Issue Number 31

April 2011

  • Nuclear is never safe - renewable energy now
  • Free Libya: End imperialist intervention

International News & Analysis

By Kathy Newnam

The so-called humanitarian intervention in Libya is nothing of the kind. It is a war in which the US-led imperialist forces have used the widespread sympathy for the Libyan people’s uprising to justify the latest chapter in their war for empire.

By Barry Sheppard

San Francisco – The largest demonstration against Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker’s drive to smash public workers’ unions happened soon after he and Republican legislators illegally pushed through legislation that virtually outlaws collective bargaining by these unions.

By James Balowski

Jakarta – The gruesome murder of three members of the Ahmadiyah religious sect by an Islamist mob has left Indonesia’s image of pluralism and religious tolerance in tatters. On February 6, a mob of 1500 people attacked 21 Ahmadiyah members in Cikeusik, a village in Banten province in Java, killing three and seriously wounding five others.

By Zely Ariane

Jakarta – International Women’s Day is still much less known among Indonesian women than May Day is among Indonesian workers. This is not surprising because the struggle for the liberation of women developed only several years after reformasi – the movement that toppled the Suharto dictatorship in 1998.

By Hamish Chitts

The fires of the Arab uprising have spread to US-occupied Iraq. Sectarian divisions fostered by the US and its puppet Iraqi government, through death squads, sermons and propaganda, have been swept aside as Iraq’s working class unites to demand jobs, basic services and an end to corruption.

US lawyer Leonard Weinglass, who represented Antonio Guerrero (one of the five Cubans incarcerated in US jails) died Wednesday, March 23, in New York after he did not recover from a cancer surgery, cubadebate reported.

Weinglass would have turned 78, since he died on the same day he was born back in 1933.

By Jon Lamb

The nuclear accident in Japan caused by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami has affirmed many of the concerns that anti-nuclear campaigners have been warning of for decades. Above all else, nuclear power is a deadly form of energy production. At every point of the nuclear energy cycle, there is a risk of a major environmental and social catastrophe.

By Kim Bullimore

Tens of thousands of Palestinians rallied for national unity across the occupied West Bank and Gaza on March 15. The rallies, led by Palestinian youth and inspired by the recent uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt, sought to bring to an end three and a half years of bitter division and rivalry between Palestinian factions Fatah and Hamas.

By Sam King

If “Labor Party” makes you think of right-wing parties like the ALP or the British Labour Party, the Labor Party in the Philippines (PM from its name in Tagalog) will be a refreshing surprise. Unlike those parties, the PM is a home for revolutionaries and trade union leaders who put up a fight against their bosses.

Australian News & Analysis

By Andrew Martin

Dramatic scenes unfolded as at least 150 asylum seekers, believed to be mostly Iranians, broke out of the Christmas Island detention centre on Saturday, March 12. After pushing down a fence, a number of detainees fled to the north-west tip of the island, which is covered in jungle. Almost 20 men are still at large, but are being hunted down by Australian Federal Police.

By Tim Stewart

The campaign against coal seam gas (CSG) mining has accelerated across small towns and rural areas in NSW and Queensland. An investigative documentary, The Gas Rush, aired on February 21 by ABC TV, has spurred anger at mining companies, revealing an industry that is fully backed by state and federal Labor governments.

By Ben Reid

Recriminations are continuing over the management of the Wivenhoe dam and its contribution to the devastating February floods in Brisbane. Few, however, are looking at the evidence that is mounting of the considerable costs involved in the construction and failure of large dams.

By Doug Lorimer

The federal Labor government and the Greens announced on February 24 that they had agreed to sell carbon pollution permits at a fixed price from July 1, 2012, as an interim measure. After that, a carbon emissions permit trading scheme will be introduced within three to five years.

By Kerry Vernon

The March 23 Sydney Morning Herald reported that two Sri Lankan men who were originally rejected asylum seekers and were taken to the Australian mainland to alleviate overcrowding at the Christmas Island immigration detention centre in March 2010 have now been granted refugee visas after a High Court challenge determined that they were denied procedural fairness according to

By Doug Lorimer

As was predicted by opinion polls, the Labor Party was routed in the March 26 NSW state elections, garnering only 34% of the popular vote on a two-party preferred basis to the Liberal-National Coalition’s 66%. Labor is likely to retain at most 21 out of the 93 seats in the NSW lower house of parliament.

By Natalie Martin

More than 140 unaccompanied minors from Iraq, Iran and Afghanistan are currently crowded into a centre originally built to house 40-50 asylum seekers, the Melbourne Immigration Transit Accommodation centre (MITA), located in the suburb of Broadmeadows.

By Jon Lamb

On March 22 the federal government finally passed the flood and cyclone levy, a one-off tax to help with the reconstruction of parts of Australia affected by recent natural disasters. The Julia Gillard Labor government expects the levy (formally known as the Natural Disaster Relief and Recovery Arrangement – NDRRA) to raise $1.8 billion.

Views, Discussion & Debate

By Kathy Newnam

[This article is based on a speech delivered to the International Women’s Day protest in Brisbane Square held on March 5. The rally of around 100 people marked the 100th year of IWD.]

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 Hamish Chitts

Anzac Day has long been less about remembrance of the people slaughtered in wars for Australia’s capitalist class and their foreign friends and more about creating a culture of blind nationalism and militarism.

By Allen Myers

If someone approached you and offered you $1 million to let him kill you, would you accept? What if the price was $2 million? $5 million?

Most people would probably say that there is no price at which they would sell their life. But that doesn’t prevent businesses and governments from setting a dollar value on our lives.

By Marce Cameron

The Sixth Cuban Communist Party (PCC) Congress will be held in the second half of April. The congress will have two agenda items: the economy and the election of a new Central Committee and other leadership bodies. Other decisions will be deferred to a conference later in the year.

In Their Own Words

Not retreating

“People say, ‘You are coming out of the Pech’; I prefer to look at it as realigning to provide better security for the Afghan people.” – Major General John F. Campbell, the US commander for eastern Afghanistan, on US forces withdrawing from the Pech Valley, where they have been trying to establish control since 2003.