Fifty-seven Spanish cities and towns came to a stop on February 19. Up to 2 million people marched in protest against the new labour “reform” of Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy's Popular Party (PP) government.
The marches brought together veterans of the struggle for union and worker rights under the Franco dictatorship, activists from the 1970s “transition to democracy” and today’s indignados.
“Old” slogans (“If you don’t fight, you lose”) mixed with new (“They piss on us and say it’s raining”).
Will the Spanish economy benefit from Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy government’s anti-worker labour market reform?
How tens of millions of people answer that question — and act on their answer — will determine the course of Spanish politics this year and beyond.
The law was announced on February 10 and already in force as a royal decree before adoption by parliament.
Governments and commentators keen on promoting a war against Iran should be stridently opposed, not so much because of the threat to world peace, but because their reasons display a shocking lack of imagination.
The most common one is that Iran has "Weapons of Mass Destruction". How pathetic to pick the same excuse twice in a row. They should make it more interesting, by revealing evidence that Ahmadinejad has built a Terminator, or plans to fill the Strait of Hormuz with a giant Alka-Seltzer so the Persian Gulf fizzes over Kuwait.
A snap rally was held outside NSW parliament house on February 22 to protest a bill proposed by Premier Barry O’Farrell to lift the 26-year moratorium on uranium exploration in NSW. The Nature Conservation Council and Beyond Nuclear Initiative organised the rally.
The moratorium on nuclear exploration in NSW began as a bipartisan agreement between Liberal and Labor parties after an investigation found that the effects of mining would be too dangerous.
In the early hours of February 17, about 1000 police and National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS) officers conducted a violent raid of Khartoum University’s student dormitories, arresting more than 300 students.
Most were released later that day. Two students are missing, suspected kidnapped by the NISS. Some of the arrested students told a Sudan Human Rights Monitor press conference that police had used racist verbal abuse against students and many were beaten.
Immigration minister Chris Bowen has decided to close the Pontville refugee detention centre in Tasmania by March 1. The move is in keeping with the government’s original plan to operate the centre for only six months.
Last month, about 150 asylum seekers held in Pontville started a hunger strike to demand they be released into the community. At least three were hospitalised.
On February 16, Unions Tasmania secretary Kevin Harkins released a statement calling on Tasmanian’s to rally on February 25 to keep the detention centre open.
“The confrontation here isn’t between Chavez and this little man, it’s the bourgeoisie against the people, the empire against the country”, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez said on February 16.
Chavez was referring to his newly-nominated presidential opponent, Henrique Capriles Radonski. He was pointing to the class battle that lies behind the looming presidential elections scheduled for October 7.
How will Spain’s new labour "reform" — announced on February 10 by employment and social security minister Fátima Báñez and already in force as a royal decree before adoption by parliament—affect Spain’s workers and unemployed?
First, imagine the essence of 30 years of Australian anti-worker and anti-union law — from Hawke’s Accord through Keating’s enterprise bargaining and Howard’s Workplace Relations Act to Work Choices and the Fair Work Act — but all rolled into one bill.
After Victorian nurses walked off the job from six Victorian hospitals, Ted Baillieu's state government was still refusing to undertake effective negotiations with the Australian Nursing Federation (ANF).
The dispute has dragged on for eight months and has been in its current conciliation process under Fair Work Australia (FWA) for 105 days.
On February 24, the FWA ordered the ANF to stop all industrial action as sought by the government. But the ANF has said it will go ahead with its actions as decided on by members at a mass meeting on February 25.