For a while in late May, it looked as if negotiations over terms for releasing the last €7.2 billion owed to Greece under its second bailout package with the “Troika” of the European Union, European Central Bank and International Monetary Fund might have some chance of success. The commentary from the SYRIZA-led Greek government's negotiators and from its creditors was of “fruitful discussions” and “meaningful progress”. Greek government spokespeople even spoke of reaching an agreement “within a week or two”, at the latest by the June 18 meeting of the eurozone finance ministers.
Tens of thousands of anti-capitalist, environmental and social justice activists took to the streets and country roads of Bavaria in Germany to protest the Group of Seven (G7) nations summit, which took place on June 7 and 8 in a secluded castle in the German Alps. More than 35,000 demonstrators marched peacefully in the Bavarian capital Munich on June 4. They protested the destructive policies of the G7 industrialised nations — climate change, militarisation and NATO expansion in Europe, economic austerity and poverty, democracy-destroying free trade deals and more.
In a David and Goliath struggle that became known as the “Jobs for Women” campaign, 34 mostly migrant, unemployed, working-class women took on Australia’s largest company, Broken Hill Propriety Limited (BHP). In a landmark legal and industrial struggle, they sued BHP’s subsidiary, Australian Iron and Steel (AIS) in Port Kembla for sex discrimination because they refused to employ women. After a long, hard struggle over 14 years, the campaign eventually won damages estimated at up to $9 million for more than 700 women who had applied to work at the steelworks.
BRISBANE Join us at a rally to welcome refugees on Saturday June 20 at 11am. King George Square. Ph Paul 3392 3843. Email. DARWIN Watch a film: A Fierce Green Fire - the battle for a living planet on Thursday July 2 at 6pm, refreshments available from 5.30pm. Darwin Museum and Art Gallery Theatrette: Conacher St, Fannie Bay. $10/$5 Phone Peter: 0429 694 083 Hosted by Green Left Weekly and the Socialist Alliance. GEELONG
Community still opposes pulp mill Friends of the Tamar Valley and Pulp the Mill have responded to news that “at least one binding offer for the [Gunns pulp mill] licence from overseas” has been received, saying community opposition to the pulp mill is just as strong now as when the project was first proposed more than ten years ago.
Platypus numbers recovering in Melbourne Platypus populations in Melbourne's suburbs and urban fringe are showing signs of recovery, five years after being devastated by drought, the ABC said on June 2.
Tom Morello. A new US-based record label for “rebel music”has been launched by Rage Against Machine guitarist Tom Morello, who also performs as solo act the Night Watchman, Rolling Stone reported on June 4.
About 200 people attended a meeting on Islamophobia on May 31. The meeting was co-chaired by Steve Jolly, a Socialist Party member and Yarra city councillor, and Monique Toohey, a board member of the Islamic Council of Victoria (ICV). Toohey told the meeting that the harassment of Muslims had made many of them fearful of going out in public. Ghaith Krayem, the president of the ICV, said that under proposed new laws people could be deported by the decision of a minister, based on suspicion, with no right to challenge claims made by the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation.
The corruption scandal that has hit FIFA, culminating in the recent arrest of seven FIFA officials in Switzerland and the resignation of FIFA president Sepp Blatter, has focused attention on the world’s most powerful football (soccer) body. You have to go back to FIFA's founding to understand the factors that have led to these events. It was formed in 1904 to oversee international competition among various European football associations.
Australia’s most popular children’s author, Mem Fox, has criticised the federal government’s unfair funding of private schools. Fox was addressing an audience of public school educators at the National Press Club. She said the "confidence trick" of private schools marketing was being revealed, but governments persisted with unfair funding models. "The federal government spends two-thirds of its school education dollars on the one-third of students in Australia who go to private schools,” she said. “Where is our national sense of shame at that statistic?
So a member of the Coalition government said something tone-deaf and out of touch again. It must have been on a day ending with “y”. When asked last week about housing affordability, federal Treasurer Joe Hockey came out with this cracker: "The starting point for a first homebuyer is to get a good job that pays good money." Oh, of course, Joe! Why hasn't anyone thought of that before?
About 300 people gathered outside Newtown’s Town Hall Hotel on June 8 to protest against the bashing of trans-woman Stephanie McCarthy as she was preparing to perform with her band at the hotel. The crowd were there to stand by McCarthy, condemn the hotel’s actions in not calling police or offering McCarthy support and protest against violence against women and transphobia. Speakers demanded that the community boycott the hotel until it apologises and offers McCarthy compensation. McCarthy gave this speech at the protest. * * *
On June 4 the silhouettes of 231 children were placed outside Parliament House in Canberra as a representation of the children still held in Australia’s detention centres.
On May 31, about 400 anti- racist protestors confronted a far-right protest of racists outside Richmond Town Hall in Melbourne. There were about 70 far-right protesters, carrying Australian flags and wearing swastika t-shirts and green and gold. The action was called by a splinter group of Reclaim Australia that calls itself United Patriots Front (UPF). They attempted to storm the town hall but were thwarted by the hundreds of anti-racists present.
For young people today, the international situation can seem hopeless. The world seems increasingly filled with chaos and crisis, as austerity and war impoverish and immiserate increasing numbers of people around the globe. The situation facing young people today, in Australia and around the world, is difficult to say the least, and it is important to confront such a situation seriously and with determination.