:00 PM19:00

Book Launch - Ariel Salleh - Ecofeminism as Politics Nature, Marx and the Postmodern

Ariel Salleh will give a talk about Eco-Feminism to mark the re-release of her classic title Eco-Feminism as Politics. Following the talk feminist philosopher Janna Thompson and environmental sociologist Terry Leahy will give some reflections. 

Originally published in 1997, it argues that ecofeminism reaches beyond contemporary social movement ideologies and practices, by prefiguring a political synthesis of four-revolutions- in-one: ecology is feminism is socialism is postcolonial struggle.

Entry - $5 or $3 for NIBS Members

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Panel: What Should the Australian Greens be on about?
Apr
18
9:00 AM09:00

Panel: What Should the Australian Greens be on about?

There is plenty of debate about what the Greens should be on about. We have an awesome panel to discuss the question!
Speakers:
Hon Adam Bandt MP - Federal Member for Melbourne
Dennis Altman - Professorial Fellow in the Institute for Human Security at Latrobe
Verity Burgmann - Professor of Politics in the School of Social Sciences at Monash University.
Kathleen Maltzahn - Victorian Greens Candidate for Richmond

Entry $5 - Pre-Book at link.

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