The statement below was released by the Sydney Refugee Action Coalition on September 20. VILLAWOOD IN CHAOS AFTER SUICIDE AS HUNGER STRIKES AND PROTESTS CONTINUE The suicide of a Fijian man facing deportation from the Villawood detention centre this morning has thrown the detention centre into chaos. The Fijian man died after throwing himself from the roof of a building in stage 2 of the detention centre.
Thailand Troubles said on September 19 that a motorcade of 150 vehicles made their way from Bangkok to Chiangmai for a rally of the United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD), popularly known as the Red Shirts, that was expected to draw 10,000. A growing crowd of Red Shirts gathered since morning around Ratchaprasong Intersection, the site of the April-May mass protest camp of Red Shirts that was bloodily repressed by the military on May 19.
On September 10, the players of the Serie A — Italy's top football league — declared they would strike on September 25 and 26. AC Milan defender Massimo Oddo, speaking on behalf of the Italian Players' Association (AIC) and the captains of all 20 Serie A clubs, made the declaration as a dispute over the renewal of the collective agreement for the game's top players intensifies. Serie A is trying to replace the old collective contract — which ran out on June 30 — with one that strips players’ rights in order to maximise profits for football clubs and their owners.
After the April 20 Deepwater oil well explosion in the Gulf of Mexico, many commentators have tried to explain why it happened. Many blame greed and arrogance in BP’s executive offices. Others blame it on the military-oil-government alliance that views free-flowing oil (and free-flowing oil profits) as something to promote at all costs. But some writers identify a different cause. Bonus-seeking executives, corrupt politicians and oil-hungry generals all played a role, but they were only front men for the real villains — consumers.
Comparisons must be made between the impact of the September 5 earthquake in Christchurch, New Zealand, and the quake that hit Haiti in January. In Haiti — with a population of about 9 million — about 250,000 people died in the earthquake. According to government figures, 200,000 were injured and 1 million were made homeless. Eight months later, disaster still grips people’s lives. Fortunately, but in staggering contrast, no lives were lost in New Zealand, although the earthquake was of a similar — but slightly more powerful — magnitude (7 on the Richter scale).
Seventy-five people staged a noisy rally in Vancouver on September 11 in support of 492 Tamil asylum seekers who landed on Canada’s west coast in August. The rally was organised by the Vancouver chapter of No One Is Illegal. The rally was held outside the Burnaby Youth Detention Center where many of the 63 women and 49 children who were on board the MV Sun Sea were held. (Burnaby is a suburb of Vancouver). Noisemakers and loud music were deployed to send a message to the asylum seekers that they have strong support in Canada for their claim for refugee status.
On September 2, direct talks began between the Israeli government and the Palestinian Authority with the US government acting as mediator. US President Barack Obama has declared the success of these “peace talks” to be a main foreign policy goal of the last two years of his term. But whatever their outcome, the talks cannot end the conflict because both sides are not evenly represented. The mediator, the US, is the major financial, political and military sponsor of one of the parties to the conflict, Israel.
The use of art as a commentary on social and political injustice is becoming increasingly innovative. Artists are embracing their varied mediums to share stories and ideas calling for a challenge to the status-quo. From radical independent art, to mainstream artists using their influence, the fusion of social justice and art has been embraced by photographers, musicians, painters, filmmakers, fashion designers and more. Many commercial artists who have enjoyed mainstream success have used their reach to convey messages of protest and encourage social change.
artRiot September 11-26 Upstairs at the Annandale Hotel, 17 Parramatta Rd, Annandale, Sydney Sydney is currently swathed in artist run spaces and ecologically concerned art. The Museum of Contemporary Art’s latest show, In the Balance — Art for a Changing World, is just one of a range of recent exhibitions that explore climate change and community involvement in solutions. It’s in this context that artRiot has emerged. artRiot is a new art collective comprised of Sydney and Newcastle artists whose mandate is to combine art and activism.
The statement published below was released by the Thai Red Australia Group for Democracy. You can add your name to it here. * * * Four years ago on September 19, the Thai people were concerned about a very damaging coup that toppled an elected government and resulted in the political and economic crisis that persists today. This historical event was followed this year, on April 10 and May 19, by two tragic massacres. The Thai military shot down pro-democracy activists in the streets of Bangkok.
Actor and activist Danny Glover and veteran actor and former Screen Actors Guild president Edward Asner, called on fellow artists to add their name to a letter to US President Barack Obama asking him to issue an executive clemency order to free the Cuban Five. Glover and Asner are co-chairs of Actors and Artists United for the Freedom of the Cuban Five” The Cuban Five are five Cuban men jailed in the US for their role in collecting information on behalf of the Cuban government on potential terrorist acts by violent anti-Cuban groups in Miami.
Misunderstandings over Cuba run very deep — and not just among the enemies of socialism or those who have had little contact with the country. Naturally, people are influenced by the corporate media, which wages a ferocious and relentless propaganda campaign against the little independent island. As former Chilean president Salvador Allende, whose elected government was overthrown in a US military backed coup on September 11, 1973, told the Chilean Senate in 1960: “Day by day and minute by minute … [the corporate media monopolies] misrepresent what is happening in Cuba.”
As Venezuela’s September 26 National Assembly election time approaches, international media have increased negative coverage of the South American nation. The bombardment of negative, false, distorted and manipulated news about Venezuela in US media has increased in volume and intensity during the last few days. Venezuela is subjected to this every time an election nears. This international media campaign against the left-wing government of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez appears to have a clear and coordinated objective: removing the Chavez from power.
The statement below was initiated by Working People Association (Indonesia) and Network of Progressive Youth Burma. It was released on September 16. Other left groups from the Asian region that have signed it are: the Confederation Congress of Indonesia Union Alliance; the All Nepal Federation of Trade Unions; the Socialist Party of Malaysia; Socialist Alliance (Australia); and Socialist Alternative (Australia). If your organisation would like to sign, email email@example.com. * * *
In the lead-up to the September 26 national Assembly elections, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez called on workers to not allow the right-wing opposition to halt the advance of the Bolivarian revolution. Chavez, who is also president of the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV), made the call on September 15 while addressing the Socialist Electrical Workers Front Braulio Criollo. Faced with acts of sabotage in various electrical substations across the country, Chavez urged workers to not lower their guard.
Thirty-three miners trapped 700 metres underground in northern Chile have been told they will not be paid in coming months, despite the fact it is expected to take close to two-and-a-half months to pull them out. Representatives of the San Esteban mining company told the workers’ union that no guarantees can be given that the wages of those miners stuck underground since August 5 will be paid. The company insists it is bankrupt.