GLW is taking a break. Our next printed edition will be dated September 1 (and published online on the evening of August 29). However, the Green Left website will be updated after August 21 with news and analysis of the federal election outcome. Visit Green Left and please consider taking out an e-subscription so we can continue to bring you an independent voice.
Victorian Socialist Alliance Federal election candidates strongly condemn the Australian Federal Police raids on the Kurdish Association of Victoria and community members as a cynical pre-election maneuver and yet another attempt to sow fear and suspicion into the boarder community.
Greens candidate for Mackellar Dr Jonathan King is a blue-blooded radical. King gained national prominence in 1988 when he staged an $11 million recreation of the First Fleet's voyage. The historian and former journalist became, in his own words, “political hot property,” courted by both major parties. He declined their overtures. Politics “was in [his] blood”, King said, but he was “too radical” for the major parties. Following the bicentennial voyage, King found his “next big project, and that was helping the environment”.
On August 16, Darwin was the venue for a screening of Our Generation, a landmark new documentary about the plight of Aboriginal people in the Northern Territory living under the repressive NT intervention. The film focuses on the effects of the intervention on the Yolngu people of East Arnhem Land, which coincided with a move by the NT Labor government to move people off traditional homelands and into larger towns (the “hub town” policy).
Sick of the manipulative, increasingly policy-free barrage of major party negative advertising in the race to the August 21 Australian federal election? Here are some antidotes: First, check out the table below comparing the policies of Socialist Alliance with that of the Greens, ALP and Liberals: Policy comparison from Left to Right compiled by Dick Nichols. Second, have a look at the independent Vote Climate survey on which parties the best policy on on climate change.
About 500 people rallied in Melbourne on August 13 to put the Liberal and Labor parties on notice that the refugee rights movement is rebuilding, and a growing number of people are willing to stand up for refugees. The Refugee Action Collective organised the protest under the slogan of “Stand up for Refugees” in a bid to have the treatment of asylum seekers recognized as a human rights issue. There were contingents of Greens, socialists and the Community Public Sector Union. Protesters chanted, “East Timor no solution, let the refugees in”.
PERTH — Members of the Perth Burmese community held a commemoration on August 8 for the democratic uprising that took place in Burma exactly 22 years before. Speakers at the commemoration called for a restoration of democracy in Burma, including freedom for pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi, and for stronger action in support of democracy from the Australian government. A solidarity dinner for the Burmese struggle was also held on August 7.
In his influential 1985 book Abandon Affluence, radical Australian sociologist Ted Trainer made the argument that the capitalist economies of the rich world, and the wasteful consumer culture they spawned, were unsustainable and the ecological limits of capitalist growth were fast approaching.
The Decline are a punk band from Western Australia that formed in 2006. They “deliver catchy, melodic speedy punk rock, with humorous and socially aware lyrics”, TheDecline.com.au says. They have opened for groups such as Frenzal Rhomb, No Fun at All and the Flatliners. The Decline released their first full-length album, I’m Not Gonna Lie To You, in September 2009. Green Left Weekly’s Chris Peterson spoke to The Decline about the album. You can find out more, and buy the album, at their website.
Whichever major party wins the August 21 elections, the real job of fighting for progressive change will remain. Not just because Labor and the Liberal-National Coalition have made this election campaign an ugly race to the right, but also because real change never comes simply through a vote. Even an election that registered real victory, such as the defeat of the hated John Howard Coalition government in November 2007, came on the back of sustained political action by millions of ordinary people focused primarily around the campaign against Work Choices.
Outlaw Directed by James Adler, written by Michael Healy Studio 2, Northcote Town Hall, Melbourne August 20 — September 3 Bookings: Eaglenest.eventix.com.au, (03) 9384 6900 “A tyre slasher in Berlin — radical green politics or someone just blowing a gasket?”, reads the blurb for new play Outlaw. “The friends of Tilman Hessel — the local Green's party leader — think it might be him ...”
In Australia, the question of environmental protection has increasingly been linked to the need to reduce or contain the nation’s population level size. This is often tied to the argument that the high level of consumption in First World countries is unsustainable.
This open letter to Elton John was released on July 30 by Alexander Billet. It is reprinted from Sociarts.com. Billet’s blog on popular music can be read at Rebelfrequencies.blogspot.com. * * * Dear Elton, First of all, I hope you don’t mind that I refuse to call you “Sir”. Knights swing swords and ride horses. You play a piano.
An August 10 summit between recently inaugurated Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos and Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has lowered tensions in a region that some believe was on the brink of armed confrontation. The situation reached boiling point after Colombia’s July 22 claims in the US-dominated Organisation of American States that Venezuela was “harbouring terrorists”.
“Lunchtime midweek in Campbelltown’s main street in the heart of western Sydney is a slow-moving affair”, the Australian’s Jennifer Hewett wrote on July 23. “Cars drive in and out of the one-way street at a leisurely pace. Business is not exactly booming in most of the small, tired-looking shops. There’s plenty of room on the footpath for pedestrians.”
Thousands of people took to the streets on August 14 in support of legalising same-sex marriage and against the discriminatory policies of both major parties. In Sydney, Peter Boyle said about 3000 people rallied at Town Hall before marching to Taylor Square. Comedian and host of ABC’s Gruen Transfer Wil Anderson chaired the event.