Issue 861

Australia

Over 100 people, including Taser victim Kevin Spratt, attended a rally on November 13, which focused on the excessive use of Tasers by police. Most speakers, including Deaths in Custody chairperson Marianne Mackay, called for a complete end to the use of Tasers by police. However shadow attorney...

There are renewable energy options for WA.

This was the clear message of a forum hosted by Safe Climate Perth on November 13 as part of its campaign calling on the state government to cancel approval for five new or refurbished coal-fired power stations.

Tim Barling from...

A Union and Community Summer School, Winning Our Rights, will be held over December 10-11 at Melbourne Trades Hall.

Most left political traditions will take part in the school, which aims to strengthen unity on issues for which there is agreement.

The approach will be...

West Papuans and their supporters staged protests worldwide to coincide with US President Barack Obama's visit to Indonesia. Large protests were held in West Papua.

In Melbourne, about 50 activists protested at Federation Square on November 10, demanding action against the Indonesian...

Seventy people from across New South Wales took part in the Socialist Alliance state conference on October 7 to discuss politics and political campaigns in NSW and plan for the March 2011 state elections.

The conference decided to run a “red-green” election campaign based on the slogan “...

Housing action group City is Ours organised a protest outside housing minister Richard Wynne’s office on November 12, to highlight Melboune’s growing housing crisis.

City is Ours has also recently organised a public meeting and a protest against rooming house evictions outside Moreland...

For the second week in a row, nurses held lunchtime rallies outside their hospitals in support of the NSW Nurses Association campaign for a mandated minimum nurse to patient ratio of 1:4 in public hospitals. This ratio has been mandated in Victoria for 10 years but NSW lags behind.

Lower...

Ivanhoe Girls Grammar School (IGS) has been attacked for its ban against same-sex couples at a school dance.

Student Hannah Williams boycotted the event in protest because her school would not let her take her girlfriend Savannah.

Hannah and Savannah have been dating for about...

"The Queensland government yesterday completed the second sale in its asset privatisation program, offloading the Port of Brisbane for $2.3 billion to a group of local and offshore buyers”, the November 11 Courier-Mail said.

The port was sold to a consortium called Q Port...

Federal Liberal/National Coalition leader Tony Abbott left Normanton, in far north Queensland’s gulf country, on November 10, having failed to win Aboriginal elders' backing for his bill to repeal Queensland's Wild Rivers legislation.

The existing Wild Rivers legislation aims to protect...

The last Aboriginal residents of the Redfern Block will be evicted on November 19 to make way for a new development by the Aboriginal Housing Corporation.

Aboriginal Housing Corporation CEO Mick Mundine told ABC TV’s November 8 Lateline that the development involved commercial...

Tasmanian Greens leader Nick McKim will introduce a bill into state parliament this week in a third attempt to have same-sex marriage legalised in Tasmania.

Labor Premier David Bartlett said he would not support the bill, believing same-sex marriage is a federal rather than a state issue...

The National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU) at the University of New South Wales (UNSW) has voted for further industrial action, as vice-chancellor Fred Hilmer still refuses to negotiate in good faith on improvements to job security, pay and other conditions for staff.

A November 10...

Wollongong developer Frank Vellar has been charged with four offences under the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) Act.

More than two years have passed since theICAC released the third of its reports into corruption in Wollongong City Council. In October 2008, the...

The Refugee Advocacy Network organised a rally against mandatory detention on November 7, in response to the federal Labor government’s huge expansion of the system. About 400 people attended the protest.

A keynote speaker at the rally was visiting Afghan activist Malalai Joya. She drew...

In response to an unprovoked and grotesque attack on the NSW Greens’ offices, discovered as staff arrived to work on November 8, the Socialist Alliance released the following statement.

* * *
The NSW Socialist Alliance condemns the cowardly attack, involving faeces, on the offices...

A High Court decision concerning the Refugee Status Assessment (RSA) process may undermine the government's offshore processing system.

On November 11, the court upheld a case put by two Tamil asylum seekers, who'd had their claims for asylum rejected.

Known as M61 and M69, the...

At its national conference last week, the Australian Services Union (ASU) elected Brisbane delegate and Socialist Alliance member Margaret Gleeson as national “Delegate of the Year”. She received the award from Australian Council of Trade Unions president Ged Kearney at the National Conference...

More than 100 people attended a Brunswick candidates’ forum about planning issues on November 11. The high attendance reflected anger at the many high-rise buildings planned for the inner-Melbourne area. Six state election candidates addressed the meeting.

Socialist Alliance candidate...

Matthew Wright and Patrick Hearps from Beyond Zero Emissions outlined their plan to switch Australia to 100% renewable stationary energy by 2020 to 150 people in Hobart on November 11. Local speakers Todd Houstein from Sustainable Living Tasmania and Peter Rae from the International Renewable...

World

Demonstrators marched in Santa Cruz, the capital of Spanish-ruled Canary Islands just off the north-west African coast, on November 11 against the week-long assault on a protest camp in Moroccan-occupied Western Sahara.

James Tweedie wrote on Ositorojo.blogspot.com that day that more...

Cuba and Venezuela condemned on November 11 the repression by Moroccan forces against Sahrawi people in El-Aaiun, the Venezuelan News Agency (AVN) said that day.

Cuban and Venezuela’s ambassadors to Algeria, Hector Michel Mujica and Eumelio Caballero, condemned the attack by Morrocco,...

President Nicolas Sarkozy enacted a new law on November 10 that increases the retirement age of French workers. The move came just days after more than a million workers and students mobilised across France against the law.

The November 6 protests were the eighth national strike and...

At first glance, you might have mistaken London’s packed streets on November 10 for a Mardi Gras carnival. There young faces and large grins, combined with incessant whistle-blowing, trumpet-blasting and drum-beating. All mixed together to form the din of student protest.

The noise took...

The US has stepped up flights by pilotless drones and increased the deployment of special forces and CIA operatives in the Middle Eastern nation of Yemen. The US military and CIA have been covertly operating in Yemen since at least 2002.

The November 7 Washington Post quoted...

Moroccan occupation forces brutally attacked and destroyed the Saharawi Gdeim Izik protest camp on November 8, which had grown to over 20,000 since being established on October 9.

The camp, 15 kilometres outside the capital, El Aaiun, was established to protest lack of job opportunities...

Malalai Joya is an Afghan feminist and anti-war activist who opposes the US-led occupation of her country. An opponent of both the Islamic fundamentalist Taliban and the equally fundamentalist and corrupt warlords in the US-backed regime of President Hamid Karzai, Joya...

More than 5000 workers from across Venezuela marched to the Venezuelan National Assembly in Caracas on November 9. The rally was organised by the National Workers’ Union (UNT).

The central demand of the rally was that a radical new labour law currently tabled in parliament, which would...

“The whole process was a fake!”, said Khin Maung Swe, a 68-year-old leader of the National Democratic Force (NDF), a breakaway from the National League for Democracy (NLD) led by Aung San Suu Kyi. “We just won 16 seats [out of the 163 the NDF contested] because of the so-called advance votes...

When the United Nations Millennium Development Goals Summit took place in September, leaders from rich countries, as well as aid and research organisatons, met with Third World nations and “recommitted” to eight anti-poverty goals.

The goals were set in the Millennium Declaration in 2000...

“Rise like lions after slumber/In unvanquishable number!/Shake your chains to earth, like dew/Which in sleep had fall’n on you/Ye are many —they are few.”

These days, the stirring lines of Percy Shelley’s “Mask of Anarchy” from 1819 may seem unattainable. I don’t think so.

...

More than 50,000 German anti-nuclear protesters defied 17,000 police over the weekend of November 6 and 7and blockaded a train carrying spent nuclear fuel rods from France to Germany.

On November 8, the fuel rods finally reached the small north German village of Dannenberg. From there,...

Hundreds of thousands of victims of the Mount Merapi volcano eruption in central Java face economic and social destruction unless the government carries out a comprehensive recovery plan to help them.

By November 9, the Data Communications Centre from the health ministry has put the...

A November 4 World Bank and International Finance Corporation report, Doing Business 2011: Making a Difference for Entrepreneurs, ranked Colombia as the 39th most “business friendly environment” in the world.

Colombia’s “Doing Business” score, which measures how much the country...

The easy view to adopt after the drubbing received by the Democrats in the November 2 midterm elections would be that we’re back to normal, and Americans are just mental.

That is because the people leading the hatred of US President Barack Obama are characters such as Glenn Beck,...

In what Sky News described as one of the largest demonstrations to hit London streets in decades, tens of thousands of students, teachers, staff members and their supporters rallied on November 10 in opposition to the new Conservative-led government’s plan for tuition increases and cutbacks at...

Analysis

Climate deniers love banging on about media bias. It’s a favourite theme.

They claim media outlets suppress the debate, peddle global warming hysteria and refuse to give deniers an equal hearing.

Indeed, the evidence (always a knotty issue for deniers) shows that there is a...

Your article “What's behind the NT intervention” (GLW #843) outlines the government's goal of forced assimilation of Aboriginal communities.

Under the intervention, millions of dollars worth of assets and housing has been seized from Aboriginal community councils and thousands...

Having lived on the farm right next to the Northam army barracks since 1934, Eric Fox has seen a lot of people use the camp (and his farm) over the years.

“The army used the farm extensively [in the early years of World War Two] as an extension of their training ground”, Fox told ...

If you relied on only mainstream media reports of the November 4 town hall meeting in Northam, you would conclude the Avon Valley town, one hour from Perth, is a seething hotbed of racism of the most vicious kind.

The meeting was called to discuss the federal government’s plan to use the...

From the left and the right of Labor, progressive MPs, members, unions and voters within the party are fighting back against Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s homophobic views on marriage. At the same time, huge sections of Labor’s support have shifted toward the Greens, or toward more radical,...

ALP activist Craig Giddins was one of six members of the Port Curtis and Hinterland branch who recently resigned in protest against Queensland Premier Anna Bligh’s public assets sell-off, especially QR National.

Giddins, also the president of the Gladstone branch of the...

The Mid Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook (MYEFO) released by treasurer Wayne Swann on November 9 shows that Labor is betting on the minerals boom continuing. While admitting that the global economy remains tenuous, and that the whole house of cards could collapse, it has no “plan B”.

“...

If truth is the first casualty of war, it certainly sustains critical injuries in peace.

In Victoria our state seems to be in information lockdown. Much of the media have remained subservient to the armies of spin doctors, minders, advisers, pollsters and other such wired and hired guns...

The federal election result and the surging Green vote have livened up the Victorian election campaign. The latest Newspoll figures show 19% support for the Greens, the and major parties are struggling to work out whether to launch a full-frontal attack or whether that would deliver more votes...

Letters

Let Vanunu go free

In 1986, Mordechai Vanunu exposed Israel’s secret nuclear weapons arsenal to the world after becoming disillusioned with his work as a technician at Dimona Nuclear Research Centre in Israel. He revealed Israel had hundreds of advanced nuclear warheads...

Resistance!

"When I was 15, I remember going to parties and being really uncomfortable when someone put on porn. Porn told me how, as a woman, I needed to look, act and experience sex; and that people found women being treated this way funny or arousing rather than frightening." — Anonymous.

Porn...

The Anti-Porn Men Project was recently launched. Anti-Porn Men is a website providing men with information and a platform to explore anti-pornography views and arguments.

Criticisms of porn from moralistic and religious standpoints are nothing new, but the Anti-Porn Men Project isn’t...

Culture

GasLand
A film by director Josh Fox
In Palace cinemas from November 18
www.GasLand.com.au

In September 2006, theatre director and part-time banjo player Josh Fox received an unexpected letter in the mail: a natural gas company offering him $100,000 for...

US comics Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert held their “Rally for Sanity and/or Fear” in Washington DC on October 30, which drew about 200,000 to 300,000 people.

Stewart, host of Comedy Central satirical news show The Daily Show, called a “Rally to Restore Sanity” on air.

...

Johnny Ray’s Downtown
Perry Keyes
Laughing Outlaw Records

Sydney singer songwriter Perry Keyes’ latest album, Johnny Ray’s Downtown, tells tales of life in the city’s inner-city suburbs. It has earned Keyes his first ARIA nomination,...

The Last Englishman: The Double Life of Arthur Ransome
by ROLAND CHAMBERS
Faber & Faber, 2010,
$24.99
390 pages, (pb)

Arthur Ransome was a popular children's author in England who counted the offspring of A. A. Milne and J. R. R. Tolkien among his...

Fighting Fund

Being a political activist can be fun. About 15 of us enjoyed throwing shoes in a Sydney Stop The War Coalition action on November 8 outside the US Consulate.

We were protesting against the AUSMIN war talks with US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and US Secretary of State Hillary...