Issue 1191

Australia

Refugee rights activists rallied outside Qantas offices in Sydney and Jetstar offices in Melbourne on August 9 as part of a national campaign calling on the Qantas airline to refuse to deport asylum seekers to danger.

A number of airlines around the world are refusing to take part in deportations. However, Qantas and Virgin Australia have, so far, not joined the boycott.

The Finance Sector Union has slammed a plan to "embed" financial regulatory agency officers inside the Big Four banks and the financial management giant AMP. The FSU says that officers from the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC), which has been criticised for being “too close to the banks”, would be unable to penetrate the unethical internal culture of the banks.

Melbourne researcher into satellite-communication and surveillance Jacob Grech claims Australia is ramping up arms exports to Indonesia at a time when Indonesia is stepping up its militarism in West Papua.

At Green Left Weekly, we know how hard it is to keep a not-for-profit campaigning publication going because we have been doing it for nearly 27 years. 

Each year we try to raise $200,000 for the Green Left Fighting Fund through a combination of donations and fundraising events organised by supporters around the country. So far this year we have raised $87,603.

Given we are over halfway through 2018, we will have to step up our fundraising efforts.

But it is a very different story on the other side of the political battle line. 

The Institute for Postcolonial Studies hosted a forum on August 1 to discuss the November 4 independence referendum in Kanaky-New Caledonia (KNC).

Kanaky is the indigenous name for the Pacific island country known to its French colonisers as Nouvelle Calèdonie (New Caledonia). The independence movement is proposing that the combined name Kanaky-New Caledonia be used.

[The following letter was sent by Dr Kamala Emanuel to the Tasmanian Premier Will Hodgman on August 8 in response to his government's decision not to allow public hospitals to provide abortion access from July 1. Emanuel sent it to Green Left Weekly in the wake of the public furore over Cricket Australia's decision to sack Angela Williamson because of her tweets campaigning for abortion access in the state.]

Dear Premier,

I lived for 9 years in Tasmania. My daughter was born at home in Glenorchy.

World

Leaders from the Caribbean states are calling on the Donald Trump administration to seriously tackle the climate change crisis.

The call comes amid the Atlantic Hurricane season, one year after a series of hurricanes devastated several Caribbean countries and concerns that warming oceans could see another season of intense storms.

Greenhouse gas emissions contribute to global warming, which creates stronger hurricanes and rising sea levels. These events pose a unique threat to Caribbean countries.

Last October, four US soldiers — including two commandos —were killed in an ambush in Niger. Since then, talk of US special operations in Africa has centred on missions being curtailed and troop levels cut. But these claims are already being questioned, writes Nick Turse.

Venezuela’s campesino marchers achieved their immediate objective on August 2 by holding a public meeting with President Nicolas Maduro in Caracas that was nationally televised. They presented proposals for far-reaching reforms to state agrarian policies and institutions.

Protests initiated by students of Ramiz Uddin Cantonment School and College have left Bangladesh’s capital, Dhaka, in turmoil. The protests were launched after two year 11 students Abdul Karim Rajib and Dia Khanam Meem were killed by speeding buses on July 29.

Argentine activists and feminists organised in the National Campaign for the Right to Legal, Safe and Free Abortion have vowed to continue their fight after the Senate rejected the Voluntary Interruption of Pregnancy Bill on August 8, TeleSUR English said.

This bill, passed by Congress in June, would have ended the criminalisation of women seeking to terminate a pregnancy within the first 14 weeks.

It is now abundantly clear that the Donald Trump administration’s “zero tolerance” policy towards parents with children seeking asylum in the US involves separating children from their parents, keeping the children in the US and deporting the parents, writes Barry Sheppard in San Francisco.

The entire August 5 New York Times Magazine was composed of just one article on a single subject: the failure to confront the global climate crisis in the 1980s, a time when the science was settled and the politics seemed to align.

Bangladesh students protest over corrupt and unsafe transport

The undersigned Asia-Pacific left parties and organisations condemn the violent repression of the peaceful protests by students in Bangladesh.

Analysis

Rural Australia is again reeling from drought. Elena Garcia, a regenerative grazier and land manager, argues that governments will continue to fail farmers as long as they refuse to acknowledge the underlying cause — climate change.

Farmers cannot get the dole. However, if they are drought declared they and their partners can apply for the Farm Household Allowance (FHA). This has just been increased from a maximum of three to four cumulative years out of every seven, no matter how long the drought lasts.

The Clean Water manifesto was drafted following recent discussions at an anti-CSG workshop in Chinchilla and online among a number of farmers.

New South Wales is now officially in drought and parts of Queensland have been in continuous drought for years. But the climate denier federal government has its head in the sand.

Sometimes I wonder if New South Wales transport minister Andrew Constance thinks he is a comedian.

The Tasmanian Liberal government might have hoped that by announcing on July 2 that it had secured an abortion provider whose services are due to open in October, the “abortion issue” might have gone away.

It is a vain hope.

Cricket Australia's decision to sack Angela Williamson on June 29 because of her tweets campaigning for abortion access in Tasmania, and her subsequent decision to go public and appeal to the Fair Work Commission, has reignited the issue.

The Malcolm Turnbull government has announced it will merge the Family Court of Australia into the Federal Circuit Court (FCC), a move it says will allow the federal court system to reduce its growing backlog of family law cases, some of which date back years.

Culture

Editor of Climate and Capitalism Ian Angus takes a look at five new books of interest to ecosocalists.

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Monthly Review, July/August 2018
Special double issue on metabolic rifts

Populism Now! The Case for Progressive Populism
David McKnight
New South, 2018
177 pages, rrp $29.99

David McKnight’s Populism Now! catches a wave of discussion about the chances for a progressive “populism”, writes Jonathan Strauss.

Also in the spray, for example, is a June Quarterly Essay piece by the Australia Institute’s Richard Denniss “Dead Right: how neoliberalism ate itself and what comes next” and the previously post-whatever Chantal Mouffe’s musings on “left populism”.