Soapbox Speakers

Speakers’ Corner news for Sunday, 2nd August.

In News From Speakers' Corner. on August 2, 2015 at 8:30 pm

 1. For those of you who participated in making the advertisement for Speakers’ Corner, we apologise. Due to a technical hitch no footage is available. Mr B has to try again this coming Sunday.

2. Peter’s Rant.  In today’s rant Peter has good things to say about school teachers.

3. Steve Maxwell went berserk and threw chairs about. No one knows what he was angry about. Did he finally discover that Pluto was demoted from being a planet? Was he dismayed with Bronwyn Bishop’s forced resignation? Did his footy team lose?  We may never know. Fortunately, a glimpse was caught on video. He managed to compose himself and vent his anger talking about youth unemployment.

4. We had a few passers-by. They were intelligent and articulate. Hecklers, take note. Find them in the third column.

5. For previous posts go to our archive site.

Steve Maxwell’s Passing Parade.

“The Stone.”

Cape Town South Africa

“The Stone” was a large boulder on open ground at the top of Caledon Street, in Cape Town’s famous District Six, a mixed race working class district close to the city centre.

In 1901 two men established regular open-air meetings every Sunday at The Stone: F.Z.J.Peregrino, a West African publisher of the South African Spectator, and John Tobin, a local ‘Cape coloured’ businessman. Their object was to create a forum “for the political education of the masses”.

John Tobin was the son of an Irishman. Both worked in the Kimberley diamond mines. Tobin got his first ideas of politics from his experience in those mines. An eloquent speaker and an avid reader, Tobin was well able to interpret the politics of the day, which he read aloud and debated during the Stone Meetings.

The meetings became an institution in Cape Town, a part of its life. They had a strong and direct influence on the opinions of its people. One observer described the meeting:

“The Stone is at the top of a circle of smaller stones. These smaller stones are the reserved seats; you must come very early to secure one of them. The space enclosed by them is vacant, but outside the circle are gathered some hundreds of Coloured men, Kafirs, Hottentots, Cape boys, half- castes. They are probably representative of very race”.

The ‘Stone’ meetings debated serious issues that had far reaching consequences. There, John Tobin and Abdullah Abduraman, a pro-British Muslim doctor, founded the African Political Organization party (APO). It was the first mixed race political party in South Africa.

The Labour Advance Party was founded in 1905 from the Cape Town Trade Union Council and Social Democratic Federation. Both organisations debated at the Stone meeting, and both advocated for a forty-eight hour working week, and universal, free and compulsory education.

However, after the Boer War (1899-1902) South African politics was already moving to the right. Franchise (the right to vote) was not granted to black Africans. Cecil Rhodes (businessman and Prime Minister of the Cape Colony) wanted to establish a state based upon the principles of eugenics, and in 1948, in a whites only election, the National party was voted in. The National party was committed to the total introduction of apartheid.

In 1966 District Six was proclaimed a White Group Area and thereafter, over a period of 15 years, the modest homes of  66,000 mixed race people were systematically bulldozed. Their community and kinship networks were destroyed and many lives were shattered. The Stone Speakers’ Corner never recovered. However, it’s historical significance  cannot be forgotten.

Steve Maxwell, July, 2015.

For more episodes of Steve Maxwell’s Passing Parade Click here. 

The speakers and hecklers!

In Speakers and hecklers. on March 8, 2015 at 11:51 pm

“I would rather have a mind opened by wonder than one closed by belief.” 
Gerry Spence.

Some people say the speakers at Speakers’ Corner are a little eccentric. There might be a skerrick of merit in that point of view. Whatever the case, they’re an entertaining bunch.
Click here to see their 2014 highlights.
Click here to see their 2013 highlights.

The Speakers and Hecklers.

Steve Maxwell, historian and political commentator.

Steve Maxwell In various personas, but always engaging, Steve talks about Australian history and politics. Click here for highlights. To see more videos of Steve, go to the archives site. From his book, ‘Soapbox Oratory‘ Steve writes: ‘In a modern city, there must be a place where strangers can meet and discuss the issues of the day without fear of persecution; where the right to retain one’s individuality is allowed.

Helmut Cerncic, metaphysicist.

Helmut 4

Helmut once beat Arnold Schwartzenegger in a body building contest. He knows a lot about metaphysics, (more than Arnold Schwartzenegger), and is happy to explain why Isaac Newton was an ignoramus. But his battles with hecklers are fun. Here are some highlights. For more videos of Helmut, go to the archives site and to his own site, ‘Is Science the New Religion?’.

Peter, Commentator.

Peter - best

During the week Peter teaches students, and if he teaches them with the same verve he has for the Sunday passers-by, they are lucky students indeed. Click here for a few highlights. For more videos of Peter, go to the archives site.

Mirko Terzic, 21st Century inventor.


Mirko has created a phonetic alphabet to be used world-wide, and it’s better than Esperento. He has solved the problem of perpetual motion and has diagrams explaining how to get free unlimited energy from hydropower. Mirko knows how to think outside the square. Here are a few highlights of Mirko. For more videos of Mirko go to the archives site.

Ray, Christian.

Ray is concerned about your soul.

 Ray is passionate about spreading the word of God. He takes the task seriously but isn’t confronting. He is a gentle man willing to answer your questions. Here are a few highlights. For more videos of Ray, go to the archives site.

Mr Bashful, epiphany specialist.

Mr B 2

Mr Bashful, the epiphany specialist.

Mr Bashful calls his listeners his ‘grasshoppers’. (“You have much to learn, Grasshopper.”) Among other things, Mr Bashful talks about New Age scams,  happiness myths, and why we should burn the Mona Lisa. One thing he isn’t, is bashful.

Tony, atheist. (Speaker and  heckler)

Tony New-Zealander Tony is a fervent atheist and scathing of the Catholic Church. When he is not berating Christianity he is either sinking the boot into other religions, or supporting Palestine. In this video Tony expresses a few of his well considered opinions. For more videos of Tony click here.

Scott, heretic. (Occasional speaker)


Scott is a young man adept at independent thinking. Calm, thoughtful and considered, Scott takes commonly held views and turns them upside down – not for the sake of it, but because he seeks the truth.  Here are a few examples. For more videos of Scott go to the archives site.

Mitch: “All is consciousness” (Occasional speaker)

Mitch 2

Mitch claims everything is consciousness – even rocks and atoms. Mitch’s theory answers questions posed by Eastern religions, it resolves divine paradoxes, it addresses the mind/body problem and the free will problem, and it answers other philosophical dead-ends. Even acknowledging that everything is consciousness is a step towards Buddhist enlightenment, says Mitch, because we experience a different reality. For a glimpse of his theory click here. For a more detailed explanation go to the archives site.

 Jovo (occasional speaker)


 Jovo is a charismatic man, which may explain why he is also known as ‘Rasputin’ and ‘The Wild Man of Serbia’. Throughout the world he is envied by monks, yogis and gurus for his ability to tap into a stream of consciousness and verbalise it. 


Heckler highlights – 2013

Is it any wonder the speakers are a touch testy sometimes, with hecklers like these guys? Click here to see the heckler highlights for 2013.

Andrew, the exhibitionist. (Heckler.)

If you have any questions to ask of a flasher, Andrew is the guy to ask.

If you have any questions to ask of a flasher, Andrew is the guy to ask.

 Andrew used to be a speaker – he used to be the only flasher in the world prepared to stand up and talk about flashing, and support it. There are four entertaining videos of Andrew speaking.  Here is just one. For more videos of Andrew, go to the archives site. His award winning book about exhibitionism (flashing) is available on Amazon.

Arthur (Heckler)

 Arthur 1

Arthur is not what you call the shy type, and is generous with his opinion. I caught him searching for disciples.

David (heckler).

David is dead against any view supporting the existence of ghosts, telepathy, UFO’s, psychics, and any other new-age rubbish you might try to foist upon him, but when it comes to religion he is fervently agnostic. He leaves no stone unturned in his search for the truth.

John (Placid heckler.)

John is always gentle when debating his views.

John is always gentle when debating his views.

Philosopher, skeptic, atheist, and all around good guy, John makes his way to Speakers’ Corner just often enough to get a mention here.

Jack (Quiet observer)


“The old grey owl sat on an oak. The more he heard, the less he spoke. The less he spoke, the more he heard. Now, wasn’t he a wise old bird?”

Click here to hear a few words from Jack.

Kevin (visitor)

Kevin Kevin speaks out against forced medication with psychotropic drugs.



This column is for you, the passer-by!

In For the passers-by. on March 2, 2015 at 11:50 pm

At Speakers’ Corner all passers-by are invited to step up onto The Ladder of Knowledge and speak, and become a part of Speaker Corner history. The brave souls who take the opportunity are a diverse lot, and enrich Speakers’ Corner considerably. 

How about you? Will you stand on The Ladder of Knowledge and tell us what you think?

Click here to see the 2014 passers-by and heckler highlights and full videos.
Click here to see the 2013 passers-by highlights and full videos.
Click here to see the 2013 heckler highlights.
Click here to see the 2012 passers-by highlights and full videos.

2015 passers-by.


Donny Dodd

Aboriginal ex-speaker Donny returned to Speakers’ Corner. He was asked if Adam Goodes’ war dance was legitimate. Click here.


Catriona 1

This remarkable woman is raising her kids to respect our indigenous people and become helpful, responsible and compassionate human beings. All three children run a charity. Click here for the video.
Indigo: ‘Indigo Express
Saxon: ‘Kids in Philanthropy
Hunter: ‘Foundation for Young Australians



Dr Karen has studied the coal and gas industry for thirty years, and she has a warning for us all. Click here.



This fellow is gravely concerned about the big influx of immigrants into Europe. Click here.


Phil 2

Phil turned up with a few mates and debated Norm on the subject of capital punishment. Click here.


Dave Allen

Dave talks about the doubling of our trillion dollar debt. Click here to hear him speak.


Taylor 1

Taylor didn’t like the way the atheists and the believers were treating each other, and he had the courage to stand up and say so. Click here.



On his website Doug lists 22 incidents in which we were all nearly annihilated in nuclear war. Here are a few words on the subject. For more information try his website:


Albert 2

Albert gives an example of why he doesn’t like the way some cultures impinge on others. He received an aggressive response for his trouble. Click here.
Albert has written a book, Civilisation Hijacked.



In normal circumstances some people have no trouble expressing their views, but when you point a camera at them . . . .   Poor Zoe.



Zoe’s friend, Delia, had the same awkward trouble finding something to speak about. Here is her effort.



Albert Morris has written a book, Civilisation Hijacked, in which he addresses questions like ‘Why do good people do bad things?‘  Click here to hear him speak.

Albert spoke twice. In this video he speaks about collective consciousness.



Annette lets her feelings about war be known. Click here.


Doug reminds us that at any moment we could all experience total annihilation in a nuclear war. He has a website,



It’s good to see that people still care about Australian politics. Click here to discover what Brian says.



This perceptive man praised highly the humble Mr B.



Jacob dropped by to talk about transsexuality.  Click here.



Ingrid tried to talk about women’s rights, but had to suffer an interminable question from Andrew Toth. Nevertheless, she did manage to make some sense. Click here.


Victoria 1

Lawyer Victoria talks about the difficulty of maintaining a work/life balance. Click here.


Norm 1

Two weeks earlier Norm had heckled a speaker, saying that universities were wasting money. Today he happened to be speaking on The Ladder of Knowledge and he was asked about that claim. Click here for his response.

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