Issue 996

Australia

The Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies at the University of Sydney hosted a talk by Basque activist Endika Zarrabeitia Salterain on February 3.

Zarrabeitia is a member of SORTU, a left Basque political party fighting for independence from Spain in a framework of moving towards...

Queensland Transport Minister Scott Emerson’s plans to issue students with a “tertiary transport concession card” by March 3 in order to cut down on young people “rorting” on cheap fares has been met with resistance by students.

Emerson made the proposal after claiming too many young...

A Marrickville councillor is fighting suspension following his exposure of a developer’s attempt to curry favour with the council on a controversial development in the inner west known as the Lewisham Towers.
 
Marrickville Greens councillor Max Phillips has lodged an appeal against...

"One year after Hugo Chavez's death: Eyewitness reports from Venezuela," was the title of a public forum organised by the Australia-Venezuela Solidarity Network (AVSN) at the Resistance Centre on February 4.

More than 40 people attended the forum, which heard a panel of speakers discuss...

The Refugee Action Coalition released this statement on February 5.

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The daily protests by hundreds of asylum seekers on Manus Island that began on January 25 have now spread to all four compounds inside the detention centre.

Since January 25, up to 500 asylum seekers...

The union representing ambulance employees in Victoria has abandoned talks with the government, saying that Ambulance Victoria and the government arrived at negotiations on February 3 with an offer of a pay rise half that of previous negotiations. 

Ambulance Employees Australia secretary...

On February 3, 50 communications sector workers and community members gathered outside the Geelong Mail Centre to protest the proposed privatisation and downsizing of Australia Post.

These changes would see further job losses in the already hard-hit Geelong region.
 
The...

More than 100 people from Mackay, Adelaide, Melbourne and Sydney joined local activists in Maules Creek, NSW last week to bring attention to a battle that goes to the heart of Australia’s confrontation with climate change.

Maules Creek is the site of a proposed new coalmine to be...

Electrical Trades Union Victorian Secretary Troy Gray wrote this statement on the ETU Facebook page on February 6.

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Australian Workers Union Secretary Paul Howes is slitting the throat of Australian workers for his own political ambitions.

Recent headline grabbing...

About 7000 people rallied at Cottesloe Beach in Perth on February 1 to protest against the shark culling policy of the Western Australian Liberal government.

This “catch and kill” policy requires the Western Australian Department of Fisheries to maintain baited drum lines 1.4 kilometres...

Queensland woman Sheila Oakley has been left blind in one eye after being tasered by police outside her home on February 6.

Oakley underwent surgery after the metal barb from the Taser hit her in her left eye, the Guardian reported on February 7.

A senior constable, who...

The Brisbane branch of Socialist Alliance released this statement on February 5.

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The Griffith by-election comes after a series of statements by the federal government that demonstrate just how anti-people and anti-environment the Liberal-National Coalition government really is...

World

Britain: Woman in coma told to find work

“A mentally ill woman forced on to the Coalition’s Work Programme is in a coma ― but is still being sent letters by benefits assessors.

"Bipolar patient Sheila Holt, 47, was sectioned in December after being taken off...

Representatives from 225 communes met over January 31 to February 1 in Barinas in western Venezuela to discuss strengthening the communal economy.

Communes are made up of elected representatives from the communal councils, grassroots bodies that bring together local neighbourhoods....

Venezuela’s Mission Sucre has reached 10 years of providing higher education to more 695,000 people, including 379,000 who have already graduated.

The government launched Mission Sucre in November 2003 to provide university education to those who previously didn’t have access to it. Many...

I wonder how useless you have to be as a banker before they don’t give you a bonus.

If you turned up for work drunk on Special Brew and Dubonnet, and wet yourself over the computers causing the FTSE to short circuit, bankrupting Brazil and forcing the defence ministry to pawn its tanks...

The movement for boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) against Israel has captured headlines around the world after actress Scarlett Johansson signed a promotion deal with Israeli company SodaStream.

Johansson signed the deal to become SodaStream's first “global brand ambassador” on...

War criminal and former Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon, who died on January 11, led an infamous Israeli army terror group in the 1950s. Called Unit 101 and nicknamed the “avengers”, it operated without uniforms.

The unit countered Palestinian resistance with terror attacks. It...

A New Zealand newspaper has sparked outrage after declaring “protest-free news” and printing a white power symbol to mark the country's official founding as a European colony.

The New Zealand Herald drew ire from readers over its outspoken refusal to cover otherwise high-profile...

The growing ecological crisis and impending environmental catastrophe is leading more on the left to recognise that we need both red and green in our politics ― we have to be ecosocialists. One without the other is not going to work.

That is the strong message from the French Left Party...

The irony of fracking is that it destroys the natural resource it needs most.

The tragedy for those living near fracking operations is that natural resource is the fresh ― and increasingly scarce ― water supply on which they, too, depend.

Fracking ― or hydraulic fracturing ― is...

“Bangladesh is a world leader in adaptation to natural disasters,” Bangladeshi community organiser Nasima Akter told a Toronto audience January 8. “But now climate change threatens to wash away all our gains.”

Akter had been invited by East End Against Line 9, a neighbourhood committee...

Tens of thousands of people marched to Spain's parliament in Madrid on February 1 to protest against a proposed new law that would severely curb access to abortion.

Changes to the law would permit abortions to be carried out only in cases of rape or serious risk to health.

The...

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro said he would take “the most radical measures to protect our people's economy” as a deadline for businesses to adhere to new price controls approaches.

“We will expropriate whatever needs to be expropriated,” Maduro said during a February 4 speech in...

The decision of the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA) to cut ties with the ruling African National Congress (ANC) has been badly analysed.

Comment has tended to focus on the possibility of a new political party in 2019, or whether suspended general secretary of the...

The West Papuan independence movement's hopes of of gaining a foothold in the international community were set back when foreign minsters visiting West Papua pledged non-interference with Indonesia.

Last June, the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) Leaders Summit met in Noumea, New...

With more than 99% of polling places reporting, the candidate for the left-wing Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front (FMLN), Salvador Sanchez Ceren, easily won the first round of El Salvador’s presidential elections on February 2.

Sanchez Ceren scored nearly 49% of the vote, more...

The national elections held on February 2 cannot solve the Thai political crisis because those lined up against the government and democratic elections are fundamentally opposed to democracy.

The election was marred by violence from right-wing Democrat Party thugs who were determined to...

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has called for an “eradication” of “colonialism” in Latin America at the annual summit of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC).

During the summit held in Cuba’s capital, Havana, over January 28 and 29, Maduro called for Puerto...

Analysis

If you want evidence that the corporate rich are turning “sustainable” into a dirty word, then consider the recent award won by Australian bank Westpac. At last month’s World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, the bank was named the most sustainable company in the world.

Westpac also...

As Green Left Weekly approaches its 1000th issue, more than 20 years after it first hit the streets, we will be looking back at some of the campaigns it has covered and its role as an alternative source of news.

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Green Left Weekly began its life in a time of war in...

The next time you see another arrogant Liberal or National Party politician repeat Joe Hockey’s mantra “the age of entitlement is over, and the age of personal responsibility has begun,” think of billionaire Gina Rinehart.

Rinehart, the richest person in Australia, inherited her fortune...

Victoria’s scorching January heatwave has focused a lot of attention on the problem of coping with the immediate fallout from climate change.

According to the Victorian Institute of Forensic Medicine, in the period January 13 to 23 there were 139 deaths in excess of the expected average...

When the Black Power movement emerged in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane in the late 60s, thousands of Aboriginal people took to the streets demanding national uniform land rights legislation and recognition of our right to self-determination.

The establishment of the Aboriginal Tent...

The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA) has approved plans to dump 3 million cubic metres of sand and mud in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park.
 
This waste will come from dredging the sea floor during construction of the Abbot Point coal terminal near Bowen and will...

In the third attack on the ABC by a government minister in the last month, Defence Minister David Johnston said on February 7 that reports that asylum seekers had their hands burned by navy personnel warrants an investigation into the national broadcaster.

"If ever there was an event...

Food giant Coca-Cola Amatil has threatened to close the SPC Ardmona fruit canning company in Victoria, unless the federal government and Victorian government give it $25 million each in assistance.

The company wants to spend $161 million on upgrading and restructuring its manufacturing...

Well it's my first day back at work and already the year has started with the predictable attack on workers that usually accompanies conservative governments in their first term of office.

They always claim that unions are corrupt and should have special laws to prevent them from being...

“The age of entitlement is over,” Treasurer Joe Hockey has bluntly told the Australian people. Hockey, entitled to a six-figure pension every year when he retires, suggests we must learn to get on with less.

For instance, for generations we've felt entitled to a Great Barrier Reef, which...

Culture

Kill the Power
Skindred
Released January 24, 2013
Touring Australia from Feb 22 to March 3
www.skindred.net

Welsh ragga-punk-electronica festival favourites Skindred have hit back at all oppressors on their latest album,...

Talking about music might sound strange for people who live in refugee camps and are deeply burdened with many other problems needing to be voiced.

But the huge role music played in the Saharawi people's struggle for independence leaves me with no choice e but to try to talk a little...

Beloved Land: Stories, Struggles & Secrets From Timor-Leste
Gordon Peake
Scribe, 2013
250 pages, $29.95 (pb)

East Timor is a tale of two statistics, says Gordon Peake in Beloved Land, his engaging blend of history, memoir and...

Corrupt Fucking System
Doom
Black Cloud Records
Released December 23, 2013
www.doomcrustpunk.com

Outspoken British crust-punk pioneers Doom have a stonking new album out and are heading to Australia. Guitarist and founding member Brian...

It's celebrity time again. The Golden Globes have been, and the Oscars are coming. This is a “vintage year” say Hollywood's hagiographers on cue. It isn't.

Most movies are made to a formula for the highest return, money-fuelled by marketing and something called celebrity. This is...