“I am a black South African, and if I were to change the names, the description of what is happening in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank would be a description of what is happening in South Africa” - Archbishop Desmond Tutu, New York 1989. When Desmond Tutu made this comment, the South African apartheid regime was still in power. In 1994, after 45 years of racial segregation, the apartheid era was officially over.
National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU) members at Macquarie University in Sydney took rolling industrial action across four faculties during the first teaching week of semester. The industrial action was part of a campaign for a new collective agreement for academic staff. Three hundred staff and students rallied on March 3 to hear about the bargaining impasse. Issues of concern for staff include overcrowded classes, lack of facilities, workloads, budget cuts and job security.
The regime of Muammar Gaddafi has escalated its violence against rebel forces seeking to bring it down. On March 6, opponents of the regime were reported to be in control of several cities, especially in Libya’s east. AlJazeera.net said on March 4 that anti-government protests in the capital, Tripoli, had been met with tear gas by security forces. Opponents said Az Zawiyah, a town just 40 kilometres from Tripoli that is home to an oil refinery, was mostly under rebel control.
With the betting agencies putting the Greens candidate ahead of Labor in Sydney's inner west seat of Marrickville, Labor is running scared. But rather than debate the issues, the ALP machine is doing its best to smear the Greens. At a 120-strong candidates' meeting hosted by the Newtown Neighbourhood Centre on February 23, Greens candidate and Marrickville Mayor Fiona Byrne was asked if she would agree to council “boycotting China” if asked to do so by a Tibetan constituent.
Ireland’s governing Fianna Fáil (FF) party and its Green Party coalition partner were massacred in a general election revolt on February 26. The most successful establishment party in Western Europe for the past 80 years, FF was demolished – reduced from 77 to only 20 seats on the back of public outrage over austerity measures and social spending cuts. In Dublin, FF was reduced from 19 seats to one. The Greens — its partners in political crime — were wiped out entirely, failing to win a single seat in Dáil Éireann (Ireland’s parliament) and winning less than 2% of the vote.
A NATO airstrike killed nine children collecting firewood in eastern Afghanistan on March 2, Afghan officials have said. A March 2 WashingtonPost.com article said the deaths in Konar province “became the latest irritant in the tense relationship between President Hamid Karzai and the international force in the country”. The top NATO commander, US general David Petraeus, issued an apology for the error, which the occupying forces blamed on “faulty communication”.
The Greens candidate for Heathcote in the NSW elections, Phil Smith, has renewed his party’s call for a moratorium on coal seam gas mining in the state. He said gas extraction poses real risks for communities throughout the Heathcote electorate, a seat that spans from southern Sydney to the northern Illawarra. The Labor state government recently approved 15 coal seam gas wells in the northern Illawarra region. “The Greens are leading the call for an immediate moratorium,” Smith told Green Left Weekly.
The Socialist Alliance released the statement below on February 26. *** 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. Their courageous struggle, launched on February 15, for democracy and economic and social justice, has resulted in hundreds, if not thousands, of people being killed.
When the Kyoto Protocol was being negotiated in 1997, the European Union opposed the United States’ proposal to introduce carbon trading and “offsetting” as a form of compliance with mandated greenhouse gas emissions reductions. Instead, the EU favoured coordinated policies and measures. But by 2001, when the US unilaterally abandoned climate negotiations, the EU had already reversed its position and enthusiastically supported delivering the fate of climate policy to a speculative market.
The US Army announced on March 2 that it has charged 22-year-old Private First Class Bradley Manning with a further 22 charges. Manning is being held on suspicion of having leaked classified information to WikiLeaks. One of the new charges is “aiding the enemy”. This means Manning could face the death penalty if convicted. So far, Pentagon and military officials have found no direct link between Manning and WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.