Issue 820

Australia

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.

Manickam will attend the Socialist Alliance's national conference...

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.

The report compiled the findings of hundreds...

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).

The tour of three British MOJO activists was...

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.

More than 20 people took part. Speakers condemned the deal between the Kevin Rudd Labor...

A national day of action in support of same-sex marriage rights took place on November 28.

In Sydney Mat Ward reported 1500 people gathered at Town Hall and were entertained by Palm Island Aboriginal poet Maggie Walsh, and the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Choir, who sang a piece from...

A statement of support for refugees has received wide support from left parties and unions in the Asia-Pacific region.

Initiated by the Socialist Alliance, the Indonesian Working People's Association and the Indonesian National Liberation Party of Unity, the statement condemned the...

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.

Connex has run trains in Melbourne since the public transport system was privatised in 1999. Hong Kong-based company Metro...

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...

A national day of action in support of equal marriage rights for all couples took place on November 28.

In Sydney Mat Ward reported 1500 people gathered at Town Hall and were entertained by Palm Island Aboriginal poet Maggie Walsh, and the Sydney Gay and Lesbian...

World

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...

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.

Israel approved plans to build 844 housing units outside the East Jerusalem Jewish-only Israeli settlement of Gilo on November 17....

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.

* * *

The New York City Chapter of the National Lawyers Guild condemns the actions of the Israeli government for its...

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.

...

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:

• Organise a global week of mobilisation from...

"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...

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.

Elected President Manuel Zelaya was...

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.

On December 3, 1984, a leak at Union Carbide's Bhopal factory sent a barrage of toxic gases through the city. The streets...

Few know the story of Dr Aafia Siddiqui, who continues to endure humiliating and degrading treatment in US custody.

In 2003, Siddiqui and her children disappeared after being taken from their home in Pakistan as part of the US-led "war on terror". The whereabouts of her children remain...

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.

As well as a sustained propaganda barrage of unfounded allegations against Venezuela by the US and Colombian...

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 contract with the workers' union, Unite Here Local 2, expired on...

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.

This is despite calls from legitimate...

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...

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...

Analysis

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...

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.

His injuries were later likened to those usually associated with a high-speed...

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.

"The IOM [International Organisation of...

A total lockdown was imposed on the Christmas Island detention centre for three days after fighting broke out on November 21.

Conflict erupted among 150 asylum seekers said to be from Afghanistan and Sri Lanka. The fighting took half an hour to break up and 38 people were injured. Three...

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.

The letter said: "Some asylum seekers have collapsed...

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.

Data collected from the National Assessment Program...

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.

Under the draconian and demonstrably unsuccessful...

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.

Their message: to fight climate change, a "just transition" is needed — a move away from burning coal for...

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 trees to...

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...

You could be forgiven for missing the good news this month.

At the November 16-18 Rome summit on world hunger, the world's richest countries abandoned the challenge and moral duty to feed the 1.02 billion people starving in the world today.

The UN Food and Agriculture Organisation...

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 80 per cent of...

Please circulate and add your name to this letter by emailing weekly.greenleft@gmail.com

An open letter to the Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs

To: Stephen Smith
Minister for Foreign Affairs
PO Box 6022, Parliament House, Canberra, ACT 2600
Tel: 02-6277...

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...

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)

When Malalai Joya described some members of the Afghan parliament in 2007 as belonging in a "zoo or a...

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 we bow in...

>This Little Kiddy Went to Market: The Corporate Capture of ChildhoodBy Sharon Beder, Wendy Varney & Richard GosdenUNSW Press, 2009288 pages, $39.95 (pb).

After Toxic Fish & Sewer Surfing (1989), The Nature of Sustainable Development...