Issue 1204

Australia

Chanting “Not the church, not the state, women will decide our fate”,  supporters of women’s right to choose gathered outside NSW parliament on November 15 to oppose conservative MLC Fred Nile’s third attempt to introduce a foetal personhood bill in the Legislative Assembly.

Victorian Socialists are running candidates across every Legislative Council region in Victoria and in more than a dozen Legislative Assembly seats. Below are the lead Victorian Socialists candidates for the upper house regions. To see the full list of candidates visit victoriansocialists.org.au

Protesters gathered outside the SBS offices in Artarmon on November 15 to urge the national multicultural broadcaster not to screen Eurovision 2019, which will be held in Israel.

The disaster caused by the federal government’s policy of privatising Centrelink call centres work has been underlined by the results of a survey of Department of Human Services (DHS) staff.

The Queensland Land and Environment Court handed down a decision on New Hope’s New Acland Coal (NAC) mine expansion on November 7. Proponents say it gives them the green light while opponents say the two-day hearing recommended it be rejected.

Residents from New South Wales’ Central Coast gathered in the Sydney Domain on November 12 to mark the start of a 4-day Land and Environment Court hearing into the future of the proposed Wallarah 2 coalmine.

“I will only accept an average worker’s wage.” This is the promise of all Victorian Socialists’ candidates contesting the November 24 state election.

About 300 people rallied against racism in Melbourne on November 10. The rally was organised in response to the continued vilification of Melbourne’s African community by politicians and the media.

Thirty refugee supporters protested outside the Melbourne headquarters of Jetstar on November 9, demanding that Qantas (Jetstar's parent company) cease participating in the deportation of asylum seekers.

Noongar elders, activists and supporters marched through Perth CBD on November 8 in opposition to the planned sale of Native Title by the South West Aboriginal Land and Sea Council (SWALSC) to the Labor state government.

The 100th anniversary of Armistice Day, November 11, was commemorated in Sydney with a series of events highlighting the struggles of the peace movement over the past century.

Armistice Day marks the date of the ceasefire between the opposing imperialist powers that officially ended World War I.

World

On November 9 1989, the Berlin Wall fell, marking what many hoped would be a new era of cooperation and openness across borders. Thirty years later, the opposite seems to have happened.

Edifices of fear, both real and imaginary, are being constructed everywhere fuelling a rise in xenophobia and creating a far more dangerous walled world for refugees fleeing for safety, writes European Alternatives.

On the northern outskirts of Barcelona, on La Rambla de Carmel, stands one of the most visually striking and symbolic monuments to the volunteers of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade of the International Brigades.

“David and Goliath”, designed by US sculptor Roy Shifrin and first unveiled in 1988, was the most prominent gathering point for the 80th anniversary of the departure of the International Brigades — anti-fascists who had come from around the world to fight against Francisco Franco’s forces — from Barcelona on October 28.

In 2019, European and legislative elections will take place in Portugal in a national political context different from anywhere else in the European Union (EU), where austerity policies still reign and the racist and xenophobic right is rising, writes Dick Nichols from Lisbon.

Over the past three years in Portugal, the minority Socialist Party (PS) government has been supported from outside by the Left Bloc, the Communist Party of Portugal (PCP) and the Ecologist Party-The Greens (PEV).

A combination of real estate capitalism and climate change has unleashed murderous fires in California, writes Phil Hearse.

Things are getting serious. On November 15, at least are 56 were confirmed dead with hundreds missing. Thousands of homes and businesses have burned down. Two major fires, in the north and south of the state, were still not under control.

Analysis

This November 30, I, along with hundreds — possibly thousands — of high school students will be participating in a student strike for climate action, writes Leo Crnogorcevic.

Queensland is suffering through a severe drought. Despite this, federal environment minister Melissa Price decided in September not to apply the “water trigger” assessment on Adani’s proposal to extract river water for up to 60 years, expand a dam and build a pipeline to transport the water to its mine.

Victorian Socialists lead candidate for the Northern Metropolitan Region Stephen Jolly is rushing off to a Yarra council meeting after a long day at a pre-polling booth. It’s the beginning of two weeks of pre-polling before state election day — November 24.

A member of the audience at a recent public meeting in Merewether cheekily referred to Newcastle as being run by the Property Council, not the city council.

Former NSW Labor leader Luke Foley was forced to resign on November 7 after ABC journalist Ashleigh Raper alleged that he put his hand inside her dress and into her underpants without her consent at a 2016 Christmas party.

Culture

Melbourne-based researcher Iain McIntyre is the author of a number of books including a recent anthology entitled On The Fly! Hobo Literature and Songs, 1879-1941. Rachel Evans spoke to him about the 2019 How To Make Trouble and Influence People Diary he has produced as a fundraiser for the Rainforest Information Centre and Community Radio 3CR.

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Don’t Forget Super
By Brian Boyd
Published by the Victorian Electrical Trades Union, 2018

Ever wondered where your superannuation scheme came from and what it is meant to do?

I always thought it was a lump sum payment so I could buy a caravan and go around Australia before going on the age pension, and many have tried to do just that. But today anyone will tell you the age pension is not enough to live on, and working until your 67 is just not possible for most people, especially if you work in the construction industry.

An Imperial Disaster: The Bengal Cyclone of 1876
Benjamin Kingsbury
Hurst, 2018
256 pp, $45

In the early hours of October 31, 1876, there was a terrible convergence of storm, tide and full moon in the Bay of Bengal. Its immediate effect was to send a giant wave, 12 metres high, over the low lying islands and coastal areas.

At least 215,000 people drowned.

It was followed by famine as shocked communities tried to scrounge what food they could. Then at least a further 100,000 died in a cholera epidemic.

The Darkening Age
By Catherine Nixey
Pan Macmillan, 2018
352 pp, $32.99

Do you remember the horror in 2015 when ISIS seized the ancient city of Palmyra in Syria, killed archaeologist Khaled al-Asaad who had protected its monuments and attacked the 12-metre-high statue of Athena?

It wasn’t the first time that statue was attacked by religious fanatics. As Catherine Nixey records, in the 4th Century, Christian zealots attacked Palmyra and pulled the statue down. It lay in ruins until Muslim experts put it back together.