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Exams!

Resistance calls on high school students to boycott the NAPLAN tests next week. While the Australian Education Union (AEU) has backed down on their plan to not administer the tests, the government agreement with the AEU is a potentially empty gesture.

More than 350 people participated at the human ring in Sydney on May 8 and urged Australian government to be a lifesaver and protect refugees. They called the politicians not to score political points by punishing the most desperate of people. Amnesty International Australia organized the human ring at Bondi Beach to show the politicians on all sides that they’ve got it wrong — Australians do care about saving lives and they won't accept punishment of people to win votes. There were also speeches by human rights activists at the event.
Thousands of anti-NAPLAN supporters outnumber solitary pro-NAPLAN person! Resistance, socialist youth organisation Despite the Australian Education Union dropping its boycott of NAPLAN testing, protest on the social networking site Facebook shows overwhelming opposition to the tests - from teachers & students alike. One group which has over a thousand supporters is calling on students to "strike" against the tests, which have been linked to the production of League tables to simplistically rank schools.
The following joint statement of solidarity has been signed by a number of left and progressive organisations, in the Asia-Pacific region and beyond. If your organisation would like to sign on, please email international@socialist-alliance.org * * * Support the struggle for democracy and social justice in Nepal May 6, 2010
Palestinian civil society has called on Elton John to respect their call to boycott Israel and cancel his June 17 concert in Tel Aviv. If he does so, he'll be joining artists Santana and Gil-Scott Heron, who recently cancelled planned concerts in Israel. This video suggests six reasons why Elton should join the BDS (boycott, divestment, sanctions) movement. For more info, please visit: www.bdsmovement.net Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel
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It had to happen eventually. Kevin Rudd's popularity has gone into decline, and the Labor party now trail the Liberals in the latest polls. According to a May 3 Essential Research poll, Rudd's approval rating has fallen to 46%, down from 71% a year ago. The Liberals lead Labor by 51% to 49% on a “two party preferred” basis according to polling by Newspoll published in the May 4 Australian.
MELBOURNE — At a mass meeting and protest rally outside Telstra’s main shop in Melbourne on May 5, Telstra workers voted unanimously to continue their campaign of strikes, bans and other disruptions, aimed at winning a new enterprise agreement and defeating Telstra’s attempts to discriminate against its unionised workers. Marching through the Melbourne CBD, the workers, who are members of the Communications, Electrical and Plumbing Union (CEPU) communications division, demanded equal pay with the non-union workers in Telstra.
A secret review of Australia’s intelligence services has proposed giving them new powers to spy on Australians, carry weapons and conduct secretive paramilitary operations in other countries. Powers to carry weapons are proposed for employees of the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO), which has already received a vast expansion of legal powers since 2001, extra personnel and a new purpose-built Canberra headquarters.
The conspicuous presence of barbed wire in Australian immigration detention centres, such as Rudd’s newly re-opened Curtin detention centre, is a reminder of the inhuman pedigree of these grim despair factories. It is no accident that barbed wire — or the “devil’s rope” as the First Nations people of North America called it — has accompanied and facilitated many of the worst crimes against humanity of the modern era.
A battle has been joined for the very soul of Arizona. On one side, there are the Minutemen, the craven state Republican lawmakers, Governor Jan Brewer, and the utterly unprincipled John McCain, all supporting SB 1070, a law that codifies racial profiling of immigrants in the state. SB 1070 makes it crime to walk the streets of this state without clutching your passport, green card, visa, or state ID. It not only empowers, but requires cops to demand paperwork if they so much as suspect a person of being undocumented.
The May 2 internal pre-selection of United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) candidates for the September 26 national elections was an example of the mobilising force of this mass party in construction. More than 2.5 million party members participated. This demonstrated the PSUV is the largest national political force, and highlighted its democratic and participatory nature. The participation rate was greater than the 2.3 million people who voted to pre-select PSUV candidates for governors and mayors in 2008.