Under the banner of the Lock the Gate Alliance, about 100 demonstrators assembled outside Brisbane’s Convention Centre for the Queensland Gas Conference and exhibition on October 9 to protest their exclusion from the Australian Petroleum and Production Association’s (APPEA) inaugural Coal Seam Gas (CSG) Conference and Exhibition. Lock the Gate formally requested that its observers be permitted entry to the conference seminars concerning “social licence to operate”.
Sydney Stop CSG organised a human sign action at Sydney Park, St Peters, as its part of an Australia-wide week of action on this issue. A thousand people participated in this successful event.
At least 50,000 protesters rallied in Athens on October 9 to tell visiting German Chancellor Angela Merkel she was not welcome. Thousands of police officers cordoned off whole sectors of the city to prevent demonstrators embarassing Merkel, though police still detained more than 50 people during the day. Even in unrestricted areas pedestrians were stopped and searched. But the crowds made their message clear, gathering outside parliament and chanting: “History is written by the disobedient.”
Tommy Docherty, the legendary wit and former manager of Manchester United, once quipped after his team had suffered a humiliating defeat, “We lost 4-0 and frankly we were lucky to get the nil”. The Tories in Scotland know just how he felt, for they are so hated that out of 56 MPs they have just one, and they were lucky to get that!
Two recent events dramatised the state of economy and politics in the Spanish state: the Red Cross announced that this year the takings of its annual Flag Day would go to fight poverty and social exclusion in Spain, and education minister Jose Ignacio Wert told the national parliament that changes to the national education syllabus were aimed at “Spanishing” students in Catalonia. The Red Cross decision came as a shock across the country. People knew things were bad, but that bad?
There is a statue in revolutionary Havana of Don Quixote, the literary creation of 17th century Spanish writer Miguel de Cervantes, who fought for his principles, even if he was crazy. I know I’m a bit crazy. With less than a month to go before the US presidential elections, the farce we have been living through for more than a year becomes even more grotesque. Hundreds of millions of dollars are being spent on advertisements for US President Barack Obama or Republican candidate Mitt Romney. Money has never been so awash in an election before.
Indonesia has further intensified its repression of West Papuan independence activists, in an apparent response to independence leaders speaking to foreign media. Eight independence activists from the West Papua National Committee (KNBP) were arrested in Wamena on September 29 and accused of bomb-making and treason, West Papua Media (WPM) said on September 30. The operation involved the notorious Australian funded and trained Detachment 88 anti-terrorist unit.
The petition for certification of Party of the Labouring Masses (PLM) as a national political party was approved by the Commission on Elections in September. With this approval, the fight for a national political party representing the marginalised sectors has escalated to new heights. This is a confirmation of the PLM’s three-and-a-half years of existence and its expansion as a political party with a mass constituency and grassroots chapter-formations.
Love & Capital: Karl & Jenny Marx & the Birth of a Revolution By Mary Gabriel, Little, Brown & Company 2011 707 pages, $39.99 The spectre of Karl Marx still haunts the capitalist world. Only 11 people attended his funeral in 1883 and the corporate press still loves to dance on his grave, constantly declaring that his ideas are irrelevant. Yet with every economic crisis all eyes return to Marx's masterpiece, Capital, to understand what is really going on in our economic system.
Independent journalist, political activist and author Antony Loewenstein discusses his new book After Zionism, at Sydney's Gleebooks on October 2. In discussion with Peter Manning and the audience, Loewenstein covers questions of zionism, one or two state solutions, the Boycott Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign, Israel as an apartheid state, debates in Palestine, Israel and beyond, the Gaza flotillas, and much more.
“Venezuela Elections 'Free, But Not Fair'”, was Germany’s Spiegel Online headline on a piece about Venezuela's October 7 presidential poll, won by socialist President Hugo Chavez by more than 55% of the vote. “Chavismo wins, Venezuela loses”, was The Wall Street Journal's take. Compared with such headlines, the Sydney Morning Herald’s reprint of a New York Times article “Socialist Chavez hangs onto Power in Venezuela” by William Neuman might seem a reasonably balanced report. It is not.
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