Issue 1058

News

About 800 people rallied at Sydney Town Hall Square on June 28 as part of the third #SOSBlakAustralia global mobilisation against the threatened forced closures of Aboriginal communities in Western Australia and elsewhere. Protest actions also took place in other cities around the country, and in some cities overseas, over the same weekend.
More than a thousand people rallied in Melbourne on June 26 against the forced closures of remote Western Australian Aboriginal communities. Melbourne organiser of the protest, Meriki Onus from Warriors of the Aboriginal Resistance said the Victorian community wished to stand by Aboriginal communities in other states, who were losing their communities. Photos by Ali Bakhtiarvandi
Asylum-seekers and their supporters have been dealt a cruel blow this week thanks to the shameful, bipartisan support for offshore detention within the Australian parliament. A High Court challenge to the legality of Australia’s offshore detention of asylum seekers has been undermined by an eleventh hour bill rushed through the House of Representatives and Senate, unamended and with ALP support, on June 24 and 25.
The Aboriginal Medical Service Western Sydney released this statement on June 26. * * * The Aboriginal Medical Service Western Sydney (AMSWS), an Aboriginal community-controlled health service based in Mt Druitt, is being forced to shut down after the federal government decided to stop its funding from July 1. All funds allocated to AMSWS have been used in the delivery of health services to the Aboriginal community of western Sydney.
Melbourne rally to return baby Asha on June 25. Photo ASRC/Facebook The campaign to bring back baby "Asha" (not her real name) from Nauru is gaining momentum. The five-month-old baby girl, her mother and father were forcibly transported from Melbourne's detention centre to Darwin detention centre and then to Nauru in early June.
Protesters in Sydney marked the eighth anniversary of the Northern Territory Intervention — renamed Stronger Futures — with a rally at Town Hall and march to the Block in Redfern on June 21. Speakers at the protest included Ken Canning, Albert Hartnett, Eva Cox, Gerry Georgatos and Kyol Blakeney.
The WA branch of the Maritime Union of Australia has added its weight to the movement sweeping Perth’s southern suburbs opposing the proposed construction of the Perth Freight Link (PFL) connecting Perth Airport with Fremantle Port.
The Labor Party has backed federal government legislation that will, in some circumstances, force Australian internet service providers (ISPs) to block their customers from accessing certain online services. Labor and Coalition senators passed the Copyright Amendment (Online Infringement) Bill 2015 on June 22, with the Greens and a number of other cross-bench senators voting against the legislation.
In a powerful escalation of the global campaign against Indian mining company Adani’s proposed Abbot Point and Galilee Basin coal projects, more than 120 people peacefully protested on June 22 at the Abbot Point port. The protest was organised by 350.org and the Reef Defenders Alliance.
The Abbott government’s Renewable Energy Target legislation passed by the Senate this week means consumers will think they are buying so called “renewable energy” when it is actually generated from burning wood from unsustainable native forest logging. The Australian Forests and Climate Alliance released this statement on June 23. * * * The Australian Forests and Climate Alliance (AFCA) has condemned today’s decision to make burning native forests eligible for Renewable Energy Certificates under the Renewable Energy Target.
Hundreds of people rallied in Melbourne on June 25 to protest against the transfer of a young baby, Asha, to the Nauru detention centre. The rally occurred on the same day as the federal government, with support from the Labor opposition, voted to change the law to keep the prisons on Nauru and Manus Island open to defeat a high court challenge. Pamela Curr from the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre said: "We can defeat this criminal policy, but it won't be easy."
Since 1880, it has been a fundamental right of every Australian to access free public education. Recently this came into question when a federal government discussion paper was leaked, which posed the idea of the federal government taking over education funding and charging wealthier parents who send their children to public schools. Education Minister Christopher Pyne has come out in opposition to the suggestion, commenting on Twitter: “Charging wealthy parents for their children to attend public schools is not the government’s policy. I don’t support it.”
Fifteen hundred people filled Canberra city centre with rainbow pride on June 21, to demand marriage equality. The vibrant rally, organised by GetUp! and Australian Marriage Equality (AME), heard from Samantha and Hayley Wilson, Ebony and Ben Grady, Angie Shillington and Ally Howe, Yvette Berry from ACT Labor, Shane Rattenbury from ACT Greens and Ivan Hinton Teoh from Australian Marriage Equality.
REGIONAL QUEENSLAND Come to a National Peace Convergence over July 5 to July 12. Protest Talisman Sabre joint military exercises between US and Australian troops at Shoalwater Bay. Visit Peace Convergence 2015 on Facebook. MELBOURNE Come to a rally: Fight the fines on the jobless on Wednesday July 1 at 1pm. The unemployed can be fined for failing to attend a job search appointment with their Employment Service Provider. Max Employment, 470 Collins St. Organised by Australian Unemployment Union.
"The NSW Coalition government's 2015 budget has a massive 'housing sales tax' windfall from stamp duty arising from the Sydney housing bubble," Susan Price, Socialist Alliance candidate in the recent NSW state elections, said on June 24. The government expects to reap more than $30 billion in stamp duty in the next four years, but the budget papers note that the cyclical nature of the property market means that revenue source is "inherently volatile".
Matildas paid much less than Socceroos The Matildas will be paid less in match fees if they win the women's World Cup final than the Socceroos get for a single group-stage game. Each Matilda was paid $500 a game in the lead up to the World Cup. Their male counterparts received $7500 for doing the same thing. If the Matildas win the final in Canada, they will earn a total of $5600 in match fees, while each Socceroo pocketed $103,148 after they won the Asian Cup earlier this year.
On June 21, thousands of people rallied in Melbourne against the Australian government's ongoing cruelty to refugees, especially highlighting abuses against children in detention. Mohammad Ali Baqiri, a refugee who was locked up on Nauru as a child in 2001 said: "Having experienced the horror of Nauru, no one should be locked up there." Vivian Malo and Robert Thorpe from First Nations Liberation condemned the racist government and offered First Nations passports for refugees. A coffin was brought to the rally to symbolise the death of human rights in Australia.

Analysis

Behind the Wire is an oral history project documenting the stories of men, women and children who have experienced mandatory detention. It seeks to bring a new perspective to the public understanding of mandatory detention by sharing the reality of the people who have lived it. Green Left Weekly photographer and Socialist Alliance member Ali Bakhtiarvandi was one of those interviewed. This is a brief excerpt of his story. You can read the full story here. * * *
The US has been at war for all but 17 years of the 239 the nation has been in existence. Successive Australian governments have hastened to send troops into every war the US has provoked in the past 70 years. Many people consider Australia's strategies, priorities, and interests have been subsumed by those of the US.
More than a decade ago, BHP Billiton demerged its steelmaking facilities from its then highly profitable minerals and energy division. The two steel plants in Port Kembla and Whyalla, which were formerly part of an integrated company that produced the iron ore and the coking coal for steelmaking, became stand-alone steelmakers at a time when China became a serious competitive threat. Its Port Kembla and Whyalla operations were also separated from each other, becoming BlueScope in Port Kembla and One Steel (now Arrium) in Whyalla.
The increasing lack of job opportunities and job security for those wishing to enter the workforce is a barrier for young people seeking employment. There is an expanding list of experience required to increase employability and get the “competitive edge” that capitalists love to talk about. Undertaking an internship or traineeship after finishing a degree is a popular method of gaining experience and increasing employability.
On June 23, Australia's parliament voted to reduce the Renewable Energy Target for 2020 from 41 to 33 terawatt hours of renewable electricity, following a long struggle by the government to win support from minor party Senators for the cuts. Prime Minister Tony Abbott said he “would frankly have liked to reduce the number a lot more”. The deal he cut in the Senate will see the potential for “wood waste” from logging of native forests to be burned to generate “renewable electricity” as part of the target.
Brad Chilcott is the director of Welcome to Australia, a community organisation that, according to its Facebook page, is “dedicated to giving asylum seekers, refugees, new arrivals and long-term migrant residents of Australia a warm, dignified and positive Welcome to Australia”. An article by Chilcott entitled Possibility before Protest has appeared on Chifley.org, a website for ALP members and supporters. The article does not clarify Chilcott’s relationship with the ALP.
It has become a disturbing hallmark of the current government that the degree to which Prime Minister Tony Abbott adopts the style of a Nazi leader addressing the Nuremburg Rally is a reflection of the policies being foreshadowed. At Abbott's June 23 press conference, the flag count was up to 10. The parliamentary sitting week that followed was an assault on democratic rights.
If you suspect that neoliberal capitalist governments, including the Australian government, act as kleptocracies for the richest 1% and the large corporations, you have good reason to. Whether you look at their tax system, the various privatisation or part-privatisation schemes they are forcing on the public, the “user-pays” drives or the publicly subsidised private insurance scams, you can see how the public is being forced to subsidise the profits of powerful corporations and the super-rich.
Many people are dismayed that the Greens have supported the Coalition government’s age pension cuts. Greens’ social media has been awash with commentary, with many people venting their anger at the Greens. Some have defended the deal, trusting the Greens to do the right thing and labelling criticism as Labor propaganda. Others just want an explanation.

World

“Protesters rallied in Columbia on Tuesday to demand the flag's removal from South Carolina's state capitol,” the BBC reported on June 24. The protest comes in the aftermath of the racist mass murder carried by Dylann Roof on June 17 in Charleston, South Carolina. Roof, who killed nine people in a historic African American church, was photographed with the flag, which still flies over the state's capitol.
Land rights activists in Honduras' north coast Aguan Valley have condemned what they call an ongoing “hunt” of campesinos (small farmers) in their communities. The activists are calling for freedom for political prisoners and an end to repression of campesino movements. Family members of jailed and persecuted rural workers have denounced the “dirty and malicious campaign” of criminalisation against campesino leaders and communities. They accuse the national police, and other state and private security forces, of operating as “a gang of hitmen”.
Newly released court documents show the US government won a series of court challenges that led to Google having to turn over one years worth of data of user Jacob Appelbaum. Appelbaum is a WikiLeaks volunteer and a developer for Tor, a free browser and an open network to protect online privacy. He was being targeted by the US Justice Department as part of their criminal investigation into WikiLeaks.
Protest by Awami Workers Party-Sindh against exacerbation of heatwave by corruption and electricity privatisation. Hyderabad, Sindh, June 28. Photo: Awami Workers Party-Sindh/ Facebook. The death toll in Pakistan's devastating heat wave shot past 1000 on June 25. This makes it the worst heat wave to hit the country's southern city of Karachi in at least 35 years.
Jaime Nebot. Photo: ANDES. Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa singled out opposition politician Jaime Nebot, who has been calling for protests against the government, as a clear example of the progress the country has made with respect to the collection of taxes. Correa came to power in 2007. He said in 2006, Nebot paid just US$1994 in income taxes, but by last year the opposition leader was paying US$66,593.
Photo: Agencia Boliviana de Información. Bolivia's President Evo Morales highlighted the importance of social movements in driving the changes and the economic growth experienced by the South American country in recent years. The socialist leader, Bolivia's first-ever indigenous head of state, said on June 25 that Bolivia now had greater economic resources available due to the struggle of workers and campesinos.
President Nicolas Maduro supported reparations for slavery after a ceremony that paid tribute to Afro-Venezuelan independence fighter Pedro Camejo. Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro expressed support on June 24 for the Caribbean call for reparations from their former colonial powers.
President Juan Manuel Santos and General Juan Pablo Rodriguez, one of the generals singled out by the report. Photo: Presidency of Colombia via TeleSUR. Top generals in the Colombian army have been implicated in the long-running “false positives” military scandal, according to a new report Human Rights Watch (HRW) published on June 24.
People's Climate March, Amsterdam, September 21, 2014. Photo: Urgenda.nl. Environmental groups have congratulated the Netherlands after 866 Dutch citizens collectively won a lawsuit filed against their own government for “knowingly contributing” to global warming while doing nothing to prevent it.
Gaza, July 2014.

Israel plans to shut down Palestinian TV station

Israel plans to shut down a new Arabic-language television station that services Palestinian citizens of Israel, Electronic Intifada said on June 25.
Julian Assange,‭ ‬founder and editor,‭ ‬of WikiLeaks had been a refugee in the Ecuadorian‭ ‬Embassy in London for three years as of June‭ ‬19. The key issue in his extraordinary incarceration is justice.‭ ‬He has been charged with no crime.‭ ‬The first Swedish prosecutor dismissed the misconduct allegations regarding two women in Stockholm in‭ ‬2010.‭ ‬The second Swedish prosecutor's actions were and are demonstrably political. Until recently,‭ ‬she refused to come to London to interview Assange‭ ‬-‭ ‬then she said she was coming.‭ ‬Then she cancelled her appointment.‭
Regional elections held in Spain on May 24 installed an historic pro-Basque state government in the Basque autonomous community of Navarre for the first time. It ended 16 years of rule by the pro-Spanish, centre-right Navarrese People's Union (UPN). The UPN won only 15 seats, down four from 2011. Its ally, the right-wing Spanish People’s Party (of Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy), won two, half of its quota in 2011.
Hundreds of thousands march in London on June 20
More than 200,000 people marched through central London on June 20 as people came from across the country to show their anger and opposition to further spending cuts. The demonstration involved many young people coming out to protest against the newly elected Conservative Party government, marching alongside seasoned activists.
WikiLeaks chose the the third anniversary of its founder’s stay in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London on June 19 to release thousands of cables about Saudi Arabia. Among the revelations contained in the files, believed to have been leaked by a group calling itself the Yemen Cyber Army, are details about the country’s focus on its strategic rival, Iran, and the revolution in Egypt.
Turkish-backed terrorists have massacred civilians in Kobanê. Photo: Kurdish Resistance & Liberation/Facebook.
Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras announced on June 26 that a referendum will be called over the bailout deal being proposed for the country by Greece's creditors. The deal is pushed by the "Troika" of the European Union, International Monetary Fund and European Central Bank. Tsipras called an urgent cabinet meeting earlier that day, and later announced to the press plans for the a referendum on July 5. Citizens will be asked “yes” or “no” to creditors’ proposals. Tsipras has asked the Greek ministerial council to call the referendum.
The original African Methodist Episcopal church, Charleston, which was burned down by a white mob after Denmark Vesey's planned slave uprising in 1822. The mass murder of nine African Americans in Charleston, South Carolina, by a white racist on June 17 has been widely denounced. But to understand this hate crime — a terrorist attack — it has to be put into the broader political context.
French president Francois Hollande called for an emergency meeting with his defence council on June 24, after WikiLeaks released documents showing the United States has been spying on all France's presidents since 2006. “The French people have a right to know that their elected government is subject to hostile surveillance from a supposed ally,” said WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.
The U.S. Supreme Court ruled on June 26 that same-sex couples had the right to marry under the Constitution. Same-sex marriage will now be legalised in all 50 states.
President Rafael Correa speaks to thousands of supporters from the presidential palace in Quito's main square, June 15, 2015. Photo: EFE.
The Kurdish town of Kobane in northern Syria was attacked on June 25 by forces from the self-styled Islamic State (IS) terrorist group, which crossed from Turkey. This was the first significant IS attack on the town since a five-month siege was repulsed in January. The attack appears to be a Turkish-backed response to recent military gains made by the Kurdish-led forces of the Women's Defence Units (YPJ) and People's Defence Units (YPG).
As Greece's anti-austerity SYRIZA-led government seeks a deal to give it badly needed funds to pay creditors and avoid a collapse of its banking system, 40 groups from across Europe are petitioning for Greece's debt to be cancelled. The groups say the crisis-hit southern European country is not in a position to repay the debt and it should not have to shoulder a burden accumulated by previous governments. A preliminary report on the audit of Greece's debt initiated by the Greek parliament declared on June 17 that the debt was “illegal, illegitimate and odious”.
More than 5000 people rallied in Brussels on June 21.

Culture

Frackman Directed by Richard Todd http://frackmanthemovie.com Frackman is a new documentary that follows the story of self-proclaimed “worst environmental activist ever” Dayne Pratzky, a resident of the Tara Estates, Chinchilla, in Queensland.
Here's this month's radical record round-up, from queer house to riotous ska. What album, or albums, would you suggest? Comment below, on Twitter or Facebook.

1. RUPAUL - REALNESS