Issue 804

Australia

New anti-terrorism laws have been signalled in the immediate aftermath of the July 17 terrorist bombings in Jakarta.

British filmmaker Ken Loach’s decision to withdraw his film Looking for Eric from the Melbourne International Film Festival (MIFF) has led to a storm of debate.

A damning report from the Queensland Crime and Misconduct Commission (CMC) has revealed widespread misconduct by Queensland police in recent years

A small group of activists from the Climate Emergency Action Network South Australia (CLEAN SA) were threatened with ejection from the Art Gallery of SA grounds, during the recent Adelaide Festival of Ideas, for handing out flyers.

Fifty people rallied outside the Fremantle Esplanade Hotel on July 22. The hotel was the venue of the Australian Uranium conference. The protest was organised by the Fremantle Anti-Nuclear Group.

Residents on income management will be unable to use their Basics cards at the Darwin Show, a Crikey.com article said on July 23.

The Queensland Teachers Union (QTU) is assessing a new pay offer put forward on July 24 in the Industrial Relations Commission by the Anna Bligh state Labor government.

A man from the remote indigenous community of Warburton caught fire after WA Police used a Taser on him on July 20. He was airlifted to a Perth hospital with burns to 20% of his body. The July 21 Age said he was in a critical condition in the hospital burns unit.

The Alice Springs council will fine beggars $130 following new bylaws passed on July 20. The new bylaws also banned camping, lighting fireworks and holding protests without a permit.

The picket against construction company Thiess in Rhodes, Western Sydney, has continued for more than a month. On July 23, protesters gathered at the picket in support of the four recently sacked workers.

Fifty people attended a rally at Redfern station on July 18. The protesters said Railcorp’s proposed staffing cuts were unjustified and put commuters at risk.

World

An East Jerusalem community has called on US President Barack Obama to pressure Israel to stop its illegal “Jewish-only” settlement program that will evict them from their homes.

On July 19 in the Nicaraguan capital of Managua, Giorgio Trucchi interviewed Honduran President Manual Zelaya for the Regional Latin American Secretariat if the International Union of Food, Agriculture and Hotel Workers World Wide (Sirel). Zelaya is Honduras’s elected, legitimate leader overthrown in a June 28 military coup. It has been translated by Felipe Stuart Cournoyer.

The article below is abridged from a July 23 statement by the West Papua Advocacy Team.

The US State Department and the coup regime in Honduras have publicly stated what many of us already knew: the June 28 military coup was not just directed against Honduran President Manuel Zelaya, but also Venezuela and the unfolding Latin American revolution.

Afghan prisoners of war at the US military-run prison at Bagram, outside Kabul, have refused to wash or leave their cells in protest at their indefinite imprisonment since at least July 1, the Sydney Morning Herald said on July 17.

On July 22, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez again declared his complete support for the proposal by industrial workers for a new model of production based on workers’ control.

The first All-Stakeholders’ Conference aimed at drafting a new constitution in Zimbabwe was held in Harare on July 13-14. The constitutional reform process is the result of the agreement reached between President Robert Mugabe’s ZANU-PF party and the Movement for Democratic Change, when they formed a power-sharing government in February.

Workers at Britain’s only wind turbine factory, on the Isle of Wight, launched an indefinite occupation on July 20 to protest its pending closure and the loss of more than 600 green jobs.

Three weeks after the June 28 military coup that expelled Honduran President Manuel “Mel” Zelaya, the Central American country remains shaken by a profound and dynamic popular upsurge demanding Zelaya’s return and the restoration of democracy.

Around 60 people protested outside parliament house on July 25 in solidarity with recent democracy protests in Iran. They demanded the release of political prisoners, an end to censorship and the rejection of the recent presidential elections as a fraud.

July 26 also marks the anniversary of the attack on the Moncada military barracks by revolutionaries led by Fidel Castro in 1953, viewed by Cubans as the start of the revolution.

Chris Slee looks at how the revolution was made and defended by

On July 15, the US State Department once again refused a visa for Adriana Perez to visit her husband Gerardo Hernandez who is imprisoned in the US.

The election of two European parliamentarians from the far-right, racist British National Party in June has removed the cover on a political sewer that should have been sealed for all time.

The article below is an abridged open letter to Peruvian President Alan Garcia from the Peruvian Association for Human Rights (Aprodeh). Peru has been shaken in recent months by the struggle between indigenous communities in the Amazon and the Garcia government, which passed decrees opening the Amazon to greater exploitation by oil and gas corporations. The indigenous uprising forced the decrees to be overturned, but not before security forces massacred indigenous protesters in Bagua on June 5.

Analysis

International students are big business in Australia. Enrolments peaked at a record 543,898 and generated $15.5 billion in export income in 2008.

On July 21, Access Economics released its forecasts for the Australian economy. It predicted Australia was through the worst of the recession.

The Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) hosted a forum on the jobs crisis in Sydney on July 20. The Jobs Summit: Pathways to Recovery brought academics, economists and trade unions together to discuss the effects of the global financial downturn on working people, and solutions to the resulting jobs crisis.

Anger at Premier Anna Bligh’s planned privatisation of $15 billion of public assets is growing, after the July 22 appointment of Rothschild, Merrill Lynch and the Royal Bank of Scotland to advise on the asset sale.

A national campaign calling for same-sex marriage called Equal Love has been running for five years and has attracted growing support. Its focus is to shift public attitudes to gay and lesbian relationships through a campaign involving education and direct action protests.

More than three months after a fatal explosion on an asylum seeker boat, only one new detail has come to light: Northern Territory police still have not formally identified the five people killed from the blast, ABC Online said on July 18.

For Pacific Islanders, climate change is not a threat looming somewhere in the future. Rising sea levels and unpredictable weather are having devastating effects right now. Climate change has already forced some communities to leave their traditional homes.

On July 15, elders left the remote Aboriginal community of Ampilatwatja for more remote ancestral lands. They were protesting a dire lack of basic services in their community, despite repeated government promises to “close the gap” and end Aboriginal disadvantage.

On August 11, Ark Tribe, a member of the South Australian Branch of the Construction Forestry Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU), will appear in court charged with refusing to answer questions from the Australian Building and Construction Commission (ABCC).

Letters

Why L'Oreal? Boycott Israeli goods!

I refer to the report "Boycott L'Oreal — because Palestine is worth it" (GLW #802). I find it puzzling that a French firm is being boycotted while Israeli-manufactured goods are not. The following are some

General

The heroic act of resisting an order to serve in a war that is wrong has shaped the political views of many people. I remember the powerful impression draft resisters made on me as a young student during the tail-end of Australia's military involvement in the war on Vietnam.

Resistance!

The following open letter was sent to the Australian Youth Climate Coalition from Resistance. It is in response to the Power Shift 2009 conference in Sydney on July 11-13.

On July 20, workers at the Vestas wind turbine plant on England’s Isle of Wight occupied the factory to protest its closure and the loss of 625 green jobs.

Culture

Oodgeroo: Bloodline to CountryWritten by Sam WatsonDirected by Sean MeeWith Jonathan Brand, Darren Brady, Simon Hapea, Roxanne McDonald, Rhonda Purcell and Emma PurseyLa Boite Theatre Company

Brisbane International Film Festival30 July — 09 AugustVisit www.stgeorgebiff.com.au, phone (07) 3007 3003

Phil Monsour is a singer/songwriter based in Brisbane. His songs reflect a passionate commitment to the struggles of ordinary people. But Monsour does more than just sing about the world. As part of a broader political engagement, he deploys his music as an organising tool.

The government tells those aged between 17 and 25

they've got to be either learning or earning

or their social security will be withheld.

Young unemployed don't need to be compelled;

they need to be provided with opportunities to

Continuing a long tradition, the RTBU Award for Poets and Songwriters is running again in 2009.