Issue 783

Australia

Although the parish priest of St Mary's Catholic Church in South Brisbane, Father Peter Kennedy, was summarily sacked on February 6, the parish's 1000-strong congregation has vowed to defy the order and support their much-loved priest.

The Catholic archbishop, John Bathersby, terminated...

As soon as the devastation of the Victorian bushfires became known, unions began organising to help bushfire victims.

The Australian Council of Trade Unions and its affiliates donated $250,000 to the national bushfire appeal on February 9.

As Green Left Weekly goes to...

— In late following the riots on Palm Island after death in custody of Mulrunji Doomadgee in 2004. Wotton was charged under anti-rioting legislation.

Sydney's inner-west Film Fanatics has made an appeal to Queensland's governor Penelope Wensley to consider a "plea for mercy" and grant...

Twenty people attended a meeting to discuss the need for greater solidarity with Palestine on February 11.

The meeting, organised by the Socialist Alliance, featured Abe Quadan, a Council member of the Centre of Peace and Conflict Studies at the University of Sydney. Quadan is also the...

Thirty-five people packed into the Activist Centre on February 13 to hear Dr Brian Seneviratne speak on the present situation in the Tamil regions of Sri Lanka. The meeting was hosted by the Socialist Alliance.

Seneviratne, who was born into the majority Sinhala population of the island...

The ACT Legislative Assembly debated draconian anti-bill posting legislation on February 11. The legislation was introduced by the ALP.

The proposal penalties for putting up posters would be $10,000 for individuals — including event organisers — and $50,000 for organisations.

The...

Sixty women gathered outside the Tasmanian parliament on February 13 — the day before Valentines Day — to urge Premier David Bartlett to not "tear the heart out of Tasmania".

The women invited Bartlett on a "Valentines Day date" to the pristine Upper Florentine — the home of some of...

One hundred people marched through Redfern on February 14 to mark the fifth anniversary of the death of a young local Aboriginal man, TJ Hickey.

Hickey was impaled on a fence, allegedly as a result of a police vehicle chasing him and ramming his bike.

The demonstration was...

In a 7000-word essay published in the February Monthly magazine , Prime Minister Kevin Rudd blames neoliberalism for the global economic crisis.

He promises to deliver a new "social democratic state" that will "save capitalism from itself", while protecting working people's...

Al Awda Hospital, established in 1997, is the largest facility of a larger organisation called the Union of Health Workers Committees. The UHWC was established in 1985 by volunteer doctors in Gaza who provided medical services to communities that did not have any medical coverage.

...

Palestine solidarity activists in Sydney have launched a campaign targeting Max Brenner Chocolates, a 100% Israeli-owned company belonging to the Strauss Group, as part of the growing international boycott Israel movement.

The Strauss Group is the second-largest Israeli food and beverage...

The unfolding Latin American revolution and the call by Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez to build "socialism of the 21st century" will be big features of the "World at a Crossroads" conference to be held in Sydney over the Easter weekend.

From the revolutionary struggles in Venezuela and...

Mike Crook says he became radicalised by seeing the way construction and mining companies treated their workforce, especially in regard to on-the-job safety.

He was working in the NSW Hunter Valley and Mudgee areas in coal mine construction in 1988, and was soon campaigning against the...

With Victoria's bushfire holocaust now confirmed as Australia's worst-ever natural disaster, people are reasonably asking: are these events linked to climate change?

The short answer is yes. Major bushfires are complex phenomena, requiring the right combination of temperature, wind speed...

When the authorities put the figures together, the death rates in Melbourne and Adelaide due to the recent heat wave will show a spike in response to the record temperatures over Eastern Australia.

As in the European heatwave of August 2003, when 35,000 people died, the elderly are most...

Sydney residents of the lower north shore and inner city are increasingly "electing" to drive to work "despite living a relatively short bus ride from the heart of the city", a report in the February 10 Sydney Morning Herald concluded.

According to key transport figures released...

The following is an open letter to Indigenous affairs minister Jenny Macklin regarding the Northern Territory intervention. The letter was signed by the Prescribed Area People's Alliance delegation to Canberra and presented to Macklin and others on February 4, 2009.

Enough is enough....

The Sydney branch of the Maritime Union of Australia (MUA) and its supporters have rallied each day at Circular Quay since February 10.

The community assemblies are being held in protest at the refusal of Bass and Flinders, the private operators of a new fast ferry service to and from...

World

After it was officially announced that the "yes" vote had won the February 15 referendum on a constitutional amendment that would remove limits on the number of times any elected official could stand in elections for public office with 54.4% of the vote, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez...

The move to the right by the Socialist Party (PS), which drew the French Communist Party (PCF) and the Greens along in its wake, has been so clearly against the wishes of the support base of these parties that a significant vacuum in French politics has opened up to the left.

Even...

The statement below is abridged from an online petition calling for justice in the case Belfast human rights lawyer Pat Finucane, murdered 20 years ago by a death squad with links to the British state.

His killing was just one of hundreds at the hands of the British state and pro-British...

The longest strike in Anglo-Canadian history, at Toronto's York University, has been suppressed by anti-union, legislation after a three-month long picket line.

The back-to-work legislation was passed with support from the Liberal and Conservative parties on January 29. The bill's passage...

Europe has all but exploded into the new year with a growing fightback against the policies that caused economic crisis across the continent. Millions of protesters are beginning to take on those responsible for the capitalist meltdown.

Ian Traynor, the Europe editor of the Guardian...

On the weekend of February 7-8, over 600 delegates and as many observers attended the founding conference of France's New Anti-capitalist Party (NPA), held at la Plaine-Saint-Denis in the working class suburbs to the north of Paris.

Less than a week before, on January 29, around 2.5...

The international and domestic campaign against the Venezuelan government of President Hugo Chavez has dramatically escalated in the lead up to the February 15 referendum to remove the restriction on elected official standing for office if they have already served two terms.

Slanderous...

The historic struggle for national liberation, economic sovereignty, and the "refoundation" of Bolivia on the basis of justice for the impoverished indigenous majority achieved an important milestone on January 25, with the approval of the new Political Constitution of the State (CPE) by 61.43...

"We are the bat people, the people who lived under bridges in Manila", explained urban poor organiser Ka Lisa as she took a small group of international observers around a section of an urban poor relocation settlement in Bulacan, about 60 kilometres north of Manila.

Since 2002, entire...

Sri Lankan Air Force bombers destroyed the Ponnampalam Memorial Hospital in the town of Puthukkudiyiruppu in northern Sri Lanka on February 6. According to Tamilnet.com, 61 patients were killed in the attack.

The hospital had previously been attacked twice before. Other hospitals have...

Luis Bilbao is an Argentine socialist currently based in Venezuela. He is the editor of the Latin America-wide magazine America XXI and is a central participant in the construction of the mass-based United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV), the party...

As Ecuadorians prepare for their first general elections under the progressive new constitution adopted in a referendum last year, tensions with the United States continue to rise with the government expelling a key US diplomat.

In his February 7 weekly radio program, Ecuador's left-wing...

On February 4, Auckland's Tamil community held a demonstration against the Sri Lankan Army's (SLA) massive onslaught the Tamil people in the north of Sri Lanka. The day is Sri Lanka's independence day.

Over the past month, hundreds of Tamils have been killed as the SLA mercilessly shells...

Five years ago, on February 29, 2004, Haiti's popular, elected president, Jean-Bertrand Aristide, was overthrown by a right-wing paramilitary rebellion that received essential material and political backing from the United States, France, Canada and neighbouring Dominican Republic.

Tens,...

On February 15, Venezuelans vote in a referendum on a proposed constitutional amendment that will allow for any candidate to stand for any elective office, without restriction on the number of terms they may serve.

Only the people's vote will decide whether they are elected and how many...

Dr Julian Isaias Rodriguez, a former vice president and participant in the drafting of the 1999 Venezuelan constitution, told Green Left Weekly that the proposed constitutional amendment to be voted on by the Venezuelan people on February 15 will "allow people to be real protagonists...

As of February 12, it was still unclear who will end up forming the next Israeli government following the February 10 parliamentary elections, with negotiations to form a new ruling coalition possibly continuing for six weeks.

However, what is clear is that regardless of who the eventual...

Editorial

Nothing like the inferno that swept across Victoria last weekend has ever occurred in Australia before.

The deadly, unparalleled blaze was just one terrible outcome of the record-breaking heatwave that gripped the south-east of Australia for over a week. The heatwave also claimed an...

Letters

New opportunities for socialists

The capitalist media are constantly conveying the message of doom and gloom.

Their reason is to instill fear into the workforce so as to try to prevent attempts by the trade unions to secure wage increases, and improve working...

General

This column is usually devoted to an appeal for the Green left Weekly fighting fund but this week this space will be used to join in with the many trade unions, other groups and individuals who are rising in a huge display of solidarity to help the communities devastated by the...

Resistance!

The following is reprinted from the introduction to What Resistance Stands For. For more information, and to find out how to get involved with your local Resistance branch, visit http://www.resistance.org.au.

We live in a world dominated by war, racism, poverty, environmental...

The death of Gemma Thoms at the Perth Big Day Out music festival on February 1 was tragic and preventable.

Reportedly, Thoms quickly swallowed several ecstasy pills at once, afraid that they would be detected by sniffer dogs. This kind of panicked response is not unusual. It happens at...

Culture

Meltdown! A Socialist view of the Capitalist Crisis

By Tony Iltis, Lee Sustar, John Bellamy Foster, Phil Hearse, Adam Hanieh & Dave Holmes

Resistance Books, 2009

54 pages, $6.00

Available from http://www.resistancebooks....

Jerusalem Cuts — On May 14, 1948, eight hours before the British mandate over Palestine was to expire, Israel's future prime minister, David Ben-Gurion, declared independence for the state of Israel. SBS, Friday, February 20, 2.30pm.

Blaktrax —...

Revolutionary Road

Directed by Sam Mendes

Written by Justin Haythe and Richard Yates

With Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio

In cinemas

It's no wonder Revolutionary Road was shut out of the Oscars.

As...