839

On June 11, South Africans will start partying like no time since liberation in April 1994. It is a huge honour for our young democracy to host the most important sporting spectacle short of the Olympics. The ordinary people who have worked hard in preparation deserve gratitude and support — especially the construction workers, cleaners, municipal staff, health-care givers and volunteers who will not receive due recognition. But balancing psychological benefits against vast socioeconomic and political costs is vital.

When the White House is quiet as protesters are butchered in the streets of Bangkok, suspicions are raised. Silence often equals complicity. One can only imagine what the US government’s response would be to a Venezuelan government slaughter: the US media and US President Barack Obama would loudly condemn such an act. The history of US-Thailand relations explains why. During the Vietnam War, the US used Thailand as one of the main “anti-communist” bulwarks in an area that included China, Vietnam and other countries that were challenging capitalism.

May is zine season, with zine events happening around the country. Zines are a popular form of creative expression for young people as an alternative to the tacky and commercial mass media. Young people are often locked out of other outlets of creative expression in society. The education system is geared to stunt creativity and promote conformism. Zines are a great way to be social about information and knowledge, and provide opportunities to network in ways otherwise impossible.
Bill McKibben is one of the world’s best-known climate activists and writers. He was the founder of the 350.org campaign, which organised more than 5200 protests in 181 countries on October 24. CNN called the 350.org protests “the most widespread day of political action in the planet's history”.
“The life of a trade unionist in Colombia is very difficult and complex”, visiting union leader Edgar Paez told Green Left Weekly. Paez said 4000 unionists have been murdered in Colombia in 28 years. “Last year, 47 unionists were killed, 48 the year before. Union leaders need armed guards, bulletproof cars, camera surveillance and bulletproof windows on their offices. “They lose the possibility of a normal family life.”
The federal Labor government’s freeze on processing visa applications by Afghan and Tamil asylum seekers is being challenged in many quarters. Legal advice published by the Human Rights Law Resource Centre on May 23 said many of the factual and legal assumptions of the policy are open to “substantial challenge”.
This Time is Different: Eight Centuries of Financial Folly By Carmen Reinhart & KennethRogoff Rrinceton University Press, 2009, 496 pages Review by Barry Healy Australia has had a lucky escape from the Global Financial Crisis (GFC) our noble leaders and economic pundits tell us. Not so, says 800 years of economic experience assembled in This Time Is Different: Eight Centuries of Financial Folly.
The absence of war does not mean peace in Tamil Eelam — despite what we hear from the Sri Lankan and Australian governments. The struggle for Tamil freedom continues on community radio station 3CR, 855AM. 3CR is one of the main platforms for Tamil activists in Melbourne. Aran Mylvaganam is co-presenter of the Tamil Manifest and Tamil Voice programs on 3CR. He explains how the situation of Tamils in Sri Lanka is as desperate as it ever was. * * *
American Radical: The Trials of Norman Finkelstein Directed by David Ridgen & Nicolas Rossier Baraka Productions Review by Antony Loewenstein Jewish critics of Israel are as old as the ideology itself. Zionism was regarded by most Jews in Europe as an idealistic delusion before the Second World War, but the Holocaust literally changed everything.
In the wake of Britain’s inconclusive general election, there is much talk of the “national interest”. It’s said that politicians of all parties have to pull together to address the crisis caused by the country’s enlarged fiscal deficit. Specifically, they must agree to a package of deep public spending cuts. Nothing, it is said, is more urgent, more unavoidable. In contrast, it seems climate change can be left perpetually on the backburner — though there is a far greater expert consensus about its dangers than those of a large deficit.

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