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Najaf Mazari, an Afghan refugee, rug-maker and author addressed a meeting of about 70 people at the Eltham College in Melbourne on May 17. He described his life in an Afghani village and his journey to a new life in Australia, including his time in a detention centre. The event was organised by the Diamond Valley Oxfam group and supported by the Eltham bookshop.
Socialist activists are involved in political struggles across many different issues. From equal marriage rights to defending education, refugee rights to the environment, socialists help organise and lead these campaigns, and seek to win important political reforms around them. It might seem contradictory for socialists to fight for reforms. Since socialists oppose capitalism and the capitalist state, why is it that they campaign for measures that encourage the expansion of the capitalist state?
The Tamil Refugee Council released this statement on May 22 *** The decision to release Tamil widow, Manokala, and her six-year-old son, Ragavan, from indefinite detention was a welcome move, and opens up many questions about ASIO’s adverse security assessments, the Tamil Refugee Council said. A spokesperson for the Tamil Refugee Council, Trevor Grant, said the release cast grave doubts about the legitimacy of the secret assessments that have left 55 refugees detained indefinitely, most for between three and four years.
I had to spend some time in waiting rooms for medical checkups recently. It was an opportunity to glance through glossy magazines. In its latest issue, National Geographic magazine has an article entitled “Is Australia the Face of Climate Change to Come?”. It said that after a major spike in extreme weather over the past few years, scientists were looking at “the lucky country” as a “bellwether for the Earth's changing climate”. It may not be so lucky for us but I guess being a bellwether is useful.
The Socialist Alliance's Sue Bolton and Socialist Alternative's Mick Armstrong addressed a packed public forum on left unity in Melbourne on May 21. Unity discussions have been taking place between the groups since last year. The forum attracted about 140 people, including individuals and observers from other left groups.
This is a speech by Peter Boyle, the Socialist Alliance candidate for Sydney, at a rally for equal marriage rights in Sydney on May 25. *** Let me begin by acknowledging that we are gathering here today on stolen Aboriginal land, the land of the Gadigal people that was never ceded but taken by force from its Indigenous owners. We pay our respects to elders and warriors — past and present — who have battled for survival and justice for against tremendous odds.
About 100 people attended a rally at the University of Sydney on May 23 to protest the police brutality that has occurred at picket line held at the university earlier this month. Staff at Sydney University are involved in an enterprise bargaining process between the National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU) and the university administration. The university administration is trying to force through changes that would undercut pay and conditions for university staff, including more casualisation and creating teaching-only positions.
Karl, left, and Dennis

Swedish hardcore punks AC4 blast nuclear policy on their new album, Burn the World. Green Left's Mat Ward spoke to frontman Dennis Lyxzén and main songwriter Karl Backman.

In the wake of Ford's decision to close up in Australia, at the cost of 1200 jobs directly and potentially more 10,000 manufacturing jobs all up, fellow corporate giant Holden publicly said it was “ready to seek” more government subsidies.
The rising pressures on the costs of living for Australian households, in particular caused by soaring electricity prices, will likely be a feature battleground in the September federal election. The two big parties have long been scuffling over who is to blame for an issue that severely affects most Australian households and is a huge source of discontent as a result.
Delegates arriving at the Australia-China Minerals Investment Summit in Darwin on May 17 were met with about 20 protesters. The group had a strong message for those going into the convention centre: “Stop uranium mining, lock the gates on shale oil and gas, go solar!”
A lively protest took place outside federal MP for Wakefield Nick Champion's office in Adelaide’s Northern Suburbs on May 20. The protest was organised by Stop Income Management in Playford (SIMPla) and Single Parents Action Group (SPAG). SIMPla was founded last year in response to the introduction of income management in Playford. SPAG began in response to the Julia Gillard government cutting single parents' income by moving them off the single parent benefit to the lower Newstart allowance.