In 1998, the UN hosted a special session on illegal drugs which set out to implement law enforcement control strategies in the hope of creating a “drug free” world. Today, it is generally recognised that this policy has been an abject failure. The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime stated in a 2011 report that the “overall number of drug users appears to have increased over the last decade from 180 to some 210 million people”.
About 200 people have arrived on boats to claim refugee protection in Australia since the Australian and Malaysian governments signed a deal to “swap” refugees on July 25. The countries agreed to exchange up to 800 refugees in Australia for 4000 refugees registered with the United Nations in Malaysia. The immigration department has refused to look at the new arrivals’ claims for asylum, but is holding them in an isolated compound of the Christmas Island detention centre. A boat that arrived on August 11 carried more than 100 refugees, many of them children.
More than 100 community supporters, environmentalists and trade unionists assembled on the steps of Trades Hall in Melbourne to launch the “100,000 Australians” campaign. A project of the Earthworker co-operative, the campaign seeks to build a cooperatively-owned factory making solar hot water systems in Morwell, Victoria. The project is hoping for 100,000 Australians to join the Earthworker Cooperative at $20 a member to raise the $2 million needed for the “Eureka’s Future” factory machinery, fit-out and finish.
We all know there’s a big problem with the environment and it needs drastic action to fix it. So does a Marxist analysis of the problem bring anything new to the table? Marxism redefines the terms of the mainstream environmental debate. Instead of seeing the problem as one of humans versus nature, the problem is framed as one where humans and nature are intrinsically linked and ecological crises arise in which the relationship between the two is thrown into imbalance.
Distinguished US activist, writer and former political prisoner Angela Davis addressed a public forum in Sydney on August 11 organised by the prisoner rights group Sisters Inside. Davis was a keynote speaker at Sisters Inside's sixth International Conference on the criminalisation of women and imprisonment, held in Sydney over August 10 to 12. Her speech at the August 11 public forum is below. * * *
Boycott Israel 19, August 11 - Israeli activists from the pro boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) campaign in Israel issued the statement below on August 11 in support of Australian pro-Palestine activists in Melbourne who have faced arrests and intimidation from the Victorian government. * * * Following anti-Democratic Arrests and Intimidation Attempts: Israeli Citizens in Solidarity with Australian BDS Activists!
The Socialist Alliance released the statement below on August 10.
An Aboriginal youth, Rex Bellotti Jnr, aged 15 was run over by a police four-wheel-drive Holden Rodeo and more than two years have passed without any compensation, without any closure. When it comes to Aboriginal victims this is nothing new. Nyungar-Yamatji Maaman Rex Bellotti Sr and Nyungar Yorga Liz Bellotti, 42 and 40 years old, have spent their lives working very hard to ensure the likelihood of the personal advancement of their children, in the belief that Aboriginal advancement should be achieved by Aboriginal peoples.
Green Left Weekly coeditor Stuart Munckton spoke on a panel with independent journalists Wendy Bacon and Antony Loewenstein at an August 2 forum in Sydney. Below is an abridged version of Munckton’s talk, which discussed building alternatives to the corporate media. * * * In some ways the scandal around Rupert Murdoch’s media empire shows the potential crisis of the corporate media in a negative sense.
Ten countries and nine jurisdictions in the world have recognised marriage equality since 2001. Many other parts of the world recognise civil unions, registration schemes or same-sex marriages performed outside of the respective country. Australians are ready to follow suit. Seventy-five percent of Australians expect same-sex marriage to be legalised, said a 2011 Galaxy Poll.
Friends of Palestine (WA) member Alex Bainbridge wrote the letter of complaint that appears below to the producers of The Bolt Report and Network Ten after a segment on the show tried to link the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israeli apartheid with the racist measures taken against Jewish businesses by the Hitler regime in the 1930s. Bainbridge said the claim was a dishonest attempt by opponents of Palestinian human rights to discredit the BDS movement as public interest and support for BDS continues to increase. * * *
Federal riot police have the go-ahead to use Tasers, tear gas, batons, capsicum spray and handcuffs to force refugees onto a flight to Malaysia from Christmas Island. Immigration officials say they will film the ordeal to put online as a “potent message” to other refugees. The first asylum seekers to undergo this ordeal arrived in Australian waters less than a week after the “Malaysia solution” came into effect. A boat carrying 55 Afghan, Iranian and Iraqi refugees was intercepted near Scott Reef on July 31. More than one third of the asylum seekers on the boat are children.