Issue 813

News

Students at the University of Sydney said the federal government’s proposed Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme (CPRS) is not a solution to climate change at a student general meeting on October 7.
Rain and a smaller than expected crowd failed to dampen the spirits of committed peace activists who gathered at Bondi Beach on October 4. On the day Sydney was host to a leg of the 160,000 kilometre global march for peace, organised by World Without Wars.
On October 30, construction worker Ark Tribe will go to court in Adelaide. Workers will take solidarity protest actions across the country to show support for their fellow worker. Tribe has been unjustly targeted by the Australian Building and Construction Commission (ABCC).
The Sydney Stop The War Coalition organised a rally and march on October 8 to mark the eigth anniversary of the US-led imperialist war on Afghanistan. The rally demanded the Australian government withdraw all Australian troops from the conflict.
One hundred people gathered at Parramatta ferry wharf on October 9 to call on the NSW government to abandon plans to privatise Sydney Ferries. The protest was organised by Save Our Sydney Ferries, a coalition of unions and public transport support groups.
Climate change is deadly serious. Predicted water shortages, rising sea levels, crop failures and dangerous weather events threaten the lives of billions within decades unless action is taken now.
Seventy people attended a memorial service outside Fremantle Prison on October 2 for Aboriginal man John Pat. Pat was found dead in police custody at Roebourne Prison on September 28, 1983. The ceremony was organised by the Deaths in Custody Watch Committee in memory of all the Aboriginal people who have died in police custody in WA, including Pat and Aboriginal elder Mr Ward.
Emory Douglas, former “Minister for Culture” in the US Black Panther Party, spoke at Brisbane's Institute of Modern Art on October 1. Douglas is now a part of the Artist Rights Society, and remains a committed activist artist and campaigner for social justice and empowerment.
Abortion is still a criminal offence in Queensland, but most Australians, including Queenslanders, are pro-choice.

Analysis

The following letter is in response to a Sydney Morning Herald editorial. It was sent to that paper but not published. * * *
In early October, Green Left Weekly visited the Alyawarr people’s walk-off camp, three hours north-east of Alice Springs.
The Norwegian government pension fund has been accused of unethical investment in fertiliser companies that buy phosphate rock exported from Moroccan-occupied Western Sahara.
On October 9, 100 people gathered at the Manning Clark Centre at the Australian National University, to hear about the Northern Territory intervention and the inspiring Alyawarra people’s walk-off at Ampilatwatja in the NT.
In May, the New South Wales Labor government introduced a new law lowering the threshold for public intoxication before which a person could be “moved on” or potentially arrested by police. The threshold was changed from “seriously drunk” to “noticeably drunk”.
On October 6, the Reserve Bank of Australia lifted the official interest rate by a quarter of a percentage point to 3.25%. Explaining the bank’s decision, RBA governor Glenn Stevens said “the risk of serious economic contraction in Australia” had now “passed”.
In a sick mockery of the rising boatloads of refugees coming to Australia, the federal government will pay one of the world's biggest advertising agencies to spread fear and propaganda among Tamils escaping genocide in Sri Lanka.
The rise of the religious right in Australia and New Zealand can be linked to the development of organisations in the United States that emerged in the 1970s.
Outspoken anti-war and democracy campaigner Malalai Joya was suspended from the Afghan parliament in 2007 for speaking out against corruption and the domination of the country by warlords. US current affairs weradio show Democracy Now has called her “the bravest woman in Afghanistan”. Below is an abridged statement from Joya to Australian anti-war campaigners. The statement was read out at the national protests against the Afghanistan war on October 7. *****
Average world temperatures will rise by a perilous 4° Celsius by mid-century, a team of 130 climate scientists said at a September 28-30 conference in Oxford sponsored by Britain’s Met Office (the national weather service).
The following statement is from the Liquor Hospitality and Miscellaneous Workers Union (LHMU) Queensland. * * *
The Australian right has long staked a proprietary claim over the nation’s First World War experience, holding up the “diggers” as models of conservative virtue.

World

What began as a coup aimed at deposing a millionaire landowner president, whose “crime” had been to gradually shift Honduras away from US control and implement mild pro-people reforms, has spurned on a mass resistance movement with the potential to revolutionise the country.
Thousands of peasant rights’ activists marched in Guarico, Venezuela on Thursday to demand an end to impunity for the killings of 220 farmer organizers since the 2001 Land Reform Law was passed. The march was sparked by two recent attacks presumed to have been planned and paid for by large estate owners against well-known land reform activists.
The Sri Lankan government has continued to use “emergency” measures justified by Sri Lanka’s 25-year civil war against the pro-independence Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) to severely limit democratic rights, despite declaring a final victory in the war in May.
The government formed in the aftermath of an elite-backed de facto coup against the Maoist-led government in May continues in power — although without moral or popular support.
In 2001, the London Observer published a series of reports claiming an “Iraqi connection” to al-Qaeda, even describing the base in Iraq where the training of terrorists took place and a facility where anthrax was being made as a weapon of mass destruction.
On September 30, violent clashes between indigenous protestors and police in Ecuador left at least one protester dead, and nine protesters and 40 police injured, the October 1 Latin American Herald Tribune said.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel, from the centre-right Christian Democratic Union (CDU), was returned to power in the September 27 federal elections. But the vote was marked by a record low voter turnout and a significantly increased vote for the far-left party, Die Linke (“The Left”).
Portugal’s parliamentary elections, held on September 27, changed the political landscape. The governing Socialist Party (PS), which had an absolute majority in 2005 after winning 45% of votes, lost more than half a million votes and fell to 36.56%.
People in the Philippines are struggling to rebuild after Typhoon Ketsana caused widespread flooding and landslides.
If a rapist escapes justice for long enough, should the world hand him a get-out-of-jail-free card? If you're Roman Polanski, world-famous director, a lot of famous and gifted people think the answer is yes.
The flooding in the Philippines after Typhoon Ketsana has displaced hundreds of thousands. The left-wing Power of the Masses Party (PML) is calling for donations to help in relief work (see below for details).
Malaysia’s plantation sector should come under the ambit of the Rural and Regional Development Ministry and be accorded the same privileges and benefits that settlers covered by the Federal Land Development Authority (Felda) enjoy, the Malaysian Socialist Party (PSM) said.
The people of Honduras continue to demonstrate against the illegal coup that overthrew elected President Manuel “Mel” Zelaya on June 28. October 5 marked the 100th day of struggle and 100 days without Mel, the real president of Honduras.
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton reiterating Washington’s support on October 5 for the Arias Plan to resolve the Honduran crisis, which she hoped would “get Honduras back on the path to a more sustainable democracy”. But the plan would see Honduran President Manuel Zelaya return to his post and sit out the rest of his term without any real power.

Culture

Palestinian Days film festivalSchonell theatre, Brisbane, October 16-18Visit or phone 0400 720 757.
Every time I think of 9/11 I see burning flesh dripping off the bones of Iraqi children in Fallujah Now Gaza I tend to memorialize the forgotten The collateral damage eclipsing our unpunished crimes
Sara Moss has been writing, publishing and performing poetry for over 15 years. Her work has appeared in print and online journals and she has one published full-length collection.
When Artem Samsurov first came to Brisbane in 1911, the Russian exile noted that the poor did not eat horsemeat like they did in his native country and he wondered whether this did indeed make it true that Australia was a “working man’s paradise”? A diet that was no stranger, however, to rabbit, and bread and lard, suggested otherwise.
Transvestite Wives – It is estimated that over 250,000 British men dress in women's clothes. This documentary looks at three transvestite relationships through the eyes of their wives. SBS1, Friday, October 16, 10pm.

Editorial

One of the infamous “double-speak” slogans of the nightmare totalitarian regime in George Orwell’s 1984 was “war is peace”. The Nobel jury appears to have based itself on this principle of inverting reality with its decision to grant this year’s Nobel Peace Prize to US President Barack Obama.

General

A fearsome maelstrom of tsunamis, earthquakes and huge floods have suddenly ended or shattered the lives of many people in the Asia-Pacific region over the past two weeks.

Letters

Traffic congestion and laissez-faire policy The Ken Henry review of Australia's taxation system is considering recommending the use of “Telematic readers” to deal with the growing problem of traffic congestion in our cities.

Resistance!

South Australian Climate Camp activists declared the state’s first climate camp a great success.
Hundreds of people braved gale-force winds and driving rain to attend Climate Camp ’09 in Helensburgh, on NSW’s south coast, over October 9-11. The activists took part in workshops, performances and an Aboriginal welcome and smoking ceremony.
I've always been pretty passionate about socialism — I read the Communist Manifesto in high school — but I've never been inspired to get active until now. I'd seen Green Left Weekly around but hadn't really considered it seriously until I sat down and started reading through it.