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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 11, 2010 -- Ten years ago, thousands of Australian activists joined forces to blockade a meeting of the powerful World Economic Forum in Melbourne for three days, beginning September 11, 2000. Despite a massive show of police force and violence, the unity of the protesters prevailed.

Venezuela’s decision to re-establish diplomatic, political and economic relations with Colombia on August 10 was only possible thanks to a range of circumstances and actions. Venezuela cut ties on July 22 in the face of allegations made by Colombia at the Organisation of American States (OAS) of alleged Venezuelan support for left-wing Colombian guerrillas. The Venezuelan government said the allegations were part of an attempt, backed by the US, to spark a war between the two nations.
Pacific Rim Mining held its annual general meeting in downtown Vancouver on August 28. It was attended by a few directors and more than a dozen protesters. Most of the demonstrators were from the Committee in Solidarity with the People of El Salvador (CISPES) in the US Pacific Northwest. They wore tags describing themselves as shareholders in democracy, human rights, access to clean water and “our future”.
US-NATO command and their puppets in Kabul are pushing ahead with lower house elections in Afghanistan on September 18. This is despite civilian casualties rising by 31% this year, a surge of occupying troop numbers and new evidence of widespread corruption emerging. A scandal surrounding the country’s largest commercial bank, Kabul Bank, has implicated one of Afghan President Hamid Kazai’s brothers. Mahmoud Karzai, when head of Kabul Bank, is said to have made millions from risky investments in the collapsing Dubai property market.
The Australia Western Sahara Association has urged BHP-Billiton to suspend Canadian company PotashCorp’s trade in phosphate from Western Sahara if its takeover bid is successful. AWSA president Lyn Allison said in an August 25 statement: “If BHP cares anything for business ethics, social responsibility and international law, it will not allow the Canadian fertiliser corporation to buy further Western Saharan phosphate from Morocco.”
Peace talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority started on September 2. After the resumption of negotiations, Israel refrained from attacking Gaza for just two days. Then it ordered the bombing of two Rafah tunnels that connect the besieged Gaza Strip to Egypt, killing two workers, and leaving two severely injured.
“Twelve American soldiers face charges over a secret ‘kill team’ that allegedly blew up and shot Afghan civilians at random and collected their fingers as trophies”, the September 9 Guardian said. “Five of the soldiers are charged with murdering three Afghan men who were allegedly killed for sport in separate attacks this year.” The other seven are charged with helping to cover up these atrocities and assaulting a soldier who exposed the murders, the Guardian said.
Over the past decades, civil libertarians have warned that right-wing politicians were moving towards an all-embracing police state, using the media-generated panics of the “War on Drugs” and the “War on Terror” as their stalking horses. The Australian Crime Commission (ACC) is one of many police organisations set up after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks in the US. Supposedly established to fight organised crime, the ACC seems to find this task too difficult, and its operations instead target drug enthusiasts and smaller criminal networks.
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.
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.

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