Issue 850

Australia

Two of the central figures in a major media and government scandal that erupted in the lead-up to the launch of the Northern Territory intervention will speak in Sydney on September 3, in their first public engagement together.
Tjanara Goreng Goreng, a former Howard Coalition government...

On August 11, the NSW Combined Unions Campaign Committee (CUCC) — which consists of 80 rank-and-file delegates of the combined rail unions, called off a planned strike on election eve, August 20. Delegates were divided over the decision.

The CUCC was discussing how to respond to Railcorp...

The fight is on at Bluescope Steel, in Western Port Hastings, where 86 maintenance workers from the Australian Manufacturing Workers’ Union (AMWU) are holding their picket lines in the face of scab labour.

The workers are under attack from their employer Silcar and Bluescope Steel, which...

Coalminers in Tahmoor have been locked out of their workplace again. They've been fighting with their employer, the coal giant Xstrata, for more than 22 months for a fair, new Enterprise Agreement.

Attempts to negotiate have collapsed repeatedly because the company has refused to budge,...

On August 23, the Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) reported that a 30-year-old man found unconscious in the Curtin Immigration Detention Centre in Western Australia had died.

After his collapse on August 21, the man was taken to Derby hospital, 40 kilometres away. That...

Thirty students, parents, teachers and FairWear activists met at Brunswick South West Primary School on August 16 to celebrate and highlight that school’s commitment to ethical uniforms.

Students at Brunswick South West Primary School joined with FairWear supporters to praise their...

Liberal member for Dunkley, Bruce Billson, has been left fighting for his political life after the recent federal election. The Council of Single Mothers and their Children (CSMC) Action Group targeted his electorate during the election campaign.

CSMC Action Group concentrated its...

At dawn on August 20, the offices of Kurdish groups in Sydney, Perth and Melbourne were raided by Australian Federal Police and state police. Police alleged the groups were linked to the Kurdish Workers Party (PKK), which struggles for self-determination for the oppressed Kurdish minority in...

Just three days after the federal election, with the result still in the balance, the Refugee Action Coalition held a protest outside the Sydney law courts in support of a High Court case that is challenging the legality of off-shore processing of asylum seekers.

If the case fails, there...

Safe Climate Perth has called a strategy meeting to plan a grassroots campaign against the new coal-fired power stations approved by the state Liberal government.

The campaign will also take up other proposed developments such as a suggested new coal mine at Margaret River, which has...

World

This year marks the 30th anniversary of the murder of San Salvador Archbishop Oscar Romero, who was killed on March 24, 1980 by one of El Salvador’s infamous government-backed “death squads”.

As archbishop, Romero spoke out about economic inequality and violent government repression. The...

The Gulf of Mexico is still threatened with an ecological catastrophe, but the US government and British Petroleum (BP) are trying to cover up the scale of BP’s Macondo oil well disaster.

About 4.9 million barrels of oil escaped into the sea after the Deepwater Horizon rig...

One of Venezuela’s state-run food supply networks increased by 70% its sales in July, Edward Ellis reported in the Correo del Orinoco International on August 13.

Ellis said commerce minister Richard Canan told Venezuelan television program Desperto Venezuela of a record...

August 19 marked 91 years since Afghanistan gained its freedom from the British Empire, following three bloody wars of independence.

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has issued a video statement to mark the occasion. It’s worth watching, if only to appreciate the new Empire’s irony-...

The following statement was released on August 20 by the Labour Party Pakistan (Karachi) and Pakistan’s National Trade Union Federation. See Laborpakistan.org for more information.

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The recent floods represent the worst disaster in Pakistan’s history. The country has been...

The two major civil service unions on strike against the South African government have vowed to intensify pressure in a struggle pitting more than a million workers against a confident government leadership fresh from hosting the World Cup.

Along with many smaller public sector unions,...

With floods caused by the heaviest ever recorded rainfall sweep down the Indus River toward the Arabian Sea, a fifth of Pakistan was under water by late August.

More than 16,000 people have been killed and 20 million displaced. The death toll is likely to rise due to hunger and disease....

Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi announced on August 24 that its affiliated unions will launch a solidarity “secondary strike” on September 2 in support of the country's 1.3 million public servants and teachers on strike for better wages and...

To give yourself a stressful and futile day, try telling people there are no plans to build a mosque at Ground Zero.

You’ll get nowhere, although the truth is there are plans to build an Islamic centre, with a swimming pool open to everyone, two blocks away from Ground Zero site of the...

On August 24, New York cab driver Ahmed Sharif was viscously assaulted by a passenger in his cab, who asked him if he was a Muslim before attacking him with a knife. Sharif was hospitalised but survived.

The NYC Coalition to Stop Islamophobia released the statement below on August 25. It...

As the mainstream press frets that the much-touted “economic-recovery” appears to have lost steam, the economic crisis continues to escalate for ordinary people.

With official unemployment holding steady at 9.5% (real unemployment is much higher), and with the state budget cuts producing...

The call for action against New Zealand-owned Burger Fuel chain for anti-worker practices below is reprinted from Unityaotearoa.blogspot.com. Campaigners have called for international action targetting Burger Fuel, which has two Sydney stores in Newtown and Kings Cross. Campaigners have called...

Below is an English translation of an open letter to the French government published in the August 16 French daily Liberation signed by a wide-range of writers and activists. Signatories include writers Tariq Ali, Eduardo Galeano and Naomi Klein, Filipino parliamentarian Walden Bello...

Peru’s Amazonian indigenous people have announced the creation of their own political party and will contest the presidential elections in April 2011.

The indigenous people clashed with Peruvian President Alan Garcia’s government in 2009 to defend their ancestral lands in the largest...

Analysis

On July 26, Wikileaks released thousands of secret US military files on the war in Afghanistan. Cover-ups, a secret assassination unit and the killing of civilians are documented.

In file after file, the brutalities echo the colonial past. From Malaya and Vietnam to Bloody Sunday in...

In April 2009, Kevin Rudd, then Labor prime minister, announced the National Broadband Network (NBN), a massive infrastructure project to provide high-speed network access to 93% of Australia, with satellite access for the rest.

Rollout of the network began in Tasmania in July. 2009....

Dick Smith’s Population Puzzle, a documentary that aired on ABC1 on August 12, made no modest claims. It went for the direct, hard sell. Its message: “Cutting immigration to Australia is a great product, and you should buy it.”

It said a smaller Australia would not solve just...

Over the weekend of August 14-15, a “Compassion Caravan” left Perth to visit the Leonora immigration detention centre.

Organised by the Refugee Rights Action Network of Western Australia (RRAN), the caravan included 22 people (including university lecturers and children) and a cargo of...

"It seems that the whole narrative of politics is going through a seismic shift”, said Greens lead candidate for the NSW upper house at the 2011 state election, David Shoebridge at an August 25 forum discussing the post-election political landscape.

Shoebridge told the meeting, which was...

Voters’ stunning rejection of both major parties has left neither likely to form a government in its own right. Whichever party governs, it will have to rely on the support of at least three and probably four independents, with Andrew Wilkie's chance of taking Denison from Labor firming.

...

Greg Eatock, a well-known Indigenous activist in Sydney, passed away aged just 51 on August 24. His early death, from chronic health problems, was more proof of the shameful 11.5-year gap in life expectancy between Indigenous and non-Indigenous males in Australian.

One of Greg's brothers...

For John, a Socialist Alliance member in his nineties, it was “the best election result in my lifetime”. He was referring to the political impact of a hung parliament and a record vote for the Greens.

From the top of the stairs at a polling booth in inner-western Sydney’s once safe, now...

The death of Lance-Corporal Jared Mackinney in Oruzgan province in Afghanistan on August 25 brought the death toll of Australian soldiers to 21 — 10 of whom have died since June. Mackinney was the third Australian soldier killed in Afghanistan in four days.

Defence minister Senator John...

Rather than giving us the government we deserve, the August 21 federal election delivered an outcome the two old parties deserved.

Because both Labor and the Coalition focused on negative campaigning, sloganeering and scapegoating refugees and other minorities, a large number of voters...

Barb Shaw, a well-known Aboriginal activist from Alice Springs’ town camps who has campaigned tirelessly against the Northern Territory intervention, doubled the Greens’ vote in the huge NT seat of Lingiari. The result damages the government’s claim that Aboriginal people support the...

By denying both the Australian Labor Party (ALP) and the the Liberal-National coalition an outright majority in primary votes and in House of Representatives seats, Australian electors voted “neither of the above” for the traditional parties of government.

This followed an election...

Unexpectedly, it seems to me, a great opportunity for social change has emerged. This might seem strange, with another neo-fascist on the verge of becoming Australian Prime Minister. However remember that real change comes from widespread social participation, over longer periods.

First...

Letters

Green Victory I

The most striking thing about the Greens victory in the seat of Melbourne is not that it is their first lower house seat at a federal election.

More significant is that more than 11% of the vote for the Greens results in less than 1% of the seats...

Resistance!

For most queer rights activists, the most pressing issue is queer marriage rights. Denying this basic right to a large number of Australians is abhorrent.

In a democracy, the elected officials are supposed to represent the views of the people who elect them. The majority of Australians...

Ben Kohler, a year 11 student and member of the Socialist Alliance and Resistance, is running for the position of school captain at Woonona High, in Wollongong's northern suburbs. He spoke with Green Left Weekly’s Patrick Harrison about his campaign.

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What...

Culture

The introduction in May of a racist law targetting immigrants in the US state of Arizona has sparked a powerful movement from wide sections of US society. It has also sparked the biggest movement of musicians in the US since the times of South African apartheid, with a growing number of artists...

A powerful new film about the Northern Territory intervention, Our Generation, is being shown to audiences across the NT, and will screen in places across Australia.

The film-makers, Sinem Saban and Damien Curtis, spent three years with “just a camera and a...

No … politeness, happiness, humanity
Have … pain, sorrow, suffering
Nobody is here, to love us
Nobody is here, to be honest
We are suffering without love
We are expecting politeness person
We are looking for humanity — but
we couldn’t see anywhere
...

Trans-Continental Hustle
Gogol Bordello
Colombia/ DMZ

Review by Mat Ward

Gogol Bordello have always said their aim is to smuggle Roma music into mainstream Western society.

Their latest album, produced by former Beastie Boys DJ-turned...

Fighting Fund

The federal election result was a breakthrough for all who dream of being liberated from the Tweedle Dum and Tweedle Dee politics that has been foisted on Australia for many years.

By denying the major parties a majority mandate, and by swinging strongly to the Greens, the possibility...