Issue 831

News

Victorian fuel supplies could be threatened if agreement is not reached in an industrial dispute between Shell and tanker drivers at its Newport depot.
On March 16, former Guantanamo Bay detainee Mamdouh Habib won his case for defamation against an article by Piers Akerman in February 2005 in the Daily Telegraph.
On March 16, Yarra City Council amended the racist Local Law 8, which bans drinking in public places. The law was originally passed on October 20 with the ALP, Greens and independent councillors voting for it. Socialist Party councillor Stephen Jolly was the only councillor to oppose the law.
Victorian police have been rocked by allegations of racism, physical abuse and harassment of young Africans in inner-urban Melbourne.
“The feminist movement was one of the strongest parts of the radicalisation of the 1960s and 1970s”, said Carla Gorton, a pro-choice activist and Socialist Alliance member from Cairns. She addressed a March 16 forum called “Feminism: Theory and Action”, presented by Resistance and the Socialist Alliance.
Frustrated by a lack of progress in enterprise bargaining after eleven months of negotiation, members of the National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU) at the University of New South Wales launched the first of a series of fortnightly 24-hour strikes on March 18.
On March 15, I was banned for a period of 12 months from entering any premises or lands belonging to the University of Sydney. Another Socialist Alliance activist, Paul Benedek, was issued with an “indefinite” ban.On March 15, I was banned for a period of 12 months from entering any premises or lands belonging to the University of Sydney. Another Socialist Alliance activist, Paul Benedek, was issued with an "indefinite" ban.
Two weeks ago, Norrie won the right to have “non gender specific” written on zie's (non-gendered pronoun) birth certificate.
A “mock wedding” of queer couples was held in Wollongong on March 18, protesting against Australia's legislation banning lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) people from getting married.
Australian Services Union organiser Julie Kun outlined the ASU’s campaign for pay equity at an International Women’s Day meeting organised by the Anatolian Cultural Centre and the Socialist Alliance on March 14.

Analysis

Three hundred climate activists participated in Australia’s second national Climate Action Summit in Canberra on March 13-15, marking an important step forward for the grassroots climate movement in this country.
For the 2009 climate summit, I wrote a short article titled “Looking back — moving forward: ten lessons for the climate movement”. It attempted to articulate some of the challenges and opportunities for the community climate movement after two years of rapid growth in scope and capacity.
Journalists at the ABC have come under strong pressure from the organisation’s chairperson to give more weight to the views of climate change deniers.
On March 15, opposition leader Tony Abbott said the shadow cabinet would support the federal ALP government’s extension of “income management” to more welfare recipients in the Northern Territory — not just those living in targeted Aboriginal communities.
In the Christmas Island detention centre's Alpha Compound — a maximum security-style section holding refugees from Afghanistan and Sri Lanka — Tamil refugees are desperately appealing to the Australian government not to send them back to Sri Lanka.
The inquest into the fatal boat explosion involving Afghan asylum seekers and the Australian navy in April 2009 has ended with appalling conclusions. Despite evidence suggesting the five deaths and extensive injuries could have been avoided if defence personnel had operated differently, the refugees received sole blame and may face criminal charges.
Green Left Weekly’s Niko Leka spoke with Professor Louise Newman Friday, chair of the Detention Expert Health Advisory Group (DEHAG) following her recent visit to immigration facilities on Christmas Island.
“The Aboriginal community is moving to call for a national day of action against Black deaths in custody on Saturday April 10”, Queensland Aboriginal leader and Socialist Alliance member Sam Watson told Green Left Weekly on March 19. “We are calling on all state and federal governments across Australia to conduct a national audit of the implementation of the recommendations of the 1991 Royal Commission into Black Deaths in Custody.
Hearings in the ongoing coronial inquest into the November 2004 death in custody of Mulrunji Doomadgee, a member of the Indigenous community on Palm Island, were held on the island and in Townsville from March 8-12.
Western Australian attorney-general Christian Porter said on March 17 an interim payment of $200,000 to the family of Aboriginal elder Mr Ward should be “finalised’’ by the end of the month (leaving unclear whether this meant “paid” or “approved”).

World

In Copenhagen, Sydney-based climate justice advocate Natasha Verco, as well as US activist Noah Weiss, faces charges under Denmark’s “terrorism” laws. Verco faces up to 12-and-a-half year jail for her role in organising protests against the United Nations Copemnhagen climate summit in December.
“The free, sovereign and independent homeland of our dreams will only come true if we radicalise the process and speed up the transition to socialism”, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez wrote in his March 14 weekly column “Chavez Lines”.
Federico Fuentes and Kiraz Janicke concluded their ten-day tour of Canada on March 7, with a rally in Vancouver entitled “Change the System, Not the Climate.” Fuentes shared the platform with Pablo Solon, Bolivia’s UN ambassador and chief spokesperson on climate change.
An arepa is a Venezuelan food staple. It is a round type of bread made from corn flour and water and slapped into shape with both hands. Venezuelans say they cannot live without eating an arepa each day.
At 8am on February 17, 100 families were evicted from the Nuevo Sol housing estate, leaving its inhabitants without a roof over their heads. That morning, an individual appeared without legal written orders accompanied by 200 police, trained dogs and bulldozers to carry out the eviction.
The Indonesian government headed by President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono (commonly known as “SBY”) claims it has reduced poverty in Indonesia from 17.7% in 2006 to 14.2% in 2009.
On March 15, Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, spruiking his plans to revamp Australia’s ailing health care system, was told by Queanbeyan Doctor Jeannie Ellis, who has spent some time in Cuba, that he should look to the Caribbean island for ideas on how to develop a decent public health system.
La’o Hamutuk, the Timor-Leste Institute for Development Monitoring and Analysis, calls on the military and civilian commanders of Australian and other foreign soldiers in Timor-Leste to direct their soldiers to avoid involvement in local politics, including asking Timorese citizens their political views or encouraging them to identify with one political grouping or another.
A year after a murderous Israeli assault, the war on the people of Gaza continues. Gaza is still under siege — still surrounded by walls and checkpoints. Its people are denied the necessities of life and the right to rebuild and shape their future. Gaza is still under siege — still surrounded by walls and checkpoints. Its people are denied the necessities of life and the right to rebuild and shape their future.
In an indication that the global climate justice movement is becoming broader, there is now intense opposition to a climate-destroying energy loan for South Africa.
Residents in the occupied West Bank city of Ramallah have named a street after Rachel Corrie, a US solidarity activist crushed to death by an Israeli army bulldozer in 2003 while protesting against Israeli demolition of Palestinian homes in Gaza.
Three thousand heavily armed Israeli security service forces locked down large parts of the Old City of Jerusalem on March 16 as battalions of police fired rounds of tear gas and rubber-coated steel bullets at Palestinian protesters in the occupied eastern part of the city.
On March 16, tens of hundreds of Palestinians of all political persuasions took to the streets, alleys and sidewalks as widespread rioting and protests spread across occupied East Jerusalem, the rest of the West Bank, Gaza and into Israel proper.
“At least 11 people have been injured by Israeli air strikes targeting Gaza's airport, Palestinian officials say”, BBC News reported on March 20.
Hundreds of thousands of "Red Shirt" pro-democracy demonstrators took to the streets of Bangkok and other cities over the weekend of March 13-14. This was a show of force to prove the strength of the movement and to dispel any lies by the
It was common during the opening of the Iraq war to see slogans proclaiming “No blood for oil!” The cover story for the war — Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein’s links with Al Qaeda and his weapons of mass destruction — were obvious mass deceptions, hiding a far less palatable imperial agenda.

Culture

Commonwealth By Michael Hardt & Antonio Negri Harvard University Press, $64.95, (hb)
Thinking Outside The Square: A Retrospective (Photographs 1972-2010) By Elaine Pelot-Syron South Sydney Uniting Church 56a Raglan Street Waterloo March 14 until May 20 Tues-Thu, 4.30-6pm; Sun, 9am-noon

General

Every week, dedicated Green Left Weekly supporters hit the streets to present the news and ideas excluded from the mainstream media. These ideas help us better understand the world around us and expose the lies and distortions of the corporate elite.
US maternity death rate doubles in 20 years "Deaths from pregnancy and childbirth in the United States have doubled in the past 20 years, a development that a human rights group called 'scandalous and disgraceful' Friday ... "[Amnesty

Resistance!

Aboriginal services workers and community members from across the Illawarra and Shoalhaven regions held a “community issues workshop” on March 17.