More than 300 people of all ages gathered in Adelaide on September 24 calling for concentrating solar thermal (CST) technology to replace Port Augusta’s ageing 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 took to the streets in a colourful, rhythmic parade, featuring a moving solar thermal tower.
More than 3000 people turned out on October 16 to walk across the Sea Cliff Bridge in the Illawarra in protest against coal seam gas mining plans in the area. The protest was further proof the coal seam gas (CSG) industry is in trouble. Its problem? An informed public. The Australian said on October 10 that a survey had showed the CSG industry was “losing the PR battle”, with 63% of respondents recalling a negative media story about CSG. Driving the bad coverage has been the large grassroots campaign against the industry.
Qantas CEO Alan Joyce is in line for a salary increase of 71% at the airline’s upcoming annual general meeting, but Qantas staff continue to battle the company for job security and decent pay. The proposed increase will bring Joyce's annual salary package to $5 million.
Striking Greek public-sector workers paralysed transport and left rubbish piling up in Athens and Thessaloniki on October 14, the Morning Star said that day. The strike was the latest salvo against the European Union-International Monetary Fund campaign to make working people pay for the banking crisis. Rubbish collectors stayed off the job for a 10th consecutive day, the article said. Members of the All Workers Militant Front also blockaded the Acropolis for a second day.
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.
Unions have warned that Britain's National Health Service faces its biggest strike in history on November 30 unless the government drops its changes to workers' pension plans, the Morning Star said on October 14. NHS workers' union GMB has condemned the government's plans. NHS national officer Rehana Azam said health minister Andrew Lansley “is ignoring the very strong arguments we made and turning his back on the anger and frustration felt by NHS staff”.
For two weeks running, the Chogm Action Network (CAN) has had meetings of almost 50 people – double the regular attendance – as new activists have come into the movement inspired by the Wall Street Occupation. Since March, CAN has been organising a protest for the October 28 opening of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM). Discussion at the two meetings has revealed that there is a lot of good will and common purpose among the activists now working together.
The statement below was released by Socialist Alliance in Australia on October 14. * * *
Walking around downtown Cairo on October 10, everything felt relatively normal ― if, perhaps, a little more tense than usual for post-January 25 Cairo. That is, until I came across the wrecks of burnt out cars on the Corniche el Nil in Maspero, just north of Tahrir Square, being pulled apart by enterprising young men.
At a Madrid media conference called by the 15-M movement to announce Spanish actions for the October 15 global day of occupations, the media showed little interest in the international solidarity plans of the world’s founding indignado movement. The journos wanted to talk about one thing: what would be 15-M’s attitude to the November 20 Spanish general elections? Abstention? Spoiling the ballot? A vote against the parties of “the political class”? A vote for parties closest to 15-M’s positions? And, if so, which parties?
On October 11, the general secretary and national organiser of General Workers’ Union (GWU), as well as 17 workers, were arrested by police while preparing for a peaceful protest in the office of East Timor's justice ministry. The protest was being staged to support the demands of 19 workers sacked unfairly by the ministry. The arrested workers preparing to protest were dismissed from the Turismo Hotel because of the unfair decision of the justice ministry towards their management in closing the business.
The Polynesian island nation of Tuvalu, in the Pacific Ocean, is facing a severe shortage of fresh water. Australia Network News said on October 10 that a state of emergency had been declared and Tuvalu's disaster co-ordinator Sumeo Silu said there was only about three days of water left. Tuvalu is in the midst of a crippling drought and had no rain for months. ANN said Australia and New Zealand would deploy a large desalination plant to the island, home to about 10,000 people.
Venezuela’s socialist president Hugo Chavez has likened the Occupy Wall Street movement in the United States to Venezuela’s February 1989 Caracazo riots against neoliberal policies that are widely seen as the start of Venezuela's revolutionary process. Chavez made the comments by phone on the television program Dando y Dando on October 5.
The University of Sydney Political Economy Students Society released the statement below to explain its Save Political Economy campaign. * * * The Department of Political Economy is under threat of amalgamation into a school of Politics and International Relations. The School of Social and Political Sciences is undergoing a review. In the draft proposals for School restructuring, two of the four proposals result in Political Economy being amalgamated into a School or Department of Politics and International Relations, and losing academic and administrative independence.
“I’ve come to believe that if we burn all reserves of oil, gas and coal, there is a substantial chance we will initiate the runaway greenhouse. If we also burn the tar sands and tar shale, I believe the Venus syndrome is a dead certainty.”
The occupy movement is spreading, and in more ways than one. It’s spreading across the globe — by October 11 occupytogether.org could boast of 1273 occupy events planned worldwide. But the movement, united under its slogan “We are the 99%”, is also reaching out to, and involving, other established social movements. Environmentalists and climate campaigners have linked up with Occupy Wall Street protests in New York. Hundreds of climate activists joined a 5000-strong march there on October 5. Their message was well received by other protesters.