Peter Boyle

 

Solidarity groups, sympathetic NGOs and Kurdish Associations are planning a global campaign across Europe, Australia, Canada and the US to materially support the people displaced from Afrin following its invasion and occupation by Turkish military and allied Islamist militia groups.

We are often asked: "How do you do it?". People who have seen Green Left Weekly keep going on the proverbial smell of an oily rag often express surprise (and respect) for the fact that we have doggedly kept going with this project since 1991.

Well, it is hard work. Putting the stories together, collecting the photos and videos that are increasingly important in our online presence and distributing it week after week is no easy feat. 

The Socialist Party of Malaysia (PSM), respected as a small principled party that packs a big punch, is running its largest election campaign yet. Peter Boyle speaks to its campaign coordinator.

It is 2.34am in Malaysia and S. Arutchelvan (better known as “Arul”) is typing in answers to my questions on the PSM campaign in the country’s general election on May 9.

The idea of a Universal Basic Income (UBI) is for the government to give everyone — rich and poor — a regular income that would be enough to cover their basic needs. It would be an unconditional payment, meaning you would not have to work or satisfy job-search tests to receive it.

There were multiple demonstrations on the weekend of March 17–18 while a host of dictatorial leaders from the region were welcomed by Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull to a Special Summit of the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN).

Following the resignation of former Goldman Sachs executive Gary Cohn as the Trump administration's Chief Economic Advisor, US President Donald Trump tweeted: “Will be making a decision soon on the appointment of new Chief Economic Advisor. Many people wanting the job — will choose wisely!”

I am sure he's right on at least the first part of that tweet. There will undoubtedly be a conga line of other corporate bloodsuckers eager to take the job.

On February 17, several thousand people from more than 30 community groups and unions marched through Sydney to demand the NSW state government fix the public transport system.

Andew Chuter, one of the organisers, told Green Left Weekly it was a “big achievement” to unite so many groups across NSW around this important issue.

“These sorts of campaigns tend to be quite localised, so getting people to see them as connected is quite significant. Some of those who took an active role in this rally had never been to a protest before.”

As I marched through Sydney streets on February 17, along with activists from 30 community groups and trade unions opposed to the blatant privatisation scams that pass for NSW transport infrastructure, I am sure I was not the only one in the crowd reflecting on the ridiculous contradiction between what is possible for our society and what is forced on us from above.

This was yet another clear case of government working in the narrow and selfish interests of a small corporate elite. Similar examples of community resistance to corporate greed can be found all around the country.

Greens Senator Lee Rhiannon became the first federal parliamentarian in Australia to publicly condemn Turkey's three-week war on Afrin, one of three democratic autonomous cantons in northern Syria, when she addressed a rally in Sydney on February 10.

Two days later, the Labor MP for Wills Peter Khalil called for Turkey to halt its attack in a short speech in Parliament.

One of the most staunch resident action groups fighting the corporate profit-driven, road-building frenzy of the NSW Coalition government is Community Action for Windsor Bridge (CAWB).

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