Issue 1022

Australia

"At the end of my tour of Australia, I would like to give thanks to all the unionists and supporters of Cuba who have assisted in telling the story of the unjustly jailed Cuban Five," Aili Labanino-Cardoso, daughter of Ramon Labanino, one of five Cubans imprisoned in the US on conspiracy charges...

The National Union of Students (NUS) organised a national day of action on August 20 against the federal government's changes to tertiary education.

Students were protesting against the proposals in the federal budget that would lift the cap on fees, increase interest on HECS loans, and...

A protest against the opening night of the Israeli Film Festival went ahead in Sydney despite a successful police gag application.

Palestine Action Group organised the peaceful public assembly to draw attention to Israel's occupation of Palestine.

The NSW Supreme Court ruled on...

Progressive activists are concerned about reported unprincipled deal-making in the upcoming elections for the new University of Sydney Student Representative Council.

The Sydney University student newspaper Honi Soit reported the Socialist Alternative Sydney University club had...

More than 300 concerned citizens took part in a peaceful people’s picket on August 19 at Tasmania’s parliament house to protest against a bill that would ban the right to protest.

The Workplaces (Protection from Protesters) Bill, introduced by the state Liberal government,...

“Hyperactivity around security legislation is unprecedented,” Professor Jude McCulloch told a public forum in Melbourne on August 21.

"Between 2001 and 2007 when Howard was defeated, the parliament passed 44 anti-terror laws – one every seven weeks.

“Many legal experts have...

Protesters took to the streets of Melbourne on August 16 to condemn human rights abuses by Saudi Arabia and to call for the release of Shia cleric Ayatollah Nimr Baqr al-Nimr, who has been sentenced to death by crucifixion and beheading for calling for religious freedom in the kingdom.

...

The National Tertiary Education Union at the University of Technology Sydney (UTS) took strike action on August 20 after negotiations with UTS management around an enterprise bargaining agreement (EBA) stalled.

Staff and students held a picket line at the city campus and asked students...

The Socialist Alternative club at the University of Western Australia had its “club privileges” suspended on August 13. In effect, this amounts to a suspension of the club's affiliation to the Student Guild, which could be a prelude to complete disaffiliation.

The issue seems to have...

A vibrant student march against the federal government’s education cuts hit the streets of Newcastle on August 20.

At least half of the 180 protesters were high school students who had walked out of classes, some in defiance of threats of detention and suspension, to join the protest....

A group of women gathered in protest outside the Wicked Campers depot on August 16.

Wicked Campers is a Brisbane-based company that rents out tourist camping vans. The company has been criticised for the misogynist, racist and homophobic slogans that are painted on its vans.

The...

Stop CSG Sydney has launched a campaign to extinguish the coal seam gas (CSG) exploration licence (PEL 463) covering most of metropolitan Sydney, home to about 4 million people.

The group formed in 2011 when residents discovered that Arrow Energy was about to drill at a waste site in the...

Recent months have seen repeated and unprecedented attacks on the unemployed and other income support recipients, with the federal budget and McLure and Forrest Reviews proposing cuts to payments for job-seekers, restricting access to the Disability Support Pension, and expanding Work for the...

World

El Salvador approves progressive tax reforms

El Salvador’s National Legislative Assembly passed a package of tax reforms on July 31, CISPES.org said on August 13. The laws aim to shifting the fiscal burden from the nation’s poor majority to the wealthy elite and ease the...

Since Ecuador's president Lucio Gutierrez was ousted from power in 2005, relations between Ecuador and the United States have deteriorated with the Andean nation’s increasing rejection of US hegemony.

The government of Rafael Correa, first elected president in 2006, has embraced regional...

About 30 international guests and 120 shop stewards from the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA) met over August 7 to 10 in Johannesburg to discuss building a new, left alternative to the ruling African National Congress (ANC).

This challenge to the ANC by the country’...

The morning after Lailat al-Qadr, the death toll in Gaza was approaching its first 1000.

Al-Qadr ― the night before the last Friday in the holy month of Ramadan ― is believed to be the night when the Quran was revealed to the prophet Muhammad.

I spent this special night with...

As a Palestinian political activist living in present-day Israel, Tareq Yassin, 23, has grown accustomed to racist intimidation and threats of violence.

Yassin, secretary of the left-wing Hadash political party’s student wing at the University of Haifa, has been repeatedly targeted for...

Venezuela's communication minister Delcy Rodriguez has condemned “racial discrimination” in the United States. Responding to the police shooting of unarmed black teenager Michael Brown, Rodriguez said the incident was symptomatic of a broader problem.

She said: “In the United States more...

Across Venezuela, commune activists are creating regional Presidential Councils of Communal Governance in order to play an greater role in the management of local and regional affairs in conjunction with national authorities.

Communes in Venezuela are made up of representatives of groups...

In the past few weeks, several large protest movements have rocked the Untied States political establishment and the elites it represents. These social explosions seem limited and separate, but they symbolise the growing contradictions of US society and the possibilities of mass struggles in the...

The Venezuelan government has released images of the “Hugo Chavez” shelter, where incoming Palestinian child refugees of the Israeli assault of the Gaza Strip will be housed, Venezuela Analysis said on August 16.

President Nicolas Maduro made the pledge last month to shelter Palestinian...

In an action that has reverberated around the world and inspired pro-Palestinian activists, five days of pickets by activists prevented a ship from the Israeli shipping company Zim Integrated Shipping Services from unloading almost any of its cargo at the port of Oakland.

The blockade...

The US has been carrying out air-strikes in Iraq since August 8 for the first time since officially ending their occupation at the end of 2011.

The strikes were aimed at the extremely violent multinational terrorist group previously known as Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, but which...

“Hands up! Don't shoot!”

This slogan was taken up by community protesters right after the murder of 18-year-old African American Michael Brown by police in the St Louis suburb of Ferguson, Missouri, on August 9.

Brown had his hands up in surrender and shouted “Don’t Shoot!” when...

Venezuelan ambassador to Egypt, Juan Antonio Hernandez, said on August 20 that an Israeli aircraft attacked the Venezuelan humanitarian delegation in Rafah along the border post between Egypt and Palestine, Venezuela Analysis said the next day.

The delegation was delivering 12 tons of...

Independent media organisation Your World News published the following open letter to the United Nations on August 21.

***

August 21, 2014

Dr. Ivan Šimonović

760 United Nations Plaza,

New York, New York 10017,
Ebola victims women
United States...

In New York, "Peoples Power Assemblies" and their allies called an emergency anti-police brutality demonstration on August 18. It came amid ongoing national protests against the police killing of unarmed Black teenager Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri on August 9, and the police killing of...

The Bolivarian Alliance of the Peoplke's of Our America (ALBA) released a statement on August 19 expressing its solidarity with the African descent communities of Missouri and with the familiy of Michael Brown, the unarmed teenager shot dead by police on August 9.

ALBA is an anti-...

Analysis

Save Medicare Sydney, a campaign group committed to defending universal public health care, is calling on the Australian Medical Association (AMA) and the Palmer United Party to reject any compromise over the federal government's proposed $7 GP co-payment.

The AMA released an alternative...

The age of entitlement might be over for some, but the spooks are not among them. There are six security and intelligence services in Australia, the largest of which is the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO).

In 2004, it was getting by with 700 staff and a budget of $...

I'm 16 years old. I identify as queer and am in year 11 in high school.

While I go to a tolerant and progressive school, there are many students like me who do not enjoy this privilege. For people like me, school can be the most dangerous place to be. For people like me, mental health...

For the fifth time since their election in September last year, thousands of Australians will take to the streets in protest against Tony Abbott Coalition's government.

These mobilisations have been critical to keep the pressure on the Labor Party, Greens and independents to stand firm...

What does it say about Australian politics when a mining billionaire who rides around in a Rolls Royce becomes the people’s champion in parliament?

The Palmer United Party (PUP), formed and largely funded by Clive Palmer, continues to disrupt the two-party game played by most politicians...

The recent media attention given to the case of “baby Gammy” — the child of an Australian couple born to a surrogate mother in Thailand, and left in her care by his parents allegedly because he was born with a disability — has led to suggestions that rules around surrogacy should be changed....

The release of up to 150 children under the age of 10 from residential detention is not a humanitarian move by the government, in case you were wondering.

Immigration minister Scott Morrison claimed that issuing bridging visas to 150 children and their families to live in the community...

The total number of jobs now advertised across Australia is about 133,000. This is the labour market for the 790,000 unemployed looking for work — and it will get a lot worse before it ever gets better.

In the financial year to June, private sector wages rose by just 2.4%, the lowest...

Should Scotland’s people decide to separate from Britain in next month’s independence referendum, the English establishment may well be very unhappy with Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott, whose recent ham-fisted attack on Scottish nationalism appears to have given the Yes campaign a boost...

Premier Mike Baird’s apology to the people of NSW, delivered after the resignation of two Newcastle Liberal MPs, is about as sincere as Treasurer Joe Hockey’s mea culpa to the poor.

Baird’s statement that the Liberal Party would not contest the byelections caused by the...

The thing that really gets me about Australian politics right now is not just that we are getting so severely screwed, it’s that we are getting screwed by such dingbats.

I mean, you cannot check the news on any given day without being smacked in the face with the latest utter insanity...

I was walking towards Sydney's Verona Cinema – where the pro-Palestine protesters were holding a peaceful protest, despite heavy police intervention, calling for a boycott of the Israeli Film Festival that was being launched there – when a man in a suit shouted at me: “How many heads did you...

Culture

Flashboys
By Michael Lewis
W. W. Norton, 2014
288 pp, $39.99

Michael Lewis's Flashboys has had a dramatic welcome in the United States. It swept to the top of the best seller list and was only knocked from its perch by Thomas Piketty’s...

Dozens of artists, musicians and writers from around the world have signed the open letter below, such as hip-hop artist Boots Riley and music journalist and Red Wedge Magazine editor Alexander Billet. It is reprinted from Red Wedge Magazine, where the full list of names can be found.

...

Big Kitty Life
MC Dukebox
Released December 2013
Impossible Odds Records
www.dukebox.net.au

MC Dukebox says he named his debut album "Big Kitty Life" because he was sick of seeing government funds misspent.

"It's referring to a big...