Newcastle

I will happily take any opportunity to wave a red flag in public. My chance to do so this year was on May 1, the International Workers' Day.

In Newcastle, the Hunter Workers May Day community and union rally was held on May 1 instead of, as has been recent custom, on the closest Sunday. It was part of a renewed campaign by unions that saw more than 100,000 workers march through Melbourne on April 10 to demand a pay rise.

Is such action by unions just an attempt to stir up class conflict — the politics of envy — as conservative politicians would have us believe?

Hundreds of people gathered on northern Sydney, Central Coast and Hunter beaches to protest the resumption of seismic testing in early May.

The Socialist Alliance will be running three Hunter-based candidates in the March 23 NSW state elections.

The inability of the Liberal Party to find candidates for Hunter seats for the March New South Wales state election suggests that even its party faithful recognise that Gladys Berejiklian’s Coalition government is headed for electoral defeat and, probably, a total wipe-out in the Hunter.

A member of the audience at a recent public meeting in Merewether cheekily referred to Newcastle as being run by the Property Council, not the city council.

Zombies raised concerns over climate change on Halloween in Newcastle. The demonstrators sought to raise awareness about the coming “climate apocalypse.”

Dozens of climate activists sprinted across mountains of coal, swarmed a massive coal loader, locked on to critical parts of the machine and shut down the largest coal terminal in the world, in Newcastle on September 15.

On September 13, Micah Weekes, once a coal miner and now an anti-coal activist stopped a coal train heading into the world’s largest coal port in Newcastle.

A former scaffolder from the Central Coast, Weekes worked in the coal industry for nearly 10 years. He said he was taking action because of the coal industry’s toxic impact on people’s health.

“You don’t have to work in the industry to get sick from this. My kids are going to get sick. It’s already happening. People in my community have reoccurring respiratory illnesses, cancers and tumours.”

Newcastle youth Ceder locked on to the side of a coal train in Newcastle, halting all supply heading into the world's largest coal port on September 7. Ceder was later cut loose and taken into police custody. This was the third protest action this week organised by Frontline Action on Coal against Australia’s coal industry and its contribution to global climate change.

Newcastle Police arrested a young man and woman for filming a peaceful protest on September 3, along with Sarah Barron, a Newcastle local, who had blocked all coal trains heading across Sandgate bridge for three hours. All three were taken into custody by around a dozen police, with the two who filmed the event being charged with “aiding and abetting”.

Barron was participating in “Act Up Newcastle” as part of the #EndCoal campaign initiated by Climate Justice group Frontline Action on Coal (FLAC), in collaboration with Newcastle Climate Justice Uprising.

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