Issue 773

Australia

More than 1000 protesters crammed into the entrance of Flinders Street Station on October 26 for the Community Rally for Sustainable Public Transport, and to oppose the Victorian state government's planned East-West road tunnel and extensions. These would result in massive destruction of homes...

Victoria's three largest community water campaign groups have united to campaign for sustainable alternatives to the state government's new water infrastructure projects.

In a statement released on October 21, the Clean Ocean Foundation, Plug the Pipe and Watershed Victoria annnounced the...

On October 26, part of the roof of a multi-story Canberra building collapsed. The building is under construction in the city centre.

Construction workers had left the area minutes before, and it was a fluke none were killed or injured. Work was immediately halted.

Construction...

Aboriginal rock art found on Western Australia's Burrup Peninsula is in danger of destruction. Friends of Australian Rock Art (FARA) released photographs showing the full extent of damage for the first time on October 25.

The photographs show the destruction associated with Woodside...

On October 30, 100 people attended a public forum and film screening of My Daughter the Terrorist, at the University of Melbourne.

The event was organised by the Socialist Alliance and sponsored by the Tamil Eelam Women's Organisation (TEWO) and the Melbourne University...

On November 1, rallies took place in eastern states in response to the conviction of Lex Wotton, who has been charged with "riot with destruction" (see article on page 3).

In Melbourne, 100 people rallied, demanding Wotton's release and an end to all Aboriginal...

A crowd of 1000 people marched through the Perth CBD to Parliament House on October 30 to tell the Western Australian government to keep the state GMO (genetically modified organism)-free.

The WA Liberal/National government has proposed the commercial production of GM cotton on the Ord...

Treasury modelling on the impacts of the federal Labor government's proposed Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) was released on October 30.

The modelling confirmed that the Rudd government has ignored the warnings from 40 of Australia's top environmental scientists, who argue that the...

People reading the October 22 Age were alarmed to discover that the Victorian Labor government had proposed legislation banning local councillors from voting on issues if they had made a submission relating to that issue, such as local development or planning changes.

The...

Around the country on October 31, the annual Reclaim the Night (RTN) protests took place, demanding an end to violence against women. In Lismore, 200 women and children marched through the streets before rallying, along with male supporters, to hear activists and...

Construction Forestry Mining and Energy Union official Noel Washington appeared at the Melbourne Magistrates Court on October 31. He is charged with refusing to be forcefully interrogated by the Australian Building and Construction Commission.

Two hundred supporters chanted "Washo here...

On October 31, 50 people gathered outside the offices of the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations to protest against the powers of the Australian Building and Construction Commission.

Speakers at the action, organised by Community Solidarity, were required to step...

World

The United States Socialist Worker is maintaining an online election journal and analysis of the November 4 vote. Below is the account posted by SW journalist Alan Maas at 11pm on November 4 on the impact of the victory for Democratic Party candidate...

Hundreds of thousands of people have fled their homes in recent months as the Sri Lankan Army (SLA) attempts to capture areas of northern Sri Lanka held by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), a group that has fought for 30 years for self-determination for the Tamil people.

...

On October 29, the UN General Assembly approved by an overwhelming majority the resolution demanding an end of the US blockade of Cuba — the 17th consecutive year running such a vote as been passed by the assembly.

Of the 192 UN member states, 185 voted in favor of the resolution, while...

Six months ago the United States was already deep in a financial crisis. Yet, the conditions now are several orders of magnitude worse and are affecting the entire world.

We are clearly in the midst of one of the great crises in the history of capitalism. More than a mere financial panic...

Tensions continue to grow between the US and Bolivia as more evidence comes to light of the former's role in stoking right-wing opposition to the government of President Evo Morales.

On September 9, Morales expelled US ambassador Philip Goldberg from Bolivia, due to his direct role in the...

Former US diplomat Henry Kissinger's recorded telephone conversations ("telecons") relating to Chile in the early 1970s permit us to "eavesdrop on the most candid conversations of ... US officials as they plotted covert intervention against a democratically elected government", according to...

A far-reaching strategic debate is underway about how to respond to the global financial crisis.

The world financial meltdown has its roots in the neoliberal export-model (dominant in Africa since the 1981 World Bank Berg Report and the subsequent onset of "structural adjustment programs...

There is no doubt that October 21, 2008, will go down as a historic day for the Bolivian people.

Around midday, as parliamentarians were sealing an agreement for a referendum on the new draft constitution — set for January 25 — emotions swept through Plaza Murillo, the site of the...

"On November 23, we will not just be voting for this or that governorship, we will be deciding the destiny of this revolutionary process", Stalin Perez Borges, a national coordinator of the National Union of Workers (UNT) and United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) militant, told Green...

The below article is based on a paper presented on October 8 by Eric Toussaint to the international Responses from the South to the World Economic Crisis seminar held in Caracas. It has been translated by Federico Fuentes and is abridged from socialist e-journal ...

In the aftermath of the September 11, 2001 bombings of the World Trade Centre and Pentagon, US President George Bush declared an open-ended, apparently indefinite "war on terror".

Using the terrorist attacks as an excuse, the "war on terror" has meant a war drive to extend US global...

The article below has been reprinted from http://asia-pacific-action.org.

Between October 15 and 17, thousands of West Papuans held rallies for self-determination in several parts of this Melanesian nation that has been occupied by Indonesia since 1962.

AFP reported on October 16...

"They've been trying to solve problems by using only money, but not to solve the political problems through political means, that they've failed", Fretilin leader Mari Alkatiri, told Radio Australia on October 26.

"The government has failed at all levels, and they're trying to blame...

It was a powerful symbol. At the New York summit meeting at the UN General Assembly on September 22, the first point on the agenda was forgotten amid the financial crisis.

The Paulson Plan, named after US President George Bush's Treasury Secretary and which consists of injecting US$700...

Analysis

The October 23 acquittal of Jack Thomas from a terrorism charge highlights what is wrong with Australia's anti-terror laws and the way they are being applied.

It became apparent that Thomas was not a terrorist years ago. Yet he was cruelly and obsessively pursued under the terror laws by...

On October 24, Palm Island community leader Lex Wotton was found guilty of "riot with destruction" in a trial where police were accused by the defence counsel of "lying through their teeth". Wotton is due to be sentenced on November 7.

Wotton was at the protest against Palm Island police...

On September 29, Harry Nelson, former Yuendumu (Northern Territory) council president, presented Indigenous affairs minister Jenny Macklin with a statement, written in Warlpiri and English, signed by 236 residents. Macklin was in the community to officially open a new pool, the funding of which...

With its banks secured in the warmth of the southern spring, Australia is not news internationally. It ought to be. An epic scandal of racism, injustice and brutality is being covered up in the manner of apartheid South Africa.

Many Australians conspire in this silence, wishing never to...

A new documentary, A Well-Founded Fear, to be broadcast on SBS on November 19, documents the deaths of nine Afghan refugees who were returned to Afghanistan after having their asylum applications rejected.

The director of the Edmund Rice Centre, Phil Glendenning, who spent six...

The following statement was written by Bree Blakeman (Djawulanganing) on behalf of the Gumatj clan nation, MataMata Homeland, North-East Arnhem Land.

There is a new wave of attacks on remote Indigenous communities.

The government is set to close down most remote schools. Because...

In early September, residents of the Brookland Greens estate, about 50 kilometres south-east of Melbourne, were advised by the Country Fire Authority that methane from the landfill nearby had reached potentially explosive levels and they should get out of there as soon as they could. No...

The Climate Emergency – No More Business as Usual conference, held in Adelaide on October 10-11, included 18 workshops canvassing many issues around the politics of the environment: from food production and peak oil, to theories of political change and educational programming.

...

The world is going through difficult times and right now there seems no end to the downward spiral of the global economy. Fears of economic depression on the scale of the 1930s are widespread.

If you are worried about your job or superannuation, spare a thought for the major bankers,...

Turan Ertekin, an activist in the Turkish community and Socialist Alliance member, came to Australia in 1980.

"The [Turkish] military government destroyed all political parties and communist organisations and closed down a lot of the unions. Many of our comrades were arrested by the...

Teachers in New South Wales public schools are committed to an ongoing campaign of legal, political and industrial action to secure salary justice and maintain rights and conditions that have been achieved through past struggles.

The new NSW education minister, Verity Firth, has been...

Financial journalists are earning their bread and butter speculating on the depth of the recession that awaits the world economy.

Already the US and European economies are in recession, defined as occurring when economic output contracts for two or more consecutive quarters.

...

Letters

Fudging workers' rights

Graham Matthews takes former justice Murray Wilcox to task for "fudging" the issue in his October 3 discussion paper on the ABCC (GLW #771). This is perhaps a little harsh — his job is precisely to fudge, rather than judge.

Matthews notes that...

General

Despite the spectacular vaporisation of trillions of dollars of financial assets, and the collapse of more than a score of banks around the world, we haven't seen a single banker jump out of a window in Wall Street or its equivalents around the world.

These bankers have little reason to...

This year, Green Left Weekly has been running a regular Arabic-language supplement called The Flame. It aims to cover news from the Arabic-speaking world as well as news and issues from within Australia. The current issue of The Flame, as PDFs, can be read here

According to the...

Resistance!

The Young Liberals are testing the long-held notion that academic autonomy is sacrosanct. Their so-called "Make Education Fair" campaign is really a witch hunt against progressive educators and academics.

The crusade against what the Young Liberals perceive to be "ideological biases"...

Having "free" and "fair" multi-party elections is the United States' main claim to democracy. But just how democratic is US capitalism?

Well, how democratic can a system be that benefits an elite minority at the expense of the majority? And with a history of vote-fixing, many people are...

Culture

Biology Under the Influence: Dialectical Essays on Ecology, Agriculture & Health

Richard Lewontin & Richard Levins

Monthly Review Press, 2007

390 pages, US$22.95

Available from

The Logic of Life:...

Hold Everything Dear: Dispatches on Survival & Resistance

By John Berger

Verso, 2008

142 pages, $26 (pb)

John Berger's latest book Hold Everything Dear: Dispatches on Survival and Resistance consists of 16 short...

Bottlemania: How Water Went on Sale & Why We Bought It

By Elizabeth Royte

Scribe, 2008

248 pages, $32.95 (pb)

Is drinking bottled water the "moral equivalent of driving a Hummer", asks Elizabeth Royte in Bottlemania: How...

The President's Guide to Science — The decisions the new US president will make will affect every one of us, from nuclear proliferation to climate change. SBS, Sunday, November 9, 8.35pm.

God is Green — Filmmaker Mark Dowd questions religious leaders as...