Issue 780

Australia

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

Speakers included Riyad al Adassi, a nurse from Gaza and a Palestinian community activist, Graham Williams, from the Australia Manufacturing...

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).

The NSWTF had planned a 48-hour strike for the start of the school year, but on January 20 the NSWTF...

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.

Aboriginal elder Bob Anderson gave the welcome to country, noting: "my people know from our own experience about dispossession of our...

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.

Many Aboriginal people in communities in the Northern Territory endured a weekend without food or...

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...

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.

Wollongong City Council's administrators — installed after the elected council was...

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.

Over 28 people have been arrested in the Upper Florentine since the demolition of the protest camp on January 12. Four tree...

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

The response from the federal Labor government has been underwhelming. Calling an immediate press conference, federal treasurer Wayne Swan described BHP's actions as "a tragedy" and a "sobering reminder"...

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.

The archbishop has tabled a list of demands regarding the conduct of services at the...

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.

Resistance member, Andrew Rice, also addressed the gathering. He emphasised how the revolutionary...

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

The first demonstration, called with only 48-hours notice, was attended by 3000 people. Four days later, a second protest mobilised around 5000 people....

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.

Chavez was referring to recent violent demonstrations by right-wing,...

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.

The new elections became necessary after months of negotiations to form a coalition government collapsed late last year, when parliamentary...

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

By Camilo Mejia

The New Press, 2007

312 pages, $45 (hb)

In early 2003, Staff Sergeant Camilo Mejia had just a couple of months to go of his contracted...

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.

This article will deal with the current crisis, with the more fundamental problem of the legacy left by colonial...

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

The crowd was disproportionately Black, but majority white — and jubilant. Celebrations were held in Black communities throughout the country,...

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
.

A team of medical experts visited...

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.

The dehumanisation of Palestinians, Arabs and Muslims has escalated to the point where Israel can...

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

The declaration was drafted by a committee tasked by the 2007 Paris Ecosocialist Conference and has more than 400 signatures from around the world so far,...

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...

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

Millions people jammed into Washington to see history being made and to celebrate the official beginning of a new era in US politics.

Across the world, millions...

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.

On January 18, Salvadorans went to the polls to elect 262 mayors as well as 84 deputies in the national assembly.

After a tense...

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.

The protests erupted last month after Athens police killed 15-year-old student Alexandros...

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

This ranking reflects Cuba's progress since the 1990s in child health, nutrition and education, despite considerable difficulties,

Save the...

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

This is how journalist for Israeli newspaper Ha'aretz, David Grossman, summed up Israel's oppression of Palestine on January 20, two days into the unstable ceasefire that...

Analysis

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.

The move preceded, but is part of, the NT intervention policy that was...

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.

But not, it seems, Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and his climate change minister, Penny Wong.

In a letter to US...

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.

As mass train cancellations have become an everyday occurrence, leaving thousands of commuters frustrated in sweltering heat, the...

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.

In its quarterly publication, Business...

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.

But being clear on who, and what, we are against is only part of the equation. Discussing and deciding what the movement to avert climate...

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.

In the space of three weeks,...

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

According to Maude Barlow in her book, Blue Covenant: The global water crisis and the coming battle for the right to water, in this century...

Editorial

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

Unchecked emissions of greenhouse gases are provoking changes in the Earth's climate. The pace of this warming is entirely unprecedented.

Since industrialisation — just two...

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 years ago...

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...

Resistance!

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

Invoking the "spirit of mateship", his aim was to encourage unions to refrain from seeking wage increases, and for businesses to use the windfall to retain more...

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

"Washing one's hands of the conflict between the powerful and the powerless means to side with the powerful, not to be neutral" — Paulo Freire.

When Israel's launched its latest barbarous...

Culture

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 communists suffered a loss of...

"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

A Democratic Party candidate decisively defeated a Republican Party...