Issue 800

Australia

The biggest international scientific conference on climate change since 2007 gave an implicit rebuke to the governments of the biggest polluting nations, including Australia. Its message was that the threat is undeniable and inaction is inexcusable.

The June 2-4 Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) congress passed a motion in support of the right of the people of Western Sahara to self-determination.

A June 23 forum on the Tamil struggle for self-determination drew 30 people to the Brisbane activist centre.

On June 25, 330 delegates from 19 unions covering public sector workers met in Sydney to launch Unions NSW’s “Better Services Campaign”. The launch marked the return of the peak body to the battlefield over privatisation and public services.

Since 1982, coal-truck deliveries in Wollongong were restricted to between 7am and 6pm, Monday to Saturday. But now the NSW planning department has lifted this curfew.

World

Eva Golinger, whose 2006 book The Chavez Code exposed the role of the US in the 2002 coup that briefly overthrew the democratically elected Venezuelan government, is blogging continuously on the situation in Honduras.

Eva Golinger's blog contains constantly updated information on this military overthrow of an elected president. There are amass protests on the streets and unions have called a general strike. A leftist Congressperson and presidential candidate is reported murdered by the military. The coup has been opposed by many Latin American governments. The ambassadors in Honduras from Cuba, Venezuela and Honduras — and the Honduras foreign minister — are reported kidnapped by the military. Golinger has produced evidence that the US knew of the coup in advance. Things are changing rapidly. But below is Golinger’s iniitial article on the coup.

NASA climate scientist James Hansen was among the 29 people arrested for trespass at an anti-coal mining protest in Raleigh County, West Virginia on June 23.

The theft of public money by members of parliament, including government ministers, has given Britons a rare glimpse inside the tent of power and privilege.

Furious protests are threatening to undermine the Iraqi government’s plan to give international oil companies a stake in its giant oilfields in a desperate effort to increase its declining oil production and revenues.

With high-volume class strife heard in the rumbling of wage demands and the friction of township “service delivery protests”, rhetorical and real conflicts are bursting open in every nook and cranny of South Africa.

At the turn of the twentieth century, global demand for rubber from the upper reaches of the Amazon (encompassing Peruvian, Colombian and Brazilian territory) was at its height.

Ben Peterson is a Green Left Weekly correspondent in Kathmandu. He spoke with Manushi Bhattarai, who was part of the Maoist ticket that won student elections at Tribhuvan University —Nepal’s largest. She discussed the revolution, recent developments, the international situation and the role of youth in the struggle for change.

The article below is abridged from a June 24 statement by the Civic Council of People’s and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras (COPINH).

At last, after decades of brutal right-wing rule, the leftist Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front (FMLN) won El Salvador's March 15 presidential election.

An attempted coup has broken out in Honduras in the lead-up to a referendum scheduled for June 28. The referendum is on whether a further vote should be held to decide to re-write the Central American nation’s constitution.

Despite the military defeat of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), which waged an armed struggle for an independent Tamil state in Sri Lanka’s north-east, life for the Tamil minority remains one of oppression and suffering.

A week of education strikes across Germany peaked on June 17 when up to 240,000 students ditched classes in 90 cities to demand improved conditions and funding.

More than 150,000 people joined protests in France on June 13 against plans by President Nicolas Sarkozy’s government to make working people carry the costs of the global economic crisis.

“Hundreds of workers at sites up and down the country have launched unofficial action over the last two weeks in support of 650 colleagues at Total Lindsey Oil Refinery who were dismissed”, Sky News said on June 25.

The British Morning Star said on June 21 that the United Nations has warned that the global financial meltdown has pushed the ranks of the world’s hungry to a record 1 billion. The UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) said this is an increase of 11% from last year.

In a summit in Venezuela on June 24, the Caribbean and South American integration organisation ALBA was strengthened by the addition of Ecuador, St Vincent and the Grenadines, and Antigua and Barbuda as its newest member countries.

Daily protests have continued in Iran against alleged vote-rigging in the June 12 presidential elections, despite an intensification of violent repression.

Analysis

After Labor Premier Anna Bligh announced on June 2 that Queensland would be selling off $15.4 billion of the state’s assets, a June 17-18 Galaxy Poll conducted for the Brisbane Courier Mail found that 84% of people opposed the move.

There are few words that attract negative outbursts of emotions from Melbournians as much as the mere utterance of “Connex”.

The threat of the publication of damaging school league tables in New South Wales has been averted for the moment.

The following article is based on a speech by John Rice to the 1500-strong June 13 Adelaide Climate Emergency Rally. Rice is a member of the Climate Emergency Action Network (CLEAN) in South Australia.

The ecological achievements of Cuba in the last two decades have been well documented. The collapse of the Soviet Union in the early 1990s was the trigger for ending the unsustainable, industrial agriculture that Cuba had practised for decades.

The first person to die after testing positive to swine flu in Australia was a 26-year-old Aboriginal man from a remote desert community. Health workers have said it is evidence of the significant gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous health, and warn more deaths are likely.

In his 2006 bestseller about climate change, Heat, British writer George Monbiot said his biggest worry was not that people would stop talking about climate change. His fear was that they’d talk us to kingdom come.

Australian cities are growing in population and in geographic spread. Urban sprawl, encouraged by governments at all levels, is pushing suburbia in all directions.

The inquest into the death in custody of Palm Island man Mulrunji Doomadgee in November, 2004 will be reopened. In 2006, deputy state coroner Christine Clements found senior sergeant Chris Hurley was responsible for Doomadgee’s death.

Editorial

Bosses do not provide safe and healthy workplaces for their workers out of the goodness of their hearts. Capitalism’s drive for short-term profits means workplace safety is a cost that can cut like any other.

Letters

Health system in crisis

It came as a shock to me, and to some of my friends, about the way some of the hospitals refuse to admit patients for serious operations unless they pay at the time of arrival.

As recently as June 11, a friend of our

General

Below are extracts from a June 18 email from Tehran, Iran. It was posted on the Socialist Pakistan News e-list by Farooq Sulehria, a comrade from the Labour Party Pakistan. Sulehria is a regular contributor to Green Left Weekly.

Resistance!

This article is based on a speech by Ewan Saunders at the Brisbane Climate Emergency Rally on June 13. Saunders helped organise the event and co-chaired the rally. He is also a member of Resistance.

When employment minister Julia Gillard declared that the onus was on young people to “earn or learn”, she forgot to mention the third option open to young Australians struggling to find a job — killing people.

Culture

The Queensland Government is threatening to build a dam on the Mary River at Traveston Crossing.

This dam will endanger the Queensland Lung Fish, flood the nesting sites of the endangered Mary River Turtle and endanger the Eastern Cod. All these

Ernest Mandel, A Rebel’s Dream Deferred

By Jan Willem Stutje

Verso, 2009

392 pp., $60.30 (hb)

Forty years ago, between April and May 1969, John Lennon and Yoko Ono began an international cultural struggle against the Vietnam War using their fame and notoriety to draw attention to their peace message.

Servant of the Revolution

Written by Anitra Nelson

Directed by Brenda Addie

Mechanics Institute Performing Arts Centre, Brunswick (cnr Sydney & Glenlyon rds)

July 21-25 and July 28-August 1, 8pm

Tickets $25/$15 concession

Bookings 0420 933 101 or servantrevolution@gmail.com

Visit

2 Mums and a Dad — Unique exploration of the nature of family in today's complicated society. A lesbian couple raise a child with a gay man. SBS1, Friday, July 3, 1.30pm.

1929: The Wall Street Crash — More than $25 billion in individual wealth