Issue 812

News

Following the bigger-than-expected turn-out across Australia for the August 1 national day of action for marriage equality, lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) activist groups are gearing up for a big year in 2010.
In Green Left Weekly #811, we said that the renewable energy company Solar Systems had collapsed “due to its major investor, TRUenergy, withdrawing its investment”. TRUenergy wrote to us to point out that this statement was wrong.
“Palestinian Days”, Brisbane’s inaugural Palestinian film festival, will be held over October 16-18 in the Schonell Theatre at the University of Queensland, St Lucia.
“Fifteen families have dominated Honduras for decades, and they are the ones that carried out the coup. Today we face a very bloody time”, Honduran activist Santiago Reyes told a 40-strong forum on independence organised by the Latin American Social Forum on September 19.
“The whole area is full of Aboriginal artefacts and the archaeologists' reports indicate that it is probably one of the most extensive, if not the most extensive find of Aboriginal heritage in the state”, Michael Mansell, legal director of the Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre (TAC), told ABC Hobart on September 16.
A rally of 150 people, mainly students, marked the anniversary of the massacres at Sabra and Shatila refugee camps in Lebanon in 1982 on September 25. The event was organised by the cross-campus Students for Palestine group. The protest spilled into a march and covered a few city blocks.
More than 40 people attended a public meeting in Helensburgh, 40 minutes south of Sydney, on September 26 to discuss the issues of climate, water, jobs and political action.
The Camp Florentine forest blockade in southwest Tasmania, which has just passed its third winter, continues to protect ancient wet Eucalypt and rainforests. Since November 2006, the community group Still Wild Still Threatened has blockaded the area.
“Within hours of President [Manuel] Zelaya being seized and expelled by the coup plotters [in June this year], the Honduran people went into the streets to support his return. They have been mobilising ever since to demand the restoration of democracy in my country”, Santiago Reyes, from the Honduran National Resistance Front, told a rally of around 50 people in the Latin American Plaza on September 24.
Shortly after two dust storms swept the entire east coast of Australia over September 22-26, concerns were raised that radioactive materials from central Australian uranium mines could make the same journey.
South Australia’s Climate Camp took place at Warren Gorge, near Port Augusta, over September 24-27. The camp targeted two ageing brown coal-fired power stations — which are among the most polluting in Australia — the Northern and Playford B plants.
“This is one of the rare books which you can judge by its cover”, author Humphrey McQueen quipped to the 50 Builders Labourers Federation unionists attending the launch of Framework of Flesh on September 22.
“The country is weary of the war. What I’m trying to do at this point is to make sure that ... we have got a coherent strategy that can work”, United States President Barack Obama told David Letterman’s Late Show on September 21.
Pro-choice activists are intensifying the campaign against Queensland’s anti-abortion laws and demanding charges laid against a young Cairns couple to be dropped.

Analysis

Antonio Gramsci, an Italian Marxist, was an important contributor to Marxist theory with his idea of “hegemony”.
Australia has one of the highest rates of asbestos-related disease in the world. Asbestos kills and goes on killing for generations. The Australian Council of Trade Unions estimates that by 2020, 30,000 to 40,000 people in Australia will have contracted an asbestos-related cancer.
Not in so many words, mind you — frankness has rarely been the strong suit of News Corporation journalists and editors. The editorial in question, published in Rupert Murdoch’s Australian on September 10, argued in support of carbon capture and sequestration (CCS): in other words, “clean coal”.
More and more people accept that we need emergency action to achieve a safe climate. The Copenhagen Summit in December will be a dramatic opportunity for governments to show whether or not they are prepared to be part of the solution.
The following Socialist Alliance statement was distributed at the “Switch off Hazelwood” power station protest in Victoria on September 12 and 13. * * *
Every three years the Australian Education Union (AEU), which covers teachers and other eduction workers in government schools, holds elections for all union representatives in the four sectors (early childhood, primary, secondary and TAFE). The elections include all senior officer positions and the AEU state branch council.
Sick of having your welfare entitlements compulsorily controlled by the Rudd government?
With seven boatloads of asylum seekers intercepted in September, Australia’s Christmas Island detention centre is fast filling up. It now holds 677 detainees.
A coalition of Newcastle business groups has launched a new campaign called “fix our city”.
As the Australian economy begins its “recovery”, economic and social indicators show the recession has disproportionately affected working people and the poor. The rich are just getting richer.

World

What the Taliban failed to achieve in relation to the Afghan presidential elections held on August 20, incumbent President Hamid Karzai managed to accomplish.
For a series of reports and interviews since Honduran President Manuel Zelaya’s dramatic return to Honduras on September 21, visit here. To send letter to Australian Foreign Minister Stephen Smith, and add your name to an open letter, demanding Australia join the governments all over the world in denouncing and isolating the coup regime, visit here. After this article are two eyewitness accounts from inside Honduras on the rising repression. They have been translated from Spanish by Linda Seaborn.
On June 28, elected President Manuel Zelaya was overthrown by a military coup backed by the Honduran elite. Since then, a mass resistance movement of the poor majority has brought the Central American country to a standstill and the coup regime very close to defeat. Pedro Fuentes is international secretary of the Brazilian Party Socialism and Liberty (PSOL). He wrote this article from Honduras on September 29.
The following article is reprinted from a September 28 post at IUF.org. Send Open Country Cheese a message here
A number of audio and video updates on the situation in Honduras from September 29 and 30 can be found at Links, international journal of socialist renewal.
Two articles below are by the Die Linke (The Left Party) in Germany on its significant gains in the elections, and from A href="http://www.internationalviewpoint.org">International Viewpoint on the Portuguese elections, which resulted in significant losses for the ruling party and big gains for the Left Bloc.
On September 26, a massive demonstration in solidarity with the Honduran peopleoccurred in capital, San Salvador, of Central American nation El Salvador . On Nune 28, the elected government of Manuel Zelaya was overthrown in a military coup. Three months of sustained resistance by the poor has prevented the regime from consoldating itself, and it continues to hang by a thread. The Salvadorean march was organised by the left-wing FMLN, whose presidential candidate Mauricio Funes won the March election. The right-wing coup in neighbouring Honduras is seen as a threat also to El Salvador and the Funes government — and an example for the Salvadorean oligarchy to follow.
The military dictatorship in Honduras, which overthrew elected President Manuel Zelaya on June 28, is preparing a bloody crackdown on the mass resistance of the Honduran poor demanding Zelaya’s return. Zelaya, who secretly re-entered Honduras on September 21, is inside the Brazilian embassy. The dictatorship has suspended constitutional liberties, expelled representatives of the Organisation of American States, a key anti-coup TV and radio station have been shutdown, and given Brazil 10 days to remove Zelaya for its embassy in the Honduran capital of Tegucigalpa.
This appeal has been released by the Part of the Masses (PLM) in the Philippenes.
During his address to the 64th United Nations General Assembly in New York on Thursday, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez called on the world to join Latin American countries in constructing a new type of socialism. He also said U.S. President Barack Obama has brought the "smell of hope" to the U.N., and demanded a return of the democratically elected president to Honduras, an end to the blockade of Cuba, and "decisive" action on climate change.
The three-part video below was produced by Inter-Press Service. It features interviews and footage of the protests against the Group of 20 Summit in Pittsburgh in the United States over September 24-25. The protests were organised by a coalition of union, environmentalist, Church, socialist and other organisations.
The article below is abridged from the September 24 column by former Cuban president Fidel Castro.
Supporters of deposed Honduran President Manuel Zelaya gathered outside the Brazilian consulate in Toronto on September 23 to demand his return to power, Rabble.ca said on September 25.
Despite recent the US State Department media show of cutting aid to the coup regime in Honduras, millions of taxpayer dollars continue to flow into the Central American country
In the article below, Federico Fuentes, from the Green Left Weekly Caracas bureau, provides an overview of the brutal repression of the coup regime and heroic resistance against it occurring right now in the Central American nation of Honduras. Fuentes has conducted daily interviews with leaders of the Honduran resistance since September 21, and a series of daily articles since then can be read here. A September 25 audio interview with Democracy Now! journalist Andres Conteris, from inside the Brazilian embassy where legitimate President Manuel Zelaya has been, can be heard at LatinRadical
There is an increasing push for US president Barack Obama to send more soldiers to Afghanistan. The push comes from the top commander of US and NATO forces in Afghanistan, General Stanley McChrystal.
The article below is by Physicians for a National Health Program, a research and educational organisation of 17,000 doctors who support single-payer national health insurance in the United States. The study referred to can be found at MRZine.
On September 19, the third anniversary of the military coup that wrecked Thai democracy, two demonstrations took place.
What is commemorated as Timor Leste’s (East Timor) “liberation” is the United Nations-facilitated referendum on August 30, 1999.
It is a decade since the people of East Timor defied the genocidal occupiers of their country to take part in a United Nations referendum, voting for their freedom and independence.
Faced with the growing impact of the global economic crisis, Washington’s intentions to establish seven military bases in Colombia and growing challenges in solving structural problems, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez reaffirmed the need to build a new state.
In April, Amazonian indigenous peoples in Peru began an uprising to demand the repeal of more than a dozen neoliberal decrees by President Alan Garcia. The decrees opened up vast swathes of indigenous peoples’ lands to exploitation by transnational oil, mining and logging companies.

Culture

When people think of “revolutionary art”, the usual image is of socialist realism or the propaganda art of the Soviet Union or China. Others may think of the Mexican muralists like Diego Rivera.
Hitler’s PriestsBy Kevin SpicerNorthern Illinois University Press, 2008369 pages, $62.08Kasztner’s Train: the True Story of an Unknown Hero of the HolocaustBy Anna PorterScribe, 2008548 pages, $32.95Who Will Write Our History? Emanuel Ringelblum, the Warsaw Ghetto & the Oyneg Shabes ArchiveBy Samuel D. KassowIndiana University Press, 2007523 pages, $66The Complete Maus: A Survivor’s TaleBy Art SpiegelmanPantheon, 1996296 pages, $54.95.
Waste: uncovering the global food scandalBy Tristram StuartPenguin, 2009496 pages, $25 (pb) When I arrived in Australia as a new immigrant in August 2008, I had no job and little money. I'd read about freegans — people who live on thrown-away food — so decided to try my luck.
Waste: uncovering the global food scandalBy Tristram StuartPenguin, 2009496 pages, $25 (pb)
When people think of “revolutionary art”, the usual image is of socialist realism or the propaganda art of the Soviet Union or China. Others may think of the Mexican muralists like Diego Rivera.

General

Below is an open letter initiated by the Socialist Alliance to Australia's foreign affairs minister, Stephen Smith, calling on the Australian government to act for the immediate and unconditional reinstatement of President Manuel Zelaya — and to pressure the US government to finally cut all aid and ties with the dictatorship. Please add your name, and organisation if relevant, to this statement by emailing weekly.greenleft@gmail.com. Please send this letter, a version of it or your own to Stephen.Smith.MP@aph.gov.au (fax, phone number and address below).
Reading through the messages of support coming in for Green Left Weekly’s “Spring Offensive” fundraising appeal, I was reminded of the old saying: “You don't know what you have until you lose it.”
Our next issue will be dated October 14.

Letters

German elections and the strength of the left Duroyan Fertl's analysis of German elections (GLW #809) missed two issues. Firstly, election results for the Green Party (Thuringia: 6.2%, Saarland: 5.9%, Saxony: 6.4%). The Greens have established themselves around the 6%-mark crossing the 5% hurdle that guarantees seats in parliament.

Resistance!

It’s official: young people in Australia have rejected the Rudd government’s weak policies on climate change. These are the findings from YOUth Decide, an event organised by the Australian Youth Climate Coalition (AYCC) at the end of September.
Sydney hip hop act the Herd, famous for politically conscious songs like “77%” and “Burn Down the Parliament”, has gone on strike, refusing to play at a festival sponsored by the coal industry.Sydney hip hop act the Herd, famous for politically conscious songs like "77%" and "Burn Down the Parliament", has gone on strike, refusing to play at a festival sponsored by the coal industry.