Issue Number 16

October 2009

  • Obama increases war threat against Venezuela
  • Abortion rights under attack

International News & Analysis

By Roberto Jorquera

On September 23, Venezuelan revolutionary socialist youth leader Heryck Rangel spoke via telephone to Direct Action. In August, Rangel made a speaking tour of Australia at the invitation of the Revolutionary Socialist Party and the university-based Cuba-Venezuela Solidarity Clubs.

By Hamish Chitts

October 7 marks eight years since the US-led coalition of imperialist powers and their client states invaded Afghanistan.

By Sukanta Mandal

The spectre of one of the worst ever drought situations looms large over India. Central India suffered a massive 93% deficiency in rainfall in the first week of August, while the north-west of the country remained at 76% below the long-term average. This monsoon, the rainfall deficit in Punjab, the granary of India, varies from 35% to as high as 87% depending on location.

By Max Lane

Jakarta – In the immediate aftermath of the July 8 Indonesian presidential election, the two losing sets of candidates alleged that there was widespread ballot fraud.

By Glora La Riva

San Francisco – Cuban revolutionary hero Juan Almeida Bosque died late on September 11 in Havana, Cuba. An official period of mourning for this beloved Cuban leader was immediately declared; numerous statements in homage to Almeida have poured in, and 2 million people visited memorial sites across Cuba on September 13 during a 12-hour period.

By Kim Bullimore

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has claimed victory in the wake of US President Barak Obama’s first speech to the United Nations General Assembly and the September 22 meeting in New York between Netanyahu, Obama and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.

By Marcus Pabian

“We do not want war, we hate it. But we must prepare for it”, explained Venezuela’s socialist President Hugo Chavez on August 16 in response to plans to increase numbers of US bases around his country, which has confirmed the continuation of US threats of aggression from the Bush to the Obama administrations.

By John Pilger

[The following is the text of a July 4 address to the Socialism 2009 conference held in San Francisco. It is reprinted from]

By Marce Cameron

This year’s winner of Cuba’s National Award for Journalism is veteran journalist Luis Sexto. Little known outside Cuba, Sexto is a professor of journalism at the Faculty of Social Communication at the University of Havana.

By Kim Bullimore

On September 15, the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) released a report it commissioned into Israel’s war on Gaza in December-January, during which some 1400 Palestinians were killed by the Israeli military. Thirteen Israelis also died, including four civilians.

By Allen Myers

The big US banks that had to be saved with government money a year ago after they gambled too freely with “mortgage-backed securities” have learned their lesson. The lesson is that they can gamble as wildly as they like, keep the profits if they win and count on government paying for them if they lose.

Australian News & Analysis

By Jon Lamb

Among the heads of government gathered at the September 25 G20 summit held in Pittsburgh, Australian PM Kevin Rudd didn’t particularly stand out much in the hoopla surrounding US President Barack Obama’s self-congratulatory speech claiming that action by his and the other governments of the world’s 20 largest national economies had “brought the global economy back from the brink” o

By Kathy Newnam

A Cairns couple were committed to trial on June 11 on charges brought under the anti-abortion laws in the Queensland criminal code. The charges carry sentences of seven years’ prison for the woman for having an abortion and three years for her male partner for assisting her. The case against the couple rests upon their admission to having used an abortion drug.

By Jon Lamb

During August and September, Australian and international media outlets ran numerous articles, opinion pieces and commentaries marking the 10 years since the people of East Timor voted for an end to the 24-year-long Indonesian military occupation. On August 30, 1999, 98% of registered voters participated in a United Nations-sponsored referendum.

By Andy Giannotis

“If there is one principle that governs the export of Australian education, it is now simply money”. This was the introduction to a Four Corners program titled “Holy Cash Cows” aired on ABC television at the end of July.

By Shua Garfield

Australia has just experienced its hottest August on record. During that month, some parts of New South Wales experienced fierce bushfires over a month before the “normal” start of the bushfire season. In the face of this climate chaos, it might be hoped that there would be some good news about Australian government action to reduce the emissions of greenhouse gas (GHG) pollution.

By Dani Barley

On September 16, members of the National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU) took to the picket lines for a 24-hour strike to protest conditions and secure new collective agreements at 16 universities across the country.

Views, Discussion & Debate

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

A revolution is needed in order to overcome the evils that capitalist society is subject to. But that doesn’t mean that nothing can be improved in the meantime. Quite the contrary: struggles for improvements – reforms – can be successful to one degree or another, depending on many different factors.


Reviewed by Dani Barley

District 9by Neill BlomkampWritten by Neill Blomkamp and Terri TatchellStarring Shralto Copley, Jason Cope and Robert Hobbs111 minutes; in cinemas nationally


By Steven Katsineris

As a longtime anti-nuclear and anti-uranium campaigner, former member of MAUM, former state coordinator of the Nuclear Disarmament Party (Tasmania) and other organisations, I write to publicly express my utter disgust with Peter Garrett’s and the Australian government’s decision to open a new uranium mine in South Australia.

By Allen Myers

One aspect of the Democratic Socialist Perspective’s course of dissolution into the Socialist Alliance, analysed by John Percy in Direct Action #15, is the DSP’s increasing unwillingness to discuss politics, particularly with others on the left.

In Their Own Words

Unlikely ambition

“We must be part of the solution. We can’t just be part of the problem.” – Federal Liberal Party leader Malcolm Turnbull.