The French Parliament, on the eve of Bastille Day, voted 335 to one in favour of preventing Muslim women wearing a full face-covering veil in public. The July 13 Le Monde said the new law was strongly supported by the right. The gutless Socialist Party (PS), French Communist Party (PCF) and Green Party, while being “resolutely opposed” to the wearing of the niqab and the burka, abstained. The PS’s big objection was that the legislation is a “gift for fundamentalists”. Maybe. Mostly it’s a gift for every racist Islamophobe in Europe.
Peoplequake: Mass Migration, Ageing Nations & the Coming Population Crash By Fred Pearce Corgi Books, 2010, 352 pages Review by Martin Empson In the 200 years since the Reverend Thomas Malthus first penned his tract, An Essay on the Principle of Population, the question of the “carrying capacity” of the planet has repeatedly appeared. Most recently, mainstream debates around how to solve the question of climate change have boiled down to the simplistic argument that “there are too many people”.
The Council of Single Mothers and their Children (CSMC) has taken a stand, in solidarity with Indigenous single mothers in the Northern Territory, against the income management and Basics Card scheme. These policies were part of the NT intervention, rolled out across Aboriginal communities in 2007. Legislation passed in the Senate on June 21 amended the Social Security Act to allow income management to also be applied to non-Aboriginal people, across the NT and then eventually across Australia.
On April 9, the Australian Labor Party government, then led by Kevin Rudd, imposed a three-month suspension of the processing of refugees from Sri Lanka. On July 6, the Labor government of PM Julia Gillard announced, in the context of unveiling its pre-election tougher stance against refugees, that the suspension would not be extended.
Acting against our alleged “ambush marketing” and “incitement”, the South African Police Service, newly augmented with 40,000 additional cadre for the World Cup, detained several of us in Durban on July 3. We were exercising freedom of expression at our favorite local venue — the South Beach Fan Fest. Wearing hidden microphones to tape discussions with police leadership, what we learned was chilling.
On July 6, the Thai government approved the extension of an emergency decree in 19 provinces, which includes many in the heartland of the pro-democracy Red Shirts in the country’s north-east. The extension came a day after the Brussels-based International Crisis Group (ICG) recommended the government immediately lift the decree and hold fresh elections. But Prime Minister Abhisit Vejajiva, who came to power through the army’s intervention, crushed hopes for new elections weeks ago.
A Washington DC court convicted a repeat-offender in May for a crime that could have seen him spend years in prison. The offender was not a BP executive found guilty of criminal negligence over the Gulf of Mexico oil spill. Nor was it any other environmental vandal. It was climate change activist Ted Glick. His crime was to hang two banners off the Hart Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill in September last year.
On July 9, 60 people took to the streets to condemn the death of Aboriginal trans woman Veronnica Baxter. She was found dead in the Silverwater Metropolitan Reception and Remand Centre — a prison for men — six days after her arrest by Redfern police on minor drugs charges. The protesters were in Wollongong for Queer Collaborations, a yearly student activist conference supporting lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, intersex and gender diverse rights. The July 5-9 conference had 180 participants and the theme “Fighting Queers Need Fighting Unions”.
“A juggernaut out of control” is how lawyer Rob Stary described the Australian Federal Police and ASIO after a judge concluded a case against three Tamils in April 2010. A spokesperson for the AFP defended its prosecution, saying that the criminal inquiry had been “complex” and “challenging.” In Queensland, the police commissioner has been reported as saying that he opposed the publication of the Crime and Misconduct Commission report into the death of Mulrunji Doomadgee, who had his liver split in two after Sergeant Chris Hurly fell on him in a “complicated” way.
Thirty one Rohingya refugees in a detention centre in Darwin ended their 12-day hunger strike on June 25. They were protesting against the Australian government’s delay in processing their asylum claims, an average of nine months after their boats’ interception.
The Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America (ALBA) released a statement on June 28 reaffirming its commitment to the Honduran people’s struggle for a return to democracy one year after the coup that overthrew president Manuel Zelaya. ALBA is an anti-imperialist alliance founded in 2004 by Cuba and Venezuela. Its members include Bolivia, Ecuador, Nicaragua, Dominica, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, and Antigua and Barbuda. Under Zelaya, Honduras joined ALBA, which suspended Honduras’s membership after the coup. The regime has since withdrawn from ALBA.
The Punjab government has been given three months to decide the fate of 68,000 hectares of agricultural land. The land is owned by the government and has been cultivated by tenants for more than 100 years. The tenants have demanded land ownership rights. Despite government promises, the land has not been allotted to them. The three months’ notice was given at the end of a huge peasants rally on June 29 at Okara. The rally was organised by the Punjab Tenants Association (AMP) on the eve of the anniversary of 10 years of the tenants’ struggle for land ownership rights.
A huge police crackdown on protesters at the June 26-27 G20 Summit in Toronto last week ended in the arrests of hundreds of primarily peaceful activists. Canadian group Socialist Project issued this statement on June 30 in solidarity with the protesters targeted by police. It is reprinted from The Bullet. * * * The massive police presence in Toronto over this week has been officially justified on the basis of protecting the leaders of the G8 and G20 countries meeting in Huntsville and Toronto.
The June 26-27 Toronto summit of the exclusive Group of 20 club, to which the world’s richest countries invited the heads of state of the major emerging countries, raised great expectations — but it ended as empty as previous meetings As in London in 2008 and Pittsburgh in 2009, the Toronto G20 discussions focused on a way out of the economic crisis. But a capitalist way out — favouring creditors and great powers. For the past two years, global financial regulation has been an elusive sea serpent, unsurprisingly resulting in no concrete measures.
The Canterbury Bankstown Peace Group, with the Justice for Aafia Coalition, is calling for the release of Dr Aafia Siddiqui. The Pakistani doctor was found guilty on February 3 of shooting US soldiers in July 2008, while in Afghan police custody. Siddiqui was accused of being an Al Qaeda agent and has allegedly spent time in secret prisons in Pakistan and in the US prison in Guantanamo Bay. Despite this, she has not been charged with any terrorist offences but only with firearms offences allegedly committed during her capture.
BRISBANE — Former Gold Coast-based Dr Mohamed Haneef is suing former Howard government immigration minister Kevin Andrews for defamation, the July 2 Courier Mail said. Haneef is also making a separate claim against the federal government for unlawful arrest and misconduct in public office. Haneef was arrested in July 2007 after his mobile phone SIM card was linked to failed terror attacks in Britain. He was charged under anti-terror laws and arrested, but was released after 25 days after the case collapsed. Andrews then cancelled Haneef’s visa.