Issue Number 40

November-December 2012

  • Steps towards unity on the Australian revolutionary left
  • Will equal marriage help destroy the family? Let's hope so

International News & Analysis

By James Balowski

Jakarta – The killing of a leading pro-independence activist in West Papua during a raid reportedly led by members of the Australian-funded and -trained counter-terrorism unit Detachment 88 (Densus 88) raises serious questions about how Australian workers’ tax money is being used in Indonesia.

By Sam King

Santiago – Overthrowing the Chilean government, in the manner of the Egyptian or Tunisian uprisings, is not the immediate aim of Chile’s massive student movement, but that is what large sections of it would like to do.The powerful and sustained mass student movement grows out of the impact on education of capitalist economic policies pursued under both the 17-year military dictator

By Nick Everett

Today the global capitalist economy faces its greatest crisis in 80 years. First there was the credit crunch beginning in August 2007, when governments around the world stepped in to bail out the banks. Then, in September 2008, there was the collapse of Lehman Brothers, precipitating the greatest financial crash since 1929.

By Max Lane

In June and July in the Netherlands, almost all polls were showing a strong surge in support for the Socialist Party (SP). The polls predicted that the SP would increase its seats from 15 to 35 in the 150-seat parliament.The SP was polling as the largest party with about 20% support, ahead of the historical party of social democracy, the Labor Party (PvdA).

By James Balowski

Jakarta – After a three-year investigation and testimonies from 349 witnesses, Indonesia’s National Human Rights Commission (Komnas HAM) has declared that the systematic prosecution of alleged members of the Indonesian Communist Party (PKI) when former president Suharto and the military seized power in 1965 constituted gross human rights violations.It urged that the military office

By Max Lane

In a press statement on October 3, the Indonesian Workers and Labourers Assembly (MPBI) said that 2 million workers mobilised for the national strike it called for that date, in industrial areas or outside government offices in 21 cities and towns.Press and blog reports separately estimate that hundreds of thousands of workers mobilised in Jakarta’s industrial estates, gathering at

By Nick Everett

Soria, Spain – On September 25, tens of thousands of activists from all over Spain heeded a call to “encircle” the Spanish parliament demanding the resignation of the Popular Party (PP) government, headed by Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, and a constitutional reform process.

By Roberto Jorquera

The presidential election victory of Hugo Chavez is a vital component in the continuation of the Bolivarian revolution, which has now been under way for 13 years.A defeat would have resulted in a massive attack on the working class of Venezuela.

By James Balowski

Jakarta – A suicide in Indonesia’s northernmost province of Aceh by a teenager who was publicly humiliated by the province’s abusive sharia police has again put the spotlight on laws that discriminate against women.

By Max Lane

Timor Leste’s third parliamentary election since the restoration of independence in 2002 was held on July 7.

By Andrew Martin

“You’ll notice in the last couple of months, the [Syrian] opposition has been strengthened.

By James Balowski

Jakarta – Reneging on a pledge to apologise and make reparations for the victims of the 1965 anti-communist purge, when Suharto and the military seized power, the government of Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono is now parroting the New Order regime’s myth that the killings were justified to save the country from communism.

Australian News & Analysis

By Andrew Martin

One of the main barriers for refugees seeking asylum and residency in Australia is ASIO’s security assessments. These are conducted on an arbitrary basis, with very little recourse for refugees to challenge decisions against them.Typically, the assessments take many months or even years, and refugees have no access to their findings.

By Jessica Lenehan and Jasmine Curcio

Between 6000 and 7000 people, an unprecedented number for Melbourne, took to the streets on October 20 for Reclaim the Night 2012.Since its inception, Reclaim the Night has been a staple of feminist activism.

By Helen Jarvis

The tragic and unacceptable abduction, rape and murder of young Irish woman and ABC radio staffer Jill Meagher in Melbourne on the night of September 21 has justifiably sparked a public outcry in the social media and also on the streets. All instances of violence against women deserve the outcry that the Jill Meagher case attracted.

The NSW government has passed “consorting” laws as part of a suite of “anti-bikie” laws in the Crimes Amendment (Consorting and Organised Crime) Bill. These laws have such a wide scope that they can be used to criminalise anyone.The former offence of consorting in the Crimes Act was repealed and a new offence inserted.

By Tim Stewart

Movies, musicals, bush meetings and speaking tours continue to characterise the campaign against coal seam gas (CSG).

By Kerry Vernon

More than 10,000 public sector workers’ jobs have been cut across NSW. Those workers remaining are having their wages and conditions further attacked.

By Andrew Martin

A common perception of the Salvation Army is that it is a well-meaning charity spreading Christianity through its care for the down and out – those who have fallen through the cracks of society’s welfare net.Apart from its quasi-military structure of volunteers, door-knock appeals and sporadic invasions of pubs rattling tins of loose change, it would seem an unremarkable charity.

By Barry Sheppard

San Francisco – When Mitt Romney chose Paul Ryan as his vice presidential running mate, Romney introduced him “as the next President of the United States”. This was of course a slip of the tongue, which Romney corrected. But it was the kind of slip that Freud analysed, one pregnant with meaning.

By James Crafti

A 2011 Roy Morgan Poll found that 68% of Australians support same-sex marriage, up 6% from a Galaxy Poll taken the previous year.

Activist News

By John Percy

The Agent Orange Justice art exhibition held in Sydney August 7-11 has been hugely successful, contributing significantly to raising consciousness about this important but all too neglected issue.

By Max Lane

Under the Hammer, a new activist space, has been operating in Coburg, on the edges of inner Melbourne, since July.The centre was established on the initiative of activists James Crafti and Melanie Mayze, both members of the Revolutionary Socialist Party, which produces the newspaper and website Direct Action. While Direct Action holds activities in the space, it has b

Views, Discussion & Debate

Against racism and Islamophobia and for the right to protest

The Revolutionary Socialist Party unreservedly condemns the New South Wales Police force for its September 14 assault on protesters who were peacefully demonstrating against a racist video attacking Islam.

By John Percy

Jim Percy, the founder of the Democratic Socialist Party and for two decades its national secretary, died from cancer on October 12, 1992, 20 years ago, at the age of 43.

(This resolution was adopted by the Third Congress of the Revolutionary Socialist Party, held in Melbourne September 29-30.)

By Max Lane

It has been almost five years since I was expelled in 2008 with 35 others from the Democratic Socialist Party (DSP) or “Perspective”, as it had become by then.(And I think there were another dozen or so who had to leave in other ways.) It was a sad, angry and frustrating moment. I joined the DSP in 1981.

The Revolutionary Socialist Party (RSP) held its third congress on 29-30 September.

Socialist Alternative

In a very positive development for the revolutionary left in Australia, Socialist Alternative is engaged in unity discussions with the Revolutionary Socialist Party (RSP). The initial discussions have been highly productive and have been conducted in a comradely and constructive manner.

In Their Own Words

Thinking ahead

"We won't fight it because we need the savings as well [if elected to government]." – A federal Coalition MP, quoted in the Sydney Morning Herald on the Labor government's mid-year budget.