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The American Crucible: Slavery, Emancipation and Human Rights By Robin Blackburn Verso, 2011 502 pp Robin Blackburn has written another masterful book on the history of the slave order in the Americas and the emancipation struggle that ultimately vanquished it. The American Crucible is described by the author as, “an overview of the entire rise and fall of the slave regimes of the Americas from the early sixteenth century to the end of the nineteenth century”.
Happy New Year and thank you to all our supporters. You helped us raise $203,200 for our 2011 Fighting Fund. This is a great effort, even though we made only 81% of our target of $250,000. The big upsurge in political activity — spurred on by the “Arab Spring” revolts and the Occupy and Indignado movements — probably meant that less activist time was available for fundraising. But it also made the Green Left project even more significant.
Occupy Sydney released the statement below on January 11. * * * Yesterday at The Downing Centre, Occupy Sydney successfully challenged the definition of the term ‘Camping’ used by NSW Police in their attempts to evict protestors from Martin Place. High profile criminal barrister Peter Lavac argued that the arrest of Lance Priestley was unlawful given the fact that he was not occupying a tent or similar structure when arrested.
On January 5, another Tunisian set his body on fire. This happened in Gafsa and the date corresponds to the beginning of the social movement in the mining basin in 2008. The self-immolation coincided with the visit of three ministers, who visited the city in the hope of negotiating with people staging a sit-in for their social rights. Clashes started between the inhabitants and security forces.
Anti-coal seam gas community group Keep the Scenic Rim Scenic released the press release below on January 10. * * * Scenic Rim landowners are claiming victory after a drill rig was withdrawn from the region — they believe operator Arrow Energy was concerned about a possible blockade of its coal seam gas operation in the Kerry Valley. The infrastructure arrived on the site, just south of Beaudesert, three days ago, but was pulled out this morning before drilling could begin.
On December 12, Claire Anterea, a representative from Kiribati, and Good Samaritan sister Geraldine Kearney — members of the Edmund Rice Centre’s Pacific Calling Partnerships delegation to the UN Climate Change Conference in Durban — addressed a forum on the outcomes of the talks. Joining them was Edmund Rice Centre director Phil Glendenning. Claire Anterea expressed pride and admiration for her fellow Pacific Island people, who have campaigned hard to push the international community to listen to their needs. Low-lying Pacific Island Countries are the most vulnerable to climate change.
One of the most chilling scenes in the recent SBS mini-series The Promise depicts the plight of some Palestinian schoolgirls in Hebron. Leaving school in the afternoon, the girls are subjected to abuse and intimidation by settler youths as they walk home. At one point, a settler boy, face contorted with hatred, viciously hurls stones at the group, injuring one. Meanwhile, as the girls crouch in terror, blase Israeli Defense Force (IDF) soldiers look on, doing nothing to stop the violence until challenged by a young foreign tourist.

Protesters gathered outside the Japanese consulate in Perth on January 9 to demand the Japanese whaling ship Shonan Maru #2 release Australian anti-whaling activists Geoffrey Tuxworth, Simon Peterffy and Glen Pendlebury.

On 22 May 2007, the British Guardian's front page announced: Iran's secret plan for summer offensive to force US out of Iraq. The writer, Simon Tisdall, claimed that Iran had secret plans to defeat United States' troops in Iraq, which included "forging ties with al-Qaeda elements". The coming "showdown" was an Iranian plot to influence a vote in the US Congress.
Miranda Gibson in The Observer Tree.

This is a story of broken promises from the Australian and Tasmanian governments, private companies profiting from the destruction of the environment with taxpayer-funded subsidies, threatened species under threat despite being “wholly protected,” one woman sitting in a tree to stand up for the forests and a local and international community who are standing behind her in the fight to save an irreplaceable ecosystem. Almost two years ago the forest round table talks began, bringing together groups that were once seen as opponents in the long running battle over the forests in Tasmania.