1045

Western Sahara is recognised by the United Nations as the last non-self-governing territory in Africa. Between 1973 and 1991 it was at war, as the pro-independence Polisario Front fought first against colonial rulers Spain, and after 1975, against Morocco, which invaded with Spanish encouragement. In 1991, a United Nations-sponsored ceasefire was supposed to bring peace, based on a referendum on independence. However, the UN-promised referendum has never been held. Overt support from France, and more tacit support from the US, has enabled Morocco to have it indefinitely postponed.
Jenny Leong is the Greens candidate in the NSW seat of Newtown – an area often called the most progressive in the country. Green Left Weekly’s Pip Hinman spoke to her about the Greens’ platform and approach to the election. * * * What are people telling you about the proposed WestConnex tollway and Labor's response? The government wants to dump 10 lanes of traffic on the south end of King Street and spend billions on a tollway that won’t solve Sydney's transport needs.
In This Changes Everything, author Naomi Klein raises the question of how capitalist societies will “adapt” to the people made homeless and jobless by increasingly intense and frequent natural disasters. One of the issues she focuses on is the reaction of insurance companies, pointing out that the chief executive officer of Swiss Re America admits that climate change is “what keeps us up at night”.
Grrl Fest is an independent multi-platform music and arts event, celebrating and empowering women-identified artists. This year, the Melbourne event will be celebrating its third year. Grrl Fest will be held on March 21 at the Northcote Town Hall. There will be an outdoor venue, markets, music, workshops, cocktails and cabaret. The venue is a change up from the dusty warehouse beginnings of Grrl Fest.

The Literacy for Life Foundation in partnership with the University of New England, hosted a one-day seminar on February 28 to discuss the “Yes I Can” Aboriginal Adult Literacy campaign. This campaign has achieved notable success in raising adult literacy levels in three western NSW communities, using a model originally developed in Cuba. More than 80 people have already graduated in pilot projects in Wilcannia, Bourke and Enngonia.

The tiny community of Bulga will continue their David and Goliath fight in the courts against a coalmine that threatens the very existence of their village. The decision to go back to court comes in the wake of the March 5 approval by the Planning and Assessment Commission (PAC) for the expansion of Rio Tinto’s giant Mount Thorley-Warkworth coalmine, despite two court decisions against the project.
The stop WestConnex campaign is intensifying heading into the NSW state election. Apart from the proposed electricity sell-off, it has become one of the top issues, damaging both Liberal and Labor. The announcement by Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore of a WestConnex forum at Sydney Town Hall, set for March 16, has ignited campaigners, and will put the unpopular and expensive plan under further scrutiny.
About 100 people gathered at the Construction Forestry Mining Energy Union hall in Lidcombe on February 27 to celebrate the release of the Cuban Five from prison in the US late last year, and to welcome the new Cuban ambassador to Australia, Jose Manuel Galego. The event was organised by the Australia-Cuba Friendship Society (ACFS).
Construction has begun on Australia’s first floating solar power plant. Designed by Infratech Industries, the plant will float on a wastewater treatment facility in the northern South Australia town of Jamestown. The solar panels will be kept cool by the water, helping prevent water evaporation by up to 90%, making them 57% more efficient than land-based solar farms. Director of Infratech Industries Felicia Whiting said: “It’s very much like a traditional solar array with the exception that it’s designed to float on the water.”
It is hard to distill what it is like to live in poverty into a few words, because poverty is so huge and complex, particularly for single mothers. On my own, it’s easy to feel powerless to do anything about it and as a woman the injustice of poverty makes me so angry. It makes me angry that in one of the most prosperous countries in the world, we have more than 600,000 children living in poverty. It makes me angry that right now there are women and children living in cars or in unsafe and insecure housing because rents have become impossible to manage.
About 10,000 people took part in a peaceful demonstration in Kuala Lumpur on March 7 against the jailing of opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim, Malaysian Socialist Party (PSM) leader S. Arutchelvan (Arul) told Green Left Weekly. Anwar was jailed for a second time on trumped up “sodomy” charges. The protest was called by a new coalition called KitaLawan (“We Fightback”). Authorities responded by arresting Nik Nazmi, the youth leader of the opposition Justice Party (PKR), and Saifullah Zulkifli, a PKR organiser.
Union of South American Nations (UNASUR) secretary-general Ernesto Samper, said on March 9 that the regional bloc offered total support to the government of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro after the US government’s declaration of Venezuela as a national security threat. US President Barack Obama has issued a decree listing Venezuela as a “national security emergency” for the US, citing alleged human rights abuses and corruption. The US has also imposed extra sanctions on several Venezuelan officials.
Public housing residents in Millers Point facing eviction orders are so distressed that one of them committed suicide this week, Save Millers Point campaigner Barney Gardner told a public housing protest outside NSW Parliament on March 10. The protest united several campaigns against NSW government attempts to privatise public housing in Glebe, Millers Point and elsewhere in the state, to highlight public housing as an important election issue There has been at least one other Millers Point resident who attempted suicide earlier, Gardner told Green Left Weekly.
US President Barack Obama issued an Executive Order regarding Venezuela on March 9 that escalated US attacks on Venezuela's left-wing government. The order amounts to an act of aggression against Venezuela's sovereignty by declaring a “national emergency” based on claims the oil-rich South American nation threatens US national security due to alleged human rights violations and corruption.
The following speech was delivered on behalf of the Kurdish Women’s Movement by Seval Ulus to the International Women’s Day rally in Melbourne on March 8. * * * On the anniversary of the March 8, International Women’s Day, women around the world are continuing to resist against the patriarchal system. Over a hundred years ago working women stood up against an oppressive system that has raged for thousands of years. This March, their struggle is still echoing on the streets of the world. The resistance against inequality, sexism and violence is growing by the day.
On Wednesday March 11, members of the United Services Union (USU)at Liverpool City Council will stop work to discuss management’s attacks on members’ working conditions. The stop work is to take place in Bigge Park in the centre of Liverpool from 10am. The NSW government’s “Fit for the Future” process is requiring councils in Sydney to show significant cost savings or be amalgamated. Council’s senior management has used this process as a justification for mounting an attack on the conditions of its employees across the board.

Pages

Subscribe to 1045