Issue 931

News

Resistance national conference motion in solidarity with Pakistani political prisoner Baba Jan. Moved 22 July 2012. Adelaide South Australia. Free Baba Jan - sign the open letter More information about Baba Jan
Activists in Melbourne have won a big victory for the right to political protest after the charges against the Max Brenner 16 were dismissed on July 23. The court trial lasted for 17 days in May. The 16 Palestine solidarity activists had been arrested and charged over a protest outside the Max Brenner chocolate shop in QV Square, Melbourne in July last year. The protest was part of the campaign for boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) against Israel and the occupation of Palestine.
Two of the world's largest consultancy firms, Deloitte and KPMG, have recommended 300 jobs cuts and 114 bed closures in South Australia's health system to save $83 million.
About 200 people packed Petersham Town Hall in Sydney's inner west on July 25 for a night of trivia and fundraising organised by Stop Coal Seam Gas Sydney. The group, which has campaigned for 20 months against exploratory CSG drilling planned for St Peters, had a recent victory when Dart Energy said it would not go ahead with drilling in the suburb.
For two weeks “Nothing in, Nothing out” was the mantra on the picket as the trucks were turned away at the Coles warehouse in Somerton, Melbourne. Angered by the fact that workers for Coles warehouses in other states were receiving better working conditions, even though they were doing the same job, the National Union of Workers (NUW) members at the Coles Somerton warehouse took action. Coles owns the warehouse, but management is outsourced to Toll Logistics. Workers are paid below industry standards despite both companies making obscene profits.
A report published on July 23 calls for Australia to institute a moratorium on new fossil fuel developments as the centrepiece of a global campaign to phase out fossil fuels. Hundreds attended the Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane meetings to launch the latest report from climate research group Beyond Zero Emissions (BZE), Laggard to Leader: How Australia Can Lead the World to Zero Carbon Prosperity.
The statement below was released by Toolangi residents on July 27. The lock-on is taking place on the corner of Myers Creek Rd and Monda Track, Toolangi. *** What do you do when you watch magnificent native forest habitat on your beloved mountain being bulldozed, loaded on to convoys of huge log trucks and carted off to the woodchippers to be turned into paper! You get angry and determined – that’s what!

A small action in Sydney on July 27 outside the NSW Corrections Department - called by the Indigenous Social Justice Association - marked the latest Aboriginal death in custody: Peter Clarke who died in the Alice Springs on April 3, 2012. The rally was addressed by Ray Jackson (ISJA), Raul Bassi (ISJA), Diane Fieldes (Socialist Alternative) and Rachel Evans (Socialist Alliance). The ISJA has promised to hold a protest to make every Aboriginal or non-Aboriginal death in police or prison custody in Australia.

Members of building unions went on strike from July 25 at Lend Lease projects around Australia to push for a new national Enterprise Bargaining Agreement (EBA). The Construction Forestry Mining Energy Union (CFMEU) said “the main points of disagreement in the dispute relate to wages and other issues”, including job security, site allowances and adding Western Australian workers to the agreement. Construction National Secretary Dave Noonan said: “The CFMEU continues to negotiate with Lend Lease on the agreement.
The Victoria Refugee Action Collective released the statement below on July 27. *** Distraught family members of deported Tamil asylum seeker Dayan Anthony have finally been reunited with him. Anthony was deported from Australia on July 25. He was interrogated for 16 hours after being handed over to the Sri Lankan police intelligence unit (CID) at Colombo airport. During this time, the Sri Lankan police refused to give the family any information.
The Refugee Action Coalition in Sydney released the statement below on July 27, after Tamil deportee Dayan Anthony was released from custody after being missing for 16 hours. *** The Refugee Action Coalition has welcomed the release of Tamil asylum seeker Dayan Anthony from custody in Sri Lanka, but has rejected reports that Dayan’s recanting his claim of torture as a product of duress.
Agent Orange Justice released the statement below on July 25. * * * Agent Orange Justice will hold Beautiful Art for Innocent Children, an extraordinary international exhibition and art auction for the innocent children being born now with horrific birth defects in Vietnam.
The Justice Campaign released the statement below on July 23. * * * The Justice Campaign is pleased to hear that the Australian government has announced its decision not to pursue its case to sue David Hicks for the proceeds of his book Guantanamo: My Journey. This follows the evidence submitted by Mr Hicks’ lawyers regarding his torture and ill-treatment in US custody and further evidence of the internationally discredited military commissions process.
Activists celebrated a major victory for the right to demonstrate in Melbourne on July 23 after a magistrate dismissed charges against the Max Brenner 19. On July 1 last year, 19 Palestine solidarity activists were arrested at a Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions protest outside a Max Brenner chocolate shop in Melbourne’s QV Square shopping centre. The protest called on Max Brenner to end its ties with the Israeli military.
In one of the biggest Coles supermarket occupations to date, dozens of Resistance activists and other attendees of the Resistance National Conference stormed the Adelaide city Coles store to offer solidarity to striking Coles warehouse workers in Melbourne. Channel 7 contacted Green Left TV about the protest and used footage from Green Left TV for their report below.
About 100 people assembled at Graham Green in Dulwich Hill on July 15 for a press conference and rally organised by the Public Service Association (PSA) and Families Against Disability Discrimination (FADD) to protest against the NSW government’s cuts to Student Learning Support Officer (LSO) positions. LSOs help students with disabilities in state schools.

Analysis

Victoria's severely stressed public housing system is under threat from the state's Liberal government, with cutbacks and sell-offs being discussed under the guise of “reform”.
And the winner is: solar power. Residents in the South Australian town of Port Augusta have voted overwhelmingly for solar over gas to replace the town’s coal-fired power stations. The result, announced on July 22, was 4053 votes for a concentrating solar-thermal power plant, 43 for gas. In the end, 98% of voters favoured solar. The result is testament to newly-formed local group, Repower Port Augusta, whose dedication ensured that almost one-third of residents voted, an impressive outcome for the voluntary exercise.
The antics of Gina Rinehart and Clive Palmer have served as a useful foil for Labor. They're like caricature capitalists lifted from a comic book. Attacking them has given Prime Minister Julia Gillard and Treasurer Wayne Swan the opportunity to make up for their earlier capitulation on the Rudd mining tax with a bit of populist rhetoric, while letting BHP and Rio Tinto just get on with it.
A 100 second compilation on the question 'what does socialism mean to you?' from participants at the Resistance national conference in Adelaide, held from July 20 until July 22. To get involved in the socialist youth group Resistance, visit resistance.org.au. Film by Green Left TV. Visit GreenLeftTV.org.au, subscribe on YouTube, 'like' on facebook at facebook.com/user/GreenLeftTV, contact at GreenLeftTV@gmail.com
Australia’s spy agencies are seeking to drastically expand their powers to spy on Australian citizens online and through social media. They are also hoping to collect and keep the phone and internet data of all individuals for two years. Some of the proposals appear to be broad enough to allow whistleblowing groups like WikiLeaks to be directly targeted.
The ALP has narrowly held on to the Victorian seat of Melbourne despite a swing to the Greens in the July 21 by-election. Greens candidate Cathy Oke won the highest primary vote, getting 36.5% to ALP candidate Jennifer Kanis’ 33.4%. But distribution of preferences gave the ALP 52% and the Greens 48%. The Greens’ vote increased by 4.6%. The Liberals did not run in the election, although a Liberal Party member running as an independent won 4.7% of the primary vote.
A nuclear war using as few as 100 weapons would disrupt the global climate and agricultural production so severely that the lives of more than a billion people would be at risk, according to research released in April by International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War and its Australian affiliate, the Medical Association for Prevention of War.
A team of progressive activists has formed an independent “Housing Action” ticket to run in the September 8 council elections in the City of Sydney. The united platform “Decent housing is a human right” is a further step towards practical unity between independent socialists and members of the Communist Party of Australia (CPA) and the Socialist Allliance (SA). The team has come together to challenge City of Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore’s pro-corporate development stance. It is also championing public housing and human rights over pro-development and big business.
The obvious question posed by Labor's recent attacks on the Greens for being dangerous extremists is: who the hell keeps asking Paul Howes for his opinion?
Nuclear fission is an innately dangerous process – and the nuclear industry’s record of handling the dangers has been well short of perfect. Traditionally, that’s been enough for the environment movement to reject nuclear energy. Climate change, though, subjects this established position to an important challenge. The final death toll from the Chernobyl nuclear disaster, by some estimates, could reach hundreds of thousands. But a full-scale climate disaster could kill most of humanity − thousands of millions of people.
The recent attacks on the Greens by notable Labor Party figures over the refusal of the Greens to compromise on offshore processing of asylum seekers represents a new low for the Labor Party. The attacks by assorted Labor right-wingers are predictable, but most disappointing was Labor Left Senator Doug Cameron’s criticism, outrageously accusing the Greens of being responsible for asylum seekers dying because of their “purist approach”.
A nuclear war using as few as 100 weapons would disrupt the global climate and agricultural production so severely that the lives of more than a billion people would be at risk, according to research findings released in April by International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War and its Australian affiliate, the Medical Association for Prevention of War.
On July 17 the Minister for Agriculture Joe Ludwig released the green paper for Australia’s first-ever National Food Plan. According to the minister, this plan: “[W]ill ensure Australia has a sustainable, globally competitive, resilient food supply that supports access to nutritious and affordable food.”
Maritime Union of Australia (MUA) Sydney branch secretary Paul McAleer gave the speech below at a July 16 rally in Sydney to support WikiLeaks and Julian Assange. * * * Comrades and friends, Congratulations to you all for your support of this important international rally for Julian Assange and WikiLeaks. Thank you to the previous speakers for your contributions and thank you to the organisers for the opportunity to speak.
Breaking news:: Tamil refugee deported, disappears Australia’s two main parties are committed to a single “solution” for asylum seekers that flee to Australia by boat — offshore processing. The policy is inhumane, unjust and flouts international law. It will also fail to reduce the people that seek asylum here.

World

Neighbours watched in horror as police in Anaheim, California first shot Manuel Diaz in the back of his leg ― and then executed him with a bullet to the head in the courtyard of their apartment complex on July 21. The Anaheim Police Department proceeded to terrorise residents who gathered to confront the cops about the murder they had just witnessed. Police responded by opening fire with rubber bullets and tear gas at a crowd that included young children.
Since the idea of Zionism (a Jewish state in historic Palestine) first gripped the minds of a few intellectuals, the state of Israel has represented its colonisation of the land of Palestine, and its uprooting of the Palestinian people, as a rejuvenation of the earth.
There is a lot of discussion about the nature of the Chinese economy and its developing role in global capitalism. Much of the debate has focused on the tensions between a seemingly declining United States and rising China ― and possible changes in the global distribution of power. In the context of a global domination of US-backed neoliberalism, the “Chinese model” has been put forward by some as a possible alternative. However, not only is China's rise far from inevitable, its “model” has its own contradictions ― as the rise of labour struggles helps reveal.
Adopting a centre-left reforming image, Peruvian President Ollanta Humala was narrowly elected last year on the back of widespread discontent with destructive neoliberal development policies and a widening wealth gap. His supporters were filled with the hope that real and substantive change was imminent. Other progressives welcomed the Humala victory more cautiously, arguing that it was at least the lesser of two evils. The alternative was ultra right-winger Keiko Fujimori.
Tens of thousands marched in June from 110th Street in Harlem down to billionaire New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s swank residence on 79th street in Manhattan. The demonstrators protested the huge levels of police racial profiling and harassment in New York City, that has developed over the past decade. The overwhelming majority of marchers were African Americans and Latinos. A multiracial contingent of LGBTI people also participated, reflecting another group singled out by the city administration.
Two leaders of the Labour Party Pakistan and the Progressive Youth Front (PYF) narrowly escaped torture by a special interrogation unit due to prompt protests in Pakistan and around the world, Farooq Tariq, LPP national spokesperson for the LPP, told Green Left Weekly. Baba Jan and four comrades were jailed last September for standing up for people's rights in the Hunza Valley, in the remote province of Gilgit-Baltistan, after their villages and farmlands were flooded in 2010.
When 3.5 million people protested on July 19 in more than 80 Spanish cities and towns ― against the austerity measures announced a week earlier by the Popular Party (PP) government of Mariano Rajoy ― it came as little surprise. It built on the growing wave of popular anger. Rajoy’s latest package, imposed as a condition of receiving the European Commission’s 100 billion euro “line of credit” to Spain’s debt-ridden banking system, increases the pain for those already hurt by previous cuts. It also brings new sections of the population into the line of fire. See also
Waving banners, lighting fireworks and chanting against budget cuts, millions of people in Spain were on the march in more than 80 towns on July 19. They were responding to government decisions made on July 11 that will cut €65 billion from services over the next two years. Within 24 hours, rallies were organised by the General Union of Labour and the Workers’ Commissions. See also Spain: Rising protests reveal political crisis
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange announced on July 25 that Spanish jurist Baltasar Garzon would represent his case to fight extradition to Sweden, from where he fears he will be extradited to the United States. Garzon is known as a campaigning magistrate who pursues social justice cases. In 1998, Garzon was the investigating magistrate in the case where Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet was arrested. Pinochet died in 2006 before being convicted.
What an ideal opportunity that was, to at last engage the local residents with the Olympics. When it turned out there weren't enough security staff, they should have employed east London's famous criminal community.
This is a story of two letters and two Britains. The first letter was written by Sebastian Coe, the former athlete who chairs the London Olympics Organising Committee. He is now called Lord Coe. In the New Statesman of June 21, I reported an urgent appeal to Coe by the Vietnam Women's Union that he and his IOC colleagues reconsider their decision to accept sponsorship from Dow Chemical, one of the companies that manufactured dioxin, a poison used against the population of Vietnam. See also

Culture

It rarely takes very long into an Olympics for the myth that the games are above politics to be shattered. For the London 2012 games, the myth was smashed well before the games begun. A series of incidents involving Australian athletes have shown that politics are at the heart of the games. Despite winning the Olympic trial earlier this year, athlete John Steffensen was not selected to represent Australia in the individual 400 metres sprint, replaced by 19 year old Steve Solomon.
The Dark Knight Rises Directed by Christopher Nolan Starring Christian Bale, Tom Hardy, Anne Hathaway In cinemas now The Dark Knight Rises, the last in the trilogy of Batman films by director Christopher Nolan, may well become a favourite for many of those who despise, fear or distrust the working class.
Snow White & the Huntsman Directed by Rupert Sanders Staring Kristen Stewart, Charlize Theron, Chris Hemsworth In cinemas now Mirror, mirror on the wall, which is the most derivative of them all? I suppose to even ask that of a Hollywood movie is foolish. Hollywood thrives on figuring what has previously interested the audience and recycling it through its cultural mashing machine to produce what it knows best: schlock.
Pee Records PO Box 238, Marden, South Australia 5070 www.peerecords.com "Pretty much all of our bands write songs about social, political and personal issues," says Pete Harding, the founder of South Australian hardcore punk label Pee Records. "With 16 or 17 active bands on the label, we have a lot of different acts covering different issues.

Fighting Fund

The world's super-rich have hidden between US$21 trillion and US$32 trillion of their wealth in various tax havens around the world, according to a new study by the London-based Tax Justice Network (TJN), a collection of tax experts and economists advocating the end of secrecy and tax evasion.

Resistance!

Members of the socialist youth organisation, Resistance, came from around the country to Adelaide over July 20-22 for the 42nd Resistance Conference. The conference consisted of plenaries on Australian politics, international politics, plans to build Resistance and “Perspectives for the Left”.