Issue 882

Australia

About 5000 people walked across Commonwealth Bridge and rallied in front of Parliament House on June 5, calling for real action on climate change now.

Speakers included former Liberals Leader John Hewson, Richard Dennis from the Australia Institute, 2010 Greens Senate candidate Lin...

Since the 1980s, Friends of the Earth's (FoE) annual Radioactive Exposure Tour has exposed thousands of people first-hand to the realities of “radioactive racism” and to the environmental impacts of the nuclear industry.

The tour is a 10-day journey into the heart of the breathtaking...

Members of climate action group NoPlanetB.org blocked the haulage of coal from Xstrata’s West Wallsend underground mine for several hours on May 30.

A climber was suspended in a tunnel entrance on a haul road, used for transferring coal to the port of Newcastle. Others stood in front of...

Members of various activist groups joined a roadside anti-privatisation protest in Booragoon, Western Australia on June 3.

The groups responded to the call by the “In Public Hands” campaign group to campaign for public ownership of the soon-to-be-built Fiona Stanley Hospital.

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About 40 people joined a “flash mob” action in the Myer Centre, Queen Street Mall, on June 3 to protest Seacret, as an Israeli company operating in Australia.

Seacret is a cosmetics firm that uses minerals from the Dead Sea, which is part of the Palestinian territory stolen by Israel...

Aboriginal community leader Sam Watson called a rally outside state parliament on June 1 to demand a new Royal Commission into Aboriginal deaths in custody.

The rally also condemned the Queensland Police Union (QPU), who have demanded the Queensland government pay the legal costs...

More than 60 people rallied outside parliament house on June 2 in support of rights for homeless people. This was the largest of three protests organised since the issue was raised in state parliament in April in relation to the upcoming Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM).

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Safe sex advertisements are being returned to the city's bus shelters after widespread protests forced a ban to be overturned.

Adshel, one of Australia's largest outdoor advertising companies, had taken down the ads on May 31 after a concerted campaign of complaints by the Australian...

More than 3000 people turned out to Austinmer beach in the Illawarra on May 29 to form a “STOP COAL SEAM GAS!” human sign.

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

Check out all the pictures and media...

Three hundred teachers from across NSW rallied outside NSW Parliament House in Macquarie St on June 4. They were joined by members of the Public Service Association, the Fire Brigade Employees Union, the NSW Nurses Federation and other unionists.

The teachers left a session of the New...

More than 40 people attended a meeting on May 22 in the Wollongong suburb of Corrimal titled, “The future of local government in Wollongong; can it be community driven and democratic”?

Wollongong City Council has been under adminstration since March 2008 after the ALP-dominated council...

About 200 people gathered on the steps of Victorian parliament house on June 3 for a “Swear In” to protest against new laws that give police the power to fine people for swearing.

Colleen Hartland, Greens member of the legislative council, spoke of the civil liberties implications while...

“This is going to be the biggest environmental campaign this country has ever seen,” Drew Hutton, acting president of the Lock the Gate Alliance, told a rally of several hundred people outside the Sofitel Hotel on May 31.

He was addressing the crowd outside a major conference of the coal...

A Darwin-based asylum seeker support group today called on the Minister for Immigration, Chris Bowen, to honour his promise to remove children from detention by the end of June. In excess of 100 children remain in immigration detention in Darwin.

Darwin Asylum Seeker Support and Advocacy...

Two men were taken to hospital and a third treated at the scene after being injured during a confrontation with police at a refugee rights protest at the Maribyrnong detention centre on May 29.

The conflict took place during a pre-arranged peaceful protest organised by an alliance of...

World

In late April, the progressive Spanish daily Publico asked why there was so little resistance to the economic crisis, despite the country’s 5 million jobless and rising misery.

The union and social movement leaders and left academics interviewed pointed to the numbing impact of...

In a contribution to the magazine Viento Sur, Real Democracy Now! activist Nacho Álvarez looked at the challenges facing the Real Democracy Now! movement three weeks after May 15. Excerpts of the article are published below.

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Collective reflection about what to do...

The editor-in-chief of whistle-blowing website WikiLeaks, Julian Assange, told the Belfast Telegraph that the United States was working behind the scenes to put WikiLeaks and himself out of business.

He said: “The United States has brought out to the public an extremely...

As many as 1 million people gathered in Cairo's Tahrir Square and across Egypt on May 27 for a “Friday of Anger”. The huge march showed the revolution that ousted dictator Hosni Mubarak in February has reached a new stage.

The demonstrations were called by left organisations in defiance...

Tunisia's first election since the downfall of dictator Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali may be delayed from July 24 to October 16, Kamel Jandoubi, president of the High Authority for the Elections, told a meeting of political parties on May 26.

But days later, the interim government reaffirmed...

British Conservative PM David Cameron told a May 26 London press conference with US President Barack Obama that the world's biggest superpowers support the “Arab Spring” uprisings.

He said the main task of the May 26-27 G8 meeting in Deauville, France the following day was promoting “...

Media outlets from the Dawn Media Group, Pakistans leading media house, published the first set of WikiLeaks files relating to Pakistan on May 20.

The leaked US cables revealed that the Pakistani military is complicit in US drone strikes in Pakistan's tribal areas, bordering Afghanistan...

Global greenhouse gas emissions rose faster than ever last year and the market-based schemes set up to bring emissions down are in trouble.

That’s the bad news from two recent reports by the International Energy Agency (IEA) and the World Bank.

The IEA said emissions in 2010 were...

On a section of the apartheid wall in Occupied Palestine someone spray-painted a quote from Edward Said that says: "Since when does a militarily occupied people have the responsibility for a peace movement?"

It is worth considering the wisdom of this statement.

This month marks...

The Scottish government announced on May 20 that it was aiming to use only  renewable energy  by 2020, EarthTimes.org said on May 22 — increasing its target from 80%.

Scotland's First Minister Alex Salmond, from the Scottish National Party (SNP), said: “Because the pace of development...

A subpoena from the Manhattan district attorney on June 3 has added to a growing list of official probes into investment bank and securities firm Goldman Sachs.

Reuters said on June 3: “Goldman Sachs Group Inc now faces probes by several government authorities into derivatives trades it...

The German government announced on May 30 that Germany’s 17 nuclear power stations would all be permanently shut down by 2022.

Germany’s seven oldest nuclear power stations ― temporarily switched off after public outcry following the Fukushima disaster ― will remain off-line and be...

“In all of the mainstream media analysis of WikiLeaks' recent release of Detainee Assessment Briefs (DABs) from Guantanamo, relating to almost all of the 779 prisoners who have been held at the prison over the last nine years and four months,” Andy Worthington wrote in a may 11 TruthOut.org...

It’s been a year since the “memorandum of understanding” between the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the Greek government was signed. It is now clear it has failed to deliver the country’s promised economic recovery.

As confirmed by the treasury data, Greece’s debt has risen rather...

Corporate media outlets claim Peru’s mining boom is doing wonders for the country’s economy, creating opportunities and making everybody richer.

Quite a few Peruvians, mostly situated in the bubble-world of Lima’s wealthy areas, have been drinking the neoliberal kool-aid.

Someone...

On June 1, formal Israeli festivities were held around the country to commemorate “Jerusalem Day”.

One of the main events of the “Jerusalem Day" celebrations is the “Dance of Flags”. Tens of thousands of people, waving Israeli flags, march through Palestinian parts of the city.

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Analysis

Green Left Weekly’s Timothy Lawson spoke to Jim Richardson, a member of Sydney Solidarity for Bradley Manning, about the group’s campaign work.

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Can you tell me about the Sydney Solidarity for Bradley Manning group?...

The Stop the War coalition Sydney released the statement below on June 2.

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“We will be there seeing the mission through” — Australian troops will stay in Afghanistan until the “job” is done. This was the response of Prime Minister Julia Gillard to the May 23 death of...

A big ad campaign — “Australia says yes” — began this month to support the federal government’s proposed carbon tax. The campaign has been organised by a coalition of peak environment and social justice organisations including GetUp!, the Australian Conservation Foundation and the Australian...

Toowoomba’s Catholic community expressed shock at the sacking of Bishop William Morris after a five-year Vatican investigation. But Father Peter Kennedy, of South Brisbane church St Mary’s in Exile, wasn’t surprised.

Sacked from the church in 2009 for “unorthodox practices”, Father...

Alice Springs is a town unlike any other and to an outsider its racial tensions are noticeable. Walking through the shopping centre one sees security guards tell Aboriginal people to move on when they are window shopping.

Poverty and homelessness are visible — and visibly black.

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The deal to restructure the collapsing timber industry in Tasmania is struggling to make headway. Logging continues in old-growth forests at the same time as sawmills and woodchip mills close and more workers lose their jobs.

Anti-logging protests are being held weekly outside the...

In the land of desperate excuses, coal seam gas is king. The new boom industry of the Queensland and New South Wales hinterlands contaminates ground and surface waters, while taking rich farmland out of food production.

But at least, its promoters argue, coal seam gas (CSG) is a weak...

The Australian government has received heavy criticism in recent weeks for its inhumane treatment of refugees, in particular its “swap” deal with Malaysia and its mandatory detention policy.

Federal Greens MP Adam Bandt and independent MP Andrew Wilkie moved a parliamentary motion on May...

Forty years after the first equal pay test case, the gap between male and female wages continues to widen.

Australian Bureau of Statistics figures, released on May 20, 2010, put the pay gap (as of February 2010) at 18%. Women on average now earn $239.30 a week less than men. The pay gap...

This year marks the 10th anniversary of the Codrington wind farm in Victoria’s southwest, the state’s first. On May 18, planning minister Matthew Guy announced approval for the latest, the three-turbine Chepstowe wind farm near Ballarat.

But Victoria’s wind industry is threatened by the...

We chose Professor Noam Chomsky for the 2011 Sydney Peace Prize for inspiring the convictions of millions about ways to achieve those universal human rights, which bolster peace with justice.

For more than 50 years he has been a world champion of freedom of speech, of the value of...

Letters

Reality check on climate target

The Australian Climate Commission’s report The Critical Decade adopted a budget approach to cessation of greenhouse gas (GHG) pollution, stating that a 75% chance of the world avoiding a 2°C temperature rise (European Union policy...

Resistance!

The not-guilty verdict in October for a young woman and her partner put on trial for using the drug RU486 to induce an abortion came as a big relief to many. The Cairns jury took less than an hour to deliver long-awaited justice.

Now the campaign has turned to smashing the anti-abortion...

Culture

Secret Genocide: Voices of the Karen of Burma
Daniel Pedersen
Maverick House, 272pp

Aung San Suu Kyi, leader of Burma's national League for Democracy (NLD), might be relatively free, for now. There are many others in Burma, however, who are anything...

Rebellion runs through pop music, but no performer has ever fused music and radical politics like Gil Scott-Heron, who died on May 27.

In a series of early 1970s albums, Scott-Heron, collaborating with composer/arranger Brian Jackson, made militant funk and soul that remains unmatched....

Fighting Fund

There's a huge anti-capitalist movement rocking Spain. If you're on Twitter the hashtag to follow is #spanishrevolution.

We at Green Left Weekly have enthusiastically covered the events and the protesters known as “the indignants”.

The movement has exploded into the...