Issue 855

Australia

Community activists in the Illawarra have again condemned the use of Taser guns and renewed calls for a ban on the controversial weapon. This calls comes just days after a man in Sydney's west died after being struck by a Taser in the chest by police. A video from 2008 has also emerged of an...

The following is abridged from a September 29 statement issued by a delegation of north Queensland Indigenous traditional owners in Canberra. They went to meet Opposition leader Tony Abbott to ask him to drop his move to overturn Queensland’s Wild Rivers legislation.

After the...

Chanting “Free chickens, caged workers”, on September 24 more than 100 community members and trade unionists protested against the treatment of Sudanese immigrant Anyuon Mabior.

Anyuon was sacked by Lilydale Free Range Chicken, in Wingfield, for complaining about a racist email. The...

On October 10, the international day of climate action, climate activists will converge on Hazelwood, Australia’s dirtiest power station.

Each year, Hazelwood burns 17 million tonnes of brown coal and consumes 27 million litres of water (the equivalent of using one month’s worth of...

After 23 months of struggle, Tahmoor mineworkers have achieved a new enterprise agreement with their employer, Xstrata.

On September 24, 142 voted for the company’s latest offer and 50 voted against. Until then, attempts by the workers to negotiate were thwarted repeatedly because...

On September 24, Australia took another step backwards.

Hadi Ahmadi, 35, was sentenced in a Perth court to a maximum of seven and a half years for assisting 562 asylum seekers to reach Australia on two boats in 2001. He was originally charged with “smuggling” 900 people on four boats,...

Over October 29-31, Palestinian solidarity activists from around Australia and the world will meet for the first national boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) conference.

The call for a global boycott campaign against Israel was first launched in July 2005. It has become a big part of...

Amnesty International’s Demand Dignity and Eora College art exhibition opened at the Boomalli Aboriginal Arts Gallery on September 22 to a crowd of 50 people. The exhibition was based on the theme of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. The artworks were produced by talented...

In the lead-up to the November 27 Victorian state elections, the Council of Single Mothers Action Group has expressed its concern about the right of religious institutions to legally discriminate against gays, lesbians and single parents.

Until amended last year, Victorian Equal...

Wollongong's satirical Billionaires for Coal rallied in Sydney on September 29 in defence of the Forbes CEO conference, which brought together billionaires from across Australia and the globe. The three billionaires faced off against a group of activists dressed as pirates, who were protesting...

Twenty people attended a September 28 Indigenous Social Justice Association (ISJA) meeting to hear Bruce Campbell, from the WA Deaths in Custody Watch Committe, discuss the campaign for justice for Mr Ward.

On Invasion Day (January 26) 2008, Mr Ward, a respected Aboriginal elder, was...

About 6000 Queensland health workers walked off the job from October 1 across the state demanding better wages and conditions.

"The Queensland Public Sector Union [QPSU] said the Government was unfairly targeting its own workers to cut costs to make up for the nurses' payroll debacle”,...

“After the election: What now for refugee rights?” was the theme of a September 29 Refugee Action Collective forum.

Wesley Widlend, from National Labor Students, condemned federal Labor’s “disgraceful display” on asylum seeker policy. “Many members of the Labor Party consider the party...

South Australian Treasurer Kevin Foley’s September 16 budget faces widespread opposition. The budget would slash $2 billion from public spending over four years.

A leak to the September 15 Adelaide Advertiser of the Sustainable Budget Commission's report showed recommendations...

World

According to a report in Prachatai, a popular Thai newspaper, a woman was arrested at freedom bike ride by United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship supporters (popularly known as the Red Shirts) in Thailand’s historic city of Ayutthaya for selling slippers with Thailand’s...

The abridged statement below was released by the South African Palestine Solidarity Committee (PSC) on September 29.

* * *

After a huge mobilisation by South African academics, the senate of the University of Johannesburg (UJ) voted today “not to continue a long-standing...

More than 10 million workers staged a general strike in Spain on September 29 in response to vicious government attacks on their rights and pensions.

The huge mobilisation, organised by the Confederacion Sindical de Comisiones Obreras (CCOO) and Sindicato Union General de Trabajadores (...

Palestinian activists in the occupied West Bank have called for the boycott of the popular Rami Levy Israeli supermarket chain. The chain has several stores inside Israel’s illegal settlements.

Activists say they will call on fellow Palestinians to “avoid supporting the occupation and...

On September 30, Ecuador descended into chaos as a protest by sections of the police force and army turned into a potentially bloody coup against left-wing President Rafael Correa.

At about 8am, sections of the Ecuadorian Armed Forces and the national police went on strike, occupying...

The fight against the dumping of toxic waste off the coast of Madang in Papua New Guinea suffered a setback when a court injunction against the Ramu nickel mine, which is building a pipe to dump its waste into the ocean, was reversed.

The injunction was dropped after the three remaining...

On September 5, the Basque armed group Euskadi Ta Askatasuna (Basque Homeland and Freedom, ETA), which has fought an armed struggle for Basque freedom for decades, released a video declaring that several months ago it had decided to stop armed actions, and announced a ceasefire.

In its...

On September 27, the repressive police apparatus of the Spanish state was brought to bear on the Askapena, the internationalist organisation of the Basque pro-independence left. Seven members were arrested across the Basque Country.

Among those arrested was Walter Wendelin, who does a...

Pakistan blocked a vital supply route for US-led troops in Afghanistan on September 30. The move was in apparent retaliation for an alleged cross-border NATO helicopter strike that killed three Pakistani frontier troops, The British Morning Star said that day.

The blockade...

Secret documents disclosed in Britain’s High Court revealed former British prime minister Tony Blair was warned in the weeks after US forces began rounding up terrorism suspects that British nationals held by the US in Afghanistan and Guantanamo Bay were being tortured, the Guardian...

The 2006 Jana Andolan (“People’s Movement”), which shut down Nepal and overthrew the 240-year-old Shah monarchy, was widely hailed as the birth of a new era of democracy.

For the first time, the people of Nepal were able to elect a constituent assembly in 2008, giving the mass...

In a qualitative escalation, the government of President Barack Obama has for the first time used the “war on terror” against socialists in the United States. On September 24, the FBI conducted a series of coordinated early-morning raids at homes and offices in Minneapolis, Chicago, Michigan and...

Britain is said to be approaching its Berlusconi Moment. That is to say, if Rupert Murdoch wins control of Sky, he will command half Britain’s television and newspaper market and threaten what is known as public service broadcasting.

Although the alarm is ringing, it is unlikely that any...

On September 28, a British Guardian reporter who interviewed me by phone published an article on the September 26 Venezuelan National Assembly elections titled “Opposition Gains Loosen Chavez’s Grip on Power.”

According to the article, I said the electoral results “suggested the...

Venezuela’s September 26 National Assembly elections gave an interesting insight into the state of class struggle in a country sharply polarised by the revolutionary changes led by the government of President Hugo Chavez.

The significance lies in the vote occurring after 11 years of the...

Analysis

Refugee Action Coalition NSW media release

A year ago, then prime Minister Kevin Rudd called Indonesian President Yudhoyono requesting that the Indonesian navy intercept a boat carrying 254 Tamil asylum seekers to Australia. The boat was the subject of
international...

Statement from the Socialist Alliance National Executive October 8, 2010

On October 17, 2001 the Howard Coalition government deployed Australian troops to Afghanistan, just nine days after the US had begun bombing one of the most poverty stricken and war weary nations on earth...

On September 27, the Australian Director of Military Prosecutions announced that charges were being laid against three soldiers from Australia’s Special Operations Task Group in Afghanistan.

The charges were over the February 12, 2009, killing of two adults and four children near the...

On September 26, protesters from climate change activist group Rising Tide shut down the world’s largest coal port at Newcastle. Green Left Weekly’s Zane Alcorn interviewed Rising Tide member Annika Dean.

* * *

What happened at...

Housing was barely mentioned during the August 21 federal election, despite being a huge social issue. The Victorian state election is looming, and it is crucial that more is done to protect and win back our housing rights.

People from all walks of life are affected by the housing crisis...

On October 8, the Maritime Union of Australia (MUA), Queensland branch of the Electrical Trades Union and the Australian Manufacturing Workers Union will sign a “social compact” with the North Queensland Lands Council (NQLC).

The compact will mark a new stage in collaboration between...

During recent protests in Villawood Detention Centre that followed the September 20 suicide of detained Fijian exile Josefa Rauluni, detainees who tried to help rooftop protesters with water and blankets were stopped by security. One man was bashed.

Hunger strikers were kept quiet in...

“I believe in capitalism. Capitalism to me is a spiritual concept. Democracy just gets in the way. Democracy is annoying. Let them buy stuff and eat cake. Where I come from, if you don't believe in capitalism you're going to hell.”

A “Yes Men” parody? No, these serious words of US...

A “people's assembly for refugees” met in front of Parliament House on September 28 to call on the government to introduce humane policies and stop using refugees as political footballs.

More than 160 people from Victoria, the ACT and NSW were joined by Greens parliamentarians Sarah...

We’re told that Australia is an egalitarian country. Our prime minister is a working-class migrant girl made good, while her predecessor was raised in regional Queensland by a single mother after the early death of his father.

Anything is possible; our origins need not hold us back....

Efforts to pass laws banning full veils, burqa or chador, in some European countries — particularly France — have put the issue firmly on the agenda in many other Western countries.

Left and feminist positions are being challenged. The dilemma is whether to defend the right for Muslim...

On the surface, Labor PM Julia Gillard appears to have done an about-face on climate change in the weeks since Labor scraped back into government. Immediate action on climate change — especially setting a carbon price — is back on the agenda, she says.

The Labor minority government has...

Green Left Weekly’s Angela Walker spoke to Carole Ford, a founding member of Pro Choice Cairns, about the upcoming trial of a young Cairns couple. The couple have been charged under Queensland’s 19th century abortion-procurement laws.

...

Editorial

On September 15, France’s Senate passed a bill banning women from wearing full Islamic face veils such as the burqa and niqab.

Similar laws are being considered in other European countries. In the New South Wales Legislative Council, Christian fundamentalist MLC Fred Nile has introduced...

Letters

More deaths

Deaths in custody in Australia continue and are also not limited to prison and police custodial jurisdictions. There were 2043 Australian deaths in custody from 1980 to 2007; 72 deaths in custody per year from 1980 to 2000; 75 deaths per year from 2000 to...

Resistance!

A University of Newcastle student group, the Fairtrade Club, has had a win: a campus cafe has agreed to serve Fairtrade-certified coffee.

The club formed earlier this year. It campaigns for shops and cafes at the university to sell fair trade products like coffee and chocolate. It also...

Culture

One of the greatest living exponents of Peruvian musica criolla (creole music), Eva Ayllon, performed at the Sydney Opera House on September 25. Finding my seat, I felt as if I’d walked into an exuberant family gathering full of animated conversation, laughter, waving and group...

The Mountain City Murders
By John Tognolini
Ginninderra Press, Port Adelaide, 2010

The Mountain City Murders is a tale of crime, corruption and politics. Set in 2008 in the fictional New South Wales town of Mountain City (about 120km west of...

Fighting Fund

We have just three months left to raise $135,228 if we are to make our 2010 fighting fund target of $300,000.

This may seem like an impossible task but it isn't. Our supporters have raised $164,772 this year. We know we have the support out there to raise the rest.

Of course,...