The Rudd Labor government is supporting US President Obama’s intensification of the war in Afghanistan, which can only increase the number of Afghan refugees. Yet at the same time, Labor is preparing to deport en masse Afghan asylum seekers, who have had their claims for protection visas frozen.
International News & Analysis
[The following is an abridged version of the declaration issued by the April 20-22 World People’s Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth, held on April 22 in Cochabamba, Bolivia. The conference, convened by the government of Bolivian President Evo Morales, was attended by at least 15,000 people, including official delegates from 47 countries.]
San Francisco – May 25 – The Obama administration, British Petroleum and the corporate media have worked overtime to minimise information and outright lie about the catastrophic impact of the explosion on BP’s Deepwater Horizon oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico on April 20.
With a general strike on May 20 and large demonstrations in Athens and other cities, the workers of Greece continued their struggle to overturn an austerity program imposed by the Greek government, European Union and the International Monetary Fund.
Jakarta – Worker, student and non-government organisations commemorated May Day across Indonesia, taking up a range of themes. The rallies proceeded peacefully in most cities, but clashes and arrests were reported in Jakarta.
On May 7, US-backed “proximity talks” began two months after US special Mideast envoy George Mitchel, announced that the Fatah-led Palestine Authority (PA) and Israel had agreed to resume “indirect” negotiations. The “proximity talks” have been hailed by the Obama administration as a way of supposedly kick-starting the failed Arab-Israeli “peace process”.
In April and May, Cubans went to the polls in local government elections across the island. These were elections with a difference. Imagine if neighbours got together in open meetings in your street to nominate, by show of hands, between two and eight candidates for each electoral district. That’s what happened in each of Cuba’s 169 municipalities.
On May 19, the government of Thai PM Abhisit Vejjajiva finally launched an assault on the Red Shirt camp in the Bangkok neighbourhood of Rachaprasong. Television stations from around the world broadcast brutal images of assault tanks destroying the bamboo and tyre barricades and soldiers armed with rifles firing live ammunition at demonstrators.
In the midst of the highest inflation in seven years, on May 7 Venezuela’s revolutionary working people’s government escalated a campaign against price and currency speculators. President Hugo Chavez declared that his government would create an “export-import corporation to take over middle-class management of the people’s resources”.
[The following article is based on a presentation at the Direct Action Centre in Sydney on May 15 before the screening of a film on the role of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia in the country’s political life.]
Australian News & Analysis
The East Timorese government is refusing to accept a proposal by Australian-based exploration company Woodside Petroleum to develop the Greater Sunrise gas deposit in the Timor Sea with a huge floating processing plant. Despite heavy pressure from Woodside, with the backing of the Australian government, East Timor is adamant that the gas should be processed in East Timor.
The Deepwater Horizon oil spill disaster in the Gulf of Mexico has once again focussed attention on the environmentally disastrous petroleum fuel industry. The devastating impact on the ecology of the Gulf of Mexico – along with the impact upon the livelihoods of hundreds of communities reliant on the waters of the Gulf – is far from a unique event.
On February 8, Australian immigration minister Senator Chris Evans announced a review of the skilled migration program. The skilled migration program is aimed at attracting workers from abroad who hold skills that Australia’s capitalists especially need.
Ark Tribe, a rank-and-file member of the construction division of the South Australian branch of the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU) is facing six months in prison for refusing to attend an interview with the Australian Building and Construction Commission.
During the July campus holidays, a dozen youth and students from Australia, England, South Africa and Mauritius will participate in the first Australian Youth and Student Revolutionary Tour of Venezuela and Cuba.
The West Australian public sector is under attack. Under Liberal Premier Colin Barnett’s privatisation plans, public sector agencies delivering services in industries such as forestry, health, education, and electricity and water supply are being asked to identify activities that may be sold off to private businesses.
Barely a ripple of interest surfaced with the announcement by the Australian Council of Trade Unions on April 20 of a new president-elect for Australia’s peak union body.
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.
Australia has been much luckier than most countries in the current international recession. While unemployment has certainly increased, it has not risen as much as in most of the world and, at 5.4%, it is still lower than it was throughout the 1990s.
In Their Own Words
“He says the most appalling things and can’t understand why people get upset. He has no empathy. He’s got narcissistic personality disorder.” – Former Liberal Party leader Brendan Nelson on Malcolm Turnbull, his successor as Liberal Party leader.