democracy

Seventy people from across New South Wales took part in the Socialist Alliance state conference on October 7 to discuss politics and political campaigns in NSW and plan for the March 2011 state elections.

The conference decided to run a “red-green” election campaign based on the slogan “NSW not for sale, community need not corporate greed!”

The easy view to adopt after the drubbing received by the Democrats in the November 2 midterm elections would be that we’re back to normal, and Americans are just mental.

That is because the people leading the hatred of US President Barack Obama are characters such as Glenn Beck, spokesperson for the right-wing Tea Party. Beck hosts a TV show in which, during the last 18 months, he’s likened Obama to Hitler 349 times.

Every night, he must tell viewers that Hitler started out with a healthcare plan, then things spun out of control so he invaded France.

In response to an unprovoked and grotesque attack on the NSW Greens’ offices, discovered as staff arrived to work on November 8, the Socialist Alliance released the following statement.

* * *
The NSW Socialist Alliance condemns the cowardly attack, involving faeces, on the offices of the NSW Greens sometime over the night of November 7-8.

Such actions have no place within a democratic society and should be rejected by all supporters of democracy.

"The Queensland government yesterday completed the second sale in its asset privatisation program, offloading the Port of Brisbane for $2.3 billion to a group of local and offshore buyers”, the November 11 Courier-Mail said.

The port was sold to a consortium called Q Port Holdings, one of only two bidders in the final race to buy the asset. Q Port Holdings will pay $2.1 billion for a 99-year lease on the port and $200 million for future upgrades of the port’s motorway.

The National Popular Resistance Front of Honduras (FNRP) received the annual International Herbert Anaya Human Rights Prize in El Salvador, awarded by human rights organisations. The FNRP struggles against the US-backed Honduran dictatorship that came to power in a military coup last year.

Gloria Anaya, the oldest daughter of the slain human rights activist for whom the award is named, told Prensa Latina the award ceremony took place during the closing of the Seventh International Congress on Human Rights at the University of El Salvador.

Fremantle Council is grappling with the rights and conditions of the workers who it expects to implement the city’s projects. I’ve proposed a policy called “Employment Values for the City of Fremantle”. For supporters of workers’ rights, the policy is straightforward and modest.

It seeks to entrench the following principles:

1. Respecting the right of workers to union organisation and representation.
2. Limiting the use of fixed-term contracts and creating a guaranteed path to permanency.
3. Remunerating employees on the basis of equal pay and conditions for work of equal value.

It is not difficult to see that the events in Ecuador on September 30 amounted to an attempted right-wing coup d’etat.

Mass mobilisations in the streets of the capital, Quito, and other cities — together with action by sections of the armed forces loyal to the government — stopped the coup before the day was out.

But those few hours highlighted, again, the deep dangers facing those fighting for progressive change in Latin America and the Caribbean.

Peruvian President Alan Garcia, who last year ordered the brutal massacre of protesting Amazonian tribespeople, has once again resorted to violence — this time in person.

Visiting Edgardo Rebagliati Hospital in Lima, on October 9, Garcia encountered 27-year-old Ricardo Galvez, who shouted “corrupt” at the president. Eyewitnesses say Garcia flew into an uncontrollable rage and forcefully struck the volunteer worker in the face.

Members of Garcia’s entourage landed follow up blows, knocking a defenceless Galvez to the floor where he was subjected to further mistreatment.

The rescue of 33 miners in Chile on October 14 is an extraordinary drama filled with pathos and heroism. It is also a media windfall for the Chilean government, whose every beneficence is recorded by a forest of cameras.

One cannot fail to be impressed. However, like all great media events, it is a facade.

The accident that trapped the miners is not unusual in Chile and the inevitable consequence of a ruthless economic system that has barely changed since the dictatorship of General Augusto Pinochet.

In the aftermath of a failed coup attempt on September 30, left-wing Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa has vowed to deepen his “citizen’s revolution” in the small Andean country.

After the coup attempt by sections of the police and armed forces failed amid pro-government protests, Correa’s approval rate has surged to 75% in some polls.

In response, Correa, said his government had not done enough to implement its pro-people program and would radicalise its project to build a “socialism of the 21st century”.

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