By the end of March, 10 Australian soldiers had been killed in the US-led occupation of Afghanistan, including nine in the past 18 months. Last month alone, there were two Australian Defence Force deaths in separate incidents as the Rudd government endorsed Washington’s decision to escalate the occupation forces’ war in Afghanistan.
International News & Analysis
On March 29, the Israeli Manufacturers Association (IMA) reported that Israeli exporters are losing markets because of the boycott campaign that has been gathering momentum internationally since Israel’s 22-day assault on Gaza.
Compact fluorescent light globes are as bright as incandescent globes but consume 75-80% less energy and last 5-10 years.
What nation is the most sustainable in the world? If you guessed Sweden or Denmark, you would be wrong. Instead, the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) has declared Cuba as the only country on the planet that is approaching sustainable development. Key to this designation is the island’s “energy revolution”, an energy conservation effort launched only two years ago.
The official election campaigning period for the Indonesian national, provincial and district legislatures started on March 1 and will last until April 5. There is supposed to be a three-day period of non-campaigning immediately before the April 9 elections. Some 100,000 candidates from 44 parties are standing for seats in national, provincial and district legislatures.
The chief minister of Pakistan’s Northwest Frontier Province (NWFP), Ameer Haider Khan Hoti, on February 16 announced a new peace deal between Islamabad and the Taliban-endorsed Movement for Enforcement of Sharia, or Tehrik-e-Nifaz-e-Shariat-e-Mohammadi (TNSM). In return for a cease-fire, the central government has agreed to implement sharia law in the Malakand region.
San Fransciso – The huge bonuses – some US$210 million – that insurance giant American International Group (AIG) paid out to its executives from the end of last year through to March sparked a renewed explosion of anger among working people.
Testimony given by Israeli soldiers involved in Israel’s 22-day December-January assault on Gaza to a pre-military preparatory program at the Oranim Academic College in Israel on February 13, and which the March 18 Haaretz daily began printing daily excerpts of, revealed that they repeatedly committed crimes with impunity in Gaza.
San Salvador – As voting centres across El Salvador closed at 5 pm on March 15, the streets around the San Salvador headquarters of the leftist Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front (FMLN) filled with supporters determined to defend and to celebrate the party’s first presidential election victory. Chants of “Si, podemos!” (Yes, we could!
In mid-March, Max Lane, a member of the Revolutionary Socialist Party and author of Unfinished Nation: Indonesia Before and After Suharto (Verso, 2008), visited Manila at the invitation of the Asian Centre at the University of the Philippines to speak on this year’s Indonesian legislative and presidential elections.
While US President Barack Obama is desperately trying to rescue the crisis-ridden capitalist system with multi-billion dollar bailouts for the financial corporations, tent cities of newly homeless people are springing up across the US as unemployment and housing foreclosures soar.
Australian News & Analysis
The museum-style artwork called Economy of Movement – A Piece of Palestine that was located in a subway under Melbourne’s Flinders Street train station contained two framed explanations of its centre piece – a stone, resting on a glass pedestal. The first frame explained: “The stone exhibited is from East Jerusalem, Israel (occupied Palestinian Territory).
The draft legislation for the government’s planned greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions trading scheme (ETS), released on March 10, contained no real answers to the problem.
The Rudd Labor government’s Fair Work Australia (FWA) bill, passed by federal parliament on March 20, was touted as finally killing off the Howard government’s deeply unpopular Work Choices laws. Work Choices dramatically reduced employment standards by replacing the comprehensive wages and conditions in awards with just five legislated standards.
Both the ALP and the recently amalgamated Liberal National Party (LNP) tried to present themselves as offering “change” in the state election on March 21. But pro-capitalist politics as usual is what remains in the wash-up. With Labor retaining government despite a 4% swing against it, Labor leader Anna Bligh became the first woman in Australia to be elected a state premier.
The Rudd Labor government claims that saving workers’ jobs from the impact of the deepening global economic recession is its top priority.
Views, Discussion & Debate
2009 started off badly. The international economic crisis is top priority of governments, companies, international organisations and individuals whose worries have become having a roof to sleep under and food on the table. The situation has taken many nations by surprise, but not so much Cuba.
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.
[This open letter to members of the Democratic Socialist Perspective (DSP) concerns the Socialist Alliance (SA), an organisation controlled by the DSP which it promotes as Australia’s largest socialist group.]
Today the state is so all-pervasive in nearly everyone’s life that it can be difficult to imagine a society in which it didn’t exist. But there have been societies without a state, and Marxists expect that there will be another in the future. The state is an organisation that seems to stand above society and regulate its operations and mutual relations.
TV entertainment that focuses on the lives of prostitutes has not, until recently, been an evening viewing option, in Australia or many other countries.
Runtime: 129 minutes
Directed by Oliver Stone
Written by Stanley Weiser
Starring Josh Brolin, Elizabeth Banks, James Cromwell and Richard Dreyfuss
In theatres now
In Their Own Words
“Complaints are taken seriously and acted on swiftly.” – Ian Macdonald, NSW primary industries minister, on two Sydney KFC restaurants being fined for cleanliness and pest violations committed between May 2007 and February 2008.