Issue 1219

Australia

This powerful poem was dilivered by Parker at the May 3 #SchoolStrike action in Brisbane outside Liberal MP Trevor Evans' electorate office.

Hundreds gathered outside Trevor Evans office in Brisbane as one of the dozens of climate actions called by school strikers to demand genuine climate action ahead of the election.

School Strike 4 Climate activists walked out of school and rallied outside the offices of Labor and Liberal politicians on May 3.

Thousands of construction workers walked off the job and marched through Sydney on May 1.

A protest was held outside the US consulate in Sydney to mark World Press Freedom Day on May 3. Protesters called for the release of whistleblower journalist Julian Assange and opposed his threatened extradition to the United States.

The Stop Adani Convoy WA, a part of the Stop Adani Convoy initiated by the Bob Brown Foundation through the eastern states, has now been welcomed at 10 towns across the eastern seaboard.

Socialist Alliance NSW Senate candidate Joel McAlear, who grew up in a working-class family in the Illawarra, said the new gas hub slated for Port Kembla is a step in the wrong direction.

The Victorian Socialists released the following statement on stopping Adani on May 1.

Sex workers in Queensland are campaigning to decriminalise sex work 30 years after this was recommended by the Fitzgerald Inquiry into state police corruption.

“The river is the blood of the Earth”, Muruwari and Budjiti man and artist Bruce Shillingsworth declared at the “Yaama Ngunna Baaka — Welcome to Our River” Mosman Art Gallery exhibition on April 28.

Protesters gathered outside SBS’ Artarmon office on April 27 to urge the multicultural broadcaster to boycott Eurovision 2019, which will be held in Israel.

World

“Interim President” Juan Guaido and right-wing opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez spearheaded an unsuccessful coup attempt in Caracas on April 30.

The European United Left/Nordic Green Left (GUE/NGL) group, a coalition of left parties in the European Parliament, launched its Climate Emergency Manifesto in Strasbourg on April 15, ahead of the European elections at the end of next month, firmly marking “just climate action” as the group’s number one priority.

US sanctions imposed on Venezuela in 2017 contributed to the deaths of more than 40,000 people last year, according to a new report — and this figure is set to rise due to the latest round of sanctions.

The struggle for self determination in New Caledonia (Kanaky) was boosted last November, when more than 43% of the population voted to support independence from France in a referendum. A second independence referendum will be held next year.

The FLNKS (The Kanak and Socialist National Liberation Front), a pro-independence alliance of political parties met in March to plan for the general elections in May and to prepare for the 2020 referendum. Green Left Weekly’s Susan Price spoke with FLNKS representative in Australia, Charles Wea about the congress and the referendum campaign.

Much is made in the media of Venezuela’s deep economic crisis. But why does Venezuela have the world’s highest inflation rate and what impacts have the sanctions really had on the country? Green Left Weekly’s Federico Fuentes spoke to Venezuelan economist Pascualina Curcio, from the Simón Bolívar University, to find out more.

Sri Lanka has had a violent history in the seven decades since its independence in 1948. But this history did not include any major conflict between Muslims and Christians. Both Muslims and Christians have in recent years come under attack from Buddhist chauvinists. Why then, did the bombers target Christians?

The electoral defeat of the right in Spain on April 28 is a cause for celebration for all progressive people, writes Dick Nichols.

Analysis

'I’m a 15-year-old activist and climate warrior. If you had asked 5-year-old me what I was scared of, I would’ve said the monster in my cupboard. Ten years later and I’m scared of the monster in Parliament House', says Parker Craig.

Another federal election looming and, of course, working people and trade unions want to see off the reactionary Coalition government in Canberra. Experience tells the union movement that we should always keep our powder dry, argues Brian Boyd.

Activists from the Australian Council of Trade Union’s campaign to “change the rules” for workers were told the day before pre-polling started that its official how-to-vote for the May 18 federal election would call on voters to put Labor first.

Disappointed, though not too surprised by the decision, some activists have decided not to hand out for the campaign.

Opposition leader Bill Shorten’s pledge to subsidise dental care for pensioners and Senior's Health Care Card holders if elected to government should be welcomed. But it is only a first step toward the kind of universal public dental care we need.

The bizarreness of Australian politics was summed up in multi-millionaire mining magnate Clive Palmer’s election advertisement accusing Labor of “supporting the big end of town”. He's right, though he is in no position to point the finger, writes Carlo Sands.

Aspiring PM Bill Shorten’s promise on April 23 to help boost gas companies’ bottom lines is as much about currying political favor with corporate mates as it is perpetuating the fiction that more gas will reduce energy prices, writes Pip Hinman.

A recent war exercise involving United States Marines seizing an island off the coast of Japan is being touted as part of the US military strategy to challenge China for control of the South China Sea. But little attention is being given to the potential role of the Marines being stationed in Darwin, writes Bevan Ramsden.

The nationwide civil disobedience actions by animal rights activists on April 8 caused a media furore. Green Left Weekly’s Mary Merkenich spoke to Vegan Rising campaign director Kristin Leigh, who helped organised the action in Melbourne, about their protest tactics and aims.

Culture

The Miami Showband Massacre
Directed by Stuart Sender
Written by Jeff Zimbalist & Michael Zimbalist
Screening on Netflix now

It’s a strange thing, scrolling through the options on Netflix and seeing a documentary on the Miami Showband.

For most in Australia and the world, the name is unfamiliar, but for people who lived through or have studied what became known as “The Troubles” in Northern Ireland between the late 1960s and the Good Friday Agreement in 1998, the situation is different.

The Reds are under the beds again!
They’ve hidden there since god knows when,
Our world is torn asunder
It’s kids’ beds they’re under
Along with Muslims and refugee men.

Labor’s dared to turn the focus
To the low-paid worker locus.
Don't they know it’s millionaires
Who need more cash and more shares,
Labor’s done it to provoke us.

It’s such an esoteric case,
Why care about the working base?
We know the best way to go
With wages now nicely low,
Don’t these workers know their place?

The Grateful Dead are a terrorist threat, according to French police authorities.

Green Left Weekly's Mat Ward takes a look at the best new political albums.