The people of the west African nation of Guinea suffer high rates of poverty and malnutrition. In some of Guinea’s regions, more than 40% of people are food insecure. Yet overseas investors have bought 100,000 hectares of land in Guinea to grow soy and corn for export and biofuel production. A further 1.5 million hectares of Guinea’s farmland will soon be up for sale.
This show has a special focus on Islamophobia, including interviews with Mohamad Tabbaa who researches anti-Muslim discrimination, and Muslim community activist Rebecca Kaye. Also with Jess Moore from Stop CSG Illawarra, plus activist news on WikiLeaks, the Aboriginal Passport Ceremony, Ilan Pappe, and protesting Lynas. Finally Carlo Sands discusses the civilised world and 'savages', Iran and female ninja assassins.
Special guests Bashana Abeywardane from Journalists for Democracy in Sri Lanka, Karl Hand from Community Action Against Homophobia, plus Carlo Sands takes on Gina Rinehart and Clive Palmer! Activist news features 5 anti-coal protests, Victoria's massive teachers strike, protests against Julia Gillard and Julia Bishop, Dr Brian Senewiratne on the Tamil struggle in Sri Lanka and more. Produced by Green Left TV - subscribe on YouTube and support media of the 99%.
The article below first appeared at The Conversation on September 11. Claire Parfitt is a research student at the University of Sydney. She is affiliated with the Australian Food Sovereignty Alliance and is a coordinator of the People's Food Plan project. ***
Everywhere you look these days, things are turning green. In Chiapas, Mexico, indigenous farmers are being paid to protect the last vast stretch of rainforest in Mesoamerica. In the Brazilian Amazon, peasant families are given a monthly “green basket” of basic food staples to allow them to get by without cutting down trees. In Kenya, small farmers who plant climate-hardy trees and protect green zones are promised payment for their part in the fight to reduce global warming.
In a speech marking the one month anniversary of the parliamentary coup that overthrow left-leaning Paraguayan President Fernando Lugo, the ousted leader said on July 22 that a motivating interest for the coup-plotters was a sought-after deal between Paraguay and Montreal-based mining company, Rio Tinto Alcan (RTA). “Those who pushed for the coup are those who want to solidify the negotiations with the multinational Rio Tinto Alcan, betraying the energetic sovereignty and interests of our country,” Lugo told supporters.
Thousands of peasant workers took to the streets of Caracas on July 26 to hand over a list of programmatic suggestions to the government and show their support for Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez. More than 2000 peasant activists from across 18 of Venezuela’s states took part in the march, as well as other members of the national popular movement who attended in solidarity. See also: Venezuela: Food sovereignty starts to take root
Arriving in Caracas, Venezuela’s capital, the first thing you notice is the extensive swathes of mountainside covered with poorly built, crowded, ad-hoc homes ― known locally as the barrios. Caracas’s shanty-town barrios were built in response to the influx of migrants from the countryside during the 20th century. As Venezuela struck oil in the 1920s, it became easier and cheaper to use oil money to import foodstuffs. Many small farmers lost their livelihoods and poured into the capital in search of work.
On July 17 the Minister for Agriculture Joe Ludwig released the green paper for Australia’s first-ever National Food Plan. According to the minister, this plan: “[W]ill ensure Australia has a sustainable, globally competitive, resilient food supply that supports access to nutritious and affordable food.”
About 200 people met on June 28 on the steps of Parliament House in Victoria to oppose new coal projects in the state. Speakers spoke out against expanding the brown coal export industry, which would triple Victoria's contribution to greenhouse gas pollution. The star of the event was “billionaire” Twiggy Palmcock, representing “the forgotten voices of mining magnates”. He said all coal is good coal, and offered to dig coal mines in a bowl shape for the “Greenie farmers from Bacchus Marsh”.
For 9 months, Baba Jan Hunzai and 4 fellow activists have languished in Pakistani jails, charged with terrorism offences, and suffered torture. Their crime? Organising the oppressed local community to struggle for compensation, after their villages were submerged by a climate-change induced landslide. Green Left TV's Peter Boyle interviewed Labour Party of Pakistan spokesperson Farooq Tariq.
A large public forum was held in Victoria’s Goulburn Valley on May 16 to officially launch a community cooperative that local people hope will become an example for the rest of the country. The launch came almost a year since Heinz announced it would shut down its tomato processing plant in the nearby town of Girgarre. The closure left 146 workers without a job and affected about 600 people whose livelihoods depended on the factory.
The Wilderness Society released the statement below on April 27. * * * Koalas must be included on the national threatened species list as part of Environment Minister Tony Burke’s 30 April announcement, especially in NSW’s Gunnedah region and the Pilliga Forest where they face the additional threat of expanding coal mining and coal seam gas operations, according to the Wilderness Society.
Far from taking the closure of the Heinz tomato factory sitting down, workers and community members from the 150-strong rural Victorian town of Girgarre are getting organised. After the announcement by Heinz last year that it would shut down its operations in Girgarre, 200 kilometres north of Melbourne, more than 300 people met there in August and formed the Goulburn Valley Food Cooperative (GVFC). See also How 'productivity' is destroying rural Australia
Behind the hype of Australia’s mining boom and “economic stability” lies the very real crisis affecting rural Australia. The impacts of droughts and floods (aggravated by capitalist-induced climate change) are part of the explanation. The real culprits behind the devastation being wreaked on rural communities are big business and the free market fundamentalists running the country in their interests. And unless a fundamental shift in priorities takes place, the situation is set to worsen. See also:
LIVE BLOG Sunday March 25 Green Left Weekly is reporting live from the Coal Seam Gas Community Conference at Wollongong Town Hall on March 25. ----