On August 7, 50 sex and gender diverse and transgender people gathered in Petersham in Sydney’s inner west at a “Save the Drop-In” BBQ. The event was in response to the Gender Centre — the only community service provider for transgender people in Sydney — closed a cornerstone of its service: the weekly “Drop-In” service. The drop-in attracted about 40 people each week. It was held in the evening and food was provided. The service accounted for 28% of the Gender Centre’s client contacts, according to the Centre’s 2010 annual report.
More than 100 community supporters, environmentalists and trade unionists assembled on the steps of Trades Hall in Melbourne to launch the “100,000 Australians” campaign. A project of the Earthworker co-operative, the campaign seeks to build a cooperatively-owned factory making solar hot water systems in Morwell, Victoria. The project is hoping for 100,000 Australians to join the Earthworker Cooperative at $20 a member to raise the $2 million needed for the “Eureka’s Future” factory machinery, fit-out and finish.
Police snatched four Palestine solidarity activists from their houses in the early hours of August 9. Arrested for allegedly breaching their bail conditions by attending a protest against Israeli apartheid outside a Max Brenner shop on July 29, the activists had to pay outrageously high bail sureties to be released.
Australia’s dirty future Australian taxpayers, at their own expense, are receiving copies of the Labor government’s 20-page document entitled “Clean energy future, What a carbon price means to you”. Unfortunately this scientifically-illiterate document contains a falsehood of commission or omission on nearly every page.
We all know there’s a big problem with the environment and it needs drastic action to fix it. So does a Marxist analysis of the problem bring anything new to the table? Marxism redefines the terms of the mainstream environmental debate. Instead of seeing the problem as one of humans versus nature, the problem is framed as one where humans and nature are intrinsically linked and ecological crises arise in which the relationship between the two is thrown into imbalance.
In 1998, the UN hosted a special session on illegal drugs which set out to implement law enforcement control strategies in the hope of creating a “drug free” world. Today, it is generally recognised that this policy has been an abject failure. The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime stated in a 2011 report that the “overall number of drug users appears to have increased over the last decade from 180 to some 210 million people”.
About 200 people have arrived on boats to claim refugee protection in Australia since the Australian and Malaysian governments signed a deal to “swap” refugees on July 25. The countries agreed to exchange up to 800 refugees in Australia for 4000 refugees registered with the United Nations in Malaysia. The immigration department has refused to look at the new arrivals’ claims for asylum, but is holding them in an isolated compound of the Christmas Island detention centre. A boat that arrived on August 11 carried more than 100 refugees, many of them children.
“Mob rule”. “Wanton destruction”. “Mindless thuggery”. “Sheer criminality”. Media, politicians and police always say the same thing about urban riots. Riots can spin out of control and engulf ordinary people. But that does not alter the fact that they are rooted in social oppression. Criminals may take advantage of riots, but they do not cause them. The events in Tottenham, Hackney, Croydon, Birmingham, Manchester, and a dozen other urban areas are not some sinister eruption of an underclass of criminals equipped with BlackBerries moving from one hot-spot to another.
The dilemma facing journalists in Australia today was addressed by Philip Castle, a veteran journalist for more than 30 years and Griffith University academic, at a public forum sponsored by Green Left Weekly at the Brisbane Activist Centre on August 9. The forum, titled “Murdoch vs Assange: Media corruption versus the truth”, also heard from Jim McIlroy, a long-time correspondent for GLW.
Dear Mr & Mrs Cameron, Why did you never take the time to teach your child basic morality?
Five activists from Anti-Nuclear NT (ANNT) gathered outside the offices of Energy Resources Australia (ERA) on August 9. They were congratulating the company on its decision to abandon plans to use acid heap leeching at its Ranger uranium mine in Kakadu national park. Acid heap leeching uses thousands of tonnes of highly toxic acid to release uranium oxide from the soil. It would have sent hundreds of acid-filled trucks along the Northern Territory’s Stuart Highway each day.
When the right-wing press isn’t hacking the voicemail of murdered teenagers, much of its energy goes to denouncing “green extremists”. You know, the ones who’d destroy our economy just to claw back a few tonnes of greenhouse emissions. So what would Rupert Murdoch, Andrew Bolt and their whole tribe prefer be done, in practice and in the near term, to stop global warming? Let’s be honest — nothing. Cutting emissions, they implicitly argue, will inevitably cost more than if society lets carbon polluters get on with what they do best.
Martin Ferris, Sinn Fein TD (member of the Dublin-based parliament, the Dail) for Kerry, visited Australia at the end of July. Ferris spoke to hundreds of people at public meetings in Perth, Sydney and Melbourne on the economic crisis in Ireland. He also spoke on the struggle to reunify the six counties in Ireland's north still controlled by Britain with the 26 counties that make up the southern state.
August 12, 2011: For the last five days, Feli McHughes, Joel McHughes and Gregory Coffey from the Ngemba Billabong Restoration Project in Brewarrina, NSW, have been trying to hand over a $260,000 cheque to the head of the Department of Aboriginal Affairs.
Tracker magazine — Evidently there is progress in Northern Territory prescribed communities. The Prime Minister has visited and she says so. The mainstream media report so. Indeed what the Prime Minister says is remarkably similar to what Jenny Macklin has been saying for some time: there is progress.