Issue 863

Australia

A group of homeless students are fighting against eviction by the Sydney City Council. They have occupied an empty building in Redfern for more than a month. The council has served three eviction notices and claims the building is a fire hazard and a danger to the squatters' safety....

The Melbourne Immigration Transit Accommodation (MITA) refugee centre in Broadmeadows has beds for 50 people. It housed 46 unaccompanied refugee teenagers until the government expanded the facility to detain more refugees.

The centre now detains 132 boys, all aged under 17. The youngest...

National rallies on November 20 and 27 were held in support of equal marriage rights for lesbian, gay, transgender, and intersex (LGBTI) couples.

November 20 was also Transgender Day of Remembrance. The day started in 1999 to remember those who were killed by anti-transgender hatred or...

Mulrunji Doomadgee died in police custody on Palm Island in November 2004. Despite reviewing findings highly critical of police by coroner Brian Hine at the third Coronial Inquest in May, on November 23 the Queensland Criminal Justice Commission (CMC) found there was insufficient evidence to...

About 150 members of the National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU) at the University of New South Wales and Macquarie University have been stood down after taking part in lawful and protected industrial action.

The union put a ban on the transmission of student results after more than two...

"You can't come in”, Friends of the Earth (FOE) organiser Drew Hutton told mining companies on behalf of a coalition of farming groups from South-West Queensland, outside State Parliament on November 22.

The farmers launched the campaign in opposition to mining companies’ plans for up to...

The Independent Education Union (IEU) has launched a campaign for pay equity for early childhood teachers. In the months leading up to the NSW elections in March 2011, the campaign will include rallies, postcards and an email bombardment of the Labor and Liberal parties.

Early childhood...

Prominent queer rights and climate activist, Paola Harvey, will stand for the Socialist Alliance in the seat of Keira in the March 2011 NSW elections.

Harvey, a resident of Mount Keira and part-time student, is a founding member of Equal Love Wollongong, the organisation leading the...

Four thousand nurses and midwives met at Sydney Olympic Park on November 24 to protest against the state government's refusal to fund safe nurse-to patient-ratios.

It was the first state-wide nurses’ strike since 2001 and 170 hospitals were affected.

The action was supported by...

A community sit-in defending Melbourne’s only Indigenous school, Ballerrt Mooroop College in Glenroy, began on November 24.

The state Labor government planned to shift the Glenroy Specialist School (GSS) onto the site, which would push the Koori school into portable classrooms in a tiny...

The Socialist Alliance’s Socialist Ideas Conference on November 20 featured informative presentations and spirited discussion. It reviewed the political situation in Australia and globally.

One of the speakers was Greens MLC Mark Parnell. The most animated discussion was about the Greens...

About 100 people attended a “Save Gleniffer Brae” meeting on November 15 as part of a campaign to keep the historic, heritage-listed manor house in public hands.

Organised by Reclaim Our City, the meeting demanded, “no action leading to the sale of public land at Gleniffer Brae and this...

The latest appeal against Stockland's Sandon Point development was dismissed on November 25, clearing the way for development.

The case has been in the Land and Environment Court since August.

The appeal was launched by the Sandon Point Aboriginal Tent Embassy (SPATE), which has...

The Aboriginal Rights Coalition (ARC) held the "Deadly Dance 4 Justice" on November 19, which drew 100 people to the Globe Theatre for a night of live music, poetry and spoken-word performance, and raised more than $1500 for campaigns.

Headlining was Byron Bay act Fyah Walk, accompanied...

World

Haiti's November 28 election was marred by widespread fraud. Despite the call of all the leading candidates but one to cancel the exercise, officials with the UN Security Council mission as well as the United States, Canada and Europe are voicing satisfaction with the result and urging the...

Sombat Boonngamanong is a long-time NGO activist in Thailand and has been of great help to renewing public Red Shirt activity following the bloody April-May military crackdown.

Lee Yu Kyung spoke to him about the prospects for the democracy movement in...

The streets of Ayala, the old financial capital of Manila, were taken over by about 5000 people on November 25 in a protest against the growing use of contract labour. Philippine Airlines, owned by the Philippines second richest man, is the latest company to sack its workforce and rehire them as...

Irish socialist republican party eirigi chairperson Brian Leeson has labelled the Dublin government’s four-year fiscal adjustment plan “a criminal charter for the wrecking of working class communities”.

Among the measures contained within the plan are:
• A €2.8 billion cut in the...

The sixth plenum of the Unified Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist — UCPN(M)) began on November 20 in Gorka District. It was the largest meeting in the party’s history; more then 7000 local members are taking part in discussions.

The Nepalese revolution is in a state of limbo. The current...

Irish election officials said on November 26 that Sinn Fein candidate Pearse Doherty had won a long-awaited by-election in Donegal with an overwhelming 40% of the vote.

The election was blocked for months before it was forced on Prime Minister Brian Cowen by the Irish courts.

...

Maire Leadbeater is a spokesperson for the Indonesia Human Rights Committee (Auckland). She recently returned from West Papua, a nation that has faced repression since its occupation by Indonesia in 1963. She spoke to Green Left Weekly's Ash...

Portugal's working class brought the country to a standstill on November 24 to press the Socialist Party government to scrap its regressive cuts program.

The general strike against European Union-mandated austerity, the first to be organised jointly by Portugal's two main unions since...

Representatives of 76 indigenous peoples said they reject market-based mechanisms as a false solution to the climate crisis at a recent international conference.

They said UN-backed carbon trading schemes such as Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation (REDD), “are...

Media fanfare has subsided around the October rescue of 33 miners from the San Jose mine in Chile — an event watched by an estimated 1 billion people across the globe.

But could this event at least help bring about change for miners’ rights and conditions?

Unfortunately, if we...

A rising tide of homophobic aggression in Uganda has divided religious leaders. At the root of the problem, Western missionaries have been spreading anti-gay sentiment and dividing the community.

Homosexuality has been illegal in Uganda since British colonisation in the late 19th century...

The Israeli government agreed “in principle” on November 17 to withdraw from the northern part of Ghajar, a village in the occupied Golan Heights. The village was conquered by Israel in 1967, during the six-day war.

In 2000, Ghajar was split in two. The northern part was to be controlled...

The 190th Annual Meeting of Southern Baptists, held on November 16 in Columbia, South Carolina, approved a resolution calling its pastors to preach against homosexuality — “to uphold the biblical standard of human sexuality against all onslaughts” — but also to “love and show compassion toward...

Pope Benedict XVI has told a German journalist that condom use can be justified in some cases to help stop the spread of AIDS.

News of the Pope’s historic new stance was first posted online on November 20 in L’Osservatore Romano, the Vatican’s newspaper.

The Pope...

Tough talk by the warmongers at the November 20-21 NATO conference in Lisbon, Portugal, obscured the growing opposition in the US and Europe to the nine-year occupation of Afghanistan.

Ten thousand people took to the streets of London on November 20 to protest the war. Angry at the...

Despite pledges at the recent Millennium Development Goals (MDG) summit to combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases, there has been a constant battle across the global South for access to vital antiretroviral HIV/AIDS treatments and antibiotics for malaria and tuberculosis (TB).

One...

The 2005 Naivasha Agreement ended the civil war between the Sudanese government and the Sudanese Peoples Liberation Movement (SPLM), based in South Sudan.

About 2 million people were killed in the 1983-2005 conflict. A further 500,000 people were killed in the 1955-1972 civil war, also...

Chilean activist Manuel Olate Cespedes was arrested in Santiago on October 29 after the Colombian government alleged he is linked to left-wing guerilla group the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC).

Below is an abridged statement issued by the Latin America Social Forum (LASF)...

The 2011 UN climate conference in Cancun, Mexico, is not expected to agree to sharp cuts in greenhouse gas emissions. But the UN and rich nations will push for the conference to endorse a carbon trading scheme to protect forests, known as Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and forest...

The public finances of Ireland will, for the next three years at least, be subject to “regular reviews” by external monitors working on behalf of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the European Union (EU) and the British and Swedish governments.

On November 21, the Taoiseach (Prime...

Analysis

A Socialist Alliance statement on the ‘Tasmanian Forests Statement of Principles’

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Since its inception in 2001, the Socialist Alliance has been actively involved in campaigns to protect high conservation native forests from being logged and we support an end to the forestry...

On October 23, the Age reported that increased alcohol prices are driving many young people to switch to the party drug ecstasy, according to drug researchers, nightclub owners and young people themselves.

“It is cheaper and convenient to use pills”, said Professor Jake Najman,...

Workers with disabilities are speaking out against the Supported Wage System (SWS), which encourages employers to legally underpay workers with disabilities.

The federal government’s Job Access program markets SWS as a progressive innovation by burying it among more egalitarian policies...

The federal Labor government of Prime Minister Julia Gillard filed a submission to Fair Work Australia (FWA) on November18, which backed away from its year-long commitment to support the Australian Services Union (ASU) application for an Equal Remuneration Order for social and community sector...

The gas industry is rapidly increasing its scope in the Australian energy market as, state and federal government approve drilling sites across the nation with little community consultation and relaxed environmental safeguards.

Natural gas will account for 33% of Australia's primary...

An Iraqi Kurd in his 30s who had been in detention at Christmas Island for about 12 months, attempted suicide, the Australian said on November 23. This came just a week after the second suicide in two months at Villawood detention centre.

About 20 fellow asylum seekers resorted...

All around the Western world, far-right groups (some with neo-Nazi links), are gaining political ground through an orchestrated campaign against Muslim communities. These groups are spreading fear and hatred against recent immigrant communities from Muslim countries, and tap into well-resourced...

Max Watts, a well-known personality on the left in Australia, particularly in Sydney, died on November 23.

Max was a left-wing freelance journalist, an occasional contributor to Green Left Weekly and its discussion e-list, and a solidarity activist with many national liberation...

The success of Greens MP Adam Bandt's marriage equality motion in federal parliament, which called on MPs to take the issue back to their electorates, shows how successful our grassroots movement has been.

We've forced the Gillard Labor government to back away from its ridiculous...

“Winning Our Rights” is the theme of the December 10-11 Union and Community Summer School, which will be held at Melbourne Trades Hall. The conference will discuss the 30-year-long retreat of the Australian union movement and also victories over that period.

“Winning Our Rights” will...

The letter below was written by Socialist Alliance member Justine Kamprad. She wrote it to federal member for Fremantle Melissa Parke after South Australian rigger Ark Tribe was found not guilty on November 24 of refusing to attend an interview with the Australian Building and...

The third annual camp for climate action will happen in the Hunter Valley from December 1-5, between the Liddell and Bayswater power stations. The camp will bring will be an important forum for diverse groups to build stronger links with one another.

These include rural anti-mining...

Tamil asylum seeker Mugeeb Rahuman Mohaideen is detained in Maribynong Detention Centre.

He came to Australia on November 7.

He told Green Left Weekly that he ran a clothes-making store in the war-torn Tamil Eelam province of Sri Lanka.

Mohaideen's customers...

Ark Tribe walked out of Adelaide Magistrates Court a free man on November 24, after he was finally found “not guilty” of failing to attend an Australian Building and Construction Commission (ABCC) interview in 2008.

As Tribe, a rigger and Construction Forestry Mining Energy Union (CFMEU...

Letters

Morning Star clarification

We were pleased to see Green Left Weekly’s reprint from the Morning Star of Jeff Sawtell's review of the Made in Dagenham film (GLW #860).

Just one quibble. You have expanded Jeff's reference to the...

Resistance!

Hannah Williams, a year 11 student, was recently told by her school, Ivanhoe Girls Grammar, that she couldn’t take her girlfriend Savannah Supski to the school formal.

Angered, the two refused to attend the formal and will transfer to another school next...

The debate around the Murray Darling Basin crisis has brought to public attention the need to rethink agriculture in Australia.

Today, sustainable food production is relegated to niche status — squeezed out by methods of farming that are seen to be more efficient. However, the efficiency...

Culture

The Rise of the Green Left: Inside the Worldwide Ecosocialist Movement
By Derek Wall
Pluto Press, 190 pages, paperback
www.plutobooks.com/display.asp?K=9780745330365&

Review by Mat Ward

As the threat of climate catastrophe looms ever...

It should come as no surprise that Latin America, a region converted into a laboratory for ongoing experiments in social change, has increasingly become the topic of discussion and debate among the broader left.

Latin America has not only dealt blows to imperialism but also raised the...

Sam's Freo report

In early November, I attended the Wesfarmers AGM at the Perth Convention Centre. Yes, that Wesfarmers, the one that owns Coles, Bunnings, Officeworks, coal mines and plenty more. Not my usual sort of haunt, but I was there holding proxy votes for members of the Australia Western Sahara...