Issue Number 13

July 2009

  • Amazon, Niger delta: Indigenous peoples fight Western oil companies
  • Jailed for fighting US terrorism: Free the Cuban Five!

International News & Analysis

By Hamish Chitts

On August 20, Afghanistan will conduct its second presidential election under the US-led occupation. Current Afghan President Hamid Karzai is the clear frontrunner in the election, despite a December Gallup poll having found that only 10% of Afghans supported Karzai’s government.

By Zoe Kenny

While the UN was busy promoting its latest carbon trading scams and encouraging people to attend “celebrations” for World Environment Day, the people in the town of Bagua in northern Peru were fighting a life-and-death struggle to save their environment from corporate plunder – a struggle that achieved a partial victory.

By Max Lane

Rallies and other public shows of support have remained weak for the three candidates and their running mates in the weeks leading up to the July 8 Indonesian presidential election. Two of the rival candidates head the current government – incumbent President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and his vice-president, Jusuf Kalla.

By Babak Zahraie

Once again Iran has captured world attention. The 10th presidential election period has presented a new element in Iran’s politics not seen in the previous exercise of universal suffrage in the country: massive mobilisation of the people.

By Barry Sheppard

San Francisco – “What’s good for General Motors is good for America” became a catch phrase in the 1950s. GM was a symbol of US industrial might. Workers at GM, Ford and Chrysler enjoyed some of the best wages and working conditions in the country, and the United Auto Workers was the flagship of the union movement. Now GM is in bankruptcy and the UAW is a shell of its former self.

By Marce Cameron

A black president in the White House has changed nothing for five Cuban men imprisoned in the US for the “crime” of defending Cuba from terrorist attacks planned and organised in the US. On June 15, the US Supreme Court upheld the convictions of Gerardo Hernandez, Rene Gonzalez, Antonio Guerrero, Ramon Labanino and Fernando Gonzalez, known internationally as the “Cuban Five”.

By Shua Garfield

Seventy million cubic metres – equivalent to at least one quarter of the UK’s natural gas consumption – is burnt every day in gas flaring in the oil wells of the Niger River delta. Gas flaring in Nigeria accounts for roughly half of sub-Saharan Africa’s industrial greenhouse gas emissions.

By Kim Bullimore

The much anticipated speeches on the Middle East “peace process” by US President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu last month have been touted by the international corporate media as significant steps toward resolving conflict in the region. However, neither speech was a step forward.

By Hamish Chitts

Last month was the 40th anniversary of the Stonewall uprising in Greenwich Village, New York City, when, for the first time in US history, gay men and lesbians fought back against government-sponsored persecution.

By Kathy Newnam

One of the few remaining US clinics that provided late-term abortions will close in the wake of its owner’s murder, the slain doctor’s family said on June 9. Dr George Tiller was shot dead in his church in Wichita, Kansas, on May 31. His clinic, Women’s Health Care Services, was one of only three remaining clinics in the US to provide abortion services in the third trimester.

Australian News & Analysis

By Kathy Newnam

[The following article is based on a report on the Australian political situation presented to the first congress of the Revolutionary Socialist Party, held over the June 6-8 weekend.]

By Jon Lamb

If you’ve picked-up this paper for the first time, you’ll appreciate it’s not the same as the capitalist press and street mags filled with lies, half-truths and distortions peddled as ‘news’.

By James Crafti

Sravan Kumar Theerthala, a 25-year-old Indian student studying in Melbourne, was stabbed through the head with a screwdriver on May 23 leaving him comatose and in intensive care. The day after Theerthala was attacked, Indian student Rajesh Kumar, also 25, received burns to a third of his body after a petrol bomb attack in Sydney.

By Nelida Hernandez Carmona

[The consul-general of the Republic of Cuba in Australia, Nelida Hernandez Carmona, presented the following greetings to the first congress of the RSP]

By Nick Everett

On May 15, Ark Tribe, a rank-and-file member of the South Australia branch of the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU) construction division, became the second person to be charged by the Australian Building and Construction Commission (ABCC) for refusing to attend an interview.

Pro Choice Action Collective

Early in April, a Cairns couple was charged under the anti-abortion provisions in the Queensland criminal code. A 19-year-old woman faces seven years imprisonment for allegedly illegally terminating a pregnancy while her 21-year-old partner faces three years imprisonment for providing the abortion drug allegedly used for the termination.

By Andrew Martin

The Queensland ALP government, re-elected in March, has put forward legislation to sell off the port of Brisbane, Queensland Motorways, Forestry Plantations Queensland, Queensland Rail’s coal business and the Abbot Point coal terminal in the state’s north. All of these government-owned corporations (GOCs) provide significant income for Premier Anna Bligh’s government.

By Allen Myers

The first congress of the Revolutionary Socialist Party (RSP) was held in Sydney over the June 6-8 long weekend. Sixty-two delegates and observers came from Brisbane, Sydney, Canberra, Melbourne, Geelong, Adelaide and Perth, and from several overseas locations, for three days of analysis, discussion and planning of future activities.

By Virginia Brown

A “disgrace” and custody conditions “not fit for humans” were among the June 12 findings of Western Australian state coroner Alistair Hope on the January 27, 2008, death of 46-year-old Warburton Aboriginal elder Ian Ward.

By Kathy Newnam

A significant victory in the international campaign for boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) against Israel was registered on June 8. It was reported in the Israeli Haaretz newspaper that the French-owned Veolia company plans to abandon its involvement in the light rail project being built to connect Jerusalem to illegal Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank.

Views, Discussion & Debate

By Marcus Pabian

Some revolutionary socialists remain convinced that no revolution has taken place and that the government of President Hugo Chavez is substituting ‘socialism from above’ in place of grassroots working-class struggle.

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.

By Allen Myers

Marxists believe that a revolution is necessary to open the road to socialism. But what does a revolution actually consist of? Advertisers and capitalist politicians would have us think a revolution is a pretty ordinary event, with their talk of “a revolutionary new soap powder” or an “education revolution”. The reality is quite different.


Reviewed by Allen Myers

Che Guevara: The Economics of Revolution
By Helen Yaffe
Palgrave Macmillan, 354 pp. $59.95


I write in response to recent letters in the daily papers about fuel loads and control burning. These are only one small element of confronting the threat of firestorms. They are by themselves though not a lasting solution to the dry and hot climatic conditions we are experiencing and do not address the real problems we are facing.

By Kim Comerford

The above letter from Brisbane Socialist Alliance member Adam Baker is an affront to a woman’s right to struggle for abortion rights. Baker fails to comprehend the significance of the seriousness of the attacks on women’s rights.

In Their Own Words

Rugged independence

“... the medium-term future of GM’s foreign operations will depend on whether they generate sufficient revenues and attract enough government subsidies to be self-sustaining.” – Anne Davies in the Sydney Morning Herald, June 2.