The London School of Economics (LSE) was occupied by students on March 17. The occupation, still going as of March 28, has since spread to King's College London, University of Arts London and Goldsmiths University of London. More than 100 students took over the school, which has been associated with neoliberal economic theory for decades, and declared that the central university administration building has been transformed into the Free University of London.
The Senate has voted down Christopher Pyne’s Higher Education Reform Bill, which would uncap university fees. This is the second time that the legislation has been struck down. It puts Tony Abbott’s government on aan uneasy footing. The defeat of the bill comes after Pyne spent weeks on a campaign to bully and threaten crossbenchers in parliament. This strategy included threatening to cut $150 million of research funding to the National Collaborative Research and Infrastructure Strategy (NCRIS) if the bill was not passed.
“Half the world is dying of starvation and the other half is dying of boredom.” This expression, one of many popularised during the protests of the 1960s, encapsulates a feeling of alienation that many young people today can still relate to. The capitalist world system, despite its proponents’ claims, does not offer a future worth having to any person, whether they live in the relatively secure - though increasingly less so - core nations or the impoverished and exploited periphery states.
People with a disability, especially young people, are facing another wave of attacks and victimisations by the federal government in a new crackdown on those receiving the Disability Support Pension (DSP). In mid-December, the then-minister for social services, Kevin Andrews, announced that his department would begin investigating people on the DSP. This will be carried out by the Coalition’s leading attack-dog, Scott Morrison, who inherited the ministry after a cabinet reshuffle removed him from the position of immigration minister.
“The Battle of Brisbane.” These were the words that greeted readers of Queensland’s Courier Mail on October 28. The article, taking up the front cover and several subsequent pages, dealt with the alleged threat of violent protests at the G20 summit to be held in Brisbane on November 15 and 16. The police, according to the Courier Mail, should meet the protesters with brutal suppression. The actual threat of violence was left vague. In many ways, the phrasing of the subhead for the piece told it all: “Cops vow to crush G20 ferals”.
In the past few weeks, several large protest movements have rocked the Untied States political establishment and the elites it represents. These social explosions seem limited and separate, but they symbolise the growing contradictions of US society and the possibilities of mass struggles in the near future.
Another African American teenager has been murdered by the police in the United States, sparking angry protests and police repression. In Ferguson, Missouri, a generally quiet working-class community was shattered by the August 9 shooting of unarmed teenager Michael Brown as he went to visit his grandmother. Police had been called after reports of shoplifting from a local corner store. Brown was walking down the street when he was told to “Get on the fucking pavement”.
As the bombs fall on the Gaza Strip, taking the lives of over 750 Palestinians — including many civilians and children — one voice has emerged attempting to defend the Israeli regime on a very curious basis: that Israel should be defended because it is a bastion of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) rights and dignity in a sea of nations that would deny these rights. More importantly, American LGBTI people should be thankful “for all Israel has done for us” and remember how important Israel is to the US in the region.
Youth unemployment has risen to double the national unemployment rate, a new report by the Brotherhood of St Laurence has found. The overall unemployment rate is 6%. But for 15 to 24 year olds it is 12.5% and in some areas as high as 20%. The rates of youth unemployment have risen for the past two years. The length of time young people are unemployed is also rising. Young people who choose to study at university are also facing a life of poverty.
The Brisbane Aboriginal Sovereign Embassy (BASE) celebrated its two-year anniversary on March 22. During the past two years, BASE has experienced community support and state repression in their struggle to put Indigenous sovereignty on the agenda in Brisbane and has served as a beacon for Indigenous freedom fighters across the country. Boe Spearim spoke to Green Left Weekly about the history of BASE, its projects, influences and future. What were the origins of the Brisbane Aboriginal Sovereign Embassy project?
Two police officers have been released on bail in Mackay after being charged with raping a woman while on duty. The constables, aged 28 and 29, were charged after an internal police investigation. Little information about the crime itself has been released. But it is apparent there were at least 38 witnesses. The officers have been released on bail under condition they report to the district head of the Police Force and stay away from the witnesses.
Queensland Transport Minister Scott Emerson’s plans to issue students with a “tertiary transport concession card” by March 3 in order to cut down on young people “rorting” on cheap fares has been met with resistance by students. Emerson made the proposal after claiming too many young people are getting cheap tickets while not being students and are “ripping off honest users”.
The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA) has approved plans to dump 3 million cubic metres of sand and mud in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park. This waste will come from dredging the sea floor during construction of the Abbot Point coal terminal near Bowen and will be dumped about 25 kilometres away within the boundaries of the marine park. Federal Environment Minister Greg Hunt initially approved the proposal, before passing it on to the GBRMPA to make the final decision.
Resistance and the Socialist Alliance held a joint educational conference called “How to Make a Revolution” for young people in Brisbane over December 13 – 15. About 80 people from around the country attended over the weekend, mostly young people wanting to discuss all things political, activism and more importantly what strategies socialists should be using in Australia to take the movement forward. Throughout the conference there was a running theme of mass action strategy, and the importance of forming alliances with the broadest layer of people to win demands.
It is not news to progressive people in Australia that this country is profoundly racist. Extensive anti-asylum seeker policies and racial vilification as government policy, the extension of the Northern Territory intervention and continued discrimination in the workplace and the wider community all means people of colour face significant challenges in modern Australia.
First Nations people have blockaded motorways on October 17 in Rexton, New Brunswick in Canada's west in protest against the violation of their traditional homelands by colonist mining companies seeking to commence fracking for shale gas. Protsters from the Elsipogtog First Nation were joined by other local residents to stop shale gas exploration over fears it would lead to environmentally damaging fracking processes.