When the Murdoch-owned Australian starts attacking students who took to the streets on March 27 as part of the National Union of Students’ (NUS) protest for free education, it is evidence that student activism makes conservatives very nervous.
“While ALP politicians are fleeing in terror from factional and media accusations about using ‘class war rhetoric’, the reality is that there is an ongoing class war that is about to be dramatically escalated if Abbott wins the September 14 elections,” says Peter Boyle. Boyle was preselected on April 3 by the Socialist Alliance to run in the federal seat of Sydney. He is a national co-convenor of the Socialist Alliance and has been an active socialist since the early 1970s, becoming radicalised around war, race and class issues. He has two daughters and two grandchildren.
A protest against racism outside Labor MP Tanya Plibersek's office on March 21 demanded an end to the Northern Territory intervention and its expansion into areas such as Bankstown in south-west Sydney. Stop the Intervention Collective Sydney (STICS) organised the rally, which highlighted the small but significant steps being taken to bring Aboriginal communities, unions and others together to prevent the spread of these apartheid-like policies. The protest was held on International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination and national Close the Gap day.
Several prominent people have signed a letter to the Australian government calling for Jock Palfreeman, a young Australian in prison in Bulgaria, to be brought back to Australia. Supporters of the call to bring Palfreeman home include author and documentary filmmaker John Pilger, Julian Burnside QC, former NSW Greens MP Sylvia Hale, author Antony Loewenstein, Moreland City Councillor Sue Bolton, Vivienne Porzsolt from Jews against the Occupation, Green Left Weekly editors Mel Barnes and Stuart Munckton and Professor Wendy Bacon.
“Not joining the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement doesn’t mean that you’re not taking a stand,” Associate Professor Jake Lynch told a meeting at the University of Sydney on March 14. “By continuing institutional links to Israeli high education, universities here risk unwittingly becoming indirectly complicit in violations of international laws and abuses of human rights.”
Standing for public office in an already rigged electoral system just became even harder. On February 25, the Senate approved Labor’s new election rules that will discriminate against minor parties and independents. The new law doubles the nomination fee for all candidates in the federal elections among other changes.
When NSW members of parliament from both Labor and Coalition start campaigning against coal seam gas (CSG) — and the federal Labor Party starts musing that it might impose “strict regulations” on state governments to control the industry — you know that the movement against this dirty fossil fuel is starting to pack a punch. CSG was hardly known two years ago. Today, the thought of it frightens people. Gas companies have poured millions into advertising to reassure people that the industry is safe — but it hasn’t worked.
The arrest on February 6 of an Indigenous elder and another Githabul traditional owner on a coal seam gas (CSG) blockade should act as a siren call to all those concerned about our future.
NSW Premier Barry O’Farrell is scheduled to meet the Liverpool Chamber of Commerce in Casula on February 13, but he’s not going to enjoy a quiet lunch. Anti-coal seam gas (CSG) campaigners are planning a protest to show their opposition to CSG mining in the area. Greens activist Suzie Wright and Socialist Alliance Parramatta branch convener Fred Fuentes organised the action with anti-CSG groups.
Indian socialist feminist Kavita Krishnan spoke to Green Left TV's Pip Hinman about the new movement against gender violence in India. Kavita is Secretary of the All India Progressive Women's Association (AIPWA) and has been a leading activists in the campaign that has swept India (and beyond) since the brutal gang rape of a woman student in Delhi in a public bus. The woman, badly injured in the attack, died two weeks later despite being flown to Singapore for treatment. Her male companion, who was also severely assaulted, survived. Six suspects are being tried.
Australia’s decision on November 29 to break its support for US and Israel and abstain on the vote to allow Palestine observer status at the United Nations represents a win for pro-Palestine forces. Of the 193 nations in the UN General Assembly, 138 voted in favour, nine against and 41 abstentions for the resolution to change Palestine from an observer “entity” to observer “state”. The Palestinian Authority (PA) — led by Mahmoud Abbas — submitted a proposal for UN observer status last year, after it appeared the Security Council would veto a bid to become a full member state.
The Julia Gillard government has committed Australia to closer war ties with the US, more US bases and billions for US defence contracts at the annual AUSMIN talks in Perth on November 16. The Gillard government is well aware of the huge public opposition to the US-led wars in Iraq and now Afghanistan. It knows that a majority is critical of Canberra’s unquestioning policy of “all-the-way-with-Obama’s next wars”.