Issue 1080

Australia

Women from the Refugee Rights Action Network (RRAN) organised a "Mad F**king Witches" action to highlight the intolerable levels of sexual assault in Australian immigration detention centres and to call for freedom for refugees and the sacking of minister Peter Dutton.

"Silence on Nauru...

Five crew members aboard Alcoa ship the MV Portland were woken at 1am on January 13 by up to 30 security guards, handed their passports and forcibly removed from the vessel. The guards then escorted aboard a replacement crew, believed to be foreign seafarers, who immediately began...

On December 16, Victoria's highest court threw out a protracted legal bid by a group of Bendigo residents to stop a mosque being built.

Led by local woman Julie Hoskin, the group has battled against the mosque, which the City of Bendigo approved in June 2014 and which VCAT approved last...

The Northern Territory government rejected an application to explore for unconventional gas in Watarrka National Park, also known as Kings Canyon, and Coomalie on the edge of the Litchfield National Park, on November 25.

The Traditional Owners have been fighting to protect the areas from...

The Victorian government has turned its back on a major commitment to not contract out disability services to the private sector.

The Health and Community Services Union (HACSU) has been left feeling “absolutely betrayed” by the Daniel Andrews' government's decision to break an election...

More than 300 people braved rain on January 11 in a last ditch attempt to save a Tamil family from deportation to Sri Lanka.

Neelavannan Paramanathan and his wife Suganthini fled Sri Lanka in 2008 in the midst of the civil war. They sought asylum in Australia in 2012, and settled in...

The Malcolm Turnbull Coalition government has launched a new assault on the public health system. It comes in the wake of the failure of the previous Tony Abbott government to impose a $7 Medicare co-payment and a $5 surcharge on prescription medicines.

The government is now seeking to...

The Turnbull government recently decided to cut bulk-billing incentives to pathology services. This will result in pathology labs charging for basic tests including pap smears, MRIs, urine tests, blood tests, x-rays and ultrasounds. The cuts will force patients to pay at least $30 for a pap...

About 70 people, mainly from the Australian Kurdish Association, organised a peaceful protest inside and outside the ABC Ultimo Centre on January 14. They were protesting against the national broadcaster's bias and slander against the Kurds, despite the Turkish government's attacks on...

Key Liberal and National party electorates support a switch to 100% renewables by 2030 and a global moratorium on new coalmines, according to new ReachTEL polling commissioned by The Australia Institute.

A moratorium on new coalmines received between 50% and 57% support by voters in the...

A new study by world-renowned climate scientists says the Earth entered a new epoch around 1950, following a population boom and widespread environmental change due to increased use of concrete, aluminium, plastic, burning coal and gas and nuclear fallout.

They argue that the planet has...

Five crew members aboard Alcoa ship the MV Portland were woken at 1am on January 13 by up to 30 security guards, handed their passports and forcibly removed from the vessel. The guards then escorted aboard a replacement crew, believed to be foreign seafarers, who immediately began...

Melbourne's Oromo community rallied on January 3 as part of a world-wide action in solidarity with the Oromo student protesters currently leading the ‪#‎OromoProtests‬ movement in Oromia, Ethiopia.

The Oromo people are an ethnic group inhabiting Ethiopia, northern Kenya, and...

Forest firefighters employed by the Victorian Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) have been battling the Andrews government for recognition as emergency services workers.

Hundreds of the firefighters, who work in state forests and national parks, are paid $12 an...

Protesters gathered outside the Queensland State Executive on December 30, angry at yet another incident of violence against an Aboriginal child in the custody of the state.

Denzel, an 11 year old boy, had been severely bashed in juvenile detention. His family is demanding an...

About 100 members of the Kurdish community and their supporters rallied in Sydney against the Turkish government's attacks on human rights and for Kurdish freedom on December 18. The rally was held to publicise the recent report on human rights violations in Turkey issued to mark Human Rights...

The administration of the University of Western Australia has announced that the university will be sacking 300 staff in the new year.

The National Tertiary Education Union protested against the job cuts outside the university on December 17. In addition, students protested on...

Hundreds of disability workers rallied in Melbourne on December 14 against attempts to privatise the rollout of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) in Victoria.

Members of the Health and Community Services Union (HACSU) protested outside Premier Daniel Andrews' office...

In the context of the anti-Muslim racism spiked by the recent attacks in Paris, the Electrical Trades Union Queensland and Northern Territory (ETU Qld and NT) has produced a video showing that racism is anti-worker and has no place in the Australian community.

ETU (Qld and NT) Secretary...

"What do we want? A fair deal. When do we want it? Now!" more than 1000 firefighters chanted as they marched through the streets of Melbourne on December 8.

The Victorian Labor government, like its Liberal predecessor, has refused to reach an agreement with the United...

About 8000 unionists gathered outside the Melbourne Magistrates' Court on December 8 to support Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU) officials John Setka and Shaun Reardon, who faced blackmail charges.

The charges relate to allegations Setka and Reardon made...

World


Police violently crack down on protests in Bahrain against al-Nimr's execution.

The West's response to public beheadings carried out by the Saudi state is extremely muted, especially in comparison with the way public beheadings by ISIS are highlighted in Western propaganda.

...

Malaysian human rights group SUARAM says that several members of the Socialist Party of Malaysia (PSM) and other human rights activists were subjected to arbitrary arrests simply for attending a peaceful candlelight vigil in the city of Johor Baru on January 10.

The vigil was called to...

Protests against police killings in Chicago, November 25.

Across the country, police murders of Black people continue apace — as do prosecutors' failure to charge the killers, getting hung juries at best.

Protests also continue. Some of the most sustained and large protests are...

The dramatic declines on financial markets at the start of the new year have revived fears that another economic slump could be in the cards for 2016 — even though working people around the world are still suffering the effects of the Great Recession the last time around.

The turmoil on...

Storms have mercilessly battered Britain, one after the other over the festive period, bringing with them severe and unrelenting floods. The scale of damage and devastation was unprecedented, but it was not unpredictable. We have seen these storms growing with intensity every year....

Facing possible austerity and a return to neoliberalism at the hands of a right-wing parliament, will the millions involved in Venezuela's Bolivarian revolution that has cut poverty and empowered the poor radicalise further and protect their 15 years of gains? Or will this be the blow that...

In the aftermath of Venezuela's right-wing US-backed opposition securing its electoral win over President Nicolas Maduro's United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) in the December 6 National Assembly elections, the South American country is heading for two confrontations, each reinforcing the...

Prominent Mexican left-wing politician Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador demanded on January 10 to know how the authorities could catch an escaped gangster, but were unable to find the 43 students kidnapped in Ayotzinapa in Guerrero state in September 2014.

The National Regeneration Movement (...


Artillery bombardment of Diyarbakır neighbourhood of Sur. Photo: Jinhahaber.link.

It is freezing cold in Amed, as the city of Diyarbakır is known to its residents. More than 10 centimetres of snow blankets the ground, something that happens only every three or four years. And at...


People's Climate March, Sydney, November 29.

The Paris Agreement on climate change, which emerged out of the November 30 to December 12 COP21 UN climate talks, has been hailed as a “turning point for the world'. But it is long on rhetoric and short on real commitments – below are...


“Against sexism, against racism” Cologne, January 5. Photo: Jungewelt.de.

Dozens of women were sexually harassed on New Year's Eve in Germany, but rather than connecting the events to a system that perpetuates sexist violence, the political and media establishments have focused on...

What was the central message of the December 20 Spanish general elections, which was “won” by the governing conservative People's Party (PP) of Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy with only 28.72% of the vote, 3.6 million votes less than the last national poll in 2011?

Why did the opposition...

The circus is over. The suits have left Paris after the November 30-December 12 UN climate talks (COP21). There have been millions of words written about the text. But one fact stands out. All the governments of the world have agreed to increase global greenhouse gas emissions every year between...

The following statement was released by the Australian Kurdish Association on December 22.

Let's Stand Against the Massacre in Kurdistan, Support the Kurdish People's Struggle for Freedom!

As a result of the attacks of the Turkish state forces, a comprehensive war is ongoing in Kurdistan...

Analysis

The most recent examples of sexism by two Coalition front bench MPs reminds us that sexism and misogyny is alive and thriving 32 years after the landmark law that made such discrimination a crime.

From the outrageous sexist attacks on former PM Julia Gillard — largely from the same...

The federal government is proposing to hold a referendum to formally recognise Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in the Australian Constitution.

Sounds like a good progressive idea? Many prominent Aboriginal leaders disagree.

* * *

“Constitutional recognition...

Every year it becomes harder to ignore official Australia's celebrations of nationalism. For weeks, supermarket aisles have been given over to garish displays of things to buy for Australia Day on January 26: Australian flags and hats, stubby holders and thongs displaying Australian flags....

When Liberal MP Jamie Briggs was in Hong Kong and was not busy making unwanted advances on public servants, he was meeting with private rail operator MTR. This aspect of his travels should also be under scrutiny.

MTR already runs Melbourne's Metro train system, which, under its...

On the day Tony Abbott was rolled, one of my family members, who lives in Malcolm Turnbull's electorate of Wentworth, posted a one line warning on Facebook: "Beware the silver fox." Well, it proved true remarkably quickly.

A concerted attack on Medicare is in full swing and it has one...

The Perth Freight Link (PFL) project ground to a halt on December 16 when Supreme Court Chief Justice Wayne Martin ruled environmental approvals for the Roe 8 freeway through the Beeliar Wetlands were invalid.

Incredibly, the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) had argued it was...

Cattle and sheep are blamed for contributing to greenhouse gases, belching out methane, and farmers in the future are likely to be taxed because of it.

The recent Green Left Weekly climate change liftout [issue #1078] calls for a drastic reduction in sheep and cattle numbers....

Aboriginal child removals by government Child Protection agencies across the nation are taking place at an alarming rate.

The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare reported a rise in the rate of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children aged up to 17 in out of home care across...

Andres Garin died in Wollongong in December, aged 77.

Andres was a founding member of Socialist Alliance as well as an activist with the Democratic Socialist Party and its predecessor, the Socialist Workers Party, for whom he ran as a senate candidate in the 1983 federal election.

...

Young job seekers today are facing the toughest job market seen in Australia for more than 20 years. According to Australian Bureau of Statistics figures, in September last year youth unemployment was 12.93%, after peaking at 14.43% in November 2014.

However, there are youth unemployment...

Happy New Year for a few weeks ago or coming up in a couple of weeks, depending on whether you rely on a calendar or the moon for such things. I hope you had some time off and got to spend it relaxing with people you love, or if you were working, that you got plenty of time and a ... WATCH OUT...

There are more people today who have been displaced by war, poverty and climate change than at any point in recorded history. The current number of refugees has exceeded those displaced by World War I and World War II combined.

About 60 million people became refugees in 2015 alone. Many...

In 2015 Prime Minister Tony Abbott was booted from the top job courtesy of his own party and replaced by Malcolm Turnbull. This was considered a victory by many and a result of the work of a number of social movements campaigning against a range of Abbott's policies.

Under Abbott, the...

One of Tony Abbott's first acts as Prime Minister was to announce a Royal Commission to “shine a spotlight” onto the so-called “dark corners” of the trade union movement. The commission would expose the criminality and impropriety that allegedly blights Australia's trade unions.

Led by...

Below is the speech given by Socialist Alliance member Dave Holmes to a Melbourne meeting and concert to mark the founding of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK). About 400-500 people attended the November 28 event organised by the Kurdish Association of Victoria at the Kurdish House centre in...

The Victorian government has turned its back on a major commitment to not contract out disability services to the private sector.

The Health and Community Services Union (HACSU) has been left feeling “absolutely betrayed” by the Daniel Andrews' government's decision to break an election...

The Victorian Labor government's decision to privatise Melbourne Port, the last significant public asset in the state, through a 50-year lease has drawn little public opposition.

One reason is that the port is out of sight to most people in Victoria. Another is that the government has...

The battle to save land and water in north-west NSW's Liverpool Plains, from coal and coal seam gas continues to be fought by Aboriginal communities, farmers, local councils and environmentalists.

People in Tamworth, Moree, Narrabri, Boggabri, Gunnedah, Quirindi and Toomelah are fighting...

In the current world situation — where imperial war and blowback terrorism have fueled a resurgence of racism in West — it is not surprising that Australia's small, far-right, racist Party For Freedom, led by its would-be fuhrer Nick Folkes, has called for a rally to commemorate the racist riot...

[The Socialist Alliance National Executive released this statement on December 7.]

The arrests of Victorian Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU) officials, state secretary, John Setka and assistant secretary Shaun Reardon, demonstrate that the Royal Commission into...

Culture

I BELIEVE that reviewers generally should disclose when they have a vested interest in the thing they're reviewing, so full disclosure: Barring another Jar Jar Binks fiasco, there was about as much chance of me--a geek hurtling toward middle age at light speed--hating J.J. Abrams' Star Wars:...

This past year there was no shortage of people who tried to leverage the sports world to boldly speak out on issues beyond the field of play.

In the United States, Missouri football players went on strike against racism; the remarkable activists in Boston — led in many neighbourhoods by...

Suffragette
Directed by Sarah Gavron, written by Abi Morgan
Starring Carey Mulligan, Helena Bonham Carter & Meryl Streep
In cinemas now

Suffragette, written by a woman (Abi Morgan), directed by a woman (Sarah Gavron) and co-produced by two women (Alison Owen and...

The United Nations has a strict definition of the term "refugee," whereby you are only a refugee if you are fleeing war or persecution of some kind. If you are fleeing a place because there is no way for you to feed yourself or your family if you stay, the UN defines this kind of movement as "...

When feminist writer Clementine Ford outed one of her online abusers to his employer, it struck a chord with people who have endured similar sexist harassment and abuse: on their blogs, social media, and even dating websites. However, Ford also been criticised and been told she's doing more harm...

Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal

Tragedies of the global commons and the global working class

“Everybody is talking about it — the dangers presented by climate change,” Canadian Marxist Michael Lebowitz says. “Adding significantly, though, to the emphasis upon the need to take dramatic action now has been Pope Francis's...