Talking about music might sound strange for people who live in refugee camps and are deeply burdened with many other problems needing to be voiced. But the huge role music played in the Saharawi people's struggle for independence leaves me with no choice e but to try to talk a little about the magical role revolutionary songs are playing in my people’s daily fight for self-determination.
Corrupt Fucking System Doom Black Cloud Records Released December 23, 2013 www.doomcrustpunk.com Outspoken British crust-punk pioneers Doom have a stonking new album out and are heading to Australia. Guitarist and founding member Brian Talbot, aka Bri Doom, spoke to Green Left Weekly's Mat Ward. ***
"One year after Hugo Chavez's death: Eyewitness reports from Venezuela," was the title of a public forum organised by the Australia-Venezuela Solidarity Network (AVSN) at the Resistance Centre on February 4. More than 40 people attended the forum, which heard a panel of speakers discuss issues facing the Bolivarian revolution today.
Beloved Land: Stories, Struggles & Secrets From Timor-Leste Gordon Peake Scribe, 2013 250 pages, $29.95 (pb) East Timor is a tale of two statistics, says Gordon Peake in Beloved Land, his engaging blend of history, memoir and travelogue about the former Portuguese and Indonesian colony. One of the world's poorest nations, East Timor ranks a lowly 120th of 169 countries on the United Nations Human Development Index, but scores high on corruption at 15th on the World Bank’s business transparency report.
On February 3, 50 communications sector workers and community members gathered outside the Geelong Mail Centre to protest the proposed privatisation and downsizing of Australia Post. These changes would see further job losses in the already hard-hit Geelong region. The meeting was attended by representatives of the Communications Electrical and Plumbing Union of Australia, the Community and Public Sector Union, Geelong Trades Hall, Socialist Alliance and the Australian Labor Party.
The movement for boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) against Israel has captured headlines around the world after actress Scarlett Johansson signed a promotion deal with Israeli company SodaStream. Johansson signed the deal to become SodaStream's first “global brand ambassador” on January 1. A Super Bowl halftime commercial starring the actress airing on February 2. However, the deal resulted in an instant furore due to the company's use of an Israeli occupied industrial settlement zone in Palestinian West Bank to make their home soda machines.
War criminal and former Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon, who died on January 11, led an infamous Israeli army terror group in the 1950s. Called Unit 101 and nicknamed the “avengers”, it operated without uniforms. The unit countered Palestinian resistance with terror attacks. It carried out many outrages inside Israel and across its borders. In August 1953, Unit 101 attacked the refugee camp of El-Bureig in Gaza. About 50 refugees were massacred. In October 1953, Sharon’s unit attacked the Jordanian village of Qibya.
In the third attack on the ABC by a government minister in the last month, Defence Minister David Johnston said on February 7 that reports that asylum seekers had their hands burned by navy personnel warrants an investigation into the national broadcaster. "If ever there was an event that justified a detailed inquiry, some reform, an investigation of the ABC, this event is it," he said. This follows comments by Prime Minister Tony Abbott on January 29 when he said the ABC “appears to take everyone’s side but Australia’s and I think it is a problem”.
Food giant Coca-Cola Amatil has threatened to close the SPC Ardmona fruit canning company in Victoria, unless the federal government and Victorian government give it $25 million each in assistance. The company wants to spend $161 million on upgrading and restructuring its manufacturing facilities in Shepparton. If the plant is closed, about 3000 jobs in the Goulburn Valley, and many small orchard farms, would be lost.
The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA) has approved plans to dump 3 million cubic metres of sand and mud in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park. This waste will come from dredging the sea floor during construction of the Abbot Point coal terminal near Bowen and will be dumped about 25 kilometres away within the boundaries of the marine park. Federal Environment Minister Greg Hunt initially approved the proposal, before passing it on to the GBRMPA to make the final decision.
Electrical Trades Union Victorian Secretary Troy Gray wrote this statement on the ETU Facebook page on February 6. *** Australian Workers Union Secretary Paul Howes is slitting the throat of Australian workers for his own political ambitions. Recent headline grabbing statements by Howes have more to do with his naked ambition to be a politician and his resolve to distance himself from the AWU skeletons, than any attempt to improve the lives of working people or his own members.
Well it's my first day back at work and already the year has started with the predictable attack on workers that usually accompanies conservative governments in their first term of office. They always claim that unions are corrupt and should have special laws to prevent them from being involved in workplaces or politics.
The union representing ambulance employees in Victoria has abandoned talks with the government, saying that Ambulance Victoria and the government arrived at negotiations on February 3 with an offer of a pay rise half that of previous negotiations. Ambulance Employees Australia secretary Steve McGhie told Green Left Weekly: “This offer is an insult, it's disappointing that they have moved backwards rather than moved forward. “They reduced their wage offer by half, only offering 6%. Our members rejected a 12% pay rise offer, you can imagine what they would say to this.
More than 100 people from Mackay, Adelaide, Melbourne and Sydney joined local activists in Maules Creek, NSW last week to bring attention to a battle that goes to the heart of Australia’s confrontation with climate change. Maules Creek is the site of a proposed new coalmine to be operated by Whitehaven Coal. The proposal to build this mine has been the subject of dispute since its inception, but came to prominence in January last year as a result of a hoax press release.
The irony of fracking is that it destroys the natural resource it needs most. The tragedy for those living near fracking operations is that natural resource is the fresh ― and increasingly scarce ― water supply on which they, too, depend. Fracking ― or hydraulic fracturing ― is the fracturing or rock by pressurised liquid. It is used to access several natural resources, such as shale gas and coal seam gas, in otherwise out-of-reach places.
The West Papuan independence movement's hopes of of gaining a foothold in the international community were set back when foreign minsters visiting West Papua pledged non-interference with Indonesia. Last June, the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) Leaders Summit met in Noumea, New Caledonia, and discussed a membership application from the West Papua National Council for Liberation (WPNCL). The summit postponed the decision until a ministerial delegation visited West Papua to determine the legitimacy of the group and to assess the situation in the occupied country.