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Analysis and Comment (21)

The app that’s been lighting a fire under Hong Kong protests. The app that’s been lighting a fire under Hong Kong protests. OpenGarden.com

Mesh networks and Firechat make ‘switching off the internet’ that much harder

The events in Hong Kong have seen technology play a huge role in organising political protest, as much as in the days of the Arab Spring of 2011. But governments have become wise to the potential influence…
Frack the police: a protester is taken down at Barton Moss. Frack the police: a protester is taken down at Barton Moss. Lynne Cameron/PA

Police violence at anti-fracking protests is about order, not law

In November 2013 at Barton Moss on the outskirts of Salford, IGas, a company specialising in onshore extraction of oil and gas, began exploratory drilling to test for coal bed methane and shale gas. The…
Hands up if you’re on Twitter. Hands up if you’re on Twitter. EPA/Al-Masry Al-Youm

When the town square is online, power lies with the people

In the age of information, we no longer need to leave the house to shape democracy. We’re heading towards a world in which the traditional sites of protest are sitting alongside online forums, which are…
The array of handmade signs at the Sydney rally reveals the disparate nature of March in March participants' concerns. The array of handmade signs at the Sydney rally reveals the disparate nature of March in March participants' concerns. AAP/NEWZULU/Peter Boyle

March in March: the old ways of doing politics are under challenge

Political participation in Australia will soon be about hope – and the transformation of citizenship engagement in this country. Here is why. Traditionally, Australian political participation was centred…
Demonstrators in downtown Donetsk. Demonstrators in downtown Donetsk. EPA/Photomig

Eyewitness: Russia and Ukraine supporters face off in Donetsk

A tense evening in Donetsk. Around 1,000 pro-Russian supporters gathered in front of the building which houses both the regional state administration and the regional council late on Wednesday afternoon…
A protester plays the piano atop a burned-out bus in Kiev. A protester plays the piano atop a burned-out bus in Kiev. Ввласенко

How could the EU do more for Ukraine?

When in Kiev recently I asked many Ukrainians how they thought the raging political and now violent conflict would end. All said they had no idea, but one of them said he had eight scenarios, which included…
D'Arcy is more than an elderly firebrand. D'Arcy is more than an elderly firebrand. Niall Carson/PA

Jailed playwright Margaretta D'Arcy is a heroine of pacifism

Much has been made about the power of social media to improve democratic participation. But as with medicines and drugs, no heavily used technologies are without their side effects. This is particularly…
Police lead away members of the Drax coal train protest group. Police lead away members of the Drax coal train protest group. Anna Gowthorpe/PA

The shocking and immoral behaviour of the British secret police

The news that a group of environmental protesters who stopped a train carrying coal to the Drax power station in 2009 have had their convictions overturned should give us pause for thought about the current…
Whose opinion of this forest is most important? The Tasmanian Forests Agreement has decided. Whose opinion of this forest is most important? The Tasmanian Forests Agreement has decided. Sarah Caulfield

Tasmanian Forests Agreement: deeply flawed, worth backing

On April 30 2013, Tasmania’s Parliament passed the Tasmanian Forests Agreement, with the aim of ending one of the world’s longest-running forestry conflicts. The deal “locks up” a further half-million…
The situation is desperate, no-one in power seems to care: what’s a concerned citizen to do? The situation is desperate, no-one in power seems to care: what’s a concerned citizen to do? AAP Image/Greenpeace, James Alcock

When the time comes to disobey: civil disobedience and coal

Greenpeace’s attempt to stop a ship carrying Australian coal is an opening shot in what is likely to be an escalating campaign of civil disobedience directed at Australia’s export coal industry. The raid…
The death of British prime minister Margaret Thatcher has led to ‘celebrations’ across the UK - including a campaign to get ‘Ding Dong! The Witch Is Dead’ to number one on the music charts. The death of British prime minister Margaret Thatcher has led to ‘celebrations’ across the UK - including a campaign to get ‘Ding Dong! The Witch Is Dead’ to number one on the music charts. EPA/Facundo Arrizabalaga

Will history remember the ‘Ding-Dong!’ over Margaret Thatcher?

After much controversy, the BBC last night played a seven second clip of Ding-Dong! The Witch Is Dead on its traditional Sunday night music chart show. The song had been the subject of an internet campaign…
Does protesting make any difference? Does protesting make any difference? AAP Image/Forest Activist Network

What’s the point? The failure of community activism

Australians are rightly proud of their democratic traditions. They are also inclined to raise their voice in protest when faced with government, bureaucratic, or civil injustice. Environmental activists…
How will ASIC cope with the pressure it’s under to punish coal hoaxer Jonathan Moylan? How will ASIC cope with the pressure it’s under to punish coal hoaxer Jonathan Moylan? State Records NSW

ASIC and the great coal hoax

Will anti-coal activist Jonathan Moylan receive justice if he is charged over his hoax? ASIC, which will formally interview Moylan next week, is under enormous pressure to “make an example” of the 24-year…
When the community feels locked out of the environmental approvals process, they look for other avenues. When the community feels locked out of the environmental approvals process, they look for other avenues. Kate Ausburn

Whitehaven hoax shows NSW planning system can’t cope with community concern

This week’s hoax email from an anti-coal activist, Jonathan Moylan, highlights an emerging issue in land-use conflicts both in Australia and internationally. Activists, and in many instances, communities…
Old methods of protest are looking distinctly shabby in the face of climate change. Now activists are making it harder for miners to do business. Old methods of protest are looking distinctly shabby in the face of climate change. Now activists are making it harder for miners to do business. Paul Miller/AAP

ANZ imposter takes up new climate tactic

Yesterday an anti-coal activist, Jonathan Moylan issued a media release purportedly from the ANZ Bank withdrawing a $1.2 billion loan to Whitehaven Coal, which is developing a project in Maules Creek in…
Spending a year up a tree no longer means being cut off from influence. Spending a year up a tree no longer means being cut off from influence. Alan Lesheim

Digital tree-sitting: environmental protest when media is everywhere

Environmental protest was once a gritty, combative affair, mediated through an often-hostile press. But these days, even a tree-sitter in the most far-flung wilderness can control her own media image and…
La Trobe’s Vice-Chancellor John Dewar defends his cuts to the humanities program. La Trobe’s Vice-Chancellor John Dewar defends his cuts to the humanities program. ABC News

Vice-Chancellor: La Trobe protestors abused freedom of speech

On Sunday, La Trobe University held its most successful Open Day ever, with more than 19,000 visitors. But the day was disrupted by student protests against recently announced changes to our Faculty of…