Issue 793

Australia

Despite the economic crisis, the Australian government has announced it will increase military spending by billions of dollars over the next 20 years.

On May 2, PM Kevin Rudd and defence minister Joel Fitzgibbon released a new government white paper on defence. The paper, Defending...

Construction company John Holland and unions are locked in discussions to settle a nine-week-long industrial dispute.

The May 2 Melbourne Age reported that, on May 1, a Federal Court ruling had ordered an end to picket lines at at work sites related to the Westgate Bridge project...

Anti-desalination campaign group Watershed has called a protest for May 9 at the site of the proposed desalination plant in Wonthaggi, Victoria. The slogan of the protest will be, "If they build it, we all will pay!"

On its website, Watershed said: "Despite the spiralling costs of the...

The speech below was made by Darren Vanderkaay at a solidarity picnic on April 26 at Melbourne's Yarraville Gardens. The picnic was hosted by the Western Suburbs Community and Unions Coalition. Darren is one of 39 workers unfairly sacked from the West Gate Bridge strengthening project by...

More than 50 people gathered outside the Mercure Hotel in Hobart on April 30 where Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and state premiers met for the Council of Australian Governments forum.

Protesters wore green collars to support creating "green jobs" and to highlight the need for serious public...

SYDNEY— On April 24, more than 30 organisers and officials from the NSW Construction Forestry Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU) heard a presentation on the Palestinian resistance and the growing movement for boycotts, divestments from and sanctions against Israel (BDS). The presentation was given...

More than 300 people marched for May Day in Wollongong on May 2. The lead banner read: "People before Profits; Export CEOs not Jobs!". There were many different union and community contingents.

Leading the march were workers from Pacific Brands and the Port Kembla steelworks, both under...

World

This is a video explaining the current situation in Nepal and providing a glimpse into the mass resistance on the streets to the elite's "soft coup" to bring down the Maoist-led elected government

It features Green Left Weekly journalist Ben Peterson in Kathmandu, explaining what...

Statement by the Democratic Socialist Perspective,
May 5, 2009.
www.dsp.org.au

All supporters of democracy and social justice have reason to be concerned by the recent events in the republic of Nepal.

The military high command, backed by right-wing parties tied to the...

The 2009 South African general election turned out to be a landmark event for the African National Congress (ANC). The party faced some of its stiffest competition and still came out tops, despite a dismal 15-year delivery record.

In an ironic twist, the people whom the ANC has failed...

Seven activists associated with Israeli anti-military recruitment groups New Profile and Target 21 have been arrested in the latest attack on internal dissent in Israel, Ha'aretz said on April 27.

They were released after questioning on the strict proviso that they do not...

The article below is abridged from Tamilnet.

The Sri Lankan Army (SLA) stepped up artillery, mortar and multi-barrel rocket launcher fire on Mu'l'li-vaaykkaal on May 1, causing panic among civilians in a heavily congested village.

Many civilians were killed as the shelling, which...

Streets that bustled only two weeks ago are eerily quiet.

School playgrounds and university lecture halls are deserted. Museums, cinemas, libraries and many restaurants are shuttered.

And most people — from children playing in the streets to workers going about their business —...

Confronted by the global economic crisis and a sharp drop in oil prices, the Venezuelan government has launched an offensive against corruption as part of its austerity drive.

This has included measures to cut down on superfluous expenses and bloated salaries of high-ranking public...

"This is a historic day for Bolivia and Paraguay, a time of peace and friendship, of solidarity among peoples", Bolivian president Evo Morales said on April 28. He had just received the Final Memory report, bringing to an official end a 74-year border dispute between the respective republics....

The same day that Venezuela announced the withdrawal of its ambassador from Peru, a Palestinian Authority (PA) embassy was inaugurated in Caracas as the two governments officially opened diplomatic relations.

Venezuela's April 27 decision to withdraw its ambassador from Peru, suspend the...

"Since April 9, an uprising has been occurring in the Peruvian countryside involving the Amazonian indigenous peoples from 1350 communities and a diversity of ethnicities", said legendary peasant leader, Hugo Blanco in an important message. A translation of Blanco's...

Responding to US president Barack Obama's for Cuba to free so-called dissidents in Cuban jails, Cuban President Raul Castro said on April 16: "Why do they not release our five heroes, young heroic men who never inflicted any harm on the United States?"

Castro said that the five Cuban men...

The nightmarish prospect of a scarred Amazonian jungle reeking of diesel fumes from end to end, as heavy-laden trucks thunder by in round-the-clock convoys, is fast becoming a reality.

Since 2000, teams of road builders have been cutting a vicious swathe of destruction through vast...

On April 29, Prime Minster Kevin Rudd's government announced the deployment of 450 extra soldiers to Afghanistan, bringing the Australian contingent to 1550. This is part of an overall increase in foreign troops taking part in the US-led occupation.

Both US President Barack Obama and Rudd...

I recently spent a week talking to people in Rolpa, an especially underdeveloped hilly district in Nepal's mid-western region.

It was here the "People's War" against the centuries-old feudal monarchy was launched by the Maoists in 1996. This struggle changed almost every aspect of Nepal's...

Arturo Villanueva Arteaga, a 32-year-old Basque activist who has lived in west Belfast for four years, was arrested in a raid on April 21.

He was arrested under a European warrant issued by the Spanish authorities seeking his extradition to Spain on "terrorism" charges.

The Basque...

Many people still speak sincerely about the existence of "corporate responsibility". While doing volunteer work in the Ecuadorian community of Junin, I got a different picture.

The story of the efforts of Copper Mesa Mining, one of Rio Tinto's collaborators in gold and copper exploration...

The hordes of US students on spring break returned from Cancun this year with an invisible but sinister souvenir.

The Mexican swine flu, a genetic chimera probably conceived in the fecal mire of an industrial pigsty, suddenly threatens to give the whole world a fever.

Initial...

Ecuador's left-wing President Rafael Correa was re-elected on April 27 in the small Andean nation.

Correa, a 46-year old radical economist and self-described socialist, won 52% of the vote, 24 points ahead of his nearest rival. He became the first candidate to win in the first round of a...

A largely defenceless people struggling to survive and hemmed in on a narrow strip of land, facing indiscriminate airstrikes, assault from gun boats and cluster bombs by a well-equipped army, conjures up the image of the recent Israeli invasion of Palestine's Gaza Strip.

However, since...

Analysis

Thousands of workers across the country rallied on April 28, including more that 15,000 in Melbourne. The rallies protested the Rudd government's maintenance of the anti-union Australian Building and Construction Commission (ABCC), which was established by the previous government of John Howard...

In an act of peaceful civil disobedience, more than 500 Tamils occupied George Street in Sydney's CBD for more than an hour. The May 1 action protested the genocide being carried out by the Sri Lankan government against the Tamil people in the north and east of the country.

Forty-three...

The government and most of the mainstream media want Australia to believe we are facing a "surge" of asylum seekers, threatening Australian borders as they arrive in dangerous and non-seaworthy boats.

The April 29 Australian declared the "surge continues", as two more boats...

The Kimberley Land Council has made a controversial in-principle agreement with Woodside Petroleum and the federal and WA state governments to develop a liquefied natural gas project at James Price Point near Broome.

The deal opens an area of high environmental and cultural significance...

The ninth Australian solidarity brigade to Venezuela, sponsored by the Australia-Venezuela Solidarity Network (AVSN), visited Venezuela from April 16 to 24. Participants saw first-hand the reality of the Bolivarian revolution, led by socialist president Hugo Chavez.

The 13 Australians —...

For more than 100 years the WA seat of Fremantle has been safe Labor territory. Now, the May 16 state by-election for the seat is tipped to be a neck-and-neck race between ALP candidate Peter Tagliaferri and Adele Carles from the Greens.

The Liberals have declined to run to avoid the...

On March 21, Anna Bligh's election victory night, she answered a question from a journalist about how it felt to be the first female premier to be elected in Australia. She suggested the snide remarks made when she was a young woman, about Queensland being a "backward" state, could now be laid...

Green Left Weekly spoke to Fremantle by-election candidates Adele Carles (WA Greens) and Sam Wainwright (Socialist Alliance) to ask what they hoped to achieve through their election campaigns

***

Adele Carles (Greens)

Can you explain why...

On April 4, 2008, federal workplace minister Julia Gillard announced a review into occupational health and safety (OH&S) laws. The government said the review was aimed at harmonising OH&S laws across Australia.

More than a year later, its clear that the proposals to "harmonise"...

The article below is based on an April 30 statement by the Stop the War Coalition Sydney http://www.stopwarcoalition.org.

***

The Stop the War Coalition condemns the Rudd government for its decision to send 450 more troops to Afghanistan.

An extra 21,000 US troops are...

Editorial

On April 29, PM Kevin Rudd announced an extra 450 troops would be sent to Afghanistan to participate in the latest US-led "surge".

As the brutal war of occupation continues in their homeland, more and more Afghans are fleeing the horrors it creates, hoping for refuge and a future...

Letters

Mine workers under surveillance

BHP-Billiton Mount Arthur Coal have just recently been found to have acted unlawfully by installing GPS tracking devices into 2 fuel trucks at the Mt Arthur Coal mine near Muswellbrook in the Hunter Valley.

When the workers at the...

General

Ironically, it was the first of May — workers' day — and we were protesting against privatisation outside the NSW Labor Party offices.

Inside was a meeting of the state ALP administrative committee. Correctional services minister John Robertson, formerly the secretary of Unions NSW, was...

Resistance!

The following open letter is to Tasmanian federal Labor MP Duncan Kerr, from Resistance.

Thank you for meeting with protesters after we held an action outside your office in Hobart on March 27. We want the federal government to scrap the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme (CPRS), because...

Culture

Papalote will be touring NSW this month. Musica Viva's CountryWide has offered this renowned group shows in Cobar, Brewerina, Lighting Ridge and Warren.

Papalote have been one of the big players in Sydney's political and Latin music scenes over the past 30 years. Their solidarity work in...

Darwin's Sacred Cause: Race, Slavery & the Quest for Human Origins

By Adrian Desmond & James Moore

Allen Lane, 2009

485 pages, $55 (hb)

Charles Darwin did not discover evolution in splendid scientific isolation, say Adrian...

Papalote will be touring NSW this month. Musica Viva's CountryWide has offered this renowned group shows in Cobar, Brewerina, Lighting Ridge and Warren.

Papalote have been one of the big players in Sydney's political and Latin music scenes over the past 30 years. Their solidarity work in...

Torture Team — Deception, Cruelty & the Compromise of Law.
Philippe Sands. Allen Lane, Penguin. New York. 2008.

"Only a few pieces of paper can change the course of history. On Tuesday, 2 December 2002, Donald Rumsfeld signed one that did."

From such a singular...