Issue 874

Australia

Twenty people gathered on March 21 in Mitchell Park to commemorate the victims of the March 11 tsunami in Japan. The gathering made paper cranes and heard from Sachi Hirayama from Darwin Youth for the Japanese Disaster who promoted charity events for the cause.

Cat Beaton read a...

“As rain poured down last night, I thought I can’t possibly go this morning, but then I got on WLCentral this morning and Daniel Ellsberg has been arrested in his 80s outside the White House, so we can brave a little rain!”

These were the thoughts of one local activist at a Sydney rally...

Melbourne activists protested outside Zimbabwe Airlines office on Monday 21 March to call for the release of six Zimbabwe activists who are facing charges of treason with threat of a death penalty.

The activists were arrested while watching a film about the uprising in Egypt and have...

"There are two systems of justice in Queensland: one to protect the police service, and another to crush Aboriginal people," Sam Watson, Murri community leader, told a rally outside State Parliament in Brisbane on March 23.

More than 50 people gathered to protest the decision of the...

“We have been betrayed by our members of parliament,” ABC television personality Peter Cundell told a rally of more than 1500 people protesting against the proposed Gunns Ltd pulp mill on March 20.

“They have betrayed the very people they are supposed to represent. This is only the...

The Socialist Alliance condemned the recent decision by federal environment minister Tony Burke to give final approval to Gunns' Tamar Valley pulp mill, located near Launceston, in a March 24 statement.

Socialist Alliance spokesperson Susan Austin said: “We could never support the Gunns...

More than 40 people attended a rally in Fremantle on March 21 in support of Zimbabwean political activists who have been charged with treason.

The rally was held to coincide with the court hearing in Harare for activists Munyaradzi Gwisai, Tafadzwa Choto, Hopewell Gumbo, Welcome Zimuto,...

About 50 people gathered at Murray St Mall, Perth on March 22 to participate in a speak-out called by the Refugee Rights Action Network.

The protest was called in response to the deteriorating conditions inside the detention centres and the recent use of tear gas and rubber bullets...

Campaigners won a stunning victory on March 21 when the WA Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) announced that there is “adequate information to demonstrate that Vasse Coal Management’s coalmining proposal is environmentally unacceptable”.

EPA Chairperson Paul Vogel said: “In effect...

A crowd of 200 people marched on the US consulate in the Perth CBD on March 22 to protest the invasion of Bahrain by Saudi Arabian and United Arab Emirates (UAE) soldiers to suppress the democracy movement in the country.

Bahrain’s popular uprising threatens to follow the examples of...

Twenty people attended a meeting in Melbourne on March 23 organised by the Indigenous Social Justice Association (ISJA) in support of the family of TJ Hickey, a young Aboriginal man who died in February 2004 in the Sydney suburb of Redfern. He was impaled on a fence after being chased through...

Victorian police led government officials through a blockade set up by residents of the Lake Tyers Aboriginal Trust in eastern Victoria, the Age said on March 23.

Aboriginal women from the community set up the peaceful blockade on March 8 — International Women’s Day.

...

World

Isn’t it marvellous that all these governments are determined to do “something” about Colonel Gaddafi?

For example Hillary Clinton said she supported military action once the Arab League — made up of countries such as Bahrain, Syria, Yemen and Saudi Arabia — backed air strikes.

...

Union supporters have taken their message of worker solidarity and resistance from Wisconsin, all the way to the White House.

Socialistworker.org said more than 1000 trade union activists and students gathered in Washington D.C. on March 23.

The protests targeted a Republican...

“Commanders in Afghanistan are bracing themselves for possible riots and public fury triggered by the publication of ‘trophy’ photographs of US soldiers posing with the dead bodies of defenceless Afghan civilians they killed”, said the March 21 British Guardian.

The photos,...

German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s governing Christian Democratic Union (CDU) survived a narrow vote in elections for the eastern state of Saxony-Anhalt.

The right-wing CDU lost 3% of the vote from the previous elections, dropping to 32.6% support. The two other big parties in the state,...

Despite their talk about democracy, the governments of the US and other Western nations are very interested in stopping the wave of democratic uprisings across the Arab world.

The threat of real democracy is not compatible with the system of economic dominance and political control that...

Former Haitian president Jean-Bertrand Aristide, Haiti’s last elected president, has finally returned home.

He was kidnapped from Haiti in a US-backed coup in 2004 and exiled in South Africa until his March 18 return.

Aristide returned to a country still devastated by last year’s...

The Yemen President Ali Abdullah Saleh is under increased pressure to step down after the defection in recent days of key tribal leaders, government ministers, diplomats and army units. The defectors have pledged support for anti-government protesters.

Tens of thousands of people marched...

The statement below was published by the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions Working Group (South Africa) on March 23. It’s abridged from www.pacbi.org .

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Today, setting a worldwide precedent in the academic boycott of Israel, the University of Johannesburg (UJ) has effectively...

Israeli settlers observed their own “Day of Rage” on March 17, launching reprisal attacks on Palestinians for the recent murder of a settler family in an illegal Israeli settlement in the occupied West Bank.

It was also in response to Israeli authorities’ demolition of a settlement...

Israeli warplanes launched four simultaneous attacks in the Gaza Strip on March 24, Xinhuanet.com said the next day.

Since the flare-up of violence that began on March 19, Israel has killed 10 Palestinians, six of them civilians, in different airstrikes and shootings, the article said...

On March 20, 1500 people marched in Tokyo opposing nuclear power in the aftermath of the nuclear power plant disaster in Fukushima that followed the devastating March 9 earthquake.

Protesters also opposed the imposition of fiscal austerity by the government in the face of the earthquake...

On March 25, much of the community in Maharlika Village in Manila turned out after Friday prayers to protest against the Western powers’ military attacks against Libya.

Maharlika Village is a predominantly Moro community in Taguig City, in the south-east of Metro Manila. The protest was...

United States President Barack Obama’s visit to El Salvador on March 22 became a focal point for protests.

Protests were organised that day by Central American social movement organisations and their North American allies outraged by US trade policy and military meddling in the region...

Power worship is what the corporate media does best, and there has been plenty of that on display in recent Libya coverage.

Donning his “white man’s burden” hat, Peter Hartcher, in the March 22 Sydney Morning Herald, responded to the United States/European Union bombing by...

Migrant Trade Union (MTU) president Michel Catuira is facing visa cancellation and possible deportation from South Korea.

On February 10, the Korean Immigration Service issued a number of measures against Catuira. These included the cancellation of his visa and a departure order to leave...

Analysis

If the last federal election promised the beginnings of a break from the two-parties-for-capitalism electoral system that has plagued Australian politics for the past century, the March 29, 2011 NSW election seems to be a lurch in the other direction.

The Liberal-National Coalition won...

Coal seam gas exploration is becoming a key political issue in NSW. The Labor and Liberal parties are pushing for a huge expansion in gas mining, including coal seam gas.

But farmers, regional communities and city-dwellers are becoming increasingly worried about the health and...

The courageous participants in the June 2010 Gaza Freedom Flotilla turned the world's attention to the plight of the Palestinian people. Yet Israel continues to defy international law, and thus the campaign to end the blockade of Gaza continues.

Responding to widespread international...

Australia is one step closer towards embracing disability as part of human diversity. On February 28 the Australian Government Productivity Commission released a draft report on Disability Care and Support.

If the general recommendations of the report were to be implemented, people with...

There has been intense activity in 2011 around the social and community services pay equity wage case pursued by the Australian Services Union (ASU) and four other unions.

The claim, which was lodged in March 2010, is rapidly approaching its conclusion.

Since late January 2011,...

Two days after staging a rooftop protest, Burmese Rohingyan refugees inside the Northern Immigration Detention Centre (NIDC), received a notice on March 17 from the immigration department.

“Your concerns about the delays in finalising cases are understandable,” it said.

“New...

The public forum “Breaking Australia's silence: WikiLeaks and freedom” took place on March 16 at the Sydney Town Hall. More than 2000 people attended. The event was staged by the Sydney Peace Foundation, Amnesty, Stop the War Coalition, and supported by the City of Sydney.

It featured...

What's the best mix of electricity supply sources for Australia in the context of growing scientific and public concern about climate change?

Energy efficiency and conservation provide the first part of the answer — they can provide large, quick, cheap greenhouse emissions reductions....

The public forum “Breaking Australia's silence: WikiLeaks and freedom” took place on March 16 at Sydney Town Hall. More than 2000 people attended. The event was staged by the Sydney Peace Foundation, Amnesty, the Sydney Stop the War Coalition, and supported by the City of Sydney.

It...

Prominent British columnist George Monbiot announced in the British Guardian on March 21 that he now supports nuclear power. That isn't a huge surprise — having previously opposed nuclear power, he announced himself “nuclear-neutral” in 2009.

As recently as March 16, Monbiot...

The public forum “Breaking Australia's silence: WikiLeaks and freedom” took place on March 16 at Sydney Town Hall. More than 2000 people attended. The event was staged by the Sydney Peace Foundation, Amnesty, Stop the War Coalition, and supported by the City of Sydney

It featured...

The federal ALP government is pushing ahead with the punitive system of “income management” despite the fact that it is racist, unfair and expensive.

In June 2010, the federal government passed legislation allowing the extension of welfare quarantining beyond the 73 Northern Territory...

Award-winning novelist and environmentalist Richard Flanagan gave the speech below at a March 19 rally north of Launceston against the forest giant Gunns’ proposal to build a pulp mill in the nearby Tamar valley.

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Seven long years ago [then Tasmanian Premier...

The situation inside every one of Australia’s refugee detention centres has grown dangerously volatile.

Just days after the Christmas Island breakout and subsequent protests, nine refugees climbed on the roof of a detention centre in Darwin after watching the assault of another refugee...

It can sometimes feel like we’re losing a race against time to avoid environmental catastrophe and social collapse.

Climate change is already extinguishing species, destroying essential food production and forcing thousands of people to flee their island homes.

People are...

Editorial

The United Nations Security Council voted on March 19 to approve a military intervention into Libya, with 10 votes in favour and five absentions.

It was presented as a response to calls from besieged rebels fighting the Muammar Gaddafi dictatorship for a “no-fly zone” to protect them,...

Letters

Greetings from prison in Zimbabwe

On behalf of the Medical Professional and Allied Workers Union of Zimbabwe, a trade Union that organizes workers in the private Medical sector in Zimbabwe, I wish to express our heartfelt appreciation of the camaraderie you extended to...

Resistance!

The science that informs us about climate change is becoming more and more alarming.

The National Snow and Ice Date Center said on March 23: “On March 7, 2011, Arctic sea ice likely reached its maximum extent for the year, at 14.64 million square kilometers (5.65 million square miles...

Culture

The World According to Monsanto: Pollution, Politics & Power
Marie-Monique Robin
Spinifex Press, 2010.
373 pages, $44.95 (pb)

“What counts for us is making money,” said a Monsanto vice-president to a new employee at an induction session in...

This poem, by Afrodity Giannakis, is translated from Greek, It was published in a book also entitled Stowaway.

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A stowaway in your life,
a refugee in your land,
an exile in your country,
a foreigner in your homeland,...

Desert Pea Media
www.desertpeamedia.com.au
PI Boyz
www.smugglersoflight.com/AboriginalJustice.htm

Aboriginal man Mulrunji Doomadgee died in custody at Palm Island police station on November 19, 2004. His liver had been cleaved almost in...