Issue 820

News

Twenty-eight-year-old Malaysian activist Sivaranjani Manickam will be a special guest at the “Towards Justice, Sustainability and People’s Power: Fighting for Socialism in the 21st Century” conference in Sydney in January.
The deadline to pass the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme (CPRS) approached, and passed, on November 26, with the Senate extending debate on the issue until the week after. The nation's media were transfixed by the spectacle of the Liberal Party annihilating itself over what position to take.
A November 18 report by the Victorian Health Promotion Foundation (VicHealth) titled Building on Our Strengths confirmed that the experience of racism has serious health implications for Indigenous and migrant communities in Australia.
On November 26, Paddy "Joe" Hill and Gerry Conlon told a transfixed audience their experience of unjust imprisonment. The event, at the Perth Irish Club, was part of a tour profiling the British Miscarriages of Justice Organisation (MOJO).
A speak-out against the Labor-Liberal dirty deal on the proposed Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme (CPRS) was held in Perth on November 26. The action was organised by the Coalition for a Safe Climate.
A national day of action in support of same-sex marriage rights took place on November 28.
A statement of support for refugees has received wide support from left parties and unions in the Asia-Pacific region.
Critics of Melbourne's public transport system are preparing to party at Flinders Street Station on December 3 to farewell the much-maligned train operator Connex.
Results of the recent elections for branch council and senior officer positions in the Australian Education Union Victoria branch were released on October 29. The incumbent union leadership was challenged by the Teachers Alliance, a rank and file group of AEU members that campaigns for an active and democratic union.
A national day of action in support of equal marriage rights for all couples took place on November 28.

Analysis

Do you have that sinking feeling? As though you have to run faster just to stand still? Are you having increasing problems making ends meet? Well, you’re not alone. It’s official — wages growth has fallen behind inflation. While the economy goes through “recovery”, we’re going backwards.
Five years ago, Mulrunji Doomadgee was arrested by senior sergeant Chris Hurley for “disorderly conduct” and taken to a police cell on Palm Island, near Townsville. Within an hour, the Aboriginal man was dead.
In an interview with Green Left Weekly, one of the Sri Lankan Tamil asylum seekers who have been stranded on a boat at the Indonesian port of Merak since October 11, Sanjeev “Alex” Kuhendrarajah, said conditions on the boat are dire.
A total lockdown was imposed on the Christmas Island detention centre for three days after fighting broke out on November 21.
The Sydney-based Refugee Action Coalition's Ian Rintoul has sent a letter to the International Organisation of Migration in Indonesia asking that it urgently intervene to provide medical care to the asylum seekers on the boat at Merak.
Teacher unions have reaffirmed their opposition to the publication of school league tables, which rank schools by the results of their students in the same way that league tables rank football teams after each round of competition.
On November 25, the federal Labor government tabled legislation in parliament to allow the extension of the policy of “welfare quarantining” to unemployed people and single parents throughout the country regardless of ethnic background.
The federal senate was bogged down in debate about Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme (CPRS) in the last week of November. The proposed scheme, already condemned by most environmental NGO’s and climate action groups as a sham, was “browned down” even more after the Rudd government accepted a series of Liberal Party amendments.
A bus-load of climate change activists made a seven-day journey from Newcastle through coal communities in the Hunter Valley, Gunnedah and Western coalfields over November 20 — 26.

World

Nearly 2000 students from University of California campuses — including Berkeley, Los Angeles, Santa Cruz, Santa Barbara, Riverside, Irvine and San Diego — converged on UCLA’s campus on November 19 to confront the UC Board of Regents as it voted to increase tuition by 32% next school year.
Professor Brij Lal is a Fijian historian and is part of the Division of Pacific and Asian History at the Australian National University. He was recently expelled from Fiji by the military government for speaking out against the regime’s expulsion of Australian diplomats on November 3.
Israel's ongoing takeover of East Jerusalem shows it is trying to kill any hope of a negotiated settlement to Palestine’s struggle for self-determination.
The article published below is a November 25 statement by the New York City Chapter of the National Lawyers Guild. For more information, visit www.nlgnyc.org.
Anti-coup resistance is continuing in Honduras, despite ongoing repression. There are strong indications the regime is preparing for greater repression in the lead-up to the November 29 elections, which it is seeking to use to legitimise its rule.
Twenty-five years after the worst industrial disaster in history, the people of Bhopal, in the central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh, are still fighting for justice.
Few know the story of Dr Aafia Siddiqui, who continues to endure humiliating and degrading treatment in US custody.
The US government is clearly seeking to foment war between its client state Colombia, the third-largest recipient of US military aid in the world, and revolutionary Venezuela.
Climate change deniers, conservative politicians and right-wing newspaper columnists were all but incontinent with delight. Flooding the internet in mid-November were thousands of documents and private emails that had been exchanged over more than a decade by prominent climate scientists.
Officials from the Venezuelan National Land Institute, supported by the National Guard, took over 31 farms across the country on November 23, totalling 19,000 hectares of farmland. The government said the landowners did not have legal titles or were not putting the land to adequate use.
About 650 workers at the St. Francis Hotel, one of San Francisco’s oldest and most luxurious, walked out on strike on November 18. This was the third of what may be many strikes to hit San Francisco’s Class A hotels.
The United States government has said it will recognise the November 29 elections organised by the dictatorship of Roberto Micheletti, who came to power in a June 28 military coup, as legitimate, the Latin American Herald said on November 23.
The Caracas Commitment was adopted by delegates to the International Encounter of Left Parties held in Caracas over November 19-21. The full document can be read here. It included a plan for action that, among other things, included to:
“Hicks should be released … He will not be given recourse to a fair trial under the US military commission, however it is constituted. There will be no presumption of innocence. The evidentiary tests are poor. And therefore this is a question of basic civil rights and civil liberties for all of us." -Kevin Rudd, 2006.
Addressing delegates at the International Encounter of Left Parties held in Caracas, November 19-21, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez said that with the capitalist crisis and threat of war risking the future of humanity, “the people are clamoring” for greater unity of those willing to fight for socialism.
During an inaugural speech to the 772 delegates at the First Extraordinary Congress of the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) on November 21, Venezuela’s President Hugo Chavez raised a series of proposals to open the debate and discussion over consolidating the struggle for socialism both internationally and in Venezuela.

Culture

Raising My Voice: The Extraordinary Story of the Afghan Woman Who Dares to Speak Out By Malalai Joya Macmillan, 2009 278 pages, $34.99 (pb)
Bless-ed be O reverential Economy Append another clause to Deuteronomy To wit, Mammon updating Moses Verily thou needst shit to grow roses, On garden spread warm manure Draw forth the bloom pure. All hail our ubiquitous Economy Before whom
>This Little Kiddy Went to Market: The Corporate Capture of ChildhoodBy Sharon Beder, Wendy Varney & Richard GosdenUNSW Press, 2009288 pages, $39.95 (pb).

General

The Story of Cap & Trade (below) is a fast-paced, fact-filled look at the leading climate solution being discussed at the climate talks in Copenhagen. Cap and trade is also variously described as “carbon trading'' and “emissions trading”. In Australia, the federal Labor government is trying to push a variation of this through the Senate called the “Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme”.
You could be forgiven for missing the good news this month.
Racism rampant in schools "More than two-thirds of young people are the victims of racism at school, with first-generation migrant girls in years 11 and 12 most at risk. "A national study has found that racism permeates Australian schools, with

Letters

Grafitti is art? I would like to take issue with the recent articles (GLW #818 and #819) claiming that graffiti is "street art" and should be accorded respect. The ugly scribbling and "tagging" that pollute just about every street corner; from

Resistance!

The last of the 78 Tamil refugees who had protested for more than four weeks on board the Oceanic Viking walked off the Australian customs ship moored in Indonesia on November 17. For at least a month, they will be locked up in an Indonesian detention centre. They ended their protest after the Australian government promised to resettle them.