Still mulling over ideas for your Fair Australia Prize entry? Judges Carina Garland, Sam Wallman and Jacinda Woodhead have come up with a reading/watching list that may help.

Carina Garland, judge for Fair Australia Prize – Poetry

The greyhound ban and the working man: what exactly does “working class culture” mean?’ I loved this piece exploring class, culture and politics through the recent ban on greyhound racing by Jeff Sparrow. It’s a really rich article, with lots of ideas to ponder about contemporary Australia and the notion of ‘working class culture’.

The new Jacobin: ‘Rank and File’: I’m looking forward to this, it looks to be an excellent read.  This piece about the history of capitalism and neoliberalism (making important distinctions between the two), the conditions that have produced the current global political situation, and the ‘politics of daily life’ is engaging and thoughtful.

‘Why I’m going to scream if one more person denies that there is sexism on the left’A provocative, timely contribution to the Labour leadership debate in the UK that examines, gender, the notion of ‘merit’, and argues that progressives need to confront their own sexism in politics. This is an observation and analysis that is probably not discussed and debated enough.


Sam Wallman, judge for Fair Australia Prize – Cartoon/graphic

‘Stop Calling Bigots Bogans’ by Scott Arthurson: Throughout ashtrayan history, most of the big wins the Left has successfully fought have been thanks to the organising of working-class people. And yet, a lot of young people dismiss the working class as bogans. A lot of the working class dismiss young people as hipsters. And never the two shall meet.

‘Why the Rich Love Burning Man’ by Keith A Spencer: There are a lot of optical illusions these days, lots of individualistic movements presenting themselves with an aesthetic of radicalism. None of them seem to address structural issues. Burning Man festival is number one on my list of left-wing mirages, followed  by Uber’s free bottle of water for every passenger (paid for by the driver). Much agile. So innovate.

The Case Against Sharing’: Susie Cagle produces the best comics-journalism on planet earth. This is a graphic essay that’s a couple of years old, a neat critique of the ‘sharing economy’.

‘Unpaid Internships Must Be Destroyed’: Matt Bors somehow simultaneously makes insecure and precarious work seem like a ginormous and horrific monolith, but also energises and mobilises you to want to fight and oranise against it.

Why we Fight Uber’: Jacobin is good at publishing work that is really accessible, without being reductive.



Jacinda Woodhead, judge for Fair Australia Prize – Essay

If you’re in Melbourne tonight, there’s the launch of the short documentary, The women who were never there, about the anti-discrimination campaign against BHP. At Victorian Trades Hall from 6.30pm.

The screening makes me think of the superb filmic depictions of struggle and labour activism I’ve seen over the past couple of years – Death in Sarajevo (which screened just last week at MIFF); Two Days, One Night; A Touch of Sin; Pride.


It’s a little older but Amandla! A Revolution in Four Part Harmony, available on YouTube, documents the anti-apartheid movement, and how critical music was to that struggle.

While on the subject of South Africa, I’d also recommend Sisonke Msimang’s essay in our latest issue, ‘End of the rainbow, which documents the rise of the Fallists, whose protests shut down all of South Africa’s twenty-six universities last year. And while still in South Africa, District 9 is a fantastic film about resistance (and far superior to Independence Day or its resurgence).

Obviously there are the classics, too: Land and Freedom (or anything by Ken Loach, really), On the Waterfront, Salt of the Earth (also available on YouTube).


As for articles:

This New York Times piece on Kurdish refugees in Japan illustrates, yet again, how damaging closed borders are to refugees.

The Fight for Muckaty Station: if you don’t know about these activists, or what they accomplished, this cartoon is a fantastic place to start.

Jack Latimore and Clare Land’s ‘Why another Royal Commission when the recommendations of the last one continue to gather dust?‘ would make good reading for those writers and artists thinking about alternative forms of justice.

This interview with the Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee on labour organising in US prisons is terrifically thought-provoking.

Lastly, I’d recommend basically any episode of Democracy Now!.



Writers and artists, enter our Fair Australia Prize!

FairAus-cropThere are $4000 prizes in the categories of fiction, essay, poetry and cartoon/graphic that explore the themes of fairness and our common future.

*How do we make a fair society? What are the things that need to change?
*What would a sustainable future or a just justice system look like?
*How can we improve labour or employment practices?
*What might a fairer planet look like in twenty years?

Closes 31 August. Visit the 2016 Overland NUW Fair Australia Prize page for details. Of course, there are more reading suggestions to be found in the background material for the Fair Australia Prize.  Entry is free.


Carina Garland

Carina Garland is a feminist writer and communications officer at the NUW.

Sam Wallman

Sam Wallman is a unionist and cartoonist based on unceded Wurundjeri country. He is a member of the Workers Art Collective. His new longform book,  Our Members Be Unlimited: a Comic About Unions is out now through Scribe Publications. You can follow his work here.

Jacinda Woodhead

Jacinda Woodhead is a former editor of Overland and current law student.

Overland is a not-for-profit magazine with a proud history of supporting writers, and publishing ideas and voices often excluded from other places.

If you like this piece, or support Overland’s work in general, please subscribe or donate.

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  1. For the record, ‘On the Waterfront’ was directed by Elia Kazan, who ‘named names’ before the House Committee on un-American Activities and got a bunch of his former friends and comrades blacklisted from the motion picture industry. The film itself is a meditation on the virtues of informing; Marlon Brando’s famous line ‘I could have been a contender’ arguably attempts to apologise for and excuse Kazan’s own conduct by drawing an entirely false analogy between the mafia and the communist party.

    On the Waterfront is made out to be this grand achievement but actually it’s little better than McCarthyist propaganda.

    1. That is certainly one reading. But there has been an incredibly problematic relationship between politics and Hollywood since the industry’s inception – a profit-driven institution like that is hardly going to be on the side of the Left, even when the Left is inside it. But that doesn’t mean there’s ever a singular reading of a film.

      The mafia and communism analogy is an interesting one, because the FBI and the mafia were the two worst things that ever happened to the US union movement.

  2. The profit-driven nature of Hollywood per se is a given; opposing the introduction of a Show Trial to ferret out crimethink in the cultural beacon of the western world by sending out suboenas to writers, directors and actors preidentified by Hoover’s FBI as not sufficiently right wing hardly equates to a demand to defend the autocratic hiearchies inherent to capitalist relations of production. Nor does it excuse ratting out your friends to the local inquisiton. Too many lefties seem to imagine otherwise.

    The mafia thing is pure projection; in terms of rackets, the mafia were to the reign of J. Edgar Hoover what Nigerian email scams are to neoliberalism.

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