Issue 1008

Australia

Front Line Action on Coal released this statement on May 10.

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Fifteen protesters from the Maules Creek coalmine blockade have taken their campaign to the other end of the coal chain, stopping a coal train in Newcastle on May 10.

Protesters approached the stopped train...

Community anger at a proposal to cut the minimum wage from $16 to $12 an hour has fuelled large Labour Day turnouts across Queensland on May 4 and 5.

About 30,000 marchers from dozens of unions packed Brisbane streets, joining thousands of others in activities in Queensland cities and...

The Coalition government plans to speed up the push to privatise remaining federal and state public assets in a massive program to help fund new infrastructure projects — mainly road developments — media sources reveal.

ABC radio's AM reported on May 8 that "an infrastructure...

About 10,000 workers walked off building sites in Brisbane on May 5 and rallied outside Parliament House. They were protesting against the Campbell Newman government’s changes to industrial legislation affecting workplace health and safety.

They also called for the return of the Labour...

"Understanding the history of the CPA [Communist Party of Australia], and labour history more generally, is vital for activists here and now who want to change the world,” Sarah Gregson, labour historian and unionist from the University of NSW, told a book launch at the Resistance Centre on May...

Large numbers of police officers are expected to try to break up a blockade site in Bentley, near Lismore, where the community is opposing gas drilling by Metgasco in NSW's Northern Rivers. It is possible police will begin to move protesters as early as May 19.

Hundreds of people are...

Hundreds gathered on May 6 to fill Adelaide's Tandanya National Indigenous Cultural Institute for the forum “An Aboriginal Perspective on Inequality, the Intervention, Racism and Struggle”.

It was jointly organised by the South Australian Aboriginal Coalition for Social Justice, SIMPLA (...

About thirty scientists, engineers, mathematicians, PhD students and science advocates took to the steps of Sydney Town Hall on May 3 in defence of Australia’s research sector.

The “Rally for Research” was organised by the Future Party to oppose the Coalition government’s plans to reduce...

A three-day photo exhibition at Fremantle's Victoria Hall brought the human rights crisis gripping Sri Lanka to a wider audience.

"Sri Lankan Genocide 2009" exhibits images taken by various photographers documenting the months before and after the massacre of more than 40,000 Tamil...

Eliza June, one of the students who took part in the Education Action Group protest during the ABC's political panel show Q&A on May 5, is pumped by the response to the action. The protest targetted education minster Christopher Pyne, a guest on the panel, over the Coalition...

World

The Chicago Socialist Campaign, a collaborative effort by activists and socialists from many movements and organisations in the city, has announced the candidacy of one of Chicago’s most well-known and respected community activists for city council.

Jorge Mujica, an award-winning...

Tensions between the Colombian government and agrarian workers are reaching an all-time high. Strikes that began on April 28 have helped bring the country to a stand-still and sparked student protests violently that were suppressed by police.

The farmers launched strikes in the face of...

Ecuador's Amazonian indigenous community of Sarayaku is in a state of rebellion against the central government after refusing entry to a police contingent arriving by helicopter on the morning of May 6.

The helicopter landed, but was barely able to stay five minutes after being...

The evacuation of a besieged settlement of 1300 displaced people by the UN-sanctioned French and African Union peacekeeping forces on April 27 marked the disappearance of the Muslim community of Bangui, capital of the Central African Republic (CAR). Until last year, 100,000 of Bangui’s 734,000...

In the House of Trade Unions in Odessa on May 2, more people died than over several days of fighting in the Donbass in Ukraine's east.

In Kramatorsk in the eastern Donetsk Oblast province on the same day, however, government forces also excelled themselves, killing 10 unarmed local...

A familiar sea of red shirts, large banners and a revolutionary sing-along soundtrack: at first glance this year’s march for the International Workers Day on May 1 was business-as-usual in the Andean city of Merida.

The celebratory atmosphere was due in part to the announcement by...

A report released last month by Oxfam revealed that Australia's big four banks have invested in land grabs that have dispossessed local land owners across the world.

The report, Banking on Shaky Ground, explains that large-scale land acquisitions have risen due to the rise in...

Kavita Krishnan is a central leader of the Communist Party of India―Marxist-Leninist (CPI-ML) and editor of its magazine Liberation.

A former leader of the All India Students Association (AISA), Krishnan is joint secretary of the All India Progressive...

United States: Occupy activist assaulted by police found guilty of assault

An Occupy Wall Street activist has been found guilty of second-degree assault and could face seven years in prison for elbowing a police officer, Democracy Now! said on May 6.

...

Thailand's unelected, anti-democratic and illegitimate Constitutional Court has staged a coup d'etat, overthrowing Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra on a mere technicality in a May 7 ruling. It claims the elected prime minister did not have the right to replace a government official.

It...

A racist rant by billionaire Donald Sterling, owner of professional basketball team the Los Angeles Clippers, was broadcast on national TV last month, sparking widespread discussion lasting weeks.

Sterling's views eclipsed another racist rant that got national attention just before that...

The fifth anniversary of the end Sri Lanka's civil war will be marked on May 18. In 2009, the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), who fought for nearly 30 years for an independent Tamil homeland in the north and east of the island, were defeated.

In the final days of the conflict,...

Analysis

“This will not be a budget for the rich or the poor; it will be a budget for the country,” Prime Minister Tony Abbott said in his April 28 speech to the Sydney Institute, a privately funded “public affairs forum”.

He must think we are total fools.

Why else would a government that...

I have recently celebrated my 69th birthday. I have three adult sons, six grand children and one great grandchild, all of whom I love dearly. Last December marked 51 years since I was married and next month will be 30 years since I finally left the marriage.

Despite the research I have...

The federal Commission of Audit's proposal to cut the minimum wage would create an underclass of US-style "working poor" in this country, the Australian Council of Trade Unions says.

The ACTU said on May 5: "The plan to aggressively drive down the minimum wage would see its real value...

It is utterly galling to hear the leader of the federal Labor opposition criticising the government for proposing a “new tax” in the form of a modest and temporary “deficit levy” on taxpayers in the highest income bracket.

“Tony Abbott, Australians do not want your tax increases full...

Iranian asylum seeker and aspiring architect Reza Berati was beaten to death inside the Manus Island detention camp more than two months ago, during what former employees of the detention centre described as “inevitable bloodshed”.

Now, the five witnesses who say they can identify those...

New documentary film Radical Wollongong, produced by Green Left TV, will premiere in Wollongong May 18, followed by screenings in other cities and regional centres.

The film features activists who took part in Wollongong's radical history of strikes and community rallies, from...

This was a speech given to a Refugee Action Coalition forum in Sydney on May 5.

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I am in Year 11 at a school in Sydney’s inner-west, and like many other high school students, I care about refugee and queer rights, as well as for the rights of women, the rights of Aboriginal...

Well, here we are at the halfway mark. It’s been about eight weeks since Alcoa announced it was shutting up shop in Geelong and there’s a little over eight weeks before workers are tossed out the gate for good.

But where are the announcements from the state and federal governments or...

It is amazing, really, what with money being so tight these days, that there are people who seem to think we should be entitled to access a government minister for free!

It is a wonder anyone is upset that Treasurer Joe Hockey has been revealed selling meetings to businesses...

Culture

For years now, off and on ― as huge the financial crisis and spiking unemployment have given way to healthy corporate profits and a "recovery" characterised by a surge in low-wage job creation ― the word has gone around that people are rediscovering Karl Marx's Capital.

Whether...

A Spy in the Archives
By Sheila Fitzpatrick
Melbourne University Press, 2013
346 pages, $32.99 (pb)

When Sydney University Professor Sheila Fitzpatrick was doing some crafty archival sleuthing as a British PhD student in the late 1960s in...

Forgotten Voices of Mao's Great Famine, 1958-1962, An Oral History
By Zhou Xun
Yale University Press, 2013
336 pp, $35.00

In his excellent history book Timelines, John Rees has a graph, which in one image sums up the people’s history...