Issue 1061

News

Members of the Maritime Union of Australia (MUA) and supporters rallied outside the Caltex Kurnell oil depot on July 20 to support the seafarers on the tanker Alexander Spirit in Devonport Harbour who are campaigning to protect their jobs and conditions. MUA Sydney branch secretary Paul McAleer, MUA national secretary Paddy Crumlin, Unions NSW secretary Mark Lennon and representatives of the international transport union addressed the protest.
Well over 300 anti-racist protesters, 100 racists and hundred or more cops, including on horses, took to the streets in Sydney's CBD on July 19. Early on, police pushed the anti-racist protesters down two blocks in Martin Place where both rallies had been called and arrested five people. First Nations activist Uncle Lyle Davis was arrested for “swearing”. A woman who fell over at the wrong time and place was also arrested. The anti-racist rally was peaceful, until police allowed racist provocateurs to mingle. Protestors responded by chanting at them as they were rescued by the police.
A United Patriots Front (UPF) rally of about 20 people was met by 200 Say No to Racism protesters and about 25 police in Hobart on July 19. The UPF rally moved from Franklin Square, through the Elizabeth Street Mall to the ABC building and concluded at the Domain Rose Gardens. Say No to Racism protesters included Greens, Socialist Alliance, anarchists, local musicians, and people who had "never been to a rally before". Say No to Racism protesters disrupted the UPF rally at each stopping point and as they marched on the street.
300-400 anti-racist activists faced off against 400-500 "Reclaim Australia demonstrators in Perth on July 19. This was part of a national weekend of counter rallies against those called by the far right group 'Reclaim Australia'.
Today someone tried to stab me with an Australian flag.Yet in spite, or maybe because, of that, I am glad I made it to the Canberra anti-racist rally on July 19. When overtly racist right-wing forces come out onto the streets, we need to show that there are many more of us who are against that kind of hatred. I was in the middle of a large crowd opposing racism and xenophobia and opposite a small one waving red, white and blue flags and carrying placards that said “Islam is a hate group, not a religion”. I think we can tell from that who is the hate group.
"Shamed", "human", "citizen". These were some of the labels people wrote across their mouths at the silent protest in Perth against the chilling effects of the new Border Force Act.
Photo: Ali Bakhtiarvandi. A planned show of strength by racists and neo-Nazis in Melbourne backfired when once again far-right protesters were outnumbered 20 to one on July 18.
A QUARTER OF NEWSTART RECIPIENTS ARE DISABLED Changes introduced by the previous Labor government have moved so many people off the disability support pension (DSP) on to Newstart — which pays $341 a fortnight less — that about a quarter of the people on Newstart have some sort of disability.
Melbourne, July 18: Police pepper spray anti-racists and high five fascists. The following statement was released by the Melbourne Street Medics' Collective on July 18: * * *
Strike action is continuing across the federal public service as staff campaign for fair pay and conditions against the Abbott government's harsh attack on wages, jobs and rights. Most recently, public servants at the Murray-Darling Basin Authority have voted to strike, joining their colleagues at copyright agency IP Australia who voted in the first week of July to take industrial action.
Doctors, nurses and their supporters protested on July 11 and 12 around Australia against the Border Force Act. The protests, organised by the Medical Association for the Prevention of War and Doctors Against the Border Force Act, were held in Darwin, Broome, Coffs Harbour, Adelaide, Bendigo, Melbourne and Sydney. Earlier in the week an open letter from 40 current detention centre workers said they would defy the Border Force Act was published.
"The age of entitlement is over". I'm sure it seemed like a good slogan when it was cooked up, at least to the party room hacks and spin doctors in Tony Abbott’s government. Of course it was only going to be a matter of time before they tripped over their own words: “The age of entitlement is over”.
ARMIDALE Come to a Women in Black silent vigil for peace. Mourning the victims of violence around the world. Saturday July 25 at 10.30am. Old Courthouse in the Mall. BRISBANE Watch a film: Selma. Follows the civil rights movement in the 1960s, with a focus on Martin Luther King Jr. Entry $10/$5 conc. Friday Jul 24 at 6pm. Brisbane Activist Centre, 74b Wickham St, Fortitude Valley. Ph Dom 0431 638 772. MELBOURNE Protest outside the ALP conference on Saturday July 25. Rally for clean energy at 11am. Organised by Getup!
Public submissions to the NSW Planning Assessment Commission (PAC) over July 12 and 13 were overwhelmingly against a fourth coal terminal (T4) to be located at Kooragang Island, near Newcastle.
More than 150 people, including Reef town locals and traditional owners, gathered outside the Brisbane headquarters of Indian mining corporation Adani on July 16.
As part of Peace Convergence 2015, three “Quaker Grannies for Peace” set up a tea table on July 13, blocking the access road to Queensland's Samuel Hill military base, which is being used for the Talisman Sabre military exercises. They set up a table and chairs and invited soldiers to have tea and cake in order to engage in dialogue with them.
A public meeting of about 100 people in Erskineville Town Hall on July 14 voted unanimously to oppose planned cuts to Sydney rail services and the proposal for a privatised train line as an extension of the Sydney Metro Northwest rail link to the city's north-western suburbs. The meeting, organised by the Friends of Erskineville residents' group, was called to protest plans by the NSW Coalition government to cut Bankstown Line train services that stop at Erskineville and the growing problem of dangerous overcrowding on the trains.

Analysis

An important protest for marriage equality will be held outside the Labor Party's national conference in Melbourne on July 25. The protest is being organised by Equal Love Melbourne. It is one of a series of demonstrations being organised in the lead-up to the spring session of parliament, where it is expected that several bills for marriage equality will be debated. Marriage equality has recently been won in Ireland and the United States. This places unprecedented pressure on the government. Australia is becoming more and more isolated globally.
Over the weekend of July 24 to 26, the nation will be watching as the Australian Labor Party (ALP) holds its 47th triennial national conference at the Melbourne Convention Centre. The Labor Party’s national conference is its highest decision-making body, deciding its policies and future direction. The Labor party’s previous national conference was in Sydney in 2011. At that conference, it voted for a policy supporting marriage equality. Despite that vote, and the Labor Party being in government until the end of 2013, marriage equality was not made law.

The NSW government made drastic changes to the victims of crime compensation scheme in 2013. One change made was the replacement of lump sum compensation payments with drastically smaller recognition payments, with compensation payments only for direct costs associated with the crime.

Community resistance to the Perth Freight Link, a $1.6 billion freeway project proposed by the state and federal governments for the south-west region of Perth is growing at an explosive pace. The strength and depth of this opposition is now so strong that the issue will almost certainly dominate the next federal and state election campaigns.
Farmers are worried that the proposed privatisation of Fremantle Port will lead to a dramatic rise in their freight rates. The 800% rise in rents charged to stevedores by the newly privatised Port of Melbourne would be ringing some alarm bells. Closer to home are the disastrous consequences of the privatisation of Western Australia’s freight rail network via a secret 49-year lease signed in 2000 when Premier Colin Barnett was Minister for Transport.
In the same week that it approved the huge $1.2 billion Shenhua Watermark coalmine in prime agricultural land on the Liverpool Plains, the Abbott government has directed the Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) to end all investment in wind farms and small-scale solar projects. These are just the latest salvos in a series of attacks on the renewable energy sector that seek to protect their friends in the coal industry.
Statement of the Socialist Alliance national executive July 16, 2015: The Socialist Alliance condemns the effective imposition of colonial status on Greece by the ruling institutions of the European Union (EU), which represent the interests of the big banks whose speculative excesses contributed in great part to the accumulation of the “Greek debt” they are now seeking to recover. This is a coup and a brutal assault on democracy.
The Martu people oppose the building of the Kintyre uranium mine in Western Australia. The WA State Governments proposed uranium mine, and its inevitable environmental damage, is causing extreme social disharmony in remote communities. Martu country extends over 15 million hectares of the Western Desert encompassing the Gibson, Great Sandy and the Little Sandy Deserts. The traditional owners have lived here for up to 60,000 years.
For the past couple of days I have been trying to understand what is happening in Greece. I shared the celebratory atmosphere after January’s elections [of the SYRIZA government] and the sense of hope and dignity that seemed to be restored following the destruction that led to one-third of the population living in poverty. The SYRIZA government inherited a country with a population devastated by austerity but, most importantly, with a sense of power for having chosen its future.
Australia’s climate policies are a mess, and we cannot just blame Tony Abbott. We are facing a climate emergency and Australia is a significant culprit. The country has very high per capita emissions and is a major coal exporter.
Last Sunday I was arrested while attempting to obstruct war rehearsal operations at Lee Point. Despite standing in the water off Lee Point, right in the path of the US Navy LCAC amphibious craft, it continued to rush back and forth past me until I was removed from the area by water police. Its final pass, before I was plucked from the water by police, came so close that the bow wave knocked me over. I was disappointed that I was unable to present enough of a hindrance to at least delay them while they waited for my removal.
The Students of Sustainability (SOS) conference 2015 attracted several hundred student environmental activists from around the country to discuss, educate, organise and exchange campaign experiences. Held on Kaurna land at Flinders University, from July 8 to 12, the conference opened with a welcome to country from traditional owners, including Kaurna elder Aunty Georgina Williams Tambo Kartanya.
Green Left Weekly supporters around the country have begun an important six-week campaign to boost circulation of the paper. We’re asking supporters to help us out by taking a small bundle of papers to sell to friends and workmates. In Sydney, several supporters are now doing this: they are finding great interest — sometimes from unexpected quarters.
The demonising of asylum seekers is an elaborate exercise in racist scapegoating designed to distract Australians from the real causes of anxiety and insecurity in their lives. We need to be absolutely uncompromising in our resistance to this toxic agenda.

World

British unions slammed the ruling Conservative Party on July 15 for introducing a bill derided as the biggest attack on worker's rights in decades, TeleSUR English said that day. The government's new Trade Union Bill would impose a slew of new regulations on unions, including new voting thresholds for strikes. At least 50% of members would need to cast a ballot for a strike to move forward. Now, unions only need to secure a simple majority of votes for a strike to be valid.
Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams, writing for his Leargas blog, has warned that the 1998 Good Friday Agreement that formally ended more than two decades of armed conflict in the six counties in Ireland's north still claimed by Britain, “hangs by a thread”.
Seleka militia. European countries have been indirectly contributing to massive human rights violations and heavy environmental damage in the Central African Republic, an investigative report by Global Witness, released on July 15, revealed.
The world’s largest social movement, La Via Campesina, has slammed the power of transnational companies for undermining democracy and stifling people’s voices on a global scale. The group, which represents more than 200 million farmers and rural people worldwide, said the interests of large corporations increasingly dominate international decision-making processes and policies.
Unveiling of monument to Juana Azurduy. Bolivia's Morales unveils indigenous resistance statue in Argentina
Khader Adnan with friends and family following his release from Israeli detention. Israel released Palestinian activist Khader Adnan from jail on July 12, after holding him for more than a year without charge, TeleSUR English reported.
The Israeli military may be flagging social media users as potential terrorists for using key words such as “boycott” or the Arabic name for Jerusalem “Al-Quds,” Israeli magazine +972 reported on July 15.
The Bulgarian Prisoners Rights Association (BPRA) has made progress in its attempts to bring due process into Bulgaria's parole laws. Founded in 2012, the BPRA has been represented on a Ministry of Justice working group on prison reform since May. Their representative is Valio Ivanov, who was released from Sofia Central Prison in February after serving 22 years — 20 in solitary confinement. Ivanov succeeded in getting the working group to recommend changes in parole laws, BPRA chairperson Jock Palfreeman told Green Left Weekly.
Loyalists rioted on July 13 in north Belfast, Irish Republican News said. The loyalists — largely anti-Catholic supporters of Britain's ongoing rule over the six counties in Ireland's north — drove a vehicle into residents in the predominantly Catholic and Irish nationalist Ardoyne area, seriously injuring a teenage girl.
Private polling shows veteran left-wing Labour MP Jeremy Corbyn, who takes a strong stand against austerity and has a history of backing supporting popular movements, ahead in the first round of voting, the New Statesman said on July 15. The New Statesman said the success of Corbyn's campaign surprised observers. Corbyn collected 40 nominations from local parties, just eight less than the bookmakers' favourite, Andy Burnham.
Europe, as we know it, may well be over. The promise of a peaceful integration of equals with a capitalist framework lies tattered on the floor of a negotiation room in Brussels. There, the SYRIZA-led Greek government finally succumbed to the blackmail, economic carpet-bombing and “mental water-boarding” of the European powers.
More than 60 lawmakers from Germany’s Die Linke (The Left) party voted against the proposal for further austerity for Greece on July 17. They accused the German government of “destroying Europe” by forcing Greece to accept hard-hitting austerity measures required by the eurozone for a third bailout deal.
As the left in Australia faces the need to organise against escalating racism from mainstream politicians and the far right, important lessons can be learned from anti-racist struggles across the world. Sibylle Kaczorek is a Socialist Alliance activist now living in Melbourne who was active in anti-racist campaigns in Germany. She spoke to Green Left Weekly's Nick Fredman. * * * Despite Germany officially becoming an anti-fascist state after World War II, there have been continuing connections between the far right and the state haven’t there?
Public sector workers strike against the deal, July 15. In the early hours of July 16, Greek parliament voted to accept the punitive July 12 funding deal put forward by eurozone lenders. The deal included many harsh austerity measures, including large-scale privatisation, that the SYRIZA-led government of Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras had come to office pledging to oppose.
New strikes have hit Greece as anger flares over the latest deal pushed onto Greece by the Troika of European Commission, European Central Bank and International Monetary Fund. Thousands of public sector workers from the ADEDY union took to the streets on July 15 as part of a general strike calling for the rejection of a raft of new austerity measures being put to the parliament by Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras.
The Greek Parliament voted in the early hours of July 16 to back the deal agreed to by Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras on the tough economic measures demanded by Greece's creditors. The vote came despite street protests and strikes -- and in the face of a statement released the day before by the governing SYRIZA party's central committee against the deal.
Core texts of the secretive Trade in Services Agreement (TISA) have finally been exposed by WikiLeaks. The whistleblowing group released the explosive document on July 1, ahead of the a new round of negotiations. The 52 participating countries, including the US, Japan, Australia, Israel and the members of the European Union, are discussing “liberalisation” of laws on financial services, telecommunications and cross-border transfer of workers.
Police in The Hague arrested 42-year-old tourist Mitch Henriquez on June 27. Henriquez, who was born on the Dutch-Caribbean island of Aruba, was visiting the city’s Night at the Park festival. The statement released by the public prosecutor claimed that he told police he had a gun and then resisted arrest. This prompted five police officers to beat Henriquez until he was unconscious.

Culture

Serena Williams has won 21 Grand Slam titles — the same number every other active women’s player has collected combined. There are many articles — terrific articles — defending Serena Williams against the racism and sexism that have long stalked her career. But we should be similarly aggressive in stating factually just who Serena is becoming before our very eyes.
Raw Intelligence Graphic Released May 26, 2015 $27.99 Buy it on iTunes Perth rapper Graphic has rewritten the rule books with his new album, Raw Intelligence. The emcee, who reads Green Left Weekly, took the unusual approach of releasing the strong, high-quality album as an interactive ebook containing its mp3s, lyrics and links to further reading. GLW's Mat Ward spoke to him. ***