Nurses at Victoria's Thomas Embling psychiatric hospital walked off the job for two hours on June 14 because of safety concerns. The Health and Community Services Union said there had been 100 incidents at the hospital in the past three months, including one in which four people were injured. Thomas Embling has 116 beds and most patients are transferred from the prison system or ordered by the courts to undergo psychiatric assessment or care. It has housed some of Victoria's most dangerous psychiatric patients, including Masa Vukotic’s killer Sean Price.
I just returned to the United States from Rio de Janeiro, where I was researching a story on the Olympics in August for The Nation. People spoke to me about the displacement and police violence that are accompanying the games. Yet one of the hottest points of discussion emerged from outside the country: a call to move, or at least postpone, the Olympics to prevent the global expansion of the Zika virus, currently exploding in Rio.
Portuguese politics is in limbo. It has been since elections last October failed to give any party an outright majority. The Socialist Party (PS) was eventually able to form a minority government after forming an agreement with forces to its left: the Left Bloc, the Portuguese Communist Party and the Greens. The good news is that this limbo, the thin ice on which this agreement is skating, also presents an opportunity for the left to engage in clear and clean politics with room for actual negotiation.
The three remaining presidential candidates — Republican candidate Donald Trump, and Democratic contenders Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders — have all come out against the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement in varying degrees. The TPP, a “free trade agreement” involving 16 Pacific Rim nations (including Australia), is an undisguised corporate power grab. However, all candidates in the US presidential election stress a reactionary argument against it.
Michael Lebowitz: Latin America's struggle against neoliberalism hits limits, poses more radical changes
A community assembly as part of a communal council in Caracas. Photo by Rachael Boothroyd Rojas/Venezuela Analysis. Leading Marxist author Michael Lebowitz spent six years (2004-2010) in Venezuela working as a director of the program for Transformative Practice and Human Development at the Miranda International Centre (CIM) in Caracas. There, he had the chance to take part in the building of socialism for the 21st century.
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".
Bernie Sanders addresses a huge crowd in Sacramento, California. Photo via US Uncut. More than 15,000 supporters of U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders gathered in Sacramento’s Bonney Field stadium in California as part of an event organized by the senator’s campaign ahead of the major primary in the state next month.
Trade unionists and activists from the Save Medicare Campaign held a snap lunchtime rally in Sydney on May 5, which featured a "Race To Save Medicare". Three patients were in the race while a dark-suited Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull tried to disrupt the race and steal their Medicare cards. They highlighted the charges patients will be hit with for various medical tests from July this year under a Coalition government.
Activists from Stop CSG Sydney and the Australian Student Environment Network toured the AGL Camden CSG gasfields on April 17 to see for themselves how close gas wells are to homes. AGL has promised to end gas mining in Camden by 2023. Residents want them shut down now. The NSW government has said that gas wells cannot be drilled within two kilometres of homes, but it is happy for Landcom, the government's own developer, to sell house and land packages within a few hundred metres of major gasfields.
More than 300 doctors have signed an open letter demanding the state government develop a plan to shut down the Latrobe Valley's brown coal power plants because of the health damage they cause the local community. The letter, organised by Doctors for the Environment, argues a transition away from brown coal-fired power — responsible for 85% of Victoria's electricity generation — is necessary because its pollution is responsible for local disease, and even death, and poses a broader health threat through its contribution to climate change.