Issue 1233

News

Extinction Rebellion and Stop Adani activists occupied the Sydney offices of Adani contractor GHD on August 13.

Activists are calling on the global engineering company to cut ties with Adani.

Video: Zebedee Parkes

Activists rallied in solidarity with the people of Kashmir in Sydney on August 9 and 11. The protest was organised by the Pakistan Association of Australia.

Refugees and supporters protested outside the Department of Immigration in Sydney on August 12 to demand a fair process, permanent protection and family reunion pathways.

School Strike 4 Climate (SS4C) is calling on all workers and unions to join the Climate Strike on September 20. To make this a reality they have been working on building links with trade unions and have expressed their condemnation of the Scott Morrison Coalition government’s latest attacks on the rights of trade unions.

Under the banner of “SOMething Rotten” Sydney University staff, including members of the National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU) and Community and Public Sector Union (CPSU), as well as students protested against university management's Sydney Operating Model (SOM) on August 14.

A debate on the impacts of feral horses on Kosciuszko National Park will take place in NSW parliament on August 22, after more than 12,000 people signed a petition to demand the repeal of the Kosciuszko Wild Horse Heritage Act 2018.

Homelessness is often seen as the result of personal factors. But, according to Peter Mares, author of No Place Like Home: Repairing Australia's Housing Crisis, homelessness and housing stress are systemic problems as the housing market is not providing for people's needs.

Residents of the troubled Mascot Towers apartment complex have targeted the state Coalition government over a series of building defects they say point to a serious failure in the regulation of construction standards.

Analysis

Following the re-election of the Coalition government, Prime Minister Scott Morrison flagged the need for industrial relations (IR) reforms. Under the façade of “ensuring integrity” and “improving productivity”, these reforms seek to once again attack trade unions and workers.

Chris Gaffney passed away on August 14 after a lengthy battle with cancer. An eloquent speaker, walking encyclopaedia of Marxism, talented actor, aficionado of opera and lover of nature and the animals with which we share the planet, he is survived by his long-time partner Jenny Campbell, their son Danny and granddaughter Elsa.

It is well past time for legislative change when it comes to abortion rights. If women are not to live with the fear of repressive and discriminatory legislation governing the choices they make over their bodies, immediate progressive reform is essential, writes Carmen Espinosa.

As an abortion provider, pro-choice advocate and a woman who has undergone abortion in New South Wales, I support the Reproductive Health Care Reform Bill.

Even with the best access to sex education, contraception and emergency contraception (which NSW does not have), there is no pro-active way for people engaged in potentially reproductive sex but not prepared for parenthood to guarantee they will not become pregnant. Sometimes, planned pregnancies become impossible to continue, whether for health or personal reasons.

The world recently commemorated the anniversaries of the dropping of nuclear weapons on the people of the Japanese cities of Hiroshima (August 6) and Nagasaki (August 9) in 1945. But it hasn't been a good few weeks for world peace.

The climate emergency is already impacting all our lives. As it gets worse, we will be affected by more catastrophic floods and storms, bushfires and droughts. Globally there will be less clean water and farmland available. It is a result of an economic system — capitalism — in which private companies’ profit-making is privileged over the real needs of communities and their environments.

Remember when Donald Trump campaigned for office in 2016 on getting the United States out of “endless wars”? He did, in part, to distinguish himself from the pro-war Democratic presidential contender Hillary Clinton.

Now, Trump and his band of hawks are pushing for a new war, most likely with Iran.

It is well-established that the right to strike is protected under the International Labour Organization’s 1948 Freedom of Association Convention and 1949 Convention on the Right to Organise. However, this is another internationally recognised right that Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s Coalition government has been incrementally eroding.

"As a result of the cultural-left’s long march through the institutions … political correctness involving identity politics, privileging victimhood and virtue signalling dominate public policy and debate", whined Kevin Donnelly, Senior Research Fellow at the Australian Catholic University, in the Sydney Morning Herald

"Like never before Free Speech is facing extinction in Australia", exclaimed conservative activist group Advance Australia. "We are at a crossroad. We either stand up and demand a fair go or we get trampled."

Yet is it really the free speech of conservatives, right-wing radicals and religious fundamentalists that is under attack?

World

I was born and raised in Dayton, Ohio. I spent many days in the historic Oregon district in my formative years, being entertained by the culture of the inner city — as have generations of residents.

What took place on August 4 in my hometown was horrific. I am among many who stand in support and solidarity with those who lost loved ones and friends, those whose lives changed that day and who were left with deeply scarring lifetime impacts.

Ecology — together with democratic confederalism and women’s liberation — is an essential pillar of the Rojava Revolution. What is happening in Rojava is about more than just protecting nature by limiting damage to it; it is about reestablishing the balance between people and nature.

Anti-fascist activist Jock Palfreeman was denied parole on July 17 on his 20-year prison sentence for murder in Sofia, Bulgaria.

Narendra Modi’s BJP government's decision on August 5 to unilaterally revoke Kashmir’s autonomy, send in troops, impose a curfew and shut down all communications means Kashmir is, for the moment, a prison under military control.

Three mass shootings in the United States in little over a week have changed the political discussion in the United States, bringing to the fore white supremacy and the terrorist mass murder it has produced, writes Barry Sheppard.

Australia’s bullying behaviour was in full view again at the Pacific Islands Forum (PIF) in Tuvalu, as it ignored pleas to take climate change seriously.

The Philippines’ labour movement commemorated the first anniversary of the historic Pacific Plaza Towers workers’ strike on August 6.

The following joint statement was issued by Indian left parties on August 5, condemning the dismantling of the state of Jammu and Kashmir and the assault on India’s Constitution, democracy and federalism.

On August 5, India’s Hindu nationalist government unilaterally revoked the autonomy of the state of Jammu and Kashmir, while flooding the region with troops, imposing a curfew and shutting down all communications. Canadian socialist, John Riddell looks at Kashmir's history and the current responses by the left and progressive forces to the takeover.

Farooq Tariq, spokeperson for the Awami Workers’ Party, in Pakistan spoke to Green Left Weekly on August 6 about the situation in Kashmir.

Culture

Green Footprints
Ecopella
2018

If you like political music, and appreciate the power of many voices singing and harmonising together, then you should get a hold of this 2018 offering from Sydney-based choir Ecopella.

African-American novelist Toni Morrison — winner of the Pulitzer Prize (1988), the Nobel Prize for Literature (1993), and many other awards — died on August 5 at the age 88. 

Following the announcement, Derrick Johnson, president and CEO of the civil rights organisation NAACP, remarked: "Rest in power to #ToniMorrison, one of the most prolific writers of our time."

August 18 is Vietnam Veterans’ Day in Australia. Every year we can rely on right-wing commentators to trot out the now-familiar stories of Vietnam vets being abused when they returned to Australia.