Issue 835

Australia

Farmers at Caroona on the Liverpool Plains near Quirindi, New South Wales, have been defending their properties from invasion by BHP-Billiton’s coal exploration drillers. For 615 days, until March 25, they inspired coal-threatened communities everywhere with their blockade, by saying “No” — and...

In a turbulent meeting on April 20, City of Yarra councillors voted to reinstate a ban on public drinking, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The motion was passed by a coalition of Labor councillors and independents, five votes to four. The votes against were from the Socialist Party councillor...

On May 1, international workers’ day, 500 people marched in Wollongong.

Trish Corcoran from the Socialist Alliance spoke about the racist Northern Territory intervention on Aboriginal communities, and the solidarity the union movement is showing with the people fighting...

Forty refugee rights supporters protested outside Labor foreign minister Stephen Smith's office on April 23, demanding an end to the government's "freeze" on asylum-seeker applications from Afghanistan and Sri Lanka.

Speakers included Refugee Rights Action Network members Phil Chilton...

The March 15 banning of two Socialist Alliance activists, Paul Benedek and myself, from the University of Sydney was revoked on April 9, after vice-chancellor Michael Spence received a storm of protest letters.

Among the many who protested against this attack on freedom of speech were...

Clients at the Fairfield Migrant Resource Centre heard on April 29 that people in disadvantaged areas, such as Fairfield, could have their welfare benefits "quarantined" as early as next year.

The public meeting at the centre featured Peter Davidson from the Australian Council of Social...

The Queensland Teachers Union (QTU) remains defiant about its ban on conducting the NAPLAN national schools test, despite the state Labor government forcing it to go before the Queensland Industrial Relations Commission (QIRC), said the April 29 Courier-Mail.

The QIRC hearing...

Environmentalists have scored a win against logging in Mumbulla state forest in south-east New South Wales. Forests NSW suspending activity on April 28 after it was revealed the area may be part of an Indigenous Protection Zone.

The Narooma News that day said areas due to be...

On April 20, 200 angry protesters shouted down state police minister Rob Johnson, as he tried to justify the anti-democratic “stop-and-search” laws. The proposed legislation allows police to conduct potentially intrusive body searches without suspicion of a crime.

The laws would also...

A sea of about 150 red shirts packed a restaurant in Cabramatta on April 25 to show solidarity with the democracy struggle in Thailand, led by the "Red Shirt" movement.

Organised by Thai Red Australia, the night had added importance due to the threat of a military crackdown as thousands...

"Say no to Roe!", chanted more than 100 people at a rally outside state parliament on April 22.

The rally was organised to oppose a five-kilometre freeway extension (Roe stage 8) between the Kwinana Freeway and Stock Road in Melville, south of Perth.

Speakers said the proposed...

In protests around the country on Workers Memorial Day, April 28, thousands of workers came out to remember those killed on the job and to protest against the Australian Building and Construction Commission (ABCC).

Speakers pointed out that since the ABCC was formed, deaths in the...

The Sydney launch of the Four Days in July national Aboriginal rights convergence was addressed by journalist John Pilger, Alyawarr peoples’ walk-off spokesperson Richard Downs, Maritime Union of Australia Sydney branch secretary Paul McAleer and Larissa Behrendt, Professor of Law and Director...

Resistance, socialist youth organisation, held its national conference in the Thirroul Community Centre (Wollongong, NSW) over April 24-26, 2010. Nearly 300 largely young people took part in the event, discussing organising a fight back against racism, war and environmental destruction. The...

World

About 90,000 people marched in Yomitan, Okinawa on April 25 to call for the closure of US Marine Corps Air Station Futenma, an April 29 Counterfire.org article said. Protesters included the governor and all the mayors of Okinawa.

Participants issued a statement calling for immediate...

In a democratic society, when there is a deep crisis, it is customary for the government to dissolve parliament and call elections in order for the people to decide. This happened in Britain and France after mass strikes and demonstrations in the 1960s and 1970s.

After mass right-wing “...

Repression and resistance. These two words sum up Honduras today.

There is truly terrible repression — reminiscent of the Central American “dirty wars” run by US-trained militaries in the 1980s.

But there is also unprecedented resistance that has mobilised a previously compliant...

A military coup, backed by the United States, ousted a democratically elected government in Honduras on June 28, 2009. It has arrested, without trial, thousands of democracy activists.

More than 50 activists from the National Popular Resistance Front (FNRP) have been killed, and there...

In the Cochabamba football stadium on April 22, diverse indigenous peoples paraded around the track, thousands of local peasants sat in the stands, and thousands more activists from around the globe waved flags and chanted on the field.

A common sentiment flowed through the crowd:...

Israeli queer activists organised a protest on April 29 in front of the Israeli foreign affairs ministry in Jerusalem to protest against an “Israeli LGBT Festival” being organised in San Francisco called “Out in Israel”. The US event is funded by the Israeli consulate and Jewish organisations'...

Palestinian Ambassador to Cuba Akram Samhan told an event in Havana on April 17 that Israeli jails have locked up more than 760,000 Palestinians since 1967. The event marked the 35th Palestinian Prisoner Day.

The staggering number of Palestinians jailed by Israel is equal to 20% of the...

African American artist Gil Scott-Heron, whose political poetry influenced a generation of rap artists, sensationally announced the cancellation of his planned gig in Tel Aviv on April 24.

Speaking onstage at London’s Royal Festival Hall, Scott-Heron told the audience he “hated war” and...

Hip-hop artist Chuck D, best known as a rapper with progressive band Public Enemy, has released a new track in response to the extreme racist, anti-immigrant law passed on April 23 in Arizona entitled “Tear Down That Wall”. The song can be downloaded at SLAMjazz.com....

The following statement for May Day 2010 has been endorsed by socialist, trade union and progressive organisations in the Asia-Pacific region, including groups in Australia, New Zealand, Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Korea, Malaysia, Pakistan and the Philippines. Full list of endorsements....

This will be the last column I write about the major league baseball team Arizona Diamondbacks in the foreseeable future. For me, they do not exist.

They will continue to not exist in my mind as long as the horribly named anti-immigrant “Support Our Law Enforcement and Safe Neighborhoods...

“Capitalism is the number one enemy of humanity”, Bolivian President Evo Morales said in his closing speech to the World People’s Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth held on April 19-22 in Cochabamba.

“It turns everything into merchandise, it seeks continual...

Over April 17-18, Tamils across Australia voted overwhelmingly in favour of the formation of an independent and sovereign homeland — Tamil Eelam — in the north and east of Sri Lanka.

In what was described by organisers as “the most successful political event for the diaspora in Australia...

Venezuela’s principal trade union federation, the National Union of Workers (Unete), held the second session of its extraordinary congress on April 24, in a push to re-launch the federation.

Hundreds of trade union delegates from around the country gathered in Union House in El Paraiso...

The United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) concluded its five-month extraordinary congress on April 25 with the approval of highly anticipated party principles and statutes. This was just in time for primaries on May 2, in which millions of PSUV members will choose parliamentary candidates...

On May 1 in Kathmandu, between 500,000-1 million people took over the streets in a dramatic show of force by Nepal’s Maoists to demand a return to civilian rule and a democratic process of creating a new, pro-people constitution. With the government refusing popular demands for its resignation,...

The World People’s Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth held in April 19-22 in Cochabamba, adopted a People’s Agreement on tackling climate change. Some of its key points are listed below. Visit Pwccc.wordpress.com to read the full document, and other resolutions adopted...

Analysis

Visiting Pakistani socialist and anti-war activist Ammar Ali Jan and Edmund Rice Centre director Phil Glendenning delivered powerful presentations on why the Afghanistan-Pakistan “war on terror” was a fraud. They spoke at a meeting organised by Stop the War Coalition on April 27.

Ali Jan...

Over April 19-20, Indonesian police and naval officers forced almost 150 Tamils onto buses at Port Merak and took them to the Tanjung Pinang detention centre. For seven months, more than 250 Tamils had withstood appalling conditions aboard a squalid boat at the West Java port.

Their hope...

As towns go, Orroroo in South Australia might seem small, but with 850 people it is one of the larger stops on the road between Broken Hill and Port Augusta. The countryside around it is marginal farmland.

Only in the occasional year is there enough rain for a good crop of wheat, and in...

After weeks of political wrangling and uncertainty since the March 20 state elections, a new government has been formed in Tasmania. For the first time in Australia’s history, the Greens will have ministry positions.

The Labor Party and the Greens agreed to a “power sharing deal”, which...

David Lowe, a Townsville-based administration officer and union activist, was preselected by the Socialist Alliance Queensland state conference on April 17 to join Brisbane Aboriginal community leader Sam Watson on the Senate team for the upcoming federal election. Lowe is helping to establish a...

Bolivia's World People's Summit on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth was radical, inspiring, uncompromising and exactly what was needed.

Up to 30,000 people from six continents took part in the summit, which was held in the Bolivian city of Cochabamba from April 19 to 22....

Two hundred and seventy people gathered for the Resistance 2010: The World Can't Wait! conference in Thirroul, near Wollongong, over April 24-26. The national conference brought together young activists from all over Australia to discuss a broad range of political issues and to get organised in...

The following is a transcript of a speech by award-winning journalist John Pilger at the Sydney Teachers’ Federation on April 23. It was part of a public launch of the Four Days in July national Aboriginal rights convergence in Alice Springs from July 6 to 9.

...

Have you heard about the campaign called “Four Days in July”? Well, you are about to. From now until July 6 we are planning to ask: “Will you join us in Alice Springs for a better future? Just four days in July, that’s all we are asking.”

Such a small thing to ask but imagine the...

As a doctor working in the front line of the public hospital system for a decade, I have been watching the debate around health reform with great interest.

The phrase “controlled locally, funded federally” has been repeated ad nauseam by Prime Minister Kevin Rudd. Imagine if we could...

General

Green Left Weekly stands for putting people before profit. That includes rejecting the idea that anything that people need or enjoy should be subordinate to the drive for profit, be it health care, public transport or indeed sport.

But unfortunately sport under capitalism is...

Culture

The protest song is present still, yet to what extent does its significance reach the alienated world? The medium that transcends form and style seems smothered beneath the illusion of freedom of expression.

The murder of Chilean revolutionary singer Victor Jara may be a nauseating...

In the United States, Google-owned video-sharing site YouTube has banned the video for hip hop star M.I.A.’s new single “Born Free”, citing the graphic nature of its content.

More than nine minutes long, the clip, directed by Romain Gavras, begins with heavily armed soldiers with US...

Beyond Black & White
By Manning Marable
Verso Press, 2009, 319 pages

Review by Malik Miah

Manning Marable’s latest book is an update of a valuable critique of Black and US politics first issued in 1995. He revised it last year, adding new...