Issue 873

Australia

Nine refugees held in the Northern Immigration Detention Centre in Darwin staged a protest on top of a building in the centre’s compound on March 15 after they witnessed Serco guards assault another detainee.

The refugees — who are Rohingya people, an ethnic minority in western Burma —...

Crime and Misconduct Comission (CMC) chair Martin Moynihan said on March 15 that the anti-corruption watchdog would take no further action against police accused of covering-up the death in custody of Palm Island Aboriginal man Mulrunji Doomadgee in November 2004.

In response, Aboriginal...

More than 100 people attended a March 15 public forum in Hobart Town Hall about Tasmania’s logging moratorium. The forum was organised by The Wilderness Society (TWS) and the Huon Valley Environment Centre.

TWS, the Australian Conservation Foundation and Environment Tasmania signed the...

More than 100 protesters joined a March 14 blockade of the Queensland Gas Corporation (QGC) gasworks on the QGC-owned property “Kenya” near Tara, 300 kilometres west of Brisbane.

The Kenya blockade, which received coverage on all major news networks, covered a number of entrances to the...

About 8000 people marched on the Western Australian parliament on March 15 to demand more local jobs from the resource export boom.

The Construction Forestry Mining Energy Union, Australian Manufacturing Workers Union and Maritime Union of Australia all mobilised big contingents for the...

Thousands of people packed into Sydney’s Town Hall on March 16 to hear journalist John Pilger, independent MP Andrew Wilkie and Julian Burnside QC speak out in support of WikiLeaks and its editor-in-chief Julian Assange.

Assange fears he may be extradited to the US and face Guantanamo...

Parramatta Climate Action Network hosted a presentation by Beyond Zero Emissions (BZE) at Parramatta Town Hall on March 14. About 30 people attended the forum.

The presentation summarised the “Zero Carbon Australia 2020” stationary energy report, which details how Australia can...

It was ironic, but only supporters of Palestine were clapping after a majority of Marrickville councillors decided on March 15 in favour of hiring a venue to a newly-formed local Jewish group that is hosting an Australian Rules Peace Team with connections to Israel.

Independent...

"We all knew that this was going to happen, but now many people are going to be saddled with this gigantic debt," David White, president of Community Action for Sustainable Transport (CART) told Green Left Weekly on March 11.

He was commenting on the move to place the Clem7,...

Late on March 12, a group of drunken men yelling abuse and threats of physical violence entered the site of the Aboriginal occupation of the planned Brighton Bypass in Tasmania.

Trudy Maluga from the Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre described it as a “Ku Klux Klan-type” incident, the Hobart...

The NSW Greens announced their Solar Thermal Power Plant initiative on March 13: a policy to build three baseload solar thermal power plants in NSW and create new green jobs.

At the official launch of the Greens' state election campaign at Balmain Town Hall, Greens MP and lead upper...

About 100 protesters gathered in Brisbane Square on March 18 to protest the repression of pro-democracy protesters in the Gulf nation of Bahrain.

Rallygoers chanted “Freedom for Bahrain! Stop the Saudi Arabian invasion.

Yunes Ali, a representative of the Bahraini community in...

Beyond Zero Emissions (BZE) launched its award-winning Zero Carbon Australia 2020 Stationary Energy Plan to a packed meeting at Perth Town Hall on March 14.

BZE executive director Matthew Wright outlined the Western Australian aspects of the plan, which was developed to show how...

On March 13, more than 100 people attended the first organising meeting of Stop CSG Illawarra, a residents’ group campaigning for a moratorium on coal seam gas mining (CSG).

Concerned locals decided to establish the group a week earlier at a screening of Gasland, an Oscar-...

World

Emboldened by the successes of Muammar Gaddafi’s forces in Libya, a number of Arab regimes have escalated crackdowns on pro-democracy protests while the world’s media was focused on the earthquake disaster in Japan.

With the exceptions of Libya and Iran, the governments brutally cracking...

As the United States and Britain look for an excuse to invade another oil-rich Arab country, the hypocrisy is familiar.

Libyan leader Colonel Muammar Gaddafi is “delusional” and “blood-drenched”, while the authors of an invasion that killed a million Iraqis, who have kidnapped and...

Six activists arrested in Harare, along with 39 others, were finally granted bail on March 16 after a month in jail. The activists were arrested for attending a video screening of footage from the people’s uprisings in Egypt and Tunisia.

However, the six need to raise US$12,000 to pay...

The government of Bahrain unleashed a brutal crackdown and invited in foreign troops on March 14 in an attempt to end pro-democracy protests that have lasted for more than a month.

One thousand troops from Saudi Arabia and 500 police from the United Arab Emirates have entered Bahrain,...

Opinion polls are predicting that the likely winner of the April 10 Peruvian presidential election will be Alejandro Toledo. The candidate of Possible Peru, Toledo was the neoliberal president from 2001-06.

After the narrow victory of the moderate left candidate Susana Villaran from...

Legal action was launched on March 16 against Wisconsin’s Republican lawmakers in an attempt to repeal the anti-union bill that was signed into law on March 11.

The law bans collective bargaining for most public sector workers in Wisconsin.

Associated Press reported on March 16...

Progressive Indonesian website Berdikari Online said in a March 14 editorial that the recent US diplomatic cables published by WikiLeaks exposing the corruption of the Indonesian government confirmed what most Indonesians already knew.

However, it said the leaks have further...

Facing public anger and concern over the nuclear meltdown unfolding in Japan, German Chancellor Angela Merkel announced temporary shutdown of several nuclear reactors.

On March 12, more than 60,000 anti-nuclear protesters in the south-western state of Baden-Wuerttemberg formed a 45...

“Ridiculous, counterproductive and stupid” is how one US official described the treatment of alleged WikiLeaks whistleblower Bradley Manning.

Manning, a private in the US army, has been held in solitary confinement for nine months at Quantico Marine Corps Brig while awaiting a pre-trial...

“Pakistan has demanded an apology and explanation from the United States over a drone strike in a tribal region, which officials said killed 35 people,” ABC.net.au said on March 18.

It said it was the seventh US drone strike in nine days. The article said it was the most lethal drone...

The standard of living for the people of Greece has dropped dramatically since the signing of the first “memorandum” — the agreement signed by the Panhellenic Socialist Movement (PASOK) government with the IMF and European Union (EU) representatives last May.

The agreement has meant —...

About 2000 mainly young Palestinians rallied in Gaza City on March 14. Waving Palestinian flags, they called on Palestinian factions Hamas and Fatah to end their divisions, for democratic elections for the Palestinian Authority (PA), and for the end to Israel’s occupation of the West Bank and...

On March 17, the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) “effectively authorized the use of force in Libya”, the UN News Center said that day.

“Acting under Chapter VII of the UN Charter, which provides for the use of force if needed,” the report said, “the Council adopted a resolution by...

After ousting former President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali and his supporters from office, the Tunisians have again hit the streets — this time, to demonstrate against the visit of US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

About 300 people demonstrated at Tunis’ central Avenue Bourguiba against...

Western Sahara is the last country in Africa awaiting decolonisation.

Invaded by Spain in the late 19th century, mass mobilisations in the early 1970s heralded the birth of the modern independence movement.

In 1973, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Saguia el-Hamra and Rio...

Analysis

How have Australian scientists handled the difficult task of keeping us informed about the unfolding nuclear disaster in Japan?

Only a few Australian scientists have featured repeatedly in the media. The most prominent have been Professor Aidan Byrne from the Australian National...

About 300 refugees at the maximum security Red Compound in Christmas Island’s detention centre were fired on with tear gas and modified shotgun rounds during protests over the weekend of March 12-13. One man was hospitalised with a broken leg.

The incident prompted outrage from refugee...

There's every likelihood that radioactive by-products of Australian uranium have spewed into the atmosphere from the nuclear reactor plant at Fukushima in Japan.

BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto export uranium from Australia to Japanese nuclear company TEPCO from the Olympic Dam and Ranger...

“We have intelligence that your government has been exchanging information with foreign powers about Australian citizens working for WikiLeaks,” Julian Assange told Prime Minister Julia Gillard in his video question as part of ABC's Q&A on March 14.

Assange's question came...

Pip Hinman, the Socialist Alliance candidate for the NSW seat of Marrickville, spoke at a March 14 election forum at St Peters Town Hall organised by Climate Action Newtown and Sydney Residents Against Coal Seam Gas.

Hinman’s responses to the three questions put to her...

After waiting many months for a decision regarding their visas, several asylum seekers held on Christmas Island received rejection letters on March 16 from the Department of Immigration and Citizenship.

In the early hours of the next day, between 50 and 150 asylum seekers broke through...

Having now come across several leaflets, statements and interviews arguing that the NSW Greens have put former NSW Construction Forestry Mining Energy secretary Andrew Ferguson’s election at risk on March 26 and urging people to therefore vote 1 ALP, I feel compelled to write the following....

In the midst of widespread anger at the on-going privatisation agenda, blatant corruption and developer connections of the New South Wales Labor government, the Liberal/National Coalition appears set to romp home in the March 26 NSW elections.

With a Coalition government likely to extend...

Socialist Alliance candidate for the NSW seat of Parramatta Duncan Roden was born in Fiji and grew up in Sydney's west. He is a member of the socialist youth organisation Resistance and is an activist with the Parramatta Climate Action Network and Westies Welcome Refugees.

Roden spoke to...

While I agree with most of the sentiments expressed in Peter Boyle’s article on Libya in GLW #872, I think the Left must always be flexible and practical.

Sometimes the progressive movement has to unite with people and governments we don’t often agree with out of necessity and...

The ability of real politics to focus debate is impressive. The climate movement has long debated what policy mechanisms can best combat climate change.

Various market based mechanisms, emission trading schemes, regulation and direct government investment have been proposed.

The...

The argument for a carbon tax in Australia boils down to two key points.

The first is that a carbon tax puts a price on pollution. Pollution has been officially free for industry up until now. The public purse pays for the environmental damage industry causes.

Finally, big mining...

The article below is based on a speech by veteran feminist activist Eva Cox to the March 12 Sydney International Women’s Day protest.

* * *

I wore my 1973 T-shirt to the march today to remind myself of what we were hoping to do. It was printed by Canberra Women’s...

In a significant break through, a rank-and-file ticket — Members Voice (MV) — won the presidency in the NSW Rail Tram and Bus Union (RTBU) elections in February.

Members Voice stood on a clear platform of opposition to privatisation. This was the first challenge to the ALP-controlled...

Through the eyes of many modern women, it seems difficult to comprehend that not so many decades ago women all around the Western world were fighting for the basic rights and freedoms they so rightly deserved.

Amid an ongoing struggle, laws began to change and social ideals began to...

The Socialist Alliance and the Communist Party of Australia have released the following joint statement of left organisations and individuals about the March 26 NSW elections.

* * *

The NSW Labor Party is facing a trouncing in the March 26 elections because of the problems that...

Editorial

Liberal leader Tony Abbott is a climate change denier. He told a recent meeting in Perth that he still doubted the science of climate change and said: “Whether carbon dioxide is quite the environmental villain that some people make it out to be is not yet proven.”

His party’s campaign...

Letters

Relations of production

I agree completely with the article “How Socialism can be Won” (GLW #871). However, I urge Green Left Weekly readers not to forget the source of the socialist movement.

This is the ideas formulated by Karl Marx and...

Resistance!

Resistance supports the fight for equal marriage rights for Lesbian, Gay Bisexual, Transgender, Intersex and Queer (LGBTIQ) people.

Resistance believes that the capitalist system has a vested interest in preventing people from uniting, and in continuing to repress queers. This oppression...

Culture

Australian tour
Star Fucking Hipsters w/ AC4
April 7-14, www.newnoiseagency.com
www.myspace.com/starfuckinghipsters

Star Fucking Hipsters are a New York-based punk band. It was formed in 2005 by members from other punk acts, including Leftover Crack,...

Wilhelm Furtwaengler — The Great EMI Recordings
21 CD set, EMI
Furtwaengler the Legend
Three CD set, EMI

George Whitbread, a long-deceased left identity in Perth who once led a printer’s strike at The West...

I’ve never really bought the idea that 17-year-old Canadian-born pop star Justin Bieber is just some harmless, happy-go-lucky teen heart-throb. Anyone who saw the near-riot he inspired in Liverpool can attest to this.

His most recent comments about abortion in an interview published by...

Fighting Fund

I am sure we all shared similar reactions to last week’s earthquake-tsunami tragedy in Japan.

First, we blinked at reports of a big earthquake. Perhaps for a moment our response was dulled —worn down by the string of recent disasters: the Christchurch earthquake, the Queensland floods...