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After two decades of political deadlock, Africa’s oldest refugee population is losing faith in UN mandated peace negotiations. “No one will give us our freedom — we must take it!,” Sahrawi journalist Embarka Elmehdi Said told Green Left Weekly. Said sees little hope for a peaceful resolution to the crisis that has gripped Western Sahara since its independence from Spain in the 1970s. A child when her family fled the Moroccan invasion of Western Sahara in 1975, Said has spent most of her life in the Polisario run refugee camps on the Western Sahar-Algeria border.

The Solidarity Choir in Sydney is celebrating its 25th anniversary on March 31. The event will take place from 7.30pm upstairs at the Gaelic Club, 10 Devonshire St, Surry Hills, near Central Station.

Rural protests make up a large part of overall social unrest in China. But such protests had not received prominent international attention until the siege of Wukan, a village of 12,000 in Guangdong province, late last year. Just like the strikes in Honda plants in 2010, Wukan brought to light the deep-seated grievances of villagers in a dramatic way. The revolt featured the eviction of party officials and the police, the self-management of the village by villagers, and the stand-off against armed police in a siege for more than a week.
The Occupy Wall Street movement, which began in New York in September last year and rapidly spread to hundreds of cities and towns across the United States, continues organising against the greed and exploitation of the “1%”. Occupy activists are mobilising against home evictions, supporting workers fighting for their rights and taking action against corporate exploitation and environmental destruction.
People marching across bridge

Despite the NSW government's promise to rule out sensitive areas to coal seam gas (CSG) activity, the long-awaited Strategic Regional Land Use Plan and Aquifer Interference Policy means “every part of NSW is still up for grabs”, Jess Moore from Stop CSG Illawarra said on March 6. Liberal premier Barry O’Farrell’s government policy is “a disaster and a broken election promise”. Moore said “no areas are off limits to CSG”.

Media watchers should be forgiven for a degree of confusion over statements by federal treasurer and deputy prime minister Wayne Swan in the past two weeks. He began the month with a Press Club address, published in The Monthly’s March edition titled “The 0.01%” where he attacked “the rising power of vested interests” — naming mining magnates Clive Palmer, Andrew Forrest and Gina Rinehart — for “undermining our equality and threatening our democracy”.
After eight months of campaigning by Victoria’s nurses to keep staff-to-patient ratios and win a wage rise there may be a breakthrough in the dispute. On March 7, the Ted Baillieu Coalition state government finally offered to begin new negotiations with the Australian Nursing Federation (ANF) though a conciliation process overseen by Fair Work Australia.
Sarah Ross

More than 50 people rallied outside the Perth headquarters of British multinational corporation Serco on March 9 to protest against the company's ongoing push to privatise and take over public services. Serco runs Australia’s immigration detention centres and is responsible for implementing the oppressive government policy of mandatory detention.

Mike Crook, the Socialist Alliance candidate for Sandgate in the March 24 Queensland state elections, is a former ALP member, who radicalised when working on construction and mining projects over many years. Mike is active in community and environmental campaigns in the Sandgate area, including the Transition Towns movement.
Invisible Children staff

A telling quote in the film KONY 2012 says: “Who are you to stop a war? — the question is, who are you not to?” I think the question that the people behind KONY 2012, which went viral on the internet on March 7, need to be asked is: “Who are you to start one?” Joseph Kony, the leader of the Lord’s Resistance Army in eastern Africa, is a bad man.

Workers and their unions need strong labour law reforms. Two of many changes I urge can be adopted by the Independent Inquiry into Insecure Work in Australia and the federal government’s Fair Work Act Review are: 1. Amend the Fair Work Act to repeal the penal powers and have an effective right to strike. 2. Amend the Fair Work Act to restrict casual and other forms of precarious work to a limited period. Then require employment contracts for ongoing, more permanent work. Fair Work Australia should have the power to order the transition to more secure employment contracts.
Photos by Peter Boyle More than 500 women and their supporters marched through Sydney's CBD on March 10 for an International Women's Day protest.