Issue 815

News

The Australian Greens announced on October 23 that high profile economist and environmentalist Clive Hamilton would stand for the party in the upcoming by-election for the federal seat of Higgins in Victoria.
“A revolution is sweeping Latin America, and Venezuela is at the centre of the process that is radically changing the social order there”, Jim McIlroy told a forum on October 22.
A motion calling for a halt to the Queensland ALP government’s plans to privatise public rail, port, road and forestry assets was passed with support of 70% of delegates at the ALP’s Far Northern regional conference on October 18.
Community and conservation groups fighting the controversial Mary River Traveston Crossing Dam proposal, near Gympie, have recently held a series of campaign strategy meetings. This followed the Queensland coordinator general’s October 6 approval of the proposal, which attached 1200 conditions to the dam project.
About 200 people attended a tribute dinner on October 17 to unionist and living legend Fred Moore.
Five hundred people gathered in West End's iconic Boundary Street on October 17 to protest against a Brisbane City Council development plan.
More than 175 different climate change actions took place across Australia on October 24. The protests were part of the 350.org international day of climate action.
Hot on the heels of its hugely unpopular privatisation plans, the Queensland government has waded into more trouble. It announced plans to ramp up the cost of public transport in a five-year plan starting January 2010.
The National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU) national council meeting over October 9-11 adopted key resolutions around climate change amid significant and vigorous debate.
SYDNEY — On October 20, 200 people protested outside Parliament House against the Rees Labor government's moves to repeal 100-year-old laws requiring parliament to approve any sales of land reserved for railways. A wide range of groups were represented, including the transport unions, Greens, Socialist Alliance and transport action groups from around the state.

Analysis

The Building and Construction Industry Improvement Amendment (Transition to Fair Work) Bill 2009 is scheduled for Senate debate on October 26. The bill would change the Building and Construction Industry Improvement Act 2005 (BCII Act). This would affect the building and construction industry’s watchdog, the Australian Building and Construction Commission (ABCC).
It is a pattern that is being repeated over and over worldwide. Security agencies conduct secret surveillance of suspects, record their conversations, then convict them under anti-terrorism laws so broad that expressions of opinion and radical talk are sufficient to define a terrorist.
There are three main problems with the nuclear “solution” to climate change — it is a blunt instrument, a dangerous one, and it is unnecessary.
On October 10, a hole was burnt in the doormat of Gunns Limited chairperson, John Gay. Some crude graffiti was also drawn on his fence.
The Australian government is getting desperate and showing its true colours. Not long after Prime Minister Kevin Rudd personally intervened to turn away a boat of 260 Tamil refugees in international waters, a second boat — also carrying refugees from Sri Lanka — sent out a distress signal off the coast of Sumatra.
Let’s start by establishing some common ground between myself and anti-nuclear campaigners like Jim Green. Green and I both understand the seriousness of the climate crisis and the imperative for a rapid transformation of our energy system to technologies that emit no carbon when generating power.
The following statement is by Geelong Trades Hall Council secretary Tim Gooden.
A domestic violence shelter in Alice Springs told ABC radio’s AM on May 1 that between January 1 and mid-April this year, it provided accommodation for 157 children and 149 women. However, due to lack of funding, it turned away a further 158 women and 100 children seeking support.
Indigenous affairs minister Jenny Macklin announced in May that the federal Labor government would reinstate the Racial Discrimination Act by the end of October. But she has also said key policies of the Northern Territory Emergency Response (NTER) would remain — discriminatory policies that required the suspension of the RDA to be passed.
The Centre for Independent Studies (CIS) — a right-wing economic think tank — released its What’s Next for Welfare-to-Work? report on October 15. As part of a strategy to push more people off welfare, the report called for a fall in the minimum wage and a tightening of eligibility rules for the Disability Support Pension (DSP).

World

Almost eight years after choosing Hamid Karzai to head the Afghan government, Uncle Sam would like to give him a pink slip.
The article below is abridged from an October 18 Tamilnet.org report.
A massive protest was held on October 17 in Donostia/San Sebastian in the Basque Country to protest against the Spanish government’s new wave of arrests against the Basque pro-independence and labour movement.
Can we expect decent climate policy when most of the decision-making elite are ignorant of the real scientific imperatives, or believe they can negotiate with the laws of physics and chemistry? The answer is bleak, judging by the lead-up talks to the climate summit in Copenhagen in December.
The mass resistance of the poor majority to the coup regime that overthrew elected President Manuel Zelaya on June 28 continues after nearly 120 days. Talks between the coup regime and Zelaya to resolve the crisis, which is costing the Honduran economy millions of dollars, were finally declared dead by Zelaya on October 23.
Tens of thousands of people are expected to take part in climate action protests in the Danish capital of Copenhagen during the United Nations-sponsored climate talks in December.
Before the US-Peru Free Trade Agreement was ratified in 2007, many Peruvian and international human rights and environmental organisations said the deal would lead to increased social destabilisation and drug production.
US-Venezuelan lawyer Eva Golinger points out in her books exposing US intervention into Venezuela that the constant stream of lies about Venezuela and its popular President Hugo Chavez are best seen as the leading edge of an integrated strategy of destabilisation and “regime change” for the socialist-oriented, oil-rich nation.
Mexican President Felipe Calderon has tried to buyoff electricity workers facing redundancy as part of his campaign to privatise the state-owned power company Luz y Fuerza, by offering free English lessons on top of redundancy payments.
The seventh summit of the Bolivarian Alliance for the Americas (ALBA), a nine-nation anti-imperialist trading bloc established in 2004 by Cuba and Venezuela, was held in Cochabamba, Bolivia over October 16-17.
United States measures for resisting progressive changes in Latin America have included funding for right-wing opposition groups, military deployment throughout the region, and the reactivating of the US Navy Fourth Fleet for monitoring the continent.
The struggle of striking British postal workers against privatisation plans is as vital for democracy as any national event in recent years. The campaign against them is part of a historic shift from the last vestiges of political democracy in Britain to a corporate world of insecurity and war.
Thousands of people from various sectors of society protested to mark the inauguration of Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono as president and Boediono as vice-president near the national parliament on October 20. Yudhoyono was elected to his second five-year term.

Culture

Balibo By Jill Jolliffe Scribe Publications, 2009 416 pages, $29.95 (pb)
The Global Fight for Climate Justice: Anticapitalist Responses to Global Warming and Environmental Destruction Edited by Ian Angus Resistance Books, London, 2009 286 pages, $49 (pb)
Steven Sodebergh’s epic films, Che Part I & II, give a detailed portrayal of the experience of Argentinean-born socialist revolutionary Ernesto “Che” Guevara in the Cuban revolutionary war and his failed Bolivia campaign that ended in his execution on October 9, 1967.

Editorial

The big nuclear push is on. The nuclear industry is trying to re-brand yellowcake as “green”.

General

A wave of deep moral revulsion swept through everyone in this country with a social conscience after Labor PM Kevin Rudd uttered that ugly sentence: “This government makes no apology for a hard-line approach to people smuggling and border security.”
With the help of Socialist Alliance members in the growing Sudanese community in Australia, Green Left Weekly is proud to publish a regular Arabic language supplement. The Flame covers news from the Arabic-speaking world as well as news and issues from within Australia. The October edition can be read at Links, international journal of socialist renewal.

Letters

Balibo I Clinton Fernandes describes himself as a "consulting historian" to the movie Balibo. He is a former military intelligence officer, who has his own reasons for promoting the official line on whether Australian intelligence was forewarned
Simon Butler precisely explains his concerns about the inadequacy of the Greens’ climate change amendment proposals (“The good and the bad of the Greens CPRS amendments”, GLW #814). However, like the mainstream media, he overlooks some of the Greens’ visionary bills on efficiency and renewables-friendly demand management.

Resistance!

There are social expectations on everyone, men and women, to act in particular ways based on our sex. This is bad for everyone because it’s stifling, but it’s worse for women and queers.