New Zealand goes to the polls on September 20. Amid a big scandal of government “dirty tricks”, the Mana Movement is pushing the interests of the working-class and Maori communities. Mana was formed when firebrand Maori Party MP Hone Harawira split over the Maori Party's support for a right-wing National Party government in 2011. It brings together militant Maori activists with other working-class and left forces.
In a speech to the nation on September 2, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro announced “five revolutions”, as part of a campaign to “improve our service to the people”, Venezuela Analysis said on September 3. Maduro said the revolutions would be a “a new way of functioning” for the government. The five revolutions “should be united, and should define the government policies, giving power to the people, it will be the people who push government policy”.
“Paddy wagon’s on its way,” announced a Chicago Police tactical officer over his radio early on the morning of September 4. Shortly after, a crowd of about 300 demonstrators ― including more than 100 striking fast food workers ― began chanting “Take the street!” and proceeded to do just that. Marching between a McDonald’s on one side and a Burger King on the other, the crowd blocked 87th street traffic on Chicago’s south side for about 20 minutes.
Israel has barred 13 European Parliament MPs from visiting Gaza during a four-day fact-finding visit to Palestine and Israel that started on September 4. The MEPs were from European United Left/Nordic Green Left (GUE/NGL) group in the European parliament. They met members of the Palestinian Legislative Council and the Knesset (the Israeli Parliament), as well as activists from both Palestinian and Israeli human rights and peace groups.
In November 2006, leftist candidate Rafael Correa won the second round of the Ecuadorian presidential election with 57% of the vote, compare with his conservative opponent, Alvaro Noboa, who won 43%. Despite the US’s failure to undermine Correa’s candidacy, as shown by diplomatic cables published by WIkiLeaks, further US cables suggest the US Embassy in Quito believed it could hold sway over the new government.
Indonesian authorities are pushing for two French journalists arrested in West Papua to face trial and up to 20 years jail. Valentine Bourrat and Thomas Dandois, journalists working for French media company Arte TV, were in West Papua filming a documentary about human rights. They were arrested in Wamena on August 6. Indigenous leader Areki Wanimbo, who was interviewed by them, was also arrested.
Hundreds of Australians endure the ordeal of jail because of unpaid fines. Their poverty is a burden. Disproportionately, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are incarcerated “to pay off” their fines. Ray Jackson, president of the Indigenous Social Justice Association, says this “draconian practice criminalises people and destroys families and futures”. Recently, “unpaid fines” cost the life of a 22-year-old Yamatji woman, Juliecka Dhu. Dhu and her boyfriend, Dion Ruffin, were arrested on August 2 and detained by Western Australia’s South Hedland police.
The Queensland government has limited the ability of the public to object to a mining lease. The Mining and Energy Resources Bill, passed on September 9, means only affected landholders, their neighbours or local councils can object to mining lease applications in the Land Court. In a statement, campaign group Lock the Gate said: “In an 11th hour move, the Queensland government has silenced objections to mining projects across the state giving open slather to Indian coal billionaire Gautam Adani to develop the Galilee Basin into one of the largest coal precincts in the world.”
Nauru detention camps’ water reserves are close to running dry, leaked emails showed on September 10. A Transfield operations manager wrote in an email: “We are currently nearly out of water … Due to recent outages at the DIBP RO [immigration department reverse osmosis facility] we have not been able to build up stock so have been slowly going backwards.”
The bust the budget campaign stands at a crossroads right now. Although the federal government has succeeded in ramming some of its harsh austerity measures through parliament, there are large parts of the budget which are still held up in the Senate — largely due to the public hostility to these cutbacks.
Residents in Gloucester, NSW, have set up a permanent camp to stop coal seam gas (CSG) company AGL from beginning exploration in the Gloucester Valley. Organisers of the camp said: “In August, the state government changed a state planning regulation to allow AGL to frack four existing coal seam gas wells without undertaking a full environmental impact statement. “AGL have not started fracking yet — they will give the government 28 days notice before beginning fracking, but we don’t want to let them get started at all.
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