Since Barack Obama’s swearing in as US president, both the Israeli and US media have peddled the idea his administration would take a strong stand with the newly-elected Israeli hard-right government of PM Benjamin Netanyahu and foreign minister Avigador Lieberman.
International News & Analysis
Havana – On May 1, international workers’ day, at least half a million Cubans marched cheerfully and defiantly through Havana from the Plaza of the Revolution to the US Interests Section. Hundreds of thousands more rallied in other cities throughout the Caribbean island.
Since late April, more than 15,000 Pakistani troops have engaged militarily with 3000-4000 Taliban fighters in Pakistan’s Swat valley in North-West Frontier Province. The fighting has displaced more than 1 million civilians, driving the total number of internal refugees from Swat to more than 2 million.
San Francisco – After releasing memos from lawyers for the Bush administration advocating torture of prisoners swept up in the US wars against Afghanistan and Iraq, US President Barack Obama has ruled out prosecuting the war criminals who ordered the use of torture.
Three tickets have been nominated for the Indonesian presidential elections on July 9. The official campaign period for the presidential elections starts in the first week of June.
[On May 16 the first-ever gay pride march took place in the Cuban capital, Havana. The Associated Press news agency reported that Mariela Castro, Cuban President Raul Castro’s daughter, an outspoken supporter of the Cuban Revolution and a gay rights advocate who directs Cuba’s government-funded Sex Education Centre, led the march.
In a statement released on May 24, Selvarasa Pathmanathan, the head of international relations for the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), announced that Velupillai Prabhakaran, LTTE founder and leader of the movement for a Tamil nation-state in northern Sri Lanka had been killed by the Sri Lankan troops the previous week..
The people of Indonesia will go to the polls to elect a new president on July 8. The current president, former general Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, will face competition from two tickets in which both vice-presidential candidates – Prabowo Subianto and Wiranto – are former generals.
At a May 21 mass meeting of more than 400 trade union leaders in Bolivar City, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and labour minister Maria Cristina Iglesias resolved to nationalise six strategic industrial companies.
Australian News & Analysis
On April 23, the Senate select committee on climate policy heard what should have been taken as a striking ultimatum: To avoid catastrophic climate change, there must be an immediate moratorium on the construction of coal-fired power plants, and existing coal-fired plants need to be shut within 20 years.
Last month the Melbourne Age revealed that members of the Australian Defence Force (ADF) had covered up the killing and wounding of civilians in Afghanistan by Australian Special Air Service (SAS) troops. In the same month, The Australian newspaper proudly reported the use of SAS patrols as death squads carrying out assassinations in Afghanistan.
A protest campaign has been launched in Brisbane against the charges bought against a young couple in Cairns under the anti-abortion provisions in the Queensland Criminal Code. The campaign was launched on May 9 when 80 people protested against an anti-abortion demonstration, blocking the anti-abortionists’ way to the state parliament building.
Whenever Australian capitalist politicians have talked about protection, welfare and reconciliation in relation to Aboriginal people they have actually meant dispossession, forced cultural assimilation and racial oppression. The capitalist class knows that much of its wealth has been gained at the expense of Aboriginal people through the takeover of their lands.
The Australian government is playing “Russian roulette with the climate system, with most of the chambers loaded”, according to CSIRO climatologist James Risbey.
Under the impact of the global and domestic recession, Australia’s manufacturing sector is facing its worst downturn since the early 1990s. Manufacturing output contracted 4.8% in the last quarter of 2008. More than 50,600 jobs in the sector were lost during the last nine months of 2008.
Views, Discussion & Debate
It is meaningful to modify the word “democracy” with a word such as “capitalist” or “workers” because democracy always has a social content, specifically a class content. Democracy is a system of class rule, in which one class advances its own interests at the expense of another class.
[This declaration was unanimously approved by the International Meeting of Solidarity with Cuba, held at the Convention Centre in Havana on May 2.]
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.
In Their Own Words
Lost billions? Have some more
“We are going to be doing things which ultimately – in order to get the credit flowing again – are going to benefit the institutions that are at the core of the problem.” – Timothy Geithner, former president of the New York Federal Reserve Bank and now US Treasury secretary.