Issue 884

Australia

An emergency phone tree on June 6 mobilised the extra support needed to stop workers coming on-site to begin demolishing part of Melbourne’s only Aboriginal school, Ballerrt Mooroop College (BMC).

The workers from the demolition company, ADCO ,decided, as long as there were people...

Ninety-one percent of Australians think the government should take more action to roll out renewable energy and create green jobs and 86% say the government should develop a plan to get to 100% renewables.

These were some of the outcomes of one of Australia’s biggest ever polls on...

Australian Taxation Office management has announced it will put its draft enterprise agreement to a vote of all ATO staff during a seven-day period starting on June 24, after negotiations with the unions ended in disagreement.

From June 15 to June 17 the Community and Public Sector Union...

About 50 people rallied on June 16 under the slogan, “Don’t derail Altona. Save our trains.”

The rally was called to protest the Victorian government’s cuts to rail services on the Werribee line’s Altona Loop.

The service cuts mean the Altona Loop will lose direct access to the...

About 3000 people rallied outside Tasmania’s parliament house on June 16 to protest a harsh budget handed down by the ALP-Greens coalition government.

Up to 1700 public sector workers will lose their jobs and 20 schools will close under the government’s plans.

About 500 people took part in a June 11 march to demand an end to victim blaming in sexual assault. This was followed by a screening of the film War Zone in the Adelaide Activist Centre. About 30 people attended.

The film screening was jointly hosted by the Socialist Alliance...

Three Australian activists joining the Freedom Flotilla 2 were given a heartfelt sendoff by Green Left Weekly at the Resistance Centre on June 15.

The three will soon join activists from 50 countries taking part in this latest international action to pressure Israel to lift the...

SlutWalk has become a global phenomenon since Canadian policeman Constable Michael Sanguinett told a campus safety meeting “women should avoid dressing like sluts in order not to be victimised”.

Big SlutWalk rallies have retaliated against this victim-blaming that police, courts, and...

A magistrate dismissed charges against 49 climate activists on June 16. The protesters had committed non-violent civil disobedience at a climate camp against a new coal-fired power station being built in the Hunter Valley.

The charges related to an action on December 6 at the NSW climate...

Chanting “refugees — freedom now, don’t treat people worse than cows”, 50 refugee rights protesters confronted immigration minister Chris Bowen at a refugee conference on June 17.

The protest, which was called by the Refugee Action Coalition, marched into the University of NSW lecture...

At a public debate on June 16, Icelandic journalist and WikiLeaks spokesperson Kristinn Hrafnsson said WikiLeaks has strengthened democracy and revealed wrongdoings. Most of the 600-strong crowd said they agreed.

At the end of this year’s second IQ² debate, 58.2% of the audience voted...

Sungai Siput, Malaysia - "It is definitely not on for Australia to outsource their refugee problem to Malaysia - and for Malaysia to agree to it", the Socialist Party of Malaysia (PSM) member of parliament Dr Jeyakumar Devaraj told Green Left Weekly at the PSM's 13th...

World

The United States media remain enthralled by Congress’s partisan battles over the national debt ceiling, while the assault on public sector workers across the US intensifies.

On June 14, Wisconsin’s state supreme court overturned an earlier legal challenge to the state’s anti-union “...

More than 65,000 people in cities and towns all over Japan marched on June 11 to mark three months since Fukushima nuclear disaster. Marchers called for an end to nuclear power.

In Tokyo, separate marches took off from different routes through the city before assembling in front of...

With Italy being the latest European country to reject nuclear power in a June 12-13 referendum, a coalition of anti-nuclear groups in Britain has announced plans to hold a mass non-violent blockade of Hinkley Point nuclear power station on October 3.

The plant, near Bridgwater in...

Disaster capitalists flocked to Haiti in a “gold rush” for contracts to rebuild the country after the January 12, 2010 earthquake, wrote the current US ambassador Kenneth Merten in a secret Febuary 1, 2010 cable obtained by WikiLeaks and reviewed by Haiti Liberte.

“THE GOLD RUSH...

US officials in Haiti warned that the Haitian government would be unable to handle a catastrophic earthquake five years before a devastating tremor ended up destroying large swathes of the Haitian capital and surrounding towns, killing tens of thousands and destroying hundreds of buildings....

Trade union leaders have rejected government claims that human rights and trade unionist protection has improved. The rejection denigrates symbolic gestures aimed at securing a free trade agreement (FTA) with the United States. The trade union leaders say the FTA will help multinational...

Tens of thousands of striking trade unionists and their allies flooded Syntagma Square outside parliament on June 15 to try to stop MPs from approving the latest bill imposing more cuts and privatisations, the MorningStarOnline.co.uk said the next day.

Prime Minister George Papandreou,...

The British government continues to license millions of pounds in arms to the Sri Lankan regime despite suggestions that they may have been used in war crimes, the Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT) said on June 15.

New evidence of alleged atrocities committed by the Sri Lankan state in...

Swiss women and a major Swiss union held a national day of action on June 14 for wage equality for women and for a minimum wage of US$4000 a month for all workers.

The minimum wage that the union and women are seeking would be the equivalent of $48,000 a year. The minimum wage is now $...

More than 40 Palestinian civil society organisations released a statement on June 12 calling for international support for the Freedom Flotilla 2, which aims to break the siege of Gaza.

The first freedom flotilla bringing humanitarian aid to Gaza was violently attacked in May, 2010....

“Power never gives up without a fight.” These words of United States civil rights leader Martin Luther King were quoted by US President Barack Obama in his May 19 policy speech on the Middle East.

The quote is certainly a true description of the response of the region's regimes to the...

Three months after the earthquake and tsunami that triggered a nuclear disaster in Japan, new radiation "hot spots" may require the evacuation of more areas further from the damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power facility.

Japan’s Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency has now admitted...

More than 3000 riot police were sent to the Yoosung piston head factory in Asan on May 24 to break up a factory occupation and sit in protest over a company lockout.

Yoosung is a manufacturing company that has a near monopoly over the production of piston rings with an 80% share of the...

Public opposition to a plan by an Australian mining company, Lynas, to build a rare earth refinery in Pahang, Malaysia, was on show at a protest outside Australian High Commission in Kuala Lumpur on May 20.

Lynas plans to ship ore from its Mount Weld mine in Western Australia, through...

The British government continues to license millions of pounds in arms to the Sri Lankan regime despite suggestions that they may have been used in war crimes, the Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT) said on June 15.

New evidence of alleged atrocities committed by the Sri Lankan state in...

Analysis

WikiLeaks released the statement below on June 16 to mark six months since its editor-in-chief Julian Assange was placed under house arrest in Britain.

* * *

Today, June 16 2011, Julian Assange will have spent six months under house arrest. He has not been charged with a crime in...

In April and May, while in South America as part of solidarity brigades to Venezuela and Bolivia, I met some people who have risked everything to make their communities and their countries better places to live. I became so used to people passionately fighting for things they believed in that...

The Greens’ attempt to challenge Australia’s Afghan war policy in parliament last year has, by and large, sunk without trace.

In spite of recent polls showing overwhelming public opposition, Australia’s Afghan commitment rolls on, with the recent deaths of more Australian soldiers. And...

The president of the Pacific island nation of Nauru told Australian opposition leader Tony Abbott that it would move to sign the United Nations Convention on the Status of Refugees though it has not taken formal steps to do so.

Abbott said on June 13 this meant Prime Minister Julia...

Young Indonesians aged 15 and 16, alleged to be crewmembers on boats giving passage for refugees to Australia, are being held in Australian adult prisons. They are charged under harsh people smuggling laws that carry minimum mandatory sentences of five years.

At least four young men...

On Friday June 3, NSW Greens mining spokesperson Jeremy Buckingham launched a bill in state parliament that would place a 12-month moratorium on the coal seam gas (CSG) industry in NSW and prohibit CSG mining in the Sydney metropolitan area.

Speaking at the bill launch, Buckingham...

The Pilliga State Forest in northern NSW will be turned into a gas field if the government approves Eastern Star Gas's (ESG) mining proposal for the region.

The proposal set out by ESG seeks to develop the Pilliga into the state's largest coal seam gas (CSG) project.

The...

About 150 representatives engaged in the campaign against coal and coal seam gas mining attended the inaugural annual general meeting of the Lock the Gate Alliance, held in Murwillumbah, NSW, over June 11 and 12.

Lock the Gate (LTG) is a national body that represents more than 90...

It wouldn’t be okay for Amnesty to take donations from military dictators or for Animal Liberation to accept abattoir-owners as sponsors.

Such scenarios are so unlikely they just sound bizarre.

So why should we accept that it’s okay for Australian environmental groups to take...

Again.

Yes. Again.

Another again to join a conga-line of agains going back decades.

Again, another victim of the callousness of the NSW Department of Corrective Services.

In this case, the unnecessary and useless death of 33-year-old Adam Grant le Marseny, also...

Multinational gas company Dart Energy met with residents from St Peters on June 6 to discuss the company’s plans to carry out exploratory coal seam gas (CSG) drilling in Sydney’s inner-west before the end of the year.

Dart have plans to drill at a now vacant industrial site in St Peters...

Western Australia has always been proud of its natural resources and mining industries. Criticise it, and you bare the wrath of not only the elitism of rich investors and industrialists, but pretty much 80 to 90% of the population.

Woodside is considered one of the pride. When meeting...

In the first week of June, the Baillieu state government introduced new laws that give Victorian police the power to issue on-the-spot fines of up to $240 for using offensive language.

Victorian police already had the power to charge people with indecent language offences, but they had...

If you are a cow destined for someone’s dinner plate, the federal Labor government won’t send you to Indonesia without a guarantee you will be treated humanely.

But if you are an asylum seeker risking your life to reach Australia by boat in a desperate attempt to escape war, poverty and...

Letters

Gaddafi has record of slaughter

Tony Iltis [GLW #882] perceptively takes apart the double-dealing of the major Western powers as they have responded to the Arab revolts. But he is on shakier ground when he argues in relation to Libya that “there is no evidence...

Culture

Marcel Khalife, born in 1950 in Amchit, Lebanon, has injected new life into the music produced by the oud (the Arabic lute) ― helping revive an important part of Arabic culture.

Khalife studied the oud at the Beirut National Conservatory of Music and graduated in 1971.

From 1972...

Rapper Ozi Batla has long been known for speaking out on social issues. His band The Herd are well known for tracks such as “77%” ― which features the line “77% of Aussies are racist”, in response to an opinion poll result on the treatment of refugees during the Howard...

They’re a part of the human race
Searching for a safe place
To rise from their despair
To be part of the world that seems fair
Without wars
Famines
Or destruction
That stops all means of production
So they begin to flee
Unwilling to live...

Soccer is the great global game: the closest thing we have to a connective cultural tissue that binds our species across national and cultural borders.

But only in a world so upside down could “the Beautiful Game” be run by an organisation as corrupt as FIFA and by a man as rotten to the...

Fighting Fund

Green Left Weekly is moving to a new office. Ever since it was founded in 1991, GLW has been produced in Sydney in our Chippendale office, on Abercrombie St.

For years before that, GLW’s predecessor, Direct Action, was also produced in the Chippendale...

We kid you not

US: Activists arrested for feeding homeless

“Orlando [Florida] police arrested five more activists from behind a makeshift buffet table at  Lake Eola Park  on Wednesday evening, bringing to a dozen the number charged in the past week with violating city restrictions on...