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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. * * *
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.
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.
Fresh claims have emerged that an Indonesian “counter-terrorism” unit that receives Australian funding and training has perpetrated human rights abuses against independence campaigners in Maluku and West Papua.
Despite several symbolic gestures by state and national governments, no real plan has been put forward to reduce chronic inequality in Aboriginal Australia. As part of a deal to set up a minority government, the federal ALP has agreed to a referendum to change the constitution so that it recognises Aboriginal people. On September 8, the NSW parliament passed legislation doing the same for the NSW constitution.
Chiang Mai, in Thailand’s north, is considered to be a stronghold of the pro-democracy Red Shirt movement the popular name for the United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship — UDD). On August 29, 21-year-old local Red Shirt activist “James” Krissada Klaharn and his girlfriend Nongnuch Kampor were driving home at about 1.15am after a long day selling popular stickers at a roadside stall, when the killers struck. A vehicle with its headlights off pulled alongside and sprayed their cars with bullets. Krissada was hit in the legs, abdomen and shoulder.
Indigenous Mapuche political prisoners in Chile continue to stand firm, more than two months into a hunger strike against the repression against their people and the militarisation of their lands. The hunger strike, which began on July 12 and has been joined by four opposition parliamentary deputies and a dozen activists from student and social organisations, is the latest step in the campaign by the Mapuche people to demand the repeal of anti-terrorism laws.
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.