Issue 1201

Australia

The Australian Education Union (AEU) Victorian Branch Council has endorsed a planned Walk Off by teachers and education support staff in support of refugees on November 20, Universal Children’s Day.

Australia’s waste disposal crisis is set to worsen with other Asian countries following in China’s footsteps and banning imports of recyclables.

Residents on the New South Wales Central Coast are mobilising as crunch time looms for a decision on the controversial new coalmine near Wyong.

News that NSW MLC Fred Nile is using the last sitting weeks of state parliament before the March 2019 election to push his “Zoe’s law” bill — which would give foetuses legal rights — is galvanising those supporting choice.

Thousands of trade unionists marched through Sydney streets on October 23 as part of nationwide “Change The Rules” mobilisations coordinated by the Australian Council of Trade Unions.

Under the slogan “Australia needs a pay rise”, an estimated 170,000 trade union members and their supporters filled Melbourne’s CBD on October 23 for the Australian Council of Trade Unions-initiated Change the Rules rally.

More than 4000 young people and adults packed into Birrarung Marr park on October 21 for a Children’s March for Nauru, to demand all refugees imprisoned on the Pacific island be resettled in Australia. Chanting “nurture not torture” and “kids out, all out”, participants marched into the city.

More than 100 people rallied near Regents Park train station on October 20 to demand the Gladys Berejiklian Coalition government restore the Inner West rail line and maintain the T3 Bankstown line, which it plans to replace with a privatised Metro service.

Workers at Alcoa’s aluminium refineries and bauxite mines in Western Australia have voted down a new agreement offered to them after a 52-day strike.

World

Hundreds of women, men, children, youth and the elderly decided to leave Honduras on October 12 as a desperate response to survive, the Honduras Solidarity Network of North America writes.

The huge exodus that began in the city of San Pedro Sula reached more than 3000 people by the time the group crossed to Guatemala. The caravan, which is headed north to Mexico then aims to reach the United States, is the only alternative these people have to regain a bit of the dignity that has been taken from them.

Walking down the street in Brazil wearing a badge that expresses your political ideas has never been as dangerous as it is today, writes Lucas Tiné.

After a three-year probe and amid mounting demands that the fossil fuel industry be held accountable for driving the climate crisis, New York Attorney General Barbara Underwood filed suit on October 24 against ExxonMobil, the world’s largest oil and gas company.

The suit accuses the oil giant of defrauding investors by downplaying the financial threat of regulations crafted to mitigate human-caused global warming.

Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman received a warm welcome in Riyadh on October 23 during his surprise visit to the Future Investment Initiative (FII) conference.

The conference has yielded investment deals worth an estimated US$50 billion, despite calls for a boycott by activists and some countries over the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. However, Saudi Arabia is proving to be too tempting an investment opportunity for many businesses despite the large public outcry.

From Parliament Square to Trafalgar Square, about 700,000 people filled central London on October 20 protesting against the Tory Brexit, writes Andy Stowe. It was the largest demonstration the city had seen since the march against the Iraq war in 2003.

Five hundred academics, Nobel prize winners, human rights activists and celebrities have released an international statement against the rise of fascism in Brazil.

Among the initial signatories are: Argentine Nobel Peace prize winner Adolfo Pérez Esquivel, African-American rights activist Angela Davis, US Senator Bernie Sanders, US actor Danny Glover, Chilean socialist academic Marta Harnecker, US academic Noam Chomsky, British-Pakistani writer Tariq Ali and economist Thomas Piketty.

Campaigners from all over Britain united on October 25 to blockade the government’s nuclear bomb factory in Berkshire in England’s south-east, preventing the staff from entering the site.

The Trident Ploughshares activists locked themselves together across the site’s gates before work began at the Burghfield site. A private road leading to Burghfield was also barricaded at each end by cars with protesters fastened to them.

Scotland’s largest city was brought to a standstill as women workers made history in Britain’s largest-ever strike over equal pay on October 24 and 25.

Care workers, cleaners and school dinner workers were among 8000 women council employees and contractors staging a two-day walkout in Glasgow.

They formed picket lines to demand back payments for being paid less than council workers in male-dominated departments.

In the rush to heap scorn upon the Donald Trump administration, the president’s critics sometimes miss the forest for the trees, writes Branko Marcetic.

The far right in Britain has the wind in its sails in a way that it hasn’t since the 1930s, writes Phil Hearse.

Brazilians vote on October 28 in an election that will be critical for the future of Latin America. Far-right candidate Jair Bolsonaro, who topped the first round of the presidential election on October 7, faces off against the Workers’ Party (PT) candidate Fernando Haddad in the second round vote.

Facing the real prospect of a Bolsonaro win, the country’s social movements are stepping up their efforts to confront fascism, at the polls and on the streets.

Analysis

Australian Conservatives leader Cory Bernardi must have been furious when, in the space of less than 24 hours, White Ribbon Australia (WRA) back flipped on its decision to drop support for what he claimed was a “radical abortion policy”.

Former Geelong Trades Hall Council (GTHC) secretary Tim Gooden reflects on his experiences as a socialist trade union leader and discusses what he could bring to parliament if elected as the Victorian Socialists candidate for the Western Region in the November 24 state elections.

ABC’s Foreign Correspondent recently discussed China’s Social Credit system where, in the name of creating a safer society and enhancing national security, China has begun rolling out facial recognition technology. This technology is being linked up in an unprecedented way so that almost every minute of the day-to-day movements of all citizens can be monitored.

Small shareholders and industry super funds are in revolt against the remuneration packages for CEOs at giant corporations such as Telstra and Tabcorp, renewing debate over excessive bosses’ pay at a time where workers’ wages remain stagnant.

While the margin by which independent candidate Dr Kerryn Phelps won the Wentworth byelection may not be as great as the election night count suggested, the result in this historically-safe Liberal seat is a major blow for Prime Minister Scott Morrison and the federal Coalition government.

In September, the federal Coalition government announced it would provide an extra $4.5 billion directly to fee-charging Catholic and independent schools, to be spent any way they choose.

NSW Minister for Education Rob Stokes commented that his government will not sign up to a needs-based, sector-blind funding scheme, but it is neither of those things.

Culture

Lee Wengraf’s Extracting Profit shows in great detail that Africa is poor, not because of any innate inability of Africans to raise themselves up, but because Africa’s poverty is necessary for corporate profit, writes Alan Broughton.

Noor Daoud was the only woman to take to the track in Egypt’s Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh, where the Palestinian car racer impressed the crowds with her “drift” driving skills.