San Francisco – The US mass media are awash with the Congressional wrangle over the “debt crisis”. The Republican Party in the House of Representatives is threatening to refuse to raise the ceiling on how much the government can borrow. The deadline for raising the ceiling is August 2.
International News & Analysis
The world economy is gradually recovering from the crisis that hit in 2007-08, and things will soon be back to normal, right? Wrong. The recovery from the international recession has so far applied mainly to the biggest capitalists and the highly paid executives who manage their businesses.
Sometimes small events can reveal a great deal. A case in point was the opening of an exhibition of political cartoons in Los Angeles in June.
In January 1992, Deng Xiaoping, the then “paramount leader” of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) made a tour of the Shenzhen Special Economic Zone in China’s southern Guangdong province, situated immediately north of Hong Kong. During his tour, Deng praised Guangdong as a model to be emulated by the rest of China.
In just five months, Egypt’s Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) has used up the good will it generated in January and February when the army high command did not attempt to crush the protest movement that forced Hosni Mubarak from power.
On July 19, three Israeli missile ships and seven commando boats intercepted the French boat Dignite-Al Karama in international waters as it attempted to break Israel’s illegal blockade of Gaza.
It was not just for the sake of democracy that the Indonesian people overthrew Suharto’s New Order dictatorship in May 1998, but also for justice and prosperity.
On July 29, six leaders of the Malaysian Socialist Party (PSM) were released from prison, 34 days after their arrest on June 25. Their release was a result of the tremendous sustained and energetic campaign that received broad support, especially in Malaysia.
Rupert Murdoch is a union-bashing, racist, warmongering thief, hypocrite, liar and all round crook. That’s not news to anyone, nor are these characteristics unusual for his class of people – the capitalist class. In fact, they are prerequisites. What is unusual is that some of the crimes of his empire are being brought into the light of day.
In recent months a simmering power struggle has erupted within the ruling circles of the Islamic Republic of Iran, between President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
Direct Action on May 9 after Morales had spoken to a workplace meeting of Brisbane bus drivers organised by the Rail, Tram, Bus Union and the Australia Cuba Friendship Society.][ezequiel>
A spectre is haunting Europe: the spectre of bankruptcy. At the centre of the European debt crisis is Greece, whose government and investors owe US$130 billion to European banks. Ireland, Portugal and Spain have public and private loans of US$463 billion, US$194 billion and US$642 billion respectively to European banks.
Australian News & Analysis
Fifty years ago this month, the US began its spraying of Agent Orange and similar chemicals containing large amounts of deadly cancer-causing dioxin over southern Vietnam. This murderous campaign lasted 10 years, poisoning uncounted Vietnamese civilians and liberation fighters and members of the US military and its allies.
On July 5, the Senate passed a motion that condemned the Marrickville Council for its vote last December in favour of the boycott, divestment and sanctions campaign against apartheid Israel. This was the latest in a growing attack against the BDS movement by the Zionists and their supporters in the government and corporate media in this country.
“If we don’t make this the biggest social movement this county has ever seen, it will be the biggest social disaster this country has ever seen”, exclaimed former tunnel driller Dayne Pratsky on July 5, speaking in Byron Bay to a packed public meeting against coal seam gas.
An Indonesian youth, Hadi Kurniawan, imprisoned on charges of people-smuggling, has drawn attention to the Australian government and legal system’s brazen disregard for human rights. Kurniawan’s case came to light almost by accident. Two refugee rights activists, Gerry Georgatos and Victoria Martin-Iverson, met Kurniawan at the Perth Immigration Detention Centre in January.
Signing the refugee swap deal with the Malaysian government on July 25, the Gillard Labor government has confirmed again that it is a world leader in dealing misery to refugees. The arrangement between Australia and Malaysia will exchange 800 asylum seekers who have sought asylum in Australia for 4000 refugees living in Malaysia.
NSW Premier Barry O’Farrell’s Liberal-National Coalition government has launched a major attack on public sector workers. The government’s planned $2 billion in savings over the next four years is to come from cutbacks in public sector workers’ wages and conditions.
Every two years, parts of northern Australia are invaded by the joint Australian-US war rehearsals known as Exercise Talisman Sabre.
A week before Four Corners aired its horrific footage of the fate of Australian cattle in Indonesia, Dateline on SBS featured terrifying and disturbing images of canings, detention and brutal treatment of asylum seekers at a Malaysian detention centre.
Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair faced protests during his visit to Australia and New Zealand in July. Below is the press statement for the Brisbane protest (pictured):
Tony Blair has the blood of millions of people on his hands. He is a mass murderer who should be rotting in a jail cell, not jet-setting around the world earning millions.
“First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, then you win.” If Gandhi was right about this progression of a non-violent movement, then the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israel is well on the road to victory.
The fight to stop a gas hub at James Price Point in the Kimberley is stepping up despite police attacking protesters. The $30 billion project by Woodside would destroy Aboriginal sacred sites including ancient burial grounds. Traditional owners of the land have blockaded the site along with environmentalists, leading to a seven-week stand-off with police.
As the details of its long-awaited “carbon tax” package were announced, Julia Gillard’s Labor government plummeted in popularity. Australia faces the real possibility of a landslide victory at the next election for the conservative Coalition under the leadership of the notorious reactionary Tony Abbott.
Zack Furness is the author of One Less Car: Bicycling and the politics of automobility (Temple University Press, 2010). He was interviewed via email by Jon Lamb.
In Their Own Words
“When we hear ourselves being called occupiers and worse, our pride is offended and we begin to lose our inspiration to carry on.” – Karl Eidenberry, US ambassador to Afghanistan.