Issue 830

Australia

Two Afghan and nine Tamil asylum seekers faced Christmas Island magistrates court on March 11. They pleaded not guilt to all charges related to a so-called riot in the Christmas Island detention centre last November.

One of those charged (who asked no to be named) told Green Left...

Protests were held in London, Toronto, Auckland, Sydney, Melbourne and Perth on March 10 to mark the 150th day that about 250 Tamil asylum seekers have been stuck on a boat at Merak, Indonesia, waiting for resettlement in Australia.

The situation is becoming more dire each day for the...

Tasmanian premier and education minister David Bartlett's flagship education reforms have become a thorn in his side in the run up to the March 20 state election, with Australian Education Union (AEU) members campaigning for a vote against Labor.

Launched in January 2009, Labor's "...

"When it comes to climate change the Socialist Alliance assumes two things, one is that this is an emergency and the time in which to act is incredibly short", said Mel Barnes, Socialist Alliance Candidate for Denison, on March 11.

"Two is that we want to pursue solutions that will...

The Cowie ward voters in Geelong have shifted their votes from Labor to conservative candidate Eddy Kontelj by a landslide in the by-election declared on March 8.

Kontelj is not a member of either major party but his brother, Stretch Kontelj, also a Geelong councillor, is a former state...

On March 11, 40 people attended a public forum about fighting the Western Australian government's proposed "stop and search" laws.

Speakers included Giz Watson from the Greens, Alex Cassie from Search for Your Rights and Elliot Herrington from Resistance.

The laws would give...

Lake Cowal, located between the Murrumbidgee and Lachlan rivers that feed into the Murray Darling basin, is the sacred heartland of the Wiradjuri country.

The important wetland and conservation area is also home to an open-pit goldmine, operated by Canada-based multinational Barrick Gold...

Socialist queer rights campaigner Rachel Evans, who helped re-launch Community Action Against Homophobia (CAAH) in 2004 when the same-sex marriage ban was touted, has been preselected on the Socialist Alliance's New South Wales Senate ticket.

Evans was National Union of Students queer...

On February 25, the Senate rejected the Greens' amendment to the marriage act that would have seen discrimination on the basis of gender and sexuality removed from the legislation.

The result was 45 against the amendment and only five for, with 30 senators not attending the vote. The...

The wars in the Middle East are a direct result of the crisis of capitalism, Indonesian activist Mahendra Ignatious told Green Left Weekly. "Obama and SBY [President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono] try to look democratic, but really they are robbing the people. They start wars, justified by...

Leading anti-war campaigner Pip Hinman, who is currently helping organise protests that will meet the visit of US President Barack Obama, has been preselected as Socialist Alliance’s candidate for the federal seat of Grayndler in Sydney’s inner west.

Leading anti-war campaigner Pip...

Two hundred Aboriginal people and supporters rallied outside state parliament on March 10 to protest the death in custody of another young Aboriginal man in a Queensland prison.

Sheldon Currie, 18, died in hospital on February 20, four days after he was found unconscious in his cell in...

"We want to be one voice, we have to support all the people and back them up to come back to their own culture", Murray George, a Pitjantjatjara elder from Fregon community in the far north of South Australia, told a March 2 meeting in the Adelaide Activist Centre.

Murray, his partner...

Thousands of workers rallied on March 9 in protest against the state Labor government's plans to privatise public assets. The crowd of 5000 people rallied at the Roma Street Forum, before marching to state parliament.

The militant crowd was mainly from public sector unions. It chanted: "...

On 22 February, Newcastle Greens councillor Michael Osborne received a notice of a "code of conduct" complaint, because he'd taken part in a protest.

He attended a December 21 protest against the United Nations Copenhagen climate summit's failure to come up with adequate climate plans....

In response to the Colombian President Alvaro Uribe's call to his ambassadors to ban the screening of Insurgency of the 21st Century, Australian activist groups have started promoting the documentary.

The premiere screening took place on March 6, outside the Colombian embassy in...

World

On March 21, US President Barack Obama will depart on a short tour of the Asia-Pacific region. His main destinations will be Indonesia and Australia, but the trip will include a brief stopover in Guam.

Obama's time in the north Pacific island nation that is claimed as US territory will be...

On May 28, 2008, an elected constituent assembly declared Nepal's centuries-old semi-feudal monarchy finished. As Nepalese people celebrated in the streets, the Himalayan country was declared a republic.

In 1996, Nepal's Maoists began an armed struggle against the monarchy and its backers...

Cuba's successful models of sustainable development — in areas of food, housing and health — are now being widely replicated throughout Latin America.

Cuba marked the 50th anniversary of its revolution in 2009. The Cuban people have withstood five decades of hostility from the United...

A Bolivian social program that prevents the deaths of two mothers a day from complications related to pregnancy and childbirth is making headway despite administrative difficulties.

The health ministry's National Strategic Plan for 2009-2015 to improve maternal, peri-natal and...

Despite the fanfare about Asia's "miracle" economies, the problem of "missing women and girls" is actually growing, the United Nations Development Program-sponsored 2010 Asia-Pacific Human Development Report said.

These "missing" girls and women are a result of the abortion of...

More than 1500 women marched in Lahore from Nasir Bagh to the Punjab Assembly, under the banner of the Women Workers' Help Line (WWHL) to celebrate International Women's Day (IWD) on March 8.

Despite prevailing fear among the people of Lahore after an early morning suicidal attack in...

An article posted at RAWA.org on March 10 by Marc W. Herold said that on February 27, the US/NATO forces occupying Afghanistan "killed three people, including two children, in Alasai district of Kapisa province".

"Mohammad Ashraf, a tribal elder of Kotki area of Alasai district, [said]...

Bridget Chappell, an Australian solidarity worker in the Palestinian territory of the West Bank, was arrested by occupying Israeli forces on February 7 and threatened with deportation for simply engaging in peaceful protests alongside Palestinians.

Solidarity activists have asked...

"Since 2008, Cuba has begun footing the bill for the country's transgender men and women to undergo gender reassignment surgery", Baywindows.com said on March 10.

"Mariela Castro, the daughter of President Raul Castro and niece of former leader Fidel, confirmed to reporters on March 9...

On March 7, Iraqi national elections were held. The results are not expected to be known for months. With "only" 43 people killed in related violence, the Western media hailed them as a step forward in developing a "democratic" Iraq. Eric Ruder looks at the background to US plans to...

Hundreds of anti-AIDS campaigners on March 1 urged Ugandan lawmakers to reject a proposed anti-gay law calling for tough penalties against homosexuality, including the death penalty, AFP said that day.

Around 400 activists presented parliamentary speaker Edward Ssekandi with a petition...

Spanish judge Eloy Velasco accused the Venezuelan government of socialist President Hugo Chavez of supporting armed pro-self-determination Basque organisation ETA on March 8.

The March 9 Ulitimo Noticias said the Spanish government of President Jose Rodriguez Zapateros backed the...

The Venezuelan government will increase health spending this year and expand its immunisation program, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez said on March 3. New statistics also highlight the country's decreasing poverty and inequality.

Chavez said the National Vaccination Plan aimed to...

Indonesian socialist group, the People's Democratic Party (PRD), made an historic decision to relaunch itself as an open party at its seventh congress on March 1-3.

The PRD was first launched in 1996 under the Suharto dictatorship. It faced severe repression, with many of its leaders...

A March 1 Wall Street Journal article compared the low earthquake death toll in Chile to Haiti, and cited conservative economist Milton Friedman as the saviour of the Chilean people.

Haiti's death toll from the January 12 quake has been estimated to be more than 200,000, while...

The Left Liberation Front is contesting 19 seats in the April 8 parliamentary elections in Sri Lanka.

The LLF, an electoral coalition comprising the Nava Sama Samaja Party, Tamil National Liberation Alliance, and the Socialist Party, stands for the right of self-determination for the...

Latin America has suffered constant aggressions from Washington during the past 200 years.

Strategies and tactics of covert and overt warfare have been applied against Latin American nations, ranging from coup d'etats, assassinations, brutal dictatorships, economic sabotage, media warfare...

Analysis

Politicians from the Coalition and Labor Party are proposing nearly identical housing polices for remote Aboriginal communities — and both ignore the experiences of Aboriginal people themselves.

People could be forgiven for thinking that the only thing that the Man Who Would Be Prime...

The Sandon Point community, on the New South Wales south coast, has been fighting for decades to protect the area from developers. Sandon Point is a declared Aboriginal site, significant for ecological and historical reasons and valued as public open space.

The Sandon Point Aboriginal...

Redistributing wealth from big business to the community through welfare payments is not what one would expect from opposition leader Tony Abbott.

His track record as a minister in John Howard's conservative government certainly suggested a preference for redistributing wealth in the...

Witness Roy Bramwell told the re-opened inquest into Aboriginal man Mulrunji Doomadgee's death on March 8 that police threatened to "come after him", as they crushed his original damning witness statement and threw it in the bin.

Bramwell — who was in the Palm Island watch-house on...

Western Australia needs a broad and inclusive mass movement to stop the Barnett government's push to privatise public services and smash public sector workers' conditions.

Premier Colin Barnett's neoliberalism, the ideology that has wrecked the world, raises important issues: in whose...

James Hansen, director of the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies and an Adjunct Professor at Columbia University's Earth Institute, admits he'd prefer to spend his time out of the public eye, building on the decades of scientific research that has won him a reputation as the world's top...

Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono visited Australia over March 9-11. Unsurprisingly, the issue of asylum seekers was the leading concern for the federal Labor government, the corporate media and refugee advocates alike.

An identified "transit" country for people escaping war-...

A Tasmanian opinion poll released on February 24 by EMRS has stunned political commentators throughout Australia, with headlines noting the surge in support for the Greens.

The Greens are polling at 22%, just one percentage point behind the Labor Party on 23%. The Liberals are on 30% and...

When a respected scientific journal carries a peer-reviewed article branding the key technology behind "clean coal" as "profoundly non-feasible", you'd think governments and coal corporations would react in some fashion.

After all, the proposed Waxman-Markey climate bill in the US...

One feature of the otherwise successful Perth rally against internet censorship on March 6 was an attempt by a far-right political group to hijack the event.

About 300 people participated in the rally and march. Speakers included internet studies lecturer Mike Kent, Greens Senator Scott...

Editorial

"Earth Hour" will be held around the world on March 27. The event is organised by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and involves participants switching off their lights for the hour as a symbolic declaration of support for environmental action.

The Earth Hour website is sponsored by, among...

Letters

Freedom to hate … injustice

Regarding Steve Gumerundji Hodder's article, "Freedom to hate is not free speech" (GLW828). I believe we do have the freedom to hate injustice, tyranny, cruelty and racism, and to say so.

I think, too, that the site actively...

General

Well, now I really feel safe. The Australian defence department has finally started to buy up vital necessities to protect this country. Oil paintings, comfy handmade chesterfield lounges, memberships to exclusive golf clubs… You name it; our defence department now has it. I guess you can't...

On March 8, the Green Left Weekly website received a Top 10 Award from
the web analytics company Hitwise.

According to an email sent to GLW by Hitwise: "www.greenleft.org.au is a Hitwise Top10 Award winner for the period July — December 2009. During this period,...

Good point, Peter, why not?

"If [Tony Abbott] will add 1.7 per cent to the corporate tax rate to pay for maternity leave, why not another 1.7 per cent to improve Aboriginal health, and another 2.7 per cent for hospitals to trump Rudd's policy?"

—A furious ...

Resistance!

More than 40 people marked International Women's Day on March 8 with a celebration of women's music at the Newcastle Resistance Centre.

The event followed a month-long poll for the "Hottest 100 songs of all time by female artists".

Poll organiser and Socialist Alliance member...

Culture

Slow Death By Rubber Duck: How the Toxic Chemistry of Everyday Life Affects Our Health
By Rick Smith & Bruce Lourie
University of Queensland Press, 2009
323 pages, $34.95 (pb)

To understand threats to health, Rick Smith and Bruce Lourie decided to risk their...

I'm not racist but…
Arc One Gallery
45 Flinders Lane, Melbourne
until May 1

Adam Hill is a driven man. Descended from the Dhungatti peoples from the Kempsey area, he is also a man for all seasons. His ubiquitous art appears on schools, banners, books, traffic...

Eco-sufficiency and Global Justice: Women write political ecology

Edited by Ariel Salleh

Pluto Press/Spinifex Press, 2009

What material basis could women have that might make them an objectively environmentalist constituency? This theme is...

The February 19 Tiger Woods press conference was an exercise in self-abasement that will achieve the opposite of its intended effect. I haven't seen anything this painfully scripted since The Phantom Menace.

The same George W. Bush media advisers who gave us "Mission Accomplished...