In the aftermath of a failed coup attempt on September 30, left-wing Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa has vowed to deepen his “citizen’s revolution” in the small Andean country. After the coup attempt by sections of the police and armed forces failed amid pro-government protests, Correa’s approval rate has surged to 75% in some polls. In response, Correa, said his government had not done enough to implement its pro-people program and would radicalise its project to build a “socialism of the 21st century”.
Factory workers from the Venezuelan chemical and lubricant company Veneco held a demonstration on the evening of October 10 in Carabobo state to show their support for the company’s nationalisation. President Hugo Chavez announced the nationalisation that afternoon. Jose Martinez, the general secretary of the Venoco workers’ union, said: “We are endorsing this takeover that will bring us many benefits. “It will bring a change from the capitalist mode to the socialist mode and we are going to strengthen our company.”
Australia’s big banks would like you to think they care about climate change and the environment. But don’t believe them. A new report by Greenpeace Australia has revealed the “big four” — Westpac, ANZ, Commonwealth and NAB — are investing billions of dollars in Australia’s dirty coal boom. Burning coal for energy is Australia’s single biggest contributor to climate change, making more than a third of the country’s greenhouse gas pollution. Australia is also the world’s biggest coal exporter — and the export trade is growing fast.
The Australian-led Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands (RAMSI), involving involves police and soldiers, is set to continue its occupation of the Pacific island for at least “five to six years”, despite a change of government in the Solomon Islands. Danny Philip was elected prime minister of the Solomon Islands by parliamentary vote on August 25, the Solomon Star said, after the August 4 general elections in which 25 out of 50 seats changed hands.
About 40 people attended the launch of a No New Coal campaign by Safe Climate Perth on October 10. The launch took place as part of the 350.org “global work party” — an international day of action involving more than 7000 events around the world. As part of the campaign, activists aim to get 10,000 signatures in 10 weeks on a petition opposing new coal developments in Western Australian.
I welcome the discussion in Green Left Weekly about the burqa and the question of its banning. I agree wholeheartedly that banning the burqa is not the answer for women. As in all aspects of oppression, the oppressed are the ones who must liberate themselves, with the support and solidarity of others. It is not up to the state or religious institutions to impose “liberation” on them. While the burqa remains worn by women, I support their right to wear it if they choose, for a variety of different reasons.
A crude and jingoistic appeal to Australian patriotism is the last refuge of the pro-war scoundrels as we approach the Australian parliamentary debate on Afghanistan. Australia sent troops to Afghanistan in October 2001, but it has taken nine years for parliament to discuss this act of war. Is this how Australia’s celebrated democracy works? Australian troops were sent to wage wars on an impoverished, already war-devastated and traumatised country without even a discussion in parliament, let alone a vote.
Pip Hinman has been pre-selected to run for the Socialist Alliance in the NSW seat of Marrickville in the March state elections. She is an activist journalist and stood in the seat in 2007. Hinman was active in the pro-choice movement in Sydney and Brisbane in the 1980s and 1990s. Below, she responds to the October 14 not guilty verdict in the trial of the Cairns couple charged under Queensland’s abortion laws. * * * The not guilty finding of the young Cairns couple should be the impetus for the NSW government to remove abortion from the NSW Crimes Act of 1900.
The following statement was released by the Socialist Alliance on October 8. * * * On October 17, 2001, the Liberal/National Coalition government of John Howard 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 9/11 terrorist attacks on New York and Washington, by noting the US' hypocrisy and pledging to campaign against then president George W. Bush's “war without end”.
The deluge of rain hitting south-east Australia has broken the 10-year drought that brought the Murray Darling Basin and many farming communities to the brink of disaster. A few months of wet weather have brought the wetlands back to life. The rivers are flowing again, and farmers might even be able to harvest a bumper crop if they can beat the mass locust hatchings.
What’s on your iPod? Personally I have an eclectic mix — from hippyesque acoustic folk through to American “gangsta” rap and random electronic post-modern wankery you'll only hear on Triple J. Musically, we all enjoy different stuff. Most readers of Green Left Weekly would have broadly similar political beliefs, so why the difference? Why don’t people who converge politically also enjoy similar cultural tastes?
When US director Danny Schechter’s 2006 film In Debt We Trust predicted a huge financial crisis was coming, he was laughed at. It turned out he was right. His latest film, Plunder: The Crime of Our Time shows how the crisis was created by Wall Street bankers breaking the law to manipulate the markets — and suggests a bigger crisis is on the way.
The elegant, seaside town of Queenscliff on the Bellarine Peninsula in Victoria was once a quiet “sleepy hollow”, according to Chris Johnson, a local resident and public housing tenant for 30 years. But recently the Victorian Office of Housing realised its tenants were sitting on a goldmine. Some tenants have been relocated to shoebox-sized units in less attractive areas. Meanwhile, on October 9, two heritage-listed pilot cottages owned by the department were sold for $1.2 million.
Sound Strike is an organisation of musicians across the United States who oppose the extremely racist SB 1070 law in Arizona that targets migrants. Sound Strike artists have pledged to support the international boycott of Arizona until the law’s repeal. The organisation is planning to release “Sound Strike Songs”, a series of exclusive collections of songs that will be sold at www.thesoundstrike.net.
The Australian federal government spends more money on private schools than most other wealthy countries, and spends less than most on public education. A recent report by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, Education at a Glance 2010, showed Australia gave 16.9% of education money to private schools and 71.9% to government schools. The US spends 0.2% and 99.8% respectively. Most money for private school funding comes from the federal government, which argues that “grants” and “subsidies” make private schools more affordable.
Banning burqa not progressive Dave Bell is welcome to his opinion about the “idiocy” of wearing the burqa (GLW #856). Since he dislikes it so much, I suggest he refrains from wearing one. Yet his demand that socialists line up with the call from Christian fundamentalist politicians in Australia to ban the burqa is wrong, dangerous and is not feminist.