Issue 867

Australia

Seven climate activists who temporarily shut down coal loaders at Newcastle harbour in a September protest will wait another month to find out if they owe Port Waratah Coal Services (PWCS) $525,000 in “compensation”.

The activists appeared in Newcastle Local Court for two days of...

Wharfies employed by stevedoring company Patrick at four different ports across Australia took strike action in the last week of January in pursuit of a new enterprise bargaining agreement (EBA).

It was the most significant industrial action on the wharves since the 1998 Patrick lockout...

Seventy-three people who took part in a non-violent direct action protest during December’s Climate Camp appeared in Muswellbrook local court on January 31 to answer to charges under the Rail Safety Offences Act.

Hundreds of climate protesters gathered at Climate Camp for five days of...

Members of environmental group Katoomba Climate Action Now (CAN) gathered on December 21 outside their local branch of the ANZ Bank to demonstrate, leaflet and chat with customers, staff and passers-by about coal.

Recent research by Greenpeace has shown the bank is one of the most...

Four hundred people braved very warm weather to gather at the State Library of Victoria on February 4 to show solidarity with the recent democracy protests in Egypt.

Mohamed Elmasri from the Federation of Australian Muslims and Youth told the rally that the peaceful protesters in Egypt...

The federal senate has agreed to an inquiry into the practice of forcible adoption in Australia between the 1940s and ’80s, supporting a motion by Greens Senator Rachel Siewert on November 15.

“Today’s vote starts to recognise the suffering that so many people have endured as a result of...

Community group Save The Old Kings School (STOKS) held a protest in Parramatta in Sydney’s west on February 2 to demand the historic old Kings School site stay in public hands.

Local residents, STOKS activists and members of the Greens and Socialist Alliance attended the action.

...

About 300 people turned out for a free outdoor film screening of the award-winning US documentary Gasland in Sydney Park on February 5.

The screening was supported by the City of Sydney and Palace Cinemas, and was organised by Sydney Residents Against Coal Seam Gas, a community...

The Sydney Peace Foundation awarded its “gold medal for peace with justice” to WikiLeaks editor-in-chief Julian Assange on February 2 in recognition of his “exceptional courage and initiative in pursuit of human rights”.

This award is different from the foundation’s annual Sydney Peace...

NSW planning minister Tony Kelly announced on January 18 he had approved plans by Delfin Lend Lease to build 4800 homes in Calderwood, west of Albion Park.

The decision has angered many nearby residents. It also ignored strong opposition from Shellharbour council. Opponents of the...

As momentous events in Egypt demonstrate, much of the world is calling to account an “old order”. These are exciting times for the possibilities of real change in the way our societies are run.

One of the catalysts of the “people power” we see on our TV screens is the extraordinary...

New federal drug laws could make thousands of native and common garden plants illegal.

The proposed legislation will place common plants under schedule II of the drug code along with plants such as marijuana and opium poppies.

The most worrying aspect of the legislation is the...

World

February 9, 2011 -- Democracy Now! -- Egypt’s pro-democracy uprising is seizing new momentum one day after hundreds of thousands turned out for one of the largest protests in Cairo’s Tahrir Square to date, on February 8. A gathering of protesters led to the evacuation of the Egyptian cabinet...

The deepest cuts to Britain’s public spending since World War II were announced in October. At the same time, it was revealed that some of the nation’s biggest corporations and richest people were using legal loopholes to avoid paying tax.

The treasurer in the Conservative Party-Liberal...

This went up on IS singer Macy Gray's Facebook page on January 17:

"I'm booked for 2 shows in Tel Aviv. I'm getting a lot of letters from activists urging/begging me to boycott by NOT performing in protest of Apartheid against the Palestinians. What the Israeli government is doing to the...

“We will not be silenced,” shouts an Egyptian protester in one of the many videos posted on YouTube of the uprising against the Hosni Mubarak dictatorship that began on January 25.

“Whether you are a Muslim, whether you are a Christian or whether you are an atheist, you will demand your...

Ongoing democracy protests in Tunisia, which continued beyond the January 14 overthrow of President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali to demand a government free from the former ruling party, were hit by a wave of vicious repression in late January.

The protesters from the “caravan of liberation...

More than 1000 members of the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) met with President Hugo Chavez on January 19 and decided on five key strategic lines for the next two years.

The discussion included recognition of important weaknesses in the party.

Chavez, who is also...

The popular uprising which has swept Egypt over the past two weeks, inspired by the revolt which drove the Tunisian dictator from power in mid-January, is the expression of a people’s power movement in the Arab world which has been 40 years in the making.

I have been waiting for this for...

Venezuela’s petroleum corporation in the US, Citgo, announced on January 27 the start of its sixth year providing subsidised heating oil to low-income people in the US.

An estimated 132,000 households across the US will benefit from the program this year, amounting to US$60 million of...

Irish Taosiech (prime minister) Brian Cowen resigned as leader of the government Fianna Fail party on January 22.

The move came in the midst of a political crisis caused by the Cowen government accepting an 85 billion euro bailout package from the European Union and International...

For a decade, Ireland was heralded by the most ardent partisans of neoliberal capitalism as a model to be imitated. The “Celtic Tiger” had a higher growth rate than the European average.

Tax rates on companies had been reduced to 12.5% and the rate actually paid by the transnational...

Thousands of West Papuans marched in the capital Jayapura on January 26, AFP said that day.

Marchers rejected the area’s “special autonomy” status within Indonesia and demanded a referendum on independence from Indonesia.

Protesters chanted: “Indonesia the coloniser, Indonesia...

David Kato Kisule, described by The New York Times on January 28 as the father of Uganda’s lesbian, gay, bi-sexual and transgender rights movement, was murdered in his home on January 26.

Kato was advocacy officer for Sexual Minorities Uganda. The killing came as increasingly...

In 2009, more than a 100 activists were arrested in a swoop on a community centre in Nottingham in an operation involving hundreds of police.

They were alleged to be planning to close down Ratcliffe-on-Soar power station. It was revealed that one of the organisers of the alleged protest...

West Papuan refugees in Papua New Guinea have been terrorised and arrested by police, West Papua Media Alerts said on January 28. They were allegedly arrested on behalf of the Indonesian military and local logging interests.

Police and soldiers rounded up 79 refugees living in camps...

Regardless of the outcomes of the Egyptian and Tunisian revolutions, and regardless of whether protests for democracy in Yemen, Jordan and other Arab countries grow into similar uprisings, the Middle East has fundamentally changed.

The people have lost their fear.

Spearheaded by...

Thousands of students braved the notoriously brutal Sudanese police and security forces on January 30 in anti-government protests inspired by the Tunisian and Egyptian uprisings, SudaneseTribune.com reported that day.

Rallies took place at three universities and other sites across the...

Cuban Revolution leader Fidel Castro said on February 1 that not even the support of the United States will be able to save the Egyptian government. Likewise, he pointed out that for the first time the world is simultaneously facing three problems: climate crises, food crises and political...

Analysis

The statement below was released by the Socialist Alliance on January 29.

*****

The Socialist Alliance applauds the courage and tenacity of the Tunisian people, whose protests for democracy and economic and social justice have ended the 23-year rule of dictator Zine El Abidine...

The Sydney Stop the War Coalition welcomes and supports the protests for democracy and freedom in Egypt, Tunisia and elsewhere across the Middle East.

We stand in solidarity with the Egyptian masses that are struggling for their basic rights against a dictatorship that has been supported...

The persecution of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is unfortunately nothing new in the history of Australia or other Western nations. The outward appearance of democratic government often masks a darker, anti-democratic reality.

Dissenters and truth-tellers such as Assange, who dare to...

The following petition was initiated by the Sydney University Climate Action Collective and Yarra Climate Action Now.

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Our top scientists have been telling us for decades that our carbon pollution is creating ever-worsening natural disasters such as floods, droughts and...

Heavy-handed policing in Sydney over the past few months may indicate a heightened, anti-protester attitude of NSW police.

States and territories across Australia have either a “permit” or “notice” procedure for holding protests.

NSW law has the “notice” procedure, which is very...

The Edmund Rice Centre released the public statement below on January 26.

*****

We, Australian organisations and individuals, unite to offer this statement to our nation.

A “Memorandum of Understanding” (MOU) was recently signed between the Australian government, the...

There seems to be a misconception in the general community that there is something attractive or good about jobs in the mining sector.

But as someone whose main career included 25 years in the refinery, mining construction and production industries, I can state quite emphatically that...

Perth man Brendan O’Connell was sentenced to three years jail under WA’s racial vilification laws on January 31. He was found guilty of six counts of vilification relating to anti-Semitic comments he posted on a YouTube video in 2009.

His jailing, and the length of the sentence, has...

The statement below was released by the Socialist Alliance on February 4.

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Solidarity and support is needed to help with the impact of the devastating floods that swept through Queensland and other states in January, and Cyclone Yasi that hit northern Queensland in early...

Letters

Sexism getting worse, not better

Jess Moore, in her article “Raunch culture, sex and sexuality” (GLW#864), addresses some important issues affecting women today.

I don’t disagree with her main conclusion (replace sexist heterosexual raunch culture with...

Resistance!

In her January 26 speech to commemorate Australia Day, Prime Minister Julia Gillard took the opportunity to celebrate what she called the “bonds of mateship”, which had been “on such strong display” in the aftermath of the recent devastating floods.

However, this year’s Australia Day...

Culture

“People say to me, ‘You’re still talking about politics?’ and I say, ‘C’mon, life is politics’”, Afro-fusion singer-songwriter Wunmi told Green Left Weekly while she was in Sydney as part of the Big Day Out (BDO) music festival.

“We live in an environment where things are...

Amanda Palmer Goes Down Under
First single: ‘Map of Tasmania’
Amanda Palmer
Available at www.amandapalmer.net/afp

I first met US singer-songwriter Amanda Palmer when she was playing with drummer Brian Viglione in punk cabaret band The Dresden Dolls. Her...

Fighting Fund

As category five tropical cyclone Yasi approached the north Queensland coast on February 3, a political cyclone was already sweeping Egypt. For days, Australian TV news was dominated by these two stories.

Incredibly, in Egypt the main government TV station news failed to report the fact...