Swedish author Stieg Larsson is world famous as a result of his “Millennium series” trilogy of crime novels, all published since his death in 2004. Less known is that Larsson was also a long-time activist and socialist, who worked as an editor for the anti-fascist Expo magazine. This history is sketched below by Hakan Blomqvist, editor of the Swedish revolutionary socialist paper Internationalen from 1979 to 1999. It is reprinted from US socialist magazine Against the Current.
Below is an abridged version of a speech by NSW Greens MLC David Shoebridge in Sydney on April 10. The action was part of an international weekend of solidarity calling for an end to the persecution of alleged WikiLeaks whistleblower Bradley Manning. **** First, I'd like to acknowledge that this is Aboriginal land that we are standing on. It always has been, always will be Aboriginal land. And in fact sovereignty has never been ceded over this land that we are standing on here today.
A federal budget containing the largest single-year spending cuts in US history was grudgingly passed by Congress on April 14. The cuts, amounting to US$38.5 billion, will be implemented until the end of the financial year on September 30, 2011. President Barack Obama hailed the budget agreement as a victory. He said: “This is an agreement to invest in our country’s future while making the largest annual spending cut in our history.”
Steel manufacturer BlueScope is exaggerating the impact of a carbon price said the April 9 Sydney Morning Herald. “Last month BlueScope said a carbon price of $25 a tonne would wipe $300 million to $400 million off its bottom line but analysts at Deutsche Bank quickly pointed out that ignored compensation," SMH journalist Paddy Manning said. “Based on BlueScope's 2009-10 emissions of 12.2 million tonnes, they calculated the company's carbon liability in 2012-13 would be about $30.5 million, or 7.4% of its forecasts for the company's net profit after tax."
Haiti finds itself with a president-elect with ties to the extreme right — thanks to a concerted effort by foreign powers to continue thwarting the social justice aspirations of the Haitian people. President-elect Michel Martelly is closely associated with the forces that overthrew elected governments in 1991 and 2004. He told Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) Radio’s The Current on April 7 that Haiti has been “going in the wrong direction for the last 25 years”.
“Bolivia is set to pass the world’s first laws granting all nature equal rights to humans,” the Guardian said on April 10. “The Law of Mother Earth, now agreed by politicians and grassroots social groups, redefines the country’s rich mineral deposits as ‘blessings’ and is expected to lead to radical new conservation and social measures to reduce pollution and control industry”, the article said.
The Bahraini government has ordered the dissolution of two opposition political parties. The move is part of its crackdown against the pro-democracy movement that broke out in February. The al-Wefaq and al-Amal parties were ordered to dissolve for “threatening peace”. The order is in response to their involvement in the protests that called for the removal of the Khalifah royal family, which has ruled the country for more than 200 years, the April 14 Washington Post said.
In the early morning of April 9, new battles broke out on the streets of Cairo. Protesters fought back against mass repression carried out by the army, leading to two deaths. In a fresh victory for people’s power in Egypt, protesters defeated the crackdown. Protesters were demanding former dictator Hosni Mubarak and all corrupt officials from his regime be charged. Protesters remained in Cairo’s Tahrir Square late into the night before the army moved in.
The question of refugees "is as fundamental a human rights issue as there is", former senator and refugee campaigner Andrew Bartlett told a rally of around 100 in Brisbane on April 9. The rally was organised by the Refugee Action Collective (RAC). Bartlett said refugees "are among the most vulnerable people on Earth. Forcing them to return home to danger is effectively sending them to their deaths.”
Global politics has taken a dramatic turn this year with the uprisings in the Arab world successfully overthrowing dictatorial regimes, and inspiring democracy movements in countries throughout the region. People who are fed up with corruption, repression and low living standards have stood up and fought for their rights and won many gains. What the movements in the Arab world have shown the people of the world is that no matter how strong governments are, people united in struggle can defeat them.
With the 25th anniversary of Chernobyl falling on April 26, a debate is brewing over the estimated death toll from the nuclear disaster. The debate has erupted with a heated exchange between prominent British columnist George Monbiot and anti-nuclear campaigner Dr Helen Caldicott. Monbiot claims the “official death toll” from Chernobyl is 43. Caldicott puts the death toll at 985,000. Someone's wrong. Perhaps they both are.
Wall Street has continued erecting monuments to its own greed. The British Guardian reported on April 12 that Goldman Sachs’ paid its top five directors almost US$70 million in 2010. The latest United States Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics report, released on 27 July 2010, said civilian workers’ median hourly wage was $16.55. Private industry workers received $15.70 and state and local government workers received $22.04. The top Goldman Sachs directors, on the other hand, earned an average $38,356 each day for 2010.
About 15,000 people attended the “No Nukes” protest in the central Tokyo district of Koenji on April 10. The rally called for assistance to those affected by the March earthquake and tsunami disaster, and for an end to nuclear power. Organisers said more than 1.23 million yen (A$14,000) had been raised for those affected by the disaster. About 2500 people joined a separate rally in another part of the city calling for the Hamaoka nuclear plant in Shizuoka to be switched off. The Hamaoka plant is on a fault line considered likely to be affected by future quakes.
Two wars are being waged simultaneously in Libya. One has grown out of a revolutionary struggle for democracy. The other is an attempt by imperialism to strengthen its domination of the country. Both wars appear to share the goal of “regime change”, but they stand at opposite ends of the political spectrum. The regime change that the revolutionary struggle seeks to achieve is the overthrow of the Muammar Gaddafi dictatorship and the establishment of a system of democratic rule.
Opposition to the Brighton bypass bridge over the Jordan River in southern Tasmania escalated after the April 12 decision by the Tasmanian heritage minister Brian Wightman to give final approval for works to proceed. The bridge will destroy kutalayna, a site of 42,000 years of Aboriginal occupation. On April 14, protesters entered the site and stopped the works. On April 15, 21 people were arrested after protesters scaled the fence and entered the site in waves, stopping the work on several occasions.
Iranian news service PressTV reported on April 6 on the discovery of an ancient human burial in a suburb of the Czech capital Prague. The grave, belonging to the third millennium BCE Corded Ware cultural tradition of Europe, contained the skeletal remains of a person that the archaeologists who uncovered the burial designated as male. Without DNA testing, however, it is impossible to say for sure. The skeleton was buried in a position previously thought to be exclusively associated with females.