Issue 966

Australia

The Socialist Alliance released this statement on May 23.

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Ford's announcement that it will close its last vehicle manufacturing plants in Australia — in Geelong and Broadmeadows — destroying 1200 jobs is "totally despicable", said Sue Bull, the Socialist Alliance candidate...

March Against Monsanto Brisbane said that on May 25, hundreds of people will gather to protest as part of a global day of action for “March Against Monsanto”. The global event is being held in more than 49 countries with more than 370 events and 2 million people marching worldwide.

The...

A South Australian council has voted to swap a recreation park in St Clair with a former factory site. Under the proposal the popular St Clair reserve will be sold to developers and used for high-density housing. The Actil site —which has contaminated soil — will then be developed as an open...

The Australian Council of Social Service (ACOSS) held a rally in Sydney on May 9 to demand that the federal budget raise the Newstart allowance by $50 a week.

They also demanded all commonwealth benefits be properly indexed so they are in line with living expenses.

About 100...

About 70 activists gathered in Parramatta Town Hall on May 11 for the second annual Climate Change-Social Change conference.

Hosted by Green Left Weekly, the conference drew together a broad range of activists from various environment campaigns, anti-coal seam gas groups, the...

About 100 people packed into the Gaelic Club on May 10 for the Politics in the Pub forum: "Venezuela — A New Democracy or a Command Capitalist State?" Speakers were Latin America’s Turbulent Transitions co-author Federico Fuentes and Latin American studies post-graduate Rodrigo Acuna...

Newcastle Trades Hall Council (NTHC) and Lock The Gate released this statement on May 14.

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The Lock The Gate Alliance looks forward to working with the Newcastle Trades Hall Council, after the peak union body declared it is totally opposed to further coal seam gas (CSG)...

Staff and students from universities around Australia held demonstrations on May 14 to protest the Gillard government’s $2.3 billion cuts to higher education.

The National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU) called a 24-hour strike which coincided with a student strike called by the National...

A meeting was held in Geelong on April 30 for students to discuss and plan action against the continued cuts to public sector education.

University, TAFE and High School students were invited. At this meeting, the Student Action Collective (SAC) was formed and a list of immediate demands...

World

Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd fulfilled his campaign pledge to withdraw Australian “combat” forces from Southern Iraq on June 2008. Rudd used the occasion to condemn former Prime Minister John Howard for joining the war, but US diplomatic cables published by WikiLeaks show the Rudd...

A new scandal has erupted involving the use of the “war on terror” to crack down on the democratic rights of US citizens.

The US justice department has acknowledged secretly seizing all the work, home and cell phone records of almost 100 reporters and editors at the Associated Press (AP...

After 40 years of struggle, in the place known as “Africa's last colony”, human rights abusers continue to be given a free hand by the international community.

As Western Sahara's independence movement, the Polisario Front, commemorated four decades of struggle on May 10, news broke of a...

McDonald's workers and supporters held a picket on May 10 outside the Britomart McDonald's store in Auckland, said activist Socialist Aotearoa activist Nico on a May 12 post at Unite news.

Nico said a group of about 30 people created a physical picket line across the two entrances of the...

Nothing is more exciting that a field trip when you are a schoolchild; a temporary escape from the classroom to a field or a forest, enjoying (hopefully) the sunshine and the outdoors.

Growing up in Israel, the only downside to the whole experience was the talks. Every so often (too...

Venezuela's new Labour Law for Workers came into effect on May 7, guaranteeing shorter working hours, longer maternity leave and pensions for all Venezuelans.

Described by the Venezuelan government as the “most advanced labour law in the world”, the law reduces the working week from 44...

The open letter printed below, which was sent to the New York Times public editor Margaret Sullivan was signed by more than a dozen experts on Latin America and the media. Signatories to the letter, released on May 14, signatories included academic Noam Chomsky, filmmaker Oliver Stone,...

Bolivia has earned more than US$16 billion from the energy industry since President Evo Morales nationalised the sector in 2006, Spanish newsagency EFE reported government officials as saying.

EFE reported that hydrocarbons minister Juan Jose Sosa said: “Seven years before the...

A right-wing wave swept Pakistan in the May 11 general elections. At the federal level, the conservative Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PMLN) will form the government having won 35% of the vote.

Former Pakistani cricket captain Imran Khan's party, Pakistan Tehreek Insaaf, came second with...

In February 2011, the Deputy Engineer of Gaza’s only electricity plant, Dirar Abu Sisi, travelled to Ukraine, his wife Veronika’s native country, to seek citizenship after Israel’s 2008-09 attack on the Gaza Strip.

The ferocity of that war made him fear for the safety of their six...

France’s National Assembly and Senate have voted to extend the country’s military intervention in Mali. A resolution passed both houses of parliament on April 22 with a single vote against.

Three days later, the United Nations Security Council approved Resolution 2100, creating a...

"Haiti offers a marvelous opportunity for American investment," reported Financial America in 1926. "The run-of-the-mill Haitian is handy, easily directed and gives a hard day's labor for 20 cents, while in Panama the same day's work costs [US]$3."

That may be the most honest...

The largest left protest ever against the policies of a French Socialist Party (PS) government took place in Paris on May 5. To the stirring sounds of the protest anthem “On Lache Rien” (“We Don’t Give In”), up to 180,000 workers, pensioners, unemployed and students marched from the Bastille to...

Analysis

The gulf between the science and the politics of climate change has never been wider. Consider the Arctic ice cap, which has lost half its volume in the five years from 2005. Experts say the Arctic ice cap is now in a “death spiral”. The region is warming two to four times faster than the global...

The Socialist Alliance estimated in 2010 that its key policies for social justice and environmental sustainability would cost a minimum of $81-140 billion a year. Any budget devised by a party focused on putting people and the planet before profits would look significantly different to the “safe...

Will the trials and tribulations of trying to be a decent, hardworking billionaire in this nation ever end?

First, coalmining magnate Clive Palmer told News.com.au that billionaires “were oppressed” in Australia, and, when asked if he was serious, said: “Yes, I get ridiculed all the time...

There are two different visions for paid parental leave (PPL) — one put forward by the federal Labor government and the other by Liberal leader Tony Abbott.

Abbott’s proposal is seemingly not supported by industry or sections of the Coalition. It would provide 26 weeks’ full salary to...

The Country Liberal (CLP) government of the Northern Territory announced sweeping new police powers on May 10 that will, in effect, criminalise drinking across the NT.

Police will be able to issue “alcohol protection orders” to anybody charged with an alcohol-related offence that carries...

"By keeping, if needed, all Labor's budget cuts and by not implementing any of their budget spending measures unless specified, we will achieve the first duty of every government -- namely, to preserve the nation's finances," said Tony Abbott in his budget reply speech.

This is what is...

The Australian ran an article on May 2 that claimed “the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement has been caught on camera admitting ‘there isn't really any connection’ between Australian Max Brenner chocolate shops and Israel”.

Below is a response by Palestine solidarity...

It was almost a simple formality. Rejecting any attempt by the Greens to introduce rudimentary protections, the Australian Senate voted on May 16 to excise the entire country from the migration zone.

It will most likely be given approval by the lower house soon. If implemented, it will...

The other day, I stood outside the strangely silent building where I began life as a journalist. It is no longer the human warren that was Consolidated Press in Sydney, though ghosts still drink at the King's Head pub nearby.

As a cadet reporter, I might have walked on to the set of...

“I’m in Villawood!” Jock Palfreeman exclaimed, with the cheerful exuberance he displayed throughout an interview conducted through glass and wire-mesh partitions in the gloomy surroundings of the visiting room of Sofia central prison.

He told Green Left Weekly that it was the...

Over the last eight months at least seven political activists around Australia have been approached by federal or state intelligence agents for information about other activists.

Green Left Weekly spoke to human rights lawyer and researcher Dale Mills...

Resistance!

The fight against homophobia is arguably the civil rights issue of our times. It is increasingly unacceptable that, in 2013, society continues to discriminate against people based on their sexuality.

This is most obviously demonstrated by the continued refusal to grant equal marriage...

Culture

A selection of this week's politically-relevant entertainment news...

Why *did* it cost Angelina Jolie $3000 to test for BRCA1 in the first place? Because the gene is owned by a private company http://www.greenleft.org.au/node/53688

18-Year-Old...

Black Against Empire, the History & Politics of the Black Panther Party
Joshua Bloom and Waldo E. Martin Jr, University of California Press, 2013, 560 pp., $54.95

The United States in the 1960s was a tinderbox of unresolved racial tensions. With Jim...

A selection of this week's politically-relevant entertainment news...

US singer Steve Earle says coal seam gas is not 'natural gas'. http://bit.ly/10X3RdX

Rekindle The Spirit - Ken Loach’s newest film documents the greatest cultural shift in British working class...

More Light
Primal Scream
First International
Released May 13, 2013
www.primalscream.net

British indie rockers Primal Scream are best known for Screamadelica, the breakout dance-crossover album that embraced ravers in a sweaty bear...

Live in K-Town
Random Hand
Bomber Music
April 1, 2013
www.randomhand.bigcartel.com

West Yorkshire ska band Random Hand blend hardcore, reggae, punk and dub with plenty of politics. Bassist-vocalist Joe Tilston, who is also...

Fighting Fund

After a week of being subjected to headache-inducing politicians posturing and spinning about the Great Budget Deficit, all that was needed was that speech from Richest-Australian-and-Walking-ATM Gina Rinehart.

Billionaire Numero Uno was only outdone by Billionaire-Would-Be-PM Clive...

We kid you not

Guilty — of cooking rice

“A Saudi student living in Michigan was questioned in his home by FBI agents after neighbours saw him carrying a pressure cooker and called the police. Talal al Rouki had been cooking a traditional Saudi Arabian rice dish called kabsah and was...