The main purpose of US President Barack Obama's November 16-17 visit to Australia was to announce with Prime Minister Julia Gillard the deployment of US soldiers in Darwin, new US air force and naval facilities in Northern Australia and more joint US-Australian training. As if to dispel illusions he was less warlike than his predecessor, George W Bush, Obama stuck to military themes in his speeches: from endless historical examples of the US and Australia fighting wars together, to anecdotes from today’s battlefields, to the metaphors he used.
The Syrian government of Bashar Al-Assad looks prepared to fight to the death in its brutal battle against pro-democracy protesters who have been calling for the downfall of the regime since March. The death toll has spiked in recent weeks. LCCSyria.org said on November 16 that 376 people had been killed since the regime agreed on November 2 to a “peace plan” drawn up by the Arab League — a group of 22 countries led by Saudi Arabia.
espite the government reaching an agreement with indigenous protesters on all 16 demands raised on their 10-week march onto the capital, La Paz, the underlying differences are far from resolved. On October 24, Bolivia’s Plurinational Legislative Assembly approved a new law banning the building of any highway through the Isiboro Secure National Park and Indigenous Territory (TIPNIS). See also: Bolivia: Solidarity activists need to support process
The recent march in Bolivia by some indigenous organisations against the government’s proposed highway through the Isiboro Secure National Park and Indigenous Territory (TIPNIS) has raised much debate among international solidarity activists. Such debates have occurred since the election of Bolivia's first indigenous president, Evo Morales, in 2005 on the back of mass uprisings. See also: Bolivia: Rumble over jungle far from over
On Palestine's Independance Day, November 15, seven Palestinian activists and one journalist were arrested after boarding an Israeli bus headed for Jerusalem from settlements within the West Bank. The action and arrests highlight the similarities between Israel's system of oppression in Palestine and the era of Jim Crow segregation in the United States' south. Campaign spokesperson Hurriyeh Ziadah said: "Both white supremacists and the Israeli occupiers commit the same crime: they strip a people of freedom, justice and dignity.
Next Of Kin The Last Kinection Elefant Traks www.lastkinection.com To win a signed copy of the album, see below When Naomi Wenitong from Aboriginal hip hop group The Last Kinection is asked how challenging it is to be a woman in the male-dominated music industry, she laughs. "I don’t mind being one of the only buns at this Oz hip hop sausage sizzle," she jokes to Green Left Weekly. "Everyone has challenges in this industry regardless of their sex. You can either let it be your disadvantage or make it your advantage.
UPDATE, Nov 22: The striking Baiada poultry workers have won their campaign and the company has backed down. The workers won a 4% a year pay rise over 2 years. They also won increased union and delegate rights and increased redundancy payments to 42 week maximum (up from 20 weeks). Workers employed at the Baiada-owned GKK Enterprises poultry factory who were suspended after taking industrial action to support their Victorian colleagues have been reinstated.
The Victorian Baillieu government is using Fair Work Australia to step up its attacks on two unions, the Australian Nursing Federation (ANF) and the Community and Public Sector Union (CPSU). By November 20, it had managed to get Fair Work Australia to order nurses to lift their work bans and reopen beds. It is also seeking an order to end the industrial campaign by the entire state public service, because of bans imposed by 1500 child protection workers.
Community and Public Sector Union Tasmania general secretary Tom Lynch gave the speech below to a 4500-strong rally in Hobart on November 12. The rally was held in protest at the Labor-Greens state government’s budget cutbacks. * * * While external forces often determine the overall direction a government takes, the path it chooses to get there is for it to determine based on its values and beliefs and the will of the people it represents.
In a November 9-15 ballot, Austalian Taxation Office (ATO) staff voted 57% to 43% to accept management’s proposed enterprise agreement. This was the second all-staff vote. The previous version of the enterprise agreement was rejected by 59% to 41%. The two drafts did not differ much. Both provided for a pay rise of 9% over three years. The final version includes two once-off bonuses, but these are dependent on meeting certain targets which may not be achieved.
US President Barack Obama announced during his visit to Australia on November 17 a deal with Australia to base 2500 US marines in Darwin. The deal militarises the Asia Pacific and cements Australia as an ally of US imperialist designs in the region. Obama said a US marine task force would be set up in Darwin for humanitarian and disaster relief efforts, but advanced military training, including live firing of ammunition, will be part of the cooperation deal.
A spirited mass meeting in Manhattan’s Zuccotti Park after a police crackdown and a major student strike in Berkeley, California on November 15 showed the determination of the Occupy movement in the face of police repression and lies from politicians and the corporate media. In New York, about 1500 people turned out for a general assembly (GA) less than 24 hours after police in riot gear rousted those camping out in Zuccotti Park, arresting up to 200 while trashing tents, supplies and even books.
Since the Occupy movement in Melbourne began in City Square in October it has been met with resistance from the Melbourne City Council and the Victorian Police force. Last month, the Melbourne occupiers were violently evicted and thrown out of City Square by more than 500 police. Close to 100 activists and bystanders were arrested. The police stole people’s belongings. Of the 17 truckloads of property that were taken 14 were driven to a local tip and dumped in landfill.
Ninety people gathered on Larrakia land in Darwin on November 18 to launch the new concerned Australians book, Walk With Us. A moving welcome to country by June Mills was followed by speeches from Bagot resident Joy White, Yolngu educator Yalmay Yunupingu, journalist Jeff McMullen, Alana Eldridge from Larrakia Nation and young Aboriginal man Matthew Heffernan. In a poem written for the occasion, Yunupingu said: “We have been manipulated, cheated and undermined because the white man thinks he has a superior way of thinking.”
Language and education specialists are concerned the federal government’s national roll-out of digital television will have a detrimental effect on the preservation and transmission of Aboriginal languages and cultures. In 1987, the Broadcasting for Remote Aboriginal Communities Scheme (BRACS) was established to balance the introduction of mainstream TV channels (via satellite) into remote communities with some local control and ability to broadcast local content.
Two people were hospitalised with breathing difficulties in the Newcastle suburb of Mayfield East on November 9. NSW Fire and Rescue crews identified the cause as ammonia gas blown from the Orica chemical plant five kilometres away on Kooragang Island. The Environment Protection Authority ordered the entire Orica site to be closed. A Fire and Rescue spokesperson said an estimated 900 kilograms of the gas had escaped over about an hour.