Issue 1186

Australia

Buru Energy has admitted in its submission to the Western Australian Fracking Inquiry that testing of flowback fluids from its 2015 fracking operations in the Kimberley showed elevated levels of the chemical contaminants boron and barium and the radionuclide radium-228.

The Oakey Coal Action Alliance (OCAA) is continuing its fight to protect farmland and water resources in the Darling Downs in Queensland from the $900 million Stage 3 expansion of New Hope Coal’s New Acland Coalmine (NAC).

It has filed an objection to the Queensland Supreme Court’s decision to overturn the historic Land Court recommendation that Stage 3 be rejected. The Supreme Court has ruled the matter will be referred to a different Member of the Land Court for further consideration.

All 38 children held in detention in the Northern Territory — 17 in Darwin’s Don Dale detention centre and 21 in Alice Springs — are Aboriginal, a parliamentary committee was told on June 20.

Deputy chief executive of the NT Families Department Jeanette Kerr was being questioned about how the rate of Aboriginal children in detention had changed since the Royal Commission into Juvenile Detention.

“As of today, 100% of the children in detention are Aboriginal,” she said. “The proportions have not changed since the royal commission."

A community campaign has successfully pushed for the Melbourne electorate of Batman to be renamed Cooper after Yorta Yorta political activist and Aboriginal community leader William Cooper.

The electorate had been named after Melbourne founder John Batman, who was involved in massacres of Aboriginal people in Tasmania before he “bought” land around Port Phillip Bay from the Wurundjeri people.

More than 100 people attended a rally on June 24 to protest against the impending deportation of a Tamil family.

Nades, Priya and their two children had been living in Biloela, a small town in Queensland, for four years. On March 5 at 5am, their home was surrounded by 40 police and Border Force officers, and they were taken away with only 10 minutes to pack.

The Maritime Union of Australia (MUA) has welcomed as a “victory for common sense” a Federal Court decision on June 21 to reject massive fines sought by the Fair Work Ombudsman (FWO) over the Hutchison Ports dispute three years ago.

On August 6, 2015, Hutchison Ports Australia sacked 100 workers at its Port Botany terminal by text message the day before many were due to go on shift. The company then placed guards on the gates and workers were not even allowed to clear out their lockers.

World

Italy’s new government only took office in early June, but the country is already facing an alarming rise in racist violence, writes Daniele Fulvi.

Incidents of racial discrimination have risen in the past few weeks, with large numbers of immigrants being attacked — and in some cases killed.

The most outrageous case involved 29-year-old Soumayla Sacko, who was shot dead in Calabria, in southern Italy.

Racism

Born in Mali, Sacko migrated to Italy where he got work as a labourer.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau challenged Donald Trump’s nationalism at the G7 summit in Québec last month, but that doesn’t mean he provides the alternative people and planet need, writes Todd Gordon.

One of the few talents Donald Trump has as a politician is to make others around him look far more attractive than they really are.

The persecution of Julian Assange must end. Or it will end in tragedy.

The Australian government and prime minister Malcolm Turnbull have an historic opportunity to decide which it will be.

They can remain silent, for which history will be unforgiving. Or they can act in the interests of justice and humanity and bring this remarkable Australian citizen home.

Turkey’s authoritarian President Recep Tayyip Erdogan won 53% of the vote in the June 24 presidential election.

This extends his rule until at least 2023 — but now with the sweeping executive powers narrowly endorsed in a referendum last year.

Overcoming a flood of corporate money and New York’s powerful establishment machine, 28-year-old democratic socialist Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez toppled Democratic Representative Joe Crowley in New York’s 14th congressional district on June 26 with tireless grassroots organising and an ambitious progressive agenda of Medicare for All, housing as a human right, and abolishing the hated Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency. The result is being hailed as the biggest political upset of 2018.

What is to be done about high temperatures, rising sea levels and increasingly powerful hurricanes? What can we do to be less vulnerable to climate change? Yisell Rodríguez Milán and Danae González Del Toro take a look at how socialist Cuba is addressing climate change.

Cuba’s “Project Life” action plan outlines eleven projects to help the island nation adapt to climate change.

While many in Mexico are distracted by World Cup matches and the upcoming presidential elections, something big and strange has been going on under the radar.

In response to huge public outcry against his policy of forcibly separating children from immigrant parents seeking asylum, United States President Donald Trump issued an executive order on July 20 to halt the separations.

A victory? Not so fast, writes Barry Sheppard from San Francisco.

Internal documents released in a lawsuit by cancer victims show how the chemical giant Monsanto actively subverts science to promote its products and profits, notes the Corporate Europe Observatory.

As Thailand's military dictator, Prime Minister and former General Prayut Chan-o-cha visited Europe last week in a desperate attempt to woo more foreign investment, Thai democracy rights protesters rallied in Paris, London and Bonn, calling for his arrest for crimes against his own people. They also called upon European governments to put human rights before profits.

Analysis

Climate change is already impacting our lives. As it gets worse, we will be affected by more floods and storms, bushfires and droughts.

Globally there will be less clean water and farmland available. This disproportionately affects those who have the least — women, Indigenous people and those living in exploited nations.

Climate change is a result of an economic system — capitalism — in which private companies’ profit-making is privileged over the real needs of communities and their environments.

Right-wing radio shock jock Alan Jones had a meltdown on his Radio 2GB program on June 26 when he reported survey results showing that 58% of Millennials (those born between 1980 and 1996) favour socialism, 59% think capitalism has failed and 62% think workers are worse off than they were 40 years ago.

Oil Change International recently published a new report, Debunked: the G20 clean gas myth, which questions the ongoing push for expanding fossil gas production in G20 countries and aims to debunk the myth of gas as a clean transition fuel.

Australian Electoral Office documents clearly show the extent of the cosy relationship between mining corporations and the Coalition and Labor parties.

The federal Coalition government's so-called "tax reform" package is, overall, a major escalation of the capitalist class war by the rich against the poor and working people.

The initial tranche of income tax measures will reduce tax by a very modest amount for low-income taxpayers, but the long-term effect of the package is to massively reduce tax on the wealthy and attack the elements of a progressive taxation system established in this country over many years.

The climate crisis is the greatest crisis the Earth faces. It threatens the entire ecosystem that all life depends upon.

The refugee crisis is arguably the greatest challenge humanity faces. It affects hundreds of millions of people and is the dominant force shaping politics across the Earth.

Strong arguments can be made for both these statements.

The interlinking nature of the two crises, both practically and politically, is the key to finding real solutions and raises the question: why do the movements seem so separate?

From July 1, students will be forced to start paying back their higher education loans much earlier, after the federal government found a way of getting part of its stalled education attacks through the Senate.

From the images doing the rounds, education minister Simon Birmingham had the crossbench senators right where he wanted them: in the palm of his hand.

The NSW Coalition government has brought down a budget designed to bedazzle NSW voters ahead of the 2019 March state election.

The Coalition’s election war chest is made up of a massive surplus from increases in revenue from Commonwealth grants, rising land taxes and the proceeds from the sale of state assets — boosted by the federal government’s Asset Recycling Scheme.

Melbourne’s Royal Women’s Hospital (RWH) has decided to halve its funding for the Pregnancy Advisory Service (PAS), a vital Melbourne service.

This decision is particularly baffling in the light of the health minister’s commitment to fund a state-wide service which, by all accounts, would have gone to the RWH. Tragically, the RWH has backed away and instead decided to reduce the service.

The funding was picked up by Women’s Health Victoria to develop 1800 My Options, an online, state-wide phone service providing information on sexual and reproductive health service.

Federal and state governments are about to renew Regional Forest Agreements which, despite their name, will prolong industrial logging. In NSW, this will put at least 2 million hectares of native forests under threat.

Culture

Since it was first mooted in 2010, the Adani Carmichael Coal and Rail project in Queensland’s Galilee Basin has proven controversial. It has faced a series of legal challenges by environment groups and Traditional Owners, as well as campaigns by activists calling on financial institutions to divest from the fossil fuel industry. The starting date has been rescheduled several times as the viability of the project has been called into question and potential finance proves elusive.

It is timely then, at this impasse, that two new books are released documenting the story so far and canvassing possible outcomes.

Climate and Capitalism editor Ian Angus takes a look at a series of new books of interest for ecosocialists.