Issue 958

News

In the WA election the Socialist Alliance ran in the seats of Perth, Fremantle and Willagee and won 0.9%, 1.2% and 2% of the vote respectively. Willagee candidate Sam Wainwright said: "While small votes in absolute terms, for us they represent a modest increase and contain some important indicators." Wainwright, a City of Fremantle councillor representing the Hilton ward, said that this was the first time the Socialist Alliance had run in Willagee, most of which has a more working-class character and more state housing tenants than Fremantle.
Hundreds of people rallied outside parliament house in Canberra on March 13 to demand action for the war crimes of Sri Lankan President, Mahinda Rajapaksa. The rally was organised by Campaign for Tamil Justice, who are calling for an independent investigation into allegations by a UN panel of Sri Lankan military war crimes and crimes against humanity. Campaign spokesperson Trevor Grant said: “The UN Human Rights Commission is meeting right now on Sri Lanka and the word is that there will be another insipid resolution issued, with support from Australia.
A feminist performing group was initiated in Cairns in late 2011, in response to a range of issues, including male violence against women and the retention of abortion in the criminal code in Queensland. The members of this group are diverse — in age, background and previous performing experience — but all have a commitment to improving the status and rights of women in far-north Queensland.
Late one night in 2007, in the Bulgarian capital city Sofia, 21-year-old Australian man Jock Palfreeman was walking home after a night out with friends. He saw a group of about 15 men attacking two others. The two men were Roma, an ethnic minority who are often the targets of racist attacks by neo-Nazi gangs. Outraged, Palfreeman intervened to prevent the attack, but instead the crowd turned their violence on him, hurling concrete blocks. Palfreeman pulled a knife to protect himself and during the subsequent fight, one man was stabbed and later died.
Our eldest child just started secondary school. Not long ago the school didn’t have a uniform, but nowadays you can’t attract the “aspiring” families if you’re not serious about modelling the corporate world. Parents seeking “good” careers for their children are increasingly aware of the importance of correct procedures and work ethic. “Good schools” encourage hours of homework every night and are driven by “disciplined structures” and “excellence”.
Socialist Alliance WA co-convener Alex Bainbridge has hit out at legal threats issued by lawyers acting on behalf of Recall management. Recall is a document storage company whose workers have entered their fourth week on strike for an agreement that recognises union rights. “Yesterday we received a letter indicating that Recall's lawyers are seeking to subpoena documents from the Socialist Alliance regarding the dispute,” Bainbridge told Green Left Weekly.
Aboriginal banners decorated an angry rally in Sydney’s Hyde Park on March 14. The families of Colleen Walker-Craig, Evelyn Greenup and Clinton Speedy-Duroux rallied with others from Bowraville, west of Nambucca Heads, and Sydney residents, calling for a Royal Commission into the Bowraville children murders. Twenty-three years ago, four-year-old Evelyn Greenup and 16-year-olds Colleen Walker and Clinton Speedy-Duroux were killed in a five-month period on a street near the Bowraville mission.
About 100 people attended a forum and concert titled, "Remembering Fukushima, Two years on: Time to end the nuclear chain," at the Teachers Federation on March 10. The forum was addressed by Japanese farmer and anti-nuclear campaigner Kenichi Hasegawa; Peace Boat International member Akira Kawasaki, South Australian Indigenous elder and co-chair of the Australian Nuclear Free Alliance (ANFA) Peter Watts, Illawarra Aboriginal community and ANFA member Dootch Kennedy, Unions NSW secretary Mark Lennon, and Uranium Free NSW spokesperson Nat Wasley.
The Moreland municipality has the second-highest rate of family violence in Victoria. Most violent crime in Moreland is family violence. “This means that there is an epidemic of family violence in Moreland,” said the Socialist Alliance’s Moreland councillor Sue Bolton. At its March 13 council meeting, Moreland council passed a community safety motion to start an immediate expansion of CCTV cameras. The Moreland council was offered funding by the state government that could be spent only on CCTV cameras.
Stop CSG Illawarra released the statement below on March 15. *** This week, Federal Environment Minister Tony Burke announced that coal seam gas (CSG) projects that could affect water resources will now trigger federal approval. The bill — detailing the proposed changes to the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act) — was tabled [last] week. Stop CSG spokesperson Jess Moore said: "This trigger does not live up to the hype from Burke.
International Women's Day rally on March 8 in Perth - the day before the WA state election - included speeches by Sanna Andrew, Tessa Coleman and Anita Creasey.
A rally was held in Sydney on March 13 to demand a Royal Commission into the deaths of three Aboriginal children in Bowraville whose killer has never been brought to justice. Photos: Rachel Evans

Analysis

Wong-goo-tt-oo elder Wilfred Hicks explains why the Burrup Peninsula is important and why it should be saved with World Heritage listing.
A 72-year-old man overly fond of a cold shandy on a hot day and a cigarette or two, was found dead in the room he rented in a pub in Waterloo, Sydney on February 23. There was nothing particularly unusual about it except that the man, Eddie Trigg, was the last person to see Juanita Nielsen alive. Nielsen was a society heiress, a member of the family that owned the iconic Sydney retailer Mark Foy’s. In the 1970s she was living in Victoria Street, Kings Cross, running a local paper called Now.
Former Coalition government treasurer Peter Costello envisions Queensland as a privatised, “small government” state in the final report he has written for the state government. A huge sell-off of remaining public assets was recommended in the 32-page executive summary released on March 1. The full report in excess of 1000 pages has been withheld until after the May budget.
The international boycott campaign against the world’s third largest defence company is about to arrive in Australia and the first battleground may be at RMIT University in Melbourne. Palestine solidarity activists have focused a boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) campaign on the Max Brenner chocolate store chain, a subsidiary of the Strauss Group, which supplies and supports the Israeli army. This year however, cross-campus activist based group Students for Palestine has decided on a new target. Meet BAE Systems — short for British Aerospace Engineering.
I have always found tests and exams, whether the NAPLAN or Victorian Certificate of Education, very problematic. For one thing, it only tests English and numeracy, as if other subjects are not important and do not contribute to numeracy and literacy skills. For several years, educators have known that there are different learning styles and techniques. Some people have one dominant learning style, others use different styles in different situations, and styles are not fixed.
Venezuela’s socialist president, Hugo Chavez, died on March 5, and if there is one thing we can take away from coverage in the Western mainstream media is there is now one less dictator threatening the free world. Sure, on the surface, Chavez didn’t really seem like much of a dictator, what with the whole coming to power through free elections and encouraging unprecedented political participation by ordinary citizens thing. But it is just like those serial killers whose neighbours always say seemed so nice until the horrible truth came out.
This year marks the bicentenary of the first European crossing of the Blue Mountains in NSW. For white Australia it was a great triumph and a significant step forward in the process of colonising the entire continent. For the Aboriginal people of this area, however, it was a disturbing development that heralded the most significant challenge they had ever faced.
Campaigners against the planned Woodside gas hub at James Price Point in the Kimberley believe the Greens’ opposition to the proposal was the reason for their success in the Kimberley seat. They say it has proven the Broome community does not want the Western Australian Liberals and Woodside's gas hub at James Price Point.
“Not joining the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement doesn’t mean that you’re not taking a stand,” Associate Professor Jake Lynch told a meeting at the University of Sydney on March 14. “By continuing institutional links to Israeli high education, universities here risk unwittingly becoming indirectly complicit in violations of international laws and abuses of human rights.”
There's a lot of unease in progressive circles in Western Australia in the wake of Liberal Premier Colin Barnett's landslide reelection win in the March 9 WA state election. The expectation is that many things will get worse before they get better. The minority Liberal government, dependent on National Party support and buoyed by mining royalties, has been restrained compared to the slash-and-burn of public services rammed through by its counterparts in Queensland and Victoria.
Over recent weeks, lawyers and campaigners have been racing to the courts to prevent immigration department plans to deport Afghan refugees back to Kabul. Refugee advocates raised alarm bells on March 5 when four Afghan Hazara refugees who had been living in the community on bridging visas were re-detained after attending scheduled immigration meetings.

World

The recent media revelations of the Israeli justice system’s treatment of Ben Zygier, who was known as Prisoner X, has further exposed to the world the charade that is the carefully manufactured image of Israel as a supposedly democratic and liberal state. Many politically aware people already know about Israeli human rights abuses, massacres and other crimes, but the almost total lack of reporting in the mainstream media of the true nature of Israel has kept some people in the dark about the immorality of the Israeli state that lurks behind the mask.
The United Nations General Assembly paid tribute to late Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez during a special ceremony on March 13, Venezuela Analysis said the next day. The ceremony hailed Chavez's “commitment to social justice and advocacy for society’s most vulnerable groups”, the article said.
What is modern propaganda? For many, it is the lies of a totalitarian state. In the 1970s, I met Leni Riefenstahl and asked her about her epic films that glorified the Nazis. Using revolutionary camera and lighting techniques, she produced a documentary form that mesmerised Germans; her Triumph of the Will cast Hitler's spell. She told me that the “messages” of her films were dependent not on “orders from above”, but on the “submissive void” of the German public. Did that include the liberal, educated bourgeoisie? “Everyone,” she said.
The NYPD has murdered another young Black man, and now the cops are trying to smear his name to justify their actions. But activists and members of the community where the victim lived have seen how police murder with impunity -- and they're speaking out. After two plainclothes officers shot and killed 16-year-old Kimani "Kiki" Gray late on March 9, anger rippled through the East Flatbush section of Brooklyn and the broader New York activist community. A vigil two nights later grabbed headlines when a crowd of young people from East Flatbush angrily confronted police.
The anointment of reactionary Argentine cardinal Jorge Bergoglio as Pope Francisco marks the intensification of the Vatican’s corporate military crusade in a region holding around half of the world’s Catholics. It is also a response to the continental upsurge of the left.
Former US National Intelligence Council chairperson Thomas Fingar received the 2013 Sam Adams Award for Integrity in Intelligence on January 23 for his role overseeing the 2007 US National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) on Iran. The NIE finding’s that all 16 US intelligence agencies judged “with high confidence that in fall 2003, Tehran halted its nuclear weapons program” removed the immediate threat of a US-Israeli military attack on Iran.
Whistleblower Bradley Manning was back in court in late February for pre-trial hearings. He has now spent more than 1000 days in prison without a trial. Military judge Denise Lind made several rulings during the week long proceedings. Firstly, she ruled that Manning had not been deprived of his due process right to a speedy trial. US military law requires that any defendant must be arraigned within 120 days.
Former Guatemalan dictator Efrain Rios Montt will finally face prosecution for his crimes. After a year of house arrest, Montt became the first former head of state to be charged with genocide in a Latin American court on January 28. The prosecution believe they have compelling evidence that Montt led a campaign to ethnically cleanse the Central American state of its indigenous Mayan population. Though he is being charged in relation only to the deaths of 1771 Mayans, about 200,000 people were killed or went missing during Guatemala's 1960-96 civil war.
The death of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez on March 5 will mean unseemly celebration on the right and unending debate on the left. Both reflect the towering legacy of Chavismo and how it challenged the global free market orthodoxy of the Washington consensus. Less discussed will be that the passing of Chavez will also provoke unbridled joy in the corridors of power of Major League Baseball (MLB).
Tens of thousands of Haitians spontaneously poured into the streets of the Haitian capital, Port-au-Prince, on the morning of March 12, 2007. Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez had just arrived in Haiti all but unannounced. A multitude, shrieking and singing with glee, joined him in jogging alongside the motorcade of Haiti’s then President Rene Preval on its way to the National Palace (later destroyed in the 2010 earthquake).

Culture

A selection of this week's celebrity news... Pink Floyd's Roger Waters Urges Fellow Musicians To Ditch Israel http://bit.ly/ZzxyUJ Lostprophets Frontman "Furiously Denies" Baby Rape Charges http://bit.ly/W8vUut Chinese Political Activist Ai Weiwei Is Making...A Metal Album? http://bit.ly/XEAn7U Village Voice Name Lars Ulrich As The "Douchiest Drummer Of All Time" http://bit.ly/YjDy4B Ailing Morrissey Cancels Entire US Tour, Shows Won't Be Rescheduled http://bit.ly/YBodZd
Beyond Capitalism? The Future of Radical Politics Luke Cooper & Simon Hardy Zero Books, 2013 Luke Cooper and Simon Hardy should be congratulated on producing a thoughtful contribution as to how we build a movement capable of defeating capitalism and creating a socialist society. From climate change to the financial crisis and austerity, the neo-liberal project has failed. Where it once promised prosperity, it can only deliver ashes.
XXIV UK Subs Captain Oi February 2013 www.uksubs.co.uk Punk pioneers UK Subs released their 24th politically-charged album last month, to rave reviews. Appropriately titled XXIV, it nears the completion of their bid to release 26 albums whose titles begin with each letter of the alphabet, in order. Frontman Charlie Harper spoke to Green Left's Mat Ward. **** Tell us about your experiences of playing Australia - any memories that stick out?
Football Rebels Presented by Eric Cantona Al Jazeera Started screening March 11 http://aje.me/YaPbYC Al Jazeera is screening a five-part documentary on the stories of five football heroes whose social conscience led them to challenge unjust regimes, join opposition movements and lead the fight for democracy and human rights.
Work Like Chavez Rebel Diaz and Agent Of Change Released March 9, 2013 www.rebeldiaz.bandcamp.com For revolutionary rappers Rebel Diaz, the death of Hugo Chavez on March 5 came as a double blow. The Venezuelan leader had helped the Chilean hip-hop duo set up their community arts and resistance centre in New York's South Bronx after he visited the area eight years ago.

Fighting Fund

Green Left Weekly's 2013 Fighting Fund appeal for $250,000 was launched in January. Since then volunteers and supporters around the country have been busy raising funds and generously sending in donations to keep the project afloat. It's relentless work, but vital in order to keep an independent media voice alive in Australia; a voice that puts the truth and journalistic integrity before sensationalism and profit.