Issue 980

News

Stop CSG Illawarra released this statement on August 26. *** NSW Labor has adopted a policy to ban coal seam gas (CSG) development in the Sydney drinking water catchment. This is the first commitment from a major party to support exclusion zones to protect our water. Stop CSG Illawarra spokesperson Jess Moore said: "This is a welcome announcement and a win for the campaign. We set out to have policies from all parties reflect a safe approach to CSG, and we congratulate NSW Labor on this decision.
Gippsland Trades and Labour Council secretary John Parker is standing as an independent candidate in the seat of MacMillan. Green Left Weekly’s Susan Price spoke to Parker about his campaign. *** What prompted you to stand as a candidate?
About 50 people joined a rally at Sydney University on August 28 to show solidarity with academics Jake Lynch and Stuart Rees, who have been threatened with legal action over their strong backing for the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) campaign against apartheid Israel. Lynch, Rees and the Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies (CPACS) at Sydney university are facing a legal suit by Shurat HaDin, an Israeli Law Centre.
Future Fund CEO Mark Burgess was met by protesters when he spoke in Sydney on August 20. Members of Uranium Free NSW dressed as nuclear missiles to highlight the fund's investment in nuclear weapons manufacturing. The Future Fund, an Australian government investment fund established in 2006, has $227 million invested in 16 nuclear weapons companies. These companies make nuclear weapons and related infrastructure for France, Britain, the United States, India and Israel.

Analysis

Western Australian Liberal Premier Colin Barnett admitted on August 21 that his government faced a tough start to its second term. This followed fee rises and controversial attacks on the public sector in the August 8 state budget, which provoked a backlash including an August 30 decision by school teachers to plan an industrial campaign.
Green Left Weekly is a paper that proudly campaigns for left-wing issues in Australia and around the world, and aims to be a forum for news and debate to support these struggles. It supports the Socialist Alliance as a political party that brings together these issues. In the federal election, we’re calling for a vote for the Socialist Alliance and the Greens.
The land around Gwabegar, in north-western NSW, is not known for its fertile soil. Locals call it “mongrel” or “heartbreak” country. Fairfax Media quoted a farmer from nearby saying: “This is scalded country. It could not support the number of animals that would be needed to make a return on investment.” If the Pilliga scrub is not much good for farming, why did Barnaby Joyce, the National Party Senator now standing for the seat of New England, and his wife Natalie pay $572,000 for two blocks of land there in the space of 18 months between 2006 and 2008?
Peter Boyle is the Socialist Alliance candidate for Sydney. He gave this speech to a rally for single parents rights in Redfern on August 24. *** Together with Dianne Hiles, the Greens candidate in the same electorate who just spoke, I am campaigning against the cruel cuts to single parent entitlements by the former Julia Gillard Labor government and campaigning for a break from major party rule, from conservative major party policies and from the corrupted, old politics those parties stand for.
While much of the focus this election has been on the battle for western Sydney, noticeably absent from media reporting has been the campaign waged by Greens candidates in the area. Yet the Greens are not only fielding candidates in every western Sydney electorate, “We are taking active roles in our local communities across western Sydney”, explained David Lenton, the Greens candidate for the seat of Lindsay. More than that, they have the old mainstream parties running scared.
The two big parties have long considered refugees’ rights forfeit. This election year has been a time of unprecedented sacrifice of refugees, as each “policy” idea from Labor and the Liberals becomes more extreme than the last. After signing up Papua New Guinea and Nauru to bogus resettlement deals, PM Kevin Rudd has most recently sent families to Nauru and continues to oversee legally dubious deportations.
Fremantle City Councillor Sam Wainwright, who is standing in the seat of Fremantle for the Socialist Alliance, said at a meet-the-candidates meeting that after the election on September 7, Australia will have a government that is "either bad or worse".
Amber Maxwell was a great activist. She was one of the most dedicated young cadres of the Socialist Alternative Perth branch, and a co-convener of Equal Love WA. She committed suicide on August 24. She was 20 years old. I consider myself lucky that for a year and a half I worked with her in the queer struggle. I considered her a comrade and I cared about her.

World

September 11 is a date forever associated with mass murder of civilians — and this was the case nearly three decades before the 2001 terrorist attacks on the Twin Towers in New York. This year, September 11 marks the 40th anniversary of the US-organised military coup that overthrew the elected left-wing government of Salvador Allende and installed a brutal dictatorship headed by General Augusto Pinochet. The day was the start of a nightmare for Chileans, as a reign of terror crushed left-wing groups, trade unions and popular organisations.
An uprising of the rural poor (campesinos) in Colombia entered its 11th day on August 29. An estimated 250,000 people took part in strikes and highway blockades across the South American country's highlands, where most of Colombia’s population of 42 million is concentrated. The central objective of the uprising is to guarantee minimum prices for agricultural products, and to annul Colombia’s free trade agreements (FTAs) with the United States and the European Union.
The Philippines’ Million People March, against the so-called pork barrel system of corruption, is the latest in a series of huge protests worldwide, which exploded with the United States’ Occupy Movement and the Arab Spring of 2011. The Luneta rally was attended by at least 200,000 people (according to government estimates). However, aerial footage of the event showed attendance was almost certainly higher. The Luneta rally was part of nationwide and global protests, involving a further 500,000 people in major cities in the Philippines and by Filipino communities worldwide.

In 1986, Israeli scientist Mordechai Vanunu took a courageous moral stand against nuclear weapons. Vanunu exposed Israel’s secret nuclear weapons arsenal to the world after becoming disillusioned with his work as a technician at Dimona Nuclear Research Centre in Israel. Vanunu revealed Israel had hundreds of advanced nuclear warheads ― the sixth largest stockpile in the world. Under a policy of nuclear ambiguity, Israel still officially denies it has nuclear weapons, despite Vanunu’s revelations and other widespread evidence to the contrary.
Venezuela has agreed to sell oil to the Palestinian Authority (PA) at a “fair price” as part of new energy agreements with the Middle Eastern government. The deals, made during a meeting between Venezuelan foreign minister Elias Jaua and his PA counterpart Riyah al-Malki in Caracas on August 24, include the training of Palestinians in the handling and distribution of oil. Jaua referred to the deal as “an agreement of cooperation and solidarity … the sale of fuel at a fair price”.
In response to a chemical weapons attack by unknown perpetrators on August 21, US President Barack Obama, in a “coalition of the willing” with the governments of Britain and France, has made escalating threats for a military attack on Syria. With the likelihood of Russia and China opposition in the UN Security Council, Obama has indicated that his coalition, calling itself the “international community”, may strike Syria unilaterally.
A law has been passed giving New Zealand’s intelligence agencies greater powers — despite widespread opposition from human rights groups, private companies and the public. The newly enacted Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB) Bill authorises the gathering of private communications of citizens, including text messages, emails and bank account details without the need for a search warrant.
When NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden gave his first public interview in Hong Kong, he said his greatest fear was that his revelations of huge US government spy programs might fall on deaf ears. If that had happened, then his great personal sacrifice would have been for naught. WikiLeaks whistleblower Chelsea (formerly Bradley) Manning and Snowden have paid a steep price for revealing US war crimes and the US government's huge violations of the Bill of Rights and global spying program.
Ender Imrek is a member of the Taksim Platform, the key organising centre during the Gezi Park protests. He is also former vice-president of the revolutionary socialist party Labour Party-Turkey (EMEP) and a central executive member of left-wing umbrella group the People’s Democratic Congress (HDK). The HDK played a key role during the Gezi protests, when police brutally evicted protesters seeking to stop the destruction of trees in Taksim Gezi Park in May. He spoke to Green Left Weekly's I. Zekeriya Ayman * * * Can you tell us about the HDK?
Black America is hurting — from the suppression of voting rights, to police violence to the lack of access to good jobs, education and housing. Tens of thousands of people were determined to bring that message to Washington, DC, on August 24. About 100,000 people gathered in front of the Lincoln Memorial as part of a demonstration to mark the 50th anniversary of the 1963 March for Jobs and Freedom, where Martin Luther King gave his famous “I Have a Dream” speech.

Culture

Verbal Reality Volume 2 Provocalz Coming October 2013 www.provocalz.bigcartel.com Rapper Provocalz has dedicated a song to Australia's Liberal and Labor parties on his new album - but it won't be music to their ears. On his track "Liberals or Labor", the Indigenous emcee suggests the two big parties are so contemptuous of voters that some, like him, might consider swapping their ballots for bullets: Liberals or Labor, they both leave us to rot So it's criminal behaviour, politicians get shot Pop pop pop pop! It's that real hip-hop, hip-hop
From Mexican revolutionaries to Argentine street kids, Pinochet’s Chile to Mayan eco-warriors, the Eighth Sydney Latin American Film Festival shines the light on Latin America’s dark past as well as its ongoing struggle against corporate imperialism and environmental destruction. From September 4 to 15, the festival screens 22 new-release feature films and documentaries from Argentina, Brazil, Cuba, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Guatemala, Mexico, Panama, Peru, Uruguay, Venezuela, the US and Australia.
They say a picture is worth a thousand words. They don’t say what a gif is worth, but as if for good measure, we’ve gotten both out of the performance by Miley Cyrus and Robin Thicke at MTV’s Video Music Awards on August 25.

Resistance!

Liam Flenady is the Socialist Alliance candidate for the Brisbane seat of Griffith and a member of Resistance. This is an extract from a talk he gave to a forum titled: “People and planet before profit: A plan for a democratic Australia.” *** You might ask why we need a plan for a democratic Australia. Don’t we already have one? We elect our representatives at local, state and federal level, don’t we?