Issue 792

Australia

A 19-year-old Cairns woman faces up to 14 years in jail after being charged under Queensland's abortion laws. It is the first time in more than 50 years such charges have been laid.

On April 16, Tegan Simone Leach faced Cairns Magistrates Court, charged with procuring her own miscarriage...

Most of the world's governments are quickly moving to shift the burden of the economic meltdown onto workers. However, on May 1, the revolutionary government of Venezuela will officially raise the minimum wage by 10%.

This is part of its anti-crisis measures aimed at ensuring the poor are...

The following article is based on an April 24 statement from Aboriginal activist Michael Anderson. A co-founder of the Aboriginal Embassy in Canberra and a leader of the Euhalyi Nation, Anderson has called on Aboriginal affairs minister Jenny Macklin to resign. He explains why here.

...

A public meeting on April 21 organised by the Beyond Nuclear Initiative and the Sydney Nuclear Free Coalition, at the University of Sydney, attracted 100 people.

Traditional owners Diane Stokes, Mark Lane and Mark Chungaloo from Muckaty, near Tennant Creek, explained their opposition to...

Greens candidate Adele Carles and Socialist Alliance candidate Sam Wainwright argued for cooperation among progressive candidates in election campaigns at an April 22 meeting. Both activists are contesting the May 16 Fremantle by-election.

Carles and Wainwright spoke together at a...

The Aboriginal Deaths in Custody Watch Committee is organising volunteers to travel to Kalgoorlie for the next stage of the Coronial Inquest into the January 2008 death of Warburton elder Mr Ward. The inquest reopens on May 11.

Ward died in January 2008 during a four-hour journey in the...

Four hundred Tamils and their supporters gathered in Melbourne on April 23 for an emergency protest. It was organised in response to the Sri Lankan government's latest brutal military escalation in the north of the island.

More than 5000 Tamil civilians have been killed in 2009, with tens...

World

Australian property developers are pushing the Indigenous people of Vanuatu, the Ni-Van, off their land.

Just a few hours flight away in the Pacific, Vanuatu is a hot-spot for Australian tourists. It is also a favoured destination for property speculators taking advantage of Vanuatu's...

Just 53% of US adults believe capitalism is better than socialism, a Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey revealed.

The survey, published Rasmussenreports.com on April 9, found 20% think socialism is better than capitalism, while 27% were unsure.

However, for adults under...

The Sri Lankan government claims to be on the verge of totally defeating the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE — also known as the Tamil Tigers). The LTTE has fought for more than 30 years for an independent state for the Tamil people on the northern and eastern parts of the island.

...

On April 19, the Sri Lankan Army (SLA) moved ground troops into what it had declared a "no-fire zone" in the north of the island, into which tens of thousands of Tamil civilians remain crowded.

The SLA has used cluster bombs, gas bombs and other heavy weapons as part of the assault....

The fifth Summit of the Americas was held over April 17-19 in Trinidad and Tobago, bringing together representatives from all countries of the Americas except Cuba.

A far cry from the first of its kind, convened by the US in 1994, it revealed how much has changed in the hemisphere.

...

The world's largest manufacturer of newsprint, AbitibiBowater, has filed for bankruptcy protection in the US and Canada. The company employs 11,000 workers in Canada.

Forestry products is Canada's largest manufacturing industry, employing 275,000 workers. Most of these jobs are unionised...

In the regional elections held on March 1 in the south-west Basque region (Bascongadas), the Spanish state banned left-wing Basque nationalist parties from taking part.

Combined with an alliance between rival Spanish chauvinist parties, the result was that for the first time since...

Less than two weeks after the Unified Communist Party of Nepal-Maoist (UCPN-M) won by-elections in six constituencies across Nepal, it is facing fresh resistance by the old elite.

The elite is seeking to stop the UCPN-M-led push for a "New Nepal". This has included front-page exposures of...

The Durban Review Conference, held in Geneva on April 20-24, was supposed to review the progress made in implementing Declaration and Program of Action of the World Conference against Racism held in Durban, South Africa, in 2001.

Both the DRC and the 2001 conference involved...

British police are under pressure over their violent attacks on protesters during the G20 summit in London this month.

One police officer has been interviewed, pending possible manslaughter charges, after the death of London newspaper seller Ian Tomlinson.

Tomlinson, who was not...

At the centre of the Summit of the Americas held in Trinidad and Tobago over April 17-19, was the only country from the hemisphere not present — Cuba.

Speaking at the opening session, Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega noted that while a large majority of the heads of states of the...

"The Scottish Trades Union Congress (STUC), representing every Scottish trade union, voted overwhelmingly to commit to boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel", the Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign said on April 22.

Including federations in Ireland and South Africa, the...

The fifth Summit of the Americas, bringing together all the nations of the Americas except Cuba, occurred in Trinidad and Tobago over April 17-19. In the lead up, a meeting was held in Caracas of the nations that make up the Bolivarian Alternative of the Americas (ALBA — Venezuela, Cuba, Bolivia...

On April 10, Fijian President declared a state of emergency and suspended the constitution. Elections, scheduled for this year, have been delayed for five years.

Commodore Frank Bainimarama, who first came to power in a December 2006 coup, was re-appointed by Iloil as the new prime...

On April 16, Cuba celebrated the 48th anniversary of the proclamation of the socialist nature of its revolution. This step came out of the need to publicly embrace a fair and uniting doctrine.

On April 16, 1961, at the burial of the victims of US-backed airport raids by counter-...

Analysis

Blacktown ALP NSW MP Paul Gibson has openly urged Premier Nathan Rees to make public transport free.

Gibson framed his argument mainly in terms of securing votes to win the next state election for the ALP. But the proposal is sound and should be supported.

Indeed, the Socialist...

Telstra has once again started to sack staff. The communications union fears up to 2000 workers will be "let go" by mid-year. This makes a total of close to 12,000 job losses over the four years since CEO Sol Trujillo took the helm.

On top of his extremely excessive $13.4 million annual...

The successful April 18 "Stop the Sell-Offs!" public meeting of the Sydney Power to the People coalition (pictured) gave the campaign against the privatisation of NSW public services a strong boost.

Eight out of ten people in NSW continue to oppose privatisation of public assets and...

On April 21, Prime Minister Kevin Rudd finally conceded that "it's inevitable that Australia … will be dragged into recession".

On the same day, Reserve Bank of Australia governor Glenn Stevens went further in a speech to the Australian Institute of Company Directors, saying: "Whether or...

On April 21, SBS screened two documentaries about Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez and the Bolivarian revolution he is leading. One of them was The Hugo Chavez Show, produced by Frontline, a program on the US-based PBS channel.

Below we reprint a letter from Steve Ellner...

Sometimes you have to hand it to capitalism. It's sheer magic the way the system takes promising concepts, hands them over to the market and turns them into howling social and environmental disasters.

Take biofuels, for example.

Plants use carbon dioxide from the atmosphere to...

On June 13, rallies around Australia will launch a new grassroots climate campaign for 100% renewable energy by 2020.

No doubt some tabloid journalists and business representatives will denounce such an ambitious target as ludicrous and impossible, a disaster for the economy and a recipe...

When an asylum seeker vessel exploded on April 16 while being taken to Christmas Island, killing five people, many of the critically injured were first transported to an offshore oil rig before being transferred to hospitals on the mainland.

Thirteen of the "less seriously injured"...

An April 28 mass protest called by six national building industry unions against the Australian Building and Construction Commission (ABCC) in Melbourne has received full support from the Victorian Trades Hall Council (VTHC).

The protest comes after the April 3 release of the Wilcox...

The following article is abridged from a speech given by Ian Angus, associate editor of Socialist Voice www.socialistvoice.ca in Canada, and founding member of the Ecosocialist International Network.

The speech was delivered at the final session of the World at...

General

For the annual May Day march in Wollongong this year, workers and the community will march under the banner, "Put jobs before profits". Now that our PM has finally admitted Australia faces a recession, these four words sum up nicely a just response to the crisis.

Kevin Rudd clearly needs...

Resistance!

Business doesn't want to rip off young workers. We have deputy Prime Minister Julia Gillard's word for it.

On April 21, Gillard told the media: "I would note that I've never had a business person in this country say that they thought this nation's economic prosperity should be based on...

Two years ago the film Zeitgeist made its way onto the internet scene, receiving millions of views on YouTube. Last year a new film was released called Zeitgeist Addendum, which sparked the "Zeitgeist movement".

So what is it that makes Zeitgeist so popular? And...

Culture

Open Veins of Latin America: Five Centuries of the Pillage of a Continent

By Eduardo Galeano

25th anniversary edition, Monthly Review Press, 1997

317 pages, $40 (pb)

Available from

As Editorial Director of Monthly...

Spinifex Man — The life of the Indigenous theatre and film actor, Trevor Jamieson. ABC, Friday, May 1, 6pm.

Guests of the Ayatollah — In the Iran hostage crisis, the military was authorised to rescue the hostages by force. The mission...

"Quarry Vision: Coal, Climate Change and the end of the Resources Boom"

By Guy Pearse

Quarterly Essay, Issue 33

Black Inc, 2009

129 pages, $16.95

The more some things change, the more the Australian government's close...