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The Venezuelan government and the commune movement are taking steps to move towards the creation of what is referred to as a “communal state”, which involves community groups assuming collective control of local production and decision making.

Communes in Venezuela are formed out of groups of community councils, which are small neighbourhood groups representing 250 to 400 families. In communal councils, local residents organise to develop their local community and run community affairs. They can also receive public funds to undertake social projects in their area.

"This country can afford a universal healthcare system that provides access to quality health care for everyone," Judith Kiejda, assistant general secretary of the NSW Nurses and Midwives Association (NSW NMWA), told a forum at the University of Technology Sydney on May 27.

The forum, organised by the Save Medicare Campaign, heard Kiejda and Professor Bill Mitchell, director of the Centre of Full Employment and Equity (CofFEE) at Newcastle University, addressed the topic, "No to Abbott-Care. Hands Off Medicare."

Tom Raue and other activists at the University of Sydney have been banned from campus for being involved in protests against foreign minister Julie Bishop.

Raue has been arbitrarily singled out for disciplinary action. Raue works on campus, and this ban might mean he loses his job.

On May 28, about 100 students and staff attended a protest to defend these students. Student demands are simple and were slipped under Sydney University vice-chancellor Michael Spence's door.

Students and staff at Jaffna University lit candles on May 21 to remember the Tamils who died in May 2009 when the Sri Lankan army carried out a genocidal onslaught in the final days of the island's decades-long civil war.

Tens of thousands of men, women and children were killed as Sri Lankan government forces bombarded them from land, sea and air.

Trade unionists and community activists held a forum called "After the budget, build the fightback" in Melbourne on May 24 organised by the Socialist Alliance to discuss joint actions to campaign against the federal budget.

Why would the victim of a brutal military dictatorship appoint someone accused of covering up the regime’s crimes as ambassador to the country in which she once sought exile?

This is the question many Chileans are asking after the new government of President Michelle Bachelet named James Sinclair as Chile’s highest diplomatic representative in Australia.

In response, several groups have begun organising a campaign against the appointment.

The savage cuts to education announced in early May have stirred students into action across Australia.

On May 28, the University of Western Sydney Education Action Group (EAG) held a meeting on the Bankstown campus to organise students, and work with staff to defend quality tertiary education.

With two-thirds of Australian university students living below the poverty line and one in five students skipping meals, students are among the most financially vulnerable sectors.

With right-wing parties gaining footholds throughout the world, Colombia followed suit with the far-right party, Democratic Centre (CD) winning with a narrow lead in the first round of the presidential elections on May 25. CD won just under 30% of the vote.

The election presented Colombians with a five-party choice, ranging from the leftist Alternative Democratic Pole (Polo) with Clara Lopez to the CD's Oscar Ivan Zuluaga and his major rival, incumbent President Juan Manuel Santos from the Social Party of National Unity.

Lock the Gate released this statement on May 28.

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The nation’s air quality has declined dramatically in the past decade and coal mining has been identified as the biggest source of harmful respiratory particles in our air, a new federal government report finds.

The National Pollutant Inventory report found Queensland is the most polluted state in terms of the levels of particulate matter with eight of the nation’s top ten particle emitting coal mines located there.

About 150 people took to the streets of Brisbane on May 24 to protest against biotechnology corporation Monsanto, one of the foremost proponents of genetically modified (GM) technologies.

The event was part of an international day of action that called for all products with genetically modified organisms to be labelled, Monsanto products to be banned in Australia, and a more transparent handling of GM products by the Australian government.

Speakers described the history of Monsanto and neoliberal laws and free trade agreements that help the corporation.

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