CW: This conversation involves discussion of sexual assault
This is the second part of my conversation with human rights lawyer and self-described "social justice witch" Sunili Govinnage.
Here we continue our conversation on what cancel culture is and what it isn't, privilege, oppression, intersectionality and class; topics that have certainly SPICED UP over the past week.
Sunili Govinnage is an Australian human rights lawyer and self-described "social justice witch" who has recently come to some realisations about themselves and their politics.
In the first part of this frank conversation we discuss her "decolonising journey", her focus on dismantling the "colonialist-capitalist-heteropatriarchy", anti-racism and cancel culture. We identify areas that we agree on and some points where we have different perspectives - differences that will be further fleshed out in part two.
Sophie Payten records and performs as Gordi. She makes powerful, sweeping, personal indie-pop and last week released her sophomore album, Our Two Skins. I am a fan and it is good.
I wanted to talk to Sophie about her other job (she's a qualified doctor and has been on standby during the pandemic) and explore the political ideas surrounding her recent discovery of her queer identity and the loss of her beloved grandma. We reflect on the 2017 marriage equality plebiscite, the political stasis that Millennials are trapped and having difficult conversations with people who have different politics.
Cause of the Week: North Australian Aboriginal Justice Agency (naaja.org.au)
Dr. Chelsea Bond is a Munanjahli and South Sea Islander woman and a senior lecturer at the University of Queensland. She's worked and researched extensively in the area of Aboriginal health and regularly writes and speaks about race and racism in Australia today.
In this conversation, Chelsea reflects on how the recent Black Lives Matter uprising has played out in Australia, her personal experiences with the police, the fierceness of Black women in this struggle and the intersection of racial power structures and class.
Cause of the Week: Inala Wangarra (inalawangarra.com.au)
Andy Zaltzman is a British comedian, the co-host of the hugely popular satirical podcast The Bugle and (sadly) a fanatical cricket fan.
I've been lucky enough to become friends and work with Andy over the past five or so years and have been meaning to have him on as a guest for quite a while now, to laugh about everything in the world and ask him some (mildly) serious questions about his political outlook. Here discuss sport, statues, Fawlty Towers, the failures of the Corbyn moments, his "radical centrism" and the future of Brexit Britain.
Cause of the Week: The Sick Children's Trust (sickchildrenstrust.org)
Gavin Stanbrook is a revolutionary socialist who hails from Gumbanyggir country on the NSW mid-north coast. He's a member of Socialist Alternative who's been campaigning for justice for Aboriginal families for years and who helped organise last week's #BlackLivesMatter protest in Sydney.
In this conversation Gavin tells me how about tearing down statues, the revolutionary potential of this moment, police violence, the tragic cases of Aboriginal deaths in custody, his personal involvement in the #JusticeForBowraville campaign and why he thinks the police should be abolished.
Cause of the Week: The Justice for David Dungay Jnr. GoFundMe
Oliver Twist is a very funny and intelligent up-and-coming Australian comedian. He was born in Rwanda, grew up in a refugee camp in Malawi and has lived in Australia since 2014.
I was planning on taking a week off the podcast this week, but in the midst of everything that's happening right now, Oliver reached out and we decided to record this honest conversation about his relationship to the police, race, class, Black Lives Matter and what meaningful action looks like.
There are even a few laffs in there too.
CAUSE OF THE WEEK: blacklivesmatter.caard.co
Mark Seymour is one of the best singer-songwriters Australia has ever produced. He's the former frontman of Hunters & Collectors and now writes and performs with Mark Seymour & The Undertow. The new Undertow record is called Slow Dawn and comes out today.
Mark has regularly been outspoken about his politics through his music and public appearances, particularly when it comes to Australia's refugee policies. Here he tells me about how he approaches tackling social issues in his music (without being sanctimonious), why he's left-wing, wearing an "Asylum Seeker" t-shirt at the AFL Grand Final, his experiences in South Africa and how the tides of history weigh on us all today.
Cause of the Week: The Frankston Life Church (frankston.life)
Tim Wilson is the Liberal MP for the Victorian seat of Goldstein and the Chair of the House Economics Committee. He last joined me on the podcast back in July 2015.
I wanted to talk to Tim about how he's found dealing with the COVID-19 crisis as a local member and his thoughts on the Morrison's government's economic response thus far as a well as a bit old-fashioned ideological argy bargy. We discuss the JobKeeper and JobSeeker payments, neoliberalism, government debt and why being a democratic socialist makes me an evil idiot.
Cause of the Week: Bayside Community Information & Support Service Inc (bayciss.org.au)
Rick Morton is an award-winning journalist and writer. He reported on Social Affairs for The Australian for years and is now the Senior Reporter for The Saturday Paper. His memoir 100 Years Of Dirt - about surviving his poverty- and trauma-ridden childhood - has been a critical and commercial success.
Here I ask Rick about issues he's been writing about of late - the conspiracy theories that have thrived amid COVID-19 and the new aged-care "Uber app" that's been given a multi-million dollar government contract - as well as his broader approach to journalism, the realities of poverty, how class works in Australia and the privatisation of the welfare state.
Cause of the Week: Brotherhood of St. Laurence (bsl.org.au)
Rachel Siewert has been a Greens Senator for WA since 2005. She's the whip for the Greens in the Senate and her portfolios include First Nations Affairs, Family, Ageing and Community Services, Gambling and Mental Health. She recently chaired a Senate Committee into the adequacy of the Newstart/JobSeeker payment and has been fighting hard for the government to #RetainTheRate after the COVID crisis has passed.
In this conversation, Rachel explains how her politics are founded on concern for both people and the planet, the realities of our punitive welfare system, just how shitty JobSeeker is and why the Greens' "Invest To Recover" policy proposal - including a jobs, income and education guarantee - is the kind of bold response Australia needs right now.
Cause of the Week: The Australian Greens (greens.org.au)
Dave Anthony is a stand up comedian, writer, activist and co-host of the history comedy podcast The Dollop. In May 2016 he correctly predicted that Hillary Clinton was going to lose to Trump in the presidential election. So yeah - he knows stuff.
Dave joined me from LA in the GREATEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD to talk about the death of American empire, what he's learned from history, his journey to socialism, the right-wing Democratic Party and why Joe Biden is really really bad. We laugh and also talk about the end of hope.
Cause of the Week: Extinction Rebellion (rebellion.earth)
Jon Kudelka is a Walkley Award-winning political cartoonist who's been drawing for over 20 years. He drew thousands of cartoons for The Australian until 2019 and his work now regularly appears in The Hobart Mercury and The Saturday Paper.
Jon kindly joined me from Tasmania via Zoom to reflect on his journey to cartooning, the (minimal) influence that satire has on things, what he learnt from John Clarke, the deterioration and stasis of Australian politics, punching down, how compromised the ALP has become and how COVID-19 might wake people up to shitty free-market ideology.
Cause of the Week: StreetSmart Australia (streetsmartaustralia.org)
Celeste Liddle is an Arrente woman, a trade unionist and Leftist who's written for Eureka Street, The Guardian and SBS.
Celeste Zoom'ed me from her couch to discuss how the COVID-19 crisis is affecting First Nations people, over-policing and deaths in custody, culture warring about Captain Cook and the "Indigenous alt-right".
Cause of the Week: Djirra (djirra.org.au)
Adam Creighton is the Economics Editor for The Australian and has written for The Economist and The Wall Street Journal. For the past couple of months he's been highly critical of the Australian government's economic response to the COVID-19 pandemic and has called for the immediate easing of restrictions.
I asked Adam to sketch out his critique of the response and his concerns about its economic impact, as well as discussing the Swedish, economic "trade-offs", the "statistical value of life" (it's $4.4m, apparently), the joys of tax and what kind of changes he does (and doesn't) want to see once the pandemic passes.
Cause of the Week: Alcoholics Anonymous (aa.org.au)
Mark Humphries is a comedian who regularly makes satirical sketches for the ABC's 7:30 along with Evan Williams. He always makes me laugh and I've been lucky enough to become friends with him over the past few years.
Mark joined me via Zoom from deep in the heart of the ABC to discuss his politics, his (haphazard) journey into comedy (featuring some stories involving ME!!!), Mark Latham and the state of Australian right-wing media craziness and the limits of satirising it. We had a good ol' giggle and we barely talked about coronavirus at all.
Cause of the Week: Multiple Sclerosis Research Australia (msra.org.au)
Nick McKim is a Tasmanian senator and the co-deputy leader of The Australian Greens.
He joined me via Zoom (sorry) from Tasmania to discuss the Morrison government's (sometimes okay but generally shitty) response to the COVID crisis, the neoliberal Labor Party, how this pandemic affects folks in immigration detention and the current Greens' plebiscite on the election of the federal leader.
Tash Heenan and Anna Sturman are ecosocialist academics who are writing about and organising around the possibilities of a Green New Deal for Australia.
They both joined me via Zoom (I AM VERY SICK OF ZOOM) to lay out what their vision for a GND entails, its "four Ds" (decarbonisation, decolonisation, decommodification, democratisation), how much currency it had as a political idea prior to the current COVID crisis, the possibilities these new conditions could bring and the dangers of eco-fascism.
Climate Justice Collective - @greennewdealau
Cause of the Week: Sisters Inside (sistersinside.com.au)
Caleb Bond is a 21-year-old political commentator who describes himself as "conservative with a splash of libertarianism". He writes a regular opinion column for the Adelaide Advertiser and regularly appears on Sky News.
Caleb kindly gave me his time a few weeks ago when I was in town for the Adelaide Fringe (before the PLAGUE HIT US ALL AND LOCKED US IN OUR HOUSES). We had a wide-ranging discussion about his experience of being a young conservative giving his opinions in public, the politicisation of youth, the Opinion Industrial Complex, Newscorp, the idea that people naturally become more conservative as they get older, socialism, free markets, FREEDOM and his stance on drugs.
Cause of the Week: Youth Insearch (youthinsearch.org.au)
Gian and Sam host a great podcast called Twink Revolution, which they describe as "cultural and political commentary on current events from a homo-leftist viewpoint".
They joined me from their isolated apartment in San Francisco to explain how they came to Marxism and queerness (via anarchism and libertarianism), the failures of identity politics, what happened to the Sanders campaign (and how sad we should feel about it) and what the COVID-19 pandemic could mean for the Left. It was all very interesting, very funny and very gay.
Sam's twitter is @RevTwinkComrade
Cause of the Week: The SF Queer Nightlife Fund (sfqueernightlifefund.org)
Hello! This week's ep is a bit early: my plan is to (try) to start posting multiple episodes a week if possible. Let's see how we go.
Sean Kelly is a writer who writes for a range of Australian publications. He's a former adviser to Prime Ministers Kevin Rudd and Julia Gillard.
I've always been a fan of Sean's analysis and writing and was keen to get his thoughts on how COVID-19 is unfolding in Australia, particularly in terms of the Morrison government's response. We take a look back at how the Coalition has tackled the crisis since January (sometimes okay but generally pretty bad!), why Sean thinks it's vital we see the modelling the government is relying on, the possibilities of nationalisation, the threat of "disaster capitalism" and how the ALP has responded to this situation.
Please note that just after minutes we finished recording, the government announced the $130 billion JobKeeper economic package.
Cause of the Week: The Indigenous Literacy Foundation (indigenousliteracyfoundation.org.au)
Emerald Moon is a Brisbane-based Leftist activist and former candidate for the Australian Greens who's passionate about climate action and renters' rights. Emerald ran for the Greens in the safe Liberal seat of Bowman in 2019 and is currently working on the up-coming Brisbane local and Queensland state election.
Amid the insanity of COVID-19 (I hope you're all okay!), I ask Emerald about how she arrived at her socialist politics, how the Queensland Greens are making real progress with socialist ideas and policies, the truly cooked housing situation in Australia and how we can have a revolution while also practising social distancing.
Cause of the Week: Australian Unemployed Workers Union (unemployedworkersunion.com)
Welp. Gosh. Here we are, then. I hope you're doing okay.
Amidst the chaos of the global Coronavirus pandemic, previous LIASYO guest Osman Faruqi joins me (via Skype) to reflect on what the hell is happening. Osman is a journalist is the editor of The 7am Podcast for Schwartz Media and has been tweeting and writing a lot about the unfolding situation.
Here we discuss the most egregious examples of capital exploiting this crisis and the insane contradictions about this economic system it exposes, the Australian government's shitty response and how much needs to change in our society to make sure this kind of thing can never happen again.
It was a slightly depressing but very cathartic conversation and I hope it gives you some comfort and ferments your (justifiable) rage towards those in power in these wild times.
Cause of the Week: Support Act (supportact.org.au)
Michael West is a Walkley Award-winning independent journalist covering the rising power of corporations over Australian democracy. After years working for both NewsCorp and Fairfax, Michael eventually went out on his own to cover the crimes of the corporate world and how big business get away with dodgy shit and poison our politics.
Here Michael lays out his experiences in and philosophy on journalism (plus some insights into Murdoch empire), the conflicts of interest in the big business of media corporations, the state of tax avoidance and political donations in Australia and how it's very clear that the economic creed of neoliberalism and privatisation has failed.
Cause of the Week: Support Michael's site and his journalism (michaelwest.com.au)
Alex Bhatal is a social worker and activist. From 2001 to 2018 she was a six-time Greens candidate for the inner-city seat of Cooper (formerly Batman) but in 2019, Alex quit the party having been subjected to a campaign of abuse and “relentless organisational bullying” for years.
Here Alex lays out for her me her journey into politics, her passion for refugee rights and social work, why the Tampa incident inspired her to join the Greens and her experience of running in the same seat for 17 years.
I also ask Alex to explain exactly what happened between her and the Darebin branch of the Greens, how bad it got for her and what it tells us about the state of the party today. Alex is extremely frank and honest talking to me about what was clearly a painful time in her life and for that I’m very grateful.
Cause of the Week: Refugee Legal (refugeelegal.org.au)