Issue 992

Australia

Three hundred firefighters gathered in Treasury Gardens on December 12 and marched to Parliament House to protest against inadequate staffing levels.

United Firefighters Union secretary Peter Marshall said the former ALP government had promised to employ 342 extra firefighters and had...

Refugee activists in Melbourne and Geelong rallied on December 20 to present a new "Code of Conduct" to the Immigration Department for Coalition ministers, after immigration minister Scott Morrison proposed a new "code of conduct" for asylum seekers.

The Sydney Morning Herald said on...

Hundreds of paramedics rallied on December 11 for a better deal from the Victorian government. Poor pay and long hours have adversely affected ambulance response times. Negotiations have been delayed 16 months by the Napthine government.

Victorian paramedics are the highest trained and...

Up to 500 people rallied in the inner Melbourne suburb of Fitzroy on December 15th to protest against the building of a proposed car tunnel – the so named East/West Link.

The community rally was chaired by comedian Rod Quantock. Speakers included Yvonne Kirk from the Public Transport...

The ">Environment Centre NT released this statement on December 7.

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Environment groups have called for an immediate halt to operations at the Ranger uranium mine in Kakadu following a major contamination leak.

Around one million litres of highly acidic radioactive...

AID/WATCH, an independent monitor of Australia’s aid and trade, released the statement below on December 4, in response to allegations of AusAID involvement in spying on the East Timorese government.

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AID/WATCH has responded to the allegation that Australian government...

Not just the hall but the verandah of the Serbian Centre was packed when more than 300 people came to the first public meeting of Aquis Aware, a group formed in response to the proposed Aquis casino in one of the city’s beachside suburbs, Yorkeys Knob.

The mega-resort would have nine...

Gelliondale Resources, a subsidiary of Melbourne company Ignite Energy Resources Limited, have applied for a “retention licence” for a project to mine brown coal at Gelliondale, in the South Gippsland region.

The application includes a work program of “field exploration activities such...

After negotiating for 16 months, the Ambulance Employees Australia in Victoria say they are not much closer to securing a contract that gives them the pay levels they are seeking and protects the quality of their service to the public.

On December 4, the union rejected the latest offer...

"The war in Colombia has been ongoing for decades, with little public discussion internationally," Oliver Villar, from the University of Western Sydney and Macquarie University, told a Sydney forum on November 30. The forum was organised by the solidarity organisation United for Colombia.

...

About 200 people gathered outside the Liberal Party headquarters in Melbourne on December 4 to protest against the decision to restrict abortion in Victoria.

The Victorian Liberal Party state conference voted on December 1 to wind back Victoria's abortion laws, which were amended in 2008...

About 2000 people, including at least 1000 motorcyclists, attended a “ride and rally” in Brisbane on December 1. This was part of a series of rallies across the country held to protest against Queensland's anti-democratic laws that target bikers.

Bikers from around Brisbane and nearby...

This statement was released by the Queensland Civil Liberties Network on November 30.

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A packed meeting of more than 70 concerned citizens and representatives from community organisations founded a new campaigning organisation at Brisbane's Electrical Trades Union hall on...

World

At least three strikers were killed on January 3 when police in Cambodia opened fire to break up a protest by garment workers.

Phnom Penh Municipal Police deputy head Chuon Narin claimed three were killed and two others wounded in a suburb of the capital. Police fired AK-47 rifles after...

More than 500,000 houses have been built since mid 2011 under the Venezuelan government’s mass housing building construction program.

Launched by former president Hugo Chavez to tackle the South American country’s shortage of affordable housing, the program has the ambitious aim of...

On Christmas Eve, the Queen of England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland, and the Commonwealth deigned to pardon one of the 20th century’s most important mathematicians of the crime of homosexuality.

In 1952, Alan Turing was tried and convicted of engaging in sex with other men. He was...

Striking Cambodian shoe and clothing workers have blocked roads and scuffled with police. At least seven people were injured and seven others arrested after clashes between the workers and riot police, local rights monitors said.

Community Legal Education Centre spokesman Huy Pichsovann...

A group of Australian solidarity activists visited Venezuela during the December municipal elections in order to find out more about the Bolivarian revolution and strengthen solidarity between the peoples of the two countries.

The visit was organised by the Australia Venezuela Solidarity...

The usual boilerplate announcements that “significant progress” was achieved in the just-concluded round of Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations cannot hide that public opposition is growing. The United States seems to be having difficulty bullying its negotiating partners.

The...

Venezuelan President has Nicolas Maduro announced a raft of new regulatory measures as part of his ongoing “offensive” to deal with the country’s economic problems.

In a television interview on December 1, Maduro said the government’s economic policies were aimed at “stabilising” the...

Election results are often contested, which is one reason why governments sometimes invite official observer missions from inter-governmental bodies such as the Organization of American States (OAS) or European Union (EU).

But there are times and places when these outside groups do not...

“The national mobilisation called for by Xiomara Castro on Friday night became a massive, angry funeral procession today in Tegucigalpa,” the Honduras Resists blog reported on November 30 on the protests against the theft of the Honduran elections six days earlier.

The Supreme Electoral...

Supporters of the Venezuelan government celebrated their victory in the municipal elections held on December 8. Analysts have commented that results indicate President Nicolas Maduro has “reconnected” with the social base of the Chavista movement.

The first results announced gave the...

Hundreds of community activists gathered in downtown Caracas on November 16 and 17 to demonstrate their steadfast support for the socialist policies of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro.

Maduro used the occasion to repeat: “Venezuela’s communes must be consolidated if we are to truly...

Is that a faint glimmer light at the end of the European economic tunnel? Or is it just a bunch of conservative politicians brandishing torches and yelling: “Look, a light at the end of the tunnel”?

The “Light-At-The-End-Of-The-Tunnel” mantra is a vital part of conservative government...

'Mandela led fight against apartheid, but not against extreme inequality.' Patrick Bond spoke to Real News Network on December 5. Read the full transcript.

Below, is a short extract from a much longer piece by Patrick Bond from Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal that takes...

While the governments of the United States, Britain and Israel provided support to South Africa's arpatheid regime, the Cuban Revolution helped the anti-apartheid forces, sending thousands of volunteers in the 1970s and '80s to help Angolan forces defeat the apartheid regime's war on their...

Hundreds of people have been arrested and some killed as Indonesian authorities crack down on events commemorating the declaration of West Papua's independence.

On December 1, West Papuans mark the first raising of the Morning Star flag, a symbol of West Papuan independence. On that day...

More than 400 members of the Left Unity party project gathered in London on November 30 for the party's founding conference.

The fledgling project has its origins in a call earlier in the year for a new party to the left of Labour made by veteran left film maker Ken Loach. Against the...

“For millions of people, the European dream has turned into a nightmare,” Alexis Tspiras, the leader of Greece's Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA), said in a November 28 opinion piece in The Guardian.

Tsipras was explaining why he will campaign on behalf of the European Left party...

More than 1000 students protested against the closure of the Jaffna University on December 2, TamilNet said.

The university was reopened that day after several weeks of closure. All universities in Sri Lanka had been closed during the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting to prevent...

The National Electoral Council (CNE) has announced the first results of the Venezuelan municipal elections held on December 8. Mayors and local councilors were elected for the country’s 335 municipalities, as well as the metropolitan mayor of Caracas.

CNE president Tibisay Lucena read...

“When we went out, it was like a Zombieland,” Zoreen Agustin, a student at the University of the Philippines’ (UP) Tacloban campus told me on December 2.

“A lot of people were walking around, some with no shoes and their clothes all torn, a lot of people were covered in cuts.”

...

Nearly 50 years ago, in 1964, Nelson Mandela ― along with many other comrades in the struggle for the liberation of South Africa from racist white domination under apartheid ― was sentenced to life in prison.

His statement to the court, made when he was facing the real threat of...

Violent clashes have once again erupted between local people, police and company security guards at the giant Porgera gold and silver mine in Papua New Guinea's highlands, operated and largely owned by the Canadian corporation Barrick Gold – the world's biggest gold mining company.

...

A semblance of calm has returned to Bangkok as the royalist anti-democratic Yellow Shirt protesters were allowed to symbolically occupy Government House. They took pictures and left.

A temporary truce has occurred around the king’s birthday (December 5), since the royalists did not want...

England is two countries. One is dominated by London, the other remains in its shadow.

When I first arrived from Australia, it seemed no one went north of Watford and those who had emigrated from the north worked hard to change their accents and obscure their origins, and learn the...

Analysis

The following is an edited version of a speech by Mary Merkenich at the December 15 rally against the Victorian government's proposed East-West Link tollway tunnel. Merkenich is on Manningham Council’s Residents Advocacy group for Rail to Doncaster, speaking here in personal capacity....

The Rail Revival Alliance is a group formed in response to the Victorian coalition government’s Rail Revival feasibility study into returning passenger trains between Geelong, Ballarat, and Bendigo via Meredith and Newstead. After being let down by the previous state Labor government, the group...

Socialist Alliance WA senate candidate Alex Bainbridge has added his voice to those rejecting a proposed $5 or $6 Medicare co-payment.

"We should be moving in the direction of reducing out of pocket costs for medical care not increasing them," said Bainbridge.

"The proposal to...

In the late 1960s, I was given an usual assignment by the London Daily Mirror's editor-in-chief, Hugh Cudlipp. I was to return to my homeland, Australia, and "discover what lies behind the sunny face".

The Mirror had been an indefatigable campaigner against apartheid in...

In his opinion piece “Will Radicals Set Back the Marriage Equality Movement?”, OutInPerth editor Graeme Watson writes that Equal Love is threatened by a “socialist takeover”.

The Socialist Alliance has played a role in organising marriage equality rallies since 2004. Rather than...

In a divestment valued at 256 million euros, the Norwegian government pension fund has blacklisted Australian company Incitec Pivot and the US/Canadian company Potash last year due to their phosphate imports from occupied Western Sahara.

Western Sahara was invaded by Morocco in 1975 when...

In response to the announcement by General Motors from its corporate headquarters in Detroit that it will discontinue vehicle and engine manufacturing and significantly reduce its engineering operations in Australia by the end of 2017, the Socialist Alliance calls for the immediate...

The death of Nelson Mandela on December 5 has focused attention once more on the global struggle against South Africa's aparthied regime. The heroic struggle of the Black population inside South Afica and the solidarity shown by ordinary people around the world was essential to winning Mandela's...

At the national refugee protest in Canberra on November 18, Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young concluded her speech by saying her first involvement in politics was through the refugee movement and that she used to come to rallies like this, until she realised that it was more important to change...

It’s wrong to think that we can campaign to stop climate change in the same way we might campaign to end a war. All the evidence says we are well past that stage now. That is, even if by some impossible, magical course of events all carbon pollution on Earth was stopped tomorrow, we’d still be...

Refugee rights advocates spent much of this year dreading the election of the Tony Abbott government and its predicted fallout for those seeking protection in Australia. What can they now expect in 2014?

The anticipated attacks have come hard and fast with “Operation Sovereign Borders”:...

Under the guise of “law and order” — to protect the community from “criminal bikie gangs” and “pedophiles” — Queensland Premier Campbell Newman has rushed through several new laws. These are the Vicious Lawless Association Disestablishment Act, Tattoo Parlours Act, Criminal Law Amendment Act and...

The unity discussions between the Socialist Alliance and Socialist Alternative have come to an end.
In a November 3 letter on behalf of the Socialist Alternative National Executive, Mick Armstrong wrote: “The overall political projects of both organisations are not sufficiently similar to...

"Qantas in crisis: 1000 jobs to go; Warning of $300 million loss; [federal transport minister Warren] Truss rules out aid," was the dramatic headline on the front page of the Sydney Morning Herald on December 5.

The deep problems ailing Australia's national airline pose a clear...

Ninety two percent of Indigenous languages are fading or extinct. Australia has suffered the largest and most rapid known loss of languages and past government policies have been largely to blame.

This is clearly outlined in the Our Land: Our Languages report which was released...

In early February 1978, on the strength of a claimed turnover of $1 billion, the Australian Financial Review reported that “at this sort of growth rate Nugan Hand will soon be bigger than BHP.”

Two years later, on January 27, 1980, one of the two founders of the Nugan Hand Bank...

Communities in the firing line of the East-West Link road in Melbourne have been agitating not merely against the tunnel, but for a shift of transport priorities to public transport. Labor politicians, including Richard Wynn in the City of Yarra, have supported the campaign, and promised an...

Samuel Johnson famously said, “Patriotism is the last refuge of the scoundrel,” and so it was that Attorney-General George Brandis insisted ASIO's raid against a former spy who exposed Australia's spying operation against East Timor in the interests of Woodside Petroleum was in “the national...

Since launching in March 2011, the campaign to stop coal seam gas (CSG) mining has grown into one of the most powerful and broadly supported community campaigns ever seen in the Illawarra.

Involving unprecedented numbers of people, the immense pressure on the government has so far put a...

This is the last issue of Green Left Weekly for the year. We are taking a break for a few weeks and the next issue will be out on January 22.

Early next year, GLW will be celebrating its 1000th issue. This is a huge milestone for an independent newspaper that does not...

More often than not I am not quick enough with a comeback and probably that is just as well. Just the other day, when I was out in the street distributing Green Left Weekly, a person roughly brushed past and muttered “traitor!”

She walked on and from about two metres away turned...

Culture

Over 200 people laughed until it hurt at the 'Welcome to the Abbottoir' comedy night held in Sydney on November 9. Featuring Michael Hing (as seen on SBS TV), Twiggy Palmcock (famous for crashing Tony Abbott's election night party), Hannah G (Newcastle-based comedian) and Carlo Sands (Green Left...

Phoenix
Jimblah
Elefant Traks
2013
www.elefanttraks.com

Most people fear fire, but Jimblah embraces it. The element flares up again and again in the rapper's searingly original work - from his first album, Face The Fire, to the...

Scandal! A Radical Burlesque
Performed by Lush Cabaret
Produced by Zelda Da

Political cabaret is alive and well in regional Queensland as audiences flocked to the latest production by Lush Cabaret ― Scandal! A Radical Burlesque ― which was...

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire
Starring Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth & Donald Sutherland
Directed by Francis Lawrence
In cinemas now

The Hunger Games brings revolution to the big screen in an action-packed...

Conflict In The Unions: The Communist Party of Australia, Politics & the Trade Union Movement, 1945-60
By Douglas Jordan
Resistance books, 2013
312 page, $30

Conflict In The Unions is an important new book examining the union...

Green Left Weekly is taking a break for the summer from December 11 to January 22. To fill the void, it asked staff, contributors and others to recommend their favourite books of the year.

Rachel Evans
Green Left Weekly writer, activist, organiser
How...

Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal

Visit www.links.org.au for more.

Wildcat strikes push China to write new anti-labour laws

More than 30 years since China opened up to foreign investment, wildcat strikes surge month after month, says Ellen David Friedman. This raw resistance has generally gotten...