“In this time of crisis, when they are expropriating the people, we want to expropriate the expropriators, namely, the landowners, banks and big retailers.” With these words Juan Manuel Sanchez Gordillo, leader of the Andalusian Union of Workers (SAT), United Left (IU) member of parliament in the Andalusian regional parliament and mayor of the rural town of Marinaleda, justified the August 7 seizure of food by SAT members from two stores of the Mercadona and Carrefour supermarket chains — the Coles and Woolworths of Spain.
The Broome Community No Gas coalition released the statement below on August 17. * * * The Broome Community has vowed to stop Woodside's works as they are illegal, and will damage the Broome town water supply, after a convoy of Woodside vehicles entered the compound near James Price Point this morning.
Socialist Alliance has announced its preferences for the Wali (North) ward of Marrickville Council in the local government elections on September 8. Community activists Pip Hinman, Josie Evans and Jill Hickson will contest the election with the platform of “Power to the people!” and “Community and environment before developers’ profits”. Although New South Wales has an optional preferential system for local government elections, Socialist Alliance will allocate preferences to all candidates in the ward.
The government of Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa gave Julia Gillard's Australian government a lesson in dignity on August 16 when, facing British threats to raid its London embassy, it granted asylum to WikiLeaks editor-in-chief Julian Assange. Ironically, Ecuador's decision to grant asylum to the Australian citizen who founded the whistleblowing website came on the same day the Australian Senate voted to further punish those seeking asylum in this country.
The August 25 Northern Territory elections have degenerated in to a “law and order” slugfest between the Labor Party and the Country Liberals, but there are still some progressive candidates running who may do well.
In the lead up to the September 8 council elections across NSW, candidates in the City of Sydney have been finalised and several candidates forums have already been held.
Coal seam gas (CSG) advocates are running a fear campaign against a backdrop of soaring electricity prices in New South Wales. They claim that unless CSG development in NSW goes ahead, household gas bills will triple. This is a frightening idea, given the stress already caused by electricity price hikes. Over the past four years the average power bill in NSW has gone up by 69% on top of inflation. Users face a further 18% price hike this year.
A Russian judge sentenced three members of Pussy Riot to two years each in prison on hooliganism charges on August 17. The judge said the three band members, who have already been detained for five months, committed hooliganism driven by religious hatred and offending religious believers. The women smiled sadly at the testimony of prosecution witnesses accusing them of sacrilege and “devilish dances” in church. They remained calm after the judge announced the sentence and someone in the courtroom shouted: “Shame!”
Within a week of the government-appointed Houston panel’s recommendation that Australia return to the “Pacific solution” for asylum seekers, the toxic atmosphere of John Howard's “children overboard” era resurged powerfully in Australian politics. On the same day the Houston report recommended indefinite refugee detention on Nauru and Manus Island for all asylum seekers arriving by boat, 67 asylum seekers taken aboard the Singapore-bound MV Parsifal were the subject of a tense stand-off at sea.