economy

“Despite the fact that Australia’s on the verge of becoming the world’s largest exporter of LNG [Liquified Natural Gas], there’ll be no new revenues from the primary tax on oil and gas for the next two decades and perhaps even longer,” Tax Justice Network (TJN) researcher Jason Ward said on October 10.

The TJN is a coalition of churches, welfare groups, unions and other civil society organisations.

This primary tax is the Petroleum Resources Rent Tax (PRRT), initiated by Bob Hawke’s Labor government in the 1980s.

Haitham Mohamedain is a prominent Egyptian labour lawyer and member of the Revolutionary Socialists who has been unjustly jailed repeatedly by the military regime led by President Abdul-Fattah el-Sisi.

In April, Mohamedain was detained again as part of a crackdown on a new wave of protests against the Sisi regime, including its transfer of two Red Sea islands to Saudi Arabia.

The influence of president-elect Donald Trump’s attack on “elites” is taking hold in the Australian parliament, with the Coalition attacking “latte-sipping” opponents of coal mining and joining enthusiastically in a debate questioning climate science in the Senate.

The Bersih 5.0 demonstration for clean elections and against corruption in Malaysia made a huge splash on November 19 despite threats of serious repression. The night before the demonstration, at least 10 prominent figures (including key organisers of the rally) were arrested.

Imperialism in the Twenty-First Century: Globalization, Super-Exploitation, and Capitalism’s Final Crisis
By John Smith
Monthly Review Press, 2016

On April 24, 2013 a clothing factory in Rana Plaza, Dhaka, Bangladesh collapsed, killing 1133 workers and injuring 2500 others.

This image of super-exploited, fatally-trapped workers, hemmed in by national borders and racist migration policies preventing them from moving to safer, better-paid work opens John Smith’s book — and illustrates his outrage.

As expected, once Brazil’s October regional elections were over, the Michel Temer government launched a large-scale offensive against workers, youth and the people in general.

At the heart of this offensive is Constitutional Amendment Proposal (PEC) 241, which essentially imposes a freeze on government expenditure for the next 20 years.

Moroccan protesters have taken to the streets in recent days, taking advantage of the global spotlight provided by the November 7-18 United Nations COP22 climate talks in Marrakech. Mouhcine Fikri could have been any one of them.

Fikri was the fishmonger whose awful death in the back of a garbage collection truck was caught on mobile phone footage that subsequently spread across social media to ignite large demonstrations in Morocco.

Communities in South Gippsland and the Latrobe Valley were delighted on November 9 to hear that Western Australian-based mining company Mantle Mining had walked away from their coalmining licences in the area.

The Victorian government granted Mantle Mining six exploration licences for brown coal in June. The licences cover almost 500 square kilometres across the Latrobe Valley and South Gippsland, including the surrounds of Mirboo North, Callignee, Jeeralang and Carrajung.

Brazil’s constitutional affairs committee in the Senate approved the PEC 55 constitutional reform to create a 20-year ceiling for federal spending on November 9.

The committee voted 19-7 and approved PEC 55, previously called PEC 241, which was proposed by coup-imposed President Michel Temer in a bid to cut Brazil's budget deficit.

Leonard Cohen, the Canadian singer-songwriter who died just two days after Donald Trump seized the White House, seemed to predict this moment.

In his dystopian song “The Future”, from the 1992 album of the same name, Cohen sang: “I've seen the future, brother: it is murder.”

“Things are gonna slide,” the famously dark singer suggested, “slide in all directions ... the blizzard of the world has crossed the threshold.”

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