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.
World Refugee Day comes amid reports of more deaths at sea, forced deportations to torture and execution, malaria in the offshore camps in Nauru and Manus Island, suicide in detention, babies imprisoned as security threats and revelations of refugees on bridging visas without food, housing or work rights. A competition in cruelty
Representatives from the Environment Centre NT (ECNT) and the Amateur Fishermen’s Association of the NT (AFANT) travelled to Mataranka on June 13 to host a public meeting about water allocations in the region. The Country Liberal Party government has made changes to the allocation process, which threatens the Roper River region’s environment, as well as pastoral and Indigenous interests.
Australian foreign Minister Bob Carr finally acknowledged the US grand jury investigation into WikiLeaks and its founder Julian Assange on June 5. This investigation will decide whether Assange should be prosecuted for his role in releasing confidential documents through WikiLeaks. Despite the risk to Assange, Carr told a Senate budget estimates committee that the Australian government will not be seeking information from the US government about the grand jury, because “it doesn’t affect Australian interests”.
Moreland City Council has voted to accept an offer from the Victorian government to fund the installation of CCTV cameras on Sydney Road in Brunswick. The offer was made following the rape and murder of Brunswick resident Jill Meagher in a side street near Sydney Road last year. Three councillors voted against the decision: Socialist Alliance councillor Sue Bolton, and Greens councillors Samantha Ratnam and Lenka Thomson.
A two-day seminar, "Organising for 21st century socialism", drew 150 people from around Australia to Sydney over June 8-9. The seminar hosted US author and socialist activist Paul Le Blanc. Le Blanc is the author of Lenin and the Revolutionary Party and A Short History of the US Working Class, and spoke at the conference on the topic “Lessons from Lenin for 21st century socialism”. The talk prompted constructive debate about how to organise a socialist party in Australia today.
The September election is approaching and the Socialist Alliance needs the financial help of members and supporters to run an effective election campaign. This is even more essential this federal election since the two big parties have made it harder for socialists and progressive, single-issue parties to stand, by doubling the fees required for candidates to nominate.
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.