Peter Boyle

There were multiple demonstrations on the weekend of March 17–18 while a host of dictatorial leaders from the region were welcomed by Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull to a Special Summit of the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN).

Following the resignation of former Goldman Sachs executive Gary Cohn as the Trump administration's Chief Economic Advisor, US President Donald Trump tweeted: “Will be making a decision soon on the appointment of new Chief Economic Advisor. Many people wanting the job — will choose wisely!”

I am sure he's right on at least the first part of that tweet. There will undoubtedly be a conga line of other corporate bloodsuckers eager to take the job.

On February 17, several thousand people from more than 30 community groups and unions marched through Sydney to demand the NSW state government fix the public transport system.

Andew Chuter, one of the organisers, told Green Left Weekly it was a “big achievement” to unite so many groups across NSW around this important issue.

“These sorts of campaigns tend to be quite localised, so getting people to see them as connected is quite significant. Some of those who took an active role in this rally had never been to a protest before.”

As I marched through Sydney streets on February 17, along with activists from 30 community groups and trade unions opposed to the blatant privatisation scams that pass for NSW transport infrastructure, I am sure I was not the only one in the crowd reflecting on the ridiculous contradiction between what is possible for our society and what is forced on us from above.

This was yet another clear case of government working in the narrow and selfish interests of a small corporate elite. Similar examples of community resistance to corporate greed can be found all around the country.

Greens Senator Lee Rhiannon became the first federal parliamentarian in Australia to publicly condemn Turkey's three-week war on Afrin, one of three democratic autonomous cantons in northern Syria, when she addressed a rally in Sydney on February 10.

Two days later, the Labor MP for Wills Peter Khalil called for Turkey to halt its attack in a short speech in Parliament.

One of the most staunch resident action groups fighting the corporate profit-driven, road-building frenzy of the NSW Coalition government is Community Action for Windsor Bridge (CAWB).

Imagine what countless numbers of ordinary folk went through on January 13 when they received an official SMS alert reading: "Ballistic missile threat inbound to Hawaii. Seek immediate shelter. This is not a drill."

The false alarm was a result of a mistake made by a worker at the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency who pressed a wrong button.

A rally of members of the Kurdish community and their supporters was held in Sydney on January 8 to demand justice for Sakine Cansız, Leyla Şaylemez and Fidan Doğan, three Kurdish women activists who were assassinated in Paris five years ago by a suspected agent of the Turkish secret police.

There has still been no adequate inquiry into their deaths and the rally, outside the French consulate, called on the French authorities to publicly investigate all the available evidence in this case.

Riding the crest of a powerful Bersih (“clean”) democracy movement in the streets, Malaysia’s Pakatan Rakyat (People's Pact) opposition alliance won 53% of the popular vote in the 2013 general election. Gerrymandered electorates, however, ensured they took only 40% of the seats.

Yet as a new general election approaches, likely early next year, the incumbent Barisan Nasional (National Front, BN) government looks set to easily hold on the power.

Another year will soon be over. Green Left Weekly will take a short break so the many volunteers who worked very hard all year to keep our project going can have a little holiday.

Thank you to all our regular readers and subscribers and all the people who kindly contributed to keep this project alive.

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