Mary Merkenich

A Marxist critique of society remains incomplete if it does not consider the fact that, to make profits, capitalists have to not only exploited workers but also nature and animals.

In late June, New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland announced a joint review into the National Assessment Program — Literacy and Numeracy, known as NAPLAN. Many educators would be happy to see the end of standardised testing. But this review is no guarantee this will happen, even if NAPLAN is scrapped.

Shaun Micallef’s Mad as Hell on the ABC is marvellous comedy that combines humour with current affairs analysis.

The Victorian Labor government is proposing to widen Melbourne’s Eastern Freeway to more than 20 lanes, arguing this would ease congestion on a thoroughfare that resembles a car park during peak time.

The Australian Education Union’s (AEU) Victorian branch voted to support a student-initiated call for a Climate Strike on September 20. The internationally coordinated strike, which will be held just days out from a United Nations Emergency Climate Summit, is seeking to pressure governments to take serious action to address the climate crisis.         

A small but determined group of teachers, parents and students gathered in the rain on May 3 on the steps of the Victorian Parliament to demonstrate their opposition to the NAPLAN tests.

The nationwide civil disobedience actions by animal rights activists on April 8 caused a media furore. Green Left Weekly’s Mary Merkenich spoke to Vegan Rising campaign director Kristin Leigh, who helped organised the action in Melbourne, about their protest tactics and aims.

Director Benedikt Erlingsson’s latest film, Woman at War is delightful, offbeat and uplifting. The main character is Halla, a choir director in her early 50s, who lives a secret double-life as a lone saboteur of heavy industry threatening her Icelandic environment.

It is not unusual to hear someone blame the crisis in affordable housing and healthcare or the very expensive tertiary education system on Baby Boomers, the generation born between 1946-64. Gayle Burmeister and Mary Merkenich take aim at this mistaken argument.

Humans experience the brutality of capitalism in wars, harsh working conditions and widespread poverty caused by a class-based society. Every minute a child dies a preventable death.

Capitalism has also been waging a war on animals.

Mary Merkenich together with colleagues from Highvale Secondary College at the Teachers for Refugees protest in Melbourne on November 20.

Teachers, education support staff and even some principals walked off government and private schools across Victoria and assembled at the State Library on November 20, in support of refugees currently being detained on Manus Island and Nauru. A similar protest was held in Brisbane that same day.

Faced with a handful of climate activists marching on his Bulleen electorate office on November 7, state Liberal opposition leader Matthew Guy decided to lock the door and pull the shutters down.

The Department of Education and Training Victoria today advised school principals to oppose leave for teachers who wish to participate in the Walk Off for Refugees on November 20. Teachers For Refugees (TFR) has called on teachers and education support staff to walk off the job on Universal Children’s Day and demand that the federal government remove all children and adults from offshore camps and resettle them in the community.

The Australian Education Union (AEU) Victorian Branch Council has endorsed a planned Walk Off by teachers and education support staff in support of refugees on November 20, Universal Children’s Day.

Under the slogan “Australia needs a pay rise”, an estimated 170,000 trade union members and their supporters filled Melbourne’s CBD on October 23 for the Australian Council of Trade Unions-initiated Change the Rules rally.

In September, the federal Coalition government announced it would provide an extra $4.5 billion directly to fee-charging Catholic and independent schools, to be spent any way they choose.

NSW Minister for Education Rob Stokes commented that his government will not sign up to a needs-based, sector-blind funding scheme, but it is neither of those things.

Pages

Subscribe to Mary Merkenich