Fred Fuentes

With little fanfare or media attention, the small island nation of Cuba has been running an Aboriginal literacy program in the town of Wilcanni, in central new South Wales. Already, 16 local Aboriginal residents aged between 25 and 53 have learned to read and write through the program.
As we walk into a cafe in the Sydney suburb of Newington, a young Afghan barista greets Communist Party of Australia (CPA) activist Tony Oldfield by name and asks how the recent local Auburn council elections went. After talking for a few minutes about which councillors were re-elected and which were not, the young man asks: “And how about you Tony?” Only then does Tony point out that he too was elected. In doing so, Oldfield became one of only four socialist local councillors in Australia.
Pointing to swings of 10-20% in parts of western Sydney to Liberal candidates standing in the September 8 local council elections, media commentators are claiming traditional working class areas have deserted Labor and rejected the Greens, instead choosing to shift rightwards. The Sydney Morning Herald headlined its September 10 edition: “Change in the air as Libs take over Labor strongholds.”
Outside Ecuador's embassy in London.

The decision by WikiLeaks editor Julian Assange to seek asylum in Ecuador’s London Embassy triggered an international media campaign that highlighted the “hypocrisy” of his decision to choose a country condemned for supposed attacks on press freedom.

Cuba solidarity activists, members of Australia’s Latin American community and leftists from around the country will take part in a two-day conference in Sydney to pay homage to Cuban revolutionary Fidel Castro. Video messages of support for Fidel from renowned leftist personalities will be screened alongside a full agenda of talks focused on Castro’s ideas, thoughts and legacy for the 21st century.
A large public forum was held in Victoria’s Goulburn Valley on May 16 to officially launch a community cooperative that local people hope will become an example for the rest of the country. The launch came almost a year since Heinz announced it would shut down its tomato processing plant in the nearby town of Girgarre. The closure left 146 workers without a job and affected about 600 people whose livelihoods depended on the factory.
Coles and Woolworths collage

Like all wars, the “price war” between the two big supermarket chains — Woolworths and Coles — has its casualties. It is in the countryside and ordinary households that the toll is being counted, not in the profits of the two giant corporations.

Gormer Heinz tomato factory at Girgarre, Victoria.

Far from taking the closure of the Heinz tomato factory sitting down, workers and community members from the 150-strong rural Victorian town of Girgarre are getting organised.

Blue sign against a blue sky that reads 'productivity'.

Behind the hype of Australia’s mining boom and “economic stability” lies the very real crisis affecting rural Australia.

Australian Treasurer Wayne Swan said on March 20 that his government’s Minerals Resource Rent Tax (MRRT) was “central to the government’s plan to spread the benefits of the mining boom to more Australians for generations to come”. Lauding the tax, which had passed through parliament the day before, he said the MRRT was about “ensuring all Australians share in the benefits of the mining boom, not just a fortunate few”.
September 25 will go down as one of the darkest days in Bolivia since Evo Morales was elected as the country’s first indigenous president almost six years ago. After more than 40 days of indigenous protesters marching, police officers moved in to repress those opposed to the government’s proposed highway that would run through the Isiboro-Secure National Park and Indigenous Territory (TIPNIS). The controversial highway has met with both opposition and support from the many indigenous and social organisations that form the Morales government’s support base.
Daicy Olaya.

Daicy Olaya, a resident of Fairfield for 18 years, explained why she decided to stand as a candidate for Socialist Alliance in the March 26 NSW elections. “Politicians from both major parties have failed miserably in representing the interests of migrants and women here in New South Wales,” she said.