Issue 768

Australia

The Victorian Abortion Law Reform bill was passed by the parliament's lower house on September 12 after more than 70 hours of debate. This may finally mean that abortion is removed from the state's Crimes Act dating back to 1958. Until the bill is passed, abortion remains a crime.

The...

Friends of Cuba held actions in Perth and Canberra on September 14, kicking off an international campaign to win the release of five Cuban anti-terrorists sentenced to long prison terms in the United States on September 12, 10 years ago.

The five — Antonio Guerrero, Fernando Gonzalez,...

The Greens were the major beneficiaries of the swing to the left in many councils across NSW at the September 13 elections, probably taking their representation to more than 70 for the first time. Independents and other progressive tickets, including the Socialist Alliance, also made gains....

My cows can't swim!", protested one farmer's sign, with a marker to indicate just how high the water would rise. "Act now or be dammed!", advised another, echoing the overall theme of the 500-strong Save the Mary River rally on September 6 at the Traveston Crossing bridge in south-east...

In the lead-up to the release of a report from the federal government's review into the Northern Territory intervention, the Australian Indigenous Doctors' Association has blasted the policy. AIDA describes it as discriminatory, damaging to people's health and completely unable to alter...

Max Phillips, a newly elected Greens councillor in Marrickville and the Greens' campaign coordinator for the September 13 NSW local government elections, puts the swing to the Greens down to the state Labor government's implosion.

Developer donations to Labor, and the ALP's pro-developer...

Union Solidarity activists blockaded the Dandenong mail distribution centre overnight on September 19 in response to Australia Post's proposed transfer of a union delegate who took strike action three months ago.

The protest delayed mail deliveries by stopping all trucks from entering or...

The Australian Services Union (ASU) Victorian secretary, Ingrid Stitt, told Green Left Weekly that Labor's new Interim Transitional Employment Agreements are a "wolf in sheep's clothing". The ITEAs were introduced by the Rudd government to replace the notorious Australian Workplace...

People power came to Gunnedah in north-west NSW on September 15 as more than 300 farmers and their supporters rallied outside the Gunnedah Basin Coal Conference. They were protesting against a coalmining project in the agriculturally rich Liverpool Plains that was given state government approval...

McKesson Asia-Pacific, a subsidiary of US multinational medical services operator McKesson Corporation, landed a $176 million government contract to provide an all-hours national health telephone triage system called Healthdirect Australia. It began taking calls in New South Wales in August....

A group of international peace activists blacklisted and deported from Israel were the organising force behind the August 23 breaking of the Gaza blockade by two activist boats.

One of them was Australians for Palestine spokesperson Michael Shaik. Shaik was deported from Israel in 2003...

Fifty ambulance officers and paramedics campaigning for more staff and better conditions bailed up Victorian health minister Daniel Andrews as he visited Geelong on September 19.

Victoria's Ambulance Employees Association is campaigning for an enterprise agreement with four essential...

The trial of 12 Muslim men under the "anti-terror" laws has ended with seven being found guilty of one or more charges, four found not guilty and the jury unable to decide on one.

On September 15, the jury announced guilty verdicts on Abdul Nacer Benbrika, Aimen Joud, Fadl Sayadi,...

Workers at Huyck Wagner in Breakwater have been trying to negotiate a new wage agreement for several months. The boss's offer of a 2% pay rise would mean, given current inflation, a pay cut in real terms.

When the negotiations failed, about 100 workers from the textile, manufacturing and...

On September 14, the Yungaba Action Group (YAG) protested at the Bligh Labor government's community cabinet in Carindale as part of the campaign to save the historic migrant cultural centre from being sold off for private development.

The protest's demand was: save Yungaba — excise it...

Supporters of a woman's right to choose rallied outside Liberal anti-abortion Senator George Brandis's office on September 16. They were protesting against Tasmanian Liberal Senator Guy Bennett's private member's bill to end Medicare funding for abortions after 14 weeks' pregnancy. The bill, due...

World

On September 10 a British jury acquitted six Greenpeace protesters who were on trial for trying to shut down a coal-fired power station on the grounds that they were trying to stop global warming.

Last year, the protesters climbed the chimneystack of the Kingsnorth power station, in Kent...

The Socialist Party of Malaysia (PSM) has condemned the arrest of an opposition member of parliament and two journalists (one an outspoken online political blogger) under the Internal Security Act (ISA) allowing indefinite detention after the government's biggest security clampdown since losing...

Until last month's major party conventions, Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama's victory was looking the pretty likely. With his message of "change", it isn't hard to see why.

The Bush presidency is one of the most unpopular ever.

As is the case globally, a majority of...

Arriving at the Palacio Moneda in Santiago, Chile, on September 14, where close to 35 years ago to the day Chile's left-wing president Salvador Allende was overthrow in a military coup, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez declared that "in Bolivia a conspiracy is underway, an international...

The decision to make public a presidential order in July authorising US strikes inside Pakistan without seeking the approval of the Pakistani government ends a long debate within, and on the periphery of, the Bush administration.

Senator Barack Obama tried to outflank Hilary Clinton in...

Relative calm has returned to Bolivia following a three-week offensive of violence and terrorism launched by the US-backed right-wing opposition denounced by Bolivian President Evo Morales as a "civil coup".

This campaign of terror, centred on the four resource-rich eastern departments (...

On September 17, the Thai parliament elected a candidate from the People's Power Party (PPP), Somchai Wongsawat, to be the next prime minister.

Wongsawat, brother in law of former PM Thaksin Shinawantra, was elected after PM Samak Sundaravej was forced to resign following a constitutional...

Four retired and one active Venezuelan military officials have been arrested, a further 33 questioned and the US ambassador expelled in the wake of the September 10 revelation of a planned coup and assassination attempt against President Hugo Chavez.

New evidence of taped conversations...

The below sign-on statement, "In Support of Cuba: Worldwide call to artists and intellectuals", has been issued by the Cuban government. To add your name, visit http://www.concubahoy.cult.cu.

Our country is facing a dramatic situation. We have suffered the wrath of two powerful hurricanes...

Colombian trade union and human rights activist Liliany Obando was arrested and detained in a maximum security prison on August 8 by the anti-terrorism unit of the Colombian National Police.

She was charged with "rebellion" against the state, a catch-all charge that is regularly used to...

While many Movement for Democratic Change activists are confident that the power sharing agreement between the ruling ZANU-PF and the MDC is a step forward, there are widespread concerns about the deal.

Many in civil society argue they have been left out of the process and that too much...

Federal environment minister Peter Garrett has maintained for weeks that he had not been approached by Gunns timber company to extend the deadline on the environmental approval process for the company's proposed pulp mill in the Tamar Valley. Last week, however, the government extended the...

In April, Nepal held historic elections for a new constituent assembly, a product of years of pro-democracy struggle against the monarchy, including a 10-year-long "people's war" waged by the Communist Party of Nepal-Maoist (CPN-M), which easily won the largest share of seats in the assembly....

The latest chaos on Wall Street — the worst financial upheaval in the US since the 1930s Great Depression — highlights not just the scale of the world financial crisis, but the needless destruction caused by the blind competition at the core of capitalism.

The Wall Street crisis will...

Thirty years we've had, of unfathomably wealthy bankers and dealers being justified as part of the free market.

So they boasted: "I've just got my summer bonus and spent part of it on a small African nation which I burnt down for a laugh," or went to restaurants that charged a thousand...

Supporters of social justice around the world were devastated to receive the news that renowned US socialist and fighter for a better world Peter Camejo had succumbed to cancer and passed away on September 13.

Camejo, of Venezuelan descent, spent much of his childhood in that country and...

Analysis

As I write this column the newspapers report that United States, Canadian, European and Japanese banks have combined to inject an extra US$180 billion (A$225 billion) into global financial markets. It is the latest desperate measure to try to stem the year-old global financial crisis commonly —...

"Will my superannuation fund be next?" "Are my savings safe?" As working people in the developed economies watch the assets of one financial institution after another vaporise into nothingness, tens of millions are asking these dreadful questions.

Yesterday's AAA assets are now junk and...

The Macquarie Dictionary defines plutocracy as "the rule or power of wealth or of the wealthy". With the accession of Malcolm Turnbull, the richest person in parliament, to the leadership of the Liberal Party, this definition would seem to provide a pretty good description of Australian...

In the room are a chemical engineer from a large mining/energy corporation, a solar energy engineer, a psychiatrist, a veterinarian, an artist and a construction worker. Also present are an ex-Labor Party activist, a Greens candidate in the 2007 election and a socialist student. Where do you...

On September 15, in his last full day as federal opposition leader, Brendan Nelson confronted the Labor government with a tin of baked beans and a jar of jam. "That is the reality for Australian pensioners: baked beans and jam sandwiches", Nelson said, moving a censure motion against the...

The Socialist Alliance will stand two candidates for the City of Maribyrnong in the November council elections, on a platform of "community and environment before developers' profits".

Margarita Windisch, standing in Wattle Ward, is committed to fighting for a better deal for residents,...

Letters

Beauty myth

I am writing in response to Pam Rankin's questions (Write On #767) regarding the way women dress and treat their bodies. To find the answer to who "forces" Western women to wax, pluck, chemical peal and worse, we don't have to look past the negative, yet pervasive, impacts of...

Resistance!

Amid growing tensions between the United States and Latin America, nearly 1200 young people — representing thousands more — met in the Venezuelan city of Puerto Ordaz on September 11-13 to found the United Socialist Party of Venezuela Youth (JPSUV).

The backdrop to the congress was the...

This article is based on a speech to a rally against Gunns' proposed pulp mill, in Launceston on August 23. It was delivered by Stef Gebbi and Gabby Forward on behalf of Students Against the Pulp Mill.

There are events in history that bring out our strengths, unite us in a common cause....

Culture

"In-Dependence" from Bondage: Claude McKay and Michael Manley Defying the Ideological Clash and Policy Gaps in African Diaspora Relations

By Lloyd D. McCarthy

Africa World Press, 2007

US$24.95, Available from http://www....

Two vast and trunkless legs of steel

Like silent Pharaohs over Wall Street stood

Scraping the vast canvas of immortality

@poetry = How many died erecting those towers:

Welders of iron, exoskeletal beams?

Manhattan is missing her two...

War Games

Directed by John Badham, Written by Lawrence Lasker & Walter Parkes

With Matthew Broderick & Ally Sheedy

25th anniversary DVD release

When the Cold War political thriller War Games was released 25 years...

The Bright Lights of America

Anti-Flag

Fat Wreck Chords, 2008

13 tracks, $29.99

The new album The Bright Lights of America will probably have Anti-Flag fans jumping around the lounge room one minute then the next curling...