Issue 904

News

The 1LOVE conference organisers released the statement below on November 23. * * * The first national, grassroots marriage equality conference in the history of the movement is taking place on Sunday December 4 at Sydney University. It is scheduled to take place the day after the ALP National Conference and Marriage Equality Rally in Sydney.
Occupy Melbourne released the statement below on November 22. * * * Today's victory of striking chicken workers is a massive boost in confidence to the most exploited workers of the 99% in Australia. Occupy Melbourne's Community and Union Outreach group has been a community supporter of the Baiada chicken workers since before the strike, with participants on the picket line during police attacks, as well as performing prominent stunts targeted against major Baiada purchaser Coles.
As US President Barack Obama received a standing ovation inside Australia's Parliament House on November 17, a protest organised by Sydney Stop The War Coalition, Peace Bus, Bradley Manning Support Group, Christine Assange and Wikileaks supporters took place outside.
Occupy Adelaide released the solidarity statement below on November 22. * * * The Egyptian occupiers of Cairo’s Tahrir Square were an inspiration to genuine democrats and 99-percenters around the world. They overthrew the repulsive US-backed Mubarak dictatorship, at the cost of much pain and sacrifice of lives. But their revolution was only half-done.
Protesters gathered in Waterloo on November 17 to mark the national day of action against Aboriginal Deaths in Custody. The protest took place spot where 17-year-old TJ Hickey was killed during a police pursuit in 2004.
A Corporate Greed Tour, organised by Occupy Sydney, took place in Sydney on November 19. The tour targeted several greedy corporations, including the Coles supermarket chain in solidarity with striking Baiada Poultry workers in Victoria. Baiada is a major supplier of chickens to Coles.
"Still no justice! Stop Black deaths in custody!" were the themes of a rally held at Emma Miller Place on November 19. The protest marked 20 years since the release of the report of the Royal Commission into Black deaths in custody in 1991. Up to 150 people attended the rally and marched through city streets to Musgrave Park in West End to demand a new Royal Commission into the Aboriginal deaths since 1991. Murri activist and rally chair Sam Watson announced that a new Deaths in Custody Watch Committee would be formed in Brisbane to monitor treatment of Aboriginal prisoners.
In a November 9-15 ballot, Austalian Taxation Office (ATO) staff voted 57% to 43% to accept management’s proposed enterprise agreement. This was the second all-staff vote. The previous version of the enterprise agreement was rejected by 59% to 41%. The two drafts did not differ much. Both provided for a pay rise of 9% over three years. The final version includes two once-off bonuses, but these are dependent on meeting certain targets which may not be achieved.
UPDATE, Nov 22: The striking Baiada poultry workers have won their campaign and the company has backed down. The workers won a 4% a year pay rise over 2 years. They also won increased union and delegate rights and increased redundancy payments to 42 week maximum (up from 20 weeks). Workers employed at the Baiada-owned GKK Enterprises poultry factory who were suspended after taking industrial action to support their Victorian colleagues have been reinstated.
Since the Occupy movement in Melbourne began in City Square in October it has been met with resistance from the Melbourne City Council and the Victorian Police force. Last month, the Melbourne occupiers were violently evicted and thrown out of City Square by more than 500 police. Close to 100 activists and bystanders were arrested. The police stole people’s belongings. Of the 17 truckloads of property that were taken 14 were driven to a local tip and dumped in landfill.
The Victorian Baillieu government is using Fair Work Australia to step up its attacks on two unions, the Australian Nursing Federation (ANF) and the Community and Public Sector Union (CPSU). By November 20, it had managed to get Fair Work Australia to order nurses to lift their work bans and reopen beds. It is also seeking an order to end the industrial campaign by the entire state public service, because of bans imposed by 1500 child protection workers.
Hundreds of people marched on November 12 in Hobart’s “Slutwalk” to protest violence against women and to reject the idea that victims of sexual violence are somehow responsible for the assaults against them because of what they wear.
Two people were hospitalised with breathing difficulties in the Newcastle suburb of Mayfield East on November 9. NSW Fire and Rescue crews identified the cause as ammonia gas blown from the Orica chemical plant five kilometres away on Kooragang Island. The Environment Protection Authority ordered the entire Orica site to be closed. A Fire and Rescue spokesperson said an estimated 900 kilograms of the gas had escaped over about an hour.
Ninety people gathered on Larrakia land in Darwin on November 18 to launch the new concerned Australians book, Walk With Us. A moving welcome to country by June Mills was followed by speeches from Bagot resident Joy White, Yolngu educator Yalmay Yunupingu, journalist Jeff McMullen, Alana Eldridge from Larrakia Nation and young Aboriginal man Matthew Heffernan. In a poem written for the occasion, Yunupingu said: “We have been manipulated, cheated and undermined because the white man thinks he has a superior way of thinking.”
Occupy Hobart? Where to begin? The possibilities are infinite. It is not an organisation with a set political agenda. It is a decentralised mass of people coming together with their own ideas in fusion as a collective. A major trigger for me to help start Occupy Hobart, which began on October 29, was the hundreds of riot police that evicted peaceful occupiers in Melbourne on October 21.
Twenty people protested against the expansion of US military presence in the Northern Territory when US President Barack Obama visited Darwin on November 17. During his visit to Australia, Obama announced a plan to use the Robertson Barracks to host a force of US marines for training and intervention in the Asia-Pacific. The force is to start at 250 marines and expand to 2500 by 2016. The Australian Labor government and the Coalition opposition have welcomed the US base plan.
Activists from Occupy Melbourne’s Indigenous Working Group served an eviction to Melbourne City Council and Lord Mayor Robert Doyle on November 23. Indigenous activist Robbie Thorpe said: “Australia is a crime scene, whose law is based on the principles of theft, rape and murder. We need a treaty with the Original Nations.” The action was called by in response to the recent violent attacks on the democratic right to protest, including the brutal attack on several Indigenous activists on October 21 when Occupy Melbourne was evicted from City Square.
Security guards at the Northern Immigration Detention Centre (NIDC) locked a man suffering from an electric shock in a room until he collapsed on November 15. The incident happened less than a week after the contract with the private firm that runs the centre was made public and revealed guards could be hired with no formal qualifications.

Analysis

Stop the War Coalition Sydney released the statement below on November 23. * * * Since November 17, Egyptians demanding an end to military government and for a democratically-elected and controlled government have battled riot police and security forces.
MichaelMoore.com, Nov 22 -- This past weekend I participated in a four-hour meeting of Occupy Wall Street activists whose job it is to come up with the vision and goals of the movement. It was attended by 40+ people and the discussion was both inspiring and invigorating. Here is what we ended up proposing as the movement's "vision statement" to the General Assembly of Occupy Wall Street:
The Socialist Alliance released the statement below on November 16. * * * "PM Julia Gillard's policy backflip on the sale of uranium to India, a non-signatory to the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty (NPT), is yet another sorry betrayal of ALP policy on the mining and export of uranium," said Socialist Alliance national convenor Peter Boyle. "This will become yet another reactionary bi-partisan policy, in a parliament dominated by two big parties for the corporate rich.
City of Sydney Greens councillor Irene Doutney gave the speech below to Occupy Sydney’s Corporate Tour protest on November 19. * * * I’d like to acknowledge that we are meeting on Aboriginal land, Gadigal land, land that was never sold, ceded or given away. I pay my respects to elders past, present and future. This is Aboriginal land — always was and always will be.
US President Barack Obama announced during his visit to Australia on November 17 a deal with Australia to base 2500 US marines in Darwin. The deal militarises the Asia Pacific and cements Australia as an ally of US imperialist designs in the region. Obama said a US marine task force would be set up in Darwin for humanitarian and disaster relief efforts, but advanced military training, including live firing of ammunition, will be part of the cooperation deal.
Community and Public Sector Union Tasmania general secretary Tom Lynch gave the speech below to a 4500-strong rally in Hobart on November 12. The rally was held in protest at the Labor-Greens state government’s budget cutbacks. * * * While external forces often determine the overall direction a government takes, the path it chooses to get there is for it to determine based on its values and beliefs and the will of the people it represents.
In early November, a Twitter hashtag called #mencallmethings was set up, under which women bloggers can post the sexist, misogynistic and often threatening comments they receive. Tigerbeatdown.com’s Sady Doyle started the tag after becoming angry and disillusioned with the huge amount of sexist hate mail she and other female bloggers had received. Doyle saw the need to publicly challenge this culture of silencing women bloggers.
Renowned Australian historian Humphrey McQueen spoke outside Parliament House, Canberra, at a November 17 protest to mark US President Barack Obama’s Australian visit. His speech, which first appeared on ChrisWhiteOnline, is below. * * * Ten years ago, we were told that we were going to choose who came here. Today, we are exercising that choice by protesting at the arrival of the war and economic criminal Obama.
November 19 marks the seventh anniversary of “the police murder of Mulrunji Doomadgee on Palm Island”, says Sam Watson, a prominent Queensland Murri leader and Socialist Alliance member. In Brisbane, supporters of Aboriginal rights will rally that day to demand governments implement all 339 recommendations of the 1991 Royal Commission into Black deaths in custody. Watson told Green Left Weekly: “It is important that Aboriginal people and their supporters mark this solemn day with a rally and march to continue our urgent call for justice for all Aboriginal deaths in custody.
Officially, the announcement that 2500 US marines would be permanently based in Darwin had nothing to do with China. Announcing the new military agreement with Australia on November 16, US President Barack Obama said: “I think the notion that we fear China is mistaken. The notion that we are looking to exclude China is mistaken … We welcome a rising, peaceful China.”
Don’t be fooled by their smiles. Ignore the trivia about “best friends” and crocodile insurance. This is about guns and money, about preserving the “right” of the richest 1% to exploit the world.
Non-profit climate research group Beyond Zero Emissions (BZE) has slammed global engineering company WorleyParsons, saying the firm has suppressed a damning report into the emissions produced by coal seam gas (CSG) mining.
Stop the War Coalition Sydney, Sydney Solidarity for Bradley Manning and Peace Bus released the open letter below on November 17. * * * An open letter to the President of the United States Barack Obama & Prime Minister Julia Gillard on the occasion of Barack Obama’s address to the Australian Parliament on November 17, 2011. While you meet in Australia’s Parliament House, Australians concerned about human rights, peace, justice and equality protest against your policies.
Prime Minister Julia Gillard's arguments in favour of uranium sales to India are dangerous and dishonest. She fails to even acknowledge the crucial problem – India's refusal to sign the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty (NPT). The NPT is the main international nuclear treaty and is routinely described by Australian political leaders as the "cornerstone" of the non-proliferation system. The NPT has its flaws, not least the failure of the nuclear weapons states to take their disarmament obligations seriously, but that is no reason to junk the treaty or to disregard it.
Occupy Adelaide's November 8 general assembly adopted the document below by consensus. * * * We, Occupy Adelaide, are an open and evolving group engaged in the struggle for an equitable, inclusive and sustainable democratic society. We gather in solidarity with the world-wide movement opposing the power and greed of corporations which place profit over people, animals and the earth; self-interest over social justice; oppression over equality; and which control and corrupt our governments.
Aboriginal affairs minister Jenny Macklin released the Stronger Futures in the Northern Territory Report on Consultations on October 18. The federal government facilitated “community consultations” across the NT between June and August, discussing future policy toward Aboriginal communities after the Northern Territory Emergence Response (NT intervention) legislation expires in June next year.
Socialist Alliance Victoria released the statement below on November 14. * * * Support nurses, teachers, and state public sector workers — reject the Baillieu government’s bullying tactics Before Ted Baillieu’s Coalition state government was elected, Baillieu made many promises. He said he would not do anything extreme like the Kennett coalition government of the 1990s.
Open Letter from three prolonged Burmese detainees in Australian detention call for humanitarian intervention Call for humanitarian intervention We are recognised refugees of Burma. Our ethnic minority is unknown to the world, yet is one of the most oppressed minority group in Burma, the sole ethnic who has been declined any rights for an identity. We are de-facto stateless. Remember our race: we are Rohingyas.
US author and ecosocialist Joel Kovel gave the speech below to Occupy Wall Street at New York’s Zuccotti Park on October 28. * * * I am honoured to be here this evening because you are the light of the world. I’m not saying this to flatter, but because we have to understand it deeply. Your genius has been to seize upon the emerging hopes of humanity and give them a form of realisation. Now you are on the threshold of a world-transforming process, and you must decide whether to cross over it.

World

Egyptians say this is not a second revolution, it's a continuation of the first one. As hundreds of thousands take to the streets, they insist they will not stop until the military regime is gone.
Late on October 23, the culminating vote of the program congress of the German Left Party (Die Linke) came in Erfurt’s cavernous Congress Centre: 503 delegates raised their voting cards to support the document as finally amended by the congress, with only four against and 12 abstentions. Die Linke has operated since 2007 on the basis of the “programmatic key points” that created Die Linke from the fusion of the Party of Democratic Socialism (PDS) and the Electoral Alternative for Labour and Social Justice (WASG).
The Syrian government of Bashar Al-Assad looks prepared to fight to the death in its brutal battle against pro-democracy protesters who have been calling for the downfall of the regime since March. The death toll has spiked in recent weeks. LCCSyria.org said on November 16 that 376 people had been killed since the regime agreed on November 2 to a “peace plan” drawn up by the Arab League — a group of 22 countries led by Saudi Arabia.
The main purpose of US President Barack Obama's November 16-17 visit to Australia was to announce with Prime Minister Julia Gillard the deployment of US soldiers in Darwin, new US air force and naval facilities in Northern Australia and more joint US-Australian training. As if to dispel illusions he was less warlike than his predecessor, George W Bush, Obama stuck to military themes in his speeches: from endless historical examples of the US and Australia fighting wars together, to anecdotes from today’s battlefields, to the metaphors he used.
Anti-tar sands activists in the United States and Canada have been seeking to stop the Keystone XL pipeline, built to transport oil from the Athabasca tar sands in north-east Alberta, Canada, to refineries in the United States. Mining the Athabasca tar sands is one of the most environmentally destructive practices on the planet. Bill McKibben posted the message below on November 10. It is abridged from www.tarsandsaction.org. * * * Um, we won.
espite the government reaching an agreement with indigenous protesters on all 16 demands raised on their 10-week march onto the capital, La Paz, the underlying differences are far from resolved. On October 24, Bolivia’s Plurinational Legislative Assembly approved a new law banning the building of any highway through the Isiboro Secure National Park and Indigenous Territory (TIPNIS). See also: Bolivia: Solidarity activists need to support process
The recent march in Bolivia by some indigenous organisations against the government’s proposed highway through the Isiboro Secure National Park and Indigenous Territory (TIPNIS) has raised much debate among international solidarity activists. Such debates have occurred since the election of Bolivia's first indigenous president, Evo Morales, in 2005 on the back of mass uprisings. See also: Bolivia: Rumble over jungle far from over
On Palestine's Independance Day, November 15, seven Palestinian activists and one journalist were arrested after boarding an Israeli bus headed for Jerusalem from settlements within the West Bank. The action and arrests highlight the similarities between Israel's system of oppression in Palestine and the era of Jim Crow segregation in the United States' south. Campaign spokesperson Hurriyeh Ziadah said: "Both white supremacists and the Israeli occupiers commit the same crime: they strip a people of freedom, justice and dignity.
World financial markets are increasingly staking billions on a bet that the eurozone is on its last legs. This bet on a euro break-up is looking more and more realistic, particularly because it becomes increasingly self-fulfilling as austerity programs bite and economic growth slows across Europe. A very vicious circle is at work. Because of the rising wariness of financial institutions, in recent weeks the price of Italian and Spanish 10-year bonds has fallen. Their yield rose above 7% (bond prices and yields move in opposite directions).
A spirited mass meeting in Manhattan’s Zuccotti Park after a police crackdown and a major student strike in Berkeley, California on November 15 showed the determination of the Occupy movement in the face of police repression and lies from politicians and the corporate media. In New York, about 1500 people turned out for a general assembly (GA) less than 24 hours after police in riot gear rousted those camping out in Zuccotti Park, arresting up to 200 while trashing tents, supplies and even books.
The report below was posted by Occupy Wall Street on the evening of November 17. * * * On the November 17 Day of Action in New York, to mark two months since the Occupy Wall Street camp began and coming just two days after violent eviction of campers from Liberty Park in Manhattan, there was: * More than 30,000 People Rally in New York City (NYPD estimated 32,500), including organised contingents of workers, students, and other members of “the 99%”. * Actions in at least 30 cities across the country and around the world
Zurich’s Paradeplatz is home to Swiss banks such as Credit Suisse and UBS and the main slogan of the Occupy Paradeplatz protest is "Save human beings, not banks". On November 7, 50 people were living at the Occupy Paradeplatz camp at Lindenhof, a nearby park. Occupy Paradeplatz holds daily assemblies and weekly rallies.
Update: Occupy Wall Street reported at 8.40pm New York time on November 15, a huge general assembly was taking place at Liberty Square . OWS said: "The feeling here at Liberty Square tonight is the feeling of a movement that is rising, building, and making headway. "Following the 1am eviction of Liberty Square early this morning and a long day of legal wrangling, the park was reoccupied late this afternoon. This evening, just after 7pm, the first General Assembly at the reoccupied park began."

Culture

Next Of Kin The Last Kinection Elefant Traks www.lastkinection.com To win a signed copy of the album, see below When Naomi Wenitong from Aboriginal hip hop group The Last Kinection is asked how challenging it is to be a woman in the male-dominated music industry, she laughs. "I don’t mind being one of the only buns at this Oz hip hop sausage sizzle," she jokes to Green Left Weekly. "Everyone has challenges in this industry regardless of their sex. You can either let it be your disadvantage or make it your advantage.
Year in the Rear: 2011 Wednesday, November 30, 8pm York Theatre, Seymour Centre $48.60. Funds go to Asylum Seekers Centre of NSW Bookings: (02) 9351 7940 www.seymourcentre.com This has been an extraordinary year. Our best ever bowler, Warnie, morphed into an Austin Powers leading lady, the British royal family dominated the media in a non-scandalous event, the Aussie dollar wowed Wall Street and our prime minster received a poodle for her 50th birthday.
Language and education specialists are concerned the federal government’s national roll-out of digital television will have a detrimental effect on the preservation and transmission of Aboriginal languages and cultures. In 1987, the Broadcasting for Remote Aboriginal Communities Scheme (BRACS) was established to balance the introduction of mainstream TV channels (via satellite) into remote communities with some local control and ability to broadcast local content.

Fighting Fund

I will come straight to the point. We are rapidly coming to the end of the year and we still need to raise $59,536 to meet Green Left Weekly’s $250,000 Fighting Fund target for the year. Our supporters have raised $190,424 so far this year, but we need an extraordinary effort in the rest of November and December to make our target. GLW is a people-powered independent media project. We go against the stream in a society where public debate is dominated by the slick, self-serving corporate media.

Letters

Project Assange from extradition I am writing to you to ask you to take action and urge the Australian government to protect Julian Assange from extradition. In November 2010, a European Arrest Warrant was issued against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange for allegations of sexual misconduct against two Swedish women; a claim that he denies. An extradition hearing took place at the Belmarsh Magistrates Court in London in February 2011 to consider an application by Swedish authorities for the extradition of Assange to Sweden.