Issue 780

Australia

MELBOURNE — Israel’s massacre of the Gazan people has resulted in the biggest demonstrations in support of the Palestinians in decades.

MELBOURNE — A public meeting took place on January 22 to discuss the background of the Israeli invasion of Gaza and the focus for solidarity.

After a year-long industrial dispute, the New South Wales Teachers Federation (NSWTF) has reached an agreement for a new award with the NSW Department of Education and Training (DET).

Four hundred people rallied on January 17 demanding an end to Israel’s massacres in Gaza and calling for the Australian government to cut ties with Israel.

In an example of the serious disadvantage caused by income quarantining, a technical fault in Centrelink’s Basics Card system on January 16 rendered the cards useless for more than 12 hours.

Federal environment minister Peter Garrett says he will grant resource giant Xstrata permission to expand its zinc mine in the Northern Territory. The move will mean a six kilometre diversion of the McArthur River, causing significant environmental impacts and the violation of Aboriginal sacred sites.

An independent review into the notorious Vellar mansions in Wollongong has confirmed what residents have known for some time: construction of the buildings was illegal and a deliberate cover up took place.

Forestry Tasmania has pushed more than three kilometres of road through the old growth forests of the Upper Florentine Valley, sparking weeks of intense protest.

On January 21, BHP-Billiton announced the sacking of 3400 workers across Australia.

The future of St Marys Church, which for many years has served as a beacon of hope for many in need in the South Brisbane district, will soon be decided by the Roman Catholic archbishop, John Bathersby.

BRISBANE — Cynthia Merchant, an activist with the Queensland Palestine Solidarity Campaign, kicked off the discussion at a Socialist Alliance meeting on the slaughter in Gaza on January 22.

World

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez said on January 20 that the government would not permit violent protests by “the pitiyanquis [“little yankies”]”, according to the January 21 Ultimas Noticias.

Germany began a "super election year" on January 18 when the west German state of Hesse went to the polls for the second time in twelve months.

“Perhaps one day we will understand how wrong our actions in this region have been from time immemorial.”

Road from ar Ramadi: The Private Rebellion of Staff Sergeant Camilo Mejia

By Camilo Mejia

The New Press, 2007

312 pages, $45 (hb)

There is a humanitarian crisis in Sri Lanka, where the Tamil minority in the island’s north and east are facing annihilation at the hands of the Sinhalese-dominated government.

More than one million people gathered in bitter cold in Washington DC to witness the historical inauguration of an African American as president.

Compelling evidence of the Zimbabwe government’s criminality in the area of health and human rights was released in Johannesburg on January 14 by Physicians for Human Rights in its report, Health in Ruins: A Man-Made Disaster
in Zimbabwe
.

Once again, Israel demonstrated that it possesses the power and the lack of moral restraint necessary to commit atrocities against a population of destitute refugees it has caged and starved.

According to the signatories of the Belem Ecosocialist Declaration, “humanity today faces a stark choice: ecosocialism or barbarism”.

If Western politicians and media are to be believed, the Palestinian Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas) is an anti-Semitic, religious fundamentalist, terrorist outfit that forms part of an al-Qaeda (or, alternatively, Iranian) led movement to violently impose Islamic law on the world, and dedicated to the annihilation of Jews.

The article below is abridged from a January 21 US Socialist Worker editorial, http://www.socialistworker.org.

The below article is abridged from a January 19 statement from the Committee in Solidarity with the People of El Salvador, visit http://www.cispes.org.

The demonstrations that rocked Greece at the end of last year resumed on January 9, picking up where they left off before the holidays with a militant march of 20,000 teachers and students in Athens.

Cuba is the top-ranking developing country when it comes to protecting children’s rights, according to a new Child Development Index (CDI).

Analysis

Along with the sheer brutality and horror inflicted on Palestinians, the massacre in Gaza has resulted in a serious political setback for Israel. Internationally, support for the Israeli apartheid state has been weakened and Hamas’ legitimacy has skyrocketed.

Wars are fought over access to scarce resources. The 20th century was dominated by wars over colonial possessions and energy resources.

The federal Labor government, in coordination with state and territory governments, is forcing Aboriginal communities to give up communal land ownership in exchange for future housing and infrastructure improvements.

If the world’s foremost scientific authority made a point of condemning what we were doing, most of us would at least pause to wonder if we were getting things right.

If there is one thing heading towards a complete meltdown even faster than our economy then it’s Melbourne’s privatised metropolitan public transport system.

On January 19, Access Economics interrupted the rosy consensus among economists that the Australian economy may avoid recession, arguing that the economy was already contracting and would fall into recession within the first three months of 2009.

The December release of the federal government’s climate policy left little room for doubt. Kevin Rudd — Mr 5% — is no friend of the climate movement.

Editorial

The scientific evidence is conclusive. The delicate ecological balance of the planet is being destroyed.

Letters

Mona Mona community

Good to see Jonathan Strauss writing about Mona Mona (GLW #779).

I live in the area and over the years I've come to learn some of the history of this area, including the extraordinary story of Mona Mona.

More than 10

General

The massive public turnout in the US for the inaugural presidential address of Barack Obama underlines the incontestable fact that millions of people in the US and around the world invest great hope for change in him. But amid the bloody ruins of Gaza, the latest victims of US-backed imperialist war blinked uncomprehendingly at TV images of this spectacle of euphoria.

Resistance!

“Things will get worse before they get better.” These were the shrewd words of Prime Minister Kevin Rudd speaking on January 20.

The following is a statement released by the socialist youth organisation, Resistance.

Culture

“American Revolution: The Fall of Wall Street and the Rise of Barack Obama”

By Kate Jennings

Quarterly Essay 32

Black Inc, 2008

132 pages, $15.95

The Long March — Pieces together the Long March of 1934, in which the Chinese Red Army broke out of their base in Jiangxi, southeast China, under attack by the ruling nationalist forces. Besieged by over a million nationalist soldiers, the