1031

In an article in on October 28, Antony Loewenstein says that he does not write about feminism because he fears being “attacked by women for questioning a consensus position on feminist issues”. “Writing about feminism when male is like gate crashing a party,” he said, “and I’m concerned I’ll be slammed for daring to arrive without an invitation.”
Australian-based company OceanaGold is suing El Salvador for US$301 million for its “right” to continue operating a gold mine that is destroying the Central American nation's water supply. The El Dorado goldmine was originally owned by Canadian company Pacific Rim, which became a wholly-owned subsidiary of OceanaGold last year. The Australian company is continuing Pacific Rim's lawsuit, suing the Salvadoran government over a moratorium on mining permits. In 2008, the right-wing National Republican Alliance (ARENA) government was forced by public demand to issue the moratorium.
The Making of English Social Democracy By Peter Cockcroft. Australian Ebook Publisher Kindle edition 236 pages, $1.05 It may seem a strange ask to encourage socialists to examine the politics of late Victorian Britain when there is so much else to be done. But Peter Cockcroft makes a significant case that understanding this aspect of the past can help us to make some sense of where we are now.
A young Kurdish woman called “Rehana” has garnered a great deal of media attention over the past few days, after reports emerged claiming she had killed more than 100 Islamic State (IS) fighters ― single-handedly ― in the struggle to defend predominantly Kurdish Rojava in Syria's north. A picture of the smiling beauty, wearing combat gear and toting a rifle, is still making the rounds of social media. Even as Rehana's circumstances remain uncorroborated, the overabundance of attention she has received raises several important questions.
Israel’s July-August war on Gaza, under the pretext of Operation Protective Edge to counter Palestinian rocket fire, demonstrated why it will never defeat the Palestinian resistance. Israel formally withdrew its troops from Gaza in 2005, yet has retained absolute control over the strip via its siege. Israel controls everything going in and out of Gaza. It officially imposed its blockade and a “buffer zone” inside Gaza that led to 20% of the strip being declared a no-go area for Palestinians.
Israeli drink machine company SodaStream announced on October 29 that it will close its settlement-based factory in the occupied West Bank next year. The move was hailed as a victory by campaigners for the boycott of Israel, who said they would continue to target SodaStream for its other human rights violations.
The Vancouver Sun published a description on October 24 of the troubled man who killed a guard in Ottawa two days before and then entered Canada’s parliament building carrying his gun. The 32-year-old man, Michael Zehaf-Bibeau, was shot and killed by police. The Sun reporters spoke to people who knew Zehaf-Bibeau while he lived in Vancouver during recent years. They described an angry and troubled man grappling with mental illness and drug addiction.
Australian urban roots and reggae band Blue King Brown have joined musicians, artists and writers using their artistic talents to expose the political fraud and brutal genocide that the Indonesian government has committed against the West Papuan people.
Tasmania’s Liberal government has amended its anti-protest bill to allay fears from concerned groups who say the laws are undemocratic and a threat to free speech. The laws were passed in the state’s Upper House on October 30, and will be further amended by a committee. A coalition of more than 20 community groups, including unions, the Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre, The Wilderness Society and the Australian Lawyers Alliance, released a joint statement urging parliamentarians to drop the Bill.
Edinburgh’s Augustine United Church is a pretty cold place when the wind is howling, as it was when the Scottish Socialist Party (SSP) held its annual conference there on October 25. But all feelings of chill disappeared when the 200-plus SSP members got down to tackling the challenges of an inspiring new period in Scottish politics. The period is marked by unprecedented popular engagement in activism and debate over Scotland’s future. This phase was triggered by the referendum on Scottish independence, won by the No vote by 55% to 45% for the Yes side.
Prime Minister Tony Abbott has indicated his government plans to increase the Goods and Services Tax (GST). Before last year’s election, Abbott promised the Australian people that . But on October 27, he called for a “mature debate” on the topic, making it clear his government intends to increase GST revenue.
The long-term average rise of the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) wage price index is 3.6%. In the first half of this year, it increased at an annualised rate of only 1.7%. The latest National Australia Bank quarterly business survey shows labour costs have been rising at an average annualised rate of 1.5% since the last quarter of 2012. This compares with an average of 3% a year between 1998 and 2008.
At Geelong's Walk Together rally on October 25, Labor's shadow immigration minister Richard Marles told the crowd Labor would “welcome” refugees. Despite trying to appeal to the crowd's message of acceptance and tolerance, Marles was heckled by members of Rural Australians for Refugees and the Socialist Alliance. Unionists from the Geelong Trades Hall stood up front and turned their backs on him while he spoke.
The People's Common Rights and Provisions Bill 2014 was debated in a mock parliamentary sitting in Brisbane on October 28. Community group Lock the Gate planned to hold the event inside Parliament House. But Speaker Fiona Simpson said the event was an affront to the dignity of parliament and would not allow it. The Bill was organised by activists to protest about the state of politics in Queensland and address issues such as a lack of democracy, unrestricted mining and the loss of clean air, water and agricultural land.
The University of Western Sydney Bankstown Resistance activists Mia Sanders and Ian Escandor have been elected to the Bankstown Student Campus Council (SCC) and the campus magazine CrUWSible editorial board. The results were announced on October 31. Sanders told Green Left Weekly she believes students related to the “RES Out West” ticket because it emphasised fighting the federal government’s education attacks and rejecting discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex people, women and refugees.
It is ominous. As the federal government's joke climate change “Direct Action Plan” passed the Senate with the support of coal baron Clive Palmer and his Palmer United Party, the first heatwave of an early Australian summer had just smashed new temperature records for the hottest day in October. The Bureau of Meteorology said October 25 was Australia’s warmest October day on record, kept since 1910. Average maximums across the nation reached 36 degrees Celsius.

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