1011

The demand of tens of thousands of people who marched through the streets in cities around Australia on May 18 was clear. They want the federal government’s killer budget blocked.

They want Labor, the Greens and independents to band together in the Senate to block the major bills implementing the attacks on Medicare, education and welfare.

They want the supply/appropriation bills (the three bills that authorise the funds from treasury required by the government to carry on its day-to-day business) to be blocked, thereby forcing the government to go to a new election.

After Thailand’s military overthrew the government and seized power in a coup on May 22, its new ultraconservative rulers wasted no time in rolling out the most radical and repressive right-wing reforms the country has seen since the height of the Cold War.

Army chief General Prayuth Chan-Ocha is now prime minister. The administration of the nation is being conducted out of an army base, and its people ruled by decree.

“You may write me down in history
With your bitter, twisted lies,
You may tread me in the very dirt
But still, like dust, I’ll rise.”

So wrote Maya Angelou, in her poem “Still I Rise”. She died on May 28 at 86 at her home in North Carolina.

In remembering Maya Angelou, it is important to recall her commitment to the struggle for equality, not just for herself, or for women, or for African-Americans. She was committed to peace and justice for all.

The European parliamentary poll on May 25 was dominated by the victories of the xenophobic and racist National Front (FN) in France (26%, 24 Members of the European Parliament) and the United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP) in Britain (26.8%, 24 MEPs) — triggering a fit of mainstream media angst.

The angst is understandable. Five years after the 2009 European elections, the political basis for the European Commission’s austerity drive has been severely weakened. This has rendered “governance” of the 28-member European Union even more difficult.

Far right strengthens

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