Amid the worldwide media coverage of Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi’s death, a historic development in another conflict went largely unnoticed. After more than 40 years of a military campaign against the Spanish state, the Basque armed group ETA announced a permanent end to its use of violence in the struggle for an independent and socialist Basque state. This follows previous announcements from the group, declaring a desire to pursue independence for the Basque Country through peaceful measures.
Jess Moore from Stop CSG Illawarra addressed Occupy Sydney at Martin Place on October 22. Moore, who is also a member of the Socialist Alliance, was awared the NSW Nature Conservation Council's Rising Star award for "the most outstanding environmental effort of an individual under 30". Her speech appears below. * * * To increase the wealth of the already astoundingly wealthy, the tiny few, the planet that sustains all life is being destroyed. As the world’s leading climatologist James Hansen said, this is our last chance to save humanity.
Warren Smith, assistant secretary of the Maritime Union of Australia, addressed Occupy Sydney at Martin Place on October 22. His speech appears below. * * * Some people have been asking why the Maritime Union of Australia is here today, why we’ve been here since day one, why we have given the support and solidarity that we have, and will continue to give, to this wonderful movement right around Australia and right around the world.
Support for the Occupy Wall Street (OWS) movement that has swept more than 100 cities in the United States is rising among current and former members of the US military. The support from former and current soldiers for the Occupy movement against corporate greed was brought into the spotlight when Iraq War veteran Scott Olsen suffered a fractured skull after being shot in the head by a tear gas canister fired by Oakland police on October 25.
In what conservative columnists are describing as a martyrdom for Christian lefties, the iconic “jeans and T-shirt” canon chancellor of St Paul’s Cathedral in London, Reverend Rev Dr Giles Fraser, has resigned in protest as the cathedral moves to evict Occupy London from its steps. Fraser, a lecturer in philosophy at Wadham College, Oxford, has written for a number of radical newspapers including the Socialist Worker. Fraser advocates for marriage equality and understands the Christian message to mean solidarity with the oppressed.
A powerful art exhibition took place in Brisbane over October 15-23, commemorating the 10th anniversary of the SIEV-X tragedy on October 19, 2001, in which 353 asylum seekers, including 146 children, drowned when their fishing boat sank between Indonesia and Australia. The exhibition featured the works of Melbourne-based artist Kate Durham, under the title, "SIEV-X — and some were saved". It included a supporting exhibition of paintings by artists from refugee communities who came to Australia by boat, titled “Floating”.
Prime Minister Julia Gillard met Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa on October 26 to discuss allegations of human rights abuses. The meeting took place just hours after a young Tamil refugee killed himself inside Sydney’s Villawood Immigration Detention Centre.
Some conservative commentators have declared the global Occupy movement to be “socialist”. Right-wing activist and musician Ted Nugent said in the Washington Times on October 14: “Occupy Wall Street is nothing more than anti-American socialism on parade... “These useful idiots are clamoring for social justice, as if they don’t have enough of that already.”
In the wake of acts of self-harm and protests by detained refugees, people in Darwin gathered to show their support for a more humane refugee solution. Twenty people rallied outside the offices of the Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) on October 26 to call for and end to mandatory detention and oppose the proposed new detention centre at Wickham Point.
Occupy Perth released the statement below on October 28. * * * Perth activists are currently occupying Forrest Place in the centre of the CBD. The 100 protesters who have committed to staying the night are calling for an end to corporate greed and for the rise of a real and transparent democracy. The police have informed the group that so long as they do not erect any other permanent structures they will not be moved on.