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Sylvia saw the Opera House story as a quintessential Australian story — a great idea, a great location, ruined. These books established a market for Australian writing on Australian cinema.

Other publishers and books followed. I often tell people that I have known two gifted, and I mean really gifted, editors in my life — and one of them was Sylvia Lawson. She could take an ordinary piece of prose and turn it around into something else.

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And she was also a teacher. It was there that I was taught by her. She later contributed in no small measure to my PhD on Australian film. She encouraged me to write for Filmnews ; she suffered my imperfect readings of her writings; she mentored me with a light touch as she did so many others.

When I told Sylvia about this conversation, it was the only time in our long friendship that I saw tears well up in her eyes. Sylvia was a campaigning journalist.

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In that role she demanded and secured the impossible: her untiring advocacy over the s for an Australian cinema created the conditions for prime minister John Gorton and the Australian Council for the Arts to invest in an Australian cinema. A committee was formed and a report was commissioned. Barry Jones and Phillip Adams are often credited as the originators of Australian governmental interest in film, and that would seem to be so if you were to follow the line of policy reports.

But each of those involved Jones, Adams, Peter Coleman and Ian Jones were reading and, yes, getting the rehearsal of their ideas from Sylvia. In Nation continuously over a decade, in two high-profile articles for Quadrant and in various public forums and festivals yes, she was at one stage the director of the Sydney Film Festival , she advanced the case for an Australian cinema. This activity laid the groundwork, creating the conditions under which governmental support could be made to seem natural.

Demanding the impossible? Platinum mining profits and wage demands in context (Part 2)

That is the sort of career that any campaigning journalist would like to have. Sylvia told me a number of times over the years that she had wanted to be a foreign correspondent. But that career in journalism was not open to her as a woman when she worked in newspapers in the mid s. I would like to think she did the next best thing. She became a literary journalist and film reviewer.

This gave her the licence to cover the lot: the international, the national, the public and the domestic. She reckoned it an Australian masterpiece. But it was also about an inconvenient truth. It was about fellow journalists being killed and Australian governments being complicit in the cover-up.

Sylvia got her foreign correspondent gig in the end — as a film critic. Topics: biography cinema history journalism. The Panama Papers looked like the culmination of a new era for leakers — and then the Paradise Papers came along.

Demanding the Impossible

But can we expect action to follow? Revolt and Revolution: The Protester in the 21st Century. Editors: Euripides Altintzoglou and Martin Fredriksson. It is significant that Time Magazine, in the wake of the Arab Spring, named The Protester the person of the year of The histories that are currently being re written, not only in the West but also in North Africa and the Middle East, and more recently in places like Ukraine and Thailand, show us that the immanence and promise of large scale political revolutions is as present as ever across the world.

The solidity and stability that nations and economic systems strive for is continuously being challenged by different forces, with shifting means, for various reasons. This book makes no attempts to answer that question.

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On the contrary it embraces the ambiguity and heterogeneity of contemporary protest movements, pointing to how the potentials of revolutionary acts reside behind seemingly irrelevant, disorganized outbursts of apparently aimless acts. Terms and Conditions Privacy Statement. Powered by: PubFactory. Sign in to annotate. It unleashed a wave of joyous experimentation, evanescent and spontaneous efforts to challenge the dull routine of the repetitious lives that had been constructed in and through advanced capitalism. The rejection of political inheritance and the embrace of a more fluid and experimental style of politics is not without its own pitfalls, challenges and critics.

One can almost hear the Zizeks and Mouffes intoning against forms of politics that dispensed with the militant collectivism associated with the Leninist tradition in particular.

Demanding the Impossible: A History of Anarchism

Where is the institutionalisation, or rendering permanent the demands of this assemblage? Where is the attempt to create the necessary counter-hegemonic structure that will provide a genuine force to challenge the state, the ruling class and the repressive apparatus? Where is the desire for seeing through a program designed to ameliorate the conditions of the least well off?

There is a certain obvious way in which this stony-faced realism misses the point. This is that the linearity of politics, the sense of a common collective endeavour undertaken by a mass of like-minded citizens toward a common goal, is precisely what was challenged in It told us that the certainties that had sustained the post-war order — the promise of more jobs, more stuff to buy, happier and more contended lives — was not enough.

It was not exciting, interesting, fulfilling. It too was hostage to a set of expectations that a generation fed on austerity had enough of hearing: the heroism of the working class locked in its cycle of repetitious labour, greasy hands and greasier chips. May did not change the world, but it made us look differently at the world we have and the world being created. It made us think that maybe — beneath the cobbles — there is another world. You can read other articles in this series as they are published here.

Screen music and the question of originality - Miguel Mera — London, Islington. Edition: Available editions United Kingdom. Starting out as a set of demonstrations against university reform, the French uprisings of May quickly gathered momentum.


Simon Tormey , University of Sydney. The collapse of grand narratives can be seen as the moment when the two dominant narratives on the left — social democracy and communism — were both called into question. So, calls against social democracy and communism exploded on the streets of Paris under joyously enigmatic slogans: Be realistic: demand the impossible! Under the cobbles, the beach! It is forbidden to forbid! The end of the party Related to the collapse of dominant narratives was a collapse in faith in organisational politics , more familiarly the political party, the dominant form of collective mobilisation since the 19th century.

Graffiti in a classroom at the University of Lyon that appeared during a student occupation of parts of the campus in May Adbusters today practises the distinctly strategy of detournement as a form of resistance. Ahed Tamimi appears at a military court.