Issue 802

Australia

Local community activist, socialist, wharfie and unionist Sam Wainwright will stand in the Hilton ward in the October Fremantle Council elections.

On July 10, 100 people rallied for Aboriginal rights as part of National Aboriginal and Islander Day Observance Committee (NAIDOC) week.

The modern history of Sri Lanka represents “the wrecking of a country: from the ‘pearl of the Indian Ocean’, to ‘the killing fields of South Asia’”, Dr Brian Senewiratne told a meeting of the Brisbane city Amnesty International group on July 8.

Ratepayers in Perth’s southern suburbs are counting the cost of the collapse of the federal government’s Greenhouse Friendly voluntary carbon offsets trading scheme.

The following is an abridged speech given by Judith Le Blanc, a Native American activist and organising coordinator for the US peace group United for Peace and Justice (UPJ). Le Blanc is touring Australia to campaign against the 2009 Talisman Sabre joint US-Australian military war games focusing on a Peace Convergence Weekend on July 10-12, at Rockhampton, central Queensland. She was speaking at a July 7 forum in Brisbane.

Australia’s unemployment rate has risen to a six-year high say Australia Bureau of Statistics (ABS) figures released on July 9.

Thirty people at a July 6 meeting hosted by the Sydney Stop the War Coalition heard from Sara Poya, an Iranian-Australian anti-war activist and researcher, and Mansour Razaghi, from the Committee in Solidarity with Iranian Workers (Australia). Razaghi is also an organiser with the CFMEU.

On July 4, 30 people gathered at Victoria Quay for a vigil against the presence of two nuclear- armed and powered US Navy vessels. The action, Called by the Fremantle Anti-Nuclear Group, was entirely peaceful — except for the extraordinary decision by the police to arrest and charge veteran anti-nuclear campaigner Jo Vallentine.

The Victorian state government has been forced to reveal that over 150 state schools have been closed or merged with other schools since 1999.

World

Nazy (a pseudonym) is an activist with the Voice of Freedom and Democracy in Iran, which organised a protest outside the Iranian Embassy on July 9. She came to Australia on July 6 after attending the pro-democracy protests in Tehran that were organised in response to the Iranian regime’s repression of the mass demonstrations alleging vote-rigging in the June 12 presidential elections.

On May 15, HR 2454: American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009 was introduced in the US House of Representatives, purportedly “To create clean energy jobs, achieve energy independence, reduce global warming pollution and transition to a clean energy economy”.

An appeal for action from US-based anti-racist group Colour of Change reported on the actions of the Vally Club just outside Philidelphia. The appeal said that “65 children from a summer camp tried to go swimming at a club that their camp had a contract to use. Apparently, the people at the club didn't know that the group of kids was predominantly Black.”

“The acquisition of farmland from the world's poor by rich countries and international corporations is accelerating at an alarming rate”, the July 3 British Guardian said.

A new report by Oxfam, released on July 5, reveals that seasons that were once distinct are shifting, destroying harvests and causing widespread hunger.

Street protests and blockades occurred throughout Peru on July 8, in the middle of a three day strike against the neoliberal policies of President Alan Garcia.

On July 5, hundreds were killed in the East Turkestan capital, Urumqi, after protests by Uyghurs against racism and discrimination were attacked by Chinese security forces.

Speaking on behalf of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez’s United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) on July 6, former Venezuelan interior minister Ramon Rodriguez Chacin called on United States President Barack Obama to clarify his government’s position on the coup d’etat in Honduras.

Compiled and introduced by Felipe Stuart Cournoyer. These statements are taken from Links, international journal of socialist renewal

Glued to the television, myself and my partner watched the entire July 5 showdown in the Central American nation Honduras play out from Caracas.

“The US Vice-President, Joe Biden, says America will not stand in the way of an Israeli strike against Iranian nuclear facilities”, a July 7 Sydney Morning Herald article said.

On July 5, the racist, far-right National Front (FN) was narrowly defeated in the second round of the Henin Beaumont municipal by-election.

Mumia Abu-Jamal is a radical African American journalist on death row after being framed for the 1981 murder of a police officer in Philadelphia. For more information, and to find out how to get involved in the international campaign for Abu-Jamal’s freedom, visit Freemumia.org.

The statement published below was released in December last year by the Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions National Committee, which unites 17 Palestinian organisations. It is reprinted from Electronicintifasa.net.

In the aftermath of Israel’s brutal December-January war on Gaza, which killed more than 1300 civilians, it is under greater scrutiny than ever. Its attempts to spin its crimes against humanity as justified self-defence are increasingly falling on deaf ears.

A creeping assumption lies just beneath the surface of arguments concerning the disputed election in Iran.

The coup in Honduras against elected President Manuel Zelaya has made it clearer than ever that rich-country corporate media and their regional media partners deliberately misinform.

Below is just some of the many statements being released by governments, political parties, social movement organisations and solidarity groups around the world in support of the Honduran people as they struggle to restore elected President Manuel Zelaya, overthrown in a military coup on June 28. This is only some of the statements released. If your organisation has release a statement, email weekly.greenleft@greenleft.org.au

Analysis

July 7 proved to be an excellent day for the Australian business community. Citing the economic downturn as a key factor in his decision, Fair Pay Commissioner Ian Harper announced that there will be no increase the minimum wage.

Indigenous Affairs minister Jenny Macklin was advised by her department against formally consulting with Aboriginal people over the compulsory acquisition of their land because it would be too expensive, tie up too many resources, and was unlikely to get the outcome the government wanted, leaked documents reveal.

>Graham Brown is a retired coalminer and climate change activist. He’s also a member of the Upper Hunter Greens in NSW, and is helping build a union and community alliance aimed at creating a “just transition” to a carbon-neutral economy. Such a transition would ensure workers in the coal industry move into alternative employment. Green Left Weekly’s Zane Alcorn spoke to Brown, and this is the first of three parts of the interview.

If we had a solar thermal power plant for every time a world summit has declared a “historic consensus” on climate change, we’d be well on the way to winning a safe climate. Unfortunately, the only consensus to emerge from the recent Group of Eight (G8) summit in Italy was to talk big on climate action while doing practically nothing about it.

Echoing some of the slogans of protesters in Iran, about 80 Iranians from Melbourne and Sydney chanted “Rockets, guns and Basiji [state-run militia] do not scare us anymore” and “Khomeini you are Pinochet, Iran is not Chile” outside the Iranian embassy in Canberra on July 9.

Public broadcaster ABC has entered into a controversial joint venture with Australia’s largest regional commercial television network, WIN TV, to run the ABC’s master control centre to send out television and radio signals. WIN TV’s transmission spans the largest geographical area in the world, reaching more than 5.2 million viewers across Australia.

A boat carrying 74 asylum seekers disappeared en route to Australia near the Komodo island in Indonesia last week. The boat was believed to have women and children on board and had vanished — feared to have sunk — when the Australian Federal Police was notified by a refugee rights advocate, Ian Rintoul, on July 7.

The article below is based on a speech given by Simon Butler as chair of the Sydney Climate Emergency Rally on June 13. Butler is also a member of the Socialist Alliance.

Two Venezuelan revolutionaries — Daniel Sanchez and Heryck Rangel — will be guest speakers at the national Latin America Solidarity Conference 2009 to be held in Melbourne on August 28-29.

Letters

Mr Ward and police brutality

Last year's death of Aboriginal elder Mr Ward in the back of a prison van is the tip of a larger problem, which those who say "it must never happen again" actually avoid looking at.

The problem is exposed by a

General

In his notorious Mein Kampf, Adolf Hitler explained the political device of the big lie:

Resistance!

The annual student environment conference, Students of Sustainability (SOS), was held at Monash University from July 6 -10, attracting 450 participants to workshops on climate change, activism, Aboriginal rights, uranium mining, and other social justice and environmental issues.

In his July 1 article in the Australian, Ilan Grapel, researcher with the Australia/Israel and Jewish Affairs Council (AIJAC), accused Green Left Weekly and Resistance of supporting terrorism and violence by calling for Palestinians to resist oppressive Israeli rule.

Culture

Socialist Champion: Portrait of the Gentleman as CrusaderBy John BarnesAustralian Scholarly Publishing, 2006, 362 pp, $39.95 (pb)

Bugger the Polar Bears — This is SeriousJuly 21 to August 15 (except Sundays and Mondays), 8pmNew Ballroom, Trades Hall, corner of Lygon & Victoria Streets, Carlton (entrance off Lygon Street)Visit www.bellaunion.com.au or phone 9775 3797 for bookings or tickets at the door.

Bush Bands Bash — Every year, Alice Springs comes alive to the sounds of desert reggae, rock and gospel music with this showcase Indigenous event, the Bush Bands Bash. ABC1, Friday July 17, 6pm.

Tnorala — An emotive film by Warwick Thornton,

The Tamil Freedom Struggle in Sri LankaBy Chris Slee, Dr Brian Senewiratne & Vickramabahu KarunarathneResistance Books, 2009 38 pages, $5 (pb)Available from

Michael Jackson died a lonely death on June 25. Since then, there has been a near continuous outpouring of grief by millions of fans around the world.