971

Australia's four biggest banks — the Commonwealth Bank, ANZ, NAB and Westpac — dubbed the "banksters", were condemned for crimes against people and the environment during a protest in Melbourne on June 29. Protesters marched to each bank, cordoned of the entrance to create a symbolic crime scene and read out a charge sheet. The action was called by the Socialist Alliance. Margarita Windisch, the Socialist Alliance candidate for the seat of Wills, argued the big banks, mines and energy companies should be nationalised and put under community control.
The latest opinion polls in the Spanish state have stirred concern in the elites, hopes on the left and storms of comment in the media. Nationally, they show the radical federation United Left (IU) closing the gap on the social-democratic Spanish Socialist Workers Party (PSOE). In the June Metroscopia poll, IU trailed just 4.7% behind the PSOE (16.8% to 21.5%). Regionally, Spanish social democracy’s decline is most advanced in Catalonia and Galicia. In Madrid city council IU would jump from 10.7% to 20.5% of the vote, just 1.6% behind the PSOE.
Frances O’Grady, head of the British Trade Union Congress (TUC), set the tone in the opening session of the People's Assembly in London on June 22, declaring: “The Bullingdon boys are waging class war against ordinary people. We will retaliate, it is time to fight back against a government of millionaires.” O'Grady's reference to Conservative Prime Minister David Cameron and Chancellor George Osborne by the exclusive upper-class Oxford University society they belonged reflects the anger at the Conservative-Liberal Democrats war on the poor.
The June 27 general strike in Portugal, the fourth since the country became an economic protectorate of the European Commission, European Central Bank and International Monetary Fund “troika” in 2011, was marked by several important firsts. It was the largest general strike to date, with 80%-100% support from public sector workers and a clear rise in support from private sector workers.
The news in May that carbon dioxide levels had broken through the symbolic barrier of 400 parts per million (ppm), a level not seen since the beginning of our species’ evolution on planet Earth, 3 million years ago, caused a barely perceptible ripple in the mass media.
In the next few weeks, protests will be held around the country against the Australian government’s complicity in the PRISM spying scandal. These demonstrations were called in response to the anger and frustration many Australians felt at the eroding of their civil liberties for the benefit of Australian and US imperial interests with the support and assistance of large internet companies.
This is part two of an interview Green Left Weekly journalist Linda Seaborn conducted with Dr Bob Boughton who helped initiate a Cuban supported literacy program in the NSW town of Wilcannia. Part one of this interview can be read here. *** How did it the literacy campaign change the lives of the graduates?
You have to hand it to the United States authorities. When they were caught red-handed engaging in almost unimaginable levels of illegal spying and espionage against citizens and governments around the world, they responded, rather than sheepishly apologising and begging forgiveness, by furiously demanding other governments hand over the man who exposed its crimes against them. It is like being caught at the scene of a murder with the murder weapon in your hand and shouting at police: “This is an outrage! I demand you give my knife back!”
High school has always been turbulent at best, but never before was I confronted with institutionalised oppression in the way that I was when it came to Year 9 sex education. Year 9 is the final year in my school where all students have access to sex education regardless of their subject choice, after this a student has to choose a physical education (PE) subject to learn more about it.
Whatever their views on the relative merits (if any) of Julia Gillard and Kevin Rudd, there were many people inside and outside the Labor party who breathed a sigh of relief when Rudd replaced Gillard as Labor leader and prime minister. The reason was simple. It offered the hope that Tony Abbott and his Liberal National Coalition would not have the landslide victory in the next election predicted by all opinion polls for many months. It offered the hope that even if Abbott won, perhaps he would not capture both houses of parliament.
As the global financial crisis unfolded in October 2008, part of the Australian government’s response was to provide unlimited guarantees of bank deposits and wholesale funding. One result was that the big four banks got bigger while little was said of the $13.8 trillion in off-balance-sheet derivatives to which they were exposed. Derivatives operate in a global over-the-counter (OTC) market that is almost totally unregulated.
About 400 activists from across Australia converged on Sydney over June 21-23 for Australia’s Climate Action Summit 2013. As the science of climate change becomes ever more alarming, and as the refusal of business and political elites to act becomes ever more glaring, the activists met to share ideas and strategies to build a strong movement for a safe climate.