Statement from the Socialist Alliance National Executive October 8, 2010 On October 17, 2001 the Howard Coalition government deployed Australian troops to Afghanistan, just nine days after the US had begun bombing one of the most poverty stricken and war weary nations on earth. The then newly-formed Socialist Alliance responded to this attack and its reputed catalyst, the terrorist bombings on New York and Washington some weeks earlier, by noting the US' hypocrisy and pledging to campaign against Bush's “war without end”.
According to a report in Prachatai, a popular Thai newspaper, a woman was arrested at freedom bike ride by United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship supporters (popularly known as the Red Shirts) in Thailand’s historic city of Ayutthaya for selling slippers with Thailand’s military-installed Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva’s face on them. The slippers were printed with the message, “People died at Ratchaprasong” – referring to the May 19 military massacre against the Red Shirts’ mass protest camp in Bangkok.
Refugee Action Coalition NSW media release A year ago, then prime Minister Kevin Rudd called Indonesian President Yudhoyono requesting that the Indonesian navy intercept a boat carrying 254 Tamil asylum seekers to Australia. The boat was the subject of international attention after the asylum seekers refused to disembark at Merak in Indonesia. In April 2010, the asylum seekers were forcibly removed to Tanjung Pinang detention centre. Except for two families shifted to detention in Medan, all the Tamils remain in appalling conditions in Tanjung Pinang.
Community activists in the Illawarra have again condemned the use of Taser guns and renewed calls for a ban on the controversial weapon. This calls comes just days after a man in Sydney's west died after being struck by a Taser in the chest by police. A video from 2008 has also emerged of an Aboriginal man with a mental illness being Tasered 13 times by police officers in West Australia.
After 23 months of struggle, Tahmoor mineworkers have achieved a new enterprise agreement with their employer, Xstrata. On September 24, 142 voted for the company’s latest offer and 50 voted against. Until then, attempts by the workers to negotiate were thwarted repeatedly because Xstrata refused to budge, even during mediated talks. Workers have been locked out twice and have taken industrial action on several occasions.
On September 27, the Australian Director of Military Prosecutions announced that charges were being laid against three soldiers from Australia’s Special Operations Task Group in Afghanistan. The charges were over the February 12, 2009, killing of two adults and four children near the village of Sarmorghab in Oruzgan province.
Chanting “Free chickens, caged workers”, on September 24 more than 100 community members and trade unionists protested against the treatment of Sudanese immigrant Anyuon Mabior. Anyuon was sacked by Lilydale Free Range Chicken, in Wingfield, for complaining about a racist email. The National Union of Workers (NUW) has lodged an unfair dismissal claim through Fair Work Australia on Anyuon’s behalf, and will also seek a time and wages inspection.
The abridged statement below was released by the South African Palestine Solidarity Committee (PSC) on September 29. * * * After a huge mobilisation by South African academics, the senate of the University of Johannesburg (UJ) voted today “not to continue a long-standing relationship with Ben Gurion University (BGU) in Israel in its present form and has set conditions for the relationship to continue”.
Pakistan blocked a vital supply route for US-led troops in Afghanistan on September 30. The move was in apparent retaliation for an alleged cross-border NATO helicopter strike that killed three Pakistani frontier troops, The British Morning Star said that day. The blockade appeared to be a big escalation in tensions between Pakistan and the United States. A permanent stoppage of supply lorries would place huge strains on NATO and damage the already faltering counter-insurgency campaign in Afghanistan.
More than 10 million workers staged a general strike in Spain on September 29 in response to vicious government attacks on their rights and pensions. The huge mobilisation, organised by the Confederacion Sindical de Comisiones Obreras (CCOO) and Sindicato Union General de Trabajadores (UGT) labour unions, produced a 75% turnout of members, sending a strong message of opposition to the austerity measures. UGT secretary for organisation and communication Jose Javier Cubillo said that in some sectors of the economy, such as steel and energy, support for the strike was close to 100%.
One of the greatest living exponents of Peruvian musica criolla (creole music), Eva Ayllon, performed at the Sydney Opera House on September 25. Finding my seat, I felt as if I’d walked into an exuberant family gathering full of animated conversation, laughter, waving and group photography.
Secret documents disclosed in Britain’s High Court revealed former British prime minister Tony Blair was warned in the weeks after US forces began rounding up terrorism suspects that British nationals held by the US in Afghanistan and Guantanamo Bay were being tortured, the Guardian said on September 30. A January 22, 2002 note from Blair in which he expressed concern about the treatment of British citizens being held by the US appeared, among heavily censored MI5 and foreign office documents, in court hearings in which British citizens are suing the government, MI5 and MI6.
The following is abridged from a September 29 statement issued by a delegation of north Queensland Indigenous traditional owners in Canberra. They went to meet Opposition leader Tony Abbott to ask him to drop his move to overturn Queensland’s Wild Rivers legislation. After the delegation's visit, the federal government referred the issue a parliamentary committee to report back no later than next March. * * *
The Mountain City Murders By John Tognolini Ginninderra Press, Port Adelaide, 2010 The Mountain City Murders is a tale of crime, corruption and politics. Set in 2008 in the fictional New South Wales town of Mountain City (about 120km west of Sydney), the novel tells a story critical of criminal and capitalist greed.
Housing was barely mentioned during the August 21 federal election, despite being a huge social issue. The Victorian state election is looming, and it is crucial that more is done to protect and win back our housing rights. People from all walks of life are affected by the housing crisis. Sole parent families, youth, Indigenous people, migrants, people exiting prison, and pensioners are some of the hardest hit, but hundreds of thousands of Victorians are also struggling due to rental and mortgage stress.
In a qualitative escalation, the government of President Barack Obama has for the first time used the “war on terror” against socialists in the United States. On September 24, the FBI conducted a series of coordinated early-morning raids at homes and offices in Minneapolis, Chicago, Michigan and North Carolina. The political police seized computers, passports, books, documents, cell phones, photos, financial records, diaries, maps and other materials. In one case, children’s artwork was confiscated.