civil liberties

Today — ANZAC Day — is the climax of the orgy of nationalism and militarism we've been subjected to in recent times, ostensibly to remember the ordinary people who responded to the lies of the government by fighting and dying in an unjust war.

Of course progressive people have sympathy for the soldiers who died as well as the soldiers who didn't die but nevertheless witnessed or experienced terrible things.

Four years ago this month, a former bus driver with humble working-class origins became the president of Venezuela. 

Promising to continue the revolutionary legacy of deceased former president Hugo Chavez, Nicolas Maduro pledged to advance the living standards of Venezuela’s poor and oppressed. 

But since taking office in 2013, Maduro and the Bolivarian Revolution his government leads have faced non-stop attacks from Venezuela’s US-backed right-wing opposition, making advancements difficult.

US President Donald Trump’s threat to unleash a new nuclear war should not be dismissed as the ravings of an unhinged individual. He may be that, but he has also shown that he is prepared to start a new war and ratchet up old ones.

The US’s missile attack on a Syrian government air base on April 7 and its decision to drop an 11-ton GBU-43/B (or MOAB, Mother Of All Bombs), the world’s biggest non-nuclear bomb, on Afghanistan on April 13 is proof of that.

Thousands of opposition supporters chanted, “We know we won, we know they lost, we are not afraid”, in the streets of major cities after Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan claimed victory in the April 16 referendum to strengthen presidential power. 

Late in the evening police attacked opposition demonstrators outside the headquarters of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP).

A record number of Palestinian prisoners began a hunger strike to coincide with Palestinian Prisoners’ Day on April 16.

More than 1500 prisoners are taking part in the largest mass hunger strike in recent years. Marwan Barghouti, sentenced by Israel to five life sentences, is leading a renewed campaign to draw attention to the conditions Palestinian prisoners face.

It also aims to highlight the oppressive nature of Israel’s colonial occupation that makes arrests of Palestinian people all but inevitable.

In January last year, many thousands of academics around the world signed the statement “We will not be a party to this crime”, which called for peace in Turkey.

The statement was issued in solidarity with courageous academics in Turkey who had formed the Academics for Peace group and were working for an end to state terror in Turkish Kurdistan. The group pushed for the resumption of peace talks between the Turkish government and the Kurdish liberation movement, the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

Balochistan, in Pakistan’s south-west, is the site of an intense struggle for self-determination that has been met with violent repression from the Pakistani state. Baloch Students Organisation-Azad (BSO-A), which organises for Baloch self-determination, released the statement below calling for justice for Baloch activist Zahid Baloch, who was abducted in 2014.

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With the appointment of hardline Hindu monk Yogi Adityanath as chief minister of India’s most populous state, Uttar Pradesh (UP), the Indian Peoples’ Party (BJP) government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi has shown what an extremist force can do when freed of the restraints of coalition partners or parliamentary numbers.

A March 10 trial court judgement acquitted 117 workers from Maruti Suzuki’s automobile factory in Manesar, Gurgaon, India of charges of murder. Eighteen workers were convicted of minor offences.

However, 13 workers – all leaders of the Maruti union – were found guilty of murder. The Maruti workers plan to appeal the verdict in the High Court.

Why are workers being jailed for murder? The story at Maruti is a familiar one in India’s industrial scene.

Where unionisation is a crime

A new Amnesty International report Treasure I$land: How companies are profiting from Australia’s abuse of refugees on Nauru, has warned companies considering taking over Australia’s offshore detention centres when Broadspectrum’s contract expires in October that they would be participating in a deliberately abusive regime and would be complicit in “torture”.

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