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Issue 34 - August 2011

By Kerry Vernon

NSW Premier Barry O’Farrell’s Liberal-National Coalition government has launched a major attack on public sector workers. The government’s planned $2 billion in savings over the next four years is to come from cutbacks in public sector workers’ wages and conditions.

By Jon Lamb

Zack Furness is the author of One Less Car: Bicycling and the politics of automobility (Temple University Press, 2010). He was interviewed via email by Jon Lamb.

By Mehrdad Valipour

In recent months a simmering power struggle has erupted within the ruling circles of the Islamic Republic of Iran, between President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

By Hamish Chitts

Every two years, parts of northern Australia are invaded by the joint Australian-US war rehearsals known as Exercise Talisman Sabre.

By Andrew Martin

A week before Four Corners aired its horrific footage of the fate of Australian cattle in Indonesia, Dateline on SBS featured terrifying and disturbing images of canings, detention and brutal treatment of asylum seekers at a Malaysian detention centre.

By Hamish Chitts

Direct Action on May 9 after Morales had spoken to a workplace meeting of Brisbane bus drivers organised by the Rail, Tram, Bus Union and the Australia Cuba Friendship Society.][ezequiel>

By Nick Everett

A spectre is haunting Europe: the spectre of bankruptcy. At the centre of the European debt crisis is Greece, whose government and investors owe US$130 billion to European banks. Ireland, Portugal and Spain have public and private loans of US$463 billion, US$194 billion and US$642 billion respectively to European banks.

Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair faced protests during his visit to Australia and New Zealand in July. Below is the press statement for the Brisbane protest (pictured):

Tony Blair has the blood of millions of people on his hands. He is a mass murderer who should be rotting in a jail cell, not jet-setting around the world earning millions.

By James Crafti

“First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, then you win.” If Gandhi was right about this progression of a non-violent movement, then the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israel is well on the road to victory.

By Andrew Martin

The fight to stop a gas hub at James Price Point in the Kimberley is stepping up despite police attacking protesters. The $30 billion project by Woodside would destroy Aboriginal sacred sites including ancient burial grounds. Traditional owners of the land have blockaded the site along with environmentalists, leading to a seven-week stand-off with police.

By Ben Reid

As the details of its long-awaited “carbon tax” package were announced, Julia Gillard’s Labor government plummeted in popularity. Australia faces the real possibility of a landslide victory at the next election for the conservative Coalition under the leadership of the notorious reactionary Tony Abbott.

Issue 33 - June-July 2011

By Mai Phuoc Dung

[This is the speech delivered to the launch meeting of Agent Orange Justice-Australia Vietnam Solidarity Network, held in Sydney on June 1, by the Vietnamese consul general in Sydney, Mai Phuoc Dung.]

Ladies and gentlemen, dear colleagues and friends:

By John Percy

Agent Orange Justice-Australia-Vietnam Solidarity Network, has now been established in Australia. A very successful inaugural meeting was held in Sydney on June 1, attended by more than 40 people, with 20 new members joining AOJ.

By John Percy

An awakening is occurring across the Arab world – a mass uprising in political activity and consciousness, already resulting in revolutionary mobilisations overthrowing dictatorships in Tunisia and Egypt and threatening others.

By Tim Stewart

The campaign against coal seam gas (CSG) mining has taken to the streets over the past month with big turnouts at rallies in northern NSW and the spawning of “No CSG” groups all over social media sites, attracting thousands of supporters.

By an observer in Phnom Penh

Two South-east Asian neighbours, Thailand and Cambodia, with similar cultures and religion, have come to blows, apparently over a temple on their border. Since July 2008, serious fighting has broken out five times.

By John Percy

Bob Gould, long-time Sydney political activist, Trotskyist and ALP member, and notorious bookshop owner, died on May 22 aged 74. More than 300 people from many areas of Bob’s political life attended his funeral and the following wake at Newtown’s Courthouse Hotel.

By Kathy Newnam

Around 350 people attended the Feminist Futures Conference, held in Melbourne on May 28-29. Before the conference, there was heated debate on the conference Facebook page about the panellists for the conference, much of the focus being on the inclusion of Melbourne academic Sheila Jeffreys in the program.

By Barry Sheppard

San Francisco – The assassination of Osama bin Laden by US Special Forces in a unilateral raid into Pakistan is being trumpeted by President Obama and the media. Raucous celebrations of the killing occurred in many cities, and Obama’s poll numbers went up among right-wing Tea Party types.

By Allen Myers

“There’s no such thing as a free lunch” is a phrase that became popular with economists many years ago. The conservative economist Milton Friedman even used it as the title of a book he published in 1975. It’s shorthand for the idea that you can’t really get something for nothing: even if something seems free, you pay for it in one way or another. Is that true?

Managing profits

“There will be impacts. But everything is monitored so we can manage it well ahead of time if there is any impact.” Ross Dunn, Queensland coal seam gas manager for the Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association, responding to concerns about environmental damage from coal seam gas mining.

By Andrew Martin

Malcolm Fraser, the Liberal politician who played a key role in the dismissal of the Whitlam government, is today often credited as a humanitarian by many on the left. They specifically point to the way he handled the influx of Vietnamese refugees in the late 1970s. Many of these refugees arrived by boat, and it was the time when the term “boat people” was first popularised.

Marxist Education Conference

We regret that comrade Gerry Rivera was unable to attend the Revolution and Internationalism in the 21st century Conference. We note the recent attempt by the management of Philippine Airlines to escalate its dispute with the Philippine Airlines Employees’ Association (PALEA).

By Kim Bullimore

Melbourne visual artist Van Thanh Rudd’s art work titled Pop Goes the System, which depicts Justin Bieber supporting Palestinian human rights, was banned from the 2011 Human Rights Arts and Film Festival by festival organisers.

By Jon Lamb

The Queensland state budget delivered on June 14 has confirmed again the state Labor government’s willingness to pander to the needs of big business, while workers pick up the tab for the sell-off of large chunks of the state’s infrastructure. In a post-budget media event, Queensland Premier Anna Bligh beamed as she announced: “The sun has come back to the sunshine state”.