Issue Number 18

December 2009

  • Copenhagen - Rich countries push global suicide pact
  • Obama's war plans against Venezuela

International News & Analysis

By Virginia Tilley

Cape Town – From a rumour, to a rising murmur, the proposal floated by the Palestinian Authority’s (PA) Ramallah leadership to declare Palestinian statehood unilaterally has suddenly hit centre stage.

By Hugo Chavez

During an International Meeting of Left-wing Political Parties, attended by members of 55 political organisations from 31 countries held in Caracas on November 19-21, 2009, Hugo Chavez, the central leader of the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) and president of the country’s revolutionary working people’s government, proposed the formation of a new, fifth international as

By Shua Garfield

“Up to $63 billion of existing residential buildings” in Australia “are potentially at risk of inundation” from rising sea levels by 2100, according to Climate Change Risks to Australia’s Coasts, a report released on November 14 by the CSIRO and the federal government’s Department of Climate Change.

By Marce Cameron

As reported in the November issue of Direct Action (“Cuba debates the future of socialism”), millions of Cubans have been participating in grassroots debates in neighbourhoods, workplaces and Cuban Communist Party (PCC) base committees since September.

By Jon Lamb

Twenty years ago, on December 11, 1989, the Australian and Indonesian governments signed the Timor Gap Treaty (TGT), giving the go-ahead to energy corporations to exploit the large natural gas and petroleum reserves located in East Timor’s territorial waters.

By Barry Sheppard

San Francisco – A militant struggle has erupted in the University of California, which comprises 10 public sector universities located in different cities across the state, with a total of 220,000 students and 170,000 faculty members and general staff. UC students have been hit by a sudden rise in tuition fees of over 30%.

By Allen Myers

Volveran!” (They will return) appears nearly everywhere you look in Cuba: on official billboards, painted on the walls of shops and factories, scrawled on people’s houses. “They” are five heroic Cubans – Gerardo Hernandez, Ramon Labanino, Antonio Guerrero, Fernando Gonzalez and Rene Gonzalez – unjustly imprisoned in the US.

By Roberto Jorquera

Roberto Micheletti, nominal head of the Honduran military-backed coup regime that overthrew the country’s elected president, Manual Zelaya, in June, has instructed the public prosecutor and the Supreme Court to apply the law “ruthlessly” against anyone publicly advocating a boycott of the regime’s November 29 sham presidential election.

By Hendrik Sorandanya

in Jayapura – On November 3, a small group of left-wing activists met in Jayapura, capital of Indonesia’s Papua province, to form the Papuan Democratic Peoples’ Movement (Garda-P).

By Marcus Pabian

“Don’t make the mistake, President Obama, of ordering an overt aggression against Venezuela utilising Colombia … We are ready for anything, and Venezuela will never, never be a Yankee colony again”, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez stated on November 8, in the wake of the Obama administration’s signing on October 30 of a 10-year accord with Colombia for a joint military build-up.

By Hamish Chitts

For the past few years, private military contractors have out numbered US troops in Afghanistan despite a doubling in the size of the US occupation under the Obama administration. There were more contractors than US troops in Iraq a year ago, but the number of contractors dropped slightly this year to 120,000 – equal to the number of US troops.

Australian News & Analysis

By Jon Lamb

As leaders of the Western world finger-point and pontificate on this or that way forward to deal with the global climate change crisis, one proposal that keeps rearing its ugly head is the push for more nuclear power generation. With around 40% of the world’s uranium deposits, Australia is a strategic player in the international nuclear industry.

By Kerry Vernon

The Rudd Labor government’s refugee “Indian Ocean” solution to “unauthorised” asylum seekers arriving by boat has led to growing tensions among detainees in the Christmas Island detention centre. Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has threatened those involved in the November 21 detention centre brawl with deportation.

By Ian Jamieson

The November issue of the Maritime Workers Journal (MWJ), published by the Maritime Union of Australia, records a 25% growth in the union’s membership over the past six years. Nationally there are just under 12,000 MUA members. Most of the growth has been provided by the WA branch of the union, which is now the largest MUA branch in the country with 3000 members.

By Kathy Newnam

[On November 21, a 100-strong abortion rights rally was held in Brisbane. The rally demanded the dropping of the abortion charges brought against a young Cairns couple, the repeal of all anti-abortion laws and free, safe and accessible abortion on demand.

By Allen Myers

“Socialist Alliance structures remain too loose and weak to win, educate and train new socialist activists and the Socialist Alliance caucuses and working groups have only partially begun to organise united interventions into the movements.” This statement was made in a resolution adopted by the 22nd congress of Democratic Socialist Perspective (DSP), held in January 2006.

Views, Discussion & Debate

By Allen Myers

From its very beginning, capitalism has always created resistance in those it exploits and oppresses. Well before capitalism had overrun the rest of the world, in Western Europe, where it originated, it was engendering opposition, at times quite fierce: sabotage of capitalist property, illegal workers’ associations, local rebellions.

We stand for the transformation of human society, from its current basis of greed, exploitation, war, oppression and environmental destruction, to a commonwealth of social ownership, solidarity and human freedom, living in harmony with our planet’s ecosystems.


Reviewed by Chris Atkinson

The Real Venezuela: Making Socialism in the 21st Century
By Iain Bruce
Pluto Books (2008), 240 pages (pb), $52

Reviewed by Dani Barley

Capitalism: A Love Story
Written & directed by Michael Moore
Runtime: 127 minutes
In cinemas now

Reviewed by Max Lane

Refugees and Rebels: Indonesian Exiles in Wartime Australia
By Jan Lingard
Australian Scholarly Publishing (2008), 312 pages, $39.95 (pb)


By Lachlan Malloch

I was disappointed to see that your centre spread entitled “Charles Darwin: the Reluctant Revolutionary” (November 2009 edition) was a relatively biased presentation of Darwin and the relevance of his revolutionary ideas.

By Nick Toscano

A crackdown on a liquor-licensing law that requires two security guards to be present anywhere live music is provided could lead to a drop in the number of music venues in Melbourne. The 10-year-old law under the Liquor Control Reform Act requires all venues that host live music to hire licensed security guards after 9 p.m.

By Dr Gideon Polya

Pro-war, pro-coal spinmeister Kevin Rudd has done at least one useful thing in his appalling two years as PM – he has introduced the term “scum” into the language of public debate. Rudd has described “people smugglers” as “the scum of the Earth ... the vilest form of human life ... the lowest form of human life”.

In Their Own Words

To the shareholders

“... a year ago a lot of these [banks] were teetering on the brink, and the United States government and taxpayers came to their defence. They have responsibilities, and they ought to meet those responsibilities.” – David Axelrod, a senior adviser to US President Barack Obama, on bonuses being paid to bank executives.