Australia

As the catastrophic fires raged over several states from late December into early January, Green Left’s Pip Hinman asked Shaun McDonald, a professional firefighter currently based in Tasmania about his views. McDonald has been a firefighter for 13 years, fighting fires in three states and territories, including recently being deployed to NSW.

The horror of the devastating and apocalyptic fires in NSW and Victoria not only dampened the New Year party mood, it has fanned anger over the government's obvious failure to respond to the climate emergency.

Karl Marx and the Birth of Modern Society: The Life of Karl Marx and the Development of His Work
Volume 1: 1818-1841
By Michael Heinrich
Monthly Review Press, 2019 
390 pp., $46.00

In the opening lines of this book Michael Heinrich quotes from an 1868 letter in which Karl Marx mentions a publisher’s request for a biography. “Not only did I not send one”, said Marx, “I did not even reply to the letter.”

Bill Ryan, one of Australia's foremost environmental activists, has died in Sydney at the age of 97.

Greg Adler came into left-wing politics in the late 1960s at a time of great political turmoil in Brisbane.

The reactionary Joh Bjelke-Petersen government had moved to shackle the unions and crush dissent, provoking a series of mass protests. In 1969, Greg joined the Revolutionary Socialist Alliance, part of which went on to join the Socialist Labour League (SLL).

Perth Pride assembled its biggest parade to date on November 30, with 115 floats. But many in the LGBTIQ community were unhappy that a large number belonged to corporate sponsors and police while smaller community floats were squeezed out.

The Morrison government has launched a political attack on the arts and artists can no longer afford to be apolitical.

More than 1000 people attended the funeral for Wangerriburra and Birri Gubba leader Sam Watson in Musgrave Park on December 6. Watson passed away on November 26, just two weeks after his 67th birthday.

On December 9, Labor leader Anthony Albanese reaffirmed his party’s support for ongoing coal exports which make this country the Saudi Arabia of coal exports. Absurdly, Labor's supposed “climate action” wing, the Labor Environment Action Network (LEAN), backed Albanese and attacked the Greens for questioning Labor's climate credentials.

The Alternative Liberal Party under “climate champion” Anthony Albanese supports Australia maintaining its status as the “Saudi Arabia of coal”. No surprise there, unfortunately.

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