Dave Holmes

Below is the speech given by Socialist Alliance member Dave Holmes to a Melbourne meeting and concert to mark the founding of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK). About 400-500 people attended the November 28 event organised by the Kurdish Association of Victoria at the Kurdish House centre in Melbourne’s Pascoe Vale.
Moreland council has become one of the first organisations to vote against participating in the federal Work for the Dole scheme. The federal government scheme was expanded in July to incorporate jobseekers aged under 50 who have been receiving welfare payments for more than six months. Sue Bolton, a Socialist Alliance councillor on Moreland council moved a motion on October 7 against council participating in the Work for the Dole scheme.
Activists from Turkey's Kurdish lead People's Democratic Party (HDP).
The federal government re­listed the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) as a terrorist organisation on August 11. This means it is illegal for Australian citizens to belong to it, actively support it or raise funds for it. The PKK was first placed on Australia’s list of terrorist groups in December 2005 by John Howard’s government after Turkey’s then Prime Minister — now president — Recip Tayyip Erdogan visited Australia. It was re­listed by Howard in 2007, by Labor under Kevin Rudd in 2009 and by Julia Gillard in 2012.
Members of Melbourne’s Kurdish community, along with Australian supporters, held a rally and march in Melbourne on August 29 to protest Turkey’s war against its Kurdish population. Speakers denounced the regime of President Recip Tayyip Erdogan for launching a war on the Kurds, who make up over a quarter of Turkey’s population. Kurdish cities, towns and villages have been savagely attacked by security forces. People have been killed in their homes, the death toll is rising and hundreds of Kurdish politicians and activists have been arrested.
John Percy, veteran socialist, died on August 19 in Sydney, aged 69. He was a co-founder of the revolutionary youth organisation Resistance and the Socialist Workers Party, later the Democratic Socialist Party. John, together with his brother Jim, began his political career as a student activist at Sydney University in the mid-1960s in the growing movement against the Vietnam War.
Turkish police repress protests against Erdogan's renewed war. The outcome of Turkey’s June 7 parliamentary elections promised so much.
One month after Turkey’s June 7 parliamentary elections, the country still does not have a government. Ahmet Davutoglu of the Justice and Development Party (AKP) remains caretaker prime minister. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan remains the dominant figure in the AKP and is manoeuvring to retain his party’s leading position. The president is supposed to be an impartial figure above party politics but Erdogan pays scant regard to such constitutional niceties. The elections were marked by two significant and related developments.
Photo: Kurdpress.com. The June 7 elections to Turkey’s Grand National Assembly are shaping up to be the most important in a long time. The bold decision of the People’s Democratic Party (HDP) to run as a party and strive to exceed the grossly undemocratic 10% threshold needed to win representation in parliament has put the group at the political centre stage.
An open letter to the Australian government calling for the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) to be removed from the list of proscribed terrorist organisations is gathering support. Initiated by the Melbourne-based Australians for Kurdistan campaign committee, the open letter has attracted some notable endorsements. The letter and endorsements can be viewed here.
A lot is at stake in Turkey’s parliamentary elections to be held on June 7 — for the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) as well as the oppressed Kurdish population. The AKP, led by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, won 49% of the vote in the 2011 elections and holds 312 of the 550 seats in Turkey’s Grand National Assembly. A Gezici poll taken in January suggests the AKP’s support has slipped 9.7% to just under 40%.
Rally and march in Melbourne in solidarity with the Kurdish struggle. Australians for Kurdistan (AFK) committee has launched a campaign for the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) to be removed from the Australian government’s list of terrorist organisations. The PKK was first listed in 2005; its listing comes up for review this August.
The day before the huge January 11 demonstration in Paris against the killings at the Charlie Hebdo office, another demonstration marked another set of killings in the French capital. On January 10, tens of thousands of Kurds and their supporters marched to mark the assassination two years earlier of three Kurdish women activists of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) and to protest the French government’s foot-dragging on clarifying the truth about the crime.
Ever since the foundation of modern Turkey in 1923, the country’s Kurdish population has endured severe discrimination and national oppression. The nationalist officers around Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the victor of Gallipoli who led the struggle to establish Turkey's republic, were ruthless Turkish chauvinists. They saw the large Kurdish minority as a “problem” to be dealt with.
Kobane’s epic resistance against the assault of the genocidal Islamic State (IS) gangs had entered its fourth week by October 10. The defence had held out against overwhelming odds. The defenders had been forced back, but their lines had not been broken. In some neighbourhoods, street fighting was taking place.
Besieged since September 15, the northern Syrian Kurdish-majority city of Kobane (whose Arabic name is Ayn al-Arab) has mounted a heroic, all-out resistance to the murderous Islamic State gangs. As of September 25, despite the superior heavy weaponry deployed by the IS, it appears that fierce resistance and determined counter-attacks have halted or slowed the assault. Nonetheless, the IS has pushed closer to the city centre than ever before and the situation remains perilous.

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