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As the United States and Britain look for an excuse to invade another oil-rich Arab country, the hypocrisy is familiar. Libyan leader Colonel Muammar Gaddafi is “delusional” and “blood-drenched”, while the authors of an invasion that killed a million Iraqis, who have kidnapped and tortured in our name, are entirely sane, never blood-drenched and once again the arbiters of “stability”. But something has changed. Reality is no longer what the powerful say it is. Of all the spectacular revolts across the world, the most exciting is the insurrection of knowledge sparked by WikiLeaks.
Emboldened by the successes of Muammar Gaddafi’s forces in Libya, a number of Arab regimes have escalated crackdowns on pro-democracy protests while the world’s media was focused on the earthquake disaster in Japan. With the exceptions of Libya and Iran, the governments brutally cracking down on their citizens have received minimal criticism from the West. Calls for “restraint on both sides” obscure the fact that it is governments armed with weapons made in the West ruthlessly attacking mostly unarmed people.
Nine refugees held in the Northern Immigration Detention Centre in Darwin staged a protest on top of a building in the centre’s compound on March 15 after they witnessed Serco guards assault another detainee. The refugees — who are Rohingya people, an ethnic minority in western Burma — told refugee advocate Carl O’Connor on March 16 that the protest was sparked by a physical assault on another Rohingya detainee. “One man was refused rice in the mess room,” the refugees said. “Out of frustration he broke a glass. He was then chased down and tried to escape from two Serco guards.

This video is from a protest by homeless people on 14-4-11 in response to plans by the state government to sweep homeless people off the street during the October CHOGM summit.

Waving the Libyan flag.

While I agree with most of the sentiments expressed in Peter Boyle’s article on Libya in GLW #872, I think the Left must always be flexible and practical.

About 8000 people marched on the Western Australian parliament on March 15 to demand more local jobs from the resource export boom. The Construction Forestry Mining Energy Union, Australian Manufacturing Workers Union and Maritime Union of Australia all mobilised big contingents for the protest. Manufacturing employers also supported the rally. Local workshops are sitting idle while billions of dollars of infrastructure is being imported for the mining and offshore oil and gas industries.
Resistance supports the fight for equal marriage rights for Lesbian, Gay Bisexual, Transgender, Intersex and Queer (LGBTIQ) people. Resistance believes that the capitalist system has a vested interest in preventing people from uniting, and in continuing to repress queers. This oppression takes many forms, and includes laws that discriminate against LGBTIQ people. It is incredible that queer people in Australia still do not have the right to get married. This injustice has broad consequences for the whole LGBTIQ community.
In the midst of widespread anger at the on-going privatisation agenda, blatant corruption and developer connections of the New South Wales Labor government, the Liberal/National Coalition appears set to romp home in the March 26 NSW elections. With a Coalition government likely to extend the privatisation agenda even further, including massive cuts to the public sector and public services, the NSW Greens’ have come under fire for failing to direct their preferences to Labor.
First organising meeting of Stop CSG Illawarra, Thirroul, March 13.

On March 13, more than 100 people attended the first organising meeting of Stop CSG Illawarra, a residents’ group campaigning for a moratorium on coal seam gas mining (CSG).

In a significant break through, a rank-and-file ticket — Members Voice (MV) — won the presidency in the NSW Rail Tram and Bus Union (RTBU) elections in February. Members Voice stood on a clear platform of opposition to privatisation. This was the first challenge to the ALP-controlled leadership since the 1980s. Green Left Weekly’s John Coleman spoke to incoming president Tony Clear about his vision for the union. Why did you decide to run in the elections?

Legal action was launched on March 16 against Wisconsin’s Republican lawmakers in an attempt to repeal the anti-union bill that was signed into law on March 11. The law bans collective bargaining for most public sector workers in Wisconsin. Associated Press reported on March 16 that a legal challenge was mounted by Dane County district attorney Ismael Ozanne. AP said: “Democrats in the Wisconsin Assembly had alleged that Republican leaders did not give enough public notice that a committee planned to meet to amend the bill.”

“We have intelligence that your government has been exchanging information with foreign powers about Australian citizens working for WikiLeaks,” Julian Assange told Prime Minister Julia Gillard in his video question as part of ABC's Q&A on March 14. Assange's question came after Gillard had said: “I can respect whistleblowing if your motivation is to right wrong.” But she said she did not see any “moral purpose ... at the centre of WikiLeaks”. Gillard said she didn't have a “great deal of respect” for Assange and described his motivation as “sort of anarchic”.