anti-war

Joe Glenton, the British Army Lance Corporal who refused to return to fight in Afghanistan, was released from military prison on July 12.

Glenton was jailed in March after going absent without leave from the army in 2007. He had previously spent seven months in Afghanistan as part of the US-led military occupation. He campaigned against the occupation, speaking at an anti-war demonstration in October.

Glenton was greeted by about 30 supporters and dozens of reporters outside the Military Corrective Training Centre in Colchester, Counterfire.org said on July 13.

Anti-war campaigners have challenged British deputy prime minister Nick Clegg to act on his belief that the invasion of Iraq was illegal by making sure those responsible were tried for war crimes, including former PM Tony Blair.

Clegg, from the Liberal Democrats, shocked his pro-war Conservative Party coalition partners on July 21 when he declared the US-led invasion “illegal”. Clegg was standing in for Conservative Prime Minister David Cameron for prime minister’s questions in parliament.

The Order of Mates celebrated beside Sydney Harbour the other day. This is a venerable masonry in Australian political life that unites the Labor Party with the rich elite known as the big end of town.

They shake hands, not hug, though the Silver Bodgie now hugs. In his prime, the Silver Bodgie, aka Bob Hawke or Hawkie, wore suits that shone, wide-bottomed trousers and shirts with the buttons undone.

A bodgie was an Australian version of the 1950s English Teddy Boy and Hawke’s thick grey-black coiffure added inches to his abbreviated stature.

This election campaign is crazy.

It’s crazy that so much fear is being whipped up about the few thousand of the world's 43 million refugees and displaced people who manage to get on a leaky boat to Australia.

But neither mainstream party is willing to stop sending troops to the decade-long military occupation of Afghanistan. This war is largely responsible for 2.8 million Afghan refugees worldwide — the same war is opposed by most in Afghanistan and most citizens of the countries whose armies occupy it.

Green Left Weekly spoke to Peter Boyle, the national convener of the Socialist Alliance, about the political climate of the 2010 federal elections.

* * *

Many progressive people are feeling depressed about the federal election. How do you see it?

Labor and the Liberal-National Coalition are in a “race to the bottom”, as Socialist Alliance lead Queensland Senate candidate and Murri community leader Sam Watson aptly put it.

Defence minister Senator John Faulkner has joined the list of cabinet members who, since Julia Gillard became prime minister, have said they will resign from the front bench after the upcoming elections.

He dismissed suggestions that this was because he had doubts about the unpopular war in Afghanistan, which he has the task of promoting.

The TV anchorwoman was conducting a split screen interview with a journalist who had volunteered to be a witness at the execution of a man on death row in Utah for 25 years.

“He had a choice”, said the journalist, “lethal injection or firing squad”. “Wow!” said the anchorwoman.

Cue a blizzard of commercials for fast food, teeth whitener, stomach stapling, the new Cadillac. This was followed by the war in Afghanistan, presented by a correspondent sweating in a flak jacket.

Citizens rallied in two Afghan cities on July 10 and 11, chanting slogans against the occupying powers and the unpopular regime of President Hamid Karzai for failing to protect civilians.

On July 10, hundreds took to the streets of Mazar-i-Sharif to demand that all occupation forces leave.

The protest was organised after an artillery barrage from occupying NATO forces killed six civilians in Paktia province on July 8 and US troops killed two civilians in a pre-dawn raid in the city on July 7.

Protesters chanted slogans against occupation forces and Karzai.

Anti-war activists took to the streets on July 15 outside Labor MP Tanya Plibersek's office to collect support for a giant “troops out” petition that will be presented to the new pro-war PM Julia Gillard.

With a federal election looming, and at least 61% of Australians opposed to Australia having troops in Afghanistan, Stop the War Coalition is organising to increase the pressure for a withdrawal.

Citizens rallied in two Afghan cities on July 10 and 11, chanting slogans against occupying powers and the unpopular regime of President Hamid Karzai for failing to protect civilians.

On July 10, hundreds took to the streets of Mazar-i-Sharif to demand that all occupation forces leave.

The protest was organised after an artillery barrage from occupying NATO forces killed six civilians in Paktia province on July 8 and US troops killed two civilians in a pre-dawn raid in the city on July 7.

Protesters chanted slogans against occupation forces and Karzai.

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