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Message of solidarity from branch secretary Paul McAleer on behalf of the Maritime Union of Australia Sydney Branch.

Venezuela is heading towards an increasingly dangerous situation, in which open civil war could become a real possibility.

Civil war becomes more likely as long as the media obscure who is responsible for the violence and the international left fails to show solidarity with Venezuela’s Bolivarian socialist movement.

The media likes to blame government repression for the recent deaths in Venezuela, but the actual figures tell a different story.

Worryingly, they reveal a right-wing terror campaign involving political assassinations and public lynchings of government supporters, providing a frightening insight into what the opposition would do in power.

While the media reported the results announced by the right-wing opposition for its July 16 national consultation as fact, even its own “observers” have raised doubts as to its democratic credentials.

1. Venezuela’s housing mission has built 1.5 million homes for Venezuelan families since 2011. By the end of this year, the government aims to have completed a further 540,000 new homes and repaired 550,000 existing homes under the Barrio Nuevo, Barrio Tricolor mission.

On July 30, 545 delegates will be elected by the Venezuelan people to a National Constituent Assembly (ANC) proposed by President Nicolas Maduro.

The ANC will discuss proposals to reform the constitution, though any official amendments will have to be put to a referendum.

About 50 people gathered on July 8 at the Maritime Union of Australia (MUA) offices in Sydney to celebrate Venezuela’s Independence Day and express support for the Venezuelan people and their government.

It followed a reception of more than 100 guests organised by the Embassy of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela in Canberra on July 5, marking the 206th anniversary of Venezuela’s Independence Day.

A “Venezuela-Brazil Solidarity” meeting organised by the Latin America Solidarity Network (LASNET) was held on June 8 in Melbourne.

It brought together a wide array of activists, including members of the Socialist Alliance, Australia-Venezuela Solidarity Network (AVSN) and trade unionists.

Since April, the people of Venezuela have been under constant attack from violent protests orchestrated by the right-wing opposition to the government of President Nicolas Maduro.

Candles were firmly held against the darkness of Australia’s cruel bipartisan refugee policy on July 19.

Initiated by GetUp! and supported by numerous refugee rights organisations, the vigils drew thousands of people to more than 50 locations across Australia from big cities to small country towns.

The vigils marked four years since then-Prime Minister Kevin Rudd announced that anyone who came seeking asylum in Australia via boat would never be resettled in Australia.

The rise of Jeremy Corbyn in Britain and Bernie Sanders in the US has led many to ask where is our Corbyn or our Sanders and to question whether conditions in Australia are ripe for a similar break to the left.

Because Australia was buffered from the worst of the GFC, due mainly to the mining boom, some argue that conditions here may need to get a lot worse before people are prepared to get behind a left platform.

Let’s look at some social indicators in Australia today.

Disabled people faced off with armed police at Parliament on July 19 as they were told their T-shirts exposing the savage nature of Tory cuts were off-limits, Morning Star Online said the next day.

The campaigners were there to lobby MPs over the horrendous toll the Conservatives’ austerity and blitz on essential benefits has had on disabled people. The rally was part of a week of action organised by Disabled People Against Cuts to flag up the brutal nature of the attacks.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has challenged Prime Minister Theresa May to allow people to self-identify as transgender without having to go through medical checks, The Guardian said on July 19.

The socialist politician pledged that Labour would support any government attempt to change the law.

RAD Exhibition
Until August 27
Newcastle Museum
Radical Newcastle
Edited by James Bennett, Nancy Cushing & Erik Eklund
New South Publishers, 2015
$39.99

Exhibitions like RAD, now showing at the Newcastle Museum, and Radical Newcastle, the book that inspired it, help each generation of activists remember and learn the lessons of previous struggles.

A new wave of neo-fascist sentiment has been emerging in recent years in Europe, endangering the basis of Western democracy.

Just think of the Ukraine, where the Communist Party has been banned, or Hungary, where the President Viktor Orban built an anti-migrant wall along the Serbian border (and is about to build a new one). Or Poland, where the parliament recently approved an illiberal law designed to limit the autonomy of the judiciary, subordinating it to the diktats of the justice minister.

US exports to China totalled US$116 billion last year, while its imports reached $463 billion. The $347 billion deficit accounts for almost 70% of the US’s total trade deficit.

US President Donald Trump’s most influential senior advisers, Peter Navarro, who heads the National Trade Council, and US secretary of commerce Wilbur Ross, call China “the biggest trade cheater in the world”.

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