The Sydney launch of the Four Days in July national Aboriginal rights convergence was addressed by journalist John Pilger, Alyawarr peoples’ walk-off spokesperson Richard Downs, Maritime Union of Australia Sydney branch secretary Paul McAleer and Larissa Behrendt, Professor of Law and Director of Research at the Jumbunna Indigenous House of Learning at UTS. More than 300 people attended the April 23 meeting.
David Lowe, a Townsville-based administration officer and union activist, was preselected by the Socialist Alliance Queensland state conference on April 17 to join Brisbane Aboriginal community leader Sam Watson on the Senate team for the upcoming federal election. Lowe is helping to establish a Socialist Alliance branch in Townsville. Below, Lowe explains what prompted him to run with the Socialist Alliance. * * *
Bolivia's World People's Summit on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth was radical, inspiring, uncompromising and exactly what was needed. Up to 30,000 people from six continents took part in the summit, which was held in the Bolivian city of Cochabamba from April 19 to 22. The huge oil spill from a BP rig in the Gulf of Mexico underscores the summit’s significance. About 800,000 litres of oil are spewing out a day. The company admits it may not be able to stop the leak for weeks — or even months.
As a doctor working in the front line of the public hospital system for a decade, I have been watching the debate around health reform with great interest. The phrase “controlled locally, funded federally” has been repeated ad nauseam by Prime Minister Kevin Rudd. Imagine if we could hear him saying “free universal health care for all ... no more handouts to the private sector ... break the feudal strangle hold of the colleges on the number of specialists being trained ... will include dentistry ... a healthy society ... a shorter working week so we have time to exercise...”.
Over April 17-18, Tamils across Australia voted overwhelmingly in favour of the formation of an independent and sovereign homeland — Tamil Eelam — in the north and east of Sri Lanka. In what was described by organisers as “the most successful political event for the diaspora in Australia”, 99.38% of participants voted “yes”.
The World People’s Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth held in April 19-22 in Cochabamba, adopted a People’s Agreement on tackling climate change. Some of its key points are listed below. Visit Pwccc.wordpress.com to read the full document, and other resolutions adopted by the summit. The People’s Agreement includes the following points:
African American artist Gil Scott-Heron, whose political poetry influenced a generation of rap artists, sensationally announced the cancellation of his planned gig in Tel Aviv on April 24. Speaking onstage at London’s Royal Festival Hall, Scott-Heron told the audience he “hated war” and told the packed audience his Israel tour date would not be going ahead. Fans dismayed at the planned gig had earlier disrupted his concert. They repeatedly heckled the performer and asked him to cancel.
The United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) concluded its five-month extraordinary congress on April 25 with the approval of highly anticipated party principles and statutes. This was just in time for primaries on May 2, in which millions of PSUV members will choose parliamentary candidates to run against a newly united opposition platform called the “Democratic Alternative” in September.
After weeks of political wrangling and uncertainty since the March 20 state elections, a new government has been formed in Tasmania. For the first time in Australia’s history, the Greens will have ministry positions. The Labor Party and the Greens agreed to a “power sharing deal”, which offered a ministry for Greens leader Nick McKim and a cabinet secretary position for Greens MP Cassy O’Connor.
On May 1 in Kathmandu, between 500,000-1 million people took over the streets in a dramatic show of force by Nepal’s Maoists to demand a return to civilian rule and a democratic process of creating a new, pro-people constitution. With the government refusing popular demands for its resignation, an indefinite general strike has been called from May 2 in what the Maoists are calling a “final push” to resolve the struggle for power between the poor majority and Nepal’s elite.
“Capitalism is the number one enemy of humanity”, Bolivian President Evo Morales said in his closing speech to the World People’s Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth held on April 19-22 in Cochabamba. “It turns everything into merchandise, it seeks continual expansion. The system needs to be changed.” More than 35,000 people attended the summit, organised by the Bolivian government in response to the challenge of climate change after rich nations refused to allow an agreement for serious action at the December United Nations climate summit in Copenhagen.
Hip-hop artist Chuck D, best known as a rapper with progressive band Public Enemy, has released a new track in response to the extreme racist, anti-immigrant law passed on April 23 in Arizona entitled “Tear Down That Wall”. The song can be downloaded at SLAMjazz.com. Chuck D and his wife, Dr Gaye Theresa Johnson (director of Black and Chicano studies at UC Santa Barbara), also released the following statement against the racist law. * * *
Resistance, socialist youth organisation, held its national conference in the Thirroul Community Centre (Wollongong, NSW) over April 24-26, 2010. Nearly 300 largely young people took part in the event, discussing organising a fight back against racism, war and environmental destruction. The event was filmed by Win TV (regional NSW version of Channel Nine). The news report can be seen below.