A rally was held in Melbourne on January 16 to support refugees protesting in Wickham Point detention centre near Darwin and Manus Island detention centre in Papua New Guinea. Many of the asylum seekers are on a hunger strike and it is feared that a 33-year-old Iranian asylum seeker may have only days to live. The man, known as “Martin”, was on hunger strike for 53 days until December 21. He resumed the hunger strike on December 27, and has entered a critical stage. He may have already suffered permanent organ damage.
Green Left Weekly’s Chris Peterson spoke with Jacob Rumbiak, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Federal Republic of West Papua -- a government-in-exile of the Papuan terrritory occupied by Indonesia since the 1960s. Its new foreign affairs office is in Melbourne. Rumbiak is one of five officials of the United Liberation Movement for West Papua, a new consultation body set up at a conference in Vanuatu in December.
January 26 marks Invasion Day and the ongoing fight for Aboriginal rights. Join rallies and events in your city. Check here for details. Australian roots band Blue King Brown has released their new video which profiles freedom for West Papua. Watch the video All Nations and get involved in the campaign.
While GLW was on its break over the New Year period, the news came that a snap election is to be held in Greece on January 25. GLW has been regularly reporting on the situation in Greece in recent years — the imposition of vicious austerity measures by the European Union and the Greek government and the rising popularity of the left-wing coalition SYRIZA. As the election approaches, polls put SYRIZA in the lead. It is likely to win, though may have to enter a coalition in order to form government.
A bushfire that swept through the Adelaide Hills in early January has destroyed 27 homes, ravaged the local environment and killed many pets and animals. Large smoke plumes were visible from the Adelaide CBD and several Adelaide suburbs were evacuated. It is similar to other severe fires, such as in the Blue Mountains in NSW last year and the Black Saturday bushfires in Victoria in 2009, which climate scientists say will occur more frequently.
On January 5, with most of the country still in holiday mode, Queensland Premier Campbell Newman called on the acting governor (even the governor was still on holidays) to issue writs for a state election on January 31. The Liberal National Party (LNP) won government three years ago in a landslide against the Labor government’s privatisation of public assets, reducing the ALP to a rump of seven seats (now increased to nine after two byelection victories).
Malaysia is still reeling from the impact of the worse monsoonal flooding in decades over December and early January. Five people have been killed and the number of people displaced has exceeded the previous record of 100,000 in the 2008 monsoonal season. Ordinary people responded quickly and generously to the floods and civil society groups and individuals pulled together relief campaigns while the government response was slow.
No one can have anything but the profoundest condemnation for the attacks on the Paris offices of the satirical magazine, Charlie Hebdo. It is reported that 12 people are dead, shot in a commando style attack, and that at least nine of them are journalists. The magazine has recently published a cartoon of the Islamic state leader, and has a record of publishing anti-Islamic satire. The gunmen are assumed to be in some way connected with Islamic State (ISIS).
The statement below was released by France's Left Front, a left group uniting the Left Party, the Communist Party of France other other smaller left groups, in the aftermath of the terrorist attack on the offices of satirical magazine Charlie Hedbo that left at least 12 people dead. About 35,000 people attended the union-called demonstration on the evening of January 7 that the statement mentions. The translated statement is taken from John Passant's blog. ***
The European United Left/Nordic Green Left (GUE/NGL) is a grouping of left-wing members of the European parliament, which brings together elected reps from the Party of the European Left and the European Anticapitalist Left. It released the below statement on January 5, ahead of January 25 general elections in Greece that polls indicate the anti-austerity Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA) -- part of the GUE/NGL -- is likely to win. ***
Recent organising and demonstrations around the issue of police accountability in Philadelphia, set in motion by grand jury decisions in Ferguson, Missouri and Staten Island, New York not to indict police officers who gunned down unarmed African American men, have taken a new, though rather historically familiar, twist.
Greece will hold elections on January 25, which polls indicate are likely to be won by the Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA), which campaigns against the brutal austerity that has caused widespread misery across Greece.
The statement below was released by the Party of the European Left (EL) on December 29 after elections were called in Greece for January 25, with the far-left Coalition for the Radical Left (SYRIZA) clearly ahead in the polls. *** Snap elections in Greece: The road of hope has opened! The defeat of the Greek government coalition in today's final vote for the election of the President of the Republic leads the country to snap elections on January 25.
This month marked the 10th anniversary of the founding of ALBA (Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America), an anti-imperialist and anti-neoliberal alliance of Latin American countries. ALBA, which means dawn in Spanish, is a cooperative regional organisation that advances Latin American integration around an alternative to unbalanced neoliberal trade agreements advanced by the United States.