Issue 1081

News

Resistance members are currently taking part in a tour of Malaysia with the Socialist Party of Malaysia (PSM). The tour has visited Buntong where the PSM has set up an after-school care program for children from poor families who work long shifts. They also travelled to Pusing, a 100-year-old tin mining town where many farmers are engaged in a struggle for land rights against developers.
Protesters gathered outside the former Pentridge Prison on January 16 to say “no” to the planned residential Pentridge tower. A plan to build a 19-storey apartment complex within the walls of the former Pentridge Prison was lodged over the Christmas period. The proposed residential tower will totally dominate and overshadow the guards’ watchtower. It will also be the tallest building in Moreland. This would set a precedent for no limits on the height of buildings in central Coburg.
Maritime Union of Australia (MUA) members at Patrick Stevedores terminals struck for 24 hours on January 18 at the ports of Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Fremantle to demand job security and an improved enterprise agreement. The strike followed the imposition of work bans at the Port Botany site in Sydney from January 4.
A memorial was held on January 20 for two First Nations freedom fighters, Tunnerminnerwait and Maulboyheener. They were executed in 1842, the first two people executed in Victoria. Their deaths form part of the genocide that accompanied the dispossession of the First Nations people. The gathering marched to lay flowers at the Victoria Markets north wall carpark, where their remains and those of 9000 others lie in an unmarked grave.
Two forest activists protesting against the clearfelling of native forest in north-western Tasmania have become the first people charged under the state's controversial anti-protest laws. John Henshaw and Jessica Hoyt were part of a group of nine protesters who walked on to a Forestry Tasmania coup at Lapoinya, 37 kilometers from Burnie on January 18. About 70 other protesters have gathered at the entrance to the coup for the past week to oppose the logging.
In May last year Nazanin, a 23-year-old Iranian asylum seeker, was raped on Nauru. It took three months and a medical emergency for the Department of Immigration and Border Protection to send her to Australia for treatment. At the time, the department said Nazanin's mother and brother would also be brought to Australia to provide critical family support.
Ergon workers in Bundaberg walked off the job in response to the company's plans to axe front line jobs in the region and across the state. This follows a similar walkout in Atherton on January 15 over the same issue. Electricians and linesmen from the Bundaberg depot walked off the job on January 20 in response to the company's decision to outsource more work at the expense of permanent frontline positions.
Three Knitting Nannas Against Gas were arrested on January 18 after chaining themselves to the gates of the Santos Leewood water treatment plant near Narrabri.
Tasmania is in the grip of an energy crisis as drought reduces output from its hydro-electric dams and the undersea power cable — which had been providing up to 40% of its power needs from Victoria — is shut down. Basslink is planning a major operation to repair its undersea power cable, which was shut down after a fault was discovered about 100 kilometres off the Tasmanian coast.
Conservationists from Goongerah Environment Centre (GECO) have re-established a forest blockade in the Kuark forest north-east of Orbost in East Gippsland, Victoria. A person in a tree platform tied to logging machinery stopped logging for four days. Another person is also positioned 8 metres above the ground on a timber tripod, blocking access to the contentious logging coupe. A third person is positioned up a large timber pole attached to logging machines, which is preventing logging from continuing.
Sea Shepherd has announced it will join the Great Australian Bight Alliance to fight BP’s proposal to drill for oil in the Great Australian Bight. They will join the Wilderness Society, Oil Free Seas Kangaroo Island, elders from the Mirning and Kokatha people and the Clean Bight Alliance Australia. BP wants to drill four deep-water exploration wells between 1000 and 2500 metres deep, about 300 kilometres south-west of Ceduna. The Alliance fears an oil spill will have dire consequences for Australia's southern coast.

Analysis

The latest advertisement from Meat and Livestock Australia (MLA) depicts the military “rescuing” Australians from overseas so they can eat lamb on Australia Day.
The Northern Territory has the highest rate of youth detention in the country. The detention rate of young people is six times the national average and 97% of those detained in the juvenile justice system are Aboriginal youth. There have been a number of reports and investigations in the past two years into the treatment of Aboriginal youth while held in custody. They show quite clearly that by deliberate design and policy Aboriginal youth in are treated in a barbarous, inhumane and illegal way.
Waterfront workers at Hutchison Ports terminals in Sydney and Brisbane are "back in the gate now," and "normal work is proceeding" Maritime Union of Australia (MUA) Sydney branch assistant secretary Joe Deakin told Green Left Weekly on January 20. Settlement of the long-running dispute which began on August 6 last year was finally achieved in December.
In the past few years, private investors backed by corporate interests such as global banks, financial firms, hedge funds and food giants have bought a huge amount of farmland across the global South.
Well my only New Year's resolution was to have no hope the status quo would somehow miraculously change itself in 2016 — and it is a resolution that has proven all too easy to keep. For instance, any hopes that changing the “five” to a “six” on the annual calendar would lessen the misogyny strangling decency in this country were pretty quickly defeated.
Families struggling on low incomes and the environment will benefit from an innovative crowdfunding campaign to install solar hot water systems made by the Earthworker Cooperative in homes. The campaign is supported by organisations such as the Father Bob Maguire Foundation, Aboriginal Housing Victoria and Common Equity NSW. The first installation of a solar system funded by the "Give Tanks" campaign took place on January 12 in a home managed by Aboriginal Housing Victoria.
Captain Arthur Phillip took formal possession of the colony of New South Wales and raised the flag for the first time in Sydney Cove on January 26, 1788. In the early 1880s the day was known as “First Landing”, “Anniversary Day” or “Foundation Day”. In 1946 the Commonwealth and state governments agreed to unify the celebrations on January 26 and call it “Australia Day”.
Oxfam's new report, An Economy for the 1%, is a damning indictment of capitalism. It presents chilling data showing that global inequality has reached “new extremes”. The aid organisation has calculated that just 62 people have the same amount of wealth as half the world.
An immigration department review into the forcible removal of Save the Children Fund workers from the Nauru immigration detention centre, released on January 15, recommended that they be paid compensation. The nine charity workers were ordered to leave Nauru by the Australian government in October 2014 after they claimed that women and children at the detention centre were being sexually abused.
Feminist, resident activist, popular educator, councillor, public transport campaigner, mother, academic, environmentalist and true democrat, Margaret Henry, who passed away late last year in Newcastle, had many sides to her wonderful life.
Photo: Central Australian Aboriginal Media Association. On 26 January, one of the saddest days in human history will be celebrated in Australia. It will be "a day for families", say the newspapers owned by Rupert Murdoch. Flags will be dispensed at street corners and displayed on funny hats. People will say incessantly how proud they are.
Resistance members are currently taking part in a tour of Malaysia with the Socialist Party of Malaysia (PSM). The tour has visited Buntong where the PSM has set up an after-school care program for children from poor families who work long shifts. They also traveled to Pusing, a 100-year-old tin mining town where many farmers are engaged in a struggle for land rights against developers.

World

Ezra Nawi. Israel has arrested three human rights defenders amid what appears to be a concerted campaign to sabotage domestic groups documenting Israeli abuses of Palestinians, Electronic Intifada said on January 21.
Two recent events — the victory of right-wing candidate Mauricio Macri in Argentina's presidential election in November and the win by Venezuela's right-wing Democratic Unity Roundtable in the December National Assembly elections — have radically altered South America's political map.
Bernie Sanders. Self-described democratic socialist and Democratic presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders used a January 5 speech to call for structural reforms to the US financial system, calling Wall Street's business model as fraudulent, TeleSUR English said on January 5.
Poisoned water in Flint, Michigan, has exposed residents to toxic levels of lead and caused drastically elevated levels of the element in children, TeleSUR English said on January 19. Michigan authorities declared a state of emergency in Flint on January 5.
“Stop the blackmail: Anti-Zionism is not anti-Semitism.” Paris, July 2014.
2015 the hottest year on record Last year smashed the record for the hottest year since reporting began in 1850, according to the first full-year figures from the world’s three principal temperature estimates.
In 1978, Deng Xiaoping, who Mao Tse Tung called a “capitalist roader”, initiated an economic reform program labelled “market socialism.” Within two decades, China had managed to transition from a closed communist state to an open centre of dynamic capitalism with the greatest economic growth rates in human history. After the onset of the Global Financial Crisis (GFC) in 2008, China immediately injected $US586 billion into its economy in classical Keynesian counter-cyclical stimulus spending. The next year, it began the largest fixed investment stimulus program the world has ever seen.
Photo: Counterfire. For the first time in 40 years, tens of thousands of junior doctors took to their picket lines on January 12 to oppose government plans to attack Britain's public National Health System (NHS). As part of its bigger plan to run the NHS into the ground, the Conservative government is trying to impose a new contract on all junior doctors working in England.
Tamils protest for the release of political prisoners. Colombo, October 2015. When Maithripala Sirisena was elected as president of Sri Lanka in January last year, he promised to end human rights violations by the security forces. Under Sirisena's predecessor, Mahinda Rajapaksa, it was common practice for the army and police to abduct people and torture them. Some were later released, while others were murdered.
The manifesto below was developed to promote a vision for a “plan B” against austerity and the assault on democracy by European elites. It has been signed by dozens of activists, academics and political figures, including former Greek finance finance minister Yanis Varoufakis, Barcelona mayor and housing rights activist Ada Colau, former Greek parliamentary speaker Zoe Konstantopoulou, British film maker Ken Loach and renown intellectual Noam Chomsky.
The following statement was issued by Women's Freedom Assembly (KÖM) in Turkey/North Kurdistan on January 18. Translation abridged from Jadaliyya.com. * * * The Women’s Freedom Assembly is calling for your solidarity against the war and massacres that we have been living through for the past eight months.
Devastation wrought by the Turkish state in Sur, Diyarbakır. Members of the European United Left/Nordic Green Left (GUE/NGL) condemned massacres of Kurds by the Turkish state in a debate in the European Parliament on January 20.
Venezuela's rate of extreme poverty has continued to decline despite what the government has described as an “economic war” by right-wing opposition-aligned business sectors. TeleSUR English said on January 17 that the latest official figures showed about 4.78% of Venezuelans now live in extreme poverty. That figure is slightly lower than those reported in November, which put the extreme poverty rate at 4.9%.
“Potentially the most widespread and globally synchronous anthropogenic signal is the fallout from nuclear weapons testing.” Repeatedly, over hundreds of thousands of years, glaciers expanded south and north from the polar regions, covering much of the Earth with ice sheets several kilometres deep.
Every year from around Christmas through to February, Argentina is wrapped in a summer trance. The usual, frenzied pitch of city centres is muffled as if by vast blankets of cotton and sticky heat. Families find reprieve from work by travelling to the coast and mountains, visiting distant family and towns in the interior. This lull often translates into a dialling-down of class struggle. There are fewer and smaller mobilisations, strikes and political activism.
Left-wing members of the European parliament have called on the European Union to pressure the Turkish government to immediately end its attacks against the Kurdish community in northern Kurdistan (southeast Turkey). The call was made by Sinn Fein MEP Martina Anderson, part of the European United Left - Nordic Green Left parliamentary bloc, after a meeting on January 13 with a Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) delegation.
President Rafael Correa giving a speech in Guayaquil to celebrate the 9th anniversary of the Citizens' Revolution. Photo: Presidencia de la República del Ecuador Flickr. “We are celebrating nine years of reborn hope, of fulfilled promises and of homeland for all,” Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa told crowds at an event marking the ninth anniversary of the start of the country's “Citizen's Revolution”.
Poor People's March at Lafayette Park on June 18, 1968, in Washington, DC. Photo: Kairos. On the third Monday of January, the US marks Martin Luther King Day with a federal holiday celebrating his contribution to the civil rights struggle.

Culture

British band The Hurriers are passionate, independently-driven — both in terms of control of their output, promo and gigs — and, almost as a bonus, a kick-ass in-your-face rock'n'roll act. The five-piece hails from Barnsley in South Yorkshire, a working-class town with a long history of mining. Their debut From Acorns, Mighty Oaks was released last May and is a cracker.
A History Man’s Past & Other People’s Stories: A Shared Memoir. Part One: Other People’s Wars By John Tognolini 2015, 160 pages pb $24, ebook $5 Order the book
British-Tamil musician M.I.A.'s video for her new song "Borders", which expresses solidarity with refugees seeking to flee to safety, has caused controversy. French football team Paris Saint-Germain has requested the video, directed by the artist herself, be taken offline because M.I.A. is seen in the video wearing a modified version of the club's shirt.

Good news (for a change)

Right-wing racist Andrew Bolt's television show The Bolt Report has been axed by Channel Ten, according The Australian. Ten reportedly charged News Corp about $2 million a year for using its facilities to produce and broadcast the Sunday morning political discussion program. The program was not included in Ten's lineup for 2016.
The second-largest company in Ireland, CRH, has divested from Israel after coming under sustained pressure from Palestine solidarity activists. CRH held 25% of the shares in Mashav, owner of Israel's top cement manufacturer Nesher. In 2004, it admitted that “in all probability” Nesher cement was used in the construction of Israel's wall in the West Bank. Nesher cement has also been used in constructing Israeli settlements in the West Bank and in the light rail network serving Israeli settlements in East Jerusalem.

Resistance!

The Northern Territory has the highest rate of youth detention in the country, six times the national average. Of those detained in the juvenile justice system 97% are Aboriginal youth. There have been a number of reports and investigations in the past two years into the treatment of Aboriginal youth in custody. They show that by deliberate design and policy Aboriginal youth are treated in a barbarous, inhumane and illegal way.