International News

Declaration of Grande Riviere on Chagos

The Conference on Diego Garcia & Chagos held at Grande Riviere, Port Louis, Mauritius, bringing together 150 participants from 30 October to 2 November 2010, reached consensus that we will keep the following struggles firmly bound together, never bartering one against the other:

International conference demands return of Diego Garcia and Chagos

An International Conference on Diego Garcia and Chagos, organised by the socialist group Lalit, was held here October 30-November 2. The conference on the archipelago, illegally given by British imperialism to US imperialism as a nuclear weapons base, was a cogent and lively event attended by some 100 people on each of the four days, half of them Lalit members from different branches around the country. In all more than 200 people were present at Grande Riviere Nord Ouest and the Municipality of Port Louis, including delegations from unions, human rights groups, women’s organisations, academics, artists, Chagossian-born people, one of whom gave testimony, young Mauritian-born Chagossians and Mauritians loyal over the decades to the Diego Garcia struggle.

Israel introduces sweeping apartheid legislation

Israeli lawmakers are seeking to further extend state apartheid during the 2010-11 winter session of the Knesset (parliament). Key in the new legislation is a series of laws on a loyalty pledge that includes acceptance of Israel as a Jewish state.

There are differing views among Israeli leaders as to how far the loyalty pledge should go. Twenty-two out of 30 cabinet ministers approved legislation applying the pledge to new migrants and those applying for citizenship. As a requirement for immigration, the loyalty pledge was originally proposed by foreign minister Avigdor Liberman from the ultra-right Yisrael Beoteinu (Israel is our Home) Party. It was originally to apply only to non-Jews, but Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu in the name of “equality” has pushed for it to apply to Jews as well.

Developing workers control in Venezuela

John Cleary was an active member of the Builders Labourers Federation in  the 1970s before becoming an electrician, delegate and member of the Electrical Trades Union. He was an ETU organiser for 12 years until 2001. Since then he has been active in solidarity with Venezuela and Colombia, including organising and participating in seven solidarity brigades to Venezuela. He presented a talk on workers’ control at the Latin America Solidarity Conference held October 8-9 in Melbourne. Direct Action’s Sam King spoke with him at the conference.

Boycott apartheid Israel: national campaign launched

More than 150 Palestine solidarity activists and supporters of human rights from around Australia gathered in Melbourne October 29-31 for Australia’s first national boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) conference in support of Palestine.

The conference represented a watershed moment in Australian Palestine solidarity work. It was organised in support of the 2005 Palestinian civil society call for the boycott of Israel. The 2005 call, issued by 171 Palestinian civil society organisations, appealed for a comprehensive boycott, divestment and sanctions campaign against apartheid Israel as a focal point of solidarity with the Palestinian people.

The Silwan riots and 'peace negotiations'

On September 23, Samir Shirhan, a 34-year-old Palestinian father of five, was shot dead by an Israeli private security guard paid by the Israeli government to protect illegal settlers attempting to colonise the Silwan neighbourhood in occupied East Jerusalem.

Letter from Jakarta: Amin's death

In hindsight, there was a great deal of beauty in the scene. There was a kaleidoscope of colours: dark blues and greens, the red and white of the national soccer team, as well as fading browns and greys and dirty whites.  T-shirts and dresses, trousers and singlets, chequered green and brown sarongs, black pecis on black hair, all coloured the scene. There was glistening silver from the sun’s steaming rays bouncing off the zinc and tin rooftops and the myriad blacks, browns and greys among the timbers, tiles, packing cases, corrugated iron, tarpaulins and plastics that were the constructions materials for these people’s homes. And there was the sky, grey and brooding and dirty, with clouds of faint blue among the puffy curtains that forebode rain. There were the greens of scattered trees and the occasional pot plant.

Vietnam's long fight for liberation and socialism

(This article is based on talks presented to Brisbane and Sydney seminars on Vietnam on September 18 and 25. Chitts is a member of the Revolutionary Socialist Party and a founder of Stand Fast, the organisation of military veterans campaigning against the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.)

Australian government complicit in persecution of Sri Lankan Tamils

Thousands of Tamils around the world commemorated the massacre at the Nagerkovil school that occurred 16 years ago near Jaffna, in the north-east of Sri Lanka. Many of the Tamils who commemorated the bombing of the school are facing deportation back to Sri Lanka where the Tamil people face systematic persecution.

France: Millions protest against attack on pensions

French trade unions estimated that 2.9 million people participated in strikes and protest marches across France on September 23 in opposition to a push by centre-right President Nicholas Sarkozy to impose cuts to the country’s pension system. The government claimed that just under 1 million participated in the protests. However, most of France’s corporate media reported protest numbers consistent with union estimates.