The Anzac Spectacle: Gallipoli, Peter Jackson and the politics of forgetting

"The masters who make history their private property, under the protection of myth, possess first of all a private ownership of the mode of illusion" (Guy Debord)

“The masters who make history their private property, under the protection of myth, possess first of all a private ownership of the mode of illusion” (Guy Debord)

by Tim Leadbeater

This year New Zealand and Australia commemorated the 100th anniversary of the Gallipoli campaign. One hundred years ago thousands of Allied troops invaded what was then the Ottoman Empire on April 25th 1915. The ensuing eight month battle was a grim and bloody affair fought within a tiny section of the Mediterranean coastline. Casualties were heavy on both sides, with the number of Turkish and Arab deaths being by far the highest. It was the first major battle the newly christened ‘Anzac’ soldiers had been involved in, and the large number of deaths had a profound impact upon the people of New Zealand and Australia. The following years of battle took an even heavier toll, but this first shock assumed a sort of mythic status, and now the date of April 25th is the focus of WW1 commemoration in New Zealand and Australia.

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Who’s to blame for the Greek tragedy?

11214058_10153448063423637_1745574257028690087_nby Ben Hillier

Unpayable debts, a catastrophic economic depression and teetering on the brink total collapse. How did Greece get into this position?

The most popular answer is that public spending has been too high, and the government sector bloated. It sounds plausible when the entire story revolves around debt. After all, everyone knows that debt is the result of spending more than you earn. Yet it isn’t so straightforward.

The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development noted in 2011: “Greece has one of the lowest rates of public employment among OECD countries, with general government employing just 7.9 percent of the total labour force in 2008 … Across the OECD area, the share of government employment [averages] 15 percent.” [Read more…]

What’s wrong with capitalism?

Whats wrong with capitalismJosh O’Sullivan gave this talk to the Tamaki Makaurau branch of the ISO in March.

Capitalism is a uniquely dynamic system, the basis for its dynamism is the complete revolution of production – how we make the world we live in. As time has marched on, our lives have changed dramatically, the creation of all our modern conveniences have improved the quality of life the world over. Over the last few centuries, the spread of capitalism has generated a phenomenal leap in human progress, leading to both previously unimaginable increases in material living standards and the unprecedented cultivation of all kinds of human potential. We have gone from barely making inroads into vast tracks of wilderness, whereas now there is no place on earth that is untouched by human activity.

Capitalism’s intrinsic dynamism, however, produces serious insecurity along with these benefits, and as such its advance has always met resistance. Much of the political and institutional history of capitalist societies, in fact, have been the record of attempts to ease or cushion that insecurity of the market, and in some cases outright overthrowing it. In a system beholden to the whims of the market, in the lens of profit and loss, we cannot plan for the future or even foresee the consequences of our own actions. [Read more…]