Comment and Analysis

Protesting journalists in Pakistan were beaten by police on November 21. I travelled to Pakistan earlier this year, and I wish to show my solidarity with the brave struggle for justice being waged against General Pervez Musharraf’s dictatorship.

The fourth report from the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, released on November 17, concludes that there is “unequivocal” evidence that human-induced global warming is already under way and, if left unchecked, will lead to rising sea levels, more fierce storms, and more floods and droughts.

Despite the fact that the November 24 federal election was supposed to be a “climate-change election”, the release on November 17 of the fourth and final report from the UN’s Intergovernental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) barely garnered manstream media attention.

This year there has been a series of drug-related scandals in Australia’s two major football codes, the Australian Football League (AFL) and the National Rugby League (NRL). The scandals have nothing to do with “performance enhancing” drug, or even anything to do with the game of football at all. These scandals have been beaten up by a media circus, which has itself fed a frenzy of moral hypocrisy, led by the (now-former) federal Coalition government, with the “me-too” Labor Party chiming in.

On November 18, PM John Howard announced that the federal government would consider extending the welfare quarantine currently in place for all Aboriginals on welfare in the NT to all welfare recipients convicted of drug offences. “It’s not right that people should have control of taxpayer money when they have been convicted of such offences”, he told ABC News. “This will mean that they will not be able to spend the money on those sorts of drugs, or indeed, for that matter, on alcohol and tobacco.”

Building support in Aboriginal Australia (1)

One Indigenous community to organise a meet-the-candidates forum during the election campaign was the Illawarra Aboriginal Community (NSW south coast). It drew more than 60 people, including prominent

Brian Senewiratne: “I have been a strong supporter of the left in my native Sri Lanka since I was 16 years old. I am now 76, and remain convinced, even more so, that it is the capitalist policies, first under the colonial British and later the Brown Sahibs of my ethnic group, the Sinhalese, that have taken that country to its condition of failing state.

The dismissal on November 12 of the charges against alleged terrorist Izhar Ul-Haque after NSW Supreme Court judge Michael Adams ruled on November 2 that ASIO officers had “committed the criminal offences of false imprisonment and kidnapping at common law”, have led to calls for increased oversight over ASIO.

The Climate Change Coalition is a new political party. Green Left Weekly’s Zane Alcorn spoke to CCC candidate Dr Karl Kruszelnicki, who is running for the Senate in New South Wales.

The Australian Youth Climate Coalition (AYCC) aims to bring together existing social justice and environment groups to work cooperatively on climate-change activism. The hope is that a coherent and united youth voice on climate change will emerge.

Climate change is the challenge of our generation and we need to do everything we can to stop it. What is our role as young people? How can we be most effective? After the Walk Against Warming rallies around the country, where young people came together in youth contingents, where to next for the youth climate movement?

“We have a plan to withdraw from Iraq, while Mr Howard doesn’t” — with these words on October 14, ALP leader Kevin Rudd described the war on Iraq as one of five “critical areas where the difference [between Labor and the Coalition] couldn’t be clearer”. He then went on to virtually ignore the Iraq war throughout the rest of the election campaign.

What Women Want (Australia) is a new political party formed in April that obtained federal electoral registration in August. It currently has almost 780 members, women and men, and is standing 14 Senate candidates across every state and the ACT, plus lower-house candidates in Wakefield and Hindmarsh in South Australia, Gippsland in Victoria and Stirling in WA.

A lot of workers would have been shocked to read the report in the November 14 Melbourne Age about the Australian Building and Construction Commission (ABCC) ordering construction companies to remove union posters and signs and anything with the Eureka flag on it.

Charges against Izhar Ul-Haque have been dropped after a judge found on November 12 that ASIO officers had deliberately committed the offences of false imprisonment and kidnapping. This comes after a series of abusive charges against several people, with a senior police officer saying that police were instructed to charge as many people as possible to test the limits of new terrorism legislation.

Voting Howard out on November 24 will not be enough to defeat Work Choices. However, on the choice of alternative governments, it is important that we preference Labor ahead of the Coalition, to elect a Labor government. And if we vote for the Socialist Alliance first and the Greens second, we send the most powerful message that any vote can, that we want all of Howard’s IR laws abolished, not just tinkered with. But even the election of a Labor government will not be the end of it. If we are to finally bury Work Choices once and for all, we will have to continue the struggle.

The headline that wasn't (1)

"Inflation fears as profit growth rises". You didn't miss this headline on an article in a recent Australian Financial Review — though you may have read the actual article it should have been the headline of. In the

November 11’s national Walk Against Warming was an important initiative for the climate change movement. It was smaller than the 100,000 people organisers had hoped for, but the fact that tens of thousands joined the biggest political demonstration of the election period confirms the opinion poll findings that climate change is a grave concern for large numbers of people.

Rob Stary: Vote for a party that 'has principle as its guiding light'

If people want to explore a true and genuine alternative party that represents the interests of labour, then Socialist Alliance is always going to be a good party that should be

During the federal election campaign, the corporate media has transmitted an implicit condemnation of trade unionism and an implicit endorsement of the neo-liberal ideas promoted by organisations like the H.R. Nicholls Society. Ignoring the Liberal Party’s well-established links to these extremist anti-union forces, the media has instead decided to emphasise Labor’s union connections. This selectivity is yet another example of the corporate propaganda filter through which news passes to reach the public.

The Climate Change Coalition is a new political party. Green Left Weekly’s Zane Alcorn spoke to CCC candidate Dr Karl Kruszelnicki, who is running for the Senate in New South Wales.

Here are a few words to get you thinking: Malcolm Turnbull. Marginal seat. Queer rights. Hot potato. Yes, these words may seem slightly obscure but are guaranteed to be nowhere near as confusing as political stances towards gay rights issues in the fast approaching elections.

With the ALP likely to form the next federal government, it’s important to scutinise its promises and policies. After 11 years of conservative neoliberal rule, Labor wants our vote even though it promises more of the same.

Migrant communities back the Socialist Alliance (1)

One notable feature of this election campaign has been the growth in support for the Socialist Alliance from migrant communities and their organisations and activists. The past three years of

Although it was silent on the issue during the state elections, the NSW Labor government led by Premier Morris Iemma is canvassing plans to privatise large sections of state utilities including the rail network, the electricity grid and Sydney’s ferries. The privatisation scheme is necessary, according to the government, to raise funds in order to reduce the budget deficit and pay for improvements in NSW hospitals and schools, and upgrades to the Sydney highways, as well as produce greater efficiency in public transport.

This year marks the 90th anniversary of the Russian Revolution. In the years following the revolution, its leaders initiated the formation of the Communist (Third) International (Comintern), an international grouping of communist parties. In Venezuela, the leadership of the country’s unfolding socialist revolution have issued a call for a new international of Latin American left parties. In this article, part of a series on the early years of the Comintern, John Riddell looks at the role of the International in developing revolutionary workers’ parties.

KERRY NETTLE has been a NSW Greens senator since 2001. She spoke to Green Left Weekly’s PIP HINMAN about what the Greens had achieved, and why it was critical that they hold the balance of power in the new Senate.

As the federal government’s Northern Territory intervention grinds on with an escalating price-tag and concomitant obfuscation from politicians and bureaucrats about its actual implementation, we are beginning to see media reports — especially from the rampantly pro-intervention Rupert Murdoch stable — of support for the measures from the affected communities. While most of these refer to “whitefella” bureaucrats or store managers, the most cherished, obviously, have been apparent endorsements from Indigenous people as each new phase is rolled out. Most recently, we’ve seen the same pattern as welfare quarantining has started to come into effect in some communities.

No housing crisis in la-la land

Writing in the Australian Financial Review, former Labor leader Mark Latham opines that the "housing crisis" is completely manufactured, a creation of people who are having trouble upgrading from two- to three-car

Labor leader Kevin Rudd and IR spokesperson Julia Gillard have fallen into the trap set for them by PM John Howard. By accepting the need to crack down on unionists in order to make Labor look respectable to big business, Rudd and Gillard have given credibility to the Coalition’s witch-hunt about “the union threat to the economy”.

“When Ken Fry came back from a funeral several years ago he complained that one of the speakers ’went on about the bloke as though he was a blessed saint … I hope they don’t go on about me like that when I go …’.”

The following appeal for solidarity with the Pakistani people’s struggle for democracy has been initiated by Melbourne civil liberties lawyer Rob Stary.

For two years 13 Muslim men from Melbourne, have been held in Barwon prison near Geelong and nine men from Sydney in Goulburn’s super-max prison without trial.

What about your preferences?

At its November 1 meeting the Socialist Alliance national executive decided its recommendation on preference flows for "above-the-line" voting for the Senate. It also urged all SA House of Representatives campaigns to

The idea that we build something much better than capitalism had been around for generations but, 90 years ago in Russia, for the first time an alliance of workers and peasants made a revolution that was to frame the course of history ever since

Les Malezer, chair of the UN Global Indigenous Caucus, which was responsible for drafting the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People, spoke to a packed meeting in the Redfern community centre on October 28. “Our wealth is that of our Indigenous values: land, culture and spirit”, he said. “Not in assimilation, not in power, not in dollars, not in telling our people what they should do, or running organisations that do the same. Our wealth is in our lands, territories and resources. And the forced theft of these means that there must be reparation.”

In a striking piece of political theatre, on November 5 federal workplace ogre Joe Hockey promised to resign from a re-elected Howard ministry if the government changed Work Choices (significantly). “They can run all the scare campaigns they want”, Hockey said, “but the bottom line is if we are making any substantial changes to our laws, then I will resign.”

In the lead up to the federal election, your guide to what’s really happening behind the spin of the official campaign.

The Victorian Socialist Alliance’s lead candidate for the Senate, Margarita Windisch, gave this speech to the monthly meeting of the Melbourne branch of the Maritime Union of Australia (MUA).

Almost 90 Western Australian construction workers are due to suffer fines of up to $22,000 each on November 5, after admitting at an October 24 court hearing to taking “unlawful” industrial action in February last year. The workers’ “crime” was to take part in a 400-person strong strike in February 2006 on the city tunnel section of the Perth-Mandurah rail line to demand the reinstatement of their elected health and safety union representative Peter Ballard, who had been sacked by building company Leighton-Kumagai for insisting on maintaining safe working conditions.

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