Issue 1104

Australia

Photos by Louise Chen

The Melbourne rally for justice for the children in the Youth Detention Centre occupied the Flinders St intersection, effectively shutting it down and blocking city traffic into the early hours of the morning, when police moved in.

Organised by Warriors of the Aboriginal Resistance (WAR) several hundred Aboriginal rights activists gathered for the rally at the State Library on Saturday July 30.

National Union of Workers (NUW) members at Polar Fresh, Coles' cold storage warehouse in Truganina, in Melbourne's west, have voted for a new workplace agreement after striking for three days.

Mass meetings of members of the United Firefighters Union (UFU) on July 26 voted to endorse in principle two proposed enterprise agreements negotiated with the Victorian state government.

One agreement covers workers employed by the Metropolitan Fire Brigade (MFB), while the other covers the Country Fire Authority (CFA).

The two agreements provide for pay rises and cover a wide range of other issues including rostering, staffing levels and occupational health and safety.

Thousands of people have rallied at cities across Australia in response to the footage coming out on ABC's Four Corners showing the torture of Aboriginal kids in the Darwin Don Dale correction centre.

Rallies are demanding the people responsible be brought to justice and the Don Dale correction centre be shut down.

Here are photos of the rallies:

Sydney

Photos by Zebedee Parkes

The first round of the campaign to Save Sydney College of the Arts (SCA) has been won by students and staff.

Sydney University's Vice Chancellor Michael Spence sent an email to all SCA students on July 28 saying their plan to close the Rozelle campus and merge it with University of NSW was over.

The Queensland government will introduce a container deposit scheme from 2018, which will offer 10 cents for bottles and cans returned to a collection depot or placed in a reverse vending machine.

Environment Minister Steven Miles said Queensland had one of the lowest recycling rates in the country. A recent NewsPoll showed 86% of Queenslanders wanted a container deposit scheme.

Miles said Queensland was in talks with New South Wales to set up a single Container Deposit Administrator to cover both states.

Hundreds of Afghans attended a candlelight vigil on the evening of July 27 to commemorate the horrific attack on protestors the previous weekend in Kabul, which left 80 civilians dead and 230 wounded.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has bowed to objections by the Coalition’s right wing and declined to support former Labor prime minister Kevin Rudd for the role of Secretary-General of the United Nations.

Turnbull said he made a “considered judgement” to not back Rudd because he was not suited to the role. Turnbull’s nomination is a necessary prerequisite for the bid, so his verdict essentially ends Rudd’s campaign.

ABC's Four Corners released CCTV footage on July 25 of horrific abuse of youth offenders in Darwin's Don Dale Youth Detention Centre, spanning six years of consistent abuse by detention centre staff of repeat offenders as young as 11 years old.

Some of the footage shows systematic abuse of youth offender Dylan Voller. Voller can be seen in solitary confinement being stripped naked and held down by staff. He can be seen beaten in front of other inmates for taking too long on the phone. Other incidents show guards trying to block cameras before beginning a round of abuse.

Queensland Attorney-General Yvette D'Ath announced on July 21 that the state government would introduce legislation that will ensure that vehicles with slogans that "fail to comply with determinations by the Advertising Standards Bureau" face deregistration.

The move was a result of more than two years of campaigning by feminist activist group Wicked Pickets, directed at the Queensland-based campervan hire company Wicked Campers. The announcement was welcomed by Wicked Pickets, the RACQ, the Advertising Standards Bureau (ASB) and the Australian Association of National Advertisers.

“Omid's name should never be forgotten,” said Stephen Langford just before he went into his second hearing in Waverley Magistrates Court. Langford was charged after he chalked “Omid” outside the electorate office of Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.

Omid Masoumali is an asylum seeker, who died from self-immolation in Australia's notorious Nauru offshore detention camp. The case was adjourned again to August 24.

Hume Coal is about to lodge plans for a massive coalmine that, if approved, will be the first large scale coking coal mining operation in the Southern Highlands. The coal will be destined for POSCO's steel mills in South Korea. Hume Coal is fully owned by POSCO.


Brusk Aeiveri. Sydney Central Local Court, July 29. Photo: Peter Boyle.

A sign posted outside a Bank of Melbourne branch in Footscray that called a rough sleeper "inconsiderate" has sparked outrage. The homeless person had been sheltering in the entrance of the bank.

The sign read: "Due to an inconsiderate person using the foyer as a place to live and litter, we are having to close this part of the branch until further notice".

The bank's Facebook page was inundated with customers calling the bank "out of touch" with the struggles of people experiencing disadvantage.

Following a string of noise complaints, the City of Melbourne will introduce a three-month ban on amplified busking on Swanston Street.

Lord Mayor Robert Doyle said the council hoped making Swanston St from Flinders Lane to La Trobe Street a non-amplified busking zone would cut the number of noise complaints.

However Melbourne busker Des Kennedy feared the situation could become more permanent and widespread. He organised a silent protest of about 60 angry buskers outside the Melbourne Town Hall, saying the ban would kill buskers’ income.

Advocacy group Doctors for Refugees has launched a High Court challenge to the controversial Border Force Act that prevents them from speaking out about child abuse and other threats to asylum seekers in detention centres.

Lawyers for the doctors will argue that the court should declare invalid laws that threaten detention centre staff with two years' jail for disclosing information about conditions they observe behind the wire.

Australian Competition and Consumer Commission chairperson Rod Sims said selling public assets has created unregulated monopolies that hurt productivity and damaged the economy.

Speaking at the Melbourne Economic Forum on July 26, Sims said the sale of ports and electricity infrastructure and the opening of vocational education to private companies had caused the public to lose faith in privatisation and deregulation.

Sims said: "I've been a very strong advocate of privatisation for probably 30 years; I believe it enhances economic efficiency.

The annual feminist conference, July 1 to 6, organised by the Network of Women Students of Australia (NOWSA) featured an panel of First Nations’ activists who addressed a range issues and answered questions.

Kicking it off, Bridget Cama, a Wiradjuri and Fijian woman, and a previous National Union of Students and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander office bearer talked about rights, feminism and spirituality.

Lock the Gate has reported that a joint Central and Northern Land Council meeting in Tennant Creek on July 27, which was called to discuss a proposed gas pipeline across Aboriginal land, has ended in a walk out by Traditional Owners.

The Traditional Owners of the Wakaya Land Trust, whose land has been targeted for the proposed new gas pipeline between Tennant Creek and Mt Isa, oppose the pipeline. They are concerned about the rushed consultation process for the access route for Jemena's Northern Gas Pipeline and the pipeline's reliance on fracked gas.

In the dead of night on July 26, a young Sudanese man, whom we will call “Walleed”, was forcibly removed by police from a van.

Video footage shows a dozen protestors shouting “We love you” and “We will not let you be forgotten” as he is dragged into Melbourne airport. Refugee activists had surrounded the van and blocked it from entering the airport for a few hours before police moved in.


Sydney Central Local Court, July 28. Photo: Peter Boyle.

Hundreds of people marched in Perth on July 23 to say that #BlackLivesMatter. The rally included strong expressions of solidarity with Nyoongar and Aboriginal campaigns for justice and sovereignty as well as expressions of anti-racism.

Here are some of the photos from the event.

World

As US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton led a team committed to delegitimising the politics of the late socialist president Hugo Chavez and the Bolivarian Revolution, secret emails published by WikiLeaks reveal.

Clinton publicly welcomed improved relations with Venezuela as Secretary of State, but she privately ridiculed the country and continued to support destabilisation efforts, leaked emails show.


Refugees in Jordan.

The six richest countries in the world, who make up almost 60% of the world’s economy, are hosting less than 9% of the total number of refugees in the world, a July 18 report by British charity Oxfam found.

The analysis showed that the United States, Germany, France, China, Japan and Britain, which together make up 56.6% of the global gross national product, host just 2.1 million refugees combined.

More than two-thirds of Brazilians oppose the coup government that replaced elected president Dilma Rousseff in May, a recent poll found. The Ipsos poll also found that more than half of Brazil supports holding presidential elections this year.


Santiago, July 24. Photo: EFE.

Pressured by the recent large protests rejecting the private system of pensions inherited from the Pinochet dictatorship, Chile's President Michelle Bachelet announced on July 26 that her administration would reform the system.

It is hard to imagine a sharper contrast than that between the 10th National Convention of Portugal's Left Bloc, held in Lisbon from June 24 to 26, and its predecessor, held in the same city 18 months ago.

In 2014, the 9th National Convention of the radical left force — formed in 1999 to unite several left currents — had brought the organisation to the brink of a 50–50 split.

“It is a war between the majority of [Labour] MPs and the overwhelming majority of Labour Party members — hundreds and thousands of them,” says Kate Hudson, the national secretary of English party Left Unity, on the struggle over Jeremy Corbyn's leadership of the Labour Party.

Hudson, who is also general secretary for the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, was speaking to Melbourne community radio station 3CR's Solidarity Breakfast show on July 23.


Qamişlo, July 27.

On the morning of July 27, a bomb-laden truck exploded in a crowded area of Qamişlo in Rojava (northern Syria). This terrorist massacre, claimed by ISIS, killed at least 44 people and left about 150 injured. Many surrounding buildings were destroyed, and among the dead were a number of women and children.

Although it was not deemed worthy of front page coverage in much of the Western media, the horrific attack against a demonstration in Kabul on July 23 should be known about and condemned by the whole world.

More than 80 people from the Hazara minority were slaughtered in the terrorist attack. Their only crime was to assemble in a crowd to peacefully protest against discrimination and demand justice from the corrupt and puppet government of Ashraf Ghani and Abdullah Abdullah.

"After years of inhumane treatment, and having been held in conditions that the UN considers to be torture, Chelsea Manning, the Guardian columnist and whistleblower who has been in prison for years serving a 35 year sentence for exposing some of the U.S. government's worst abuses, attempted to take her own life July 5th, 2016," FreeChelsea.com has reported.

"Now, Army officials have informed her that she is facing serious new charges directly related to her suicide attempt."

In a special statement and call to action, the site reported the new charges include:

At the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia this week, it seems a sticker is all it takes to keep you out of a room—at least the rooms brought to you by the fossil fuel industry.

Back in February, former US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright told a rally in the lead up to the first Democratic Party presidential primary in New Hampshire, there is a “special place in hell” for women who don't support Hillary Clinton.

That same weekend, US feminist icon Gloria Steinem told a talk show that young women supporting presidential nominee Bernie Sanders over Clinton were chasing boys.

Turkey is shutting down more than 100 media outlets and is purging more than 1000 military personnel, it was announced on July 27 as President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's government continues to tighten its grip on power after a failed military coup on July 15.

In all, 131 media outlets have been shut down, including television stations, newspapers and magazines. The government has begun detaining journalists, with 90 reporters ordered to be round up.

Transcript:

AMY GOODMAN: The historic night was not without protest. Hundreds of Bernie Sanders delegates walked out of the convention soon after the senator asked the convention to suspend the rules and award the nomination to Hillary Clinton.

SANDERS SUPPORTERS: Walk out! Walk out! This is what democracy looks like! This is what democracy looks like!

The Democratic National Convention began in Philadelphia on July 25 with anti-Hillary Clinton feeling among Bernie Sanders supporters on full and vocal display, TeleSUR English said the next day.

Analysis

Privatisation continues to be touted as a quick fix, so the mantra goes “public sector bad, private sector good”.

That is, using community funds and resources to build up a vital service or piece of infrastructure, usually over a period of many years, then when there is a “budget crisis” selling it off to yield a quick cash injection and the removal of an expense from the ledger — regardless of whether it is generating income or not — while giving sweetheart deals to the new owners to ensure monopoly-like conditions to maximise their profits.

Chace Hill is a young Koori man who lives in Perth. He recently completed an honours degree in criminology at Murdoch University looking at racism. He is also a Resistance Young Socialist Alliance member.

He spoke to Green Left Weekly's Zebedee Parkes about racism in the justice system and the recent Four Corners program about the abuse of Aboriginal children in the Don Dale detention centre in Darwin.

* * *

Tell us about your honours thesis.

Following a community campaign, the Queensland government has announced it will deregister Wicked Campers vans that "fail to comply with determinations by the Advertising Standards Bureau". The vans are banned in northern NSW council caravan parks and bans are being considered by the Tasmanian government.

When Tasmanian Liberal director Damien Mantach garnered a spectacular promotion to Victorian deputy president in 2011, he left Tasmania to great fanfare and fond farewells.

With champagne toasts still lingering in the air, the party newsletter triumphantly said Mantach left the Tasmanian division “in excellent shape and Damien is to be congratulated for his positive contribution”.

A brilliant party machinist, Mantach was now a coveted Victorian Liberal. Finally in the centre of power, he was rubbing shoulders with premiers and befriending the future prime minister Tony Abbott.

Human rights lawyers are opposed to Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull's plan to introduce laws that would allow people who have been convicted on terrorism charges to be held in prison indefinitely.

The ABC's Four Corners program exposed the abuse and mistreatment of children in juvenile detention in the Northern Territory. The abuse revealed was graphic and finally brought to the public's notice after many years of campaigning for attention to be paid to the treatment of children, especially Aboriginal children, in detention.

Since late 2005 the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) has been included on Australia's list of terrorist organisations. It is illegal for Australian citizens to belong to the PKK, actively support it, raise funds for it or otherwise engage with it. Just this month Australian-Kurdish journalist Renas Lelikan was charged in Sydney with being a member of the PKK.

The latest Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia Survey: Selected Findings (HILDA) report shows that the proportion of home ownership has declined in all parts of Australia, with the greatest declines in NSW and Victoria.

Thereport, released on July 20, reveals that owning a house is no longer the norm and it is likely that renters will outnumber home-owners in the next few years.

Hysterical anti-renewable headlines aren't necessarily a surprise from the Australian and other News Ltd publications. But the cynicism of the attack on South Australia's renewable energy industry in their pages is still astonishing.

On July 25, the Australian published Matthew Warren of the Australian Energy Council — a peak body for “major electricity and downstream natural gas businesses” — blaming renewables for “higher costs and increased risks around reliability” in South Australia.

Malcolm Turnbull has called for a Royal Commission after seeing on ABC's Four Corners the brutality that has been happening under both his government and the previous Labor government.

He said this evidence had not been brought forth at previous inquiries. Not good enough Turnbull!

There is ample evidence of the criminality of the prison officers, their bosses and the Northern Territory government ministers for charges to be laid over the horror inflicted on Aboriginal kids in custody at the Don Dale Juvenile Detention Centre.

It's not just a question of proper "training"and "processes" for the prison guards.

The horror we saw in the ABC's Four Corner's program on July 25 is the outcome of the law and order agenda of "lock em' up and throw away the key".

Culture

Green Left TV's Zebedee Parkes has had his short film My Friend in Detention has been officially selected to be screened at the Washington DC-based Global Impact Film Fest later this month.


Gaza. July 2014.

A new short film, Gaza in Context, on the situation in Palestine takes aim at the corporate news media’s coverage of Israel’s July-August 2014 assault on Gaza.

Israel killed 2251 Palestinians during the attacks, including 551 children. About 75,000 people remain displaced two years later.


Hebron play Gaza Strip in the 2015 Palestine Cup final at al-Yarmouk Stadium, Gaza City.

Israel prevented at least nine footballers players from crossing from the West Bank into Gaza to join their team for the opening match of the Palestine Cup on July 26.

Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal

Philippines: the contradictions of Duterte’s regime

The Rodrigo Duterte government is right now the most popular government in three decades, Party of the labouring Masses (PLM) leader Sonny Melencio notes, But the class character of the Duterte regime remains unchanged — it is still a government of the elite as against the exploited and oppressed.

Profile of the early communist women’s movement