The following resolution was adopted by the Socialist Alliance national council meeting on June 10. *** • If socialism is not just to be a good idea, it has to become a movement of the working class and other oppressed groups. It flows from this that to build the socialist movement we have to have a permanent focus on linking up with the activists and leaders of the working class and oppressed groups who are fighting capitalist oppression.
Information revealed by whistleblower Edward Snowden about the PRISM spy program — which used data from giant internet companies, such as Google and Facebook, to carry out mass surveillance of people outside the US — has provided new evidence about the warrantless spying on civilians by the US government. Although a government spying on civilians is hardly new and will not come as a surprise to many people, what is concerning about this case is the size and number of companies involved and the apparent ease with which this data was obtained.
During this year alone, an estimated 128 people have drowned or vanished trying to seek asylum in Australia. By June 14, up to seven asylum boats trying to reach Christmas Island had foundered, sunk or been stranded. This includes the boat that sank in Indonesia’s Sunda Strait in April, when Australian authorities failed to give accurate coordinates of the foundering vessel to Indonesian search and rescue. Up to 58 people drowned, 53 of whom were never retrieved.
The Refugee Action Coalition held a public forum on June 3 titled: “Bridging Visas, Community Detention: what rights do asylum seekers in the community have?” About 12,000 asylum seekers who have arrived since August 13 last year are living in the community on “bridging visas”. August 13 was when the government introduced the “no advantage” policy and ceased processing refugee applications. Refugees on bridging visas receive less than the paltry Newstart allowance with little support. They could be sent to detention on Nauru or Manus Island at any time.
The Victorian government continued its attack on civil rights last week with the announcement that new prison cells would be built at train stations for use by protective services officers (PSOs).
The statement below was released by the Socialist Alliance on June 5. *** Liah Lazarou has been pre-selected by the Socialist Alliance to run for the seat of Adelaide in the federal election in September. Lazarou is a communications student and a committed grassroots activist. She has been involved in organising workers, students and young people as a member of the Socialist Alliance since 2006.
Markets are neither free nor efficient, and they are bad for the environment. Market choice is not cheap. While that may sound like a timeless left-wing credo, it's also a simple assessment of Australia's 20 years of privatisation and market-oriented restructure of electricity supply. Outside small left-wing dissident circles (from Keynesians to Marxists), operating the power industry according to market principles has become an unquestioned and unspoken assumption.
The exposure of the huge surveillance by the National Security Agency (NSA) of all phone calls in the United States, as well as the vast data mining of all electronic communications through computer servers and search engines worldwide, is one of the most important whistle-blowing events of our times. Daniel Ellsberg, who leaked the surveillence Pentagon Papers during the Vietnam War, says these exposures by Edward Snowden, who worked for a private contractor used by the NSA, said Snowden’s exposures were even more important than the Vietnam War revelations.
Julia Gillard was greeted by a vibrant protest by students, unionists and Aboriginal activists when she spoke in Fremantle on June 12. As Labor party faithful -- who paid up to $250 per head -- waited to hear her talk, protesters took aim at some of the worst policies of the Gillard government.
During the early days of the Gezi protests, researchers from the University of Istanbul surveyed 3000 activists in the heart of the struggle around Taksim Square. Seventy-one percent of respondents described themselves as “pro-freedom” with no affiliation to any organisation, most of them first-time activists. Only 7.1 % said they were a member or supporter of any group. Barricades on the streets are nothing new to Turkish people. Barricades have been put up against the authorities many times.