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The man who ran over and killed Aboriginal teenager Elijah Doughty in Kalgoorlie last August could walk free from jail in seven months.

He was never charged with murder and was cleared of manslaughter by a Supreme Court jury, which convicted him of the lesser charge of dangerous driving causing death. He was given a three year jail term but  could be released on parole by February.

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”.

I’ve often heard it asked, “Is Australia a racist country?” only for the question to be railroaded by a series of semantics: “What does that even mean?”; “How can a country have a collective mindset?”; and “You can’t confer a universal attitude onto a population of 24 million, surely?”

Politicians and commentators tell us there are such things as Australian values. The same quibbling arguments about whether Australia is collectively racist apply to so-called national values.

The United Nations High commission for Refugees (UNHCR) reported on July 19 that an airstrike carried out by the US-backed Saudi-led coalition in Yemen killed 20 civilians — including women and children — who were fleeing violence in their home province.

The agency said in statement: “Most of those killed are believed to be from the same family.”

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