Burma’s military dictatorship is preparing so-called elections on November 7, based on the sham 2008 constitution, which was crafted to further strengthen and legitimise permanent military power. Under that constitution, the military is guaranteed at least 25% of the seats.
International News & Analysis
Figures released on August 24 on the housing market in the United States reveal that further tough times lie ahead for the ailing US economy. Existing home sales in the US fell 27.2% in July – the biggest drop in one month in the home sales market in the last four decades and the lowest number of sales since 1999.
Jakarta – Around 800 demonstrators from the National Movement for the Cancellation of Basic Electricity Rate Hikes and the Reduction of Prices held a protest action at the State Palace in central Jakarta on August 7. The movement is a broad alliance involving more than 45 organisations.
Fears that the US economy is sliding into a new recession or into a period of protracted near stagnation have been heightened by new data released at the end of August. Real US gross domestic product (GDP) increased at a sluggish annualised 1.6% rate in the April-June quarter of 2010 after increasing by 3.7% in the first quarter, the US Commerce Department announced on August 27.
A call for Pakistan to stop foreign debt repayments and use the money for flood relief was launched at a press conference at the Lahore Press Club on August 13.
San Francisco – Plans by a mainstream Islamic group to build a cultural centre a few blocks from where the former Twin Towers of the World Trade Center stood in New York have suddenly been seized on by right-wing media and politicians to whip up a storm of Islamophobia.
Israeli military and police razed the Bedouin village of al-Arakib in the Negev desert for a fourth time on August 17, leaving homeless more than 300 Palestinian Bedouin from the al-Turi tribe, the majority of them children.
On August 25 Vo Nguyen Giap celebrated his 100th birthday, accompanied by tributes and well wishes from the people of Vietnam and from revolutionaries around the world.
The situation of women in Latin America today seems both encouraging and disgraceful. In different spheres women have achieved both professional and political recognition. Many top professionals are women, and we even have female presidents, like Michelle Bachelet, Cristina Kirchner or the recently elected president of Costa Rica.
Jakarta – On July 5-8, activists from Southern countries gathered for the South-South People’s Solidarity Network (SSPSN) in Petaling Jaya, Selangor, Malaysia.
Yogyakarta – The beach-side town of Parangtritis, on the southern coast of Yogyakarta, is currently the site of a protracted and bitter struggle over land between the local government and people.
Zionism, the belief that all Jews throughout the world constitute a nation that requires its own homeland, is a relatively recent ideology.
Binghamton, New York State – The following is an abridged version of an article first published on August 8 (on James Petras’ website). Since then, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and newly-inaugurated right-wing Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos have restored diplomatic relations between their two countries.
“The Department of Defense already occupies one third of our lands and has harmed so much of our ocean. We cannot allow them to take more from our island and people. These projects will devastate our ecosystems, change our ways of life, and disregard our Chamorro culture. United we can stop this. Let’s stand together to protect our lands, ocean, and culture!”
Jakarta – Human rights groups have reacted angrily to an announcement by Washington that it will restore military ties with Indonesia’s abusive special forces Kopassus, accused of perpetrating some of the worst crimes against the people of East Timor, Indonesia and West Papua.
Complete with flight suit, then US President George W. Bush flew by fighter jet to the aircraft carrier USS Lincoln in May 2003. In a performance staged for the cameras before a huge banner reading “Mission Accomplished”, with thousands of troops cheering him on, Bush declared the “end of major combat operations” in Iraq.
Vietnam won its independence 65 years ago. On September 2, 1945, in Hanoi’s Ba Dinh Square, hundreds of thousands of people heard President Ho Chi Minh, on behalf of the provisional government, read out the Declaration of Independence.
“I’ve been waiting for [this] for a long time”, tweeted Daniel Ellsberg, in reference to the release of more than 92,000 pages of classified US military documents by the whistle-blower website Wikileaks, on July 25.
Australian News & Analysis
Spending well over $2 million on election advertising, the ACTU and many affiliates again raised the spectre of an Abbott-run industrial relations agenda in the event of a Coalition victory. And despite all the denials, there is every reason to believe that a Liberal federal government would seek harsher penalties for unions and their members.
The federal election result tells two important stories, and also includes a critical subtext for the left. The first is growing insecurity among the working class in Australia and the decreasing legitimacy of neoliberal politics.
The Revolutionary Socialist Party candidate for the Queensland seat of Griffith, Hamish Chitts, believes that the campaign was highly successful in raising the banner of revolutionary socialism. The campaign almost doubled the socialist vote in the seat itself and spread the word about the socialist solutions to the crises of capitalism far and wide beyond the seat.
Whether it is the global financial crisis, endless wars, runaway climate change or the millions of people starving in the Third World, the symptoms of an international capitalist system in deep crisis are all around us. This crisis threatens the very existence of humanity, and peoples around the world are responding with resistance, rebellions and revolutions.
We can be very proud of the votes for the Revolutionary Socialist Party candidates, Van Rudd in Lalor (Vic) with 457 votes, and Hamish Chitts in Griffith (Qld) with 485.
Rafeef Ziadah, a Palestinian activist, unionist, academic and spoken word artist will be the keynote speaker at the Building Solidarity, Combating Occupation and Apartheid conference, which is being held in Melbourne from October 29 to 31. This will be the first Australian national conference in support of the Palestinian-initiated boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) campaign.
On June 20, 2009, in Melbourne, Sam King was riding home on his bicycle. When trying to pass the Retro Cafe in Fitzroy, he was pulled off his bike, bashed, handcuffed and jailed. Two of the 25 witnesses to the assault were themselves bashed for questioning the police perpetrators. One was also jailed. The other, an 18-year-old woman, was hospitalised with face wounds.
The Revolutionary Socialist Party’s campaign to run Van Rudd against Julia Gillard and Hamish Chitts against Kevin Rudd was a clear step forward for the profile of revolutionary socialist ideas among working people in Australia.
In their 1977 book The Emergence of American Political Issues, Maxwell E. McCombs and Donald L. Shaw argued that the “the most important effect of mass communication”, i.e. the media, is its ability to “mentally order and organise our world for us.
On August 13, Stand Fast’s Graeme Dunstan organised a highly successful speak-out in front of Townsville’s Lavarack Barracks, one of the Australian Army’s largest bases. There was a good turn out of local supporters, 14 in total including a British veteran of Cyprus, Jenny Stirling from the Greens and David Lowe from the Socialist Alliance.
Election statement by Hamish Chitts, Revolutionary Socialist Party candidate for Griffith.
Regardless of which party gains government from Saturday’s Federal Election the majority of people in this country, the working class, will be worse off. Whoever wins will continue to oversee measures that will profit a tiny minority of super rich, the capitalist class.
A dozen youth and students from Australia, England and South Africa and two members from Lalit in Mauritius have concluded a revolutionary youth and student tour of the revolutions of Cuba and Venezuela. This fantastic experience was an initiative of the Sydney University Cuba-Venezuela Solidarity Club (CVSC).
Views, Discussion & Debate
Socialism, someone said to me recently, may be a fine idea, but unfortunately human nature would prevent it from operating as intended; by nature, people are too individualistic or competitive or greedy to live in a system of planned cooperation and solidarity. Is this the case?
At the Byron Bay Writers Festival in August, a popular ideologue of the environment movement, Ian Lowe, told a packed-out marquee, to a round of applause “and someone is shovelling coal into the steamer to get us there faster ...”: “The only responsible thing for citizens to do is organise a mutiny”.
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.
The 30 Year War: Memoirs of War
The Gioi Publishers, Hanoi, 2009. 709pp.
Available from all Direct Action offices for $20.
Sixty years ago, on September 1, 1950, Frank Hardy published Power Without Glory, one of the most influential and provocative pieces of working-class literature ever written in Australia. It met with wide acclaim and respect from workers through to intellectuals, while being ridiculed and condemned by conservativesand reactionaries of the day.
In Their Own Words
“I think the message from the Australian people is they do want to see a change to the way politics is conducted.” – Julia Gillard.
“We should be ashamed of the way we led the country.” – Iraqi Vice-President Adel Abdul Mahdi.