A former member of Bahrain's parliament, Jassim Hussain, who resigned in protest at the repression of the 2011 reform movement, spoke about the current situation in Bahrain and the broader Gulf region on January 24. Hussain said the falling price of oil has caused economic problems for the Gulf States. They have also spent a lot of money on the wars in Yemen and Syria. As a result, there have been cuts to government subsidies for meat, fuel and electricity, as well as cuts to unemployment and retirement benefits.
Photos (above and below) by Julius Choo Chon Kai.
From January 15 to 26, five Resistance: Young Socialist Alliance members participated in an exposure tour of Malaysia, hosted by the Socialist Party of Malaysia (PSM). Day 1: Arriving in Kuala Lumpur and Bersih rallies We arrived in Kuala Lumpur late on Friday evening and stayed in dormitories that served as a training facility for the Catholic Church. That night, PSM members told us about the Bersih rallies, which have been among the largest demonstrations to have taken place in Malaysia.
About 300 unionists rallied on January 27 outside the Melbourne Liberal Party headquarters to demand an investigation into Alcoa's actions after the American-based company forcibly replaced Australian seafarers with foreign workers. A simultaneous rally in Sydney attracted about 100 workers.
Turkey is rapidly descending into civil war as the government of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan deepens its offensive against the Kurdish population, left-wing opposition parties, journalists and academics. The Turkish government says it is fighting the armed forces of the left-wing Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), with which the government terminated peace talks last year. But the brunt of the state's violence has been directed against civilians.
The New South Wales Baird government has announced an historic decision to privatise public housing. In a $22 billion bonanza for the government's property developer mates, public housing estates will be torn down and rebuilt into places where private tenants and homeowners outnumber social housing tenants by 70% to 30%. NSW Coalition Minister for Social Housing Brad Hazzard announced the state government's "Future Directions for Social Housing" policy. It includes the transfer of 35% of public housing to community housing organisations.
A union picket line has been established against Dulux in Rocklea. The workers are fighting for two key elements: the payment of sick leave and for redundancy payouts to be uncapped. Currently redundancy payments are capped at 20 years, reducing the payout for workers who have worked for Dulux for upwards of 35 years. The issue arose when, in March last year, 60 redundancies were announced. This was later reduced to 40.
One of the most worst cases of environmental pollution in US history is taking place in Flint, Michigan — a suburb of Detroit that is majority African American. The citizens of this small city of 100,000 have been deliberately poisoned through their drinking water for more than a year. The worst exposure has been to lead, a known neurotoxin that, once in the body, cannot be removed. Lead harms everyone exposed to it, but it hits children especially hard. It causes permanent damage to the brain and other parts of the nervous system.
In a move designed to restrict examination and comment, the NSW government released the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the New M5 in late November. The EIS was on public exhibition until January 29 — virtually the whole summer holiday period. The New M5 is the second major tunnel section of WestConnex and will run between the existing M5 East at Kingsgrove and the new interchange at St Peters.
The article below is January 27 editorial published by the International Union of Food, Agricultural, Hotel, Restaurant, Catering, Tobacco and Allied Workers' Association (IUF). The IUF is a global federation of trade unions, with 412 organisations in 126 countries, representing more than 12 million workers. * * *
Yale’s environmental performance index has placed Australia so low in its rankings that only Saudi Arabia has a worse ranking among wealthy nations. The index ranks countries’ performance in protecting human health and ecosystems, and looks at nine areas including air quality, climate and energy, forests and water resources. Australia was ranked 150th out of 180 countries for its carbon emissions for electricity generation. Overall in the climate and energy category, Australia was ranked 82nd.
CANBERRA Come to a rally: Stop continuing Stolen Generations. More Aboriginal kids are being taken from their families than ever before. Called by Grandmothers Against Removals. Thursday February 11 at 12pm. Aboriginal Tent Embassy, Parliament House. MELBOURNE