1011

While attacking pensioners, the unemployed, single parents and the marginalised, the Coalition government has stepped up its attack on the organised.

There are two inquiries aimed at unions underway — a Productivity Commission inquiry into the Fair Work Act and the Royal Commission into Trade Union Governance and Corruption. Both are designed to emasculate an already legislatively constrained union movement.

For good measure, Attorney-General George Brandis has now added a third.

Memo to concern trolls Annabel Crabb and Howard-era minister Amanda Vanstone: take your own advice and stop being selfish thugs and bullies. And if Fairfax journalist Crabb is going to criticise student protests for being “outdated”, she should drop the 1950s style housewife persona.

In a May 23 Sydney Morning Herald article, Crabb said she was “concerned” that thousands of students taking part in a recent national day of action against increased university fees were going about things the wrong way. Take notice students of Australia. Activism, you’re doing it wrong.

Sixty years ago, in June 1954, a CIA-orchestrated coup ousted the reformist Guatemalan government of Jacobo Arbenz Guzman. The coup installed a brutal right-wing regime and decades of bloody repression.

This event, so notorious in the annals of US imperialism, also Guevara. For it was in the Central American nation, where Guevara's Latin American road trip culminated, that the strands of his early thought Marxism, anti-imperialism, indigenismo were fused in a dramatic, galvanising moment.

If you were to take Prime Minister Tony Abbott and the Coalition on face value, they appear to be against debt.

All the pain imposed on the poorest in society by the federal budget and all the cuts to education, health and welfare are justified as being necessary “medicine” to solve a horrendous debt problem left to them by previous Labor governments. Yes, we've heard that line over and over again.

Never mind the fact that the government's debt as a proportion of gross domestic product is one of the lowest among the developed countries and lower than it was in the 1950s and 1960s.

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.

"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."

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.

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