Farmers in East Nusa Tenggara have lost 25-40% of their income due to irregular rainfall. Fishers in the Maluku islands are experiencing poor catches as they lose their ability to predict sea climate and fish movements. Climate change has arrived in Indonesia, and it is hitting the countrys poorest first and hardest, according to a survey by Oxfam. Oxfam said that in recent years the rainy season has been either late or so unpredictable farmers did not know when to start planting, resulting in failed harvests and a drastic drop in income, and widespread hunger and malnutrition, especially among children.
Socialist Alliance hosted a discussion on June 12 about standing up to the “police state” laws introduced into the NSW parliament for the period of the September APEC summit. One person arrested in connection with the G20 protests in Melbourne last November told the meeting that police had directed him not to attend the APEC protests. He urged participants not to be intimidated by such tactics.
Hundreds of Papuans rallied on June 8 during a one-day visit by Hina Jilani, the UN secretary generals special representative on human rights defenders. In Jayapura, capital of Papua province, protesters welcomed Jilani while others called on her to stop the genocide of the Papuans and stop the killing in West Papua. In Manokwari, capital of the province of West Papua, protesters called on the UN to pressure Jakarta to overturn the 1969 referendum that resulted in the territorys incorporation into Indonesia.
The 50th anniversary of the 1957 Palm Island strike was marked by a “very emotional” commemoration on June 15, Indigenous activist Gracelyn Smallwood told Green Left Weekly. She said up to 4000 people took part. Among the activities, relatives of the seven men and their families who were handcuffed, chained and removed at gunpoint from the island spoke about the violation of their human rights. The strike was triggered by a system that meant every Indigenous person on Palm Island had to work for 30 hours per week while being paid only in rations.
From June 1-3 in Port Dickson, the Socialist Party of Malaysia (PSM) held its ninth congress. It was the partys largest so far. The PSMs plans for the coming year include trying to win at least one seat in the coming election, holding a public forum on Venezuela, redesigning the partys website, producing more socialist booklets and holding a national forum on 50 years of Malaysian independence and left politics. The party also resolved to hold an international conference in 2008. A resolution adopted by the conference condemned authorities refusal to nationally register the PSM as a party as an anti-socialist political conspiracy. Solidarity messages were received from a range of socialist organisations, including Australias Democratic Socialist Perspective.
Disability support worker Joanne Ball will appear before a local court on June 22 on charges of obstruction and interferring with a police officer during the February protest against the visit to Sydney by US Vice-President Dick Cheney.
Electrical Trades Union Victorian secretary and union militant Dean Mighell was forced to resign from the ALP after a tape recording of an internal union meeting became public. Labor leader Kevin Rudd and his industrial relations spokesperson Julia Gillard slammed Mighell as a union “thug” for swearing about bosses and talking up a pattern-bargaining agreement in which ETU members received a particularly good deal. Green Left Weekly’s Sue Bolton spoke to Mighell about Labor under Rudd, its backflips on IR and how the unions can defend workers’ rights.
On June 16, a group of human rights campaigners and former political prisoners in Chile rallied at the Cowper Wharf in Woolloomooloo to protest the arrival of the Chilean Navy training ship Esmeralda. The ship served as a floating torture prison for political prisoners under General Augusto Pinochet’s 1973-90 military regime.
LAUNCESTON — On June 16, 11,000 people joined a rally organised by The Wilderness Society against Gunns’ proposed pulp mill in the West Tamar Valley. The crowd gathered at City Park and was addressed by Gardening Australia’s Peter Cundall, Geoff Law from TWS and Greens Senate candidate Andrew Wilkie, who condemned the plans to pollute the Tamar’s air and water with a kraft-chlorine pulp mill that will feed on Tasmania’s old-growth forests. Cundall warned Paul Lennon’s state Labor government and Gunns that “this is democracy in action” and “we are never going to stop fighting”. Protesters marched to Civic Square chanting “No pulp mill”.