Issue 1011

Australia

A well attended “Bust the Budget” meeting on June 12 organised by Unions NSW has decided to organise a union and community rally on July 6.

The meeting of more than 500 delegates and unionists came to an abrupt halt when Unions NSW Secretary Mark Lennon closed it down before two...

A protest against mining giant Whitehaven Coal in Sydney’s CBD on June 4 drew around 200 people to hear farmers, activists and politicians speak out against an expanding coal mine which is destroying a forest.

The Maules Creek project, north of Gunnedah and east of Narrabri, is the...

An Aboriginal tent embassy was set up on May 26 to reclaim the historic Redfern Block.

Veteran Aboriginal activist Jenny Munro says the Block is Aboriginal land and the Aboriginal Housing Company was wrong to clear the Aboriginal residents out of it and open it to greedy developers....

Lock the Gate released this statement on May 28.

***

The nation’s air quality has declined dramatically in the past decade and coal mining has been identified as the biggest source of harmful respiratory particles in our air, a new federal government report finds.

The...

More than 250 people gathered outside the office of the Northern Land Council in Tennant Creek and marched to the local Peko Park on May 25, protesting against the proposed radioactive waste dump at Muckaty in the Northern Territory.

The Muckaty site is part of a Land Trust, which is...

About 150 people took to the streets of Brisbane on May 24 to protest against biotechnology corporation Monsanto, one of the foremost proponents of genetically modified (GM) technologies.

The event was part of an international day of action that called for all products with genetically...

About 100 people rallied in Melbourne to call for justice for Reza Berati on May 28, the 100 day anniversary of his murder on Manus Island.

The rally called for an independent investigation of the murder, for all offshore prisons to be closed and for immigration minister Scott Morrison...

Aboriginal people and their supporters took to the streets on National Sorry Day on May 26 to protest against government departments taking Aboriginal children from their families. Actions took place in 15 towns and cities around the country.

The rally in Sydney was organised by...

Organic farmer Steve Marsh has lost his case in the Western Australian Supreme Court after seeking compensation for his crops being affected by genetically modified (GM) seeds.

Organic farmers fear the case will have dire consequences for non-GM farmers everywhere.

In a case...

Why would the victim of a brutal military dictatorship appoint someone accused of covering up the regime’s crimes as ambassador to the country in which she once sought exile?

This is the question many Chileans are asking after the new government of President Michelle Bachelet named James...

Members of a number of unions rallied outside Brisbane Magistrates Court on May 26 in support of Electrical Trades Union (ETU) Queensland and Northern Territory branch secretary Peter Simpson, who was facing charges under the Transparency and Accountability Act.

Introduced...

"This country can afford a universal healthcare system that provides access to quality health care for everyone," Judith Kiejda, assistant general secretary of the NSW Nurses and Midwives Association (NSW NMWA), told a forum at the University of Technology Sydney on May 27.

The forum,...

Tom Raue and other activists at the University of Sydney have been banned from campus for being involved in protests against foreign minister Julie Bishop.

Raue has been arbitrarily singled out for disciplinary action. Raue works on campus, and this ban might mean he loses his job....

Trade unionists and community activists held a forum called "After the budget, build the fightback" in Melbourne on May 24 organised by the Socialist Alliance to discuss joint actions to campaign against the federal budget.

The first panel featured four speakers, Paul Gilbert, acting...

The savage cuts to education announced in early May have stirred students into action across Australia.

On May 28, the University of Western Sydney Education Action Group (EAG) held a meeting on the Bankstown campus to organise students, and work with staff to defend quality tertiary...

World

The US House of Representatives disregarded regional consensus on May 28 by voting to impose sanctions against Venezuela.

The vote by acclamation was overwhelming, despite a last-ditch appeal by Michigan’s John Conyers and 13 other progressive Democrats who opposed sanctions and called...

The first Free West Papua campaign office in Australia was opened in April in Perth, signalling the growing international campaign for West Papuan self-determination. West Papua has been occupied by Indonesia since the 1960s, despite an ongoing struggle for independence.

Benny Wenda, a...

There has been a minor earthquake in Irish politics in recent days. Republican party Sinn Fein has made a breakthrough into mainstream southern Irish politics. It almost doubled its vote to 17% in municipal polls for the southern state and won more than 20% in the European election.

This...

About 300 garment workers, NGO staff, civil servants and media staged a “fashion show” at the United Sisterhood Alliance-Worker’s Information Center (US-WIC) in Phnom Penh on May 25, called “Beautiful Clothes, Ugly realities”.

As the Cambodian government still bans its opponents from...

It seems to have been decided that the best response to the success of Nigel Farage, the leader of the UK Independence Party that won 27.45% of the vote in the May European elections, is to try to copy him.

The Tories will soon reveal that one of their councillors declared that “the...

The Venezuelan government and the commune movement are taking steps to move towards the creation of what is referred to as a “communal state”, which involves community groups assuming collective control of local production and decision making.

Communes in Venezuela are formed out of...

Sudan’s people are bearing the brunt of the country’s deepening economic crisis.

According to Bella Bird, World Bank director for Somalia, Sudan and South Sudan, half the population is now living below the poverty line. Last August, Sudanese economist Hassan Satti estimated the real...

Sixty years ago, in June 1954, a CIA-orchestrated coup ousted the reformist Guatemalan government of Jacobo Arbenz Guzman. The coup installed a brutal right-wing regime and decades of bloody repression.

This event, so notorious in the annals of US imperialism, also Guevara. For it was in...

Students and staff at Jaffna University lit candles on May 21 to remember the Tamils who died in May 2009 when the Sri Lankan army carried out a genocidal onslaught in the final days of the island's decades-long civil war.

Tens of thousands of men, women and children were killed as Sri...

With right-wing parties gaining footholds throughout the world, Colombia followed suit with the far-right party, Democratic Centre (CD) winning with a narrow lead in the first round of the presidential elections on May 25. CD won just under 30% of the vote.

The election presented...

On the evening of May 23, the United States suffered another massacre of the type that has become all too familiar.

Elliot Rodger, a 22-year old student at the University of California campus in Santa Barbara went on a killing spree that left seven dead, including himself.

He...

By criticising the 2014 World Cup and the spending priorities of the Brazilian government, Brazilian football legend Pele has accomplished the rarest of feats in 21st century sports media: he has shown the capacity to shock and surprise.

“It’s clear that politically speaking, the money...

After Thailand’s military overthrew the government and seized power in a coup on May 22, its new ultraconservative rulers wasted no time in rolling out the most radical and repressive right-wing reforms the country has seen since the height of the Cold War.

Army chief General Prayuth...

The European parliamentary poll on May 25 was dominated by the victories of the xenophobic and racist National Front (FN) in France (26%, 24 Members of the European Parliament) and the United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP) in Britain (26.8%, 24 MEPs) — triggering a fit of mainstream media...

Analysis

The Australian government’s review of the February violence on Manus Island leaves critical questions unanswered and does not call for the detention camp to be closed.

Robert Cornall’s 107-page administrative review, released on May 26, includes a detailed account of 23-year-old Reza...

The demand of tens of thousands of people who marched through the streets in cities around Australia on May 18 was clear. They want the federal government’s killer budget blocked.

They want Labor, the Greens and independents to band together in the Senate to block the major bills...

Doug Jordan, a long-time socialist and union militant, who transformed himself in later life into an innovative labour historian, died on May 19 in Melbourne at the age of 63. Doug passed away after a hard struggle with cancer.

In recent years, Doug was a community activist, especially...

Resistance: Young Socialist Alliance released this statement on May 30.

***
The federal Coalition government plans to ramp up Work for the Dole for job seekers under 30.

From July 1, it will apply in 18 high unemployment regions across Australia, and will be rolled out...

Repealing the carbon tax, abolishing the department of climate change, and getting rid of the Clean Energy Fund were the top three wishes in “75 radical ideas to transform Australia”, released by the Institute of Public Affairs (IPA) in 2012. Number six was to repeal the Renewable Energy Target...

While attacking pensioners, the unemployed, single parents and the marginalised, the Coalition government has stepped up its attack on the organised.

There are two inquiries aimed at unions underway — a Productivity Commission inquiry into the Fair Work Act and the Royal Commission into...

The Royal Commission into the Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse was set up in January last year, after decades of campaigning by victims.

Led by Justice Peter McClellan, the first public hearings began in April last year and apply only to children sexually abused up to the...

You know Australian politics has reached a low point when a lunatic billionaire coal magnate driving a Rolls Royce manages to appear less heartless and out-of-touch than the government.

And yet Clive Palmer managed the feat, driving up to Parliament House in his luxury vehicle on May 27...

If you were to take Prime Minister Tony Abbott and the Coalition on face value, they appear to be against debt.

All the pain imposed on the poorest in society by the federal budget and all the cuts to education, health and welfare are justified as being necessary “medicine” to solve a...

Memo to concern trolls Annabel Crabb and Howard-era minister Amanda Vanstone: take your own advice and stop being selfish thugs and bullies. And if Fairfax journalist Crabb is going to criticise student protests for being “outdated”, she should drop the 1950s style housewife persona.

In...

Culture

In the 18th and 19th century, scientists often used themselves as guinea pigs in the course of conducting experiments to determine the causes of disease and test the efficacy of new drugs.

One of the earlier and more heroic examples comes from the Scottish physiologist and surgeon John...

There are plenty examples of sporting “droughts”, but there has never been a more harrowing athletic drought — rife with pain, pathos and perseverance — quite like that of the Palestinian national football team.

This is a national team without a recognised nation to call home; a national...

In 2012, Quebec’s student movement carried out a months-long strike, managing to push back and hold off a neoliberal government’s bid to raise tuition fees.

Repeatedly mobilising upwards of 200,000 people at monthly “mega-manifs”, the “Maple Spring” was an all-too rare win against the...

The open letter below was submitted to Prime Minister Tony Abbott on May 23 at the Australian book industry awards in Sydney. Released by the editors of literary journals Meanjin and Overland, it has been signed by dozens of writers. You can read the full list here. ...

“You may write me down in history
With your bitter, twisted lies,
You may tread me in the very dirt
But still, like dust, I’ll rise.”

So wrote Maya Angelou, in her poem “Still I Rise”. She died on May 28 at 86 at her home in North Carolina.

In remembering Maya...