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?
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”.
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.
There are many myths around the issue of asylum seekers in Australia. Yet, when you look at the facts, it’s obvious that asylum seekers aren’t a problem. The problem is Australia’s punitive policies, including mandatory detention of asylum seekers arriving by boat, which contravene international law. Lack of transparency ensures that human rights are abused daily in Australia’s detention centres, creating many mental health problems for people who are already traumatised. The policy of mandatory detention will cost the taxpayers more than $1 billion dollars over the next four years.
Moluccan refugees will protest against Australia’s support for the Indonesian military outside South Australian Parliament house on October 26. The protesters say that the Indonesian military, particularly Detachment 88, which receives financial and logistical support from Australian army, has been involved in heavy repression of Moluccan independence activists.
Immigration minister Chris Bowen visited East Timor on October 11 to push Australia’s offshore detention centre plan. He also visited Indonesia and Malaysia over October 12-14. Bowen’s purpose was to enforce “strong cooperation with regional neighbours” on Australia’s border control. He said he wanted East Timor to “play a role” by allowing the Australian government to build a refugee detention centre there.
The Pacific Solution By Susan Metcalfe Australian Scholarly Publishing, North Melbourne, 2010 Review by Julian Gormly
In early September, two transsexual men lost an appeal in Western Australia’s Supreme Court to be legally recognised as men. The negative ruling has consequences for other transsexual and transgender cases. The men are considering appealing to a higher body. Gina Wilson, spokesperson for Organisation Intersex Internationale (OIS), told Green Left Weekly: “The two appellants underwent top surgery [mastectomies] and were on hormone replacement therapy — testosterone. They were living as men and accepted as men by society and friends.
This year is the 15th anniversary of the Nargar Kovil school massacre in Tamil Eelam, the Tamil area of Sri Lanka. On September 22, 1995, the Sri Lankan Air Force (SLAF) bombed Nargar Kovil Maha Vidyalayam schoolyard, which was crammed with 750 children on their lunch break. Reports of the number of children killed vary from 26 to 70. Twelve of the children killed were six or seven years old. One hundred and fifty were injured, including 40 seriously. Twenty-two children had their limbs amputated. Ten of the amputees were under 12.
Gippsland unions and community organisations took part in the fourth in a series of “transition jobs seminars”. The seminar took place on October 13 under the auspices of the Gippsland Trades and Labour Council (GTLC) and the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT). It dealt with the region’s current skills base in brown-coal mining, dairy and other industries, and the sort of training needed to skill workers for environmentally sustainable production.