farmers' rights

Australian farming is in crisis.

Family farmers are being taken over by corporate agribusinesses, their land is being polluted by mining companies and they are powerless to stop and the supermarket duopoly of Coles and Woolworths which keeps prices low for consumers by paying producers prices so low they barely cover costs.

At the same time there is increasing speculation in buying water rights. Farming cannot survive without clean water. The most reliable source of water is artesian, which the mining industry can draw from unregulated and pollute at will.

Candidate for the socialist Awami Workers Party (AWP) Baba Jan will contest a May 28 by-election for the assembly of the Pakistani-administered Himalayan territory of Gilgit-Baltistan from his jail cell.

Baba Jan has been described as a climate justice prisoner. In 2010, his home area in Hunza was devastated by climate change-fuelled floods and landslides. A protest movement developed against the misappropriation of relief funds. Police responded with brutality and protesters were killed and arrested.

The World Economic Forum (WEF) Africa summit in Kigali, Rwanda, on May 11 to 13 reinforced extractive industry and high-tech myths.

The gathering unveiled the elite’s exuberant imagination and its lack of exposure to the continent’s harsh economic realities. As an antidote, grassroots protesters all over Africa are questioning the logic of export-led “growth” and renewed fiscal austerity. Instead they demand policies that meet their basic needs.

While everyone's eyes were focused on the federal budget, the NSW government released a very controversial piece of draft legislation that will remove restrictions on land clearance and, despite their claims, threaten biodiversity.

Valeria Silva is a deputy in the Bolivian Plurinational Assembly for the governing Movement for Socialism (MAS) party of President Evo Morales, and a leader within the MAS youth wing.

We arrived at twilight and put up our tents using the headlights from the car. A young man at the camp helped us with threading those damned rods with elastic bits through the tape slots on the tent. We had just got it up when we heard a bell ring for the evening meal. The meal was delicious, catering for both vegetarians and meat eaters.

A massive wave of repression against the militant but peaceful peasant movement — the Anjuman Mozareen Punjab (AMP) — is underway. Most of its leadership have been arrested on false charges under anti-terrorist laws. Dozens are missing while more than 50 remain behind bars.

All have been declared “terrorists” by the Okara district police, working hand in hand with the Military Farms administration, which mainly serves military officers.

Hundreds marched down the main street of Katherine in the Northern Territory on April 20 to call for the protection of water, country and culture from fracking gasfields.

From Alice Springs to Arnhem Land, pastoralists, Traditional Owners, kids, community, musicians and whip crackers turned out to have their say.

Sarah Eleazar is a Pakistani journalist and member of the socialist Awami Workers Party (AWP). She co-edits Tajdeed, a left research journal in Urdu.

Eleazar will be a featured guest at the Socialist for the 21st Century conference in Sydney on May 13-15. She spoke with Green Left Radio on Melbourne community station 3CR in March about the fight for women’s liberation and socialism in Pakistan. The first part of an abridged transcript is below.

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Okara, April 17.

A gathering of thousands of peasants in the Okara District of Punjab, to mark International Peasants Day on April 17, went ahead despite a violent crackdown by the police, paramilitaries and the army. The gathering was organised by the Tenants Association of Punjab (AMP) and supported by the Awami Workers Party (AWP).

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