Stop the massacre in Libya! Power to the people A February 26 statement by the Socialist Alliance in solidarity with the people's uprisings in Libya and the Arab world * * * The Socialist Alliance extends its full solidarity to the people of Libya now being brutally repressed for demanding an end to the corrupt and unjust regime of dictator Colonel Muammar Gaddafi.
Forty-five pro-democracy activists, students and trade unionists were arrested in Harare on February 19 at a meeting to discuss the uprisings in Egypt and Tunisia. On February 23, the activists were charged with treason, which risks the death penalty. It is believed that security forces loyal to President Robert Mugabe’s ZANU-PF infiltrated the meeting at the Labour Law Centre in Harare, which was themed “Revolt in Egypt and Tunisia: What lessons can be learnt by Zimbabwe and Africa?”
Labor, Liberal and National MPs lined up to pass the Labor government's National Radioactive Waste Management Bill through the House of Representatives on February 23. Greens MP Adams Bandt and independents Andrew Wilke, Rob Oakeshott and Bob Katter did not support the bill. If passed in the senate, the bill will pave the way for the construction of a national nuclear waste dump at Muckaty, north of Tennant Creek in the Northern Territory. The legislation overrides NT legislation designed to ban nuclear waste dumps in the territory.
Invasions don’t bring democracy It’s a pity the “coalition of the willing” invaded Iraq and Afghanistan. Maybe if they hadn't, the Iraqi and Afghan people would have been getting rid of Saddam Hussein and the Taliban themselves — right now. And building their own real organic democracies, step by step.
The article below is based on a December 16 speech by Canberra-based freelance historian Humphrey McQueen. McQueen spoke at a Canberra rally organised to defend WikiLeaks and its editor-in-chief Julian Assange. * * * By what right are we here today? Why are we confident that we can protest and not be shot at by the political police on the fringes of this crowd? We take it for granted that we won’t be arrested as we leave. We do not expect to lose our jobs by speaking out for WikiLeaks.
Below is the text of a speech by Pip Hinman, Socialist Alliance candidate for Marrickville in the NSW state elections, to the Newtown Neighbourhood Centre candidates meeting on February 23. *** I’d like to first acknowledge that we’re meeting on the land of the Gadigal and Wangal people of the Eora nation, and I pay my respects to their elders past and present. The two most important issues in this state election is to call a halt to the privatisations of our public assets and to immediately start a shift away from using polluting coal or gas for our energy needs.
In the previous issue of Green Left Weekly, I wrote about how the federal Coalition had resurrected the ghost of Pauline Hanson with its cynical plan to exploit the racist fear of Australia’s Muslim minority communities. But since then, there has been a parade of political ghosts. The first to emerge was the former Victorian Liberal premier Jeff Kennett, who chose to give some public advice to aspiring NSW Liberal premier Barry O’Farrell.
Killalea State Park again faces the threat of overdevelopment, says Peter Moran, the Greens candidate for Shellharbour in the NSW state elections. Community members organised in the Save Killalea Alliance (SKA) claimed a victory in May last year when a $35 million development proposal backed by investment firm Babcock and Brown was scrapped. The proposal would have allowed 106 accommodation lodges to be built on the pristine site. Developers had made an earlier proposal to build 202 residential lodges, pools, tennis courts, restaurants and a conference centre.
Under heavy public pressure, the South Australian government of Labor Premier Mike Rann appears to be wavering in its support for mining uranium in the Arkaroola wilderness in the state’s north. On February 18, the Adelaide Advertiser gave front-page headlines to reports that Arkaroola, a privately-held nature sanctuary and ecotourism site in the Flinders Ranges about 600 kilometres north of the state capital, could be declared a national park.
About 200 people rallied in Brisbane's King George Square on February 25 to show solidarity with the people of Libya resisting the oppressive regime of Muammar Gaddafi. A banner proclaiming "Free Libya" was fixed to a wall, together with photos of victims of the Libyan military and police. Placards carried by members of the Libyan community, many of them students, read "Stop using mercenaries to kill our people" and "Please help our country".
Don’t believe the hype. The carbon price deal announced by Labor and the Greens on February 24 is not a breakthrough and does not set Australia on a path to a zero-carbon future. Rather, it entrenches a framework that puts market forces at the heart of Australia’s response to the climate emergency. It’s a step in the wrong direction. The full details of the deal — including the price and compensation measures — are yet to be finalised. But the agreement made clear the scheme will begin by mid-2012 and become a fully-fledged emissions trading scheme three-to-five years later.
Below is the text of a speech by Fremantle councillor and Socialist Alliance member Sam Wainwright to Green Left Weekly's 20th anniversary celebrations in Perth on February 12. See also: Greetings to Green Left from around Australia Greetings to Green Left from around the world Green Left turns 20! Green Left’s 20 years of independence * * *
I went down to Tasmania for the Southern Forests Convergence organised by activists at the Huon Valley Environment Centre (HVEC) over February 19 to 21. These folks are the heart and soul of ancient forest protection in Tassie and, as always, it was a great honour to work with them.
Ahlem Belhadj is a Tunisian revolutionary socialist and member of the Ligue de la Gauche Ouvriers (Left Workers’ League). It is a part of the January 14 Front, which unites left-wing groups seeking to push Tunisia’s revolution forward by creating a new government free from members of the former ruling party, and supports policies reversing neoliberalism. Belhadj spoke with Green Left Weekly’s Tony Iltis on February 12 about the Tunisian revolution. * * *
Hidden beneath the spectacular street battles that forced Egyptian dictator Hosni Mubarak out of office was a trigger that exists in dozens of countries throughout the world — food. Or, more specifically, the lack of it. Commentators have focused on the corruption of the dictatorship, or the viral effects of the Tunisian uprising or what appears to be akin to an Arab political awakening. But the inability of the Egyptian regime to ensure a steady flow of food staples should also be viewed as a critical factor driving this seemingly spontaneous movement for freedom.
In 1987, I visited Libya as a journalist for the left-wing newspaper Direct Action. I visited Gaddafi’s bombed-out home — attacked by the United States one year earlier. In the 1980s, the Gaddafi regime came under attack from the US government because it took an anti-imperialist line and gave financial and material aid to many national liberation movements at the time.