Forty years after the first equal pay test case, the gap between male and female wages continues to widen. Australian Bureau of Statistics figures released on May 20 put the pay gap (as of February 2010) at 18%. Women on average now earn $239.30 a week less than men. The pay gap has increased 0.5% over the quarter (from 17.5%) and 1.5% over the year (from 16.5%). The gap is now at its highest level since August 1994.
The picture is clear: the activists attacked in the Israeli military’s May 31 nighttime commando raid on a boat bringing humanitarian aid to Gaza were not armed. In Israel, the media is broadcasting disinformation, using edited videos. But it is clear there was no crossfire during the raid, just Israeli fire. Israel claims there was an attempt by activists onboard the Mavi Marmara, to steal weapons from soldiers. But either the army’s spokespeople or the soldiers themselves are telling false tales.
Put Rudd on a boat so that he can see what it feels like to be a refugee trying to run from imperial slaughter, on a leaky boat in shark-infested waters How can these arseholes be so heartless? — lock people up in bureaucratic darkness They say they're Christian, but where’s the compassion? They put Aboriginal people back on rations It’s the Lib-Lab; hypocrisy reigns supreme, they've got their redneck corporate Australian dream they want to make you think you're playing on the same team as them as they are skimming off your share of the cream
Community group Save Our Rail held a lively picket outside a 700-strong meeting of the anti-rail lobby Fix Our City (FOC) at Newcastle Town Hall on June 3. FOC is a business and developer lobby group whose explicit aim is to have the Hunter Development Corporation (HDC) “urban renewal report” implemented. The HDC report’s main proposal is to cut the Newcastle at Wickham station. Save Our Rail drew 150 people to the counter-rally. It had the support of the Rail Tram and Bus Union, which brought several large union banners.
The following is a talk delivered by Scott Weinstein to a public forum in Winnipeg, Manitoba on May 7. Weinstein is a Montreal-based nurse who volunteered for five weeks of medical duty in Haiti shortly after the January 12 earthquake. The full speech can be read at Rabble.ca. * * *
About 2000 demonstrators gathered outside Israel’s Ministry of Defense late May 31 to protest the military's violent raid on an aid flotilla that attempted to break the country’s years-long siege on the Gaza Strip. Haggai Matar, a member of the Coalition Against the Siege, told Ma’an news the protests were an expression of anger and shock about the Israeli navy raid that left at least 10 activists dead and dozens hurt a day earlier.
The US's worst-ever environmental disaster took yet another bad turn after British Petroleum's (BP) latest efforts to stop the torrent of oil from the Deepwater Horizon well failed. Public discontent is growing, with increasing calls for a government takeover of the operation and seizure of BP’s assets. The Deepwater Horizon oilrig exploded on April 20, killing 11 workers and releasing between 19.7 million and 43 million gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico.
One sentence in the final declaration of the Search Foundation’s Left Renewal Conference (From Global Crisis to Green Future) captured the key issue: “Capitalism has been unable to address inequality, war and ecological degradation, and must be replaced by a democratic system that puts human need before greed, and socialises wealth instead of debt.”
The Brussels-based European Campaign to End the Siege on Gaza said it had already secured funds to support three new aid ships to be sailed to Gaza, the Ma’an News Agency said on June 2. The fleet will be called the Freedom 2. Campaign head Arafat Madhi said it would be “much bigger than the first”, which included nationals from more than 40 nations and 10,000 tons of aid. The first fleet is now held by Israel after the takeover of six ships in international waters on May 31.
Dutch prosecutors fired the opening salvo on May 31 in a notorious case involving a Swiss-based oil trader which dumped hazardous waste in Ivory Coast, the British Morning Star said on June 1. The dumping was allegedly to save itself the paltry sum of €400,000 (about A$576,000). The article said prosecutor Luuk Boogert accused oil trader Trafigura AG and local authorities of putting “self-interest above people’s health and environment” at the criminal trial in Amsterdam. The ship had docked at Amsterdam en-route to Ivory Coast.
On June 3, a small group of protesters educated Edgewater residents about the threat climate change poses to their suburb. Edgewater, one of Melbourne’s newest suburbs, could be partly underwater if climate change is not stopped. According to council data, 370 Maribyrnong homes were affected during floods in 1974.
Moshe Dayan, Israel’s most celebrated general, famously outlined the strategy he believed would keep Israel’s enemies at bay: “Israel must be a like a mad dog, too dangerous to bother.” Until now, most observers assumed Dayan was referring to Israeli military or possibly nuclear strategy, an expression in his typically blunt fashion of the country’s familiar doctrine of deterrence.
Following Israel’s May 31 kidnapping of six ships in the Freedom Flotilla bring humanitarian aid to Gaza, the Irish ship, MV Rachel Corrie, continued its path towards Gaza. The ship, named after a US activist killed by an Israeli bulldozer in 2003, was carrying building materials, 20 tonnes of paper and other supplies Israel refuses to allow into the Gaza Strip, FreeGaza.org said on June 4.
Long ago, I was made to understand that Palestine was not Palestine; I was also informed that Palestinians were not Palestinians; They also explained to me that ethnic cleansing was not ethnic cleansing. And when naive old me saw freedom fighters they patiently showed me that they were not freedom fighters, and that resistance was not resistance. And when, stupidly, I noticed arrogance, oppression and humiliation they benevolently enlightened me so I can see that arrogance was not arrogance, oppression was not oppression, and humiliation was not humiliation.
The following text is from a petition by the World People’s Movement for Mother Earth, which demands that United Nations climate change negotiations include proposals from the World People's Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth, held in Cochabamba, Bolivia, in April. You can sign the petition here. Find out more about the Cochabamba summit, including resolutions passed, here * * *
After Israel’s May 31 raid on a civilian vessel trying to deliver goods to Gaza, Egypt announced on June 1 that it would temporarily open its border with Rafah to allow humanitarian and medical aid into the Gaza Strip. On May 31, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak responded swiftly to the Israeli navy's assault on the Freedom Flotilla, affirming Egypt's support for the people of Gaza. Israel’s ambassador to Egypt was quickly summoned by Egypt’s foreign ministry, and told Egypt condemns the violence against international activists and rejects the continued Gaza blockade.