When it comes to rape, the left “still doesn’t get it”, so says Katha Pollitt writing recently in the London Guardian on the defence of Wikileaks editor-in-chief Julian Assange, who is currently being held in Britain facing allegations of sex crimes in Sweden.
The statement below was released by the Brisbane Socialist Alliance branch on January 11. See www.socialist-alliance.org for more information. Below the statement, there are also details of the Maritime Union of Australia's * * * 'Money for flood relief, not for war'
On December 14 Marrickville Council adopted a resolution moved by Greens councillor Cathy Peters to become the first Australian local government to join the international boycott against Israeli apartheid. The inner west Sydney community has had a sister city relationship with the Palestinian city of Bethlehem since 2007. The resolution, supported by Greens, Labor and independent councillors, committed the council to:
Carrying signs such as "Coal seam gas stinks", "Gas mining under Sydney Park - no fracking way!", and "Gutless government giving in to gas", over 400 local residents and supporters rallied on December 19 at Sydney Park to protest the NSW government's secretive approval for exploratory drilling for coal seam gas (CSG) mining in the inner-western suburb of St Peters.
Socialist Alliance statement The horrific boatwreck and deaths of more than 30 asylum seekers on December 15 on the rocks of Christmas Island reveals the inhumanity of the Gillard Labor government’s asylum seeker policy. This tragedy should be the trigger for the complete junking of the government’s current racist refugee policy. "We need a refugee policy based on human solidarity not one that encourages racism and xenophobia", said Sue Bolton a refugee rights activist and a member of the Socialist Alliance national executive.
At least 30 people are reported dead in the terrible tragedy of the refugee boat that sunk near Christmas Island on December 15. The media are reporting that those on the boats appear to be mainly from Iran and Iraq. The news comes as US diplomatic cables released by Wikileaks reveal the terrible cynicism with which both major parties have treated the asylum seeker issue.
December 14, 2010 -- Julian Assange, a man known only to a very few in the world some months ago, is demonstrating that the most powerful empire to have existed in history can be challenged. The daring challenge did not come from a rival superpower; from a state with more than 100 nuclear weapons; from a country with millions of inhabitants; from a group of nations with vast natural resources which the United States could not do without; or from a revolutionary doctrine capable of shaking to its foundations the empire based on plunder and exploitation of the world.
[The following speech was delivered at the Sydney rally in defence of Wikileaks on December 14 by rally co-organiser and Socialist Alliance activst Kiraz Janicke. Footage of the other speaks at the rally can be seen here.] * * * People ask me why, as a feminist, are you coming out in support of Julian Assange who is facing rape allegations in Sweden? But this rally is not about that.
The December 14 rally for Wikileaks in Sydney was a success, apart from the excessively brutal police force seemingly determined to not allow citizens the right to protest in the streets. Before the event itself, the Sydney Morning Herald reported under the misleading headline, “We’ll march anyway; Wikileaks protesters to defy police”.
Supporters of whistleblowing website Wikileaks rallied in Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide on December 14, as Wikileaks editor-in chief Julian Assange faced a bail hearing at Westminster magistrates court in London that day. Protesters opposed attempts by governments and corporations to shut down and harrass the site. About 800 people gathered in Sydney to call for Assange to be granted a fair trial and to defend Wikileaks. About 1000 marched in Melbourne and 300 in Adelaide.
Members from a variety of community and solidarity groups campaigning for human rights in Australia and overseas came together on December 11 to mark International Human Rights Day in Sydney.
Unionists and solidarity activists rallied outside the Colombian consulate in Sydney on December 13 to denounce the fact that Colombia remains the most dangerous place in the world for trade unionists. The protest, called to coincide with International Human Rights week, was organised by the Sydney branch of the Maritime Union of Australia (MUA) and supported by Peace and Justice for Colombia (PJFC). The initiative for the protest came in the wake of the recent visit by Colombian trade unionist Parmenio Poveda.
Wikileaks is Democracy, a political and defense mobilization group that supports Julian Assange, WikiLeaks, democracy and transparency in government, is promoting an open letter printed below. The letter was started by Linda Schade and Kevin Zeese, past and current executive directors of Voters For Peace.
The following introduction and open letter are reprinted from www.walkleys.com. * * * Australia’s most senior media professionals have written to Prime Minister Julia Gillard to express their support for WikiLeaks. The letter was initiated by the Walkley Foundation and signed by the ten members of the Walkley Advisory Board, as well as editors of major Australian newspapers and news websites and the news directors of the country’s three commercial TV networks and two public broadcasters.
Further rallies and meetings More than 1000 people rallied at Sydney’s Town Hall at 1pm on December 10 to show their support for Wikileaks and its founder Julian Assange. Rallies also occurred in Brisbane, Melbourne, Hobart, Adelaide and Perth. The rally, held to coincide with International Human Rights Day, highlighted the importance of freedom of information and the need for transparency in government.
In the US Army manual on counterinsurgency, the American commander General David Petraeus describes Afghanistan as a “war of perception... conducted continuously using the news media”. What really matters is not so much the day-to-day battles against the Taliban as the way the adventure is sold in America where “the media directly influence the attitude of key audiences”. Reading this, I was reminded of the Venezuelan general who led a coup against the democratic government in 2002. “We had a secret weapon,” he boasted. “We had the media, especially TV. You got to have the media.”