Issue 844

Australia

Australian Manufacturing Workers Union organiser Colin Muir, Australian Workers Union organiser Sam Woods, and Electrical Trades Union organiser Gerry Glover joined union members at a barbecue in front of British Aerospace Engineering (BAE) on July 8.

More than 290 union members voted to...

Unions NSW has called a mass rally and march in Sydney at noon on July 20 in support of South Australian construction worker Ark Tribe, who faces court in Adelaide that day.

Tribe faces jail for refusing to be interrogated by the Australian Building and Construction Commission, the...

Unions NSW has endorsed and is sponsoring the "stop the privatisation" forum organised by the New South Wales Teachers Federation (NSWTF).

The NSWTF has invited speakers from a range of public sector unions, including the Public Sector Association, Nurses Association and Fire Brigade...

Pro-choice group Children by Choice has written to Queensland Premier Anna Bligh and two senior state ministers calling for a legislative review of the state's abortion laws, a move supported by the Queensland Council for Civil Liberties (QCCL), said the July 7 Courier-Mail.

...

Humanity is in a race against time to avoid the environmental and social catastrophe caused by climate change.

At times, it seems we are losing the race. When we look at the sabotage of international summits by the rich countries, or the false solutions peddled by governments and...

Following a community rally against racism in Sydney's inner-west on July 2, activists went to local Labor MP Anthony Albanese's office on July 8 to present him with a huge open letter that had been signed by many in his electorate. The letter called on Albanese to reject the racist politics...

Fifty people rallied outside the Department of Immigration and Citizenship on July 9 in response to the Gillard Labor government's proposed new "East Timor solution" for processing asylum seekers. The protest was organised by the Refugee Action Collective.

Aboriginal rights leader and...

About 800 people joined the NAIDOC week march on July 9.

Young Kooris mostly led the chants, as a show of Aboriginal pride. The most popular chant was “Always was, Always will be, Aboriginal land”.

Alf Bamblett, executive officer of the Victorian Aboriginal Community Services...

On July 9, 60 people took to the streets to condemn the death of Aboriginal trans woman Veronnica Baxter. She was found dead in the Silverwater Metropolitan Reception and Remand Centre — a prison for men — six days after her arrest by Redfern police on minor drugs charges.

The protesters...

"The recent campaign by the big mining companies, which brought down PM Kevin Rudd, shows the enormous power of these giant monopolies in our capitalist society”, Socialist Alliance activist Marg Gleeson told a public forum, sponsored by the SA on July 6.

"This two-month campaign of lies...

Environmentalists are calling for the state government to cancel a mining lease on North Stradbroke Island, off the coast of Brisbane. Huge quantities of sand on the island has been illegally mined and sold to landscape and building industries.

On July 3, the Queensland Court of Appeal...

Brisbane Murri activist and Socialist Alliance Senate candidate Sam Watson made the following comments on July 8 on the anti-refugee policies of the two major parties.

* * *

PM Julia Gillard and opposition leader Tony Abbott are involved in a headlong race to the bottom of the...

World

Citizens rallied in two Afghan cities on July 10 and 11, chanting slogans against occupying powers and the unpopular regime of President Hamid Karzai for failing to protect civilians.

On July 10, hundreds took to the streets of Mazar-i-Sharif to demand that all occupation forces leave...

The German parliament met on June 30 to elect the country’s largely symbolic president. What should have been a fairly straightforward affair, however, turned into a political embarrassment for Chancellor Angela Merkel.

The new election was made necessary by the resignation of Horst...

Threats of a military attack against Iran by the US and Israel have increased after new sanctions were imposed by the United Nations Security Council on June 9, under pressure from Washington.

On July 1, US President Barack Obama signed legislation passed by Congress in June that imposed...

On June 19, six executives — the entire board of Australian mining corporation Sundance Resources — were killed in a plane crash in the Republic of the Congo. Australian politicians and the corporate media emphasised the tragedy of their untimely deaths, showering praise on the deceased.

...

A recent attempt to forge greater unity among militant union sectors in Brazil has imploded.

The Working Class Congress (Conclat) was held in Sao Paulo on June 5-6 to try and bring together various radical union currents. The key forces behind the congress were Conlutas and Intersindical...

The proposal for a visit to the 26 Irish counties that make up the southern state by the British head of state, Queen Elizabeth II, has drawn condemnation from Irish republicans.

Irish Taoiseach (head of government) Brian Cowan announced in June plans for a royal visit, believed to be...

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez took a giant symbolic leap in the direction of Latin American independence on July 6 when Venezuela and Ecuador conducted the first bilateral trade deal between two countries using a new trading currency, the Sucre, instead of the US dollar.

The Unitary...

Acting against our alleged “ambush marketing” and “incitement”, the South African Police Service, newly augmented with 40,000 additional cadre for the World Cup, detained several of us in Durban on July 3.

We were exercising freedom of expression at our favorite local venue — the South...

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez said on July 2 that intelligence services at the Caracas airport have arrested a man wanted in connection with terrorist activities in Cuba from the 1970s.

The Venezuelan government said El Salvadorean Francisco Antonio Chavez Abarca tried to enter...

A series of investigations have cleared the climate scientists at the centre of the “climate gate” scandal of falsifying or suppressing data.

In November, a series of leaked emails from the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) at the University of East Anglia purporting to show them falsifying...

On July 6, the Thai government approved the extension of an emergency decree in 19 provinces, which includes many in the heartland of the pro-democracy Red Shirts in the country’s north-east.

The extension came a day after the Brussels-based International Crisis Group (ICG) recommended...

On April 9, the Australian Labor Party government, then led by Kevin Rudd, imposed a three-month suspension of the processing of refugees from Sri Lanka. On July 6, the Labor government of PM Julia Gillard announced, in the context of unveiling its pre-election tougher stance against refugees,...

A Washington DC court convicted a repeat-offender in May for a crime that could have seen him spend years in prison.

The offender was not a BP executive found guilty of criminal negligence over the Gulf of Mexico oil spill. Nor was it any other environmental vandal.

It was...

The financial reform legislation just passed by Congress was proclaimed by US President Barack Obama as “the toughest financial reform since the ones we created in the aftermath of the Great Depression”.

This is a kind of doublespeak. The entire thrust of financial reform in the decades...

Poverty and inequality are at record levels according to a new report. The redistribution of wealth from poor to rich overseen by former prime minister Margaret Thatcher, and continued under Labour, will be accelerated by the huge public spending cuts proposed by the Conservative-Liberal...

The board of Pride Toronto held a press conference on the lawn outside its offices on May 25 to announce the phrase “Israeli Apartheid” would be censored from the upcoming 2010 Pride Parade.

The decision, aimed at banning the Toronto-based activist group Queers Against Israeli Apartheid...

Greek workers staged their sixth general strike this year on July 8. The strike halted public transport, stopped ferry services, and closed schools, newspapers, courts and public hospitals.

About 100,000 people took part in protest rallies in Athens and Thessaloniki, chanting: “Workers...

Hundreds of activists in Washington, DC demonstrated on July 6 outside the White House to protest against Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s visit.

Protesters held signs calling on the US government to end military aid to Israel as Netanhayu met US President Barack Obama.

...

Analysis

Aboriginal academic and activist Sharon Firebrace is the Victorian Socialist Alliance Senate candidate in the federal election. Firebrace founded the Aboriginal Genocide Centre. Repealing the NT intervention and standing up for refugee rights are key parts of her election policy...

At the conclusion of the New Way Summit in Melbourne over July 1-4, a proposal was adopted stating that: “Aboriginal people be encouraged to take possession of unoccupied and Crown lands, including abandoned buildings, to assert their ownership and original title.”

This was the third New...

The following is a letter by the Stop the War Coalition Sydney to Prime Minister Julia Gillard

* * *

We are concerned with the growing threat of a new United States-Israel strike against the people of Iran and are writing to ask you to distance your government from any measure...

The New South Wales government welcomed figures released by the state transport department on June 28 showing a slight increase in the proportion of trips taken by public transport in NSW over the 2008/09 year. “In 2008/09 travel by train increased by 3.1 per cent and travel by bus grew by 2.4...

Aboriginal activists and supporters rallied outside Queensland Supreme Court on July 6 to demand justice for Mulrunji Doomadgee, his family and the people of Palm Island.

The crowd protested against an action in the court by the Queensland Police Union (QPU) "to stop their six police...

Luta Hamutuk, a Dili-based non government organisation, released the following statement on July 7. It was translated from Tetum by Tomas Freitas.

* * *

The July 7 Java Post said: “Prime Minister Julia Gillard has tightened Australia immigration law. Not wanting to be...

Last week was another ugly political week in Australia. There was much to be disgusted about, but one line disgusted me particularly.

It was from an apologist for the Julia Gillard Labor government who dared to offer this whispered excuse for the PM's shameless embrace of racist...

More than 200 people gathered at the Yirara College in Alice Springs over July 6-9 for a conference entitled Defending Indigenous Rights: Land, Law, Culture Convergence.

The convergence brought together Aboriginal communities affected by the Northern Territory intervention to speak and...

“A juggernaut out of control” is how lawyer Rob Stary described the Australian Federal Police and ASIO after a judge concluded a case against three Tamils in April 2010.

A spokesperson for the AFP defended its prosecution, saying that the criminal inquiry had been “complex” and “...

Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s July 5 announcement that she would solve the refugee crisis by being tougher on refugees did what former PM John Howard failed to do in his 11 years of conservative rule. She has made former One Nation MP Pauline Hanson feel at home.

Hanson announced she...

You have been reported in the media as preferring to be judged by your actions rather than as a woman.

I congratulate you! This is what all women want: to be judged on their merits not on the basis of gender.

An activist of “the second wave” of feminism, I have been fighting (...

“Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the peacemakers for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country.”

I can’t...

Letters

Hollowing out the asylum seeker ‘debate’

On July 5, while waiting for my dentist, I couldn't help hearing Kerri-Ann Kennelly, her show being blared on the big screen in the waiting room.

Kennelly was telling us how she welcomed PM Julia Gillard's exhortation for...

Resistance!

On June 30, 31 mainly young activists set off from around NSW in an old converted school bus, for the “Indigenous Solidarity Rides” heading to an Aboriginal rights convergence in Alice Springs over July 6-11. At the same time, 25 activists from Brisbane headed to the convergence, also in a bus,...

About 250 people attended the Students of Sustainability (SoS) conference at Flinders University in Adelaide over July 4-8. A highlight of the conference was the attendance of the Indigenous Solidarity Rides bus full of passengers on their way from Newcastle to the convergence at Alice Springs...

Culture

Step by Step: Women of East Timor, Stories of Resistance and Survival
Edited by Jude Conway
Charles Darwin University Press, 2010
241 pages, $44

Review by Niko Leka

The title of Step by Step refers to how the Timorese gained...

Wiya! Angela Pamela
by the Super Raelene Brothers & the Little Sisters Collective

Review by Emma Murphy

Wiya! Angela Pamela, a protest song in three languages with an incredibly catchy base and back beat, is the result of collaboration...

Canada & Israel: Building Apartheid
By Yves Engler
Fernwood Publishing/Red Publishing
Toronto, 2010, 168 pages.

Most Canadians today would probably agree that their country's foreign policy is pro-Israel. Even Canada's “liberal” supporters...

Sex Work Matters: Power & Intimacy in the Sex Industry
by Melissa Hope Ditmore, Antonia Levy & Alys Willman
Zed Books

When sex workers speak it is often with anger, frustration or reproach.

This is because, more than any other group...

Fighting Fund

Twitter, for the few who may not know, is a social networking internet service that enables its users to send and read other users' messages (tweets) of up to 140 characters.

Increasingly, politicians are using Twitter as part of their (managed) media work.

Shortly after becoming...