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Issue 38 - February-April 2012
The December 8-9 European Union summit meeting did little to end the continuing eurozone debt crisis.
The French multinational Veolia will be “the major target for its boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) campaign work in 2012”, Friends of Palestine WA resolved at its annual general meeting on February 4.
For real conservatives, no first time for anything
“Things like this don’t happen once if they didn’t happen before.” – US Republican Congressman Darrell Issa, on reports that Secret Service agents assigned to protect the US president when he was in Colombia spent their time with sex workers.
Jakarta – A civil servant who posted “God does not exist” on his Facebook page has been arrested and charged under Indonesia’s draconian anti-blasphemy law. He faces a maximum sentence of five years in jail if found guilty.
Jakarta – This year's International Women's Day in Indonesia marks an increase in attacks on women. The upsurge in violence against women, particularly sexual violence, and recent government plans to raise fuel prices, threatens to burden all women, especially poor women.
A common argument in the Occupy movement is that it is not about left or right politics, but about addressing inequality and corruption, giving a voice to the majority who are excluded from all the important decisions that affect our lives.
Jakarta – A group of music lovers organising a charity concert in Indonesia’s northernmost province of Aceh are the latest victims of the province’s discriminatory and abusive sharia laws. The 64 youths were released on December 23 after undergoing 10 days of “moral rehabilitation” in the provincial capital of Banda Aceh.
Setting out on Australia Day, the Refugee Rights Action Network (RRAN) travelled to Leonora, a remote town in the Goldfields of Western Australia. The tour, entitled “Boundless Plains to Share”, spent three days in Leonora seeking to expose the conditions of mandatory detention and included protests in solidarity and visits with refugees locked up in the detention centre.
Jakarta – Commemorating International Women’s Day, activists and workers took to the streets across Indonesia on March 8 to demand equality and an end of sexual violence against women. Sexual harassment in the workplace and discriminatory laws were also a major theme at many rallies.
For a year, the Syrian government of President Bashir Assad has led a bloody crackdown on protests calling for democracy and freedom. Assad and his father Hefaz al-Assad have headed a repressive regime for four decades.The death toll continues to rise as troops loyal to Bashir use heavy weaponry against the opposition.
Tunisian President Ben Ali’s ignominious flight into exile in Saudi Arabia on January 14, 2011, after a month of strikes and street protests throughout Tunisia, set in motion a cascade of popular anti-despotic revolts across the Arab world that culminated in the ousting of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak on February 11, 2011.
Immediately after the outbreak of the financial-economic crisis in 2008, there was a flurry of speculation in the media (and even in the ALP) that governments (that is, the ruling class) were going to junk neoliberalism and revert to some form of the Keynesian economics that was fairly standard from the end of World War II until the early 1970s.
As predicted, the ALP national conference was another low point for the neoliberal pro-capitalist party, which adopted offshore processing as part of its platform. It was a win for Chris Bowen, the immigration minister, who gained support for putting the weight of the party behind the government’s proposed Malaysia solution.
In a recent issue of Green Left Weekly, Peter Boyle published an article titled “An age of revolution: organise, don’t agonise”.
It has been more than two months since the Occupy Wall Street actions began in New York. The occupation in Zuccotti Park ended after the New York City government mobilised the police for a middle of the night raid. However, the political activity that it set in motion in the United States has not stopped.
Issue 37 - December-January 2012
The ALP national conference in Sydney on December 3 and 4 should present an opportunity for the ALP to reassess its policy of mandatory detention and an opportunity to adopt a more humane approach towards refugees. But no one is waiting with bated breath.
After 11 hours of talks in Brussels throughout the night of October 27, the 17 leaders of the states that share the euro as their currency announced a package of measures they hoped would be regarded by international financial markets as a “comprehensive” solution to the eurozone debt crisis.
Discussions in several Occupy Sydney general assemblies have included debates about the nature and role of the police and whether to support the police union’s disputes and their November 22 rally (over injury compensation) with the NSW O’Farrell Coalition government.
One thousand people marched through Perth’s CBD on October 28, the first day of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM), despite a massive security presence. The protest, organised by the CHOGM Action Network (CAN), united activists from numerous campaigns behind the slogan “Justice and Climate Action, Not Racism and War”.
The grassroots campaign against coal seam gas mining appears to have won important ground, making it onto the popular ABC program Gruen Transfer and as a dedicated feature launched on the ABC News website on November 24.
Two deportations of Sri Lankan Tamils have been averted, pending a High Court challenge to be heard in the new year giving the asylum seekers a temporary reprieve. These were to be the first deportations of people who arrived by boat under the current Labor government.
More than 100,000 Egyptians packed Tahrir (Liberation) Square on Friday, November 27 for the ninth consecutive day since new protests began on November 18, calling for democracy, social justice and an end to the military’s control of the country.
It was 10 o’clock in the evening on September 11. Sudiro, the chief negotiator in West Papua’s ongoing Freeport strikes, was sitting alone on the veranda of his house. He had spent all day with Freeport Indonesia management, bargaining for a wage rise for the members of his union – the All Indonesia Workers Union (SPSI) Freeport division.
The Occupy Melbourne Protest was brutally attacked on October 21 by Victorian Police, who used extreme force... Having set up an occupation site at City Square on Swanston St in the Melbourne CBD on Saturday October 15 as part of the global Occupy Together movement, the Occupy Melbourne protests were starting to consolidate.