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Robert (Bob) McMahon, a founding member of Tasmanians Against the Pulp Mill (TAP), died in his sleep on April 17. The anti-pulp-mill activist passed away at the age of 62, leaving behind his wife and fellow activist Susie McMahon, as well as two children and five grandchildren. TAP was founded in June, 2006, as a grassroots community opposition group to the proposed Gunns Bell Bay pulp mill.
Waking the Giant: How a Changing Climate Triggers Earthquakes, Tsunamis & Volcanoes Bill McGuire Oxford University Press, 2012 303 pages, $35.95 (hb) It is easy to forget, says Professor Bill McGuire of University College London in Waking the Giant, that human civilisation has thrived only in the broadly benign climate of the past few thousand years following the end of the last post-glacial era.
After two community meetings on public housing estates and the start of legal action, the Department of Housing has partially backed down from its ban on politics in public housing estates. Just three days after a March 24 rally on the Atherton Gardens public housing estate in Fitzroy, the Department of Human Services released a policy banning political meetings and door-knocking on public housing estates.
An article by journalist Elizabeth Farrelly, published in the Sydney Morning Herald on April 11 titled “Protecting a cultural right to abuse”, starts by posing the question, “At what point does autonomy slide into apartheid?” It argues that a policy of self-determination for Aboriginal people will lead to violence in Aboriginal communities, based on the claim that violence was endemic to pre-contact Aboriginal culture.
Construction unions have announced they will make a submission to the Victorian Coalition government that will call for unused government-owned sites in inner-city Melbourne to be used for public housing. Construction Forestry Mining Energy Union state secretary John Setka told the Age on April 22 that the proposal would cut the public housing waiting list and provide jobs for unemployed construction workers.
The Endless Crisis: How Monopoly-Finance Capital Produces Stagnation and Upheaval from the USA to China John Bellamy Foster & Robert W McChesney Monthly Review Press, 2012 There is growing evidence that the global economic crisis will not end any time too soon. Most mainstream economists have proven time and again to be incompetent when it comes to predicting the course of events in an economic crisis, never mind predicting the crisis itself.
The Tamil Refugee Council released this statement on April 18. *** Two world-renowned authors, American Noam Chomsky and Australian Thomas Keneally, have called on the Australian government to end indefinite detention of refugees after a 10-day hunger strike ended at the Broadmeadows detention centre in Melbourne. “The true measure of the moral level of a society is how it treats the most vulnerable people,” Chomsky said in a message this week to the Tamil Refugee Council in Australia.
This speech was given at a rally in Sydney on April 19 as part of a global day of solidarity with Venezuela. * * * Sadly, we have been witnessing over the last few days a course of events that has been all too familiar in our time, especially in Latin America. The world's richest state, the one that has just 5% of the population but consumes 25% of the world's fossil fuels, produces 72% of the world's waste and accounts for nearly half of the world's military spending, conspires to destabilise a democratically elected progressive government through violent means.
In the wake of Margaret Thatcher's departure, I remember her victims. Patrick Warby's daughter, Marie, was one of them. Marie, aged five, suffered from a bowel deformity and needed a special diet. Without it, the pain was excruciating. Her father was a Durham miner and had used all his savings. It was winter 1985, the Great Strike was almost a year old and the family was destitute.
The citizens of the Spanish state awoke on April 14 to shocking news ― acts of “pure Nazism” were spreading across the country. Not only that, but they were being organised in concert with “elements close to ETA” (the armed Basque independence group that has declared a permanent ceasefire). Who was responsible? A Spanish equivalent of the Greek neo-Nazi outfit Golden Dawn? Some surviving cell of the Falange (one-time shock troops of the Franco dictatorship and admirers of Hitler’s New Order in Europe)?
A range of socialist and activist groups will be marching together in joint contingents in this year’s May Day rallies across Australia behind banners saying, “It's time for a fightback”. Initiated by the Socialist Alliance, the contingents have been supported by a range of groups, including Resistance, Socialist Alternative, Latin American Social Forum, Solidarity, the Indigenous Social Justice Association, Committee in Solidarity with Cuba, and Sydney University Education Action Group.
The wealthiest people, banks and corporations have long avoided paying tax by hiding their assets in tax havens, outside their own countries. Many of these tax havens are so secret that even the banks themselves do not know who owns the accounts. But now, a huge leak of secret documents has led a global network of journalists to expose the world’s richest tax evaders.