899

The Last Stand released the statement below on October 8.

* * *

Today, over 30 actions took place around the world as part of 24 hours of action targeting retailer Harvey Norman for their role in helping to drive the destruction of Australia’s native forests.

Five forest campaigners were arrested after two climbers abseiled down the Sydney Opera House and unfurled a giant banner. Two campaigners were arrested at Harvey Norman’s Preston store in Melbourne after occupying the roof and displaying a large banner.

Mothers and wives of Palestinian prisoners quickly gathered outside the office of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in Gaza after a prisoner swap deal was announced on October 11 between Israel and Hamas.

These women have not seen their loved ones, imprisoned by Israel, for five years.

For the past five years, the families of 950 Palestinian prisoners from Gaza have been protesting weekly outside the ICRC’s headquarters, demanding their right to visit their sons, husbands and relatives inside the Israeli jails, a right denied to them by Israel.

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.

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.

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.

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.

What stance should the European left take towards the euro and its galloping crisis?

This issue, which began as a theoretical discussion among radical economists in late 2009, has increasingly acquired practical political urgency: left parties are being challenged to define their position in the face of rising popular resentment at governments forking out billions in taxpayer euros to bail-out banks and indebted “Club Med” countries.

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.

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?

The statement below was released by Socialist Alliance in Australia on October 14.

* * *

Pages

Subscribe to 899