Issue 827

Australia

Aboriginal singer-song writer Ruby Hunter passed away on February 17. Her music dealt with her personal history, Indigenous struggles, and social and women's issues.

Along with her partner Archie Roach, Hunter was a member of the musical collective, the Black Arm Band. The biography below...

A memorial for left-wing musician Alistair Hulett was held on February 14 at Sydney's Gaelic Club.

There were performances of Hulett's songs from musicians, including Steph Miller (ex-Roaring Jack, Hulett's band in the 1980s). Darren Whitaker performed the Roaring Jack song "Lads of the...

The picket line outside Xstrata Coal's Tahmoor colliery is continuing. It marks a continuation of the Construction Forestry Mining Energy Union's (CFMEU) 17-month struggle to negotiate an Enterprise Bargaining Agreement (EBA) with Xstrata.

After industrial action over job security and...

On February 15, five men who were convicted in October under "anti-terror" laws, were each sentenced in Parramatta court to between 23 and 28 years in jail. The shortest non-parole period was set at 17 years and three months.

AFP said on February 16: "Judge [Anthony Whealy] had said there...

Hundreds of grassroots climate activists will meet in Canberra from March 13-15 to attend the second Climate Action Summit. It will build on the success of the first summit, which occurred in January 2009 and attracted more than 500 people, representing about 150 climate action groups.

...

On February 13, NSW Teachers Federation (NSWTF) councillors elected two new left candidates to the executive of the union at the first NSWTF Council of the year.

John Gauci was elected as one of eight association representatives to the union executive. He is secretary of the Inner City...

A report issued by the Clean Energy Council (CEC) said up to 2000 households who took advantage of the government's solar rebate scheme may be at risk of electrical fires due to poorly installed rooftop panels.

After the government's insulation batt fiasco, the opposition has wasted no...

The struggle for wage justice by workers at the Star City Casino in Sydney continued with strikes on February 11 and Chinese New Year (February 14).

The workers are members of the LHMU.

More than 70 dealers held a one hour stoppage during the opening of the Casino's new Baccarat...

Three Afghan refugees in Australia face possible charges over the explosion onboard a fishing boat off Ashmore Reef last April. Five were killed in the explosion and many more injured.

The boat, which was headed to Australia, exploded a day after the Australian navy boarded it to divert...

The article below is by Richard Downs, who is the spokesperson the Ampilatwatja walk-off against the Northern Territory intervention.

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The government business manager (GBM) for Ampilatwatja and a representative of department of indigenous affairs...

World

Decisive battles between the forces of revolution and counter-revolution loom on the horizon in Venezuela.

The campaign for the September 26 National Assembly elections will be a crucial battle between the supporters of socialist President Hugo Chavez and the US-backed right-wing...

Thousands of supporters of ousted Haitian president Jean-Bertrand Aristide took to the streets on February 17 as French President Nicolas Sarkozy toured the earthquake-ravaged capital of Port au Prince.

Holding pictures of Aristide aloft, they chanted for France to pay more than US$21...

On February 13, a neo-Nazi march through the German city of Dresden was prevented when more than 15,000 locals braved freezing temperatures to oppose them.

The fascists intended to march through the centre of Dresden to mark the 65-year anniversary of the allied firebombing of the city in...

Bolivia's foreign minister David Choquehuanca said on February 8 that Bolivia is very concerned about the inadequacy of the greenhouse gas reduction commitments made by developed countries in the Copenhagen Accord at the United Nations climate summit in December, PWCCC.wordpress.com said.

...

"Got any thoughts on the bomb?" I asked breathlessly down the phone to a veteran Athens politics-watcher.

"There was a bomb?" he asked.

"The one at JP Morgan."

"Oh ... that bomb. Is that all?"

When a bank bombing occasions only mild interest, you know you're...

January 21, 2010, will go down as a dark day in the history of US democracy, and its decline.

On that day, the US Supreme Court ruled that the government may not ban corporations from political spending on elections. The decision heralds even further corporate takeover of the US political...

Tens of thousands of students rallied on February 12 in the Venezuelan capital, Caracas, in a show of support for President Hugo Chavez and the Bolivarian revolution.

The demonstration, to celebrate the "Day of Youth", occurred just weeks after violent protests by hundreds of right-wing...

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has inaugurated new government-run hypermarkets (large supermarkets), which replace of the recently nationalised Exito hypermarket chain.

On February 13, Chavez inaugurated one "Bicentenary" hypermarket as it opened its doors in Barquisimeto, Lara state....

Marc Hall — a US soldier at Fort Stewart and hip hop artist — is to be whisked off to Iraq for a military court martial, out of reach of the public eye and his own civilian defence lawyers.

His crime: writing an angry hip-hop song about stop-loss.

President Barack Obama has...

The following call for a national strike and day of action in defence of public education was released by the California Coordinating Committee. It is reprinted from

We can beat back the cuts if we unite students, workers and teachers across all sectors of public education. We appeal to the...

On February 13, 15,000 occupying troops from the US, Canada, Britain, Denmark, Estonia and the Afghan puppet state launched the Operation Moshtarak military offensive on Helmand province.

Its aim was to clear the area of brutal fundamentalist Taliban fighters and "secure" it for the rule...

Five thousand people took to the streets of Vancouver on February 12 to protest the opening of the corporate spectacle known as the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics.

The largest social rights action in Vancouver in many years coincided with the Games' opening ceremony at a downtown arena...

On February 12, residents of the Palestinian village of Bilin attracted global attention by protesting dressed as blue, pointy-eared and tailed Na'vi from the blockbuster movie Avatar. Like the fictional Na'vi, the Bilin villagers are resisting occupation by a brutal military machine in...

The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is an organisation whose time has passed. It needs to be dismantled.

As verdicts go, that might seem plucked from the mouths of the climate-denier right, of Herald Sun attack dog Andrew Bolt or the flat-earthers...

Analysis

Alyawarr elder Richard Downs spoke at the Prescribed Area People's Alliance (PAPA) meeting in Alice Springs on February 12. Downs is a leader of the walkoff protest against the NT intervention at Ampilatwatja.

PAPA represents Aboriginal people who have had their...

Bridget Chappell, an Australian solidarity activist, was arrested along with Spanish activist Ariadna Jove Marti in a pre-dawn raid on February 7 in Ramallah, Palestine.

"The official statement was that our visas had expired", Chappell told Green Left Weekly. "They then added...

The modern queer rights movement was born on June 28, 1969 in New York City.

That night, New York queers endured one too many police raids on a gay bar, the Stonewall Inn. For once, they fought back in what became known as the Stonewall Riots.

Stonewall gave succour to the queer...

When the anti-immigration politician Pauline Hanson was asked if she was a xenophobe in a 1996 interview on Sixty Minutes, she famously responded: "please explain". Now, with the news that she intends to become an immigrant herself, it seems she doesn't understand the word "hypocrite"...

Elaine Peckham is a Central Arrernte woman who lives on homelands in the West MacDonnell Ranges. She spoke at the Prescribed Area People's Alliance meeting in Alice Springs on February 12. The speech below is abridged from text prepared by the Intervention Rollback Action Group...

Green Left Weekly spoke to Socialist Alliance national convener Peter Boyle about the political dynamics of the coming federal election and asked him what sort of campaign the Alliance was intending to run.

Liberal-National opposition leader Tony...

The Sydney Morning Herald-sponsored "Independent Public Inquiry" into Sydney's public transport released its preliminary report on February 13. The report outlined a 30-year strategy to massively improve Sydney's public transport infrastructure.

The report called on the...

"The law is an ass", said Mr Bumble, in Charles Dickens' classic, Oliver Twist. And more than 150 people agreed as they rallied yesterday on the same site, six years to the day, where 17-year old Aboriginal boy, TJ Hickey, was impaled on fence in Waterloo.

He later died. "His...

The following letter was sent to federal home affairs minister Brendan O'Connor.

On behalf of the Latin American Forum (Victoria), we are writing to protest against the arbitrary detention and interrogation of Alejandro Rodriguez by the Australian Federal Police (AFP) that was carried out...

The ALP government's environmental credentials have suffered a second meltdown in as many weeks.

First came a dip in support for Prime Minister Kevin Rudd's keystone climate policy, the CPRS.

Then came revelations that the government had employed dodgy contractors in its "green...

More than 1200 people attended a mass public meeting at Melbourne Town Hall on February 14 to launch the Transition Decade (T10)

The Transition Decade was organised by the newly formed T10 Alliance, which includes Beyond Zero Emissions, Friends of the Earth, Sustainable Living Foundation...

Queer rights activists across Australia are gearing up for an important year of action on equal marriage rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) people.

The movement has gained confidence from a rise in public support for same-sex marriage rights.

A...

Feeling powerless is common in today's world.

So much change is needed: injustice, inequality and poverty seem worse than ever. Wars fought in Third World countries make corporations rich while ruining millions of lives.

Even our future is under threat. Dangerous climate change is...

The following is abridged from an article by Peace and Justice for Colombia.

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In recent months, there had been unprecedented harassment and persecution of solidarity activists internationally who have shown support to the political struggles of the Colombian people.

...

General

You may have seen the photo in last week's Green Left Weekly of the right-wing "Tea Party" movement supporter in Washington DC. The placard he was holding said, in reference to President Barack Obama, "Impeach the Muslim Marxist". The article discussed the rise of right-wing politics in...

Green Left Weekly has a long and proud tradition of covering the many struggles for justice waged by Aboriginal people and their supporters.

This has especially been the case since the Northern Territory intervention was introduced, with GLW journalists making trips to...

Israel: Most back anti-Arab ethnic cleansing

"A survey conducted by the Israeli Knesset channel shows that 75 percent of Israeli Jews are in favour of deporting Israeli-Arab citizens to a future Palestinian state as part of any deal between the Israeli government and the...

Resistance!

Resistance activist Melanie Barnes is standing as a candidate in the upcoming Tasmanian state elections for the Socialist Alliance. She isn't running to improve her career prospects or income, but because she wants to get an important message out.

The message is that pro-capitalist...

The internet protest group Anonymous launched a cyber-attack to protest the Australian government's proposed "clean-feed" internet filter on February 10. A number of government websites temporarily became host to pornographic images.

The government was unable to prevent access to the...

Newcastle Resistance branch has entered a "sign war" against federal Labor MP Sharon Grierson.

Grierson's office window displays a sign boasting that the Rudd government's total investment in Newcastle is more than $1.3 billion. On the opposite side of Newcastle's Hunter Street, the...

"I think the media plays a big role in desensitising the masses to injustice and the inequality in the world. It says "that's the way it is", and makes us think, "I'm only one person, what can I do?"

I get angry mostly about what I call "the war on terror incorporated" and the total...

Culture

Mother of Rock: The Lillian Roxon StoryBy Robert MillikenBlack Inc., 2010360 pp., $27.95 pb.

In August 1970, more than 25,000 women marched down Fifth Avenue, New York in the first mass action of what became known as the women's liberation movement. Australian...

ScreamersDirected by Carla Garapedian,
featuring music by System of a DownVia Vision Entertainment, DVD95 minutes, $24.95

This film invites us all to be "screamers".

A "screamer" is someone with a full understanding of what genocide is and so has no...

Trotsky: A Biography
By Robert Service,
Pan Macmillan, 2009
624 pages, $59.95 hb

Robert Service has written, to great acclaim, a new biography of Leon Trotsky.

Service makes exciting claims: that his searches among archival holdings shed...

Fiona Foley: Forbidden
University of Queensland Art Museum, Brisbane.
Showing February 19-May 2

Fiona Foley's work is intense, vibrant and tackles issues of racism, sexism and history head on. Forbidden is the first retrospective of her art...