Issue 879

Australia

A Palestinian solidarity conference held in Sydney over May 14-15 brought together more than 200 people to discuss the campaign in Australia in solidarity with the Palestinian struggle for freedom.

The conference took place on the anniversary of al Nakba (“the catastrophe”) — as...

The Roman Catholic Church has sacked the bishop of Toowoomba after 18 years of service for his belief that women can be priests.

In his 2006 Advent pastoral letter to priests in his diocese, Bishop William Morris questioned the practice of sourcing Catholic priests from Africa, and...

The Iran Solidarity Network (ISN) and Australia-Asia Worker Links held a meeting on May 7 to commemorate Iranian Kurdish activist Farzad Kamangar, who was executed last year.

ISN member Afshin Nikouseresht told the meeting that Kamangar was a teacher, poet, author, human rights activist...

Campaign groups Western Downs Alliance and Six Degrees combined with a number of other activists and organisations to bring us the Rock the Gates Festival at Tara showgrounds from April 29 to May 4.

The festival was organised to elicit support for, educate and inform about the Lock the...

Australian born WikiLeaks editor-in-chief Julian Assange, who began publishing thousands of leaked US diplomatic cables last year, received the Sydney Peace Foundation’s Gold Medal at a special ceremony at the Frontline Club in London on May 10.

The award, which differs from the...

An audience of more than 600 people at a forum debate in Sydney on May 10 voted by a margin of 69% to 23%, that, "All drugs should be legalised."

The forum was sponsored by Intelligence2, a project of the St James Ethics Centre. It heard arguments for and against the proposal and...

A group of 30 people held up construction of a second loader arm at Newcastle's third coal loader site on Kooragang Island on May 10, stopping a crane crew for about 90 minutes.

The protest coincided with what would have been Newcastle climate activist Pete Gray's 31st birthday. Gray...

The Feminist Futures Conference is being organised for May 28-29 by the newly formed Melbourne Feminist Collective (MFC): a group of mainly young activists who were inspired by a similar conference they attended in Sydney last year.

James Muldoon from the MFC told Green Left Weekly...

Organisers of the 2011 Human Rights Arts and Film Festival (HRAFF) have informed Melbourne visual artist Van Thanh Rudd that his artwork titled Pop Goes the System, which depicts global pop icon Justin Bieber supporting Palestinian human rights, will be banned from this year’s festival...

Australia’s first national rally of intersex, sex and/or gender diverse (ISGD) people saw 180 participants gather on the lawns of parliament house, Canberra, on May 11.

Two buses of ISGD people and allies travelled from Sydney. A bus arrived from Melbourne and 10 activists flew from...

World

About 6000 people rallied in Jayapura, the capital of Indonesian-occupied West Papua on May 2 demanding a referendum on independence. The demonstration also commemorated the illegal occupation of West Papua in 1963.

West Papua Media Alerts reported on May 2 that West Papua National...

This article is reposted from http://gazatvnews.com . Protesters fired on by Israeli forces were commemorating al Nakba ("the catastrophe"), as Palestinians refer to the ethnic cleansing that accompanied the founding of Israel.

See also
Remembering al Nakba...

Federal elections were held in Canada on May 2 after the conservative government of Prime Minister Stephen Harper lost a motion of no-confidence in parliament. In the elections, Harper's government was returned -- winning enough extra seats to move from being minority government to a majority...

Bolivian President Evo Morales proposed enshrining the Rights of Mother Earth in international law to the United Nations General Assembly on April 23.

The proposal follows the Law on the Rights of Mother Earth that was enacted in Bolivia in January.

The “short” law enacted is a...

New Zealand’s Unite union has made great progress in recent years in organising previously unorganised sectors of workers ― often young workers in fast food, hospitality and retail. Through organising workers, Unite has forced fast food giants, such as McDonald's, KFC and Pizza Hut, to eradicate...

In the first four days after Osama bin Laden’s assassination by US forces, the mass reaction in Pakistan is very mixed.

In Punjab there is a general sympathy towards bin Laden, but not many are expressing it openly. In Sindh, the responses differ in different cities. For example, in...

Thousands of people took to the streets in cities and towns throughout Syria on May 13, despite a week of intensified repression by the Baath Party regime of President Bashar al-Assad.

On May 11, tanks shelled the city of Homs, one of the centres of protest, and mass arrests took place...

The statement below was released by the Socialist Alliance in Australia on May 14.

See also: Venezuela: Dodgy dossier’s terror links claims questioned

* * *
The Socialist Alliance calls on the Colombian government to immediately release independent media activist Joaquin...

Voting across Britain on May 5 resulted in a rejection of changes to the electoral system, but election results in Scotland may herald the end of Britain as we know it.
 
The referendum on introducing an “Alternative Vote” voting system (much like the preferential voting system in...

No sooner had the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) released its dossier The FARC Files: Venezuela, Ecuador and the Secret Archive of Raul Reyes on May 10, that the international media was once again claiming more proof that Venezuelan government links to terrorism...

“I don’t have any blood on my hands,” Puerto Rican political prisoner Oscar Lopez Rivera wrote in February.

“I haven’t victimized anyone. And I’ve devoted most of my life serving a just and noble cause and struggling to help make this world a better and more just one.”

For 30...

Despite years of anti-labour laws, government attacks on unions, workplace restructuring and labour “flexibility”, the huge turnout for 2011 May Day celebrations shows that South Korean organised labour is still a force to be reckoned with.

On May 1, huge numbers of workers took to the...

The pretext for the invasion and occupation of Afghanistan, now the longest war in US history, was the September 11, 2001 attacks.

But the vast majority of Afghans being carpet bombed, eviscerated by Predator drones and shot dead in night raids don’t even know what the 9/11 attacks were...

Osama Bin Laden, the mastermind behind the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States that killed about 3000 people, will not be mourned by many people around the world. But his killers used Bin Laden’s crimes to justify wars on Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iraq that have killed many...

On April 20, 2010, BP’s Deepwater Horizon oil rig exploded, triggering a months-long disaster that would end only after at least 4.9 million barrels of oil, and at least 1.9 million gallons of toxic chemical dispersants, had been injected into the Gulf of Mexico.

One year on, the...

Analysis

See also:
Sydney Palestine conference discusses solidarity

May 18, 2011 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Samah Sabawi, from Australians for Palestine, addressed a May 13, 2011, community forum in Holy Trinity Church Hall,...

One hundred activists of the National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU) attended the Pushing the Boundaries climate change conference over April 28-29.

The two days of talks, vibrant debate and action-based workshops set a progressive agenda for ongoing union environmental activism and...

After 12 hours on the road, travelling 800 kilometres from Newcastle through Gunnedah, Narrabri, Moree and Goondiwindi, just after sundown, our big blue bus pulled into Tara showground for four days of workshops and direct action as part of the Rock the Gate festival against coal seam gas mining...

Coalition leader Tony Abbott wrote to PM Julia Gillard in March calling for a bipartisan approach to Aboriginal issues and a “second intervention” in the Northern Territory. He flew to Alice Springs in late April to further these calls.

June will mark four years since former PM John...

Her long red nails jabbed and waved in the air like a conductor dramatically tracing an absurdist symphony of propaganda, cajoling, and threats.

Avital Shapira-Shabirow, the Director of the International Department of the Israeli right wing union federation, the Histadrut in Tel Aviv,...

May 14 marked 63 years of the Israeli Declaration of Independence. The Palestinian Arabs know it as al Nakba, which translates as “day of the catastrophe”.

In preparation for Israel’s independence from Britain, the Haganah — a Zionist paramilitary, or, as it would be described...

The refugee deal struck between the Australian and Malaysian governments will put vulnerable, desperate refugees in great danger.

Under the agreement, the Gillard Labor government will deport to Malaysia 800 asylum seekers that arrive in Australia by boat. Malaysia has not signed the...

In the past few decades, Christian and Muslim theologies have been misinterpreted and used tactically against Middle Eastern dictatorships with no success.

For instance, former US president George W Bush justified the “war on terror” as a fight against an “axis of evil” and called for a...

Laura’s* mother was in Dara’a in southern Syria when the military attacked youths who had graffitied anti-government slogans in mid March. Only when she had arrived back in Sydney did she tell her family about what she’d seen of the attacks on unarmed protesters, which sparked the wave of anti-...

The mining and banking companies creaming billions in super profits from the mining boom — the biggest mining boom in Australia’s history — have done very well from the federal budget that was delivered by the Gillard Labor government on May 10.

The big mining companies will continue to...

In a joint statement with Malaysian Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak on May 7, the Prime Minister Julia Gillard announced an agreement had been reached to swap 800 future “irregular maritime arrivals” from Australia with 4000 United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)...

Newcastle climate, forest and anti-war activist Pete Gray passed away on April 30 after a battle with cancer that lasted more than two years. Pete was a week and a half short of his 31st birthday.

Pete was a founding and active member of the nationally and internationally renowned...

Left Flank, May 3 — Marrickville Council may have backed off supporting the Israel boycott, divestment and sanctions campaign but by highlighting the plight of the Palestinians, the Council’s initiative in this area, and the pro-BDS stance of the NSW Greens, has ensured that this will only be...

Refugees held inside Darwin’s Northern Immigration Detention Centre told members of the Darwin Asylum Seeker Support and Advocacy Network on May 3 of two recent suicide attempts by inmates.

The network has also received two letters from detainees. One of these letters, from a Rohingyan...

Resistance!

Our goal, as socialists, is to raise women (and for that matter, all of humanity) to a level where they are regarded as true human beings.

By that I mean, people whose ideas, opinions and desires are worthy of consideration, rather than machines which exist to provide sexual pleasure,...

Culture

Treasure Islands
By Nicholas Shaxson
Random House, 2011
329 pages
www.treasureislands.org

Every once in a while a book comes along that changes a mass audience's view of the world.

Naomi Klein’s 2000 book No Logo, which...

Fighting Fund

For many Australians, Fairfax Media is a benign alternative to Rupert Murdoch’s right-wing media empire. Well-meaning people buy Fairfax newspapers such as the Sydney Morning Herald and The Age because they believe they present a fairer picture of the news. But just how fair is...

We kid you not

“Factories making sought-after Apple iPads and iPhones in China are forcing staff to sign pledges not to commit suicide, an investigation has revealed.

“At least 14 workers at Foxconn factories in China have killed themselves in the last 16 months as a result of horrendous working...