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If the last federal election promised the beginnings of a break from the two-parties-for-capitalism electoral system that has plagued Australian politics for the past century, the March 29, 2011 NSW election seems to be a lurch in the other direction.

The Liberal-National Coalition won dominance of the Legislative Assembly and (with small right-wing parties) control of the Legislative Council because a large number of working class voters punished the Labor party with a -13.5% swing.

“We have been betrayed by our members of parliament,” ABC television personality Peter Cundell told a rally of more than 1500 people protesting against the proposed Gunns Ltd pulp mill on March 20.

“They have betrayed the very people they are supposed to represent. This is only the beginning ... We are going to defeat this mill, make no mistake about it.”

The federal ALP government is pushing ahead with the punitive system of “income management” despite the fact that it is racist, unfair and expensive.

In June 2010, the federal government passed legislation allowing the extension of welfare quarantining beyond the 73 Northern Territory remote communities that were its first target.

The Yemen President Ali Abdullah Saleh is under increased pressure to step down after the defection in recent days of key tribal leaders, government ministers, diplomats and army units. The defectors have pledged support for anti-government protesters.

Tens of thousands of people marched in the capital, Sana’a, on March 25 to demand Saleh step down, AlJazeera.net said that day. However, the article said Saleh gave a defiant speech to supporters, insisting he would only hand over power “to capable, responsible hands”.

More than 40 people attended a rally in Fremantle on March 21 in support of Zimbabwean political activists who have been charged with treason.

The rally was held to coincide with the court hearing in Harare for activists Munyaradzi Gwisai, Tafadzwa Choto, Hopewell Gumbo, Welcome Zimuto, Tatenda Mombeyara and Edson Chakuma.

Independent MP for Fremantle Adele Carles told the crowd: “These brave men and women are charged with treason and face the death penalty.

The situation inside every one of Australia’s refugee detention centres has grown dangerously volatile.

Just days after the Christmas Island breakout and subsequent protests, nine refugees climbed on the roof of a detention centre in Darwin after watching the assault of another refugee on March 15.

Two days later, a 20-year-old Afghan man hanged himself with a bedsheet at the Scherger detention centre after his refugee application was rejected.

The statement below was published by the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions Working Group (South Africa) on March 23. It’s abridged from www.pacbi.org .

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Today, setting a worldwide precedent in the academic boycott of Israel, the University of Johannesburg (UJ) has effectively severed ties with Israel’s Ben-Gurion University (BGU).

This was after UJ’s Senate rejected a last ditch motion by pro-Israeli lobbyists to have two separate bilateral agreements — one with a Palestinian University and another with an Israeli University.

Greetings from prison in Zimbabwe

On behalf of the Medical Professional and Allied Workers Union of Zimbabwe, a trade Union that organizes workers in the private Medical sector in Zimbabwe, I wish to express our heartfelt appreciation of the camaraderie you extended to Zimbabwean Comrades who were coldheartedly incarcerated and charged with treason by the ZANU PF regime for merely watching heroic actions by our brothers and sisters in the North part of Africa that dealt with tyrants. We are humbled by your determination to see Zimbabwean working class free.

It can sometimes feel like we’re losing a race against time to avoid environmental catastrophe and social collapse.

Climate change is already extinguishing species, destroying essential food production and forcing thousands of people to flee their island homes.

People are directly affected by more wars than ever before in history.

While the underlying causes of the recent global financial crisis remain, governments are imposing vicious austerity policies on the majority of people in the Global North and South to pay for the capitalists’ greed.

Israeli settlers observed their own “Day of Rage” on March 17, launching reprisal attacks on Palestinians for the recent murder of a settler family in an illegal Israeli settlement in the occupied West Bank.

It was also in response to Israeli authorities’ demolition of a settlement structure.

Israeli settlers in the Palestinian West Bank have long carried out the much-publicised “price tag” policy of intimidation and violence against Palestinians and their property every time Israeli officials have demolished a settler outpost.

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