Israeli officials suspect that France-based megabank BNP Parisbas has pulled out of Israel due to pressure from Palestine solidarity groups, even though the bank itself has denied this. Israeli paper Haaretz reported on 24 November: “The powers that be are furious at BNP Paribas for shuttering its operations in Israel, and suspect it is acting due to Arab and anti-Israeli pressure in France, the bank’s home base.
Because Green Left Weekly is taking a break for the summer, it asked staff, contributors — or just people it likes — to name the best books published this year. Here are their suggestions. Tim Dobson, Green Left journalist and blogger at Press Box Red A Life Too Short: The Tragedy of Robert Enke by Ronald Reng Yellow Jersey Press, 2011
A summit of huge importance was held in Venezuela on December 2-3. Two hundred years after Latin America’s independence fighters first raised the battle cry for a united Latin America, 33 heads of states from across the region came together to form the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC). For Latin America, the summit represented a further step away from its traditional role as the United States’ backyard and its emergence as a player in its own right in international politics. Resources
As you read these words, disaster may be about to strike in the galloping crisis of the European financial system and the euro. Or it may not — yet. On November 30, the imminent threat of a banking system implosion stirred the European Central Bank (ECB), the US Federal Reserve, Bank of England and central banks of Japan, Canada and Switzerland, into taking the minimum action needed to prevent a “Lehman Brothers event” collapsing the European financial system.
It is now common knowledge that Australian adult prisons are incarcerating children as young as 13. The major obstacle for human rights advocates struggling to free these children from our adult prisons is the Australian government and the horrific prejudices and stereotypes they have shoved down Australians’ throats.
The federal government’s decision to release small numbers of refugees from detention to live in the community while their claims are assessed will be welcome news to many refugees that have suffered under its mandatory detention policy. In the lead up to the ALP national conference over December 3-4, Labor’s refugee policy has been in the spotlight.
In the face of a broad and growing campaign, rhetoric from the NSW government is beginning to match some of the risks when it comes to coal seam gas (CSG) mining. This begs the question: what is being done when it comes to CSG? In an interview about CSG mining on December 1, NSW Premier Barry O’Farrell told 2GB’s Alan Jones: “I don’t intend to allow — particularly after the drought we went through over a decade — mining or any other activity to threaten water resources.
Australian energy company Santos has met determined resistance to its coal seam gas operations in Australia. It is less well known that Santos was one of the companies responsible for a monumental environmental catastrophe in Indonesia in 2006. The accident drowned villages in the Porong subdistrict of Sidoarjo in mud, and displaced up to 50,000 people.
Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s imminent $90,000 pay rise is more than twice the estimated median wage of all Australian full-time or part-time employees, aged 15 years or over. More than half of all Australian workers have a yearly pay packet smaller than the PM’s expected pay rise. The $40,000 pay rise expected for backbenchers will also be more than the total wage of many Australian workers.
Victorian nurses have decided to take their claims directly to the community, after negotiations with the Baillieu Victorian government over their enterprise bargaining agreement broke down yet again. Australian Nursing Federation (ANF) Victorian branch secretary Lisa Fitzpatrick told a mass meeting on December 2: “The government negotiators staged a ‘breakdown’ in negotiations last night to bait nurses and midwives into taking further industrial action that would pull the last forced arbitration trigger.
The phrase “organise, don’t agonise” has become a bumper sticker, a popular slogan in the feminist movement, the title of many speeches, conferences and newsletters. African-American civil rights activist Florence Rae Kennedy coined the term. Gloria Steinem quoted her in Ms magazine in 1973. Since then, this powerful slogan has circumnavigated the world many times — used by many activists and movements. It has lasted because the slogan reasonates strongly with the condition of the oppressed, exploited and persecuted.
The Community and Public Sector Union (CPSU) has condemned the federal government's planned increase in the “efficiency dividend” imposed on the Australian Public Service. “Efficiency dividend” is a euphemism for funding cut. In the 2012-13 financial year the “dividend” will be 4%, based on the assumption the public service will increase its efficiency by 4% during the year. Such cuts have been continuing for many years. In 2011-2012 the “efficiency dividend” is 1.5%.
Occupy began as a movement against the effects and causes of the global economic crisis and against the austerity measures pushed by governments for the benefit of the 1%. In Australia, many people were inspired by Occupy Wall Street in New York and the global movement it had sparked. When an international call for action on October 15 came out, we responded, and began our own occupations here.
For years the Ageing, Disability and Home Care department (ADHC) has run a “Don’t DIS My Ability” campaign to celebrate International Day of Persons with Disabilities. In partnership with Accessible Arts, an arts program has been designed to supposedly boost and foster arts and disability practice in New South Wales. These initiatives coincide with talk at the national level about social inclusion policies targeting those classed as disadvantaged in the workforce. The federal government appears to be setting ambitious goals for greater participation and integration into the workforce.
Most environmentalists would agree consumerism and consumer culture put too heavy a burden on the planet. Consumer spending is central to the economy, which is why economists and governments also pay it close attention. But most mainstream economists say endless economic growth, which implies limitless consumption, is both possible and desirable. This ignores how it helps fuel our ecological problems. Today, most things sold on the market are made to be thrown out and replaced. A big part of economic activity is made up of selling products “designed for the dump”.