Issue 865

Australia

Paola Harvey, Socialist Alliance candidate for Keira, has called on the NSW government to reverse its January 14 approval for a second gas-fired power station at Tallawarra.

She said the government should make plans to phase out coal and gas-fired power and invest in a large-scale size...

Testimony to the NSW upper house inquiry into the sale of NSW’s electricity assets has alleged that only a fraction of the $5.3 billion price tag will reach the public purse. Billions will be eaten up by “associated costs”.

These costs include about $1.5 billion in government funds to...

Hundreds of protesters rallied in support of the whistleblowing website Wikileaks and its editor in chief, Julian Assange, in Sydney on January 15. Other rallies also took place in major cities around the world.

The rally, which began at Sydney’s Town Hall, was addressed by several key...

Marrickville Council has stayed firm in the face of criticism for its recent decision to join the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israeli apartheid in Palestine.

The council passed a Greens-initiated motion to support the BDS campaign on December 14.

The...

Seventy asylum seekers held at the Darwin detention centre have donated the small amount of cash they had to the Queensland flood appeal, said SBS on January 14.

Asylum seekers held at Sydney’s Villawood Immigration Detention Centre also showed their support for the victims of the...

Aboriginal leaders in Sydney and around Australia, together with the Indigenous Social Justice Association (ISJA) and other community organisations, have called for a memorial to be built in the Block in Redfern, for all Aboriginal people who have died in custody.

To this end, a march...

The Queensland flood crisis is a national emergency that requires urgent action.

Socialist Alliance Queensland co-convener Ewan Saunders told Green Left Weekly that the "Gillard government should call Australia’s soldiers back from the war in Afghanistan to help with tackling...

Climate activists gathered outside the Melbourne head office of mining giant BHP on January 21 to show solidarity with victims of the recent floods in eastern Australia.

Evidence has emerged linking severe flooding in Australia with human-induced climate change.

Shaun Murray, an...

Socialist Party member Anthony Main on January 11 became the second socialist elected to the City of Yarra council.

The Labor mayor for Yarra, Jane Garrett, resigned after she was elected to state parliament in November. This left a vacancy on the council, which Main has filled.

...

Ten-year-old Tamil refugee Brindha faces deportation to Sri Lanka after being rejected by the immigration department, the January 3 Australian said.

In March 2010, she told Green Left Weekly the International Organisation for Migration was treating refugees “like...

Three years after Aboriginal elder Mr Ward was cooked to death in the back of a prison van travelling from Laverton to Kalgoorlie, charges have been laid against the four parties found responsible by coroner Alistair Hope.

The parties prosecuted are the Western Australian Department of...

The Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) has delayed its decision on the controversial new coalmine proposed for Margaret River in Western Australia.

The EPA decision was expected early January. Yet it has chosen to give the mining company LD Operations more time to provide more...

A six week-long battle at Swift Australia Meatworks in Brooklyn, Melbourne, has ended with 140 National Union of Workers (NUW) members keeping conditions that were lost by the plant’s 500 other employees two years ago.

Swift Australia locked out the picketers in early December after they...

The Socialist Alliance (SA) has criticised recent state government changes to the Liquor Control Act as an infringement of civil liberties.

Under the changes, police have the power to issue “barring orders”, which ban an individual from licensed premises without incurring a criminal...

World

UPDATE: The media are reporting a second day of large anti-government protests. The regime has cracked down, with reports of at least 500 people arrested across the country.

See also:
Tunisia: People's power ousts dictator
Tunisia: Arab rulers shake in fear

Tens of...

Renowned investigative journalist and film maker John Pilger interviewed Wikileaks' editor-in-chief about the “war on WikiLeaks” in response to the website “speaking truth to power”. For more information on Pilger's work, visit www.johnpilger.com .

More Wikileaks coverage:
Assange...

On December 10, surrounded by union leaders and foreign dignitaries, President Evo Morales announced Bolivia’s new pension law at the headquarters of the Bolivian Workers Central (COB), the country’s militant national trade union federation.

The unprecedented and highly symbolic event...

At last someone has dared to defend the oppressed people of the British banking community. Bob Diamond, chief executive of Barclays bank, who himself has to suffer the trauma of an £8 million bonus, said yesterday that the bankers’ “period of remorse and apology should be over”.

And you...

Britain: Goldman Sachs gives huge bonuses

“Bankers were accused of ‘sticking two fingers up to austerity Britain’,” the British Guardian reported on January 19, “after it was revealed that [Wall Street bank] Goldman Sachs had handed its staff a £10bn payday as new...

The attempted political assassination of Arizona Democratic Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords on January 8 opened a new debate about the depth of political divisions in the United States. It has included hot button issues of gun control and mental illness.

Giffords amazingly survived a...

You may have read about the prison riot in England on New Year’s Day, with prisoners staging an uprising over searches for contraband booze. What received less coverage was the much bigger and more important protest by prisoners in the United States in December.

Prisoners in a number of...

Georgia prisoner strike demands

Over December 9-15, prisoners in a number of prisons in the US state of Georgia organised a strike via contraband mobile phones. The prisoners refused to perform prison labour in protest at a range of unjust conditions they face. BlackAgendaReport.com said...

One of the claims made most often by Israeli officials and supporters is that Israel is the “only democracy in the Middle East”. But in recent weeks, media outlets around the world have reported on a string of new laws in the Knesset (the Israeli parliament) meant to curtail the work of human...

On December 31, the Bolivian government of President Evo Morales repealed a decree, passed five days earlier, to remove subsidies for fuel.

The repeal came after protests and discontent at the resulting price increases from many of the government’s poor supporters.

“Why is the...

More Wikileaks coverage:
John Pilger interviews Julain Assange
Critics failing to silence Wikileaks
Wikileaks case studies: US cynical complicity with killers revealed
Wikileaks: Lies and secrets shows our power
Phillip Adams: Resist attempts to silence Wikileaks
...

Lawyers for Wikileaks founder Julian Assange have accused Swedish authorities of secretly planning to extradite him to the US as soon as it has built a criminal case against him.

Lawyer Mark Stephens told the media on January 12: “We are hearing that the Swedish are prepared to drop the...

Wikileaks founder Julian Assange said that over the next six months, Wikileaks will be releasing more files related to Israel.

“There are 3,700 files related to Israel and the source of 2,700 files is Israel,” he told Al-Jazeera on December 22. “The Guardian, El Pais...

A number of Wikileaks revelations have shown that US officials, despite their public stance, have been well aware of corruption and human rights abuses of regimes it has supported. In some cases, the US funded these regimes and trained their military.

* * *

Indonesia...

See also:
Egyptian protesters take to the streets (inc. vidoes)
Tunisia: Arab rulers shake in fear
Statements from unions in Tunisia and internationally
More detailed coverage at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal

After 23 years of dictatorial rule,...

One government — that of Bolivia — stood alone against the world at December’s UN climate conference in Cancun, Mexico. It dared to reject an agreement endorsed by 191 other nations.

And Bolivia was right to do so. Cancun was a step backwards for action on climate change.

Pablo...

Acting Nepali Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal has argued that bullets, explosives and other munitions no longer constitute “lethal military hardware” as long as they are to be used for “training and other related works”.

MK Nepal was seeking to justify the decision to allow India to...

Twenty-six children in Gaza were shot by Israeli troops near the border during 2010, a Save the Children report found.

AlJazeera.net reported on January 18 that the report found: “Children in Gaza are coming under regular gunfire from Israeli soldiers while scavenging in the ruins of...

The popular revolution that has overthrown US- and French-backed Tunisian dictator Zine El Abidine Ben Ali (in power since 1987) continues to shake the country despite repression. It has sent shockwaves through the regime, raising prospects of inspiring the democracy movements in other Arab...

Analysis

Reports that the WA state government is planning to give police "stop and search" powers during the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) later this year should concern all Western Australians.

Even more worrying — albeit unsurprising — is that the ALP has dropped its lukewarm...

The article below is based on a speech by Socialist Alliance upper house candidate in the March NSW state elections Patrick Harrison. He spoke at the 'Carols at the Colliery', an action held on December 21 in Russell Vale (near Wollongong) to protest a proposed coalmine...

The flood disaster that struck three-quarters of Queensland over the past month and then spread to Victoria and Tasmania is the worst overall flood catastrophe in recorded Australian history. It has also inspired a massive outpouring of public sympathy and solidarity.

The disaster has...

Hundreds of people attended the funeral service of Mavis Mary Moore on January 21. May, as she was known, passed away on January 17, aged 86. She lived a life dedicated to social justice and caring for friends, community and family.

Unionist Paddy Gorman delivered the eulogy. He said: “...

A fresh federal government inquiry was announced on January 14 into the alleged torture of former Guantanamo Bay detainee Mamdouh Habib.

This follows the release of independent evidence supporting Habib’s claims and the recent undisclosed compensation settlement the Australian government...

If a city drowns beneath a once-in-a-hundred-years flood, that's weather. Such things have happened in the past.

But when hundred-year floods start happening every few decades, that's no longer just weather. The dice have become loaded for different outcomes. Climate — that is, the...

People who grew up in Queensland can tell you about the afternoon storms that heralded the start of summer. Like clockwork, shortly after the kids finished school, the clouds would start to gather.

And then that strange quiet, before a great gust of wind would send leaves swirling and...

When I met Kathir (not his real name), in the maximum security stage of Villawood Detention Centre just before Christmas, he had been on hunger strike for five weeks.

The Tamil refugee from Sri Lanka was protesting against ASIO’s negative security clearance assessment of his asylum claim...

Australia Day is traditionally the most racist day of the year for Aboriginal people.

When people celebrate on January 26, there is no escaping the fact they are celebrating the day that one race of people invaded another race of people’s country and took control of Aboriginal lands and...

The significance of the whistle-blowing website Wikileaks can be measured by the hysterical and panicked response of the powerful to it.

Wikileaks’ ongoing release of thousands of secret US government cables and other secret documents is being met with outrage, assassination threats,...

Hundreds of Aborigines and supporters are preparing to defend the kutalayna Aboriginal site in Tasmania’s lower Jordan Valley, in a protest that some say has the potential to be as big as the huge Save Franklin River protests of the 1980s.

In dispute is the route of the Brighton bypass...

“WikiLeaks has had more scoops in three years than the Washington Post has had in 30.” — Clay Shirky

It is for this reason that Wikileaks has become an incredibly important news source, with its commitment to provide the public with information that is deliberately withheld by...

The governments of Australia and Afghanistan have struck a deal to send back rejected Afghan asylum seekers against their will.

Australia promised $5.8 million to the Afghan government of Hamid Karzai to “improve the passport system” and fund resettlement, but has been condemned for...

The message below from ABC broadcaster and journalist Phillip Adams was read out at the January 15 Defend Wikileaks rally in Sydney.

* * *

First right-wing bloggers called for Julian Assange's assasination. Now voices in Washington want “the death...

Letters

Time for People's Bank

The very modest proposals to introduce more competition among banks by Treasurer Wayne Swan are generally judged as inadequate.

We need to have a bank that introduces real competition, modest fees for its customers and pays its executives...

Resistance!

Paying rent sucks. That's nothing new. Its not really profound or controversial to say that — hardly a purely socialist slogan. All of us would like a bit more dosh, and to hand over hard earned cash just for a shitty flat isn’t something anyone enjoys.

But these days it’s much more than...

Resistance members joined a protest march through Sydney on January 15 in support of whistle-blowing website Wikileaks.

Rally goers chanted "Down with hypocrisy, we want democracy" and "Wikileaks is here to stay, we'll defend it all the way" as they marched from Town Hall to Hyde Park...

Culture

iNTervention Intervention
Curated by Teena McCarthy & Brendan Penzer
The Vanishing Point gallery
565 King Street, Newtown, Sydney
January 13-30

“The time has now come for the nation to turn a new page in Australia’s history by...

Ecology & Socialism
By Chris Williams
Haymarket, 2009
www.ecologyandsocialism.org

United States activist Chris William’s new book, published by Haymarket Press, is an excellent introduction to ecology and socialism. It is well written and,...

There are more revelations than you can count in the now-infamous Wikileaks cables — a fact highlighted by the arrest and extradition attempts against Wikileaks editor-in-chief Julian Assange.

But here’s another one that’s been buried, and it definitely hammers home the need to defend...

If it is Your Life
By James Kelman, Penguin Books 2010
280 pages, hardback
£18.99

This is Scottish author James Kelman’s first collection of short stories since The Good Times in 1998.

Right from the very first sentence you...

Fighting Fund

Welcome to another year of Green Left Weekly, a proudly independent voice committed to democratic, investigative journalism.

2010 ended on a high note as Wikileaks and Julian Assange showed what true journalism is: exposing the abuses of power that hide behind the veil of...