The Golden Barley School

an anarchist, a communist & a feminist walk into a bar…

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‘No Comfort in a Colonised Country’ zine

A zine about resistance to racism and white supremacy in Australia, 2015.

Made by a couple of us in Sydney and Melbourne. You should be able to print from this link: no comfort


Interview w/ Robbie Thorpe of First Nations Liberation.

Interview w/ Viv Malo of First Nations Liberation.

Reflections on: Australia and internalised colonialism, racism and white supremacy.

1000 Paper Cuts: Resisting the damage of white supremacy.

Whack Australia.

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Published here is my article ‘1000 Paper Cuts’. 

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Stranded in an ocean of individuals, or rescuing collective practice from liberal multiculturalism. Part 2

Part 2 of a very long article i put together about race, religion and liberalism…  Also to be found at my own blog And thanks to the other editors of this blog who all at some point helped with this…

The collective pulls

I began with religion, and despite the distance between that simple anecdote to where I am at now, religion is the base to which this argument must return. It is important to spell out now why it is the crux of the problem I am getting at. In the face of the institutionalised racism I have described, as well as the displaced sense of identity that migrants face, religion is a cultural marker, an affirmation of being within a community that can be clung too. Additionally, as a traditional cultural form that migrants might cling too, it only works in the collective form – its importance clearly being much more than simple faith, but as a site to meet in commonality with others, a site of practical and emotional support – and therefore in some opposition to the alienated individualism of liberal capitalism. Lets call on Zizek again to sum up how religion as a traditional cultural form is treated within liberalism:

“If the subject wants it, he or she can opt into the parochial tradition into which they were born, but they have first to be presented with alternatives and make a free choice amongst them” (Zizek, p.123).

At this point I am going to take a detour through Hanif Kureishi’s novel The Black Album, which although set in early 90’s London, precisely deals with this conflict between the need for collective safety in the form of traditional cultural practices and the allure of the liberal idea of ‘free choice’ and individuality. Continue reading

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Stranded in an ocean of individuals, or rescuing collective practice from liberal multiculturalism. Part 1

Part 1 of a very long article i put together about race, religion and liberalism…  Also to be found at my own blog And thanks to the other editors of this blog who all at some point helped with this…


Lets start with a simple moment, nothing more than a passing word and a flicker of a smile, a polite thanks but no thanks, but really it’s nice you’re out here trying to talk with people. It’s Islamic week at the university where I work, and the woman with the headscarf nods and smiles back. Rewind a few months when the geeky kids with the Evangelical Union t-shirts are out in force and my reaction to being approached is one of unconcealed hostility in the hope that one of them dare take me on and give me a chance to launch into a stinging rebuke about the violence and regressiveness that underpins everything they hold dear. If only.  Continue reading

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Mutiny on Sydney Harbour (gig review)

A review/ collection of thoughts from the shows by Mutiny on the recent Australia Day long weekend. Also to be found at

The short-story of Mutiny bringing their pirate-punk stylings to Sydney on the Australia/ Invasion Day long weekend was “fucken awesome, something fun to do where I can see friends, listen to great bands and get seriously drunk without having to deal with flag-waving jerks”. And that’s pretty much how it went. I was intending to only go to their on-land show at the Red Rattler on the Saturday night, but as great as they were that night, I had a desire to see them in a more contained space. The Rattler’s cavernous room properly drowned some of the energy in the crowd, even if it couldn’t totally contain the momentum jumping off stage. That, and a bunch of my friends already going, decided for me that I’d also get along to the Sydney Harbour cruise show on the Monday. So twice the amount of friends, fun, awesome music and drunkenness! Easy review.

So is there a long story? Yeah, I reckon, or at least I’m going to do my darndest to make one. But firstly I want to emphasise that some of the ideas raised here should in no way be read as a criticism of what Mutiny do, just that as well as being fun, they are an important band for a few reasons and as such important questions come up through their music. To start, calling Mutiny a pirate-punk band is a description that only has the particularly limited use where it might give someone who hadn’t seen them a fairly good idea of what they do. Rollicking, folk-y punk with some nice big sing along choruses, a scratchy voiced singer with some extra layers of melody folded through by means of accordion, tin whistle and more. But pirate-punk also isn’t a good enough indicator of what is contained in their music and why these shows were particularly pertinent. Mutiny’s music is steeped in the stories and sound of the history of colonial Australia. More directly than ‘pirate-punk’ the nature of their music brings to mind the tradition of convict ballads – sped up and sounding a whole lot more punk. Continue reading

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Careers in Retail (exhibition)

This is some thoughts on the exhibition of poster prints, Careers in Retail by a couple of friends of mine.

“Lets build quiet armies friends, lets march on their glass towers… Lets build fallen cathedrals and make impractical plans…” BBF3 – Godspeed! You Black Emperor


The beginnings for Careers in Retail (as written on the back of the flyer for it) has the two artist/ protagonists (collectively calling themselves Dexter Fletcher) with headphones on at school, ‘thinking of sex during maths’, reading the wrong things about art, revolution and anarchy. Dreaming of escape, of so many potential futures as made possible through pop music and a knowledge of the past and the world around. But in the space of a blink of time those subversions of the boredom of school now manifest themselves as escape from the tedium of a job behind a cash register.

On the poster for BBF3 a child gazes wistfully into the distance. From amidst a swirl of ideas they look away and imagine a future and an escape (or many escapes). Boredom is counter-revolutionary and we are expected to be bored everyday – to accept the containment of our desires within the strict orthodoxy of post-industrial capitalism. Here we sell our labour to have access to a series of ‘choices’ about how to spend our ‘leisure’ time that are contained within acts of exchange and consumption that cannot really meet our desires. Mostly we accept to continue to sell our labour out of the merest desire to survive. Continue reading