Trade unions, environmental and Maori groups have united to oppose passage of new laws threatening collective bargaining and basic rights in the workplace. The Employment Relations Amendment Bill, introduced by the government in April, seeks to remove existing requirements for employers to negotiate collective agreements, and rest and meal break provisions.
The proposal by Russia, accepted by the regilme of Bashar Al-Assad, for Syria’s chemical weapons to be turned over to an international authority (presumably the United Nations) for destruction, has temporarily put off Washington’s plans for war against Syria. Obama has postponed asking Congress to approve of his plans to attack Syria. This represents a political defeat for the war drive. Even if Washington scuttles the proposed agreement and goes ahead with war, it will do so with even less support at home and abroad than it had before the Russian proposal.
On my wall is the front page of the Daily Express of September 5, 1945, and the words: “I write this as a warning to the world.” So began Australian journalist Wilfred Burchett's report from Hiroshima. It was the scoop of the century. For his lone, perilous journey that defied the US occupation authorities, Burchett was pilloried, not least by his embedded colleagues. He warned that an act of premeditated mass murder on an epic scale had launched a new era of terror.
The upcoming federal elections in Germany, scheduled for September 22, are unlikely to change the character of German politics regardless of the outcome. The two main parties remain committed continuing to represent the interests of German corporations over its people. Die Linke (The Left Party) provides a left parliamentary alternative, but it has not succeeded in convincing ordinary, working people that a break of the status quo is possible.
New Zealand celebrities have joined protests against proposed law changes that will remove the right of public consultation on applications for deep sea oil and gas drilling. Law changes will also remove the right to protest at sea. Actors Sam Neill, Lucy Lawless and Robyn Malcolm, former Supreme Court judge Sir Ted Thomas and many others have joined Maori and environmental groups to condemn the government’s plans.
About 1.6 million Catalans linked arms to form the Via Catalana, a 400 kilometre human chain demanding a referendum on independence for their country, to mark Catalonia’s national day (the Diada) on September 11. The country has been a region of the Spanish state since September 11, 1714, when a besieged Barcelona finally fell to the Borbon coalition of France and Spain. Amazing success
Just before the federal election that put Tony Abbott in power, his soon-to-be immigration minister Scott Morrison said the government may stop telling the public when asylum boats arrive in Australia. Instead, reporting details about boat arrivals — including numbers on board, their nationalities and whether any are children — would be an “operational decision” of the defence officers in charge of the Coalition's “Operation Sovereign Borders”.
Digital Disconnect: How Capitalism Is Turning the Internet Against Democracy Robert W McChesney Spring 2013 www.thenewpress.com When award-winning author Robert McChesney wrote a much-needed political and economic analysis of the internet, the reaction from his peers was not quite what he expected.
Soft brown eyes flicked furtively towards the guard’s room, then back to the ripe luscious strawberry she had carefully placed on the table’s edge. She waited for the guard’s laconic indifference to blend into the certainty of distraction, then secreted the treasure in her loose pocket. “For my friend,” she confided, while a hint of defiance momentarily lit up eyes that for most of our visit had spilled out a lifetime of sorrow and loss. “My pregnant friend.”
“The worst genocide of this century” was how Paul Newman, professor of human rights at the University of Bangalore, described what has happened to the Tamil people in Sri Lanka. Newman was delivering the Eliezer memorial lecture, in memory of Professor CJ Eliezer, the founder of the Eelam Tamil Association of Victoria, at Monash University on August 25. Newman was speaking on democracy in south Asia. He began by outlining some common features of the south Asian countries including India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan and Sri Lanka, before discussing Sri Lanka in more detail.
The proposed fate of Istanbul’s Gezi Park has much in common with the current re-development plans for Barangaroo in Sydney’s East Darling Harbour. Sydneysiders concerned about the Crown/Lend Lease takeover bid can draw inspiration from the Gezi Park occupiers and send a clear message of defiance to James Packer’s fawning peons in the Barry O’Farrell government. All over the world, the privatisation of public space is growing. As Anna Minton, leading policy analyst and author of Ground Control, has pointed out in connection with the situation in Britain.
Supporters of the Freedom Flotilla to West Papua, including the Brisbane Aboriginal Sovereign Embassy, gathered outside the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade in Brisbane on September 2. They were protesting against the arrest of four supporters of the Freedom Flotilla in the West Papuan city of Sorong on August 28 and who are now facing charges of treason for raising the West Papuan Morning Star flag.