Issue 837

Australia

Members of the Iranian community and their supporters protested outside the NSW state parliament on May 13 after the executions of five union activists in Evin prison in Tehran on May 9.

Shirin Alam-Houli, Ali Heydarian, Mahdi Islamian, Farzad Kamangar and Farhad Vakili were hanged after...

A great dinner and cultural event was held on May 8 in Lidcombe in Sydney’s west, bringing together progressive migrant groups, Socialist Alliance and Greens members and Green Left Weekly supporters.

A lively crowd of 120 people attended. Eight migrant groups were present. Food...

Melbourne-based climate activist Ben Courtice toured Newcastle, Sydney and Wollongong from May 10 to 12 to report back from the World People’s Summit on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth, which took place in Bolivia in April.

The conference was held in Cochabamba and...

One hundred people rallied in Brisbane Square on May 14 to commemorate Al Nakba —— “the catastrophe”. Al Nakba took place on May 15, 1948, when Israeli forces drove hundreds of thousands of Palestinian civilians out of their lands, and consolidated the Jewish state.

“Free...

The campaign against league tables continued on May 11 with a protest organised by the Inner City Teachers Association (ICTA) of the NSW Teachers Federation.

Fifty people rallied outside the office of NSW education minister Verity Firth. After the Australian Education Union federal...

NSW Premier Kristina Keneally announced that the Labor government would block a proposed open-cut coalmine near Scone in the Upper Hunter Valley on May 14.

The decision puts an end to the Bickham coal project, which would have mined coal for the next 25 years, threatening to contaminate...

A near-disaster involving toxic waste in the southern Perth suburb of Hamilton Hill has revealed that working class neighbourhoods are exposed to potential carcinogens local resident and Socialist Alliance candidate Sanna Andrew said.

The Fremantle Steam Laundry in Hamilton Hill burst...

More than 60 people attended Brisbane's premiere screening of a new documentary by Sydney's Actively Radical TV about the construction of the Alyawarr people's Protest House at their walk-off camp near Ampilatwatja in the Northern Territory.

The film has interviews with unionists from...

On May 10, skilled trades members of the Electrical Trade Union (ETU) and the Australian Manufacturing Workers Union from Geelong and Broadmeadows Ford plants held a 24-hour stoppage.

They were demanding better pay and conditions under their enterprise bargaining agreement (EBA) and took...

May 17 is International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia. On May 15, thousands around Australia marked it by marching in support of equal marriage rights.

In Melbourne, 3000 people from diverse organisations rallied at the state library.
Among the speakers...

The coroner in the third inquest into the death in custody of Mulrunji Doomadgee on Palm Island in 2004, Queensland deputy chief magistrate Brian Hine, has handed down an “open finding”. This means no criminal charges will be laid against senior sergeant Chris Hurley.

Delivering his...

World

May 17

If the military-backed government of Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajia dissolved parliament, announced fresh elections and ordered a cease fire, the violence would end immediately and the Red Shirts would all go home.

Since the start of the latest bloody crackdown on May 13...

Germany’s ruling centre-right coalition suffered a double defeat on May 9, when it lost its ruling majority in an important state election in North-Rhine Westphalia.

Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Party (CDU) scored its lowest ever vote in the state, dropping 14 points...

In further moves to strengthen the state’s role in the economy, Venezuelan President Chavez announced on May 11 the creation of a publicly owned import-export company as part of a broader plan to combat “the hegemony of the bourgeoisie”, speculation and inflation.

Despite price controls...

Bangkok is bathed in blood, yet again. Unconfirmed reports indicate that Thai Prime Minister Abhisit's soldiers have shot dead at least 50 people do far. Hundreds are injured.

The regime says there are 500 “terrorists" in the protest site. Earlier they said that they would use snipers to...

Did you hear the one about the election everyone lost? On May 6, Labour, the party in power, lost 100 seats and with it the chance to continue in government after 13 years. The Conservatives lost the victory all the polls had been promising them for the past 18 months.

The Liberals...

The following statement was released on May 15 by the Socialist Party of Malaysia. Click here to read a statement issued by a number of Asian left groups on in solidarity with the Thai democracy movement.

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The Socialist Party of Malaysia (PSM) condemns Ahbisit's government...

As Tiger Woods returns to golf, not all his affairs are salacious headlines.

In Dubai, the Tiger Woods Golf Course is costing $100 million to build. Dubai relies on cheap Third World labour, as do certain consumer brands that have helped make Woods a billionaire.

Nike workers in...

The Liberal Democrats have committed to support about $10 billion in public spending cuts as part of their coalition deal with the Conservative Party, Counterfire.org said in a May 12 article. An abridged version is below.

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Liberal Democrat (LD) leader Nick Clegg is deputy...

This statement was release by organisations in the Asia-Pacific region on May 13. If your organisation would like to sign on, please email international@socialist-alliance.org.

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We, left and progressive organisations from the Asia-Pacific region, express our solidarity with...

For the first time ever, a member of the British Green Party, Caroline Lucas, was elected to parliament in the May 6 general elections. Printed below is a May 7 statement from GreenParty.org.uk

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Greens all over Britain were celebrating this morning as the news was announced...

The hip-hop community in Arizona came together in a “Not In My Backyard” approach to protest the state’s new immigration law by remaking Public Enemy’s song, “By the Time I Get to Arizona.” A music video is soon to follow.

Hip-hop artists Queen YoNasDa, DJ John Blaze, Tajji Sharp, Yung...

Since October, dozens of social leaders have been shot and eight killed in the struggle between Spanish-based oil and gas multinational Union Fenosa and communities in the west of the country.

On October 24, Victor Galvez was shot 32 times as he left his office, where he was meeting with...

The following is an abridged speech by Bolivian President Evo Morales to a meeting of the G77 and China, which brings together 130 developing countries, at the United Nations on May 7. The World People’s Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth was...

An ex-oil worker has told the May 12 Huffington Post that oil giant BP often faked reliability tests for equipment meant to stop spills such as the Deepwater Horizon spill, which began on April 20.

Mike Mason, an oil worker in Alaska for 18 years, said he personally witnessed...

Photographer David Hoffman had his London home visited by British police on the day of the May 6 general elections. They forcibly removed a poster from his window featuring a photo of Conservative Party leader (and now prime minister) David Cameron and the word “wanker”, the British Guardian...

“The time of big energy was supposed to have faded with the election of Barack Obama to the presidency”, Billy Wharton wrote in a May 12 www.counterpunch.org article.

“Then, a humble Coloradan, with a cowboy hat that seemed permanently affixed to his head, named Ken Salazar ambled to the...

The conventional wisdom is that the world has largely survived the great financial crisis. Journalists and economists talk about recovery, while politicians claim to have averted catastrophe.

However, the bailouts of banks and financial stimulus packages that governments used to “solve”...

There are many myths about Cuba that the mainstream media happily reinforces, especially about Cuba’s democratic processes.

Contrary to media assertions, in Cuba there are general elections, the last ones taking place in 2007-08. In these elections, deputies to the parliament (National...

Since March 14, Bangkok has been paralysed by mass pro-democracy protests. The protesters known as “Red Shirts”, have demanded the resignation of unelected Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva and new elections. Abhisit came to power in December through the overthrow of a democratically elected...

Cuba provides the best conditions for motherhood among developing countries, Save the Children's State of the World's Mothers 2010 report has found.

The Times of India reported on May 5 that the report “examines 160 countries — 43 developed and 117 developing ones — and...

The tremendous success of the April 19-22 World Peoples Summit on Climate Change and Mother Earth Rights held in Cochabamba, Bolivia, has confirmed the well-deserved role of its initiator — Bolivian President Evo Morales — as one of the world’s leading environmental advocates.

Since...

“There are two ways forward: Either save capitalism, or save Mother Earth”, Bolivian President Evo Morales said, stressing that this was the choice facing governments at a May 7 press conference in New York. There, he discussed the outcomes of the 35,000-strong World People’s Summit on Climate...

Laws punishing women for wearing the burqa and the niqab in public were passed by the Belgian lower house of parliament on April 29. A similar law has been discussed by French President Nicholas Sarkozy, and the French National Assembly passed a non-binding resolution in favour of a ban on May...

Perhaps no other sector better exemplifies the challenge the Bolivian government faces in lifting the country out of the poverty and dependency afflicting South America’s poorest nation than its all-important mining industry.

Mining minister and former miners’ union leader Jose Pimentel...

Under the new constitution approved in January 2009, the state now controls all minerals, metals, precious and semi-precious stones in the country.

While respecting previously granted concessions to private companies, it has restricted new concessions to joint ventures with the state...

Federal immigration authorities have pressured one of San Francisco’s major building service companies, ABM, into firing hundreds of its own workers.

Some 475 janitors have been told that unless they can show legal immigration status, they will lose their jobs in the near future.

...

Jed Brandt, a member of US Kasama Project, is in Katmandu reporting on the ongoing struggle between Nepal’s poor majority, led by the Unified Communist Party of Nepal-Maoists (UCPN-M), and the US and Indian-backed elite that removed the UCPN-M-led government last year...

Analysis

Labor Treasurer Wayne Swan’s third budget, delivered on May 11, continued the neoliberal austerity agenda of the previous Howard government. Delivered in the shadow of the Henry tax review, released by the government on May 2, Labor’s budget continues to grind away at social and environmental...

The federal government’s $672 million Strategic Indigenous Housing and Infrastructure Project (SIHIP), has failed to improve Aboriginal housing in the Northern Territory. Only a handful of houses have been built and adequate repairs to existing current housing stock have not been made.

...

Brian Walters, former Liberty Victoria president, former Free Speech Victoria vice-president and Greens candidate for the state seat of Melbourne, has long been a advocate of free speech. He is the author of Slapping on the Writs: Defamation, Developers and Community Activism...

Say what you will about coal, but at least it stays where it’s put. On its way to the user, coal doesn’t gush from the rail trucks, spreading itself through the atmosphere and warming it at about 70 times the rate of carbon dioxide.

Natural gas is different. A new draft study provides...

It’s another election year and we’re witnessing another round of racist fear-mongering. Along with refugees, Muslims are in the crosshairs once again and the Liberal/National Coalition opposition is trying to grab votes by playing on people's worst instincts.

On May 6, Liberal Senator...

Five Australia-bound Tamil asylum seekers vanished in shark-infested waters near the Cocos Islands over May 5-9. They were seeking help for the 59 other men, women and children aboard a wooden fishing boat that had travelled from Sri Lanka and spent more than 20 days at sea.

Australian...

An angry Prime Minister Kevin Rudd told the May 12 7:30 Report that he was “passionate about acting on climate change”. Yes, we know. But if only he’d stop acting and start doing.

The demise of the Rudd Labor government’s proposed Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme (CPRS) is not...

Truth is stranger than fiction! What else can describe the extraordinary revelation by Fremantle Greens MP Adele Carles on April 25 of her four-month affair with Liberal Party MP and now ex-treasurer Troy Buswell, and her subsequent resignation from the Greens on May 6?

For some...

Letters

Proportional, not preferential

The proposal by outgoing British PM Gordon Brown to have a referendum on the electoral system is fraught with danger for Nick Clegg's Liberal Democrats.

Brown proposes a referendum on the British first-past-the post system and the...

General

Green Left Weekly — Australia’s leading non-corporate newspaper — has an ambitious target to raise $300,000 for it’s fighting fund this year. This is the amount needed to ensure we can cover all the costs associated with research, production and distribution. It’s no small thing to...

Culture

The party of the troglodytes
had lost its man of steel,
and craved another overlord
to bring them all to heel.
The smirking trog turned down the job.
Folks knew he was a wanker.
The doctor couldn’t pull it off,
so then they tried the banker.

...

Newspeak in the 21st Century
by David Edwards & David Cromwell
Pluto Press, 2009, 299 pages, $25

Review by John Smith

News-analysing website Media Lens isn’t liked by the corporate media.

Since 2001, the website’s founders, David...

‘Perish the Privileged Orders’: A Socialist History of the Chartist Movement
By Mark O’Brien
New Clarion Press Revised Edition 2009, 119 pages

Review by Alex Miller

If you believed the corporate media, you might think that the greatest...

A new Sydney-based arts project is inviting artists to submit work that investigates a radical perspective.

The inaugural Live Red Art Awards will culminate in a festival and exhibition at the Addison Road Community Centre in October 17, 2010, and focus on interactive, multidisciplinary...