Two articles are posted below on the historic toppling of United States-backed dictator Hosni Mubarak in Egypt — and on the continuing struggle of the Egyptian people for economic, social and political change. For more coverage, see Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal * * * `We will take five minutes and celebrate, then start building our new Egypt!’ By Jane Slaughter February 12 — Labor Notes
The deepest cuts to Britain’s public spending since World War II were announced in October. At the same time, it was revealed that some of the nation’s biggest corporations and richest people were using legal loopholes to avoid paying tax. The treasurer in the Conservative Party-Liberal Democrat coalition government, Conservative MP George Osborne, announced that £81 billion would be slashed from public spending including £7 billion in welfare cuts.
According to multiple reports tens of thousands of workers across Egypt have gone on strike and joined the anti-Mubarak protests.
This went up on IS singer Macy Gray's Facebook page on January 17: "I'm booked for 2 shows in Tel Aviv. I'm getting a lot of letters from activists urging/begging me to boycott by NOT performing in protest of Apartheid against the Palestinians. What the Israeli government is doing to the Palestinians is disgusting, but I wanna go. I gotta lotta fans there I don't want to cancel on and I don't know how my NOT going changes anything. What do you think? Stay or go?"
“People say to me, ‘You’re still talking about politics?’ and I say, ‘C’mon, life is politics’”, Afro-fusion singer-songwriter Wunmi told Green Left Weekly while she was in Sydney as part of the Big Day Out (BDO) music festival. “We live in an environment where things are constantly happening, how can you not talk about it?” Wunmi has a big name (it’s Ibiwunmi Omotayo Olufunke Felicity Olaiya), big hair, and a big voice — and she was this year’s BDO’s best kept secret.
“We will not be silenced,” shouts an Egyptian protester in one of the many videos posted on YouTube of the uprising against the Hosni Mubarak dictatorship that began on January 25. “Whether you are a Muslim, whether you are a Christian or whether you are an atheist, you will demand your goddamn rights! And we will have our rights, one way or another, we will never be silenced!” This statement sums up the immense change sweeping Egypt. This change is driven by a powerful mass movement that put millions of people on the streets across Egypt on February 4.
About 300 people turned out for a free outdoor film screening of the award-winning US documentary Gasland in Sydney Park on February 5. The screening was supported by the City of Sydney and Palace Cinemas, and was organised by Sydney Residents Against Coal Seam Gas, a community group established to oppose plans for exploratory gas drilling in the inner-west suburb of St Peters.
Thousands of students braved the notoriously brutal Sudanese police and security forces on January 30 in anti-government protests inspired by the Tunisian and Egyptian uprisings, SudaneseTribune.com reported that day. Rallies took place at three universities and other sites across the capital, as well as in east and west Sudan. Students called for General Omar al Bashir’s National Congress Party government to resign and condemned recent austerity measures and ongoing attacks of democratic rights.
In 2009, more than a 100 activists were arrested in a swoop on a community centre in Nottingham in an operation involving hundreds of police. They were alleged to be planning to close down Ratcliffe-on-Soar power station. It was revealed that one of the organisers of the alleged protest, Mark Stone, was an undercover cop who had tipped off the police. Stone was unveiled after his partner found a passport in his real name of Mark Kennedy. He was confronted by Camp for Climate Action activists and confessed all.
Perth man Brendan O’Connell was sentenced to three years jail under WA’s racial vilification laws on January 31. He was found guilty of six counts of vilification relating to anti-Semitic comments he posted on a YouTube video in 2009. His jailing, and the length of the sentence, has opened up a certain controversy. Conservative columnist Paul Murray pointed out in the February 2 West Australian that a person convicted of glassing someone in a pub could expect to receive an 18-month sentence, whereas O’Connell received three years for an “essentially political [speech]”.
More than 1000 members of the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) met with President Hugo Chavez on January 19 and decided on five key strategic lines for the next two years. The discussion included recognition of important weaknesses in the party. Chavez, who is also president of the governing PSUV, presented the document, Strategic Lines of Political Action of the PSUV for 2011-2012, to the “National Assembly of Socialists” in Vargas state. About 1440 party leaders were present.
The Edmund Rice Centre released the public statement below on January 26. ***** We, Australian organisations and individuals, unite to offer this statement to our nation. A “Memorandum of Understanding” (MOU) was recently signed between the Australian government, the government of Afghanistan and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, permitting the involuntary repatriation from Australia of unsuccessful Afghan asylum seekers back to Afghanistan.
New federal drug laws could make thousands of native and common garden plants illegal. The proposed legislation will place common plants under schedule II of the drug code along with plants such as marijuana and opium poppies. The most worrying aspect of the legislation is the sheer number of plant species that will be made illegal. Many of the substances produced by the plants are already illegal to manufacture or consume. However, there is not any significant market for making drugs from these plants and they are not sold or produced by organised crime.
Irish Taosiech (prime minister) Brian Cowen resigned as leader of the government Fianna Fail party on January 22. The move came in the midst of a political crisis caused by the Cowen government accepting an 85 billion euro bailout package from the European Union and International Monetary Fund. The package will be accompanied by savage spending cuts that will drastically deepen the austerity imposed on the Irish people in response to the financial crisis that hit the southern Irish state in 2008.
Wharfies employed by stevedoring company Patrick at four different ports across Australia took strike action in the last week of January in pursuit of a new enterprise bargaining agreement (EBA). It was the most significant industrial action on the wharves since the 1998 Patrick lockout. In recent ballots organised by Fairwork Australia, workers at the strike-affected ports voted (by margins of 94% to 100%) to take a range of different forms of industrial action to press their claim.
Four hundred people braved very warm weather to gather at the State Library of Victoria on February 4 to show solidarity with the recent democracy protests in Egypt. Mohamed Elmasri from the Federation of Australian Muslims and Youth told the rally that the peaceful protesters in Egypt were defiant in the face of the extreme violence from Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak’s regime. Nazeem Haussain of the Islamic Council of Victoria also defended the Egyptian protesters.