Economy

A rally on Saturday May 28 in Moreland in the inner north of Melbourne has been attracting support from organisations keen to show their opposition to racism. About 55 groups, including unions, community and faith-based groups, community radio and political parties have signed on to the rally initiated by Socialist Alliance Councillor in Moreland Sue Bolton. The rally's focus is around four key points: Stop the forced closure of Aboriginal communities; Treaty now; Let the refugees in — Close Manus and Nauru; and No to Islamophobia.
The World Economic Forum (WEF) Africa summit in Kigali, Rwanda, on May 11 to 13 reinforced extractive industry and high-tech myths. The gathering unveiled the elite’s exuberant imagination and its lack of exposure to the continent’s harsh economic realities. As an antidote, grassroots protesters all over Africa are questioning the logic of export-led “growth” and renewed fiscal austerity. Instead they demand policies that meet their basic needs.
The May 9 election of controversial populist Rodrigo Duterte as president of the Philippines is a sign that capitalism is in crisis in the Philippines, chairperson of the left-wing Partido Lakas ng Masa (PLM) Sonny Melencio told a conference in Sydney on May 14. Melencio told the Socialism for the 21st Century conference: “People were fed up with the old 'trapo' [traditional politician] and elite forces that have long ruled the government since the overthrow of military dictator Ferdinand Marcos in 1986.
Right-wing protests hit the streets of Caracas and other cities across Venezuela — and in some cases turned violent, attacking police and other targets. The protests were part of a May 18 national day of action to demand that electoral authorities speed up the process of scheduling a recall referendum against left-wing President Nicolas Maduro. The national mobilisation came after right-wing leader Henrique Capriles gave a press conference on May 17 in which he invoked violence and called for the country's armed forces to “pick a side”.
The Coalition government’s arts funding cuts have deepened in a confused, inconsistent fashion that has only added to the sector’s turmoil. The Australia Council for the Arts has told 62 small-to-medium-sized arts companies and organisations that their applications for grants for the next four years have been rejected. Yet more than 40 new organisations have been given grants.
Brazil’s Federal Senate voted on May 12 to proceed with the impeachment process against Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff in a move that many see as an attempt by the right-wing opposition to carry out an “institutional coup”.
The Hidden Wealth Of Nations: The Scourge Of Tax Havens Gabriel Zucman University of Chicago Press 2015, 129 pages Criminal heists do not come any bigger than the global theft every year by the ultra-rich of about US$200 billion courtesy of the off-shore tax haven banking industry. The Panama Papers has grabbed headlines, but in The Hidden Wealth of Nations, Gabriel Zucman, economics professor at the London School of Economics and Political Science, also takes a close look at the famous tax-evading practices in Switzerland.
A multi-generational delegation from the Borroloola Aboriginal community in the Northern Territory's Gulf Country were front and centre at a protest outside global mining giant Glencore's Sydney headquarters on May 19. The protesters demanded that Glencore close its McArthur River mine and rehabilitate the site as well as the river and the surrounding land, on which they have traditionally relied for food.
A group of about 40 homeless people have set up camp in Melbourne's city square to put homelessness in the spotlight, as housing agencies and people sleeping rough grow increasingly frustrated with government inaction. The camp was set up on May 12, after stories in the Herald Sun about aggressive beggars picking fights with pedestrians cast rough sleepers as a public menace.
One good thing about being out of the country for a while is not having to listen to the lies of the Coalition and Labor. We know that on every occasion they lie to get into power. They take no responsibility for the carnage they cause in their quest to see who can be the biggest slaves to corporate Australia. The Socialist Alliance is running myself, Susan Price, Sharlene Leroy-Dyer and Howard Byrnes in the NSW Senate. Peter Boyle is running for Tanya Plibersek's seat of Sydney. As Brother Kev Carmody's song goes: “From little things big things grow”.
With polls showing growing support for the Greens and independents, the powers-that-be and their media hacks are becoming increasingly hysterical. For the 1% and their supporters, the prospect of the July 2 double dissolution election delivering a hung parliament is the worst of all possible worlds. Uncertainty threatens their profit margins and means political and economic chaos — a nightmare for the ruling class that has had it so good for so long.
Duncan Storrar, the man who dared to ask a question about tax thresholds on ABC TV's Q & A program on May 9, has thanked Australians for their support and criticised the Murdoch press after he was villified in News Corp newspapers the following week. A GoFundMe crowdfunding campaign in the following days raised more than $60,000 for Storrar, after he questioned the Coalition government's tax policy, introducing himself as someone with a "disability and a low education".
The committee campaigning against the proposal to establish a Western Sydney Airport at Badgerys Creek met on May 12 at Blacktown Council Chambers to discuss their plans to oppose the new airport. It decided to begin an extensive education campaign, involving leafleting western Sydney, taking the issue to local schools where pupils will experience disruption and letter box drops.
The federal Coalition government is planning to hold a referendum in 2017 on Constitutional Recognition of Australia’s original inhabitants. So far the campaign consists of establishing the Recognise campaign, in a bid to educate Australians about the importance of the recognition referendum. The government has already funded the Recognise campaign to the tune of $15 million, and promised another $15 million in this year’s budget. At the same time, it has cut funding to Aboriginal medical centres, Aboriginal legal services and other Indigenous programs and services.
Zebedee Parkes, an activist in Sydney’s Refugee Action Coalition and member of Socialist Alliance prepared this for Green Left Weekly. 1. Asylum seeker protests in Nauru detention centre for more than 60 days Protests in the Nauru detention centre started on March 20 and have now continued for more than 60 days in the face of hostility from guards and attempts to stop messages from getting out to the world.
As protests continue in Brazil over the Legislature’s vote to suspend President Dilma Rousseff and put her on trial, Noam Chomsky told : "We have the one leading politician who hasn’t stolen to enrich herself, who’s being impeached by a gang of thieves, who have done so. That does count as a kind of soft coup."

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