You may have read about the prison riot in England on New Year’s Day, with prisoners staging an uprising over searches for contraband booze. What received less coverage was the much bigger and more important protest by prisoners in the United States in December. Prisoners in a number of Georgian prisons began a strike on December 9, the December 20 Huffington Post said. The strike was called off after six days, “following reports of violent crackdowns and rising fears that the situation would escalate”, the article said.
Georgia prisoner strike demands Over December 9-15, prisoners in a number of prisons in the US state of Georgia organised a strike via contraband mobile phones. The prisoners refused to perform prison labour in protest at a range of unjust conditions they face. BlackAgendaReport.com said on December 15 that one in 12 Georgians were in prison. The December 20 Huffington Post published the prisoners' demands, which are listed below. * * *
Ecology & Socialism
By Chris Williams
United States activist Chris William’s new book, published by Haymarket Press, is an excellent introduction to ecology and socialism. It is well written and, despite being a long-time ecosocialist activist, I learnt a lot from it.
Williams is a professor of physics and chemistry at Pace University, and chair of the science department at Packer Collegiate Institute. He is a green activist and a member of the International Socialist Organization.
There are more revelations than you can count in the now-infamous Wikileaks cables — a fact highlighted by the arrest and extradition attempts against Wikileaks editor-in-chief Julian Assange. But here’s another one that’s been buried, and it definitely hammers home the need to defend not just Wikileaks, but freedom of speech in general.
If it is Your Life By James Kelman, Penguin Books 2010 280 pages, hardback £18.99 This is Scottish author James Kelman’s first collection of short stories since The Good Times in 1998. Right from the very first sentence you know you are back in the distinctive world of Kelman’s fiction: “When I presented myself at the Emergency section of the Social Security Office I knew things could go wrong but I was not expecting a leg amputated.”
Acting Nepali Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal has argued that bullets, explosives and other munitions no longer constitute “lethal military hardware” as long as they are to be used for “training and other related works”. MK Nepal was seeking to justify the decision to allow India to resume arms supplies to Nepal. He has never been elected and came to power after the Maoist-led government was brought down by a soft military coup in 2009.
Welcome to another year of Green Left Weekly, a proudly independent voice committed to democratic, investigative journalism. 2010 ended on a high note as Wikileaks and Julian Assange showed what true journalism is: exposing the abuses of power that hide behind the veil of government secrecy. Assange was demonised by much of the mainstream media as a “criminal” and a “terrorist”, but the US and other governments could not defend their real crimes, which were exposed by the Wikileaks cables.
Time for People's Bank The very modest proposals to introduce more competition among banks by Treasurer Wayne Swan are generally judged as inadequate. We need to have a bank that introduces real competition, modest fees for its customers and pays its executives salaries that befit an egalitarian society, not the outrageous packages the CEOs of the four pillar banks extract from society. A true fifth pillar would be a new Peoples' Bank. Show us what you are made of Wayne Swan. Klaas Woldring, Pearl Beach, NSW NCCA & boycotts
Twenty-six children in Gaza were shot by Israeli troops near the border during 2010, a Save the Children report found. AlJazeera.net reported on January 18 that the report found: “Children in Gaza are coming under regular gunfire from Israeli soldiers while scavenging in the ruins of buildings bombed during the Israeli invasion of Gaza in 2009 ...”
Socialist Party member Anthony Main on January 11 became the second socialist elected to the City of Yarra council. The Labor mayor for Yarra, Jane Garrett, resigned after she was elected to state parliament in November. This left a vacancy on the council, which Main has filled. He was elected after a count back of votes tallied at the last council election. Main told Green Left Weekly that of the nine councillors, three are Greens, two are Labor, two are right-wing independents and, now, two are socialists.