By the 1950s women in the West had been pushed back into the household; their roles in the expectations of society confined to the whims and demands of men. By the end of that decade, a low rumble of discontent had begun amongst women in the US. In the 1960s that rumble grew into a roar, as women around the country stood up and spoke up. They were united, organised and began an inexorable push for social, legal and economic change that would bring them into the realm of self-empowerment. Although that push must continue to this day, it was these women who built the scaffolding, from the frames of which women’s rights could begin to be constructed.
On a summer's night in July, 1985 a ship called the Rainbow Warrior lay moored at Marsden Wharf in Auckland, New Zealand. Just before midnight, it suddenly exploded. The bomb which blew it up had been expertly attached to the hull by trained military divers. The attack was aimed at the heart of the international anti-nuclear movement, and it was conducted by the foreign intelligence agency of one nation, and committed on the soil (or water) of one of their allies. The sinking of the Rainbow Warrior showed how very much the fears and insecurities of powerful nations had become misaligned with public opinion, and the positions of their allies, around the world.
Despite over half a century of abolitionist activity, including subversive activism, dissent, debate, protest and attempts at electoral process, by the end of the 1850s the demise of slavery seemed to some to still be as far from becoming reality as ever.
Enter John Brown. Whereas the division over the issue of slavery had riven the young federal society of the US apart, John Brown never wavered, questioned or acted against the defining principle of his life: slavery was an abomination that must end.
In the second "Coup de Pod" episode in Stuff What You Tell Me history, the show is finally taken over by someone capable. Awesome storyteller Dominique Reviglio takes us down the path of the history of women's rebellion; on a journey through the millennia of both oppression and rebellion, before exploring the militant Suffragette movement that erupted in Britain in the first decades of the 20th century.
The passing of the Kansas-Nebraska act in 1854 opened up a new battlefront in the United States between those for and against the institution of slavery. Senator Stephen A. Douglas, who sponsored the bill, supported the notion of popular sovereignty; that the people who lived in a certain territory could decide by themselves whether or not to allow slavery. In so doing, he began a race between rebellious free-staters and resistant pro-slavery partisans to claim Kansas as their own, which lead to an outburst of violence that history remembers as the Bleeding of Kansas.
In antebellum United States, in the first half of the 1800s, chattel slavery was deeply embedded. It was an integral part of the socio-economic systems of the various states, and thus protected by the constitution. The 'Railroad Rebels' didn't care. They knew that slavery was wrong. They were the ones who suffered from it, the ones who escaped from it; they were those who harboured fugitives, and who helped them move from servitude to liberty; people of all colours and classes who flouted the law on a daily basis, because their principles and beliefs demanded it of them. They are the heroes who would form what became known as the Underground Railroad, a loose, organic, grass-roots system helping fugitive slaves. It is because of them, that institutional slavery is now dead. And thank fuck for that. Long live the Railroad Rebels.
Over 300 years, the transatlantic slave trade caused the abuse, suffering and enslavement of an estimated 10-12 million people. This episode takes a look at what some of that experience would have meant for these groups and individuals forcibly removed from their homelands. Specifically, we look at the slave uprising on the Spanish ship Tryal, in 1805, and ask some questions that set us on the path of this series about the abolition of one of the oldest human institutions. What were the social, political and economic conditions that led to the uprising on the Tryal? How did it go down and what were the repercussions? Furthermore, how did American author Herman Melville (of Moby Dick fame) write about the Tryal uprising, some 50 years after it had occurred, and during a period where his country was at that moment tearing itself apart over the very question of slavery? All this and more, in Slavery's Tryal.
In the years 69-70 CE, the Batavian people, who inhabited the lower reaches of the Rhine and Waal rivers, that form a part of today's Netherlands, went into open revolt against the Roman Empire. They were led by Claudius (Julius) Civilis, and would ultimately fail. But what he and this rebellion spurred, seventeen hundred years later, would be way beyond anything they could have imagined. This barbarian uprising would come to affect and inspire ideas of rebellion within the lives of the wealthiest people on the planet in the 1500 and 1600s. In 1661, Rembrandt would paint 'The Conspiracy of Claudius Civilis', but in a totally rebellious way. It was rebellion inspiring rebellion within the celebration of rebellion. Rebellion inception.
Stuff What You Tell Me has been taken over this episode for a coup de Pod. Violently imposed upon and hosted by Geert Sillevis, here we explore the story of the rise and fall of the Portuguese dictatorship in the 20th century. It was an authoritarian rule that embedded itself deeply within the fabric of modern Portugal, and it would take nothing short of daring and decisive rebellion to change it. That rebellion was the Carnation Revolution of 1974.
This Episode looks at the journey of western thought from the perspective of Thomas Kuhn's 1962 book, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions. Using a (very) extended metaphor, in which all of humanity is on a raft, setting out to sea from the Bay of Ignorance, in search of the Island of Truth, we look at Kuhn's "paradigm shift" explanation for how we have arrived at what we know today.
In May 1940 German troops occupied Amsterdam, the capital city of the Netherlands and one of the most diverse and liberal cities in Europe. Not only was Amsterdam's large and prosperous Jewish community about to endure 5 years of brutal deportation and execution, but every person in the city would have to face varying hardships. The experience of each person during the occupation would have been determined by the decisions they made; decisions on whether to resist, or abide; to fight against the occupiers, or to collaborate with them; decisions on whether to help their fellow Amsterdammers, or to leave them out in the cold, dark realm of hopelessness and fear. This episode is our interpretation of these events; a look at what some of those decisions might have been, and how different, resultant experiences would have been felt.
In the late 1970s, a band called the Sex Pistols helped kick off one of the great anti-establishment movements of the modern age; punk rock. It was a decade of social unrest and political uncertainty in the United Kingdom, with striking miners, IRA attacks, severe inflation and an IMF bail-out. When there seemed to be no future for the youth of Britain, the Sex Pistols were at the forefront of the new music and fashion movement which defiantly stuck a middle finger up to everything and everyone. But how real is an anti-materialistic rebellion when some people make themselves very rich off of it?
How we tell ourselves about our histories goes a long way to how we form our senses of identity. As societies and as individuals, we work through events and issues, and how we look at them later helps us define who we say we are. But what happens when we cannot agree on our past? Why do we feel the need to fight over statues, and how can we deal with it? This episode is about dealing with this problem - dissonant heritage - and about the on-going pursuit by both indigenous and non-indigenous Australians to re-define Australian history. How have Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians struggled to recover a rightful role in modern Australia and Australian history; a role that recognises their journey, their resistance and their achievements, as well as what they've gained and what has been lost throughout?
History has come to represent more than just the account of the past. It helps us define who we are, and what we represent. In the 1960s a group of Australian aboriginals went on a strike, demanding not just living conditions, but their recognition as the original custodians of the land. Their strike would force a 'reversal of history', and so send Australia on a path to amend how it saw and defined itself. The path continues to be uneasily trodden to this day.
William Buckley, who would at various times also be known as "The Wild White Man" and "The Anglo-Australian giant", was a man who bore little respect for convention, authority, nor the confines of society. Over the course of his life his experiences would range from fighting in the Napoleonic wars, sailing across the globe, and spending a significant part of his life living in the Australian bush, prior to the settlement of the continent's south-east. After him, the expression "you've got Buckley's chance" has come to describe having no chance for success, or endurance. So was his life a success or failure?
What was that crazy story that we just told? How much of it really happened? What does it all mean for our understanding of rebellion and resistance, and for how we perceive the role of defiance in events that have come before us? We explore all of this in the final episode of our series: The Unfortunate Voyage of the Batavia.
The VOC is back! Three and a half months after Commander Pelsaert abandoned everybody to a life a brutality and thirst, finally those who have managed to survived may just be rescued. But who of the mutineers and the defenders will be able to tell their story first? How will the VOC react to the utter madness that has taken place on these islands? This episode tackles all this and more.
In the history of European military aggression in Australia, this is where it all began. Of the people that remain alive following the doomed voyage of the Batavia, not to mention the shipwreck and then the genocide that followed, they now have to face a civil war.
Upper Merchant Francisco Pelsaert, Captain Arjen Jacobsz and about 40 other people are sailing in a longboat north along the immense coast of Het Zuidland. They're on a rescue mission to the fort at Batavia, 3000kms north of where the ship Batavia has sunk at Houtman's Abrolhos. Unfortunately, they won't be able to rescue as many people as they would like, because Jeronimus Cornelisz is about to go on a rampage of murder, sex slavery, and pretty much every other horrible thing you can think of. Batavia's Graveyard, July 1629, is one of those places in history that you would never, ever want to find yourself.
As all hell breaks loose aboard the sinking ship Batavia, saving the lives of crew and passengers aboard may not be the most important priority. In this episode, we look at how authority handles the most unique and unprecedented circumstances, stuck on a craggy island with little hope for rescue and even less hope for a cup of water.
It should be fairly smooth sailing from here on for the Batavia... Were it not for the small matters of a brewing mutiny amidst the crew, divisions and distractions amongst the leaders of the ship and the impending doom that lays ahead, unbeknownst to them all, they may stand a chance... (they don't stand a chance.)
Life on board a ship in the 1600s was no joyous experience. In this episode, we look at what the crew, soldiers and passengers aboard the Batavia went through, as they made their way from the United Provinces to their first scheduled stop at the Cape of Good Hope: the southern tip of Africa.
In an age when traditional European feudalism was breaking down, the United Provinces of the Netherlands chartered the world's first corporation. The VOC would become a major authority for thousands of people, all around the world. In this episode we explore why and how the company came into existence, and what that meant for those who were (un)lucky enough to have anything to do with it.
In October, 1628, a merchant ship called Batavia set sail from the Dutch republic bound for an island on the other side of the world called Java. She was the flagship of a fleet of vessels being sent by the richest corporation to ever exist and, along with extremely precious cargo, carried 341 men and women, including captain, sailors, soldiers, passengers, merchants, a minister and his family. Her voyage would end, however, on a jagged reef near a tiny set of islands off the Western Australian coast, and in the weeks that followed 110 men, women and children would be brutally murdered by a gang of bloodthirsty mutineers led by a psychopath who believed he could do no wrong since God himself inspired all his actions. In this first episode we take a look at the situation in the Netherlands and Amsterdam in the 1500s and early 1600s. With a focus on the sensory elements that are so often forgotten in the telling of history, we explore the world in which the rebellion on the Batavia took place; and discover what conditions existed that would foster such an unfathomable story as this one.
Martin Luther would see immediate impacts of his resistance on the world around him, but he would die before some of the most cataclysmic effects occurred. Arguably, we are still living through them as their reverberations echo through time. In this episode we summarise some of the consequences of Luther's resistance.
Like a burning-hot microphone, Luther had dropped his theology onto the stage of European society. The Church was tardy in its response, standing at the back of the crowd, generally just disturbed by the noise. The general population began to grab a hold of these reforming ideas and Luther began to clarify and solidify his position. Stubbornly, that position would not change.
In this episode we cover the next several years of Luther's rebellion against the most powerful authority the world had ever known.
It's tempting to imagine that Luther dropped a bombshell when he released his theses. However, it was more like he stuck a paper-bag full of theologically important dog-poo outside the Church's front door. The Church did not answer the doorbell, and while Luther went about telling people why he'd done it, the flaming-poo-bag set the whole house ablaze. His theology was now in the open and thanks to the quick hands of his supporters and the availability of the printing press, Luther's ideas started becoming popular. This, however, would bring its own problems...
In this episode, we look at Luther's 95 theses, what he did with them, and what they did to everyone else.
Corruption had been given a thousand years to entwine itself within the administrative and dogmatic structure of the Church. Indulgences were an example of money being paid in exchange for spiritual benefit. The Pope held control over everybody's soul so, well, you may as well do what you can to make the Pope happy. Who could have a problem with this kind of practice?
Martin Luther. That's who.
In this episode we look at indulgences: where they came from, and what they could get you.
Between the years 1510-1520 Luther lectured in Wittenberg on the Psalms, the books of Hebrews, Romans and Galatians. This would take him on a mad spiritual trip that would come to reconcile himself with God. Better than ayahuasca, faith alone is all that Martin wanted.In this episode we dabble in a bit of monkish mind magic, peering into this fan-dangled theology of Martin Luther.
Luther lived in the state of the Saxony, within the Holy Roman Empire. The dominance of the Church pervaded through all aspects of the society, but within the framework of the spiritual domain. The temporal domain structure wielded rule in the physical world. These two power structures were interconnected and interdependent.
In this episode we go a little into this complicated and somewhat ridiculous power complex. Ooooh yea.
Luther's solution to his over-bearing thoughtfulness about the world was to become a monk. What a radical! His time in the monastery would help shape many things that he would stand for and many things that he would stand against.
In this episode, we go through Luther's transition and travel with him to Rome, where he will learn how monking is really done and climb some very special stairs. Say your pater nosters folks, it's about to get real.
Before he became an earth-shattering theologian, Martin Luther was on the path to becoming a lawyer. But after being struck by perhaps the most influential lightning bolt in history, his life was forever changed and the world would get one less lawyer. In this episode we look at Luther’s early life, and look at his first rebellion; that against his parents.
500 years ago Martin Luther stood up to the might and authority of the Roman Catholic Church. Pitted against the most established institution in European history, Luther would bear and wield an idea that should have gotten him killed.
Instead, he rode a wave of luck and circumstance to stand up for what he believed in, against everything that was thrown at him. Those beliefs turned out to be of such magnitude that they would usher in a whole new world, forever reeling from and expanding upon the resistance of Martin Luther.