Issue 772

Australia

In the October 18 ACT Legislative Assembly elections the ALP suffered a massive 9.4% swing against it. The Greens picked up more than 6% of that swing and have increased their seats in the 17-member assembly from one to at least three.

More than 100 people gathered at the Woodville Town Hall on October 14 to hear speakers opposed to the proposed Cheltenham Park Racecourse redevelopment.

Aboriginal activist Sam Watson has called for major rallies in cities across Australia in response to Palm Island Aboriginal man Lex Wotton being found guilty on October 24 of “rioting with destruction”.

Save Our Gulf Coalition (SOGC), Adelaide Hills Climate Action Group, Eco-socialist Convergence, the 3D Environment Show, the Young Greens, the Socialist Alliance, the Wilderness Society and the Conservation Council were just some of the groups represented at the inaugural meeting of the Climate Emergency Action Network (CLEAN) in Adelaide on October 23.

Friends of Felton (FoF) organised two very successful film and information evenings in Pittsworth and Toowoomba on October 1 and 2. One hundred and ninety people attended, including several councillors.

TAFE teachers have been rallying outside ALP state politicians offices in their campaign for a new enterprise bargaining agreement (EBA).

The following statement was issued by the Intervention Rollback Action Group, Alice Springs, on October 11.

Train drivers working in Rio Tinto’s Pilbara iron ore division escalated their campaign for a union collective agreement by holding two consecutive 12-hour stoppages starting at midday on October 22.

Activists in Cairns have stepped up their blockade actions in the last two weeks to stop the partial demolition of the Cairns Yacht Club building and its removal from its site beside Trinity Inlet.

Around 60 Cuba solidarity activists gathered outside the United States consulate in the CBD on October 25.

Federal indigenous affairs minister Jenny Macklin announced on October 23 that the Labor government will not implement the key proposals of the independent review into the Northern Territory intervention. Aboriginal critics have described the decision as the government turning its back on Aboriginal people.

Three hundred and fifty staff at Victoria University held a mass meeting on October 21 to consider industrial action in response to the announcement of a plan to sack more than 250 staff in VU’s Higher Education and TAFE divisions.

The Australian Building and Construction Commission (ABCC) — the secretive body formed by the Howard government in 2005 to police the construction industry — has ratcheted up the use of its compliance powers in the last six months, workplaceexpress.com.au reported on October 20.

New legislation granting parenting rights to same-sex couples was passed in the Senate in October 16. The legislation grants legal recognition to children of same-sex parents born through IVF or surrogacy.

World

Thousands of indigenous Colombians are marching along the Pan American Highway — which connects the south-west of the country to the centre — to protest militarisation of their lands by government and paramilitary forces, as well as the US-Colombia Free Trade Agreement.

“Its not only South America that is changing, but also Central America”, Margarita Lopez, a deputy in the El Salvadorian National Assembly and political commission member of the left-wing Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front (FMLN), told Green Left Weekly.

Some parties in Malaysia’s ruling National Front (BN) government are trying to intimidate opposition parties and social activists, Socialist Party Malaysia (PSM) secretary general S.Arutchelvan told Green Left Weekly, a few days after the PSM’s sole federal MP, Dr D. Jeyakumar, had his car torched by thugs on October 17.

“For the social movements and the Bolivian people, the approval of the new constitution is key to reversing the centuries of discrimination”, Julio Salazar, executive secretary of the Six Federations of Coca Growers from the Tropics of Cochabamba, told Green Left Weekly.

Talk of assassination plots and rising concerns about a high abstention rate have marked the beginning of the November 23 regional elections race.

If you’ve read what the mainstream media has had to say about Bhutan in the last year then you would probably have a strong impression of Bhutan and its government: a monarchy that has “given up its power” and embraced democracy.

More than 380 delegates participated at the sixth congress of the General Union of Saguia El Hamra and Rio de Oro (-Western Sahara) Workers (UGTSARIO) in the Western Saharan refugee camp of El Aaiun in south-west Algeria from October 19-21.

Faced with the complete collapse of its financial system, the Icelandic government has accepted a US$6 billion “bailout package”, which would include more than $1 billion input from the International Monetary Fund.

After three months of intense class struggle, there can be no doubt that the US-backed right-wing opposition to the government of President Evo Morales has suffered three important defeats.

They’re not happy, these bankers who’ve been forced to resign, are they?

The ancient Palestinian coastal city of Acre was the scene of four days of rioting following an incident that took place on the night of October 8, when a mob of Jewish fundamentalists attempted to lynch three Palestinians for the “crime” of driving a car on the Yom Kippur religious holiday.

The deepening financial calamity exposes how the “fundamentals” of the economy impact on working people in the US, particularly African Americans. The so-called unfettered free market system has been a failure.

Republican presidential candidate John McCain has let the dogs loose. Apparently, he’s decided that if winning the White House means whipping up the right wing into a racist frenzy, he’ll lead the charge.

Voices from Venezuela — Behind the Bolivarian revolution

By Coral Wynter & Jim McIlroy

Resistance Books, 2008

316pages, $25

Available from Resistance Books

Analysis

While the war in Afghanistan has dropped off the front pages, seven years on, 56% of Australians say the 1000 Australian troops there should be brought home. Prime Minister Kevin Rudd’s talk about reconstructing the country haven’t fooled many.

Two hundred teachers rallied outside New South Wales parliament on October 23 to demand that education minister Verity Firth renegotiate the teacher transfer system.

The following article is based on a speech delivered by Renfrey Clarke to the Climate Emergency: No More Business as Usual conference held in Adelaide on October 10-11. Clarke spoke as a representative of the Socialist Alliance.

The $8000 solar panel rebate has proven so popular that it could be halted or wound back, according to an October 22 Sydney Morning Herald article.

NSW Labor was dealt a heavy blow in three by-elections held on October 18. Labor suffered a swing against it of more than 23% in Ryde, 22% in Cabramatta and 13% in Lakemba.

With recession now a reality in the United States, and highly likely in Japan and much of Europe, global business is coming out fighting against government policies that might restrict its ability to keep making profits. Measures aimed at limiting carbon emissions have come under fire.

The statement published below is an initial response from individuals, social movements and non-governmental organisations in support of a transitional program for radical economic transformation.

General

You must have noticed that the Christmas decorations are rapidly spreading all over the shopping malls, not so subtly signalling another season of extreme shopping and extreme credit card abuse.

Resistance!

Living in Australia, it’s not easy to imagine that young people have the potential to make major social change.

Long-term Resistance activist Leigh Hughes has been recognised by the Australian Capital Territory Conservation Council for his leading role in the Canberra environment movement.

The "Leading Light Award" was one of three "Local Hero" awards announced at the Conservation Council's annual fundraising dinner on October 17, and recognises the "most outstanding environmental effort of an individual under the age of 30".

Hughes, who is also a member of the Democratic Socialist Perspective, joined Resistance as a high-school student in 1998.

Culture

The Purple Economy — supernatural charities, tax & the state

By Max Wallace

The Australian National Secular Association

Available from secularansa@gmail.com

$40 + postage

Progressive academic, award-winning slam poet and Green Left cultural reviewer Bill Nevins was unceremoniously sacked from his job as an English academic at the Central New Mexico Community College in Albuquerque in September – just as classes were about to begin for the new semester.

Mister President — Examines the film and television phenomenon that has made "stars" of the men and women who work in the Oval Office. SBS, Friday, October 31, 7.30pm.

Dateline — Reports on some of the key battleground US states, and whether