Issue 827

Australia

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.

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.

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

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.

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.

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

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.

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.

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).

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.

World

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.

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

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.

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

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

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.

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

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.

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

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.

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.

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 pay of corporate interests.

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.

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

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” either.

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 rollbacktheintervention.wordpress.com.

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.

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 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.

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

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

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

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.

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 the US.

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

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

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 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.

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

"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 waste of war. I listen to bands like Anti-Flag. Films by people like Michael Moore informed me a bit.

Culture

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

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

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

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