Australia

I began writing this as a reply to a worker infected by the ideological disease that could be called today’s version of “the socialism of fools”. That was the name given by German socialists at the end of the 19th century to the irrational, bigoted and eventually genocidal idea that Jews were to blame for the plight of oppressed and exploited workers. Today’s “fools” in Australia blame asylum-seekers and refugees, especially those of Muslim faith or who come from the Middle East.
Aboriginal elders at Muckaty, 120 kilometres north of Tennant Creek in the Northern Territory, have called for a weekend of protest in Tennant Creek on May 7 and 8 against the federal government’s plan to build a radioactive waste dump in the area. Traditional owners Dianne Stokes, Mark Chungaloo, Mark Lane and Bunny Naburula said on April 22: “We are the traditional owners of the Muckaty Land Trust, where the government is trying to put a radioactive waste dump.
For many people, gambling merely fulfils a short-term desire to be entertained. Yet for an estimated 2.3% of Australian adults, it has become a compulsion; an uncontrollable addiction which largely affects their personal, social and financial life. Over the past decade, the gambling industry in Australia has expanded significantly. Currently, every state and territory within Australia has at least one casino operating within its jurisdiction, offering various gambling options, including poker and gaming machines, to anyone over the legal age of 18.
"Another Australia is Possible" was the main theme of the Socialist Alliance Queensland State Conference, held on Saturday April 16 in the Brisbane Activist Centre. A feature panel, “Fighting for Another Australia”, included presentations from Murri community leader Sam Watson, Sri Lankan human rights activist Dr Brian Senewiratne, socialist educationalist and writer Gary MacLennan, and Socialist Alliance national executive member Lisa Macdonald.
Long-time Perth activist, Communist Party of Australia leader, World War II veteran and retired waterside worker Vic Williams died on April 19, aged 96. Born on June 28, 1914, Vic joined the Communist Party of Australia (CPA) in 1939 and was one of its leading members in Western Australia until it split over the Soviet intervention in Czechoslovakia in 1968.
The family of an Aboriginal man, Herbert Mitchell, who died after being taken to Townsville’s police watchhouse on April 18, is calling for answers from the current police investigation and coroner's report. Aboriginal activist and Townsville resident Gracelyn Smallwood said: “The Mitchell family is in a state of shock and mourning at the sudden and unexpected death of their family member. “The family has no clear information except that he was picked up by police for public drunkenness and within four hours he was on life support in hospital.”
A Green Left Weekly Culture of Resistance dinner, taking place in Sydney’s west on May 28, will pay homage to the people's power movements in the Arab world. Each succulent dish served will be from a country in revolt, and speakers at the frontline from Egypt, Palestine and from Jews Against the Occupation will address the event. Revolutionary Arabic band, Al-Salam (which means peace in Arabic) will perform on the night. Band member Samir Maarbani said: “Al-Salam is a group established during the Lebanese civil war in 1981 and has expanded into all kinds of musical arts.
Three members of the Sydney-based refugee solidarity group the Cross Borders Collective occupied the rooftop of immigration minister Chris Bowen’s electoral office in Fairfield on April 29. Their protest was a stand of support for the refugees who have been protesting inside immigration detention centres across Australia, including the week-long rooftop protest by three detainees in Sydney’s Villawood detention centre. Police arrested the activists within a few hours and removed them from the roof.
In the lead up to the March 26 New South Wales state election, a concerted anti-Greens campaign was unleashed by the major parties and the corporate media. Despite this, Greens candidate and mayor of Leichhardt Jamie Parker won the seat of Balmain. Green Left Weekly’s Kiraz Janicke spoke to Parker about the campaign and the Greens’ agenda in the next period. Congratulations on being the first ever lower house Greens MP elected to the NSW parliament. Could you comment on the significance of this victory?
Who were the actual criminals that sparked the refugees’ revolt in Villawood detention centre in late April? There is no crime in climbing on top of a building and holding a banner saying “We need help”, nor asking for a meeting with immigration officials after 15 months in detention, as two Kurdish Iranian refugees did on April 20, sparking protests that lasted for more than a week. It’s not a crime to resist injustice — the refugees who have taken it on themselves to revolt inside Australia’s mandatory detention system must be defended and supported for their stand.

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