Issue 984

Australia

The Brisbane Reclaim the Night Collective released this statement on October 16.

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Reclaim the Night is a global event where women stand up against sexual violence and communities take control and respond to sexual violence against women. The event is held globally on the last Friday of October.

The Reclaim the Night Brisbane event will demand an end to sexual violence against women. The night will consist of a rally and march throughout the streets in Brisbane. The theme this year is “It’s time to end rape culture”.

As “rainbow” high school students we would like to talk about an important issue which relates to us, and that is the NSW Anti-Discrimination Act 1977.

This act protects people from being discriminated against based on factors such as age, sex, marital status, religion, sexuality, gender identity as well as many other factors. On the surface, this act is amazing for ending discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and queer (LGBTIQ) people in particular.

About 100 members of the Sudanese community rallied in Sydney's Belmore Park on October 3 to protest against the military regime's crackdown on human rights in their home country. Speakers condemned the repression last month by the regime of President Omar Al-Bashir against crowds protesting sharp rises in fuel prices.

When the global financial crisis (GFC) unfolded in 2008, the unemployment rate for 15 to 19-year-olds looking for full-time work in Australia increased from 15% to 25%. It has remained at this level ever since.

In July, it stood at 25.5%. However, in the 10 areas listed by the Department of Human Services as the most disadvantaged in the country, the youth unemployment rate is more than 40%.

How could a former agent of Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet’s notorious secret police, who is facing charges of kidnapping and forced disappearances and whose bail conditions prohibited them from leaving Chile, now be living in Australia?

This is the question many have asked after the recent broadcast on SBS Radio of an interview with former National Intelligence Directorate (DINA) agent Adriana Rivas.

In the interview, Rivas says she began working at DINA in 1974.

The proposed East-West tunnel being built in Melbourne’s inner-north has been delayed again as residents prevented soil testing by staging rolling protest actions.

But the battle is likely to resume soon.

The East-West tunnel was originally proposed in 2008. After a community campaign, the former Labor state government dropped the proposal, but Premier Denis Napthine’s Coalition government revived the $8 billion plan in 2011.

The Pacific2013 arms fair and the International Fleet Review in Sydney Darling Harbour on October 7 were met by anti-war protests from locals.

The arms fair was held in the Sydney Convention and Exhibition Centre while the centenary of Royal Australia Navy’s first visit to Sydney was celebrated in the harbour.


West Papuans and supporters took part in a Freedom Flotilla earlier this month to highlight the fight for a free West Papua

Sydney’s Refugee Action Coalition released the statement below on October 12.

Read More:
West Papua: Indonesia uses soldier deaths to escalate conflict
Australian gov't backs Indonesian atrocities

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Adelaide-based welfare campaign group Stop Income Management in Playford released the statement below on October 3.

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Reports that the Coalition is planning to fund major expansions of Income Management as part of the 2014 Federal Budget are deeply alarming.

Despite six years of income management operating in the Northern Territory, there remains no compelling, solid data that the policy improves the financial-management skills or well-being of welfare recipients.

Abortion rights activists will mobilise in Melbourne on October 12 to oppose threats to women’s access to abortion from the federal government and anti-choice groups.

The rally, to be held at the steps of the Victorian parliament, is a counter-rally to the annual "March for the Babies", which will be staged on the same day.

Pro-choice activists will also protest the controversial "Zoe’s law", currently under debate in the NSW parliament.

World

Three West Papuan activists scaled the walls of the Australian consulate in Bali on October 6, during the APEC meeting on the island, to seek refuge and demand that foreigners be allowed to freely enter West Papua.

The Australian government, however, took the opportunity to reaffirm its long-standing support for Indonesia's occupation of West Papua.

In the first week of October, primary and secondary teachers on Spain’s Balearic Islands (Mallorca, Menorca, Ibiza and Formentera) voted by large majorities to suspend their indefinite strike.

The strike was against education cuts and a new tuition method that would downgrade Balearic Catalan as the local education system’s main language of instruction.

Language

The Balearic variant of Catalan has been the language of the islands for 800 years, but was effectively outlawed during Spain's Franco dictatorship (1939 to 1975).

Back in October 2001, the US-led invasion of Afghanistan adopted an humanitarian face, professing that the defeat of the Taliban would rid girls and women of an infamously cruel brand of misogyny.

But the Taliban’s violent oppression was not alone in denying the country’s females of their basic right to education, health, inheritance, and physical and emotional safety inside and outside of their homes.

Bolivia's President Evo Morales issued a government decree on October 7 that allows workers to establish “social enterprises” in businesses that are bankrupt, winding up, unjustifiably closed or abandoned.

These enterprises, while private, will be operated by the workers and qualify for government assistance.

Countries are “pieces on a chessboard upon which is being played out a great game for the domination of the world,” wrote Lord Curzon, Viceroy of India, in 1898. Nothing has changed.

The shopping mall massacre in Nairobi was a bloody facade behind which a full-scale invasion of Africa and a war in Asia are the great game.

The al-Shabaab shopping mall killers came from Somalia. If any country is an imperial metaphor, it is Somalia. Sharing a common language and religion, Somalis have been divided between the British, French, Italians and Ethiopians.

The Peruvian government has renewed its commitment to several controversial mining mega-projects. The projects have provoked huge regional protests against the environmentally destructive expansion plans of foreign mining corporations.

Speaking at a mining industry conference held in the southern city of Arequipa on September 16, Minister of Energy and Mines Jorge Merino indicated that Conga (in Cajamarca), Tia Maria (in Arequipa) and Corani (in Puno) will be developed with the backing of President Ollanta Humala's administration.

A crowd of at least 60,000 marched through central Bilbao on October 5 in protest against the arrest of 18 activists of Herrira (“To The People”) by the Spanish state. The group advocates for the rights of Basque political prisoners.

The march was called by EH Bildu, the left-nationalist alliance in the Basque regional parliament, as well as by the two Basque nationalist trade union confederations and 50 other social movements. It came after a wave of local protests against the raid on Herrira.

October 3, 2013, will go down as one of the deadliest days at the European external borders in decades. It is now thought 363 people have died in one single, tragic incident.

While the continuous, everyday deaths of migrants and refugees in the Mediterranean are met by silence, the magnitude of this "blood bath" spurred the Italian and international media to report it widely.

Amid bitter recriminations between the Democrats and Republicans over the partial shutdown of the government and the Republican threat of forcing of a United States government default, it is easy to forget what their policies have in common.

Both have intervened to protect the interests of the capitalist class as a whole in the aftermath of the Great Recession at the expense of the working class. This is indisputable given statistics showing profits are soaring while real wages are declining.

Both parties have implemented policies that cut the social wage for working people.

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the expulsion of a top US diplomat and two other embassy officials from Venezuela for alleged conspiracy with the opposition.

“Get out of Venezuela,” said Maduro during a televised political event. “Yankee go home. Enough of abuses against the dignity of a homeland that wants peace.”

The US officials named were charge d'affaires Kelly Keiderling, and two other embassy employees, Elizabeth Hunderland and David Mutt. They were given 48 hours to leave the country.

Germany’s September 22 federal elections delivered victory to the ruling conservative Christian Democratic Alliance, despite forces to their left winning a majority of seats.

Die Linke (the Left Party) has emerged the third largest in the Bundestag (German parliament).

The Chancellor Angela Merkel-led alliance scored their best result since German re-unification in 1990, with more than 18 million votes (41.5%).

Analysis

The Socialist Alliance released this statement on October 16.

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The Socialist Alliance is proud to gather with fellow feminists to Reclaim the Night around Australia this year.

We share the belief that women, when we organise and forge alliances, can make change. We fight the “victim” tag as we fight sexism and violence against women.

This speech was given at a rally for marriage equality held in Sydney on October 12.

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Today we are out in force to stand up to Prime Minister Tony Abbott, and to speak out against the Liberals' mad attack on lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex people (LGBTI).

And yes, it is a full scale attack. Liberal Party governments all over this country are doing everything in their power to destroy 50 years of progress towards equality for LGBTI people.

The proposed the East West tunnel in Melbourne’s inner north will be environmentally, socially and economically disastrous. It is not a solution to the problem of congestion on Melbourne’s Eastern freeway. It is draining money from other, useful projects all over Melbourne.

1. THE TUNNEL WILL NOT FIX TRAFFIC PROBLEMS

Students and staff rally at Sydney University in May.

After a hard-fought industrial campaign, the National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU) at the University of Sydney has just voted to accept a new workplace agreement.

NTEU branch committee member Nick Riemer told Green Left Weekly: “One of the most valuable results of the campaign has been the way it’s politicised and activated the branch.

With Tony Abbott ruling the roost in Canberra, it is important for the climate movement in Australia to take stock and have a discussion about where to go next.

It is easy to be discouraged by the election of Abbott. However, it should not be forgotten that the election was more than just a “referendum on the carbon tax”, it was also an electoral snapshot of a country that has been subjected to an exceptionally strong barrage of brainwashing for the past few years. The ideas spread through the media are powerful, but they are not invincible.

Last month 20,000 people rallied against education cuts by the state government.

Following a stalemate over pay in enterprise bargaining negotiations, Murdoch University members of the National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU) voted to go to a ballot for industrial action.


Santos will drill coal seam gas wells through recharge aquifers of the Great Artesian Basin

New regulations restrict coal seam gas (CSG) companies from residential housing areas in NSW, but do little to protect the rural landscape.

There is a perception in Australia that once people reach a certain age or become unable to care for themselves, the government will take care of them no matter their social or financial circumstances.

In Australia, the responsibility for funding and regulating residential aged care belongs to the Commonwealth. It is the federal government that sets the amount and distribution of residential aged-care funding across Australia.

Last year, more than 5000 people gathered in Brunswick to protest violence against women. It was the largest Reclaim the Night mobilisation since the early 1990s.

Reclaim the Night (or Take Back the Night in the United States) is a global feminist movement that protests against the specific forms of harassment, victim blaming, sexual assault and violence experienced by women.

The opening session of the new parliament in Canberra next month will be met by a national convergence of refugee rights activists and campaigners.


University of Western Sydney, Bankstown campus. Student protest against course cuts

A student general meeting was held at the Bankstown campus of the University of Western Sydney on October 8, as part of the student campaign against the federal government’s $2.7 billion funding cuts to universities across Australia.

About 40 students and staff attended, with many speaking out about the impact the cuts will have on their education.

A socialist educational conference, “How to make a revolution”, is being held in Brisbane over December 13 to 15. This conference is being organised by Resistance Socialist Youth and the Socialist Alliance, and aims to be an event that gives young people the skills and perspectives to radically change the world.


Refugee advocates defaced a Liberal campaign billboard in April. Now Abbott is literally trying to "disappear" the boats.

“We'll pretend we've stopped the boats and the conditions under which we pretend they've stopped,” seems to be the motto of Prime Minister Tony Abbott's government.

British Tory MP Douglas Hogg made world headlines in 2009 when he was exposed for claiming £2200 for “moat cleaning” as a political expense. Amid public uproar, he was forced to stand down while his claim was investigated. He insisted the claim was legitimate, but eventually repaid the money.

Culture

“I am a gay, Irish, Catholic, alcoholic Pogue who is about to die from cancer — and don’t think I don’t know it,” Philip Chevron, who passed away on October 8, told the Irish Daily Mail in June.

The 56-year-old Chevron was best known as the guitarist for legendary Irish folk punk band The Pogues. However, his music career goes back to the founding of The Radiators From Space in 1976 — described as Ireland's first punk band.

Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal

Egypt's military rulers help imprison Gazans

Rupen Savoulian writes: “Egypt’s new military rulers are closely aligning themselves with Israel’s strategic objectives in the region. Shutting off access to the Gaza Strip and isolating the Palestinians is one such objective with which the Egyptian military is fully cooperating with Israel.”

The combined economic and ecological crises