Palestinian families celebrated on August 14 as Israel released 26 prisoners on the eve of long-stalled peace talks. Buses carrying the inmates left the Ayalon prison in central Israel late on August 13. Celebrations erupted in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, where thousands of Palestinian well-wishers awaited the buses' arrival. Fireworks lit the sky in Gaza, where rival Hamas and Fatah supporters alike celebrated to the beat of drums. Some danced while others flashed victory signs and waved flags of the Palestinian factions.
Fukushima spilling containimate water 'for years'' “Workers at the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant have told the ABC that contaminated water has most likely been seeping into the sea since the disaster two-and-a-half years ago. Japan's nuclear watchdog has described the leaks as a 'state of emergency' “Workers have told ABC's AM program that they do not have much faith in Tokyo Electric Power Company's (TEPCO) ability to handle the situation and they claim another accident is inevitable.
Peter Boyle, Socialist Alliance candidate for the seat of Sydney, confronts the racism of Liberal and Labor, and explains Socialist Alliance's pro-refugee alternative.
United States: Socialist wins 35% in Seatlle poll Seattle voters sent a clear message to an out-of-touch political establishment on August 6 that they are fed up with business as usual, and are looking for an alternative to corporate-pandering politicians like Democrat Richard Conlin. Kshama Sawant, who was recently written off by The Seattle Times as “too hard left for Seattle”, won a stunning 35% of the vote. Sawant is a member Socialist Alternative.
Workers at Diana Industries have welcomed the appointment of a new company manager, claiming victory in their fight to prevent the “imposition” of businessperson David Mendoza as head of the worker-run company. Nationalised in 2008, production at Diana Industries is organised by workers through assemblies and a Socialist Workers’ Council. The company produces cooking oil, margarine, soap and other products, 80% of which are destined for state-run distribution networks.
TransCanada Corp. announced on August 1 that it will proceed with plans to create a pipeline capable of shipping 1.1 million barrels per day (bpd) of oil and tar sands bitumen from western Canada to refineries and ports in Quebec and New Brunswick. Called “Energy East”, this west-to-east pipeline would dwarf the oil delivery capacity of TransCanada’s proposed Keystone XL pipeline in the US. Keystone would ship 830,000 bpd.
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro called on August 15 for his government to give greater support to the construction of communes in the country. He proposed several initiatives by which this could be done. Communes have their origin in Venezuela's communal councils, which are grassroots bodies made up of members of the local community. These self-managed bodies receive public funds to undertake community projects and small-scale public works.
Jim McIlroy, the lead NSW Senate candidate for the Socialist Alliance (ticket AM), explains the party's policy in support of workers' rights and union organising.
UPDATE: Green MP Caroline Lucas was one of more than a dozen people arrested on August 19 after police broke an anti-fracking blockade of a West Sussex drilling site. Snatch squads were seen dragging demonstrators from the front gates of energy giant Cuadrilla's Balcombe site after police declared the picket a breach of public order, alleging that it could potentially block emergency services from reaching the site. The protest's organisers No Dash For Gas reported 19 arrests. * * *
“I want all the people to come to the court and see what democracy in Israel really is,” said the mother of Palestinian youth Ali Shamlawi, being held in jail by Israel on fabricated charges. On March 14, there was an accident near Salfit in the West Bank when an Israeli settler’s car crashed into the back of Israeli truck. Four people in the car were hurt, one seriously. The truck had stopped on the road due to a flat tire. Later, this accident was described by the car's settler driver as a stone throwing attack by Palestinian youths.
Student protesters will take to the streets in all capital cities and some major regional centres on August 20. The protests will stand up against the planned cuts to tertiary education by the federal government. Earlier this year, the government announced $2.8 billion in cuts to higher education, via cuts to universities and student welfare services. But the demands will go further than an end to cuts. “Education for all” is one of the demands of the protests. But is a free and accessible education even possible in the age of austerity politics?
More than 500 people, mainly from the Egyptian community, rallied at Sydney's Town Hall Square and marched through city streets to the Egyptian consulate on August 18, in opposition to the military crackdown over recent days in Egypt. Speakers condemned the massacres committed by the military regime in Egypt against peaceful supporters of ousted president Mohamed Morsi. Chants during the march included, "Free, free Egypt!", "Egypt will soon be free!", and "General al-Sisi, assassin!'
I have known my postman for more than 20 years. Conscientious and good-humoured, he is the embodiment of public service at its best. The other day, I asked him, “Why are you standing in front of each door like a soldier on parade?” “New system,” he replied. “I am no longer required simply to post the letters through the door. I have to approach every door in a certain way and put the letters through in a certain way.” “Why?” “Ask him.”
The Party of the Labouring Masses (PLM), a Filipino socialist party, released the statement below on August 12. * * * The PLM joins the campaign to protest against the recent spate of killings of labour leaders, the most recent case being the assassination of transport workers’ leader Antonio “Dodong” Petalcorin on July 2. Petalcorin joins the ranks of assassinated workers’ leaders this year, such as Emilio Rivera and Carlos Cirilo, who were also members of the national labour centre, the Alliance of Progressive Labor in the Philippines.
About 30 people rallied outside NSW state parliament on August 15 to protest plans by the Liberal state government to change regulations to allow native forest biomass to be burned to generate electricity. Environment groups are worried the change will lead to wholesale destruction of native forests and woodlands to feed the power generators. Protests were also held in Bega and Bellingen on the same day. The rallies were sponsored by an alliance of environment conservation organisations.
Daily protests are demanding the dissolution of Tunisia's National Constituent Assembly (NCA) in the wake the assassination of Popular Front leader Mohamed Brahmi. In the face of the protests, leader of the Ettakatol party and speaker of the NCA Mustafa Ben Jafaar announced the suspension of the body on August 6. However, the main party of government, Islamist group Ennahda, has refused to concede the dissolution of the NCA, in which it holds the largest number of seats. Ennahda now looks to have negotiated the NCA's resumption.