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Isobel Blackthorn musing on...

  1. Abbott’s barrow of inhumanity

    I realise I have a number of Liberal supporters in my friendship network. I am not Liberal in a political sense, but I understand and respect those who are. If I didn’t, then I couldn’t in the next breath champion social democracy. A pluralistic society includes a wide range of views/beliefs/party affiliations and so on.

    Having said that, I cannot condone our current leadership. Yes, all politicians are apt to be very one-sided, to push their own barrows and in so doing make all the other barrows seem full of falsehoods and bad policies.

    Abbott, however, is beyond the pale.

    And he’s back to his old self.
  2. ASYLUM - a novel in weekly parts

    Not every day an author gives away a whole novel. I had been asked and asked again if I would blog a book-length story and I'm glad I'm doing it. Feedback so far is encouraging. Some readers have formed a reading group to discuss weekly instalments. Start reading the story here and for this week's instalment follow this link.
    Here's what people are saying:
    ”Asylum has all my favourite elements: politics, social justice, strong women characters, and an unexpected ending. Impeccably written in clear, succinct, yet sophisticated prose, Asylum is a thoroughly enjoyable read.” – Jasmina Brankovich.
    ”Hurry up with instalment two – I am totally hooked and need ...
  3. Waking up to the Third World

    Back in the 1980s I enrolled in a course as part of my undergraduate degree with the Open University (UK) entitled Third World Studies. I was twenty-four and full of awe and amazement and outrage as I learnt about India’s Green Revolution, issues for the Tuareg of Niger, and of the economies of the newly-industrialised countries (NICs) of south-east Asia. I learnt about the problems created for poor economies by big business. I learnt about the IMF and the World Bank. I studied the socialism of government’s in Tanzania and Mozambique. I read novels by Buchi Emechetaand the poetry of Louise Bennett. The course was multi-disciplinary (perhaps the first

    Updated 19th August 2014 at 06:39 PM by Mick Pacholli

    Authors and Contributors , isobelblackthorn , Politics
  4. War on Feminism – Women’s Refuges under attack

    It has come as no surprise that women’s refuges are under corporate attack. It was only a matter of time before the ideological warriors of the new corporate regime would put in their sights frontline services catering for women fleeing domestic violence. Currently in the UK we witness the broadscale closure of women’s refuges that have been providing women and their children an essential service for decades. It also came as no surprise to read in her piece, There Is No Such Thing as a ”More Efficient Alternative” to Refuges Polly Neate’s insightful critique of that great universal leveller ”efficiency” as the declared motive for the closure ...

    Updated 18th November 2014 at 04:26 AM by Mick Pacholli

    Authors and Contributors , isobelblackthorn , Politics
  5. Changing the whole system

    I might have titled this piece Big Brother. It would have been in keeping with last night’s 7.30 Report on the ABC. A title that would have mocked Tony Abbott’s, ”Team Australia,” his speech masters clearly seeing merit in the co-opting of the language of sport for the purposes of reinforcing a Nationalist ideology. And in Strengthening the Surveillance State, Louise O’Shea certainly supports the observation that the most recent amendments proposed by the Australian government do indeed carry the big brother connotation. According to O’Shea, ”The National Security Amendment Bill (No. 1), introduced into Parliament in July, has so far caused ...
  6. In a social democracy welfare is a right

    Another critical piece showing that the Abbott government’s reforms to Newstart and Youth Allowance will simply not work can be found here in The Saturday Paper,

    Welfare changes ‘more about prejudice than policy': Hewson

    In the article, Mike Seccombe highlights former Liberal party leader John Hewson’s comment that our incumbents are driven not by a sense of humanity but by ideology. I agree with Hewson that these reforms reveal not a measured rational response to current economic conditions, but insanity. The insanity of repeating a process proven to be ineffective and counter-productive ...
  7. Hard Attitudes for Hard Times

    Despite the grandiose speeches and the spin, across western democracies post-GFC austerity seems to have little to do with reducing government debt and everything to do with controlling populations largely through the expansion and oppression of the underclass – the dalits of western civilisation – the guts sucked from the welfare system leaving a wizened carcass of a once plump beast. Welfare services are corporatised, sold off to the lowest bidder whose sole concern is profit. Corporations or quasi-corporate ngos with minimal or no expertise are given tenders for aged care, counselling, women’s refuges and so on. While Australia’s Abbott government’s

    Updated 18th November 2014 at 04:03 AM by Mick Pacholli

    Authors and Contributors , isobelblackthorn , Politics
  8. Stabbed in the Heart – Feminism and the Demise of Women’s Refuges in NSW


    Women gave up their ordinary lives to camp out in appalling conditions to protest against nuclear-tipped cruise missiles. What took place in the camps were not only protests such as Embrace the Base depicted above. Through their very existence, the source of inspiration for women around the world, came the reinvigoration of a feminist discourse concerning the manner in which patriarchy condones and reveres violence, particularly violence against women. Greenham common peace camps were a symbol of women’s empowerment. Women’s ...
  9. MH17 Should be Raising Questions Concerning the Nature of Contemporary Warfare

    While the Australian media is almost exclusively obsessed with the deaths of our own (notably broken down into 28 citizens and 8 permanent residents) and the adequacy of our government’s responses on the world stage, turning a global event into a navel-gazing exercise that serves to boost our knee-jerk xenophobia and parochialism and contributing nothing of substance that can enable us to contextualise the downing of MH17, other writers from around the globe are striving to provide in-depth analyses of the situation on the ground in the Ukraine. One article that provides some insight into the situation is journalist Wayne Madsen’s piece in Lia 360.

    Updated 23rd July 2014 at 04:47 PM by Mick Pacholli

    Authors and Contributors , isobelblackthorn , Politics
  10. Globalism, Empire and the Rise of Nationalisms

    With war in Ukraine and the Middle East I wake up each morning thankful for happenstance that finds me where I am.
    In an age of global neoliberalist empire where the free market reigns, dollar-profit-bottom-line its beating heart, little wonder that much of what passes for catastrophe caused by others is far more likely to have been either created or constructed-after-the-fact in order to further the cause of empire and diminish apparent external threats. Enemies are everywhere, shape-shifting, one moment China, another Russia, or Iraq, or Syria… The biggest threat to globalist America may now be the counter-globalist BRIC nations (Brazil, Russia, ...
  11. An Assault on the Downing of MH 17

    I had to watch the news last night, on SBS and ABC. And of course I endured the tedious repetition, the over-dwelling on the usual crisis dimensions from the flowers and the tears to the stock phrases of politicians. And I felt sorry for Putin. Not because I am suckered in his hang dog looks on camera, but because he has been made the fall guy in such a direct and ruthless manner. The West hailing in the process the old Cold War ideology of big bad Russia (with the attendant sub-text of big bad communism).
    I abhor hypocrisy. Since when does the West point a finger at itself? Since when does the United Nations condemn it’s nursing

    Updated 22nd July 2014 at 05:08 AM by Mick Pacholli

    Authors and Contributors , isobelblackthorn , Politics