Issue 814

Australia

“When uncertainty in the law exists, it opens the way to police corruption”, Marg Kirkby from the NSW Women’s Abortion Action Campaign told a Pro-Choice Action Collective (PCAC) forum on October 12.

The program for the 27th Southern Cross work/study tour to Cuba is packed with visits, meetings and other activities that will give participants a wide-ranging insight into the cultural, political and social conditions in revolutionary Cuba

“Kevin Rudd, go back home, leave us black fellas alone!” 100 protesters yelled as the prime minister sped past in his luxury car on his way to a “community Cabinet meeting” at New Town High School on October 13.

The Ampilawatja walk-off national speaking tour is spreading the word about life under the Northern Territory intervention and the Aboriginal elders who have walked off their community in opposition.

More than 200 people rallied on October 11, supporting former employees of liquidating company Solar Systems and calling on the federal and state governments to rescue the company’s solar power plant project in Mildura. Solar Systems went into administration after failing to find enough investors to continue the project.

Five Alice Springs men have been charged for the July 25 bashing of Aboriginal man Kwementyaye Ryder. The killing is part of a spate of racist violence that has plagued Alice Springs over recent months.

The following demands have been supported by a majority of the former Solar Systems employees:

The NSW town of Helensburgh, an hour south of Sydney, is now gripped by a discussion about coal and green jobs after the NSW Climate Camp held over October 9-11.

In one of the longest and most expensive criminal trials in Australian history, five Muslim men were convicted in Parramatta Court on October 16 of “conspiring to do an act in preparation for a terrorist act”.

South Australian Attorney General Michael Atkinson has come under fire from Indigenous leaders over his October 11 statement that a “hard core group of repeat offenders” were “pure evil” and could not be rehabilitated.

Socialist Alliance WA co-convenor Sam Wainwright was elected from the Hilton Ward to the Fremantle Council in the October 17 poll.

World

Renowned author and academic Noam Chomsky answers a question during a public meeting in September on the case of the CCuban Five

A marriage licence has been denied to an interracial couple in Louisiana by a justice of the peace, the Huffington Post said on October 15

Puerto Rico, a “self-governing” colony of the United States, was rocked by a general strike on October 15. Organisers estimated that between 150,000-200,000 people took part in a massive demonstration in the capital, San Juan,.

In the article below, reprinted from www.globalvoiceonline.org, Firuzeh Shokooh Valle provides the background. Shokooh Valle is a Puerto Rican journalist specialised in human rights issues

“The world needs to understand the importance of the struggle in defence of nature”, Hugo Blanco, legendary Peruvian peasant leader active in the indigenous peoples’ struggle against corporate exploitation in the Amazon, told Green Left Weekly in late September.

You don’t need presidential palaces, generals riding tanks, or even the CIA to make a coup happen. Democracy can be overthrown with far less pomp, fewer props and smaller bursts of state violence.

French people have sent a strong message to the government of President Nicolas Sarkozy with 90% of voters in a referendum organised by anti-privatisation campaigners rejecting plans to partially privatise the national postal service, La Poste.

The report of the United Nations’ fact-finding mission to Gaza, led by former South African jurist Richard Goldstone, was released in September. It detailed atrocious human rights abuses by the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) during Israel’s December-January war on the Palestinian territory.

Many have touted December’s United Nations’ sponsored climate talks in Copenhagen as a “make or break” chance to halt dangerous climate change. But the richest nations are on a warpath to make sure this “last chance” becomes a “no chance” event.

About 200,000 marched in Washington D.C. on October 11 to demand full equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) people, US Socialist Worker said the next day.

The results of the October 4 elections in Greece were a political earthquake that have created a new situation.

The heat is on the administration of US President Barack Obama.

On October 10, Mexican Federal Police seized the plants of the Central Light and Power Company of Mexico (LyF), which provides electricity to Mexico City and several states in central Mexico.

The statement below was released on October 13 by: The National Committee (US) Committee to Free the Cuban Five; the International Committee to Free the Cuban Five; and the organisations of the Cuban Immigration in Miami involving the Marti Alliance: the Antonio Maceo Brigade, the Alliance of Workers of the Cuban Community (ATC), the Jose Marti Association, and political parties of the US who are part of the Cuban Five solidarity movement.

An October 16 deadline set by Honduran President Manual Zelaya for the regime that ousted him in a military coup to agree to his reinstatement has passed without a settlement. Zelaya had warned that if his reinstatement was not agreed to by that time, Honduras would become “ungovernable”.

Analysis

The eighth anniversary of the war in Afghanistan has come and gone. As Prime Minister Kevin Rudd considers yet another troop surge, for most Australians this milestone represents just another statistic, another number to skip over in the morning papers.

What do a Jewish congregation in the Alaskan town of Fairbanks, the Browniz coffee shop in the port city of Salalah, Oman and a Shanghai primary school have in common?

I am part of Critical Climate, an Adelaide activist group advocating a “sustained mass civil disobedience” response to the climate emergency.

The 350.org campaign has already made an important impact worldwide. The recent spike in official 350.org actions — now well above 2000 — suggests the number of people who support stabilising atmospheric CO2 at under 350 parts per million (ppm) has grown phenomenally in the past few months.

On October 15, almost 260 Tamil refugees were stranded at an Indonesian port in west Java. They were refusing to disembark from the boat that had carried them from Malaysia and pleaded for the Australian government to hear their case. That evening they declared a hunger strike.

In early September, most abortions performed in Queensland health facilities came to a halt. The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists had passed on a legal opinion to their members that said doctors were still at risk of prosecution while abortion remained in the criminal code.

In May last year, federal Treasurer Wayne Swan announced the formation of the Australia’s Future Tax System Review, to be run by Treasury secretary Ken Henry. When the Henry review reports to government in December, its recommendations are likely to leave the wealthy smiling and the rest of us grinding our teeth.

An open letter to the Australian Conservation Foundation (ACF) and Labor MP Kelvin Thomson

Lewis Carroll once wrote about a fictitious map that was so topographically accurate, it was as large as the country it was mapping.

The Greens released a set of 22 amendments to the Rudd Labor government’s proposed Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme (CPRS) on October 12.

Wake up Australia. Do not trivialise the racist attitudes coming from various sectors of our society.

Letters

Abortion debate

With regards to the article "Harassing us into submission" (GLW #810), what is interesting in this debate, or lack thereof, is that at no time is there dialogue on when life actually begins. This would then determine whether a

General

Green Left Weekly is highly valued by its many international readers.
Every week, Farooq Tariq and his comrades in the Labour Party Pakistan “eagerly await” the arrival of this particular newspaper from far-off Australia. Pakistan is now a “hot-spot” in the US-led war against Afghanistan.

Resistance!

High school student Malalai Noori gave the below speech to an October 10 rally against Australia’s involvement in the war in Afghanistan.

It seems Australian hip-hop act The Herd are not the only musicians under attack from conservatives for standing by their principles. In September, the Herd pulled out of a coal industry-sponsored concert in Mackay, Queensland to the anger of big coal (but to the delight of their climate-conscious fan base).

Culture

Mary Travers, one-third of the hugely popular and influential 1960s folk trio Peter, Paul and Mary, died on September 16 after treatment for leukaemia. She was 72.

"It should not be the case in 2009 that Aboriginal people live [on average] 17 years less than the wider community", National Indigenous Television CEO Pat Turner said at the October 14 launch of Living Strong. The new program on NITV focuses on improving the health of Aboriginal people in remote, rural and urban communities.

Yamaji Man — Born to a Yamaji woman from Western Australia and an Irish Catholic father, Mark grew up in two worlds, never truly at home in either. NITV, Friday, October 23, 4.30pm.

The Bisexual Revolution — From Europe to North America, this

Capitalism: A Love StoryWritten, directed & produced by Michael MooreIn cinemas November 5

Global Warming and the Political Ecology of Health
By Hans Baer & Merrill Singer
Left Coast Press, 2009
240 pages, US$32.95 (pb)