Issue 1214

Australia

Chemist Warehouse workers have succeeded in blocking trucks from entering or leaving the company’s Somerton and Preston distribution centres since beginning an indefinite strike on March 12. Workers at a Chemist Warehouse distribution centre in Eagle Farm, Brisbane, are also on indefinite strike.

The future of the controversial Wallarah 2 coalmine will hinge on the outcome of the March 23 New South Wales election.

More than 100 people joined an emergency protest in Sydney’s Inner West on March 18 to demand an immediate halt to the $17 billion WestConnex tollway project while its social and environmental impacts are fully investigated.

You may not know that coking coal, used in steel making, is mined in the Greater Sydney drinking water catchment.

World

Given the media barrage surrounding Venezuela’s “humanitarian crisis”, recent tensions on the Venezuela-Colombia border, and talks of “military options” and coup attempts, it was hard to know what to expect on returning to the country for the first time in five years, writes Federico Fuentes.

In early March, Green Left Weekly's Federico Fuentes travelled to Venezuela as part of a fact-finding mission. He visited Caracas’s poorer neighbourhoods, rural and border states to hear from those voices deliberated excluded from the media discussion on Venezuela.

The United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) met on March 18 to investigate the human rights situation in Palestine and issued a report that focused on the impact of the occupation on the environment and natural resources, the ongoing use of excessive force by Israeli security forces against demonstrators in Gaza, and the near-humanitarian catastrophe in the territory caused by the blockade.

The US administration intends to forge ahead with a plan to open up the Atlantic Ocean to oil and gas drilling in the coming weeks.

Since February 22, Algeria has been rocked by huge and overwhelmingly peaceful protests against the regime of President Abdelaziz Bouteflika.

The epicentre of this movement has been the city of Algiers. There have been large protests every Friday, to which the police have had to take a conciliatory attitude because of their sheer size, despite street protests being illegal in the capital.

Arctic Indigenous Peoples already face increased food insecurity. By 2050, 4 million people, and around 70% of today’s Arctic infrastructure, will be threatened by thawing permafrost.

Spain’s April 28 general election will be “existential” for the Spanish state, according to outgoing Spanish Socialist Workers Party (PSOE) foreign minister Josep Borrell — the scourge of the Catalan sovereignty movement. It will be a “referendum on the secessionist menace”, according to People’s Party (PP) opposition leader Pablo Casado.

The reaction to the attacks on Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib indicates that many people are increasingly questioning the US consensus on backing Israel.

Why is Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan broadcasting the video of the Christchurch mosque attack? The reason lies within the deep contradictions shattering Turkish politics and growing popular opposition.

Analysis

While wading through the feverish swamps and fetid cesspits of the internet, you will likely come across the contemptuous and accusatory snarling phrase “cultural Marxism”.

On March 15, students organised the biggest global strike for real action on climate change ever seen. More than 80 countries took part. In Perth, 3000 students and supporters marched through the CBD, joining an estimated 150,000 people around the country. Green Left Weekly’s Chris Jenkins caught up with Mandurah high school student and protest organiser Chaela King about the strike and what is being planned next.

Three days before 150,000 students organised the biggest national school walkout in Australian history to demand politicians act on climate change, Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) deputy governor Guy Debelle sounded a warning about the drastic effects of climate change on the economy.

When students and an RBA governor agree on the urgent need to stop the devastating impact of climate change on society and the planet, you know the movement is starting to bite.

Following the terrorist attacks on two New Zealand mosques on March 15, vigils and rallies against Islamophobia were organised across the world.

The following speech was given by community advocate Ahmed Aboushabana to a solidarity rally outside the New Zealand Consulate in Sydney on March 17.

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In the aftermath of the terrorist attack on mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, in which 50 people were killed, some of the comments from those with a public platform have been breathtakingly offensive.

Culture

Famous British singer Joss Stone performed a concert in the largely-Kurdish region of Rojava in northern Syria after sneaking across the border.

Feminists have often felt neglected or patronized by socialists. A good portion of feminist writing and politics in the 1970s and ’80s, for example, dealt with women’s experience of condescension from socialists, some of whom saw feminism as a form of identity politics that distracted from the real issues of economic and class inequality in capitalist societies.

Climate and Capitalism editor Ian Angus looks at five new books that take on where climate change may lead, the global water crisis, Europe’s Little Ice Age, the human costs of Haiti’s unending catastrophes, and why we should be against constructing nature.

Tout le Monde Debout (Rolling to You)
Directed by Franck Dubosc
Starring Franck Dubosc, Alexandra Lamy, Elsa Zylberstein
Showing as part of the French Film Festival across Australia in March and April

Remember Pretty Woman back in 1990 where rich guy Richard Gere raced off fallen-woman sex worker Julia Roberts? 

Un Amor Impossible (An Impossible Love) is based on the controversial novel by Christine Angot, one of France’s angriest public intellectuals. The story is plainly autobiographical and leaves no painful fact unrevealed.

This is a war film unlike any other that you will see, written and directed by a woman, focusing on a squad of the Kurdish autonomous women’s protection units (YPJ). The systematic female enslavement and mass rape by ISIS are its subject matter.