Issue 881

Australia

More than 3000 people turned out to Austinmer Beach in the Illawarra on May 29 to form the "STOP COAL SEAM GAS!" human sign.

Three helicopters, each from a major media outlet, circled above the cheering and waving crowd to film the historic event.

Check out all the pictures and...

Sydney Stop the War coalition released the statement below on May 26.

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The death of Sergeant Brett Wood in Afghanistan on May 24 should trigger a radical rethink of this failed war, said Stop the War Coalition today.

Instead, PM Julia Gillard and opposition leader...

“EPA: Extreme Pollution A-OK” read a banner held up by protesters outside Victoria’s Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) as it announced on May 20 a partial approval for the HRL Dual Gas project, which will use brown coal for electricity generation.

With a record 4000 submissions to...

Releasing the Mid Year Financial Report in February, Tasmanian Premier Lara Giddings said savings required over the next three years would be the equivalent of 2300 jobs. She said she couldn’t rule out forced redundancies in the public service or cuts to frontline services.

On May 26,...

It took Arrow Energy more than 24 hours to cap a major gas well blow-out. The well sprayed water and methane up to 90 metres in the air on a farming property west of Dalby in Queensland.

The leak took place on May 22 when the well was being prepared for production.

The leak was...

Child beauty pageants, such as the ones featured on the reality TV show Toddlers and Tiaras, are big business in the United States. The industry is so big that it is expanding overseas. One of the biggest pageant companies, United Royalty plans to stage pageants in all states in...

From the very young age of seven or eight, Lyndall Barnett exhibited signs of concern about animals, the environment, social justice and women’s role in society.

Lyndall also had a rebellious streak from an early age, the sort of rebellious streak that is needed to stand up against...

An estimated 3500 building workers walked off the job and rallied in Brisbane’s CBD on May 24 to protest sham contracts being imposed by unscrupulous contractors in the construction industry.

Building workers from the Gold Coast joined the protest after coming up to Brisbane in a convoy...

Members of Defend WikiLeaks Perth organised a series of banner drops across the city on May 26 to call for the release from prison of US private Bradley Manning. The day marked one year since Manning was imprisoned in the US for allegedly leaking information to WikiLeaks.

Film by Zeb...

When the Tasmanian state government forced a bridge through the kutalyana site as part of the Brighton bypass, the Aboriginal community responded by placing a ban on conducting Aboriginal heritage assessments.

These bans are being upheld by all Aboriginal Heritage Officers and the...

Melbourne’s only Indigenous specialist school, Ballerrt Mooroop College (BMC), is again under threat from the state government.

The Baillieu Liberal government plans to shift the Glenroy Specialist School (GSS) onto the site, which would push the BMC onto one third of the land it has...

The Leichhardt Friends of Hebron group in Sydney’s inner west has been awarded a small grant. The grant is designed to enable grassroots community participation in events during Refugee Week and encourage Australians to think about the reasons refugees flee their homelands.

Such grants...

The axing of 82 full-time jobs from the Fairfax Media group has prompted protests by angry Fairfax employees in Sydney and Melbourne.

Sub-editors, designers and artists will be outsourced from The Age and the Sydney Morning Herald to Pagemasters.

Furious...

With a clearly nervous David Hicks in front of a packed audience of 1000 people at the Sydney Writers' Festival on May 22, his interviewer Donna Mulhearn did a great job in breaking the ice. “Is it true that Channel 7,” she said, as we were all waiting for the hard political question, “asked you...

More than 100 people attended a meeting to commemorate Mulivaikal Remembrance Day on May 22 — the second anniversary of the day the Sri Lankan military crushed the Tamil Eelam struggle in northern Sri Lanka in 2009.

The gathering, which included guest speakers, multi-religious prayers...

World

Pictures of Madrid's central plaza known as Puerta del Sol bear an uncanny resemblance to Tahrir Square in Cairo following more than a week of demonstrations and an ongoing encampment in protest of the devastating effects of the economic crisis and the Spanish state's collaboration with bankers...

Honduran President Porfirio Lobo Sosa and former president Manuel Zelaya Rosales signed an agreement on May 22: “For National Reconciliation and the Consolidation of the Democratic System in the Republic of Honduras”.

Lobo was elected in November 2009 in a rigged vote. The poll was...

Protests across Bahrain that began on February 14 have rocked the US-backed Khalifa royal family, mobilising hundreds of thousands of people against the regime's repressive rule.

As part of the struggle for democracy, protesters have also opposed policies by the regime, which is...

On May 26, the one year anniversary of the arrest of US soldier Bradley Manning, who is accused of leaking classified US government documents released by WikiLeaks, the Bradley Manning Support Network released an appeal for support in the campaign for his freedom. It is abridged below from www....

The statement below was released on May 18 by the Committee to Stop FBI Repression. The FBI documents can be viewed at www.stopFBI.net .

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FBI agents, who raided the Minneapolis home of anti-war and international solidarity activists Mick Kelly and Linden Gawboy in September...

The central plazas of dozens of cities and towns across Spain bear an uncanny resemblance to Tahrir Square in Cairo. They have been taken over by thousands of demonstrators demanding a "new system". As of May 29, dozens of other central plazas in Spanish cities and towns look the same — taken...

The debate over the Western military intervention into Libya that has swept sections of the world’s left since it began in March were concentrated into one passionate session at the annual congress of Denmark’s Red-Green Alliance (RGA), held in Copenhagen over May 20-22.

The 300 congress...

The home of Nabeel Rajab, president of the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights (BCHR) was attacked on May 21, CNN.com said that day. It was the second attack on Rajab's house in a month.

The BCHR said the attack occurred in the early hours of the morning while Rajab and his family were...

In Spain’s local elections on May 22, a tsunami of popular rage against the Spanish Socialist Workers Party (PSOE) government of Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero spread across this country of five million jobless.

The punishment came amid widespread suffering caused by the economic crisis,...

The response of the British Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition government to the economic crisis, which has been to implement billions of pounds worth of public spending cuts, is intensifying the effects of the crisis on the British people.

Austerity measures are worsening mass...

About 20,000 people took part in Switzerland's biggest anti-nuclear march in 25 years on May 22, Swissinfo.ch said that day.

“Chanting and waving placards, anti-nuclear protesters marched in two groups to the site of Beznau, Switzerland’s oldest nuclear power plant which is located in...

May 22 elections in the German city-state of Bremen marked yet another disastrous result for the parties of Germany’s ruling coalition, the centre-right Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and the big-business Free Democrats (FDP).

Unsurprisingly, for the traditional working-class...

The statement below was released on May 28 by the Australia-Venezuela Solidarity Network. For more information on the AVSN, visit www.venezuelasolidarity.org .

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On May 24, the United States’ State Department unilaterally imposed sanctions against Venezuela’s state-owned oil...

The formation of the Mana Party in April marked a “major step forward for a genuine working-class political voice” in New Zealand, the national director of the Unite Union and Mana party member Mike Treen told Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal.

The Mana Party...

Media reports suggested that US President Barack Obama's May 19 Washington DC speech on the Middle East and North Africa contained a new proposal for peace between Israel and the Palestinians. A look at the content shows this is false.

The May 20 New York Times declared: “...

What are some examples of highly offensive words that must be censored from radio? For British state broadcaster BBC, they are not all of the four-letter variety.

The BBC appears to find not just the phrase “Free Palestine” but even the geographical entity of the Gaza Strip itself...

“To continue this revolution, Egypt must go to Palestine.”

These were the words of Akram Ismalii, a student from Cairo University who marched along side his classmates in downtown Cairo for the Third Palestine Intifada rally on May 15. The day marks al-Nakba ("the catastrophe...

Analysis

Riz Wakil, an Afghan refugee, arrived on Ashmore Reef in 1999 and was held in Curtin detention centre for nine months. Now a permanent Australian resident, he runs a printery.

In June 2010, GetUp! won a charity auction prize — a surfing lesson with opposition leader Tony...

The proposal for a carbon tax raises the issues of tax equity and political strategy. Yet despite their inter-relatedness, we need to disentangle these issues to focus on the original question.

As a mean of addressing climate change, the carbon tax proposal comes in the context of...

The newly-elected Barry O’Farrell Coalition government in NSW has introduced a bill that gives it unprecedented power over pay and conditions for the state's 400,000 public servants —gutting the NSW Industrial Relations Commission’s (IRC) role.

The Industrial Relations Amendment (...

Sixty-two percent of Australians support equal marriage rights. This support has risen from the 33% who backed same-sex marriage in 2004 — the year gay marriage was banned.

This rise in support has been a result of the grassroots campaign waged by activists with rallies, politician...

The Australian media, collectively, does a dismal job of telling the story of our silent apartheid, the space between black and white Australians.

The new assimilation, well underway in the Northern Territory, has the same intent as government policies of past eras, still aiming to...

As part of its attempts to turn back the clock in the Catholic Church, the Vatican drew 1.5 million of the devout to Rome on May 1 for the beatification ceremony of Karol Wojtyla, Pope John Paul II. He may become the fastest declared saint in history.

The Vatican is also pushing the...

Save the Children recently released its annual “State of the World’s Mothers” report, which, using a wide range of statistics from 164 countries, ranks the best and worst places on earth to be a mother, a woman and a child.

The report is bittersweet for Australia. Though it ranks as the...

For more than five long and horrendous years, David Hicks was locked up in the US prison camp at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba where he was subject to countless inhumane forms of torture.

Hicks was captured by the Northern Alliance in Afghanistan in December 2001 and was transferred to Camp X...

The Western Australia Liberal government recently said its lucrative prisoner transport contract with private security firm G4S would end in July. Another private company, the British-based conglomerate Serco, will take over.

The move came after a long campaign against G4S and the WA...

Climate scientist Will Steffen told reporters at the May 23 launch of The Critical Decade — the first report from the federal government-appointed Climate Commission — that “we don’t have the luxury anymore of climate denialism” and “need to get beyond this fruitless, phoney debate in...

Bob Gould was a veteran of the labour left in Australia. He died on May 22, at the age of 74, of injuries suffered after a fall in his well-known bookshop, Gould's Book Arcade, in Newtown, Sydney.

He had been unwell for some time, but his accidental death was untimely.

Gould was...

The crowd at Harry Black’s funeral, on May 23, filled the South Chapel in Rookwood Garden Cemetery, the overflow room and the upstairs gallery. Family, comrades, wharfies, seafarers and even a few old fellow soldiers from World War II were there to say goodbye.

It was a fitting...

Many people have heard of the mess the government & Lend Lease are up to at Barangaroo, but little has yet to be made public on a similar development for the Gosford Waterfront Landing.

The General Manager of the Central Coast Regional Development Corporation Brett Phillips says the...

Editorial

The worst thing about the Labor government’s proposed carbon price scheme is that it’s a diversion from real action on climate change.

Few of its supporters say it will deliver significant renewable energy or emissions cuts any more — only that it will “start the process” and complement...

Letters

Gaza flotilla needs our support

In a few weeks time, a flotilla will be going to Gaza carrying medical supplies, food and building materials to assist the Palestinian people who have suffered grievously from the Zionist policies of the Israeli government.

...

Resistance!

For 25 years, the gay youth of Adelaide have had just one place to find group support from people who understand.

Each fortnight, the “Evolve” project for women and the “Inside Out” project for men at the state-run Second Story Youth Health Centre have provided safe, confidential drop-in...

Resistance held its 40th national conference on the weekend of May 6 -8. One-hundred-and-fifty people came over the three days and took part in diverse workshops and panel sessions.

One major session featured Matthew Cassel, former assistant editor of Electronic Intifada and an...

Culture

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Springtime: The New Student Rebellions
Edited by Claire Solomon and Tania Palmieri
Verso 2011 283 pages,
paperback, £9.99

In years to come, when people look back at 2010-11 and try to identify the moment the fightback against the British...

The annual Sydney Writers' Festival brings together a diverse range of acclaimed writers from around Australia and the world.

This year's theme “Words. To Live By” engaged readers and writers in a week long festival of ideas ranging from discussions about the future of media to the...

The “Big Four” record companies, already responsible for more than 80% of album sales on the planet, may be on the verge of becoming the “Big Three”.

On May 6, Warner Music Group was sold to Ukrainian-American tycoon Leonard Blavatnik.

Warner is the world's third largest record...

On June 27, 1985, four anti apartheid activists were brutally murdered on behalf of the South African government. Twenty five years later, their killers still walk free.

The murders of these four men illustrate one of the darkest passages of South Africa’s history.

South African...

Fighting Fund

The richest person in Australia this year, according to the 2011 BRW Rich List, is mining magnate Gina Rhinehart.

Her wealth, estimated at $10.3 billion, is more than twice the amount put shopping centre tycoon Frank Lowy in the top spot in last year’s BRW Rich List.

Rhinehart’s...