farmers' rights

Are QLD and NSW the new gasland?

The gas industry is rapidly increasing its scope in the Australian energy market as, state and federal government approve drilling sites across the nation with little community consultation and relaxed environmental safeguards.

Natural gas will account for 33% of Australia's primary energy consumption by 2030, compared with 8% from renewables, according to the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics (ABARE).

Greens launch CSG moratorium bill in NSW

On Friday June 3, NSW Greens mining spokesperson Jeremy Buckingham launched a bill in state parliament that would place a 12-month moratorium on the coal seam gas (CSG) industry in NSW and prohibit CSG mining in the Sydney metropolitan area.

Speaking at the bill launch, Buckingham pointed out the risks associated with CSG extraction, including wastewater, fugitive emissions, land impact and depletion of aquifers.

Activists organise against coal seam gas

About 150 representatives engaged in the campaign against coal and coal seam gas mining attended the inaugural annual general meeting of the Lock the Gate Alliance, held in Murwillumbah, NSW, over June 11 and 12.

Lock the Gate (LTG) is a national body that represents more than 90 community groups and hundreds of individuals concerned about the impacts of coal and coal seam gas mining.

The meeting elected four office bearers and five committee members, including Sarah Moles as secretary and Sean Gough as treasurer.

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Supreme court ruling brings fears for organic farmers

Organic farmer Steve Marsh has lost his case in the Western Australian Supreme Court after seeking compensation for his crops being affected by genetically modified (GM) seeds.

Organic farmers fear the case will have dire consequences for non-GM farmers everywhere.

In a case which was the first of its kind, Marsh brought legal action against his neighbour Michael Baxter, who took advantage of changes in state legislation and began growing GM canola on his adjacent farm in 2010. Some seeds blew over the road onto Marsh’s property.

Guatemala: The coup that radicalised Che Guevara

Sixty years ago, in June 1954, a CIA-orchestrated coup ousted the reformist Guatemalan government of Jacobo Arbenz Guzman. The coup installed a brutal right-wing regime and decades of bloody repression.

This event, so notorious in the annals of US imperialism, also Guevara. For it was in the Central American nation, where Guevara's Latin American road trip culminated, that the strands of his early thought Marxism, anti-imperialism, indigenismo were fused in a dramatic, galvanising moment.

Sudan: Poverty, social crisis worsen amid economic collapse

Sudan’s people are bearing the brunt of the country’s deepening economic crisis.

According to Bella Bird, World Bank director for Somalia, Sudan and South Sudan, half the population is now living below the poverty line. Last August, Sudanese economist Hassan Satti estimated the real figure would likely exceed 95%.

Marches call for food transparency

About 150 people took to the streets of Brisbane on May 24 to protest against biotechnology corporation Monsanto, one of the foremost proponents of genetically modified (GM) technologies.

The event was part of an international day of action that called for all products with genetically modified organisms to be labelled, Monsanto products to be banned in Australia, and a more transparent handling of GM products by the Australian government.

Speakers described the history of Monsanto and neoliberal laws and free trade agreements that help the corporation.

Who represents Bolivia's highland indigenous peoples?

Bolivian indigenous group the National Council of Ayllus and Markas of Qullasuyu (CONAMAQ) made headlines this year with its threats to blockade the Dakar rally when it passed through Bolivia's highlands region.

This was not the first time that the group caught the attention of the world’s media. Leaders of CONAMAQ have been regularly quoted in the media due to their outspoken criticism of the government of president Evo Morales ― Bolivia's first indigenous head of state.

The articles frequently describe CONAMAQ as “the main indigenous organisation in Bolivia's highlands”.

Bentley blockade: a win for people power

“A huge win for people power” is how campaigners describe the victory against gas company Metgasco, which had its exploration licence at Bentley suspended by the New South Wales government on May 15.

But it took several years of systematic campaigning to get to this decision.

I spent time at the Bentley blockade over May 17 to 19 and spoke to protectors, organisers and participants who were still shocked at the NSW government’s decision.

Monsanto threatens people and planet

An international March Against Monsanto is scheduled for May 24. Hundreds of events around the world have already been scheduled to protest against the world's biggest agricultural biotechnology company.

Like all capitalist monopolies, Monsanto got to where it is today by being ruthless. There are other big biotech companies with shocking records of disregarding people and planet in pursuit of profit — such as DuPont, Bayer and Dow Chemical — but Monsanto's record is so notorious, it warrants its own special international protest day.

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