Issue 828

Australia

Forty people attended a launch of the latest publication from Resistance Books, The Aboriginal Struggle and the Left on February 20.

Held in the local Aboriginal Cultural Centre, the gathering was addressed by author Terry Townsend and legendary fighter for Aboriginal rights,...

Australian author and climate change commentator Clive Hamilton has revealed that prominent climate scientists have been targeted by a cyber-bullying campaign by climate change deniers.

In a February 22 article on the ABC Online site, The Drum, Hamilton said: "In recent months, each time...

Israeli murders of Palestinian resistance leaders are not normally condemned by Australian government ministers. Not even the 2002 murder of Salah Shehade in Gaza, in which the murder weapon was a one-tonne bomb from an F-16 jet, and 14 other people, nine of them children, were killed.

...

Staff at the National Archives of Australia (NAA) offices in Adelaide, Darwin and Hobart believe that the February 23 announcement not to close down these offices was a victory for people power.

"It's a reprieve for workers and public access", Anne Picot of the Australian Society of...

The following article is based on information from Friends of the Earth Melbourne.

* * *

On February 24, Friends of the Earth (FoE) joined with the Boomerang Alliance to launch its green jobs campaign, with a small but colourful presence outside Parliament House in Melbourne....

The Australian government continues to ignore the almost 250 Tamil refugees holding out on a boat in the port of Merak, West Java. But the conditions onboard grow more severe each day.

Peter Woolcott, Australia's "ambassador on people smuggling issues" visited Indonesia over February 4-5...

Mamdouh Habib is joyous. The Australian citizen whose life was taken away from him by torture, harassment and abuse both here and overseas since being captured by US forces in 2001, has received acknowledgment his case can proceed.

On February 25, the full bench of the federal court...

An asylum seeker accused of rioting in the Christmas Island detention centre on November 21 recently contacted a refugee advocate about living conditions inside. The refugee advocate asked Green Left Weekly to withhold both their name.

At the trial of the accused rioters on...

British-Chilean journalist and documentary director Pablo Navarrete presented his new film Inside the Revolution: A Journey into the Heart of Venezuela at the Sydney Mechanics' School of Arts on February 25.

Thirty people attended the screening, which was introduced by...

"Rebuilding Haiti is important", El Salvadoran solidarity activist Rafael Pacheco told a public forum on February 23. "But liberating the country is most important in the long run.

"We have to stand for basic political change; and for us in Australia, international solidarity with Haiti...

Between 10,000 and 20,000 people rallied in Melbourne's CBD to the tune of AC/DC's "It's a Long Way to the Top (If You Wanna Rock and Roll)" in an effort to save the city's live music scene on February 23. The march followed the route of the song's videoclip, set in Melbourne's CBD 34 years ago...

Federal resources minister Martin Ferguson announced on February 23 that he intends to pursue plans for a national radioactive waste repository at Muckaty, 120km north of Tennant Creek in the Northern Territory.

Ferguson's media release asserted that he was restoring "fairness" to the...

Green Left Weekly is currently involved in a free-speech fight in the inner-city suburb of Brunswick.

At the end of November, the management of the busy Barkly Square Shopping Centre stopped GLW from operating its regular Saturday morning stalls.

The management...

World

The video posted below is from a public meeting featureing Australian activists and Socialist Alliance members based in Caracas, Kiraz Janicke and Federico Fuentes.in Toronto, Canada on Venezuela's Bolivarian revolution.

Kiraz Janicke is a journalist for...

It is more than a month since the January 12 earthquake that laid waste to Port-au-Prince, killing more than 200,000 people and thrusting millions of people into desperate conditions.

But according to the US government, Haitians have a lot to be thankful for. On February 12, the US...

Apparently, the corporate media doesn't consider this to be newsworthy: the confession to a Colombian prosecutor of 30,000 murders by paramilitaries linked to the regime of President Alvaro Uribe.

As of February 25, Associated Press, Reuters and their contracted media outlets remain...

The US authorities continue to harbour Branko Marinkovic, a leader of the Bolivian right-wing opposition accused of financing a terrorist cell to assassinate Bolivian President Evo Morales.

Evidence has now come to light that the CIA was receiving information from contacts close to the...

Greece has been brought to a standstill by a general strike, with key union groups leading up to two million workers in a 24-hour stoppage against the government's austerity program.

Tens of thousands of protestors filled Syntagma Square in the centre of Athens and spilled out beyond, led...

In January, Bolivia's left-wing President Evo Morales began his second term by appointing a new cabinet in which women are equally represented for the first time.

Morales, Bolivia's first president from the nation's long-oppressed indigenous majority, is leading a revolutionary process of...

The article below is the call issued by Bolivian President Evo Morales for the People's World Conference on Climate Change and Mother Earth Rights to be held in Cochabama, Bolivia, over April 19-22. A number of Australians are already planning to travel to Bolivia to attend. If you are...

Leaders from Latin America and the Caribbean approved on February 23 a regional organisation that will unite their countries, but that will not involve either the United States or Canada.

The organisation, tentatively called Community of Latin American and Caribbean States, will unite...

In a February 17 article "Venezuela's Renegade Aid" in the US Huffington Post, freelance journalist Patrick Adams implied there is something counter-productive about Venezuela's aid effort in earthquake-ravaged Haiti.

Venezuela's main crime appears to be its non-participation in...

B.V. Dlamini, deputy secretary general of the Swaziland Federation of Trade Unions, spoke to Ingrida Kerusauskaite about the way forward for the sourthern African nation of Swaziland, which is ruled by an absolute monarchy.The article is...

On a pleasant autumn day in 1890, the Cuauhtemoc brewery was founded in Monterrey, Mexico. This brewery went on to become Mexican Economic Development Inc. (FEMSA), brewing such beers as Dos Equis, Tecate and Sol.

Recently, the Dutch brewing giant Heineken bought FEMSA, bringing over half...

In revolutionary Venezuela, people know what the "three Rs" stand for: revise, rectify and re-impulse.

Like Karl Marx, who stressed that the revolution advances by criticising itself, Venezuela's socialist President Hugo Chavez says it is necessary to recognise errors and to go beyond...

The Dutch government collasped on February 20 as a result of growing popular opposition to Dutch participation in the US-led war in Afghanistan.

The Labour Party — the junior partner in the ruling coalition — withdrew after Christian Democrat Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende agreed to...

The article below is abridged from the British Morning Star.

Organised workers took over cities across Spain on February 23 to press the government to abandon plans to raise the retirement age from 65 to 67.

Some 70,000 marched in Madrid, while 50,000 rallied in Barcelona...

The Greek economic crisis has an aspect of ancient tragedy (for the Greek people) mixed with a bad theatrical farce (staged on behalf of the European and the Greek capitalist elites).

The farce comes first.

Untill very recently the two establishment parties (the centre-left PASOK...

The farce of the United Nations climate change summit in Copenhagen in December affirmed a world war waged by the rich against most of humanity.

It also illuminated a resistance growing perhaps as never before: an internationalism linking justice for the planet earth with universal human...

Analysis

This year, International Women's Day (IWD) coincides with the Labour Day weekend in Victoria and Tasmania. It gives an opportunity to highlight how much women have contributed to fighting for workers' rights and civil liberties, and how little they have been acknowledged for it.

Every...

The rapid melting of the Arctic sea-ice is one of the most alarming examples of the looming climate change catastrophe. But where most see disaster, some of the world's richest corporations see a business opportunity.

The rate of Arctic ice melt in recent years has surprised and worried...

Responding to pressure from media, the community and the federal ALP, NSW Labor Premier Kristina Keneally dropped the state's unpopular "Metro to nowhere" (planned to run from Barangaroo to Rozelle) on February 21.

She also released a new 10-year Metropolitan Transport Plan (MTP) for...

Steve Gumerungi Hodder, an Aboriginal broadcaster in Central Australia, has taken legal action against Google to compel them to remove links to a site promoting extreme racism in the guise of humour. On January 27, Green Left Weekly ran an article by Edmund Parker arguing...

Under the Northern Territory intervention, in the "prescribed areas" the government has taken control of communities, acquired compulsory leases of Aboriginal land and introduced "welfare quarantining" — in which half the income of social security recipients is replaced with a "Basics Card",...

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd released a new counter-terrorism white paper on February 23 that dramatically increases the powers of Australia's spy agency ASIO, attacks civil liberties and does nothing to improve the safety of Australian citizens.

There are three key proposals in the...

It has come to the attention of the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) that more than 40% of large businesses — those with a turnover of $250 million — paid no tax from 2005 to 2008.

Where are the shock jocks? Where's the hysterical expose on evening TV? One can only assume they are coming...

Letters

Tony Abbott (and maybe Paul Sheehan) have a hidden talent

There was television footage of Tony Abbott at a shopping centre earlier this week. An angry woman complains about Muslims in Australia. His response is that he understands exactly where she is coming from and...

General

A sub-editing error in Green Left Weekly #827, in the article "Teacher activists elected to union council", meant that the article gave the impression that the issue of performance pay leading up to the NSW Teachers' Federation's 2009 annual conference was debated at the February 2010...

Afghanistan: A new, democratic police force

"The Afghan police force is the most corrupt institution in Afghanistan. Bribery is common and if you have money, by bribing police from top to bottom you can do almost anything.

"In many parts of Afghanistan, people...

Resistance!

Our society is far from perfect. All over the world, injustice, corruption, pollution and inequality cry out for change.

But it takes courage, perseverance and a sense of outrage to bring about change — it has never been achieved from the comfort of an armchair.

Change calls for...

Resistance and Socialist Alliance members in Newcastle, New South Wales, have initiated a poll on the social networking website Facebook to decide the best 100 songs by women musicians of all time. The poll is timed to coincide with International Women's Day (IWD) on March 8.

In 2009,...

Culture

No … politeness, happiness, humanity
Have … pain, sorrow, suffering
Nobody is here … to love us
Nobody is here … to be honesty
We are suffering without love

We were expecting politeness
We were looking for humanity. But
We couldn't see it, anywhere...

Ted Kennedy, Priest of Redfern
By Edmund Campion,
David Lovell Publishing, 2009
201 pages, $24.95

This fine book is valuable on two accounts. Firstly, in telling the life of the radical priest Ted Kennedy who was, using Dostoevsky's words, "a wholly good man",...

Behind the Exclusive BrethrenBy Michael BachelardScribe, 2008298 pp, $27.95

In 2006, then Prime Minister John Howard gave a radio interview in which he got stuck into Muslims for not properly integrating into Australia, by which he meant "accepting Australian values". He...

Stripping Bare the Body: Politics Violence WarBy Mark DannerBlack Inc., 2009626 pp, $39.95 (pb)

"Why can't you go somewhere nice for a change?", complained Mark Danner's mum about the destinations — Haiti, the Balkans, Iraq — of her son's 23 years as a foreign...