How Will The Latin American Left React To A Trump Presidency?

Judging by past statements, South America’s socialist presidents look set to receive Donald Trump’s election with equanimity, arguing that power and politics in the United States is much deeper and more consolidated than any one government.

Evo Morales, the first indigenous president of Bolivia, said that since Obama’s presidency, he had been disappointed in his hopes for a more respectful US foreign policy.

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Vote Clinton, You Fucks.

The views expressed in this piece are the author’s own. ImportantCool does not endorse any candidate for president of the United States, though it’s safe to say we all deeply detest Trump on a personal level.

It gives me no pleasure to defend Hillary Clinton.

Like many of us, over years, nay, decades, of excessive exposure, I have become allergic to her.

I hate her voice. I hate her smug face. I hate her weasel words and lies. I hate her ever shifting kaleidoscope of public positions. To repurpose a line from the fictional Tracy Jordan of 30 Rock, she’s “like a chameleon, always a lizard”.

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Smartarse With A Smartphone: Making Media In Melbourne Campaigns

I used to be addicted to the challenge of political stand up comedy but I walked away to focus on activism. I suspect jokes are a good way to water down ideas until you’re just wasting time. Why stand on a stage sharing your thoughts with punters who will do nothing with those ideas when you can instead do real things with actual people? Its heartbreaking festival shows in the bullshit world of entertainment or its winning campaigns on an Earth where real people live: no choice at all when you think about it. I am part of Whistleblowers, Activists and Citizens Alliance (WACA), and we have gone a long way by doing exactly what we want to do. Meanwhile, political stand-up in Australia is essentially a pointless conversation the political class is having with itself and I found myself answering to people who considered me an idiot, what with my obvious desire to change things without asking middle-class people nicely first.

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Libya Is Not Iraq – Why I’m Leaving “The Reality Based Community”

For all I know, by the time this book is published my view of the Soviet régime may be the generally-accepted one. But what use would that be in itself? To exchange one orthodoxy for another is not necessarily an advance. The enemy is the gramophone mind, whether or not one agrees with the record that is being played at the moment.

– George Orwell, from the unpublished introduction to Animal Farm.

A Libyan man

A Libyan man, with his son in the background, holds part of a rocket fired by forces loyal to Gaddafi that blew holes through three walls of his house.

There is an overwhelming consensus among Western pundits, on the Left and Right, that the conflict in Libya was “a disaster”. The consensus goes beyond that too. It includes the view that the conflict was, first and foremost, a campaign led by the United States aimed at toppling a hostile government, and that this US adventurism had disastrous consequences for the US, the region, and most of all for the people of Libya. It’s a line of attack that shortcuts past the need for any factual detail by using the phrase “regime change” to invoke the memory of Iraq and associating any opponents with that war – even if they, like me, were vocally against it at the time. Continue reading

Archival Activism

 “Effective democratization can always be measured by this essential criterion: the participation in and the access to the archive, its constitution, and its interpretation.”

– Jacques Derrida, Archive Fever: A Freudian Impression (University of Chicago Press, 1996, p.4).

Archivists and other professional record keepers are an interesting bunch. Widely regarded as quiet people who are respectful of authority and rules, the stereotypes usually have us laboring away in basements, always dusty, and probably wearing a cardigan. Not typically courageous, and unlikely activists. However, both the archivist/record keeper [1] “type” and the work itself are, in reality, a lot more interesting. We have a unique view of the world of information – the 21st century’s most important currency – and our work is inherently political. In many of the jobs we do, we have agency or at least influence in matters of policy, record keeping systems design, the retention and findability of records, and records access. These are not trivial matters, in politico-social terms. Records – in all their forms –  enable and leave traces of what governments, corporations, and individuals do. They can be created in order to repress or to free, to nurture or to attack. They can be shared in order to heal, or withheld in order to deceive. Records and record-keeping support affect myriad aspects of the lives of individuals and can influence the direction of a whole society. Continue reading

Activists interrupt Australian Prime Minister during speech with sign “FFS Close the Bloody Camps”

Today in Melbourne activists from the group Whistleblowers Activist Citizens Alliance (WACA) interrupted Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull during a major economic address.  The protest targeted the horrific conditions which refugees are facing in Australia’s offshore detention centres in Nauru and Manus Island.  The group, who had infiltrated the audience, interrupted the speech by chanting: “Malcolm Turnbull, shame on you, shut down Manus and Nauru”.  One protester managed to get up on stage within just a few metres of the PM holding a sign “FFS Close the Bloody Camps”.

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‘Egypt’s Darkest Day’ Remembered In London

Protesters recently gathered at Marble Arch in London, three years after the “worst single-day killing of protesters in modern history”. On August 14, 2013, security forces opened fire on a pro-democracy sit-in that lasted for six weeks, following a military coup that ousted Egypt’s first democratically elected President Mohamed Morsi. According to a report published by Human Rights Watch: “At first light on August 14, security forces using armored personnel carriers and snipers fired on the crowd with live ammunition shortly after playing a recorded announcement to clear the square through loudspeakers. Police provided no safe exit and fired on many who tried to escape”. Amnesty international described it as “Egypt’s darkest day”. Following the massacre, use of the Rabaa symbol, denoted by holding up four fingers, became widespread by pro-democracy supporters around the world as a symbol of defiance. Continue reading

An Uncensored View Of The Night Of The Turkish Coup

If you’ve seen coverage of Friday night’s coup attempt in Turkey, you’ll know that a faction of the country’s armed forces attempted to overthrow Turkey’s democratically elected government and that the coup plotters were defeated by popular will. But what happened in between? The press corps won’t show you much, because anything too dramatic will be censored out by editors so you don’t get offended.

Coups may be televised, but I promise you they’re not PG-rated.

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