Adelaide. Photo: Welcome to Australia via Facebook. About 2000 people joined a rally against racism in Federation Square on April 4. The Melbourne rally was the largest counter-mobilisation against the racist, “Reclaim Australia” protests organised across Australia. The Melbourne “Reclaim Australia” event was attended by about 500 people.
The Venezuelan government-initiated campaign calling for US President Barack Obama to repeal his executive order that arbitrarily declares Venezuela an "extraordinary threat" to US "national security" had more than 6 million signatures as March 31. Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro announced on his weekly television program that the campaign has collected 6.2 million signatures so far. “I believe that Obama's threat has awoken a great amount of love for what we are going for in our country,” said Maduro.
“The swing against the Coalition and vote for three, perhaps four Greens MPs, in the NSW elections represents an important political gain for the left in NSW. This is welcome news for those fighting for community need not corporate greed”, Susan Price told Green Left Weekly. Price, a long-time unionist and co-convenor of Socialist Alliance, ran for the Socialist Alliance in the inner-west seat of Summer Hill.
Since US President Barack Obama's administration decided to impose new sanctions on Venezuela on March 9, many people, including journalists, have asked what motivated them to do this. Some are curious over the apparent inconsistency between this move and the White House decision in December to begin normalising relations with Cuba. Others are wondering why the Obama administration would do something that so obviously hurts the United States-backed opposition in Venezuela, at least in the short run.
Spain: Education sector strikes against privatisation Professors and students in more than 40 Spanish cities went on strike on March 24 against the government’s education reform aimed at privatising the public sector. According to the unions who organised the strike, there was an 85% participation rate. High schools reached 90% participation around the country, according to a statement by Workers Commissions, FETE-UGT, the Independent Central of State Officials and Students of Spain in Movement.
The following statement was released by Aasim Sajjad Akhtar, Punjab president of the Awami Workers Party, in response to the Pakistani government stating it intended to join the US-backed Saudi-led military intervention in Yemen. * * *
In the more than four years since mass uprisings ousted dictatorial regimes in Tunisia and Egypt, it can seem that the initial hopes represented by these mass movements lie in tatters. Libya, Syria, Yemen and Iraq remain mired in bloody armed conflicts that have led to the deaths of hundreds of thousands and displaced millions more within and across borders. In the pivotal case of Egypt, military rule has returned through the violent crushing of protests, the arrests of an estimated 40,000 people and the rebuilding of the repressive structures of the Hosni Mubarak era.
An unprecedented climate change-fueled drought contributed to the political unrest in Syria, says a new paper published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the Huffington Post reported on February 3. The article said the Syrian drought, which began in late 2006, dragged on for three years and was the worst on record.
The small, majority-Black town of Ferguson, Missouri has once again become the flash point of a new movement against the oppression of African Americans and the racist response. US Attorney-General Eric Holder recently released a Department of Justice (DOJ) report detailing the systematic oppression of the Black community in Ferguson by city authorities, the police department and the courts.
It was always a big ask for the NSW Labor Party to follow their counterparts in Victoria and Queensland and win the election on March 29. The corruption scandals involving former Labor ministers was a big handicap for the ALP at the previous election in 2011. As a result, Labor lost 32 lower house seats and the Coalition won 34 seats. The ALP was reduced to a rump of just 20 lower house members — the worst result for the party in more than 100 years.
Up to 15,000 people joined the Palm Sunday Walk for Refugees in Melbourne on March 29, more than double the numbers from last year refugee advocates said. Large rallies and marches were also held in 12 other Australian cities, and 19 cities overseas, demanding refugees be released from detention. Photo: Ali Bakhtiarvandi About 300 people in detention on Nauru also joined the protest and called for an end to offshore detention centres.
Thousands of demonstrators from across Spain gathered in Madrid’s main Colon Square on March 21 to protest against continuing harsh government austerity measures. Nine columns of demonstrators, who had been on the march for several days, converged on the plaza. Labelled Marches for Dignity, at least 20,000 people packed Colon Square, carrying republican flags and banners calling for a general strike.
The London School of Economics (LSE) was occupied by students on March 17. The occupation, still going as of March 28, has since spread to King's College London, University of Arts London and Goldsmiths University of London. More than 100 students took over the school, which has been associated with neoliberal economic theory for decades, and declared that the central university administration building has been transformed into the Free University of London.
Greece demands Germany pay war reparations Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias has proposed creating a joint commission of Greek and German experts to address the issue of World War II reparations, TeleSUR English said on March 23. “Athens wants to come to an agreement regarding the issue of reparations, we need to find a common denominator,” Kotzias said. The foreign minister added that he prefers a political solution to the issue, rather than a legal one.
The Argentine government urged the British government to return to the negotiating table over the Malvinas Islands on March 25, TeleSUR English said. It comes in response to a planned “beef up” of British military presence on the disputed islands off the coast of South America that Britain occupies. In a statement, Argentina's foreign ministry described Britain's “growing militarisation” of the disputed islands as “absolutely unjustifiable”.
More than 4000 local and global groups from 120 countries took part in the 14th World Social Forum in Tunisia from March 24 to 28. The WSF was created as a popular alternative to the corporate-dominated, elite World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos. The first WSF was held in Brazil in 2001 and was organised as an alternative to the WEF, the yearly meeting of the global ultra-rich.