Issue 1028

News

Media statement by Sydney Stop CSG Stop CSG Sydney President Pip Hinman has welcomed Marrickville Council's decision at its meeting tonight to support the campaign to extinguish the CSG licence covering the whole of the Sydney basin. The unanimous council decision came on the same day as the Minister for Energy and Resources Anthony Roberts announced he had cancelled three PELs in NSW.
A community protest has condemned the assault of a 26-year-old woman on the Upfield train in Melbourne on September 25. The woman was attacked by a female passenger as the train pulled into Batman Station in North Coburg, and then thrown from the carriage while the train was still moving. The assault was accompanied by racist and Islamophobic abuse directed at victim. Community activists gathered at the station on October 1 to condemn the racist attack.
Fossil Free Sydney University released this statement on September 25. *** In a historic referendum at the University of Sydney, voters overwhelmingly supported fossil fuel divestment. Eighty percent of the students demanded the Vice-Chancellor commit to divesting from fossil fuels. In a first step last August the University froze further investment in all fossil fuels, pending review and consultation with stakeholders. Since then, all major student representative organisations have called upon the University to divest in full.
Since 1971 the Leadbeater's possum has been a faunal emblem of Victoria. This possum is now critically endangered due to loss of habitat from decades of clearfell logging and bushfires. The Leadbeater's possum is restricted to small pockets of remnant old growth mountain ash forests in the Central Highlands of Victoria, north-east of Melbourne.
As well as forcing people to wait until the age of 70 before reaching the retirement age, the federal Coalition government also intends to push these septuagenarians into poverty. The retirement pension for a single person is currently set at 27.7% of Male Total Average Weekly Earnings (MTAWE) and is indexed every six months. The National Commission of Audit set up by Treasurer Joe Hockey in October last year has conveniently provided the government with a recommendation to reduce this rate.
Residents and supporters of the Save Millers Point campaign protested outside the auction of another public housing property on October 8. About 30 protesters gathered outside Ray White Real Estate in Double Bay, holding placards and chanting, "Aristocrats, shame on you."
NSW’s Chief Scientist and Engineer, Professor Mary O'Kane, released the final report on her review into coal seam gas (CSG) in the state on September 30. Former premier Barry O’Farrell commissioned the review 18 months ago in response to intense public opposition to the industry.
Progressive activists are contesting this year’s student campus council elections at the University of Western Sydney’s Bankstown campus. RES Out West — Resisting Education Slashes — will run two activists for positions on the council and campus paper editors for 2015. Both are first year students and members of Resistance – Young Socialist Alliance. Ian Escandor, also known as Esky, is a progressive hip-hop artist, community worker and student activist. He is studying Community Welfare and is active in the campaign to fight the education cuts on UWS Bankstown campus.
Swan Island Peace Convergence released this statement on October 2. *** Before dawn on October 2, eight peace activists entered the top secret Swan Island military base near Queenscliff, Victoria. The group entered the base to nonviolently disrupt preparations for the imminent war in Iraq. Four of the activists were discovered, detained and assaulted by SAS soldiers on the base. The treatment of the activists by the SAS bordered on torture.
Steve O’Brien is standing as a candidate for the Socialist Alliance in the Newcastle byelection on October 25. The sitting Coalition MP, Tim Owen, resigned in August after he admitted he lied to the Independent Commission Against Corruption about accepting an illegal $10,000 donation from a property developer. O’Brien said: “A strong vote for a socialist would send a powerful message to the political establishment that Newcastle is not for sale and that Newcastle people support the public sector.”

Analysis

The Who Pays for our Common Wealth report into tax contributions by the S&P ASX 200, Australia’s 200 top stockmarket listed companies, has found that 84% of them paid less than the company tax rate of 30% in the period between 2004 and 2013. This amounts to $80 billion in forgone taxation revenue.
So it turns out the “sword” confiscated during the September 18 terror raids in Sydney's north-west — you know Australia's largest terror raids everwas actually plastic. That would be the “sword” the cops had placed in a plastic bag that the media made such a big deal out of to terrify us all with the “threat” of a “random beheading”. Plastic. It was a fucking plastic sword.
By the mid-1880s, all of the Australian colonies had passed education Acts based on the principal of “free, compulsory and secular” education. This mirrored similar legislation in Britain where the Factory Act of 1833 had made it unlawful for children under nine years of age to be employed in textile factories. In 1878, the Factory and Workshops Act extended this to all factories and limited the working hours of children under 14 years of age.
Continuous protests in the Nauru refugee detention camp peaked with up to 600 people breaking out of the family compound just after midnight on October 10. An asylum seeker told Sydney’s Refugee Action Coalition (RAC): “Day to day, night to night, the situation on Nauru is getting more serious for us.” The protests have been accompanied by self-harm and suicide attempts, including one person hanging themselves, a 15-year-old girl swallowing detergent, others ingesting washing powder, lip-stitching and a hunger strike.
Tony Abbott’s government has backed away from the ludicrous proposal to force unemployed people to apply for 40 jobs a month to receive the paltry Newstart allowance. The proposal would have generated 30 million job applications a month for the 147,000 jobs available to the 746,000 unemployed. But it was not an attack of common sense that led to the decision — it came after 7000 protesting “cover letters” were sent to Employment Minister Eric Abetz, together with complaints from small businesses that they would be inundated with applications for non-existing jobs.
The latest report on retail trade by the Australian Bureau of Statistics found department stores suffered a 2.9% fall in business in August, in seasonally adjusted terms. Indeed, overall retail trade was flat and was only saved from collapsing by people still buying food and basic necessities.
There are times when farce and living caricature almost consume the cynicism and mendacity in the daily life of Australia's rulers. Across the front pages is a photograph of a resolute Tony Abbott with Aboriginal children in Arnhem Land, in Australia’s remote north. "Domestic policy one day," says the caption, "focus on war the next."
Last week the federal government released its first evaluation of how its controversial income management policy has fared in five locations where the scheme was introduced in July 2012. This discriminatory government policy, which allows for Centrelink clients to have their payments quarantined and restricts how they can spend their money, has also been been explored in two recent government reports that have proposed extending the scheme.
In an atmosphere of manufactured hysteria about “Muslim terrorists” in our midst, the Coalition government has introduced sweeping attacks on civil liberties in Australia. Prime minister Tony Abbott declared that the “balance between freedom and security may have to shift” and that “there may be more restrictions on some so that there can be more protection for others”.
Below is the first part of a statement initially released by Socialist Alliance in Australia on September 24 and updated on October 4. In Sydney, on Friday morning (October 10), members of the community will a protest fast in Sydney Town Hall Square from 9am. See also: Sydney solidarity with Kurdish struggle (PHOTO STORY)

World

In the first round of the Brazilian presidential elections on October 5, the results were “logical”. President Dilma Rousseff, standing for re-election as the candidate of the Workers' Party (PT), will face ex-governor of Minas Gerais, Aecio Neves from the Brazilian Social Democracy Party (PSDB) in the second round on October 26.
"This win is a triumph for anti-imperialists and anti-colonialists," Bolivia's left-wing President Evo Morales told thousands of supporters from the balcony of the presidential palace on the evening of October 12 after a crushing win in that's day's presidential poll, Reuters said.
The administration of Salvadoran President Salvador Sanchez Ceren celebrated its 100th day in office last month, taking the chance to report on actions taken to advance towards equality. Among the achievements of the leftist Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front (FMLN) administration is the opening of 43 new community health clinics, along with the first specialised pharmacy for patients with chronic illnesses.

After more than 50 years in Ecuador, the US Agency for International Development (USAID) closed up shop last month. The Ecuadorian government said USAID has been asked to leave Ecuador, while a US Embassy official claimed it was USAID’s decision.

The normally torpid Spanish legal system had an attack of extreme speed on September 29. Its highly abnormal Usain Bolt-like behaviour was caused by the Catalan regional government formally decreeing its long-awaited November 9 non-binding consultation of Catalan public opinion on the region's political status.
Awami Workers’ Party (AWP) general secretary Farooq Tariq has appealed for international support for 12 activists jailed for “terrorism” for helping climate change victims. In a September 25 letter to “solidarity networks” around the world, Tariq said Baba Jan, an activist in Gilgit, and 11 others had been sentenced to life in jail by a Gilgit “anti-terrorism” court. Jan is a vice-president of the AWP. The activists were arrested over their role in protests in favour of the rights of flood victims in 2011.
The eyes of the world are watching Hong Kong, where masses of people have taken to the streets in defiance of the tear gas of riot police and the threats of the government.
St Louis officer shoots unarmed Black teen ― yes, again “Angry protests erupted again in St. Louis on Wednesday night after an 18-year-old man was shot and killed by an off-duty police officer ― reigniting tensions in a city still reeling from the killing of Mike Brown in nearby Ferguson in August …
About 100,000 people marched in Kolkata on September 20 against police violence and for gender justice. I have known the city all my life and have not known of a demonstration of that size since the 1960s. The march was in response to a huge police crackdown on a peaceful student protest on Jadavpur University campus, one of the leading universities in the state.
“Things are looking positive and the wind is with us,” Major General Craig Orme, commander of Australian forces in the latest war in the Middle East, told AAP on October 11. If the US-led military coalition has a strategy against its latest enemy, the terrorist gang that calls itself the “Islamic State” (IS), Orme was not revealing it. “If they want to stay in one spot, we are very happy for them to do that,” he said. “We will just bomb them. When they do mass we will smack them and smack them hard.”
Latest polls suggests Bolivian President Evo Morales will be reelected for a third term in a landslide victory on October 12. One week before the vote, Morales' support hit 57.3%. The latest statistics from pollster Tal Cual Comunicacion Estrategica indicate a huge win for the left-wing Morales, first elected in 2005 on the back of huge protests against neoliberialism.

The Venezuelan National Assembly swore in grassroots leader Juan Contreras to assume the vacant post of the late deputy Robert Serra on October 7. Serra, a 27-year-old socialist deputy, was stabbed to death alongside his partner Maria Herrera in their Caracas home on October 1. Legislators also voted to ban former right-wing Colombian president Alvaro Uribe from entering Venezuela. Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has accused Uribe of being linked to the killings.

Kobane’s epic resistance against the assault of the genocidal Islamic State (IS) gangs had entered its fourth week by October 10. The defence had held out against overwhelming odds. The defenders had been forced back, but their lines had not been broken. In some neighbourhoods, street fighting was taking place.
A desperate battle by progressive Kurdish-led resistance fighters is seeking to defend Kobanê from ISIS fundamentalist forces. Kobanê is in Rojava, or Western Kurdistan, is a predominantly Kurdish area in northern Syria that is a semi-autonomous “liberated zone” experiencing a social revolution.
The statement below was released by the foreign affairs committe of the Turkish left-wing People's Democratic Party (HDP) on October 3. The HDP is a strong support of Kurdish rights. HDP presidential candidate, Kurdish activist Selahattin Demirtas, won almost 10% o0f the vote in Turkey's presidential elections in August. The statement is reprinted from HDPEnglish.wordpress.com and has been edited for clarity. ***
Amid ongoing large protests in support of democratic reforms, Chinese authorities warned of “chaos” on October 2 if protesters carried through their threat to storm Hong Kong government buildings if the region’s Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying did not resign, the Morning Star said that day.
Robert Serra, a 27-year-old legislator of the governing United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV), and the National Assembly's (AN) youngest parliamentarian, was found dead in his Caracas home yesterday. Authorities confirmed last night that Serra and his partner Maria Herrera had been murdered in their residence. According to daily newspaper Ultimas Noticias, unofficial reports say that Serra’s body showed signs of torture before he was killed.
The Venezuelan government initiated a takeover of the abandoned Clorox factory on September 25, with Venezuelan Vice-President Jorge Arreaza calling an assembly of the company's 475 workers to reactivate the plant's activities. Clorox Venezuela called workers and left voicemails stating that their jobs were liquidated due to the company's decision to leave the country. The US-based company claims that economic challenges influenced its decision to close the factories doors.

After speaking at the United Nations climate change summit on September 23, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro seized the chance to visit community leaders, local activists and grassroots groups in an event hosted by Hostos Community College of the South Bronx in New York City. About 1000 people attended the event, which was organised by Citgo, a subsidary of Venezuela's state-own oil company. Many arrived early to wait outside for good seats and to hold signs welcoming Maduro as “president of the people”. The Bronx community

Culture

Here's this month's radical record roundup, from Irish rock to Australian pop. What album, or albums, would you suggest? Comment below, on Twitter or Facebook.
We Move Tonight: The Making of the Grenada Revolution By Joseph Ewart Layne St. George’s, Grenada: Grenada Revolution Memorial Foundation, 2014 Paperback 203 pp. “A big revolution in a small country” is allegedly how Fidel Castro described the overthrow of Grenada’s authoritarian government when being questioned on the matter back in 1979.
Toms River: A Story of Science & Salvation Dan Fagin Bantam Books, 2013 538 pages, $43.95 (hb) In yet another chapter of the well-thumbed book of “corporate avarice and government neglect”, writes Dan Fagin, the town of Toms River in New Jersey, two hours south of New York, paid a high price in cancer for the pollution of the chemical giant, Ciba-Geigy.
This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs The Climate By Naomi Klein Simon & Shulster, 2014 Award-winning author and activist Naomi Klein, who wrote The Shock Doctrine and No Logo, is back with her long-awaited new release: This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs the Climate. Now, she is taking on the biggest issue of our time ― climate change, and exploring the implications of the climate crisis for social change today and into the future.