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.
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.
The 2006 Jana Andolan (“People’s Movement”), which shut down Nepal and overthrew the 240-year-old Shah monarchy, was widely hailed as the birth of a new era of democracy. For the first time, the people of Nepal were able to elect a constituent assembly in 2008, giving the mass of Nepalis an unprecedented say in the future of their country.
On September 27, the repressive police apparatus of the Spanish state was brought to bear on the Askapena, the internationalist organisation of the Basque pro-independence left. Seven members were arrested across the Basque Country. Among those arrested was Walter Wendelin, who does a lot of solidarity work with Latin America. Many of the reports in the Spanish media make clear that the police operation is trying to target the relationships of the Basque pro-independence left with Latin America.
On September 30, Ecuador descended into chaos as a protest by sections of the police force and army turned into a potentially bloody coup against left-wing President Rafael Correa. At about 8am, sections of the Ecuadorian Armed Forces and the national police went on strike, occupying police stations and barracks in the capital Quito, in Guayaquil and in at least four other cities. They set up road blocks with burning tyres, cutting off access to the capital.
On September 5, the Basque armed group Euskadi Ta Askatasuna (Basque Homeland and Freedom, ETA), which has fought an armed struggle for Basque freedom for decades, released a video declaring that several months ago it had decided to stop armed actions, and announced a ceasefire. In its statement, ETA said: “In recent times, the Basque country has been at an important crossroads. The political struggle has opened up new conditions... “The time has come to build a democratic framework for the Basque country respecting the wishes of the majority of the Basque people...