915

Organisers of an anti-coal protest at the Boggabri open-cut coalmine in northern New South Wales released the statement below on March 19. Speakers at the event included Maules Creek Community Council spokesperson Phil Laird, author and journalist Paul Cleary, Liverpool Plains farmer Tim Duddy and Greens MLC and mining spokesperson Jeremy Buckingham. * * *
The Hunger Games Trilogy Suzanne Collins Scholastic Press, 2010, three volumes, $31. The Hunger Games is young adult fiction for the 99%. Millions of readers around the world have made the 2008-10 Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins a wildly popular series, and an eagerly-awaited movie version is scheduled for release this year.
Sixty thousand people marched on Madison, Wisconsin on March 10 to mark the one-year anniversary of the passage of Governor Scott Walker's drastic dismantling of collective bargaining rights for public employees. Last year, Walker's attacks on labour rights sparked huge protests. Hundreds of thousands occupied the Wisconsin capital building. Their actions prefigured Occupy Wall Street and inspired countless others to take a stand against economic inequality, political injustice, and the tyranny of the 1% enforced through politicians and banksters.
Women workers in the United States are attacking low pay and bias from many angles, assailing wage laws that exclude them, suing over outright discrimination and trying to organise unions. And they’ve been confronting the disrespect that accompanies smaller paychecks. The pay gap between men and women in the US actually shrank in 2011. Women now average 82.2% of men’s earnings ― but the numbers don’t indicate progress because all workers lost buying power.
For the US military and the pro-war Western corporate media, the March 11 slaughter of 16 civilians, nine of them children, as they slept in their homes in the villages of Alkozai and Najeeban in Panjwai district, Kandahar province, was an aberration. For Afghans, it was just the latest massacre. There are differing accounts of what happened. The US maintains the killings were the work of a single “rogue” soldier. Eyewitnesses, however, insist there was more than one attacker.
The latest wave of murderous Israeli air strikes on Gaza, which began on March 9, appeared aimed at raising pressure for war on Iran and undermining Palestinian group Hamas. Al Jazeera said on March 13 that 25 Palestinians had been killed by Israeli forces in the first four days of air strikes. It said 18 of the dead had been identified as resistance fighters. A Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) report on March 12 said 73 Palestinians, mostly civilians, were wounded in the strikes.
United States secretary of state Hillary Clinton, speaking to the US Senate Appropriations Committee last month, said Syrian President Bashar al-Assad meets the criteria of a war criminal. Telegraph.co.uk reported on February 28 that Clinton said: “Based on definitions of war criminal and crimes against humanity, there would be an argument to be made that he would fit into that category.” But long experience indicates such moves can complicate the resolution of violent conflicts, as it limits options for negotiated settlements and can encourage war criminals to fight to the bitter end.

A protest of 250 people took place outside NSW parliament on March 15. It was organised by anti-coal seam gas (CSG) groups Stop CSG Sydney and Stop CSG Illawarra.

The All Japan 3.11 Action Committee released the statement that is abridged below below on March 11. * * * March 11 marks the one year anniversary of the TEPCO Fukushima Daiichi nuclear reactor accident. Many people were forced to evacuate and still continue to live under hardship without enough compensation. Despite the fact that an rising number of people in Japan (up to 70%) want to end nuclear power, the Japanese government is obsessively promoting it.

Invisible Children's “KONY 2012” film, which supports US military intervention in Uganda and has gone viral on the internet, has caused widespread outrage in the central African nation, Al Jazeera said on March 14.

Tens of thousands filled the square as the echoes of the speaker at the podium boomed through huge speakers. Some came in anger, others in grief, but all agreed: it was time for a change. Many carried banners, others carried drums; some had taken their children out of school to attend. No, this wasn't Tahrir Square; it was Tokyo, Japan, on a chilly Monday last September. Ever since the devastating earthquake and tsunami that crippled the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power station, Japanese civil society has become less, well, polite.
The following statement was issued by the South African Municipal Workers Union (SAMWU) in support of six Zimbabwean activists and socialists facing trial for “inciting public violence” in relation to screening a video more than a year ago in support of the Egyptian pro-democracy uprising. * * * The South African Municipal Workers Union (SAMWU) is alarmed to hear reports that the six Zimbabwean activists who dared to show and discuss a film of the Egyptian uprising last year in Harare and who are in court defending themselves, are in danger of receiving heavy prison sentences.