The Australian government is moving to deport a 27 year-old Afghan asylum seeker, Ismail Mirza Jan, from Villawood Immigration Detention Centre in western Sydney to Kabul, Afghanistan. Mirza Jan is an ethnic Hazara who fled Afghanistan after his father was killed by the Taliban for his imputed association with the political group Hezbe-e-Wahdat. At his mother’s urging, he was assisted by people smugglers to escape Afghanistan and has spent the last 11 years trying to seek safety from any country that will provide him protection and a chance at life.
Socialist Worker -- New York City police destroyed the Occupy Wall Street encampment at Zuccotti Park in an early-morning surprise attack on November 15. Hundreds of people who were sleeping at the park found themselves surrounded by police with no warning, and then subject to arrest or the violence of the NYPD.
On November 16, police attacked and dismantled the Occupy Melbourne site in Treasury Gardens. Three activists were arrested. At a general assembly in City Square this evening, activists will plan their response. “Any major decisions will be made in a democratic process tonight. Anyone is welcome, including the police commissioner [Ken Lay] and Robert Doyle,” Occupy Melbourne activist Carl Scrase told the Age.
The Monash Refugee Action Collective released the statement below on November 14. * * * Three student activists at Monash University are facing a disciplinary hearing for speaking out against mandatory detention.
The Northern Inland Council for the Environment and The Wilderness Society Newcastle released the statement below on November 14. * * * Environment groups have responded to news that the NSW government plans to stop a single coal seam gas pilot production well on the Liverpool Plains with calls for a far more extensive moratorium.
NSW Greens MP David Shoebridge gave the speech below in NSW Parliament on November 11. It is republished from his blog. * * * The Occupy movement began with a single protest in New York on September 17, 2011, called “Occupy Wall Street”. This protest targets corporate greed and growing inequality across the globe. The protesters’ slogan “We are the 99%” refers to the vast disparity in wealth, particularly in the United States, between the wealthiest 1% and the rest of the country.
Australian Marriage Equality released the statement below on November 15. * * * Marriage equality advocates are disappointed Prime Minister Julia Gillard has today affirmed her opposition to same-sex marriage and has tried to pre-empt the outcome of Labor’s National Conference by calling for a conscience vote. The Prime Minister’s comments are below and appear in an opinion piece published in the November 15 Age.
The Occupy movement has sprung up in Cairns, where street activities kicked off on October 15 in City Place. About 200 people took part. Since then, up to 40 people have met each Sunday. This will continue with alternating weeks of discussions about plans for Occupy, along with music, presentations and an open mike. Discussion among those involved in Occupy Cairns is increasingly turning to how to address not just local issues but national and international questions of corporate power. Fourteen working groups have discussed various issues and how the new group will work.
Before the first Australian occupations following the example of Occupy Wall Street began on October 15, even some of the activists involved wondered if it would work. After all, this was the “lucky country” that escaped the global financial crisis. But thousands of mostly young people rocked up to launch Occupy Melbourne in City Square, and a further 1000 launched Occupy Sydney in Martin Place in the heart of the city’s financial district. Hundreds launched Occupy Brisbane in Post Office Square.
Veteran Brisbane activist Gary McLennan spoke at an Occupy Brisbane rally on November 5. An abridged version of his speech is below. * * * Friends, I want to thank you sincerely for the invitation to speak to you today. It remains for me a badge of honour, a great honour, that I’ve been asked twice to speak to the Occupy Brisbane movement. I said when I first spoke to you that your movement represented the best hope for the kind of world that I wanted my grandchildren to grow up in. I believed that then and I still believe it now.
The global Occupy movement has focused the spotlight on the 1% versus the 99%. Who are the 1%? In the United States, the 400 richest individuals have as much wealth as the bottom 150 million. A similar picture applies in all the large capitalist countries. Economy owned by the 1%
Socialist Alliance (SA) stallholders at today’s Newtown Festival were told today by a festival organiser that NSW Police had urged them to ban SA and Occupy Sydney from the festival. The SA has paid for and run a stall every year at the festival. But this year police threatened organisers — the Newtown Neighbourhood Centre — with a $16,000 bill if they did not carry out the ban, saying that the presence of SA and/or Occupy Sydney might incite trouble.
Nurses in Victoria are being threatened with an Alan Joyce-style lockout because they have campaigned for a modest 3.5% pay rise (just to keep up with the rising cost of living), superannuation and overtime improvements, and keeping patient-to-nurse ratios. Australia’s four big banks, meanwhile, have announced a combined annual profit of $24.4 billion, up 12% from $21.7 billion a year ago. This speaks volumes about the grossly distorted priorities in our society.
Debate about the Labor-Greens carbon price has dominated Australian politics for the past year. So it is little surprise that the passing of the carbon price laws through parliament on November 8 received widespread media attention. But the media’s coverage overshadowed two shocking new reports on the climate emergency released in the past week.
Green Left Weekly’s Ted Walker spoke to two young members of the Egyptian Socialist Party, Basem Osman and Amr Bahaa, in Cairo in September. They discussed their experiences during the uprising against former dictator Hosni Mubarak and the future of Egypt’s revolution. * * * Why did you join the Egyptian Socialist Party?
About 4500 people marched and rallied in Hobart on November 12 against the state government cuts to essential services. Angry health care, education, children's services and other public sector workers, including police, joined with the broader community to chant "no more cuts", drowning out the efforts of Labor Premier Lara Giddings who tried to convince them that the government had no other option. Greens leader and cabinet minister Nick McKim was also booed and heckled as he tried to defend the cuts.