Protesters to Qantas: 'Don't profit at the expense of human lives'

Thirty refugee supporters protested outside the Melbourne headquarters of Jetstar on November 9, demanding that Qantas (Jetstar's parent company) cease participating in the deportation of asylum seekers.

Tamil Refugee Council member Aran Mylvaganam told the rally that the Australian government has deported hundreds of Tamil asylum seekers to Sri Lanka. Citing a United Nations report, which showed that torture is "endemic and routine" in Sri Lanka, he said Tamils who are sent back are in grave danger. He called on Qantas not to be complicit, saying: "Don't make a profit at the expense of human lives".

Protesters held placards highlighting two cases of people currently detained and facing deportation: a Tamil family - Priya, Nades and their two Australian-born children - who were detained after living for four years in the Queensland town of Biloela, and face deportation to Sri Lanka; and Huyen, a woman with a baby born in detention, who faces deportation to Vietnam.

Noongar people fight Native Title sale

Noongar elders, activists and supporters marched through Perth CBD on November 8 in opposition to the planned sale of Native Title by the South West Aboriginal Land and Sea Council (SWALSC) to the Labor state government.

Official preparations for the Native Title sale began in 2009 between SWALSC and the then-Colin Barnett Coalition state government. The sale has been consistently opposed by Noongar elders and activists, who argue the Noongar community has not been properly informed or consulted and that SWALSC and the state government have simply steamrolled the process towards a pre-determined outcome.

The sale would effectively extinguish Noongar Native Title over their sovereign lands. Thereafter governments, mining companies and pastoral interests would no longer have a legal obligation to consult with Noongar people nor negotiate access to sacred sites.

Peace activists mark centenary of Armistice Day

The 100th anniversary of Armistice Day, November 11, was commemorated in Sydney with a series of events highlighting the struggles of the peace movement over the past century.

Armistice Day marks the date of the ceasefire between the opposing imperialist powers that officially ended World War I.

Armistice Day 2018 was marked with a community remembrance ceremony at the entrance to the Addison Road Community Centre (ARCC), with the presentation of 20 new plaques celebrating the achievements of noted campaigners for peace over the years. Recipients included anti-war and anti-nuclear campaigner John Hallam, lawyer Bernard Collaery and "Witness K" for defending East Timor's right to sovereignty, prisoner rights activist Brett Collins, Iranian refugee journalist Behrouz Boochani and songwriter John Dengate.

How a workers' revolt ended World War I, and opened way to revolution

November 11 marks the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I, but not before tens of millions died in the four-year-long unprecedented industrial carnage. Amid all the media coverage, almost entirely missing is the actual story of how such bloodshed and misery was ended: by a mass popular rebellion in Germany that brought down the monarchy and established a republic.

The rebellion did not end in Germany on November 11, but continued for a further five years in revolutionary waves that nearly established a soviet republic. The failure of the workers' movement to win full power opened the way for a fascist-led counter-revolution -- and the rise of the Nazis. 

The war was already a major cause of rebellion from Ireland's 1916 Easter Rising to the October 1917 socialist revolution in Russia. but this radicalisation across Europe by the war's victims is often written out. 

Fighting the ‘fires’ of transphobia

While the transphobes in the federal Coalition government have not given up on pushing their anti-trans agenda, they face some stiff challenges, according Transgender Victoria spokesperson Sally Goldner.

Last year’s marriage equality postal survey caused a lot of pain for the LGBTI community. But Goldner told Green Left Weekly that the overwhelming Yes vote helped push the homophobes and transphobes back.

“The immediate crushing of [Prime Minister Scott] Morrison’s ‘gender whisperer’ ideas proves that while transphobes are — as usual — trying to light the fires of transphobia, the flames aren’t catching,” Goldner said.

Morrison took to Twitter in early September to assert that teachers were encouraging children to question their gender after a Daily Telegraph article claimed teachers were contributing to a “surge” in the number of children identifying as trans.

The push back came quickly, and from many quarters.

Spanish law on trial as Catalan leaders face jail

In recent weeks, senior judges in the loftiest halls of the Spanish legal system — the Supreme Court, the National High Court and the Constitutional Court — have been exposed as subverters of a fair legal process, lackeys of Spain’s almighty banking elite and bumbling incompetents, writes Dick Nichols from Barcelona.

The revelations of their unfitness to judge guarantees the Spanish legal establishment’s impending show trials of Catalan political leaders and law officers will be the most politically explosive since the transition from the Franco dictatorship in the late 1970s.

Next January, 18 former Catalan ministers, MPs and social movement leaders will stand trial in the Supreme Court for having allegedly organised Catalonia’s “unlawful” independence referendum October 1 last year. Nine have been in preventive detention for more than a year. The charges they face range from rebellion and embezzlement to disobeying court orders.

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