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Protests against police killings in Chicago, November 25. Across the country, police murders of Black people continue apace — as do prosecutors' failure to charge the killers, getting hung juries at best.
I BELIEVE that reviewers generally should disclose when they have a vested interest in the thing they're reviewing, so full disclosure: Barring another Jar Jar Binks fiasco, there was about as much chance of me--a geek hurtling toward middle age at light speed--hating J.J. Abrams' Star Wars: Episode VII--The Force Awakens as there is of the Millennium Falcon successfully navigating an asteroid field.
This past year there was no shortage of people who tried to leverage the sports world to boldly speak out on issues beyond the field of play. In the United States, Missouri football players went on strike against racism; the remarkable activists in Boston — led in many neighbourhoods by people of colour and women — kept out the rapacious Olympics; the continuing fight ahead of the 2016 Rio Olympics is taking on both the International Olympic Committee and the Brazilian government.
Police violently crack down on protests in Bahrain against al-Nimr's execution. The West's response to public beheadings carried out by the Saudi state is extremely muted, especially in comparison with the way public beheadings by ISIS are highlighted in Western propaganda.
Malaysian human rights group SUARAM says that several members of the Socialist Party of Malaysia (PSM) and other human rights activists were subjected to arbitrary arrests simply for attending a peaceful candlelight vigil in the city of Johor Baru on January 10. The vigil was called to protest the second-time arrest on remand of PSM Central Committee member Khairul Nizam (also known as Aduka Taruna).

The most recent examples of sexism by two Coalition front bench MPs reminds us that sexism and misogyny is alive and thriving 32 years after the landmark law that made such discrimination a crime. From the outrageous sexist attacks on former PM Julia Gillard — largely from the same Coalition MPs — to MP Peter Dutton's “mad fucking witch” (MFW) text, the view that women are second-class citizens and sexual objects — and can be treated as such — remains strong especially among those with the means to shape public opinion.

The dramatic declines on financial markets at the start of the new year have revived fears that another economic slump could be in the cards for 2016 — even though working people around the world are still suffering the effects of the Great Recession the last time around.
Tragedies of the global commons and the global working class “Everybody is talking about it — the dangers presented by climate change,” Canadian Marxist Michael Lebowitz says. “Adding significantly, though, to the emphasis upon the need to take dramatic action now has been Pope Francis’s recent Encyclical Laudati Si, ‘On Care for our Common Home’.” 'Venezuela defines the future of the progressive struggle'
Women from the Refugee Rights Action Network (RRAN) organised a "Mad F**king Witches" action to highlight the intolerable levels of sexual assault in Australian immigration detention centres and to call for freedom for refugees and the sacking of minister Peter Dutton. "Silence on Nauru rapes makes us ‪#‎MadFuckingWitches‬," says RRAN activist Michelle Bui.
The Northern Territory government rejected an application to explore for unconventional gas in Watarrka National Park, also known as Kings Canyon, and Coomalie on the edge of the Litchfield National Park, on November 25. The Traditional Owners have been fighting to protect the areas from fracking for three years. More than 90% of the Northern Territory is covered by gas exploration licences, or applications for fracking exploration.
Aboriginal child removals by government Child Protection agencies across the nation are taking place at an alarming rate. The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare reported a rise in the rate of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children aged up to 17 in out of home care across all states and territories over the past decade. Aboriginal children are eight times more likely to be the subject of departmental intervention; nine times more likely to be on care and protection orders; and 10 times more likely to be in out-of-home care than non-Aboriginal kids.
On the day Tony Abbott was rolled, one of my family members, who lives in Malcolm Turnbull's electorate of Wentworth, posted a one line warning on Facebook: "Beware the silver fox." Well, it proved true remarkably quickly. A concerted attack on Medicare is in full swing and it has one clear objective: dismantling public health care and replacing it with a US-style privatised system that costs more, delivers inferior outcomes and leaves the poorest to die.
The federal government is proposing to hold a referendum to formally recognise Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in the Australian Constitution. Sounds like a good progressive idea? Many prominent Aboriginal leaders disagree. * * * “Constitutional recognition is said to be about equality and civil rights, but what we're fighting for is the right to determine our own destiny. This government isn't ready to facilitate real power sharing. When nations enter into treaties they share economic power.
When Liberal MP Jamie Briggs was in Hong Kong and was not busy making unwanted advances on public servants, he was meeting with private rail operator MTR. This aspect of his travels should also be under scrutiny.
Every year it becomes harder to ignore official Australia's celebrations of nationalism. For weeks, supermarket aisles have been given over to garish displays of things to buy for Australia Day on January 26: Australian flags and hats, stubby holders and thongs displaying Australian flags. None of it would look out of place at a Reclaim Australia rally. And then there is that ad for lamb featuring popular SBS broadcaster Lee Lin Chin. It is tongue-in-cheek, for sure, showing a military operation to enforce Australians worldwide to barbecue lamb for Australia Day.
“Against sexism, against racism” Cologne, January 5. Photo: Jungewelt.de. Dozens of women were sexually harassed on New Year's Eve in Germany, but rather than connecting the events to a system that perpetuates sexist violence, the political and media establishments have focused on the nationalities of the alleged perpetrators. German leftists are challenging this twisted interpretation, demonstrating against both sexism and racism in Cologne on January 5.

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