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.
“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.
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.
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”.
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.
Members of the Aboriginal community, faith-based groups, unionists, welfare activists, and others gathered at the State Administration Centre in Adelaide on September 9 to oppose a proposal to expand income management in South Australia. Labor Premier Jay Weatherill has announced he would “offer the broadest possible support” to all 27 of billionaire Andrew Forrest's recommendations in his Indigenous Employment and Training Review. This would include Forrest's controversial proposal to dramatically expand income management to all working-age Centrelink clients, or 2.5 million people.
After consultations with the family of Hamid Khazaei, who died on September 5 after being detained on Manus Island, an agreement has been made to give his family an Aboriginal passport, in his name, to honour both their son and their offer to donate his organs to Australian citizens. The Indigenous Social Justice Association (ISJA) organised the passport proposal. ISJA president Ray Jackson said: “This gesture by his family shames the Tony Abbott government, in particular immigration minister Scott Morrison, for incarcerating innocent asylum seekers seeking sanctuary in this country.
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.”
Where will you be on Sunday, September 21 when people all around the world plan to make their voices heard as the UN climate summit begins in New York City? Environmental groups, trade unions, religious organisations and even some businesses have been building what is hoped will be the biggest ever people's march for climate change action. The streets of New York will be flooded with people demanding a global agreement to dramatically reduce global warming pollution.
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.
With news that the unlikely climate conscience of the Palmer United Party is holding firm, it appears that the Renewable Energy Target (RET) and associated programs will not be scrapped just yet. But the uncertainty of what will happen in the long term may be enough to bring large-scale wind and solar projects to a standstill.
Every day, Manus Island detainees negotiate rocky ground strewn with coral, rotting shower blocks and “filthy” living conditions. They do this mostly in rubber thongs. A cut foot is likely, septicemia possible and a heart attack followed by a coma and brain death? Wait a minute, let’s go back.
The NSW Coalition government has been forced to cancel parliamentary debate on a bill to give businesses two votes in Sydney City Council elections. The bill, sponsored by Shooters and Fishers Party Senator Robert Borsak, has been widely interpreted as a measure designed to defeat independent Sydney Mayor Clover Moore and give the Liberal Party control of council.
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon has called a special Climate Summit at United Nations Headquarters in New York City on September 23. This meeting, which is in addition to the annual UN Climate Change Conferences within the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, is intended to “mobilize action and ambition on climate change”. Because this event will take place during the annual UN General Assembly meeting, Ban can expect a large number of heads of state to attend, as well as the “business, finance, civil society and local leaders” that he has invited.