Pip Hinman

“You have to put more pressure on your government to allow Afghans to decide their own future,” Afghan democracy activist and former MP Malalai Joya told a 150-strong public forum on April 11. “No nation can liberate another nation,” Joya said. “Ten years of war should have made this clear. It's better the troops leave.”
The massacre of 16 people in the Panjwai District of Kandahar province in Afghanistan on March 11 re-ignited widespread calls, inside and outside Afghanistan, for Western forces to leave. US army spin has not quelled anger or questions over how the massacre took place, who was involved and how to deal with those responsible. Witnesses say US army staff sergeant Robert Bales, along with 15-20 others, went on a rampage — sexually assaulting, then massacring and burning mainly women and children from the remote farming villages of Najeeban and Alkozai.
The Socialist Alliance released the statement below on March 8. * * * This International Women’s Day, on March 8, falls at a time when the environmental and economic crises of global capitalism are making life even harder for most women and the communities they live and work in.
After a year of ferocious debate, the New South Wales Greens decided on December 4 to retreat from supporting the global pro-Palestine Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign. It does not mean the NSW Green Party has abandoned all support for the Palestinian struggle for justice, but it marks a setback for the left inside the Greens and the pro-Palestine movement in Australia.
“Gillard and Abbott fly in and out of Afghanistan under heavy protection from harm. Both curry political advantage from the khaki vote. The rest of us see young Ozzie lives ripped apart without any obvious gain to ordinary Afghans. Let the pollies go and fight their own useless war …” “Dan51” from Sydney, who made this comment under a November 22 Sydney Morning Herald article, is part of the majority (64% in the November 21 Essential Poll or 72% according to Roy Morgan), who want Australian soldiers out of Afghanistan.
On the eve of US President Barack Obama’s visit to mark 60 years of the ANZUS military alliance, PM Julia Gillard is not convincing people that Australia must “stay the course” in Afghanistan. A November 4 Roy Morgan poll, taken six days after an Afghan army trainee killed three Australian soldiers and wounded seven, said 72% of people want troops out, the biggest opposition since the war began 10 years ago. Supporters of the pro-war parties polled closely: 69% of ALP voters and 67% of Liberal-National Party voters want troops out. Among Greens supporters, the figure is 80%.
Sydney lord mayor Clover Moore made clear at a Sydney City Council meeting on November 6 that she supported the “principles” of the Occupy movement but did not support Occupy Sydney. Greens councillor Irene Doutney put a motion to investigate the dawn police raid on the group in Martin Place and help find Occupy a site for the protest. But Moore replied that she had to “balance the rights of residents, visitors, workers and others to have access to the public domain”.
Australian police in two cities now have decided to follow in the footsteps of their counterparts in the US and Europe and forcibly break up peaceful Occupy protests. But rather than deter this broad non-partisan movement of the 99%, it is helping it grow and re-occupy.
Pat Eatock laughs at the suggestion that her successful Federal Court action against Andrew Bolt and News Ltd has jeopardised free speech. Bolt is one of Australia’s most widely read columnists, boasting 3 million visits a month. On September 28, Justice Mordecai Bromberg ruled that the ultra-conservative columnist Bolt had breached the Racial Discrimination Act in two articles he wrote in 2009 in which he criticised “fair skinned Aborigines” for what, he argued, was a choice they had made to identify as Aboriginal.
Pat Eatock laughs at the suggestion that her successful Federal Court action against Andrew Bolt and News Ltd has jeopardised free speech. Bolt is one of Australia’s most widely read conservative columnists. His blog boasts 3 million web hits a month. On September 28, Justice Mordecai Bromberg ruled the ultra-conservative columnist Bolt had breached the Racial Discrimination Act in two articles he wrote in 2009 in which he criticised “fair skinned Aborigines” for what, he argued, was a choice they had made to identify as Aboriginal.

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