The Tasmanian Labor-Greens coalition government has forged ahead with savage cuts to the state’s health services, causing anger, frustration and despair in the community. More than 7600 people have been languishing on the elective surgery waiting list. Yet the government said on October 4 that it would cut elective surgery by $58 million over the next three years. This will cause 130 health jobs to be lost and wards to be closed in all the state’s big hospitals. It is possible that only emergency cases will be dealt with in future.
Israeli human rights organisation B’Tselem drew attention on October 10 to plans by the Israeli government to expel 27,000 Bedouin Palestinians living in what is known as “Area C” of the occupied West Bank. Israel's Civil Administration is planning to expel the Bedouin communities living in Area C. In the first phase is planned for January. About 20 communities, involving 2300 people, will be forcibly transferred to a site near the Abu Dis rubbish dump, east of Jerusalem.
Petty politicking over whether refugees should be illegally deported to Malaysia or to Nauru forced the Australian government to abandon its policy of “offshore processing” of refugees on October 13. Since the “Tampa election” in 2001, competition between the two main parties over who can most mistreat the small number of refugees arriving in Australia by boat has been at the centre of Australian electoral politics.
Sitting in the shade of a small lemon tree in the German Colony area of Haifa in northern Israel, eight Palestinian activists are on hunger strike in solidarity with Palestinian political prisoners. The prisoners have been going without food since September 27 in protest against poor prison conditions and a lack of basic rights. Muhannad Abu Ghosh, a Haifa resident and one of the hunger strikers, said: “I decided to participate in the hunger strike in order to support the political prisoners, the freedom fighters, imprisoned in the Israeli dungeons.
The world is rising up. When we look around the globe we see people in motion. Revolutions in the Middle East and North Africa against brutal dictators, the movements against austerity measures in Europe and Britain, democratic and indigenous revolutions in Latin America, and the Occupy Wall Street protests spreading across the United States. Resistance is in solidarity with all these movements for change.
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.
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”.
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 statement below was released by Socialist Alliance in Australia on October 14. * * *
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.
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.