There are more than half a million poor or socially marginalised children in Greece, while 322,000 of these are in dire straits materially, the Athens-Macedonia News Agency said on May 22. The shocking statistics were found in a “The state of the children of Greece 2013” report by the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF), in collaboration with the University of Athens.
The People's Assembly is electrifying the movement against austerity in Britain. Hundreds of new people are flocking to People's Assembly meetings around the country to hear speakers like author Owen Jones, comic Mark Steel, anti-war activist Lindsey German, trade unionists and local campaigners outline the need for coordinated national resistance to the government's plans.
Francisco Louca is an economics professor at the Technical University of Lisbon. Louca was part of the student movement against the Salazar dictatorship in the 1970s. He was a founding member of the Left Bloc, launched in 1999 when several left groups united. He served as the Left Bloc's chief coordinator between 2005 and last year. He was interviewed by Mark Bergfeld, a London-based socialist activist. The interview is abridged from MRZine. * * *
The first McDonald's strike ever in Wellington took place on May 22. At 8am, five of the seven workers on shift came off the job and joined the picket line that had been set up outside Bunny St McDonald's. It was a noisy, lively affair, with Fightback member and Wellington Unite union organiser Heleyni Pratley leading the way with chants, songs and the occasional speech to the people passing by. Pratley explained why the strike was being held and why the public needed to respect the picket line.
After a relatively quiet couple of years, the Unite union, which organises fast food and other previously unorganised sectors, has burst into action with a vigorous industrial campaign against McDonald's. The key demands are focused around winning a NZ$15 starting wage, an end to casualised hours, a fair and transparent roster system and a number of union-only benefits, most of which have already been won by KFC Unite members. See also: New Zealand: McDonald's hit by first ever strike in Wellington
A report released in May by the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre and the Norwegian Refugee Council shows that 32.4 million people were forced to flee their homes last year by disasters such as floods, storms and earthquakes. Asia and west and central Africa bore the brunt, but 1.3 million were also displaced in rich countries, with the US particularly affected.
The Obama administration asserts that presidents of the United States have the power to wage endless war anywhere in the world without permission or hindrance from Congress. This claim is reiterates the position of the Bush administration, which was most strongly pushed by Bush’s vice-president Dick Cheney. It is another example of the seamless transition from Bush to Obama in foreign affairs.
In West Papua, May 1 holds a special significance besides being the international day marking working-class struggle. It was on May 1, 1963, that Indonesia was granted control of the western half of the New Guinea island the by the United Nations. Since then, many West Papuan independence and human rights activists have been jailed, tortured and killed for demanding real democracy and a genuine independence referendum. As thousands of people across the region prepared for May 1 demonstrations marking 50 years of brutal occupation, the Indonesian authorities launched raids on April 30.
Founder of Venezuela’s world famous El Sistema music program, Jose Abreu, met with President Nicolas Maduro on May 22 to discuss expanding the program. They agreed on a project called Musical Program Simon Bolivar, which aims to have 1 million Venezuelan youths and children playing musical instruments.
A selection of this week's politically-relevant entertainment news... Jailed Pussy Riot Member Maria Alyokhina Hospitalised After Hunger Strike http://bit.ly/19kvC8a Domestic abuser Chris Brown Potentially Facing 4 Years Jail Following Fender Bender http://bit.ly/150DfOa New Report To US Congress Suggests IP Thieves Be Legally Targeted By Malware http://bit.ly/10B14bA Nick Cave And The Bad Seeds Allow Music To Be Used In New $6 Million SA Tourism Campaign http://bit.ly/1139vfP
The 40-day strike of more than 500 dockworkers at the Port of Hong Kong ended on May 6 with a settlement that included a 9.8% wage rise, non-retaliation against strikers and a written agreement, all of which had been fiercely resisted by the four contractors targeted in the strike. Strikers accepted the offer by a 90% vote. The four contractors also agreed to work through the port manager Hong Kong International Terminal (HIT) to provide meal and toilet breaks, which had been lacking even for workers on 12- or 24-hour shifts. Crane operators laid off during the strike will be rehired.
Bolivia is demonstrating to the world why nationalising natural resources is a crucial first step for any government seeking to put people and the environment before profits. On May 1, 2006, less than four months after becoming president, Evo Morales decreed the nationalisation of the country’s gas reserves. This move restored state control over the strategic resource.
WikiLeaks released an enormous treasure-trove of classified US government documents in 2010. It included US military logs from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, over 250,000 diplomatic cables, and Collateral Murder, a video depicting the killing of 12 civilians by a US helicopter gunship in Iraq. The source of the leaks, US Private Bradley Manning, acted on his conscience. He believed that people have a right to see the information he had been privy to as an army intelligence analyst. He was prepared to risk his life and liberty to reveal that information.
The Kinetic Energy theatre company, a Sydney-based independent company, has just returned from its first national tour of the year: four weeks of performing our Village Space theatre-in-education program in Tasmania, Melbourne, Gippsland, and the Riverina, across April and May. Over the years, we have developed an engaging way of educating young people about social justice. We focus on issues such as poverty, inequality, refugees, Indigenous struggle and the environment, and how these issues are interconnected.
Quarterly Essay Issue 49 2013 'Not Dead Yet: Labor’s post-left future' By Mark Latham Black Inc 2013 Margaret Thatcher may be dead, but Thatcherism is alive and well and living in the bowels of social democracy if Mark Latham’s contribution to the latest Quarterly Essay, “Not Dead Yet: Labor’s post-left future”, is anything to go by.
Round Nine of the Australian Football League, held from May 24-26, was designated the “Indigenous Round” in honour of Aboriginal players and culture. However, former Age sports journalist Trevor Grant writes that, despite progress, the AFL continues to block Aboriginal access to key aspects of the sport ― on and off the field. The article is slightly abridged from Grant's website What's The Score, Sport, where more of his writings on sport and politics can be found. * * *