Issue 856

Australia

Cuban band JJ Son con Idabelis is touring NSW until the end of November. The quartet is playing at construction sites, organised by the Construction Forestry Mining Energy Union (CFMEU), cultural festivals and solidarity concerts supporting the trapped Chilean miners, political prisoners in...

“No powerlines through koala habitat”, was the main slogan of a protest rally of people from the Logan area, the Gold Coast and the Sunshine Coast outside the Queensland parliament on October 7. The protesters had gathered to present a 2000-strong petition opposing electricity company, Energex,...

“Public interest vs private profit” was the theme of Socialist Alliance’s state conference in Melbourne on October 2.

In the opening panel, Kenneth Davidson, senior columnist for the Age slammed Victoria as being a corporate state: “Since the election of [Coalition Premier Jeff...

One hundred people rallied in Sydney on October 9 in solidarity with a young Cairns couple charged with abortion-related offences under Queensland’s 1899 criminal code. The court case begins on October 12, and the couple will be supported by a vigil outside.

The rally was organised by...

On the ninth anniversary of the invasion of Afghanistan, 200 people rallied in Sydney to demand that the Gillard Labor government pull the troops out.

Edmund Rice Centre director Phil Glenndening slammed the government over its hypocritical and cruel stand on Afghan refugees; Sylvia Hale...

WAVE HILL — Aboriginal workers in the community of Kalkaringi — site of the famous 1966 Gurindji walk-off — will stage a protest on October 20 against what they call “a return to the ration days”.

Under the NT intervention introduced in 2007, Aboriginal workers on Community Development...

Over October 8-9, about 70 people attended the Latin America Solidarity Conference, organised by the Latin America Forum in Melbourne, under the theme “Challenging corporate globalisation: people’s power is changing the world”.

Feature sessions looked at various issues affecting Latin...

About 25 people attended an October 5 Green Left Weekly forum on "The Fight for Refugee Rights".

Paul McKinnon, convenor of the Refugee Action Collective, said: “While the refugee rights movement is still not up to the strength it was three years ago, the achievement of the...

One hundred activists protested on the steps of the Victorian parliament on October 6 to demand the Victorian desalination plant at Wonthaggi be scrapped.

Stephen Cannon of Watershed Victoria, which organised the protest, said the Brumby government had provided no reliable costing of the...

About 500 South-East Queensland health workers walked off the job and rallied in front of State Parliament on October 7, protesting against the Bligh government's offer of annual pay increases of only 2.5% a year for three years.

The unions are demanding increases totalling 12.5% over...

On September 15, Socialist Alliance member Margaret Gleeson was awarded the prize of delegate of the year by the Queensland state conference of the Australian Services Union (ASU).

She will now be put forward as the Queensland nominee for ASU National Delegate of the Year, to be decided...

Three hundred people attended a launch of author and activist Tariq Ali's new book, From Bush to Obama — Change We Can Believe In? on October 6.

Ali said Obama’s election campaign had raised people's hopes and mobilised US youth, but people were now disillusioned and angry. He...

Police violence has come under the spotlight once again, as it tends to do every six months or so. Sometimes it is when two or more incidents occur together, or it is when the media have decided that the last story about misbehaving police has been forgotten, and now is the time for a new one....

As the rescue of 33 miners trapped 700 metres underground at the San Jose mine in Copiapo, Chile, was drawing closer, concerns were being raised about Chilean miners’ rights.

After the August 5 cave-in that trapped the workers, mining company San Esteban sacked more than 200 other miners...

Almost 600 people poured into the town hall in Melbourne’s north-eastern suburb of Ivanhoe on October 6 to discuss the Victorian Labor government’s proposal to build a freeway across the Banyule Flats and the Yarra Corridor. The government intends to build the North-East Link to join the Western...

The National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU) at the University of New South Wales (UNSW) has vowed to fight the imposition of a “sub-standard” enterprise bargaining agreement (EBA) after a majority of general staff voted in favour of the agreement in a September 29-October 1 poll.

The...

World

Workers and students mobilised in their millions on October 12 in the fourth and largest mobilisation in the last month against laws that will reduce the pension entitlements of French workers.

The protests and strikes come the French Senate has begun passing aspects of the pension bill...

Popular Thai newspaper Prachatai has reported that, a woman was arrested on October 3 at a freedom bike ride by United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship supporters (popularly known as the Red Shirts) in Ayutthaya for selling slippers with Thailand’s military-installed Prime...

Andres Pelaez is the first secretary of the Uruguayan embassy in Australia. He will be speaking at the Sydney Latin America Solidarity Conference over October 16-17 (visit www.latinamericasolidarity.org for details). Below, he provides a theoretical look at the nature...

In December 2009, a Bulgarian court convicted 23-year-old Australian Jock Palfreeman of the murder of 20-year-old Bulgarian man Andrey Monov, who died of a knife wound. Palfreeman was sentenced to 20 years in jail.

This resulted from an incident in December 2007 in which Palfreeman,...

In August, Truthout conducted soil and water sampling in Pass Christian Harbor, Mississippi, on Grand Isle, Louisiana, and around barrier islands off Louisiana’s coast to test for the presence of oil from BP’s Macondo Well.

Laboratory test results from samples taken reveal very high...

Despite pre-election poll predictions, the centre-left Workers Party (PT) presidential candidate failed to win outright in the first round of Brazil’s October 3 presidential elections.

PT candidate Dilma Rousseff, who won 46.7% of the vote, is seeking to succeed President Ignacio “Lula”...

With great power comes great responsibility. But Apostle Boyd K. Packer of the Church of Latter Day Saints (LDS, also known as the Mormons) is using his power to hurt the vulnerable by publicly condemning homosexuality after several highly publicised suicides of LGBTI youth in the United States...

Alina Canaviri Sullcani is a Bolivian indigenous peasant now visiting Australia. Canaviri is active in Santa Cruz as a leader of the National Federation of Indigenous Peasant Women of Bolivia “Bartolina Sisa” and the Movement Towards Socialism (MAS) party led by...

US relations with Pakistan have deteriorated as the US continues to extend its war in neighbouring Afghanistan across the border. The US blames the use of sanctuaries in Pakistan by insurgents for the failure of the US-led occupation of Afghanistan to achieve its aims.

Pakistan closed...

West Papuan leaders have rejected the possibility of talks with the Indonesian government until it acknowledges human rights abuses and ensures economic development, the October 5 Jakarta Globe said.

Indonesia has claimed West Papua as its territory since a fraudulent vote by...

Sombat Boonngamanong, a cultural activist and NGO organiser, was not a central leader of the United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (popularly known as the Red Shirts) when their mass protest camp at the Ratchaprasong intersection in the heart of Bangkok was...

Malaysian Socialist Party (PSM) secretary-general S. Arutchelvan called the proposed labour law review by the human resources Ministry was “draconian”, klick4Malaysia.com said on October 1.

Arutchelvan said it would destroy the few rights workers have left.

“This is the worse...

The marvellous part about a transport strike, such as the one on the London Underground on October 4, is the reports on the news afterwards.

This is where we’re told: “One plucky commuter beat the strike by breaking into the Imperial War Museum and stealing a Spitfire, which he used to...

The attempted coup d’etat in Ecuador on September 30 against the left-wing government of Rafael Correa was defeated by loyal troops and the mass mobilisation of Correa’s supporters. The event underscores the turbulent history of the small Andean nation.

It also exposes some of the...

The October 3-14 Commonwealth Games being held in Delhi have proven a disaster for India’s poor — economically and socially. Even before the games opened, 47 workers had died working on sites linked to the games, MSNBC.com said on September 23.

The September 23 Financial Times...

In September, I spent two weeks on a solidarity brigade in Venezuela. The brigade participants were able to witness the September 26 National Assembly elections and get a first hand view of the revolutionary changes taking place across the country.

The brigade was organised by the...

Analysis

The political situation in France is dominated by the mobilization against the proposed reform of the pension system. This reform is at the heart of Sarkozy’s austerity policy. Although it is presented as an obvious demographic necessity, it is meeting increasing opposition in public opinion....

The rescue of 33 miners in Chile is an extraordinary drama filled with pathos and heroism. It is also a media windfall for the Chilean government, whose every beneficence is recorded by a forest of cameras. One cannot fail to be impressed. However, like all great media events, it is a facade....

After a month of thundering that a rise in the official interest rate was close, the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) has kept interest rates on hold at its monthly board meeting on October 5.

Most financial commentators were betting on a rate rise of 0.25%, with banks expected to...

In “The Return of Dr Strangelove”, a September 6 lecture hosted by Melbourne University and Beyond Zero Emissions (BZE), Clive Hamilton, author of Affluenza, Scorcher and Requiem for a Species gave a short history of the research and investment in geo-engineering...

I asked Simon, a homeless man in Melbourne who has organised protests around housing, “If you had three wishes what would they be?”

“A roof over my head, a feed every day and someone to love me who I can love back. As simple as that”, he said.

“There's not much more to life when...

Seven refugee rights activists were forced out of Sydney’s Villawood Immigration Detention Centre on October 4. Two days later, another refugee advocate, Rosalie Scolari, was banned from Maribyrnong detention centre in Melbourne.

Private prisons operator Serco runs both detention centres...

On September 23, the Daily Telegraph reported on a wall mural in the Sydney inner-west suburb of Newtown by artist Sergio Redegalli with the slogan “Say no to burqas”.

Redegalli’s mural has sparked protests by local residents who have condemned it as racist. Sydney Socialist...

The Greens and the Australian Labor Party signed an agreement on September 1 to form a minority government on certain conditions, one of which was support for amendments to the constitution to recognise Aboriginal people. The government has agreed to hold a referendum on the issue.

The...

It’s close to an article of faith among environmentalists that using less energy is a big part of the solution to climate change. Energy efficiency is often said to be the “low hanging fruit” of climate policy.

On face value, the benefits seem obvious.

The knowledge needed to...

There is something rotten in the state of Victoria.

The legacy of secrecy in government reached a high point under Jeff Kennett’s Coalition state government in the 1990s. It continued under the Bracks Labor government and the current John Brumby Labor government.

The main reason...

Richard Stallman is something of a legend in the global software community. In 1983, he created the free software movement, through which highly trained and often highly paid professionals give their time to producing software for the public good.

The movement...

Letters

Coup d'etat in Ecuador

The most retrograde forces of Latin America are trying to steal power from the people again. Honduras yesterday, Ecuador today. No more coup d’etats! Democracies exist only through the will of the people and these crimes bring pain and suffering to...

General

Report: unions key to wellbeing

A new report has found that trade unions improve the general well-being for union and non-union citizens in several industrialised countries, an October 7 InTheseTimes.com article said.

The findings, which appear in the September...

Resistance!

In a tragedy that occurs far too often, Tyler Clementi, an 18-year-old gay university student, committed suicide by jumping off a bridge in New Jersey on September 22. Clementi's roommate and another student had set up a web camera and live streamed him having sex with a man, outing him online...

October 15 is Wear It Purple Day. Please make and wear a purple armband to show support for queer teens at risk of suicide.

For young Australians, suicide is the second most common cause of death after traffic accidents. There is evidence that 30% of lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender...

Culture

What is most interesting about Newcastle’s annual This Is Not Art (TiNA) festival, is that what started 12 years ago as a community festival of independent, emerging art and culture, is still a community festival of independent, emerging art and culture.

In an era when it’s not uncommon...

The Live Red Art Awards and Festival is taking place on October 17 at the Addison Road Community Centre in Marrickville, Sydney. The day will feature an exhibition and live performances.

Submissions for the multi-disciplinary competition, which was open to anyone, closed on October 1. As...

Whoops! Why Everyone Owes Everyone & No One Can Pay
By John Lanchester
224 pages
Penguin, Allen Lane

Review by Mat Ward

If you don't know the difference between a credit default swap (CDS), a collateralised debt obligation (CDO) and...

Fighting Fund

A crude and jingoistic appeal to Australian patriotism is the last refuge of the pro-war scoundrels as we approach the Australian parliamentary debate on Afghanistan. Australia sent troops to Afghanistan in October 2001, but it has taken nine years for parliament to discuss this act of war. Is...

To meet our $300,000 Green Left Weekly fighting fund target this year, we need less than half of what Commonwealth Bank CEO Ralph Norris gets paid in just week.

GLW supporters have raised $165,406 so far this year. To make the target, we need to raise a further $134,594. Every...