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“Under Raul Castro, Cuba has begun the journey towards capitalism. But it will take a decade and a big political battle to complete, writes Michael Reid”. So began the lead article of the London Economist magazine’s March 24 special issue on Cuba, under the heading “Revolution in retreat”. It is a familiar refrain, but how much truth is there to it? Unfortunately for the credibility of The Economist, authoritative mouthpiece of the Anglo-imperialist ruling class, it’s a dog’s breakfast of factual errors, illogical arguments and wishful thinking.
So now we have a carbon price in Australia. The sky hasn’t fallen in but neither are we getting anywhere near doing what needs to be done to respond to the climate change crisis. Australia currently gets its energy in this mix: • Fossil fuels: 95%, comprising coal: 39%, gas: 22%, petroleum: 35% • Renewables: a miserable 5%. According to the Labor government's own projections, with the carbon price, by 2035 Australia's energy mix will be: • Fossil fuels: 91%, comprising less coal at 21%, more gas at 35%, petroleum: 36% • Renewables: rising slightly to 9%.
If you talk to the people in-the-know at the United Nations and other related agencies, they will tell you that our system of governance is not working well enough to solve the crises the world is facing. I guess this explains why the final lead document “The Future We Want” from the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development held in Rio de Janeiro in Brazil from June 13-22, was described by Yolanda Kakabadse, International Director of WWF, as “a weak text without bones and without soul.”
There is something symbolic about the way media commentators have turned on WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. Here is a man heading an organisation that has exposed a whole array of serious war crimes committed by the most powerful nation on Earth and, for his troubles, confronts the real threat of extradition to the US via Sweden, where he could face a Supreme Court indictment and potential jail, torture or even the death penalty.
The tour has been called one of the most ambitious of all time. The show has been called one of the greatest. Since The Wall tour started in late 2010, Roger Waters has awed hundreds of thousands of people with this astounding and complex show. And he’s taking it to one of the sites of of intense social struggle in July ― Quebec, in support of the huge student struggle that has broken out there.
The Indonesian government has engaged in a spin campaign over the recent wave of mysterious shootings in Indonesian-occupied West Papua in an attempt to derail the struggle for independence. With no evidence, Indonesian police have blamed the shootings on the Free Papua Movement (OPM) and its armed wing, the National Liberation Army. Several Papuan independence activists were killed, along with others wounded or killed since the attacks began in late May.
The student movement in Quebec is facing a crucial summer of discussion and organising. Law 78, which suspended classes at strike-bound institutions in May, directs their resumption in mid-August. The government of Liberal Party Premier Jean Charest is preparing a judicial and police assault against striking students and their associations. It aims to force open school doors and see its proposed 82% university tuition fee hike over seven years prevail.
A new report funded and supported by the British government accuses Israel of violating international law with its treatment of Palestinian child detainees, Electronic Intifada said on June 28. It was was launched in London by a high-profile group of human rights lawyers on June 26.
Sudanese President Omer Al Bashir has described anti-government protesters as foreign agents, agitators and “bubbles”. Yet unrest may boil over as it continues to spread and protesters vow they won’t stop until the regime falls. The movement against the government was boosted on June 29 with large protests in Khartoum and its twin city Omdurman as well as at least a dozen cities outside the capital for the “day of elbow-licking”.
The United States Supreme Court has upheld the core provision of Arizona’s vicious anti-immigrant law. The part of the law upheld requires police to determine the immigration status of anyone they stop, for whatever reason, if they “suspect” they are undocumented. Arizona Governor Jan Brewster claims the law would not result in racial profiling. But she is lying through her teeth. Everyone knows that in Arizona, the only grounds for “suspicion” is having brown skin. No white person will be “suspected” of not having papers.
Despite escalating rhetoric and sectarian violence, it seems for the time being NATO is not planning a direct military assault against Syria along the lines of its attack on Libya last year. If NATO had been looking for a pretext for such an assault, the June 22 shooting down by Syrian forces of a air force F4 phantom jet belonging to NATO member Turkey provided one ― notwithstanding evidence the plane was shot down in Syrian airspace.
The letter published below was circulated by the United States-based Just Foreign Policy. It was signed by more than 100 prominent people, mostly from the US. Signatories include film directors Michal Moore and Oliver Stone, authors Noam Chomsky and Naomi Wolf, journalists Glenn Greenwald and Chris Hedges, and Vietnam War-era whistleblower Daniel Elsberg. See here for the full list.
Australia’s parliament voted to set up the Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) on June 26. The law was backed by Labor and Greens MPs. Mainstream environment groups have welcomed the initiative, saying the CEFC will make $10 billion available to fund clean energy. With the dire warnings from climate scientists about the need to cut carbon emissions quickly, such a big investment in clean energy sounds like a good thing. But there is a catch: most of the money won’t be spent on clean energy at all.
“Whether I look at manufacturing, or I look at the climate emergency, it’s our generations, the ones alive now, that have a responsibility," said Dave Kerin, a founder of the Earthworker Cooperative, explaining the driving force behind the group’s key project. Kerin spoke in a new video about an upcoming tour of workplaces to promote Earthworker’s plan to set up Eureka’s Future workers cooperatives.
Many have taken mining boss Gina Rinehart's bid to take up a seat on Fairfax's board of directors by buying up almost 20% of the media company's shares as a threat to its “independence” and “quality journalism”. But many opponents of Rinehart's bid are glossing over Fairfax's ugly record. A Rinehart-controlled media would do much damage to the possibility of informed public discussions in Australia.
The problem of homelessness, high rentals and unlicensed boarding houses in Sydney’s inner west — often though of as one of the wealthier areas of Sydney — is growing, said Paul Adabie, acting director of the Newtown Neighbourhood Centre (NNC). Adabie told Green Left Weekly these acute housing problems faced by the most disadvantaged and vulnerable.

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