Democracy

“A huge win for people power” is how campaigners describe the victory against gas company Metgasco, which had its exploration licence at Bentley suspended by the New South Wales government on May 15. But it took several years of systematic campaigning to get to this decision. I spent time at the Bentley blockade over May 17 to 19 and spoke to protectors, organisers and participants who were still shocked at the NSW government’s decision.
Representatives from the two sides of Thailand’s political conflict sat around a table on the afternoon of May 22 for the second day of negotiations hosted by the Royal Thai Army. The meeting took place under the military's self-declared martial law. It was clear from the outset that no agreement between the pro- and anti-democracy forces would be reached. And so at about 3pm, the army chief General Prayuth Chan-Ocha, laid his cards on the table by bluntly presenting government representatives with one option ― resign.
The statement below was released by several Asian socialist groups on May 23 in opposition to the military coup in Thailand. To add the name of your group, email int.psm@gmail.com, cc international@socialist-alliance.org. You can see the updated list of signatories at here. * * * We, the undersigned organisations, strongly condemn the latest coup d’etat staged by the Thai military under the leadership of Prayuth Chan-ocha.
Kavita Krishnan has become a well-known international spokesperson for the movement against sexual violence in India that grew after a horrific, internationally-publicised, gang rape of a student in Delhi in 2012.
Radical Wollongong Written by John Rainford Directed by John Reynolds and Paul Benedek Produced by Green Left TV www.radicalwollongong.com Radical Wollongong, the first documentary produced by Green left TV, met with significant enthusiasm at its premier screening at the Gala Cinema in the Illawarra on May 18. With standing room only, in one of the region's few remaining theatres, we were shown a treat of a film on the history of Wollongong ― in particular, its most radical and interesting manifestations of class, politics and working life.
Bolivian indigenous group the National Council of Ayllus and Markas of Qullasuyu (CONAMAQ) made headlines this year with its threats to blockade the Dakar rally when it passed through Bolivia's highlands region. This was not the first time that the group caught the attention of the world’s media. Leaders of CONAMAQ have been regularly quoted in the media due to their outspoken criticism of the government of president Evo Morales ― Bolivia's first indigenous head of state. The articles frequently describe CONAMAQ as “the main indigenous organisation in Bolivia's highlands”.
Thousands of people marched against the federal budget and took part in March in May rallies on May 18. About 15,000 people rallied in Melbourne against the proposed budget cuts. Viv Malo from First Nations Liberation told the rally that while $50 million was devoted to police in remote Indigenous communities in the Northern Territory and Queensland, $500 million will be cut from Indigenous services. She said: "You are killing us. This is not a lucky country. You won't have your freedom without ours."
Despite an ongoing outcry by a large group of her supporters, Judge Ronald Zweibel sentenced Occupy Wall Street activist Cecily McMillan to 90 days in jail on May 19. McMillan had been found guilty of assaulting a police officer during the operation to close down an Occupy protest at Zuccotti Park in March 2012. McMillan says she elbowed police officer Grantley Bovell after he grabbed her breast, leaving it bruised.
Thai army general Prayut Chanocha declared martial law on May 20 without consulting the caretaker government or any other elected representatives. Soldiers took over all radio and TV stations and are positioned along major road intersections in Bangkok. Despite the fact that Prayut claimed that “this is not a coup”, his actions smell, taste and look like a coup. This is from a man who has blood on his hands.
A military coup is developing on May 20 in Thailand. The military has stepped in to declare martial law to “restore peace and order while denying it is a coup. The country’s Constitutional Court had already dismissed the elected government of prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra on May 7. It came after months of violent right-wing protests including sabotage of elections aimed to resolve the country’s political crisis.
No sooner had the final results of South Africa's May 7 national elections been announced than President Jacob Zuma gave a predictably self-congratulatory speech lauding the result as “the will of all the people”. The reality however is that the incumbent African National Congress’ (ANC) victory came from a distinct minority of “the people”. The real “winner”, as has been the case since the 2004 poll, was the stay-away “vote”.
This year's May Day rally in Malaysia's capital Kuala Lumpur was the biggest in the country since independence in 1957. Green Left Weekly's Peter Boyle spoke to S. Arutchelvan (Arul), the secretary general of the Socialist Party of Malaysia (PSM) and a spokesperson for the May 1 Committee.