Issue 816

Australia

On October 26, 150 people rallied at Federation Square to demand the Australian government accept the 78 Sri Lankans asylum seekers currently moored off Indonesia's Riau Islands.

Theo Mackaay, general secretary of the Victorian Council of Churches, said: "These policies are wrong, unjust...

October 30 was a national day of action in support of South Australian building worker Ark Tribe.

Tribe faces up to six months jail for refusing to attend a mandatory interrogation with the Australia Building and Construction Commission (ABCC) — a building industry watchdog set up by the...

A vibrant and noisy crowd of about 300 women rallied at the State Library in Melbourne to demand an end to violence against women.

The Reclaim the Night rally heard from several survivors of domestic violence. Other speakers included representatives from the Women with Disabilities...

More than 1500 workplace representatives and union officials attended the annual Victorian Occupational Health & Safety Reps Conference on October 28 in Melbourne.

Hosted by the Victorian Trades Hall and WorkSafe, it was the largest conference of its kind ever held in Australia,...

On October 23, tyre manufacturer Bridgestone Australia announced to a shocked workforce that the Adelaide factory would be closing in April 2010. Six hundred workers will lose their jobs.

The Bridgestone manufacturing plant in Christchurch, New Zealand, will close by the year's end,...

A lively rally of 1000 people marched through Yarraville Village on October 24, demanding the reinstatement of their local high school. The school serviced the Seddon, Kingsville and Yarraville area.

People of all ages rallies, including many families who live in the vicinity. They...

Watching the terrible plight of the Tamil asylum seekers aboard the Australian customs ship Oceanic Viking last week brought home the depressing continuity in policy and perspective between the previous John Howard Coalition government and Labor rule under PM Kevin Rudd.

...

The Rudd government plans to double the capacity of Christmas Island detention centre to maintain its of policy mandatory detention of all refugees that arrive by boat.

Plans are under way to expand the prison-like facility to house up to 2300, the Age said on October 31.

...

The Tasmanian ALP government is facing another political crisis stemming from its pro-business politics. This time it is over the contract it signed with shipping operator Southern Shipping to provide a 50 kilometre ferry service between the Bass Strait islands and Bridport, on the Tasmanian...

World

While two boat loads of Tamil refugees fleeing Sri Lanka push their case to be admitted into Australia, two reports on Sri Lankan atrocities against Tamils have been released without a word from the Australian media or government.

Reports from the United States state department and the...

US President Barack Obama, winner of the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize, is planning another war to add to his impressive record.

In Afghanistan, his agents routinely extinguish wedding parties, farmers and construction workers with weapons such as the innovative Hellfire missile, which sucks the...

The Stop the War Coalition-organised demonstration on October 24 brought the centre of London to a standstill. It was a landmark demonstration, led by Lance Corporal Joe Glenton — the first serving soldier in the British army to join an anti-war march.

The march brought together at least...

The re-election of Uruguay's Frente Amplio (FA — Broad Front) government, and the defeat of the right-wing National Party candidate and former neoliberal president Luis Alberto Lacalle, came one step closer on October 25.

The streets have been lined with red, white and blue, the colours...

In France, you pay nothing to go to college. In Britain, the National Health Service is free. And in Sweden, any woman who gives birth receives two years of paid maternity leave.

Meanwhile, in the richest country on the planet, the United States, college graduates are buried in debt,...

With the death of Dr K. Balagopal at age 52 on October 8, India and in particular his home state of Andhra Pradesh, have lost an untiring worker for human rights. Over almost three decades of activism as a human rights investigator, a public intellectual and 10 years as a lawyer, Balagopal had...

Once again Pakistan has become the focus of world attention. Every day there is news about the latest suicide attack or military operation, with killings, injuries and displaced communities.

Recently, schools were ordered closed for more than a week. Even children talk about death and...

A 14-month struggle by Venezuelan electrical workers for an industry-wide collective contract culminated with the resignation of the president of the state-owned electricity company Corpoelec on October 22.

The struggle is emblematic of a growing conflict within Venezuela's Bolivarian...

Greenpeace recently released a report that clearly shows why Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD) offset projects will neither address climate change nor stop deforestation.

The report, Carbon Scam: Noel Kempff Climate Action Project and the Push for Sub-...

A three-day official visit of US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to Pakistan occurred against a backdrop of carnage. Within hours of her arrival on October 28, a car bomb exploded in a crowded market in Peshawar, capital of the North West Frontier Province (NWFP).

More than 100 people...

After more than 120 days of mass resistance by the poor majority against a coup regime that overthrew elected President Manuel Zelaya, the regime has finally signed an agreement for Zelaya's reinstatement.

On October 30, Zelaya and the coup regime signed an agreement opening the way for...

The following joint statement by the Confederation Congress of Indonesia Union Alliance and the Working People's Association was released from Jakarta on October 27.

Since October 10, 255 refugees, victims of civil war —Tamils from Sri Lanka — have been held by Indonesian authorities....

There's something touchingly innocent about the argument that the far-right British National Party (BNP), which won two European parliament seats in June, should be allowed space in the mainstream media as this will "expose their ignorant ideas".

History doesn't necessarily prove this to...

The administration of US President Barack Obama administration tried to defend the nearly half-century-old US economic blockade on Cuba at the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) October 28. The result was another overwhelming vote, 187-3, telling Washington that enough's enough.

Only...

The United Nations Development Program's Human Development Report 2009 was released on October 5. It again highlighted some of Cuba's extraordinary achievements.

The report is the most commonly referenced source on development statistics and measures. It compares the development status...

Analysis

A gay Bangladeshi couple have been battling to gain citizenship in Australia for 10 years. The Refugee Review Tribunal knocked back their claims three times, and three times a higher court has overturned the rulings.

The two men fled to Australia in 1999 after they were beaten, dragged...

Admit it: you're just a little disturbed when industrialists, fossil-fuel lobbyists and the Liberal and National parties thunder that big, quick cuts to carbon emissions would bankrupt Australian business. Well, aren't you?

Rest easy. Australian capitalism has ample money — and ample...

It seems like only yesterday we were being exhorted to spend. Pensioners, parents, homebuyers and workers were plied with "free" money from the Labor government and asked to go and spend it to save the economy.

Now comes the payback: higher inflation, rising interest rates and frozen...

On November 2, 1923, 636 members of the Victorian police force went on strike. All were sacked and replaced by volunteer strikebreakers.

Exactly five years later, on November 2, 1928, some of the same police strikebreakers shot and wounded four waterside workers during a maritime...

The following abridged statement was released on October 29 by Aboriginal people from Northern Territory communities targeted by the federal government's NT Emergency Response laws.

* * *

Minister Jenny Macklin has once again broken a clear promise she gave to Aboriginal people in...

Justice and Freedom for Ceylon Tamils is a human rights action group based in Melbourne. It was formed in 2007. A spokesperson for the group, Nagamuthu Wickiramasingham, told Green Left Weekly that Tamil refugees had good reason to flee the brutal Sri Lankan...

The fatal explosion on board a boat carrying 47 Afghan refugees in April created a storm of controversy in Australian politics and the media.

The navy had intercepted the vessel in Australian waters and was taking it to Christmas Island when it exploded on April 16. Five people were...

Letters

Ethical elitism

My article "Ethical elitism on climate change?" (GLW #814) and Simon Butler's response, "Ethical elitism?", (GLW #815) are both unnecessarily caustic. This culture that sees it as acceptable to humiliate political opponents (or even...

General

Every time capitalist politicians play with racist prejudice against asylum seekers, there are violent consequences. I'm not just referring to the threatened forceful disembarkation of the Tamil refugees from the Oceanic Viking, which is outrageous. The bipartisan anti-asylum seeker...

Culture

Summer of Blood: The Peasants' Revolt of 1381
By Dan Jones
Harper Press, 2009
238 pages, $49.99 (hb)

The art of negotiation was on full display in England in 1381 when the peasants and labourers from country and city rebelled and marched on...

The Scourge of Termite-ists
By Allan Scarfe
Seaview Press, 2009
260 pages, $22.95
Contact Seaview Press at www.seaviewpress.com.au

It is always difficult to review the work of someone you know personally. I have never met Allan Scarfe but...

The revered Argentinean matriarch of protest music, Mercedes Sosa, died in Buenos Aires on October 4. She was 74.

Three days of national mourning were declared when Sosa succumbed to the kidney disease that had troubled her for years.

Thousands of Argentineans came from all over...

Jesus never sang
Onward Christian soldiers,
Deserving as He might
Never marched into battle
Claiming the Lord on
His side.

So never confuse God
With the strident archbishop
Waving banners crusading for
Vengeance and conversion.

Love...