The online journal Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal is hosting a series of commentaries from left-wing groups and commentators from around the world on the crucial question of whether or not to support the US-NATO military intervention in Libya.
The bad news for Ohio’s 350,000 public workers is that a new law bans them from striking — the good news is at least they will no longer risk jail for doing so. A March 30 Reuters article said: “Ohio’s legislature on Wednesday passed a Republican measure to curb the collective bargaining rights of about 350,000 state employees, and Governor John Kasich said he will sign it into law.” The new law will ban unions from striking in support of public workers and limit workers’ ability to collectively bargain.
A popular rebellion is shaking the regime of Syrian ruler Bashar al-Assad — and highlighting the hypocrisy of US policy in the region. The protests of recent weeks spread further following Friday prayers on March 25. The Syrian regime responded with vicious repression that left at least 61 people dead, and with a belated promise of reform.
Secret US diplomatic cables released by WikiLeaks on March 15 show that former US ambassador to Nepal, James Moriarty, actively sought to destabilise Nepal’s peace process in order to prevent a Maoist rise to power. The Maoist-led People’s Liberation Army waged a decade-long “people’s war” against Nepal’s centuries-old feudal monarchy. A people’s uprising in 2006 brought the monarchy down, opening the way for an elected constituent assembly in 2008.
US coal giant Drummond paid right-wing paramilitaries accused of murder and human rights abuses for protection of its Colombian operations, Colombiareports.com said on March 16. The article said the information was revealed in secret diplomatic cables sent between 2006-2010 released by WikiLeaks to the Colombian paper El Espectador,
The pro-democracy movement in Bahrain has been severely weakened by the brutal wave of repression that began on March 15. Attempts to reignite pro-democracy protests have been broken up by government security forces and strikes have been called off. Troops from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates entered Bahrain on March 14 to help the Bahraini government “restore order” by attacking thousands of pro-democracy protesters.
Economists warned on March 31 that the British government’s public-sector cuts will leave a shortfall of more than half a million jobs. The New Economics Foundation (NEF) also warned that nowhere in the budget or “plan for growth“ was there “any evidence that the business tax cuts, regulatory tweaks and relatively minor changes to public-sector investment that are promised will deliver major economic transformation”. Trade Union Congress general secretary Brendan Barber said the findings showed that “in recent years, the market has become the master, not the servant, of society”.
A vicious smear campaign against the Greens candidate for Marrickville Fiona Byrne in the NSW state election reveals just how worried the powers-that-be are about the prospect of the NSW Greens winning a lower house seat. This smear campaign focused almost exclusively on the Greens pro-Palestine stand, in particular their support (along with ALP councillors) for Marrickville council’s decision to sign on to the global boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israel.
Hundreds of thousands of protesters rallied across Yemen on April 1 in the largest mobilisation so far calling for the removal of President Ali Abdulla Saleh, Associated Press said that day. Protests took place in at least 14 provinces. Saleh’s unwillingness to stand down has claimed m ore lives. Protesters have blamed Saleh for an explosion in an ammunition factory that killed about 150 people on March 28. Protesters said Saleh’s government allowed the factory to be overrun by supposed al-Qaeda members who left the factory open for looters, Voanews.com said on March 30.
Former ABC journalist Jeff McMullen attacked the federal government’s intervention into Northern Territory Aboriginal communities as racist and harmful in a March 21 letter to indigenous affairs minister Jenny Macklin. McMullen said Macklin had “not responded to the calls by an overwhelming majority of the Aboriginal leaders in … occupied communities to end the Intervention now”. McMullen wrote in response to a letter Macklin sent him on March 2 that defended the intervention.
Climate change is often called the greatest environment threat facing humanity. The threat is very real. Unless we cut carbon pollution fast, runaway climate change will worsen existing environmental and social problems, and create new ones of its own. But it’s no longer enough to simply refer to the climate crisis. Climate change is one part of a broader ecological disaster, brought about by an economic system that relies on constant growth, endless accumulation and ever-deepening human alienation.
See the activist calendar for details of screenings in your city. John Pilger’s latest film, The War You Don’t See, looks at the power wielded by journalists reporting conflict. It examines the responsibility of the media in justifying and supporting the wars our governments wage. Pilger asks: “What is the role of the media in rapacious wars like Iraq and Afghanistan and how are the crimes of war reported and justified? “Those whose job it is to keep the record straight ought to be the voice of people, not power.”
Good politicians are few and far between, but British health secretary Andrew Lansley is among the worst. In 2008, he was forced to apologise after saying recessions brought "good things" such as people being able to spend more time with their families. In Britain’s parliamentary expenses scandal in 2009, he was accused of claiming for the renovation of a rural cottage, selling it, then “flipping” his second home designation to a London flat and claiming thousands of pounds for furniture. He said his claims were "within the rules".
I was having a conversation about the likely outcome of the NSW elections on Radio SkidRow, a Sydney community radio station, just days before the March 26 election. “We know what is going to happen after [the Liberals'] Barry O’Farrell wins the election, don’t we?” I said. “He’ll wait a couple of weeks then he will announce that Labor has left the cupboard bare so they’ll have to bring in an emergency budget.
On March 29, pro-choice protestors gave Melbourne City Council (MCC) a clear message: don’t mess with our free speech rights! Councillor Cathy Oke tabled a bulky tome — nearly 600 statements signed by individuals and organisations, telling the council to uphold the right to protest and stop using local laws against pro-choicers defending the Fertility Control Clinic in East Melbourne against anti-abortion harassment. From the public gallery, placards demanding “Make Melbourne a free speech city!” underscored the message.
The Australian Nursing Federation (ANF) issued a statement on March 29 calling for the immediate release of five West Papuan nurses who have been arrested and jailed by the Indonesian government for taking part in industrial action. Eight nurses and midwives were detained on March 20 by the criminal investigation unit of the Papuan police in Jayapura, ANF acting federal secretary Yvonne Chaperon said. Five remain in jail.


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