Issue 793

News

Despite the economic crisis, the Australian government has announced it will increase military spending by billions of dollars over the next 20 years.
Construction company John Holland and unions are locked in discussions to settle a nine-week-long industrial dispute.
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!”
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 construction company John Holland.
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.
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 by activists from BDS Sydney and the Gaza Defence Committee.
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.

Analysis

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

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
Statement by the Democratic Socialist Perspective, May 5, 2009. www.dsp.org.au
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.
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.
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.
The article below is abridged from Tamilnet.
Streets that bustled only two weeks ago are eerily quiet.
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 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.
“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 appeal for solidarity with this so-far mostly unreported struggle is printed below.
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?”
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.
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.
I recently spent a week talking to people in Rolpa, an especially underdeveloped hilly district in Nepal’s mid-western region.
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.
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 hordes of US students on spring break returned from Cancun this year with an invisible but sinister souvenir.
Ecuador’s left-wing President Rafael Correa was re-elected on April 27 in the small Andean nation.

Culture

Torture Team — Deception, Cruelty & the Compromise of Law. Philippe Sands. Allen Lane, Penguin. New York. 2008.
Papalote will be touring NSW this month. Musica Viva’s CountryWide has offered this renowned group shows in Cobar, Brewerina, Lighting Ridge and Warren.
Darwin’s Sacred Cause: Race, Slavery & the Quest for Human Origins
By Adrian Desmond & James Moore
Allen Lane, 2009
485 pages, $55 (hb)
Papalote will be touring NSW this month. Musica Viva’s CountryWide has offered this renowned group shows in Cobar, Brewerina, Lighting Ridge and Warren.

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”.

General

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

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

Resistance!

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