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A statement by Thai Red Australia Group for Democracy

Four years ago on the 19th September, the Thai people were concerned about a very damaging coup which toppled an elected government and resulted in the political and economic crisis that persists to today.

September 18 marks the 40th anniversary of the death of US musician Jimi Hendrix, widely regarded as one of the greatest rock guitarists of all time. Hendrix’s identification with progressive politics embodied the ferment of the late 1960s, with songs like “If Six Was Nine” (“I’m gonna wave my freak flag high”), “I Don’t Live Today” (about the plight of Native Americans) and the visceral anti-war tone poem “Machine Gun”.
Up to 20,000 supporters of the pro-democracy Red Shirt movement rallied at a concert in the Thailand seaside resort city of Pattaya on September 4. It was one the biggest mobilisations since the military bloodily dispersed the Red Shirts’ mass protest camp in Bangkok in May, killing 91 and injuring thousands more. Red Shirt leader and Puea Thai party MP Jatuporn Prompan called on people to place red roses outside prisons around the country on September 17. Hundreds of Red Shirt leaders and activists continue to be detained.
Black Like Me: How a White American Travelled Through the Segregated Deep South of the 1950s Disguised as a Black Man John Howard Griffin, Souvenir Press, 2009, 241 pages, $39.99 (pb) Review by Phil Shannon John Howard Griffin, a white Texan, was shocked in 1959 when he saw the face in the mirror, “the face and shoulders of a stranger — a fierce, bald, very dark Negro”, glaring back at him.
The deputy president of Swaziland’s People’s United Democratic Movement (Pudemo) Sikhumbuzo Phakathi was arrested on September 6 at the Phongola border post. The arrest came as Swazi police and soldiers were deporting a delegation of South African activists from the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) and the Swaziland Democracy Campaign (SDC). Pudemo president Mario Masuku was detained before the start of a protest march on September 7 to mark the global day for democracy in Swaziland. He was “escorted home” by police to prevent his participation.
More than 2.7 million workers joined protests across France on September 7. The strikes and protests marked the start of a parliamentary debate over the new pension bill that will dramatically cut workers’ pensions. The protests were called by coalition of six of France’s Union Confederations.
Thousands of people mobilised across Honduras on September 7 as part of the “civic strike” called by the National Popular Resistance Front (FNRP) to “demand that the neoliberal offensive against the poor be halted”. The FNRP said rallies were held in the capital, Tegucigalpa and 10 other cities and towns.
Reverend Lucius Walker was a veteran US activist involved in many campaigns in solidarity with liberation struggles in Latin America. Walker passed away on September 7 at the age of 80. Below is an obituary from the Committees in Solidarity with the Peoples of El Salvador. It is abridged from www.cipes.org. * * *
Not long ago, a lot of socialists around the world had little to say about environmental issues. The environmental movement was focused on individual (change your light bulbs) and capitalist (create a market for emissions) solutions to the ecological crisis. In 2007, immediately after the founding of the Ecosocialist International Network (EIN), I wrote a Canadian Dimension article on the challenges facing ecosocialists. In it, I discussed two trends that seemed to indicate a new wave of anti-capitalist and pro-ecology action:
For five centuries, Africa has suffered at the hands of the West. Starting with the slave trade, through the colonial era, to today’s neoliberal global economy, the development of industrial capitalism in the West has come at a terrible price paid by Africans. Food riots in Mozambique early this month and looming mass starvation in Niger after floods that were preceded by years of drought both reflect the ongoing economic exploitation. However, they also reflect another creation of the industrialised West adversely affecting Africa: climate change.
“BP PLC’s long-awaited internal investigation into the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig found that the British oil giant bears some responsibility for the disaster but laid most of the blame on its contractors”, the September 8 Wall Street Journal said.
The Fabio Di Celmo Committee for the Five, (CFDCF) of Quebec-Cuba Solidarity, has been organising picket lines in front of the US Consulate in downtown Montreal the first Thursday of every month for more than three years in solidarity with the Cuban Five. The five are Rene Gonzalez, Antonio Guerrero, Gerardo Hernandez, and Ramón Labanino and Fernando Gonzalez. They were arrested 12 years ago on September 12, sentenced to long prison terms and held in terrible penitentiary conditions.
“Two American soldiers have been killed and nine wounded after a gunman in Iraqi army uniform attacked them at an Iraqi base, US officials said. “The soldiers were part of a security detail for a United States company commander who was meeting members of Iraq's security forces at a commando compound near the city of Tuz Khurmato, 170 kilometres north of Baghdad, US military said. “They were the first American soldiers killed since US forces formally ended combat operations in Iraq a week ago … [I]nsurgents continue to launch attacks daily, many targeting Iraqi soldiers and police.”
The Australian logging industry is seeking to cash in on a global surge in markets for forest biomass and wood-fired power. Proposals for new wood-burning power stations are popping up around the globe. The US alone has 102 new wood-fired power stations planned, the October 25, 2009 Independent said.
“Tony Blair's autobiography, A Journey, is being subversively moved to crime sections in book shops by members of a Facebook protest group. “Over 10,000 Facebook members have joined the group ‘Subversively move Tony Blair’s memoirs to the crime section in book shops’ and have been posting photos of them doing so … “The Facebook group description said: ‘Make book shops think twice about where they categorise our generation’s greatest war criminal.’” — September 8 Webusers.co.uk.
In late August, Mexican authorities found the bodies of 72 migrants from Central and South America. They had been kidnapped on their way to the United States, brutally shot and left to die in a remote, abandoned ranch near a small town in northeastern Mexico. Eighteen-year-old Luis Freddy Lala Pomavilla was one of two survivors of the massacre who managed to escape and lead authorities to the crime scene. He claimed he and his fellow US-bound migrants were kidnapped by the Zetas drug cartel and told they would either have to pay a ransom or work as drug couriers and hit men.

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