Editorial

Green Left Weekly will soon be sending Vivien Messimeris and Dick Nichols (our European correspondent) to Athens to report on the historic January 25 Greek elections, which could result in the election of the Coalition of the Radical Left, SYRIZA, to government on a strong program opposing the ruthless austerity imposed by the big global bankers on Greece.

The Royal Commission into the use of union funds began on April 9. The commission is not an attempt to stamp out corrupt union practices, but a serious political attack on unions by the Tony Abbott government. It is designed to weaken the union movement and break militant union activity.

Comments made by Coalition ministers before the public hearings have started sets up a presumption of guilt in order to prejudice the public mind.

People-powered media since 1991

On March 12 this year the 1000th issue of Green Left Weekly will be published. We are marking this significant milestone by launching a special fund appeal. The aim is to raise $100,000 in pledges and donations by March 12. These funds will ensure that Green Left Weekly continues as an independent source of news and analysis.

AMAZINGLY our readers and supporters took us over the target three weeks before our 1000th issue!

Blue Mountains Mayor Mark Greenhill told ABC News Breakfast on October 18: “The climatic conditions that fuelled that fire yesterday were just unprecedented ... an unprecedented disaster.”

More than 100 fires broke out across New South Wales on October 17. By October 19, they had destroyed at least 193 homes in the Blue Mountains alone and caused at least one confirmed death.

The huge, genuine and spontaneous outpouring of grief that has enveloped Venezuela in the days since Hugo Chavez passed away on March 5 show that the late Venezuelan president was no ordinary politician.

Hundreds of thousands of people flooded the streets to accompany Chavez's coffin on its way from the hospital where he died to the military academy where his body is currently lying in state, clad in the red that symbolises the Bolivarian revolution and chanting “the people united will never be defeated”.

Many have taken mining boss Gina Rinehart's bid to take up a seat on Fairfax's board of directors by buying up almost 20% of the media company's shares as a threat to its “independence” and “quality journalism”. But many opponents of Rinehart's bid are glossing over Fairfax's ugly record.

A Rinehart-controlled media would do much damage to the possibility of informed public discussions in Australia.

WikiLeaks editor Julian Assange is right to seek political asylum in Ecuador. He was left with no other choice after the Australian government made clear it would do nothing to prevent his extradition to the United States on espionage charges.

His real “crime” is groundbreaking journalism, which has exposed the lies and crimes of governments around the world, especially the US.

Rupert Murdoch’s media empire does not have a TV network like Fox News in Australia — at least not yet. But he does have the sole national newspaper, The Australian, which is busy running a Fox News-style smear campaign against the Australian Greens.

Anxious at the Greens’ growing electoral success, the paper said in a 2010 editorial that it planned to have the Greens “destroyed”.

Nearly 10 years of a mining boom has made big changes to Australia’s economy and environment. Resource companies have made record profits.

This has given Australia’s rich mining billionaires an inflated sense of entitlement. When the Resources Super Profits Tax (RSPT) was proposed we saw Gina Rinehart speaking to an anti-tax rally from the back of a truck along with fellow billionaire Andrew Forrest, who wore a high-visibility work shirt as though he was just another struggling worker.

If you are an activist peacefully campaigning for a clean energy future, the federal Labor government believes you are a legitimate target for secret surveillance.

Fairfax News’ Phillip Dorling reported on January 7 that resources and energy minister Martin Ferguson had asked for federal police help to spy on anti-coal campaigners. Even worse, documents released to Fairfax after a Freedom of Information request showed Ferguson acted after urging from coal industry lobbyists.

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