Issue 1220

Australia

The Refugee Action Collective (RAC) got a good response from passers-by outside Peter Dutton's office at what they hoped would be the last rally for refugee rights on May 11.

As the gap between rich and poor widens, millions of workers around the world marched for workers’ rights on May Day.

About 60 anti-coal seam gas campaigners gathered outside NSW parliament on May 7 to greet newly-elected MPs with a clear message: stop Santos’ Narrabri Gas Project in the state’s north west.

The community group Groundswell Gloucester in the Upper Hunter Valley scored another win on May 8 when Gloucester Resources Limited (GRL) announced it would not appeal against a Land and Environment Court decision to refuse consent for its Rocky Hill Coal Project.

Justice Brian Preston of the Land and Environment Court ruled on February 8 against approving a new open-cut coalmine just outside Gloucester.

Prominent Aboriginal elder Wayne Wharton is making a tilt for the senate in Queensland this election, campaigning on issues such as justice for Aboriginal people, justice reinvestment and an improved aged care system.

Wharton told Green Left Weekly: “The systems that we’ve had for the last 230 years is broken, they’re useless.”

These include the legal system which, he says, is based on a “feudal system of punishment” instead of rehabilitation, and the two-party system, in which the big parties have become dominated by “top-end-of-town corruption”.

The Boycott Brunei in Australia group have said the campaign against Brunei’s death-by-stoning penalty for “crimes” such as homosexuality, adultery, blasphemy and apostasy will continue despite Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah’s May 6 statement that he had reconsidered the April 3 order.

The activists welcomed the Sultan’s comments, but noted that the Syrariah Penal Code Order (SPCO) was only suspended, not cancelled, saying life for those who breached government diktats remained grim.

Former NSW Fire Brigades Employees Union (FBEU) state secretary Jim Casey is standing as the Greens candidate for the seat of Grayndler in inner west Sydney. He spoke to Green Left Weekly’s Rachel Evans about his campaign.

World

In the midst of Venezuela’s prolonged economic crisis, in which state budgets and support for the governing socialists steadily contract, at least one municipal council is bucking the trend.

The key, according to the local mayor, has been focusing on people’s power and self-management, writes Federico Fuentes.

Within hours of Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaidó calling for street mobilisations to back his attempted military coup against President Nicolás Maduro on April 30, Guaidó’s supporters had looted and set fire to the headquarters of the Indio Caricuao Commune in south-west Caracas, writes Federico Fuentes.

The Sri Lankan army and police have used the bombings of churches and hotels on Easter Sunday as a pretext for repression, targeting people who have no connection with the group responsible, the National Thowheed Jamath (NTJ – National Monotheism Society).

The NTJ, an extremist Islamic group, is believed to be linked to the Islamic State, based in Iraq and Syria.

Sri Lankan police have been raiding numerous Muslim groups with "Thowheed" in their name, even if they are opposed to the NTJ. As of May 2, at least 130 Muslims had been detained, according to Tamilnet.

While the Nakba began with the expulsion of Palestinians from their villages and the destruction of those villages, it continues with sniper attacks on Palestinians in Gaza, encroachment of illegal settlements across the West Bank and extreme limitations placed on Palestinians' movements within and between towns, courtesy of IDF-staffed checkpoints, writes Lisa Gleeson.

Green Left Weekly’s Sam Wainwright spoke with Sabrine Ali, Samah Suria, Nidal Saeed and Nagi Kodi, all Sudanese youth living in Perth, about the powerful movement in Sudan.

While much of the media continues to focus on the Mueller report and the squabbles between the White House and the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives, US President Donald Trump’s real crimes are scarcely addressed or are ignored altogether.

This column will take up one of these crimes, Trump’s intensification of his racist war on immigrants. He is not alone on this — the ultra-right throughout Europe and elsewhere have similar anti-immigrant policies.

Jock Palfreeman, an Australian serving a 20-year jail sentence in Bulgaria on trumped-up murder charges, has been on a hunger strike since April 21.

There has been little news about Palfreeman because the Bulgarian prison authorities have gone to great lengths to cut off any communication he had with the outside world.

Analysis

This federal election is taking place at a time when the need for radical social and economic change is palpable: the escalating climate crisis and rampant and growing inequality are two major symptoms of the bankruptcy of capitalism.

The following manifesto was drawn up by rural and city-based activists.

A key federal election issue, which the carefully stage-managed leaders’ debates are ignoring, is one on which all our lives depend: access to clean drinking water.

These are the socialist candidates running in the federal election, putting forward a radical, anti-capitalist alternative to the status quo.

Fifty years ago, an industrial penal powers dispute provoked the biggest strike wave in Australia's post-war history. Jim McIlroy looks at the 1969 'Free Clarrie O'Shea' campaign and its lessons for unions today.

Culture

My secret heart has always begged
To see Scott Morrison soundly egged
And now it’s happened, but alas,
It’s crude and naughty (second-class).
Like Shorten, I hawed and hemmed,
Yes, it’s something to be condemned.

An Israeli government-backed propaganda initiative is attempting to rig another online poll about whether there should be a boycott of the Eurovision Song Contest in Tel Aviv later this month.

This desperate effort to manipulate public opinion comes as Israeli organisers are struggling to unload thousands of unsold tickets to the event.

This year’s German Film Festival, taking place in May and June, promises some stellar events.

Some of the most interesting movies in this year’s Spanish Film Festival come from Latin America and among them is this Guatemalan feature.

What is the connection between economic crisis and crises of individual psychology? This subtle Mexican film is as good a representation of it as you could hope for.