Issue 1024

Australia

Scientists at the CSIRO have published research that shows there is a 99.999% chance that rising temperatures are caused by human activity.

Writing in The Conversation they say: “Ignoring the problem is no longer an option.”

Rallies were held in cities around Australia on August 30 to demand the extradition to Chile of former Pinochet regime secret police agent Adriana Rivas.

This follows revelations shown on SBS last year about her involvement in repression of political prisoners as a member of the National Intelligence Agency of Chile during 1976-77.

The University of New South Wales acting vice chancellor Iain Martin cancelled a Town Hall meeting on September 3, organised to brief staff on the University’s response to proposed fee deregulation.

UNSW students had planned to protest their exclusion from the meeting.

In cancelling the meeting, Martin told staff: “We have been advised this morning by police and security that the meeting was being targeted by protest groups, which we understand were predominately external to UNSW. Our advice is that the intention was to disrupt the Town Hall.”

The third round of March Australia rallies were held over the weekend of August 30 to 31. More than 40,000 people were estimated to have marched in 40 events around the country.

Participants were marching about issues that included budget cuts, refugees, education, welfare and the environment.

People gathered outside the World Bank office in Sydney on September 5 to protest the bank’s involvement in an Australian mining company’s attempt to sue the government of El Salvador for US$301 million.

Pacific Rim, a Canadian company that was bought by Australian OceanaGold last year, applied to mine gold in northern El Salvador in 2004. The Salvadoran government refused it permission, arguing the company did not own or have rights to the land it proposed to mine, it did not have environmental permissions and it did not submit a final feasibility study for the project.

Two representatives from Irish republican party Sinn Fein toured Australia from August to September 7, speaking to hundreds of people at public meetings about the campaign for Irish reunification.

Sinn Fein vice-president and member of the Dail (Irish parliament) Mary Lou McDonald and Sinn Fein MP for Mid-Ulster in Ireland's north Francie Molloy, spoke in support of the campaign to end partition and unite the six counties still claimed by Britain with the 26 counties that make up the southern state in a democratic republic.

24-YEAR-OLD ASYLUM SEEKER DECLARED BRAIN DEAD

DETAINEES ACCUSE IMHS

The Refugee Action Coalition released the statement below today.

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A 24 year-old Iranian asylum seeker, Hamid Kehazaei, who was urgently medivacced from Manus Island to Brisbane on Wednesday, August 27 has been declared "brain dead".

By the time Hamid was medivacced to Brisbane, he was suffering septicaemia, from an infection spreading from a cut foot, and went directly into intensive care in the Mater hospital. He had sought medical attention for days on Manus Island for the pain and the infection.

World

Palestinian boycott hitting Israel's economy

In the last two months, Palestinians across the West Bank have begun heeding calls to boycott Israeli goods in increasing numbers as popular campaigns have taken to the street to promote the campaign, Ma’an News Agency said on August 28.

Economic analysts say the campaign could potentially have a major negative effect on the Israeli economy. It could also buoy the Palestinian economy.

US woman with four jobs dies while napping

“A New Jersey woman who worked four jobs, who sometimes 'wouldn’t sleep for five days' according to a co-worker, died Monday while napping between shifts in her car on the side of the road.

Maria Fernandes died in her 2001 Kia Sportage after inhaling carbon monoxide and fumes from an overturned gas container she kept in the car ...

In the months leading up to Ecuador’s October 2006 presidential election, the US Embassy in Quito claimed to be impartial.

Rather than supporting one particular candidate, then-US ambassador Linda Jewell said the embassy only wanted to help facilitate “a fair and transparent electoral process”.

Protests are continuing in the Missouri town of Ferguson and across the country for justice for the family of Michael Brown, the unarmed Black teenager shot dead by a police officer on August 9, and against police violence and racism.

Below is an abridged September 3 US Socialist Worker editorial on the struggle.

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The graffiti in Ferguson, Missouri tells a story.

Since the two-party political establishment in the Spanish state ― the People’s Party (PP) of prime minister Mariano Rajoy and the Spanish Socialist Workers Party (PSOE) ― got less than 50% in the May 25 European elections, its nightmares have been getting scarier.

The spectre disturbing their sleep is Podemos, the political expression of the indignado movement that in May 2011 exploded against austerity and corruption and for “real democracy”.

There is a political movement in Scotland that is quite beyond anything containable by or even comprehensible through the terms of conventional parliamentary, tick-some-scoundrel's-name-every-four-years politics.

Many of us have had our political senses so numbed for so long by broken promises of change that it’s taken a long time for people to wake up to this fact.

More than 3000 landless families occupied the Santa Monica farm in Brazil on August 31.

The farm, registered in the name of businessperson and Brazilian Democratic Movement Party Senator Eunicio Oliveira, is a complex of more than 20,000 hectares. It is self-declared as unproductive.

The occupation was organised by the Landless Workers' Movement (MST), a powerful Brazilian social movement that fights for land for the poor.

On November 27, 1095, a speech by Pope Urban II at the Council of Clermont used allegations of the persecution of Christians in the Holy Land to launch a series of military adventures by the warrior aristocracies of feudal Christian Western Europe against the Muslim civilisations of the Middle East.

The ensuing two centuries of religious wars, or Crusades, were characterised by land-grabbing, plunder and the massacre of Muslims, Jews and non-Catholic Christians.

For the West's masters of war, it's a good time to be in Wales. A military alliance that has struggled for years to explain why it still exists, NATO has got a packed agenda for its September 4 and 5 Newport summit.

NATO may not be at the centre of US President Barack Obama and British Prime Minister David Cameron's plans to ramp up intervention in the Middle East and wipe the so-called Islamic state “out of existence”. But after 13 years of bloody occupation of Afghanistan and a calamitous intervention in Libya, the Western alliance has got an enemy that at last seems to fit its bill.

“World leaders are failing to address the worst ever Ebola epidemic, and states with biological-disaster response capacity, including civilian and military medical capability, must immediately dispatch assets and personnel to West Africa,” international health NGO Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) said in a September 2 statement.

One week after an August 26 ceasefire halting an Israeli military offensive against the Gaza Strip, tens of thousands of Palestinians remained displaced, sheltered in United Nations schools and other facilities.

On September 1, 58,071 people still lived in 36 UN schools across the coastal enclave, according to Chris Gunness, spokesperson for UNRWA, the UN agency for Palestine refugees.

Israel’s 51-day onslaught damaged 15,670 houses, including 2276 completely destroyed, and up to 500,000 Palestinians were displaced.

Analysis

The United Motorcycle Council has taken the Queensland government to the High Court to challenge the Vicious Lawless Association Disestablishment (VLAD) Act.

Introduced last year, the laws make it an offence for more than three members of an outlawed group to meet in public. Penalties include six months to three years in solitary confinement for being “associates” of a designated motorcycle club.

We should never forget the image of Treasurer Joe Hockey and finance minister Mathias Cormann smirking as they announced the end of the mining tax introduced by the former Labor government.

Along with that other image of them enjoying their post-budget cigars, they should be preserved as evidence for the day when the exploiters and oppressors face justice.

A 24 year-old Iranian asylum seeker, Hamid Khazaei, who was flown from Manus Island to Brisbane in a medical emergency on August 27, was declared “brain dead” on September 1. His life support was switched off and he died on September 5.

The Refugee Action Coalition in Sydney reported: “By the time Hamid was sent to Brisbane, he was suffering septicaemia from an infection spreading from a cut foot and went directly into intensive care in the Mater hospital. He had sought medical attention for days on Manus Island for the pain and the infection.

A petition is calling on the Monash University Clubs and Societies Executive to overturn its decision to deregister the Socialist Alternative Club.

The text of the petition is below. Click here to sign the petition.

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Australian resident Natalie Lowrey was refused entry into Malaysia on August 31. She was travelling as an observer to the trial of 15 environmental activists who were arrested for protesting against Australian rare earth mining company Lynas.

On arrival in Malaysia, Lowrey was held by customs officials who said she had been blacklisted by Bukit Aman — the police headquarters in Kuala Lumpur — and that she would be deported home. Lowrey was informed of a strict denial of entry to Malaysia. No reasons were given.

Forty thousand people marched against the federal government and its budget in over 30 locations on the weekend of August 30-31. This was smaller than the three similar mobilisations in March, May and July, but shows there is still a strong community sentiment against the budget.

All campaigns have ups and downs — no grassroots movement ever grows continually upwards. The smaller numbers reflect the fact that the initial raw anger against the budget has passed. To maintain a campaign in this context, people need to have confidence that their efforts can bear fruit.

Medicare is 30 years old and is the scheme that publicly funds Australia’s universal health care system. Medicare has always generated political conflict. From 1972 to 1984 Australia became the first developed country to introduce a universal health care system (under Gough Whitlam), then discard it (under Malcolm Fraser).

In those 12 years Australia tried, on five separate occasions, to balance public and private insurance schemes. Finally, in 1984, the Bob Hawke government reintroduced a universal health care system, Medicare.

Evil is one of those strange things isn't it? It is a very particular characteristic that always seems to be found in people who just happen to be in places our governments really want to bomb.

Nick Riemer gave this speech to the March Australia rally in Sydney on August 31. He is an activist with the Refugee Action Coalition.

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The Gadigal and the other first peoples of this country were — and still are — the objects of a relentless war of attrition.

That merciless frontier war has been hidden and denied. Another war that the government tries to conceal and rationalise away is its war on asylum seekers.

Anti-war groups IPAN-NSW, Stop the War Coalition, Australian Anti-Bases Campaign Coalition, Marrickville Peace Group and People for Nuclear Disarmament (WA) released this statement on September 5.

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Both major Australian political parties are once again standing shoulder-to-shoulder with the US, in support of what amounts to a new military intervention in Iraq.

The process began with the dropping of humanitarian aid supplies to the Yezidi. It has now moved on to the delivery of weapons and munitions to Kurdish Peshmerga forces.

The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) fought for an independent Tamil homeland in the north and east of the island of Sri Lanka.

The group was formed in response to discrimination against the Tamil people by the Sri Lankan government, after peaceful protests had been repeatedly met with violent repression. It waged an armed struggle for nearly three decades.

The LTTE was militarily defeated in 2009, and no longer exists. Yet people are still being penalised for alleged links with the group. This is happening in Sri Lanka, in Australia, and in other countries.

Domestic violence is the only criminal charge that is increasing in NSW. In Australia, one woman dies from it every week and one is hospitalised every three hours. Under such circumstances, one would hope the political will would exist to increase funding for services proven to help vulnerable women at risk.

Instead, the NSW government is reducing 336 existing services to just 149 services run by 69 lead agencies, 75% of which are Christian organisations.

The Socialist Alliance released this statement on August 29.

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"The Independent Commission Against Corruption's uncovering of corrupt political dealings between corporations and the two major parties in NSW shouldn't come as a surprise,” said Susan Price on August 29.

Price is standing as a candidate for the Socialist Alliance in the new seat of Summer Hill on a platform of “People before Profit — NSW is not for sale”.

“It’s socialism for the rich and capitalism for the rest of us in Britain” writes Owen Jones in an article in the Guardian on August 29.

Jones’ argument is based on the bailouts given to the banks and subsidies given to big businesses by the British government in the aftermath of the 2008 global financial crisis. These government bailouts allowed the banks to survive, but individuals suffered and received limited government intervention or support.

Culture

A diverse range of musical acts from Brisbane and the Gold Coast are uniting in support of asylum seekers at the “Freedom Seeker: Roots, rock, reggae for refugees” concert at the New Globe on September 14 starting at 3pm.

Lending their songs and voices to the call for the Australian government to abide by it obligations to refugees, the concert is raising money for refugee advocacy and assistance through the Refugee Action Collective (RAC) and the Refugee and Immigration Legal Service (RAILS).

The lineup includes Big Iron, Rivermouth, The Phil Monsour Band, The Molotov and Andy Dub.

The Art of Silent Protest
September 17-30
11am-4pm (opening night 6pm)
The Snug
447 High St, Northcote.
Free entry

The Art of Silent Protest is a new exhibition as part of the Melbourne Fringe Festival.

In view of new laws, a collective of Australian creative people have responded to this question. They use the form of the placard to “explore notions of change and the visual impact of the art of activism”.

I am the founder of “Reality Records” and a 24-year-old indigenous Australian with a strong cultural background. I am asking your assistance in helping indigenous artists ― not only from Australia but around the world ― have their music recorded and produced.

I see a shortage of indigenous music around the world, particularly in Australia, and I believe this provides a unique opportunity. My record label aims to help address this shortage by:

• Bringing people together in a positive and creative environment;
• Teaching people new skills and self confidence;

Global Imperialism & the Great Crisis: the Uncertain Future of Capitalism
Ernesto Screpanti
Monthly Review Press, 2014
New York, 256 pages

The goal of Ernesto Screpanti’s new book is to theoretically elaborate a model of a new phase of imperialism.

Screpanti’s argument is that the kind of imperialism written about by the likes of Russian revolutionary V.I. Lenin belongs more and more to the past. Although the work of people like Lenin retain relevance, Screpanti argues a new kind of imperialism has been taking shape over the past two decades.

Blue Volume
Joelistics
Released June 20, 2014
Elefant Traks
www.joelistics.com

The flawless music on Joelistics' second solo album is more than matched by the depth of his lyrics - an unflinching look at Australian reality. Green Left Weekly's Mat Ward went through the words with the rapper, who brings some much-needed grit to Australian hip-hop.

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On "Say I'm Good" you rap:

I'm an oddball, on the wrong team
All my friends are out of step with the mainstream
And the nightmare is in full swing

Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal

Kurds search for unity amid fight to defeat Islamic State

Across northern Syria and Iraq, Kurdish forces are locked in fierce battles with the murderous Islamic State (IS) armed force, writes Dave Holmes. Whether directly or indirectly, the whole Kurdish people is being drawn into this struggle.

Ireland: Gerry Adams reflects on 20th anniversary of IRA cessation