The secretary of the Communications Workers Union Victoria, Len Cooper, sent the letter below to the Occupy Melbourne community outreach working group on October 12. * * * Dear friends, I am writing on behalf of my union to endorse your call for real democracy. Today in the City of Boston, America, one of our sister unions, IBEW Local 2222, representing Boston telecom workers will read out a statement supporting the Wall Street and Boston occupations.
More than 300 people of all ages gathered in Adelaide on September 24 calling for world leading concentrating solar thermal (CST) technology to replace Port Augusta’s aging coal fired power stations. The action was organised by several environment groups, including the Australian Youth Climate Coalition, the Climate Emergency Action Network, the Socialist Alliance, Resistance and the Young Greens. The crowd met in Adelaide’s Rymill Park and then took to the streets in a colourful, rhythmic parade, featuring a moving solar thermal tower.
The Occupy Melbourne Community Outreach Working Group has released the letter below addressed to Australian unions and union members. * * * Dear union member, We write to address you on a social movement that may have great impact on issues affecting all workers and union members in Australia.
The Last Stand released the statement below on October 8. * * * Today, over 30 actions took place around the world as part of a global 24 hours of action targeting retailer Harvey Norman for their role in helping to drive the destruction of Australia’s native forests.
I am a member of Pulp the Mill, a group of peaceful community protesters who engage in civil disobedience to protest the politically corrupted Tamar Valley pulp mill assessment process in Tasmania. Pulp the Mill has repeatedly called for a Royal Commission into this corrupted process, and in particular into Section 11 of the Pulp Mill Assessment Act 2007, a clause that removes the right of people to either claim compensation, or take legal action, should the pulp mill cause a negative impact on their health or livelihoods in any way whatsoever.
The Darwin Asylum Seeker Support and Advocacy Network released the statement below on October 9. * * * The Darwin Asylum Seeker Support and Advocacy Network (DASSAN) has called on NT members of the federal government, member for Lingiari Warren Snowdon and Senator Trish Crossin, to vote against legislation to be introduced this week that would allow the offshore processing of asylum seekers. Snowdon was reported as strongly supporting the proposed amendments in caucus.
Stop CSG Illawarra released the statement below on October 10. * * * Stop CSG Illawarra — the community group that organised the 3000-plus person human sign action on Austinmer Beach in late May — is planning a community walk across the iconic Sea Cliff Bridge for October 16. The walk is part of a national day of coordinated actions under the theme “Defend Our Water”, and is calling for a moratorium on the coal seam gas (CSG) industry, a Royal Commission into CSG and a ban on “fracking”.
The Australian Nuclear Free Alliance released the statement below on October 11. * * * In the wake of the approval of BHP-Billiton’s Olympic Dam expansion, the Australian Nuclear Free Alliance (ANFA) is calling for a moratorium on uranium mining due to the long-term impacts associated with the nuclear industry. Uncle Kevin Buzzacott, Arabunna elder from Lake Eyre and president of ANFA, addressed a rally at parliament House in Adelaide on October 11 held in response to the approvals announced by the state and federal government:
Tasmanian-based environmental group Code Green released the statement below on October 11. * * * Ten protesters from environmental group Code Green have blocked a road that leads to at least two active logging coupes in east Ben Lomond in Tasmania’s north-east. One protester was suspended in a tree attached to a tripod in the middle of the road. The coupes are within the 430,000 hectares highlighted for immediate protection in the Intergovernmental Agreement of August 7, signed by the federal and state governments.
There is a sharp reality disconnect in the Black community. On the one hand, the Black population continues to support the first African American president, Barack Obama, by more than 90%. Yet the plight of the Black communities is at its worst condition in three decades. Official unemployment is over 16% ― twice that of whites and iabout 30% for young African Americans. Black household income is in decline and the lowest of the five major ethnic groups. Poverty is at the highest levels in 30 years.
A secret cable sent from the US Embassy in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, in 1996, released by WikiLeaks, provides an in-depth account of the processes of wealth distribution and waste within the ruling House of Saud. The cable noted: “Royals still seem more adept at squandering than accumulating wealth.” It said corruption abounded largely unchecked. It was the view of the US embassy in Saudi Arabia that getting a grip on royal family excess was at the top of pressing concerns for the oil-rich US ally.
Natacha Atlas, the award-winning electronic-worldbeat artist, has canceled her upcoming show in Israel and will be boycotting the state until the apartheid regime is dismantled.
Lina Ben Mhenni, 27, is a Tunisian blogger and activist for freedom of speech, women’s rights and student rights. Her blog, A Tunisian Girl, was censored under Zine el Abidine Ben Ali’s regime. During the early days of the uprising against Ben Ali that started on December 17 last year, she travelled to the rural Tunisian cities of Sidi Bouzid, Regueb and Kasserine to document police repression and catalysing protests throughout the country.
Entering the darkened space of the Sherman Contemporary Art Foundation that held Vietnamese artist Dinh Q Le’s latest installation, Erasure, which finished on September 10, I imagined myself to be stepping into the psychological space of a disturbed memory. The brooding political and cultural climate surrounding the issue of refugees in Australia has involved politicians exploiting the sensitive subject in a game of political football.
“We Tamils, inside and outside the island of Sri Lanka, still want an independent state,” Visuvanathan Rudrakumaran, prime minister of the Transnational Government of Tamil Eelam (TGTE), told me recently in New York. “And because the war crimes and severe brutality of the Mahinda Rajapaksa government against our people have become well known, our cause is being spoken about all over the world.”
There’s no doubt that the explosion of social media, mobile technology and online-organising capabilities have dramatically altered the battle terrain of class struggles today in ways good, bad and ugly. From the Arab Spring to New York’s ongoing Occupy Wall Street protests, social media and online organising are clearly transforming the way that small, isolated campaigns develop into mass movements in the streets. But how do we separate the genuinely useful aspects of social media from the “data smog” of media hype?


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