Existence as Resistance
How does our identity shape our daily lives and, ultimately, our politics? How do questions of race and gender inform our ideas about justice, equality and solidarity?
In this conversation, we'll hear from some amazing local activists as they discuss their work and the experiences that sparked their activism. These speakers – all of whom are committed to grassroots and…
The Fifth Estate
Samantha Power on Influence and Idealism
How does a person navigate the change from activist outsider to influential insider? How do you balance idealism and pragmatism under pressure?
Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Samantha Power has had to navigate these questions first-hand. From a troubled childhood in Dublin to a career as a war correspondent then academic, she landed at the heart of American politics in 2005 – when her critiques of US foreign policy drew the attention of Barack Obama. She joined his team, eventually becoming a senior human rights adviser.
After an early misstep (she branded Hillary Clinton ‘a monster’, and lost her job over the incident), Power served in the White House’s National Security Council as Special Assistant to the President for Multilateral Affairs and Human Rights. In 2013, she was appointed to the coveted position of US Ambassador to the United Nations.
As she reveals in her newest book, The Education of an Idealist, the intensity of her work was matched by personal struggle – trying to start a family, then raising young children; dealing with anxiety attacks and her own painful childhood. Power has been celebrated for her skill and influence, and has proudly worn the title of activist. She has also drawn sharp criticism from some quarters, particularly in her advocacy for ‘humanitarian intervention’, and her arguments for US action or inaction in Libya, Syria and Yemen.
In conversation with Sally Warhaft, Samantha Power discusses the complexity of decision-making, the tensions between activism and power, and the reconciliation of past and future.
Sally Warhaft and Samantha Power
The Wheeler Centre
Broadside: Necessary Truths: Fatima Bhutto and Mona Eltahawy
Sisonke Msimang, Fatima Bhutto and Mona Eltahawy on stage at Melbourne Town Hall — Photo: Sophie Quick
'The role of artists is never to celebrate power.'Fatima Bhutto
There's a million reasons why we're told to keep quiet on difficult subjects: propriety and decorum, convention and status, fear of retribution. When women try to introduce nuance into certain public debates, it doesn't usually go well for them. Western media conglomerates are often more interested in protecting power than interrogating it. If a woman offers an unvarnished analysis of power structures, or a contrary view, it's often framed as ugly, inappropriate or ungrateful.
In this episode, recorded at the inaugural Broadside festival of feminist ideas, two of the world’s most fearless, most honest, most forthright voices – Fatima Bhutto and Mona Eltahawy – unpick the challenges and pitfalls of a life of truth. With host Sisonke Msimang, they discuss artistry, the west, power and biography.
Before Broadside's public programme, on Friday 8 November, young people from public high schools and youth organisations across Melbourne will gather at the Wheeler Centre for Broadside Teen Day – a tailored day of free talks and workshops designed to inspire community and action.
It’s a space for young people, particularly those from marginalised communities, to come together to talk…
Who Gave You Permission?: Speaking Up and Speaking Out
When we’re described as ‘speaking out’, what people really mean is we’re ‘speaking out of turn’ – and that we do not have the authority to do so. Behaving well means accepting things as they are, and sticking your neck out if you’re not a white guy requires the knowledge that you may be seen as difficult, and unlikeable.
Solid Air: Australian Spoken Word Poetry
If poetry is enjoying a resurgence of interest right now, it's partly because spoken word has given the whole art form a powerful shot in the arm, on both the stage and the page.
What's driving this renewed energy, and how are artists blending (and bending) genres and art forms? What are the links between music, spoken word and resistance…
Anything and everything in Activism from across our archives.
Better Off Dead
9 Why should one church decide for all of us? Death with dignity in Oregon
Explore these other subjects, across our site.