Issue 1020

News

The Redfern Tent Embassy is calling for more people to show solidarity with its protest against the commercial development of the iconic Block in Sydney. "We need more males down here in particular," Embassy founder Jenny Munro told Green Left Weekly at the site on August 13. "There have been a few incidents and people are concerned for their safety at night." Maori protester Tepora Stephens, a 46-year-old former unionist who quit her job to join the protest, said the number of tents at the site was deceptive.
About 200 unionists rallied outside the Ausreo factory in Wetherill Park in western Sydney on August 7 in solidarity with 24 workers who were locked out by the company seven weeks ago. As the rally progressed, more Ausreo workers walked out to join the protest.
About 1000 people marched from parliament house to Victoria Square in Adelaide on August 2, to show opposition to the proposal to turn farmlands into gaslands. The rally and march, organised to show the danger to South Australia’s food bowl, water and tourism, was jointly organised by the Limestone Coast Protection Alliance, Stop Invasive Mining Group — Eyre Peninsula, and the Yorke Peninsula Landowners Group. It had a strong rural focus, with people travelling from all over rural and urban South Australia to attend.
The Newcastle Resistance Centre was packed to capacity on August 3 to hear Shamikh Badra speak about what is happening in his home city of Gaza. Badra said his grandfather was forced from his village in 1948 and ended up in Gaza. He described the geography of the conflict, and how Israel exploits religion to cover the fact that it is occupying Palestinian land. “In 1948,” he said, “there was no Hamas, no rockets. Yet this did not stop them from invading and committing massacres.”
SYRIZA member and journalist Afrodity Giannakis spoke in Melbourne on July 22 on Greek socialists' struggle to clear a new path out of the wilderness of austerity. SYRIZA is Greece's largest left-wing party. Giannakis described Greece as "a society stripped of democratic illusions, where workers are compelled to labour for months on the promise of future wages while shipowners evade taxes through tailored loopholes.
Two young people who died in their car on July 25 after using a gas heater to keep warm had been homeless for some time. Dr Bruce Redman from the Salvation Army told the Ballarat Courier after the discovery of their bodies: “The Salvos are finding more and more people who are resorting to live in their cars because of a lack of affordable accommodation options. “When it's summer, people tend to sleep on the beach or in their cars and no one really notices. But when it's cold, most people expect to have a roof over their heads, somewhere where they can stay warm.”
The Lock the Gate Alliance released this statement on August 7. *** About 30 farmers and residents of villages in the Gloucester Valley held a protest vigil on August 7 at the site where AGL plans to frack for coal seam gas on farmland in the area, vowing to begin a sustained campaign of peaceful direct action to stop the work after the NSW government failed to act on long-standing community concerns about the impacts of the project.
Students and staff at the University of Wollongong (UOW) held a forum on August 7 to discuss the impact the higher education cuts proposed by the federal government would have on the university. The forum was organised by UOW Uncut, a new group of staff and students who are campaigning against the funding cuts. The anger was palpable among the 60 people who attended the forum, chaired by UOW National Tertiary Education Union branch president Joanne Buckskin, and addressed by NTEU NSW secretary Genevieve Kelly, staff member Alexander Brown, and student Ben Kohler.

Analysis

As civilian casualties climb from its brutal assault on Gaza, Israel has met growing condemnation for the carnage from human rights groups and many governments. In Latin America, the response has been especially strong. Since Israel began its assault a month ago, El Savador, Chile, Peru, Brazil and Ecuador have withdrawn their ambassadors in protest.
Here is the latest “deal” from the self-proclaimed Captain of Team Australia that you are not allowed to refuse: He'll withdraw his law change that will give people the right to be bigots and in return his spooks will have access to the past two years of your metadata. My meta-whaaat???
The largest coalmine ever built in Australia, and one of the biggest in the world, received final approval from the federal environment minister Greg Hunt on July 28. The Carmichael coalmine in central Queensland, owned by Indian company Adani, is forecast to produce 60 million tonnes of coal a year over the next 60 years. This dwarfs Australia’s current largest mine, which produces 20 million tonnes a year.
The gains of the first and second waves of the women’s liberation movement were groundbreaking. Yet in Australia today, 14% of women live below the poverty line. Why? The answer is that since the 1970s, and as part of the overall neoliberal offensive, Labor and Coalition governments have both presided over cuts to funding of women’s services, attacks on child care, education, health, and aged and disability care. New threats are also being posed to women’s reproductive rights.
The social welfare cuts proposed in the federal government's May budget are a direct attack on working people and the poor. If implemented, they would represent a huge shift in income from the poor to the rich. This harsh reality is backed up by partial figures released by Treasury to Fairfax Media under Freedom of Information.
In the same week that employment minister Eric Abetz announced the government would expand Work for the Dole to all job seekers under 50 and that job seekers would have to apply for double the number of jobs than previously, billionaire miner Andrew Forrest released his own recommendations for welfare reform — some of the most punitive ever proposed.
The 157 Tamil refugees who refused “a very good” deal to be deported to India now face the orchestrated despair of detention on Nauru. The refugees were delivered to Nauru on August 2 without the knowledge of their lawyers and reportedly showing “clear signs of manhandling and trauma”. Human rights lawyer George Newhouse said he had “not had the opportunity to inform our clients of their rights and options.
Ten years ago, on August 13 2004, the John Howard government, with the support of the Labor Party, passed legislation that defined marriage as between a man and a woman. Queer people did not have the right to marry before the legislation was passed, but the new definition was brought in to close any loopholes and make it explicit that the Coalition government did not support civil rights for gay and lesbian people.
The serious financial fraud that surfaced in the scandal-ridden Health Services Union (HSU) provided the federal government with a handy excuse to establish the Royal Commission into Trade Union Governance and Corruption. Although the commission has powers wide enough to inquire into all unions, the HSU is one of five organisations specifically mentioned in its terms of reference alongside the Australian Workers Union, Communications Electrical Plumbing Union, Construction Forestry Mining Energy Union, and the Transport Workers Union.
A bill targeting protests in Tasmania’s forests was passed in the Tasmanian lower house on June 26. It is due to be introduced to the upper house when parliament sits again this month.
“Everybody needs to be part of Team Australia,” said Prime Minister Tony Abbott, raising one very big question: which prick gave Abbott a DVD player and a copy of the South Park makers’ joke film Team America? Coz that kinda shit is not funny. Seriously, this guy makes laws. Don’t go fucking around with hilarious practical jokes like this, coz next thing you know it will be a real government program. As, indeed, it already is.
Former prime minister Bob Hawke is urging Australia to become the world's nuclear waste dump. But he has little hope of succeeding.

This was a speech given to a forum hosted by the Resistance – Young Socialist Alliance student club at the University of Western Sydney on August 7. *** As I speak now, the people in Gaza are facing death or dispossession while other Palestinians are living under harsh conditions imposed by the apartheid state of Israel.

World

More than 1000 Palestinian citizens of Israel have been arrested by the Israeli police since the country's military offensive in Gaza began in early July, Al Jazeera said on August 5. The article said the figure came from a lawyer representing a number of the detainees. Dozens are currently being held without charge. Al Jazeera said many say they have been detained based on policemen's "lies", while some have been beaten to the point of needing medical care.
Eoin O’Broin is an activist with Irish republic party Sinn Fein. He is on the South Dublin County Council and is also a member the party's  Ard Comhairle  (national executive). Two Sinn Fein leaders, party Vice President and TD Mary Lou McDonald and MP Franci Molloy, are touring Australia and speaking in Perth, Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane from August 30 to September 7. You can book tickets here.
Friends of the Earth International wrote an account of the climate meeting organised by the Venezuelan government in July, which is abridged, from the FOEI website, below. read the Margarita Declaration the meeting adopted here. * * *
Last minute talks between Argentina and predatory US hedge funds failed to reach agreement on July 29, effectively pushing the country into default. Argentinian economy minister Axel Kicillof confirmed that no deal had been reached. This made it inevitable that the country would be unable to meet its repayment obligations by midnight, placing the country in default for the second time in 13 years. Kicillof said that two hedge funds that bought Argentine bonds at knockdown rates from the previous default and then demanded full payment, had refused to compromise.
Today the struggle for people of conscience appears to be less about convincing people that Israel is committing war crimes against Palestinians or grossly violating international law. Instead, the struggle has become about convincing the world that Palestinians are human beings too. The ongoing televised genocidal attack on Palestinians in Gaza by the Israeli army makes one wonder what the situation would have been like if global powers and mainstream voices saw Palestinians as human beings.
Under the unfortunately red-hot slogan: “Stand up for Peace — In Solidarity”, about 300 participants and many day guests from nearby Berlin and Brandenburg came together from July 23 to 27 for the Ninth Summer University of the European Left. Constructive, concentrated, and communicative, people from at least 32 countries worked together during this unique annual event of the Party of the European Left and Transform! Europe.
Israel's latest military onslaught, Operation Protective Edge, resumed on August 8 with fresh bombings that killed a child and injured 15 other Palestinians, teleSUR's Gaza correspondent Noor Harazeen reported that day. It came after Israel refused Palestinian demands to lift its crippling siege — an essential move to give the battered Gaza Strip any hope of recovery.
The United States launched a second round of bombings in northern Iraq on August 8. Earlier on Augus 7, the US jet fighters bombed areas close to the Kurdish town of Erbil. The US government has said they would be limited to a defensive response, but with the second round, the bombings appears to have intensified. The US military is using an armed drone and four warplanes to bomb artillery positions and a vehicle convoy near the beleaguered city of Irbil, the Pentagon said.
“This political force should be liquidated,” said Pavlo Petrenko, Ukraine’s justice minister, quoted in the July 9 edition of Capital (Kiev’s equivalent of the Australian Financial Review). Petrenko was referring to the Communist Party of Ukraine (CPU). For a time in the 1990s, it was the most supported party in Ukraine and it still won 13% of the vote at the 2012 parliamentary poll.
Many commentators have written about the growing divide in the United States between capitalists and workers (and other producers) ― although they eschew the terms “capitalists” and “workers”. They prefer to talk about levels of income and wealth abstracted from the role different classes play in the production process. Nevertheless, their figures give an insight into the real growing disparity between the two main classes under the capitalist system, which was first brought to national attention by the Occupy movement in 2011.
Cuba calls for US to end covert operations The Cuban government has called on Washington to halt hostile covert operations against it, the Morning Star said on August 7. An Associated Press investigation revealed that a US government program had sent young Latin Americans to Cuba on political missions posing as AIDS-awareness workshop organisers.
Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa has decided to cancel his visit to Israel, where he had planned meetings with government officials, including Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, teleSUR English said on August 6. Correa cancelled the visit in protest against the atrocities being committed by Israeli forces against the people of Gaza.
In an article titled, “Arrest Gideon Levy and Haneen Zoabi,” Matti Golan, a columnist for the Israeli business daily Globes, has called for the establishment of camps modeled after the internment camps the United States established in World War II. Golan wrote that Levy, a dissident Israeli journalist who writes for Haaretz; Palestinian member of the Knesset Zoabi and Amira Hass, Haaretz’s other dissenting journalist; should all be rounded up since they are “agitators.”
Palestine solidarity activists in Britain declared victory on August 4 after the National Executive Council of the Nation Union of Students voted to pass a motion in solidarity with Palestine, and for an arms embargo against Israel, Electronic Intifada reported the next day. The NEC motion condemned Israel’s lethal assault on and blockade of the Gaza Strip.
The following statement by the Network in Defence of Humanity -- in defense of Palestine and encouraging people to join the boycott, divestment and sanctions campaign targetting Israel -- has been signed by Bolivian President Evo Morales, former Honduran president Mel Zelaya, Nobel peace prize winner Adolfo Perez Esquivel, Uruguayan author Eduardo Galeano, Cuban musician Silvio Rodriguez and many more (see list below).
One hundred years ago, fighting broke out among the great powers of Europe, launching what has become known as World War I. The brutal conflict, which lasted more than four years, proved to be a decisive turning point for humanity and the socialist movement — its effects still felt strongly today.

Culture

A dove that flew off just after the fall of Afghan Buddha Didn’t have enough Unoccupied airspace Unoccupied skies To flap its wings to restart the heart beats gone numb Of zillions resting in Graves Segregated apart as For the occupant and by the ccupied. The names on the tombstones of the graves of the occupied Could later become undecipherable, Though they Far outnumber that of the occupants. Hope the dead never wake up, to scrutinize their underrepresented statistics, to check the word limit of reports from Gaza,
Revolutionary Minded 4 Marcel Cartier Released July 26, 2014 http://bit.ly/1qYcIQ7 US rapper Marcel Cartier's lines usually ring out with the clarity of a clarion call - and the messages on his latest album are as loud and clear as ever. As he tells Green Left Weekly's Mat Ward, much of the material comes from first-hand experience with struggles around the world.
Jan Woolf is the cultural coordinator of the No Glory in War campaign, a group that seeks to counter the celebratory narrative of the British government’s commemorations of World War I. She spoke to online radical cultural Red Wedge Magaize about the campaign’s use of art and media — both past and present — to communicate its message. It is abridged from Red Wedge Magazine. *** Why was No Glory started?
The Ghetto Fights, Warsaw 1943-45 Marek Edelman Bookmarks, 2013 98 pp., $14.00 “Through the din of German cannons, destroying the homes of our mothers, wives and children; through the noise of their machine guns, seized by us in the fight against the cowardly German police and SS men; through the smoke of the Ghetto, that was set on fire, and the blood of its mercilessly killed defenders, we, the slaves of the Ghetto, convey heartfelt greetings to you.”

Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal

'Salvador Allende: Revolutionary Democrat' reviewed Laurence Goodchild writes that, in a succinct and well-researched book, Victor Figueroa Clark provides a vivid account of former Chilean president Salvador Allende’s life. Clark also provides much needed historical context to Allende’s Popular Unity government, and addresses his political strategy in a manner relevant to the contemporary “pink tide” in Latin America. Ukraine debate dominates European Left