Issue 911

Australia

Nyoongar activists and their supporters refused to leave Perth’s Heirisson Island on February 19 when a squad of armed police arrived to evict them. The police forced the protesters to remove cars and tents from the island but the embassy remains.

The Tent Embassy was established on...

More than 400 people crowded into a lecture theatre at the University of Technology on February 17 to attend a public forum, “Don’t shoot the messenger: WikiLeaks, Assange and Democracy”.
 
Speakers at the forum included socialist historian Humphrey McQueen, Greens Senator Scott...

On February 14, hundreds of Aboriginal people, many young ones, and non-Aboriginal people gathered at the fence where 17-year-old TJ Hickey was fatally wounded in Waterloo in February 2004. A police vehicle driven by a Redfern officer rammed TJ’s bike.

He was impaled on the fence and...

At the beginning of the year, Community Action Against Homophobia (CAAH), the Sydney-based grassroots lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, trans and intersex (LGBTI) campaign organisation, elected three new office-bearers.

CAAH initiated national days of action for marriage rights rallies in 2006,...

Socialist Alliance candidates for the upcoming Queensland state elections, Liam Flenady (South Brisbane), and Mike Crook (Sandgate), organised a rally in Brisbane on February 17 to “protest the rampant greed of the big banks”.

Protesters outside the ANZ Bank state head office in Queen...

Just three chance encounters have led to a Sierra Leonean family’s reunion in Australia.
With a bit more luck the whole family will be reunited this year.

On January 6, 1999, Mary Fonah was a nurse working at a government hospital in Freetown, Sierra Leone. Her husband, a doctor,...

“Plans for a new naval base in Brisbane should be rejected out of hand,” Liam Flenady, Socialist Alliance candidate for the seat of South Brisbane in the upcoming Queensland state elections, said on February 17.

Flenady was responding to a statement in the February 14 South-East...

Twenty-four hours of global action to protest against the ongoing logging of Tasmanian forests took place on February 15. The article below first appeared on the Observer Tree blog on February 16.

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An incredible show of worldwide support led to more than 70 actions across 14...

Aboriginal rights activist Marianne Mackay urged people to come down to support the Nyoongar Tent Embassy on February 17.

For more background on the protest, see Alex Bainbridge's article WA government deal to extinguish native title provokes protest

A Nyoongar Tent Embassy was established on Perth’s Heirisson Island on February 12 after the state government proposed to extinguish Nyoongar native title. The protesters made an urgent call for support after Perth City Council made its second threat to close the embassy down on February 17....

Adelaide has a new social movement in town, yet with a familiar name: Occupy.

The Occupy movement has been criticised for its lack of focus and demands, yet in Adelaide there is a clear focus for direct action: Rupert Murdoch.

Hence the name: Occupy Murdoch.

Occupy...

About 150 people attended a February 13 forum “Smuggled to Freedom” to hear SBS sports commentator Les Murray tell his family’s story of trying to escape political persecution in Hungary in 1956.

He recently returned to find “Julius”, the so-called people smuggler who helped them cross...

Friends of the Earth Australia released the statement below on February 16.

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The draft planning guidelines for wind farms in NSW, which are now open for public comment, have been labelled by environment group Friends of the Earth as inconsistent, too restrictive and...

The Hunter Community Environment Centre released the statement below on February 16.

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The Paddock to Port public forum held on February 15 in Newcastle was attended by over 150 people. They unanimously passed a resolution to reject the proposed fourth coal terminal for...

The Refugee Action Coalition Sydney released the statement below on February 16.

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A Tamil asylum seeker has been taken to hospital after attempting suicide by hanging in the early of hours of this morning, at the Darwin Airport Lodge detention facility.

Around 12....

Campaign group 100% Renewable Energy's key message for this year is “Let’s build big solar”. On its website, the group says: “In 2012, [we’ll] be focussing our efforts on finally doing what Australia should already be doing — building big solar!”
 
100% Renewable Energy ran a packed...

When we again protest this Easter, it will mark 10 years since the refugee rights movement’s first Easter convergence — Woomera 2002 — when busloads of protesters from across the country met magnificent protests by detainees, many of who leapt through the fence and literally into the arms of the...

World

A new twist in the turbulent saga surrounding a proposed roadway through indigenous land has reignited a debate raging throughout Bolivia since the middle of last year.

The controversial highway ― which would cut through the Isiboro-Secure National Park and Indigenous Territory (TIPNIS...

Huge student protests that broke out last year gave a tremendous jolt to Chilean society, as reflected even by public opinion polls.

When La Nacion asked a group of poll takers to name the best thing about 2011, 63% answered the student and environment mobilisations, compared...

Working class struggle is an important part of modern Chinese history, and is rising

In a late industrialising country, the Chinese working class emerged and became organised only in the early 20th century after the country was forced to open up to global capitalism.

However,...

Hundreds of thousands protested around the Athens parliament on February 12. Tens of thousands protested in Thessaloniki, the country's second biggest city, and sizeable protests took place in other Greek cities.

The rallies followed a 48-hour strike over February 10-11. They were...

The Cuban Institute of Friendship with the Peoples is inviting all friends of Cuba to join the sixth International Brigade of Volunteer Work and Solidarity with Cuba this May Day.

The brigade runs from April 22 to May 6 this year. It aims to provide a wider understanding of Cuban reality...

A United Nations Security Council (UNSC) motion condemning the Syrian regime's bloodshed and caling for a “transition to democracy” was vetoed on February 4 by Russia and China.

United States officials condemned the move as “disgusting and shameful” and a “travesty”.

The moral...

The US-led international occupation force in Afghanistan (ISAF) is in the country to fight the Taliban as the ally of the Afghan state headed by President Hamid Karzai.

The ISAF’s primary mission is training and mentoring the Afghan government forces so they can take over the fight,...

Six Zimbabwean socialists are charged with “inciting public violence” (which carries a maximum penalty of 10 years’ imprisonment). They were arrested on February 19 while meeting to watch video footage of democracy protests in Egypt and Tunisia. The February 16 letter from Zimbabwe below...

Residents of the Gaza City neighbourhood al-Tuffah suffered a rude awakening at 2am on February 16 when Israeli warplanes targeted what the army said was a Hamas training site.

The shelling left six people injured, including members of two civil defence rescue teams. Civil defence said a...

When a regime loses it ... Green Left journalist Afrodity Giannakis, in Thessaloniki, collects below some of the great words of the great Greek politicians in the days of the savage austerity imposed on the country.

Who said that pro-austerity Greek...

Australian journalist Austin Mackell, United States student Derek Ludovici and Egyptian translator Aliya Alwi are facing charges of inciting people to vandalise public property after being detained by the police in the Egyptian city of Mahalla El-Kubra on February 11.

The group tried to...

Lisbon's vast Palace Square became People's Square on February 12. More than 300,000 workers, young people, unemployed and pensioners from across Portugal marched to voice their rejection of cutbacks inflicted by Prime Minister Pedro Passos Coelho's government.

It was the country's...

UPDATE: On February 21, Khader Adnan and all who support him won a big victory. Israel finally caved into pressure and signed a deal with Adnan under which he ended his 66-day hunger strike in return for Israel pledging to release him from administrative detention (that is --...

Khader Adnan is a 33-year-old Palestinian husband and father. As of February 14, he was 59 days into a hunger strike and perilously close to death. He has been held by Israel since December without any charge or trial under an Israeli "administrative detention" order. Such orders violate...

Analysis

In September last year, the coal seam gas (CSG) industry launched a multimillion dollar advertising campaign called “We want CSG”. It is sponsored by the Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association (APPEA) — the peak national body for oil and gas exploration — which represents...

The federal immigration department has drawn sharp criticism from refugee advocacy groups and Amnesty International for denying that refugee children continue to be held in detention.

After Perth refugee activists visited the remote Leonora detention centre and reports emerged that...

The NSW Socialist Alliance released the statement below on February 18.

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The NSW Socialist Alliance condemns the latest state electoral funding reform bill as a direct attack on democratic rights and collective organising in the state.

The Liberal Party bill passed...

Now, I'll admit that my idea of poetry is watching Essendon’s Dyson Heppell, the AFL’s 2011 Rising Star award winner, float across half back, helping repel another opposition attack with his silky skills. But I like to think I know quality when I see it.

So I was especially pleased to...

After recent threats to thousands of jobs in the aluminium, car and banking industries, Green Left Weekly spoke to Geelong Trades Hall secretary Tim Gooden about strategies to fight the job cuts.

“Alcoa says 600 jobs are in danger, but there are 3500...

Liberal backbenchers will have a “conscience vote” when a proposal for marriage equality is put to parliament. This puts the equality campaign closer to victory in Australia than it has ever been before.

Members of the shadow cabinet, including junior frontbenchers, will still be...

UPDATE: A rally for Jock Palfreeman will take place in London from 11am on March 15, outside the Bulgarian embassy. For more details visit the Facebook event page Jock Palfreeman Solidarity Demo

In December 2009, then 23-year-old Australian Jock Palfreeman...

The Stop the War Coalition Sydney released the statement below on February 14.

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The Stop the War Coalition opposes the use of sanctions or military action against Iran by the United States or Israel. These are clear violations of international law.

We oppose all...

A creditable result in last Saturday’s by-election has capped a very active and visible campaign by the Communist Party (CPA) and its supporters in the state seat of Port Adelaide.

At the close of counting on Saturday night, Party candidate Bob Briton had received 1.6% of the votes cast...

As 2000 Aboriginal people and their supporters gathered at the 40th anniversary celebrations of the Tent Embassy in Canberra, Coalition leader Tony Abbott said: “I can understand why the Tent Embassy was established all those years ago. I think a lot has changed for the better since then… I...

The Socialist Alliance released the statement below on February 11.

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Labor and Liberals protecting profits not jobs

Retool the car industry for public transport vehicles and renewable energy

Ford and Holden have recently...

Editorial

Rupert Murdoch’s media empire does not have a TV network like Fox News in Australia — at least not yet. But he does have the sole national newspaper, The Australian, which is busy running a Fox News-style smear campaign against the Australian Greens.

Anxious at the Greens’...

Letters

Media coverage distracts from the real crime

What is all the she-said-he-said fuss about Unions ACT secretary Kim Sattler and the Aboriginal Tent Embassy protest on January 26?

1) The meaning of Abbott's comments was that it was time for the Tent Embassy to close...

Resistance!

If you have just begun studying, welcome to university. If you’ve been looking through the pamphlets and advertising material for your campus of choice, you’ve probably been led to believe that university largely revolves around sitting on lawns on nice days laughing with attractive young people...

Culture

Panic
By David Marr
Black Inc., 2011
262 pages, $29.95 (pb)

Panic. “It’s so Australian,” says the dejected journalist, David Marr in his book of essays on the rise, decline and rise again of political panics in Australia.

Panic over the...

Politically progressive post-hardcore band Enter Shikari say they only have to look at their fans to get a sense that the world can change for the better.

“The past few years we've seen a huge increase in people that come up and thank us for singing about the things we do,” Rou Reynolds...

Which Side Are You On?
Ani DiFranco
Righteous Babe Records
www.righteousbabe.com

By Barry Healy

Which Side Are You On? is Veteran United States indie folk artist Ani DiFranco’s first CD release in years and her legion of fans...

Fighting Fund

A string of banks, airlines, car manufacturers and aluminium smelters — all big corporations that have profited for years while extorting billions of dollars in public subsidies — have spat in the face of our society.

They have begun huge sackings of workers, even though Australia...