Issue 1034

Australia

Protesters rallied outside the South Australian Labor Party convention in Adelaide on November 15.

They were protesting against South Australian Premier Jay Weatherill's endorsement of mining magnate Andrew Forrest's controversial Indigenous Employment and Training Review.

The report's proposals went beyond the narrow terms of reference — employment and training for Aboriginal people — to include policy recommendations around welfare reform, school attendance, land rights, early childhood and prenatal services, and other areas.

The number of people on the waiting list for public housing in NSW has increased by 3.5% in the past year to almost 60,000. This is forecast to increase to 80,000 in 2016.

According to a report last year by the NSW auditor-general, the present figure represents only about half of the people in NSW who actually need housing. The one thing that all policy analysts agree on is that demand will increase.

More than 200 people attended a candidates meeting in the Sydney suburb of Haberfield, called by WestCON Action Groups and Save Ashfield Park.

The standing-room-only meeting to discuss the proposed WestConnex tunnel through the area heard from Labor, Greens and Socialist Alliance candidates for the state seat of Summer Hill in the state election in March. Liberal candidate Julie Passas sent an apology, claiming a prior commitment.

The G20 barriers were still in place, the interstate police contingents had not left Brisbane, and US President Barack Obama’s “Brisbane” speech calling for protection for the Great Barrier Reef was still resonating when Premier Campbell Newman announced he had brokered a deal with Indian mining company Adani.

Aboriginal activists rallied on the steps of parliament house in Perth on November 12 to protest against the Western Australian government’s plan to close 150 remote Aboriginal communities. The rally also condemned the federal government’s plan to cut funding to 180 remote indigenous communities in Western Australia.

READ MORE: COLIN BARNETT 'HELL-BENT' ON DESTROYING COMMUNITIES

Hundreds of members of the NSW Public Service Association rallied outside state parliament on November 13 to protest against the government’s privatisation of disability services over the next 12 months.

Ageing, Disability and Home Care (ADHC) is part of the NSW Department of Family and Community Services, but the NSW government plans to hand it to the corporate and non-government sector.

Howard Byrnes from the Construction Forestry Mining Energy Union (CFMEU) and Lisa Newman from the Community and Public Sector Union (CPSU) addressed a forum organised by the Sydney Union Activists Network on November 15.

Byrnes, a CFMEU delegate and member of the union's state management committee spoke about the kangaroo court that is Prime Minister Tony Abbott's union royal commission.

Activists tried to stop the transfer of asylum seekers from Villawood in Sydney to Yongah Hill in Western Australia on November 12 and 13.

Activists heard that 65 asylum seekers would be transferred following on from the forcible transfer of at least 83 refugees from Villawood in April.

Refugees oppose being transferred to remote detention centres because they have less access to support networks, such as friends and lawyers. The friendships they have made in detention can also be destroyed if people are sent to separate facilities.

Carrying signs declaring "Hands off our Aunty", and "Save our local ABC", supporters of the ABC rallied outside the ABC's North Coast NSW studio in Lismore on November 20.

The protest formed one of a series of rallies around the country in support of the national broadcaster over the week of November 18 to 25, called by unions and the Friends of the ABC.

An emergency protest was called on November 20 to save Melbourne's Palace Theatre.

Dozens of protesters rallied outside the building the same evening to stop it being demolished. The rally was met with resistance by a group of unidentified young men who intimidated and physically attacked protesters.

World

Nationwide protests erupted for the second night in a row on November 25. Protest explodd afater a grand jury decision the day before to not indict Missouri police officer Darren Wilson for fatally shooting unaramed Black teenager Michael Brown in August.

In Ferguson, Missouri, more than 700 extra National Guard troops have been deployed to the streets. The reinforcements bring the total number of troops to about 2200, along with hundreds of police officers.

Missouri Governor Jay Nixon claimed the beef up was needed to prevent protests from turning violent.

Protesters began to gather on the streets around the greater St Louis area on November 24, ahead of the decision of a jury on whether or not a white police officer should face charges over his shooting of unarmed 18-year-old Black youth Michael Brown in August.

St Louis County Prosecutor Robert McCollough announced that the grand jury had determined that officer Darren Wilson would not face charges for killing Brown.

Just after 8pm local time, McCulloch said the jury had found “no probable cause exists to file any charge against … Wilson”.

US police began an investigation on November 24 into the death of a 12-year-old boy who was fatally shot by Cleveland officers after he brandished a replica gun.

The boy died from his wounds on November 23, a day after officers responded to an emergency call about someone waving a “probably fake” gun at a playground.

He was identified by the Cuyahoga County medical examiner as Tamir Rice.

In a move that surprised many ― and symbolises Israel's growing isolation and global opposition to its crimes ― former Australian foreign minister Bob Carr has publicly declared his opposition to Israeli policies of apartheid and ethnic cleansing.

Carr's change in position was announced in a November 8 Australian opinion piece titled “Why I am now a friend of Palestine rather than Israel”.

Leslie Feinberg, who identified as an anti-racist white, working-class, secular Jewish, transgender, lesbian, female, revolutionary communist, died on November 15, aged 65.

She succumbed to complications from multiple tick-borne co-infections, including Lyme disease, babeisiosis and Protomyxzoa rheumatica, after decades of illness.

She died at home in Syracuse, New York. Her partner and spouse of 22 years, I was at her side. Her last words were: “Hasten the revolution! Remember me as a revolutionary communist.”

After years of a rigged task force; horrific planning and zoning meetings; city council discussions; countless hours flyering, rallying and tabling; untold industry threats; and thousands of hours of sleep lost, residents in the Texas city of Denton won a ban on hydraulic fracturing within the city limits.

Thousands of workers, campesinos, members of civil society, and students marched in Mexico City on November 20 to demand justice for the missing 43 students from the Ayotzinapa teachers' school.

They were joined by the family members of the missing students, who have been traveling in three solidarity convoys throughout the country to build support for their cause.

President Evo Morales and his party, Movement Towards Socialism (MAS), won a resounding victory last month. This gave the Morales administration a further five-year term to deepen the progress of the past nine years.

I was privileged to take part in a delegation to Bolivia via the New York-based Alberto Lovera Bolivarian Circle. The delegation travelled around the country learning from, and offering solidarity to, the exciting revolutionary processes taking place in Bolivia.

A coalition of French left groups held nation-wide demonstrations on November 15 against the new austerity budget of the unpopular Socialist Party (PS) government.

The protests called for a redistribution of wealth from finance and big business to workers and the poor, creating jobs, increasing social security and cohesion, and beginning an ecological transition of society.

Called by the anti-austerity group Collective 3A, organisers said the protests drew 30,000 people in Paris. More than 30 other cities across France staged rallies, including several thousand in Toulouse.

For the first time since the eurozone crisis began in 2009, the Greek economy has reported a yearly growth of 0.6%. Unemployment is also down ― to a still-staggering 25.8%.

However, you wouldn’t see any economic change on the streets; rather, the only changes visible in Greece are political.

The Coalition of the Radical Left (Syriza), has been consistently polling anywhere between five and 10 points higher than the coalition government led by conservative party New Democracy.

Faced with growing public revolt against the introduction of water charges and faltering support, the Irish government is in a deepening crisis.

The government ― a coalition between the right-wing Fine Gael (FG) party and the Irish Labour Party ― came to power in 2011 on the back of public outrage over austerity and social spending cuts.

United States President Barack Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping of China have signed a bilateral climate agreement.

Much of the US and British media, and many US Democrats, have hailed the deal as a key step forward. Many US Republicans have attacked it as going much too far.

Anything the Republicans attack has to be good. Right? No. In fact it is an appalling deal.

Let's look at the numbers.

The statement below was released by the Party of the European Left (EL) on November 17. The EL is a Europe-wide political party that formed in 2004. It is composed of 26 member parties and seven observer parties. Visit www.european-left.org for more information.

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A delegation of the Party of the European Left (EL), headed by two of its vice presidents, Margarita Mileva and Maite Mola, returned on November 16 after a four-day visit to Kiev.

Sinnathamby Krishnarajah was arrested on October 25, in Kilinochchi, a town in the north of Sri Lanka.

His “crime” was to photocopy forms printed from the internet to be used for making affidavits to a United Nations investigation of war crimes committed during the war between the Sri Lankan government and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).

The LTTE, which had been fighting for an independent Tamil state in the north and east of the island, were defeated in May 2009. Since then, Tamil areas have been under military occupation by the Sri Lankan army.

Analysis

Five hundred people rallied in Melbourne on November 15 to protest against the Coalition government's proposed East West toll road. The rally had three main demands: scrap the East West Link, rip up the contracts and invest in public transport.

Socialist Alliance candidate for the seat of Pascoe Vale in the Victorian election, Sean Brocklehurst, gave this speech to the rally.

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My name is Sean Brocklehurst. I am a candidate for the seat of Pascoe Vale. I am also an activist with Moreland Community Against the Tunnel.

We are against this tunnel.

The following is an open letter to Western Australian Premier Colin Barnett by Aboriginal campaigner Iva Hayward-Jackson.

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Recently the Premier of Western Australia, Colin Barnett, committed to closing down approximately 150 remote Aboriginal communities in Western Australia.

The premier has claimed that the closures would be in the best interests of Aboriginal people in Western Australia. He has followed the old uninformed line that demonises Aboriginal men by insinuating that Aboriginal women and children are under great threat by the men in the communities.

Here are some numbers. There were 51.2 million refugees and displaced people worldwide at the end of last year. About 11,000 Australian protection visas are available, worldwide, each year, for people overseas who have applied for asylum.

Australia’s total share of the 11.7 million refugees officially registered with the UN refugee agency is 0.3%.

Sean Brocklehurst is the Socialist Alliance candidate for Pascoe Vale and Sarah Hathway is the Socialist Alliance candidate for Geelong in the Victorian elections on November 29. They released this statement on November 16.

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Climate change is already killing hundreds of people in extreme heatwaves each year in Australia.

Australia’s dependence on fossil fuels and road transport are big contributors. More than 1000 Australians die each year from air pollution, mainly from fossil fuels. We need a rapid shift to renewable energy.

Victoria: Big coal state

Earlier this year, US and European banks — the ones that were too big to fail — settled US$18 billion worth of fines with regulators.

These fines were for money laundering activities, breaching sanctions violations, and manipulating the Libor (London interbank offered rate). The Libor is used to set interest rates on about US$800 trillion of borrowings and derivative contracts.

As the G20 wrapped up in Brisbane last week, national leaders issued a statement to announce the key issues they would focus on until the next meeting.

This included the creation of jobs through growth, with the ambitious target of growing the GDP of G20 countries by 2% over the next four years.

It was couched in language that promised a better life for everyone. “Raising global growth to deliver better living standards and quality jobs for people across the world is our highest priority,” the statement said.

Climate change is the biggest and most urgent threat facing humanity today.

We are seeing global temperatures rise at an unprecedented rate, with 13 of the 14 warmest years on record having occurred in the past 14 years.

In fact, if you are under 37 years of age, you have never seen a year of below average temperature.

Last year in Australia, over 150 weather records were broken, including experiencing our hottest day, week, month and year on record. It is likely that these records will not be long-standing, with all signs indicating they will be broken again this coming summer.

The word “socialist” first appeared in print in Italy in 1803. In the early 19th century there appeared to be two alternative roads to socialism: violent revolution or establishing cooperative communities separate from the state and capitalist social relations.

Towards the latter part of the century, a third possibility opened up: the working class could take control of the state through the ballot-box and reconstruct it on a socialist basis.

Culture

Forgotten War
By Henry Reynolds
New South, 2013

In August, Prime Minister Tony Abbott attended a ceremony in Sydney to mark the 100 years since the Australian Naval and Military Expedition Force sailed out of Sydney Harbour to German New Guinea shortly after Britain declared war on Germany in 1914.

The occasion was the official start of a four-year-long Anzac centenary of jingoism. Abbott was anxious that we “should know all our great war stories better” by the time the centenary commemorations come to an end.

Cesar Chavez
Directed by Diego Luna
Written by Keir Pearson
Australian release TBA

The 1936 National Labor Relations Act in the United States recognised the rights of US workers to organise and collectively bargain -- but excluded farm workers.

Cesar Chavez tells the story of the heroic struggle of super-expoited farm workers -- frequently immigrants -- and their leader Cesar Chavez for their rights to organise for a dignified living.

Mira Canning Stock Route Project
http://mira.canningstockrouteproject.com

In the early part of the 20th century, the “Kings in Grass Castle” ― the cattle barons of northern Western Australia ― were profit-gouging the beef trade through controlling transport.

The WA government decided to break their monopoly by mapping a stock route from the Kimberley down through the state’s semi-arid interior to the southern markets.

The Political Bubble: Why Australians Don’t Trust Politics
Mark Latham
Macmillan, 2014
291 pages, $32.99 (pb)

The only thing surprising about the 4% of Australians who a poll last year said “almost always” trusted the federal government is that the figure is that high.

Further evidence of the many failures of Australian politics comes in The Political Bubble via an angry Mark Latham, the former leader of the federal Labor Party.

Fighting Fund

We can count on Prime Minister Tony Abbott to add insult to injury.

In front of the world at the G20 Summit in Brisbane, he arrogantly regurgitated the racist colonial fiction — repudiated in law by the High Court in the famous Mabo case in 1992 — that Australia was an empty land before the European colonial invasion.