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Australia

Philippines: Socialist party supports Australian workers' blockade

February 12, 2013 -- Radio Australia -- A Philippine socialist party has thrown its support behind the Australian workers blockading the Werribee Water Treatment plant south-west of Melbourne.

Unemployed local tradespeople have been blockading the Werribee Water Treatment plant for the past week to protest against the employment of Filipino workers on special 457 visas [for guest workers].

Earlier this week, the Federal Court reserved decision on the Fair Work Building and Construction Inspectorate's bid to end the eight-day blockade.

On Monday, a group of 12 men, including Filipino workers, were helicoptered into the water treatment plant to avoid the blockade.

The chairperson of the Party of the Laboring Masses (PLM), Sonny Melencio, has told Radio Australia's Asia Pacific program he's concerned Filipino workers are being used to break picket lines.

Watermelons or tomatoes? Social democracy, class and the Australian Greens

[For more on the Australian Greens, click HERE. For more on Green parties around the world, click HERE.]

By Nick Fredman

January 2013 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal; this is a preprint of an article submitted for consideration in Capitalism, Nature, Socialism, copyright 2013 Taylor and Francis; Capitalism, Nature, Socialism is available at http://www.tandfonline.com/toc/rcns20/current.

Abstract

This article* examines the extent to which Green parties can be considered social-democratic formations. The Australian Greens, since 2010 in de facto governmental coalition with the Labor Party, are posited as an important case study of the global Green party movement. The Australian Greens have generally been seen as a far-left party, as expressing the views of the new social movements or as a site of tension between these two tendencies.

No to sexual assault! Socialist Alliance statement in solidarity with the international movement against violence against women

Mass protest against violence against women, India Gate, Delhi, December 23, 2012. Photo by Rakesh Kumar Meena.

See also "Why socialists need feminism". For more discussion of feminism, click HERE.

January 5, 2013 -- The Socialist Alliance (Australia) stands in solidarity with the growing movement in India fighting violence against women. Progressive forces in that country have braved police brutality and repression, mobilising massive turnouts at protests against gender violence.

The wave of protests was sparked by the horrific rape on December 15, and the consequent death, of a 23-year-old woman in Delhi.

Indian activists report that a significant new movement against sexual violence has risen up and is putting serious pressure on the government to eliminate the institutionalised gender bias in laws and investigation mechanisms. Young and old people, women and men, who have never before participated in public protests are taking to the streets to demand gender justice.

Australia: Socialist Alliance 9th national conference, Geelong, January 18-20, 2013

The ninth national conference of the Socialist Alliance will be held in Geelong (Victoria), from January 18-20, 2013. It is open to all Socialist Alliance members and invited guests.

The national conference is our highest decision-making body, and delegates are elected from each branch to participate and vote at the conference on a number of resolutions on international and Australian politics and campaigns, party building and the plans of the Socialist Alliance for the coming year. The conference also considers any proposed changes to the Constitution and elects the incoming national executive and national office bearers.

Special international guest from Pakistan

Alia Amirali, the general secretary of Pakistan's National Student Federation (Punjab) and a member of the newly formed Awami Workers' Party (the product of the biggest left regroupment in that country), will be the special international guest speaker at the conference. She has some very important experiences to share, as this interview shows.

Australia: Socialist Alliance to endorse and participate in Marxism 2013

Joint statement by Socialist Alliance and Socialist Alternative,

December 13, 2012 -- Socialist Alliance -- The National Executives of the Socialist Alliance and Socialist Alternative agreed on December 13 to terms under which Socialist Alliance and Green Left Weekly will endorse and participate in the Marxism 2013 conference to be held in Melbourne, March 28-April 1, 2013.

This first significant national co-operation between our two organisations is a product of discussions that began between the two organisations on November 4, 2012, to explore the possibility of closer collaboration and unity.

Socialist Alliance and Green Left Weekly will be promoting Marxism 2013 as an important opportunity for all socialists and other progressive activists and thinkers to discuss how we can advance our common cause.

What politics to unite Australia's left?

"If we are going to get anywhere with left unity today we are going to have to find a way to get beyond a false argument within the left about who is really 'revolutionary' and who is not, and start discussing, in a constructive way, how best a united left can engage in the struggles against the ills of capitalism." 

By Peter Boyle, national co-convenor, Socialist Alliance

December 8, 2012 -- Socialist Alliance -- Once again the question of left unity is on the agenda in Australia. There have been exploratory talks between the Socialist Alliance and Socialist Alternative and also between the Socialist Alliance and the Communist Party of Australia (CPA). The Socialist Alliance and the CPA worked together in a Housing Action election ticket in the Sydney City Council elections earlier this year.

Left debate: Organising women against sexist violence

Socialist Alliance member Margarita Windisch addresses the 2012 Melbourne Reclaim the Night rally. Transcript HERE.

See also "Why socialists need feminism". For more discussion of feminism, click HERE.

December 9, 2012 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- An article that appeared on the website of the magazine of the Socialist Alternative organisation on November 22, 2012, has sparked an interesting debate across the Australian left on merits of socialists organising against violence against women.

بيتر بويلي، ممثل "التحالف اليساري بأستراليا" :شكرا للشّعب التّونسي الذي أظهر للعالم أنّ الانتفاضة الشعبيّة لا تزال قـوّة مؤثرة

[The following interview with national co-convenor of Australia's Socialist Alliance Peter Boyle appeared in Sawt Chaab (People's Voice), the weekly newspaper of the Tunisian Worker's Party (formerly the Communist Workers’ Party of Tunisia) on November 9, 2012. Tunisian Worker's Party comrades have been jailed for publishing this newspaper, which was produced in clandestinity under both the Bourguiba and Ben Ali regimes. While other papers disappeared because of oppression, Sawt Chaab has survived since 1985 through the determination of many militants. The interview and translation was done by Haithem Mahjoubi (email haithemmahjoubi [at] rocketmail.com) See the unabridged English text below.]

Australia: Socialist Party local councillor re-elected in Yarra, Melbourne

Re-elected socialist municipal councillor Steve Jolly.

For more articles on socialists in municipal councils, click HERE.

Socialist Party member Mel Gregson interviewed by Ian Anderson

November 6, 2012 -- The Spark (New Zealand), posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission -- In the recent local elections of Victoria, Australia, socialist candidates won seats in Yarra and Moreland. Socialist Party councillor on the Yarra local council in Melbourne Stephen Jolly won his seat for the third time. [The Socialist Party is associated with the international Committee for a Workers International (CWI).]

* * *

The Spark: So the Socialist Party retained its municipal council seat held by Stephen Jolly, and lost its council seat held by Anthony Main. Can you break that down a bit more?

Mel Gregson: The campaign in Yarra was very successful with almost one in five voters across the city voting for us. We stood a team of five candidates, including current councillors Stephen Jolly and Anthony Main.

Australia’s two biggest socialist groups begin talks on prospects for left unity

Graphic from the North Star.

By Peter Boyle

November 4, 2012 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- On November 4, a delegation of Susan Price, Sue Bolton and myself, from the Socialist Alliance had an initial meeting to discuss left unity prospects with a delegation comprising Mick Armstrong, Sandra Bloodworth and Corey Oakley from Socialist Alternative.

The meeting was cordial and constructive. A short joint statement was issued that night, which noted that “the basis exists to begin a process of discussion to clarify our respective political positions and engage in collaborative work, with the aim of establishing if unity is possible”. The statement was published on both organisations' websites.

The joint statement said: “It was acknowledged that there are real political differences between the groups, both historic and to do with immediate questions of day-to-day politics and a conception of what kind of organisation the left needs. We had only the most provisional discussion of these issues, and it is clear that we are just at the start of a lengthy process of clarification.

`Foro Social Latinamericano', Green Left Weekly's Spanish-language supplement, November 2012 issue

November 4, 2012 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Providing facts and analysis, and publicising and organising Latin America solidarity activities in Australia, Green Left Weekly and Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal has sought to promote greater understanding and solidarity between the people of Australia and Latin America.

We are therefore delighted to publish Latin America Social Forum (Foro Social Latinamericano), a Spanish-language supplement produced regularly by the Latin America Social Forum in Sydney.

We hope the supplement will help build stronger links and solidarity between the Spanish-speaking communities in Australia and all those involved in the urgent struggles for the people and the planet. In the words of Venezuela’s President Hugo Chavez: “Time is short. If we don’t change the world now, there may be no 22nd century.”

GLW and Links congratulates the Latin America Social Forum for this important publication, and looks forward to continuing to help build solidarity in Australia, and around the world, with Latin America’s movements for freedom, democracy, sustainability and justice.

* * *

Australia: Cuba's literacy program a success for Aboriginal community (+ photo essay)

Jose Chala Leblanch In Wilcannia, with his local footy jumper. Photo shared by Jose Chala Leblanch.

See also "Los! Hau Bele! -- `Yo! Si Puedo' comes to Timor Leste: Cuba assists the eradication of illiteracy". For more examples of revolutionary Cuba's internationalism, click HERE.

By Fred Fuentes

September 29, 2012 -- Green Left Weekly/Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Sixteen Aboriginal adults in the remote Australian town of Wilcannia, in outback New South Wales, are the first graduates of a groundbreaking trial literacy program that would not have been possible without the help of a tiny Caribbean country — Cuba.

Australia: Communist municipal councillor connects the local to the global

Tony Oldfield.

For more articles on socialists in municipal councils, click HERE.

Tony Oldfield interviewed by Federico Fuentes

September 22, 2012 -- Green Left Weekly -- As we walk into a cafe in the Sydney suburb of Newington, a young Afghan barista greets Communist Party of Australia (CPA) activist Tony Oldfield by name and asks how the recent local Auburn council elections went. After talking for a few minutes about which councillors were re-elected and which were not, the young man asks: “And how about you Tony?”

Only then does Tony point out that he too was elected.

In doing so, Oldfield became one of only four socialist local councillors in Australia at the present time.

Oldfield told Green Left Weekly that the origins of his election date back to the early 2000s, when “local Turkish community activists, leftists and some small business owners”, came together to form a community group opposed to the proposed Collex waste transfer station.

Their legal challenge against the waste dump was successful in the Land and Environment Court, but “the Carr Labor government brought in an act to parliament that overturned the court decision”.

Brian Senewiratne: Deterioration of human rights in Sri Lanka

September 10, 2012 -- Green Left TV -- A 56-minute presentation by Brian Senewiratne at the Fremantle Town Hall, Western Australia, on September 1, 2012. Senewiratne is a veteran campaigner for the rights of the Ilankai (Sri Lankan) Tamils, and staunch advocate for the right of Tamil self-determination. He is a Socialist Alliance member in Queensland. The forum was organised by a new network called "Human Rights in Sri Lanka and Tamil Eelam".

There has been a surge of refugess fleeing repression in Sri Lanka, some attempting to make the entire crossing of the Indian Ocean to Australia without stopping. The genocidal violence of the government of Sri Lanka and the determination of the ruling Labor and opposition Liberal parties in Australia to "turn back the boats" go hand in glove.

2 millionth visit to 'Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal': yet another milestone

Dot sizes for visits between May and September 2012:   = 1,000+   = 100 - 999   = 10 - 99   = 1 - 9 visits 

September 9, 2012 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- On Saturday, September 8, 2012, Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal received its 2 millionth visit (since statistics began being kept on April 8, 2008). Its 1 millionth visit was registered on October 20, 2010. Less than a year later, Links' 1.5 millionth visitor arrived, in late September 2011.

Those 2 million visitors have collectively read more than 2,685,000 articles in that time. 

`Foro Social Latinamericano', Green Left Weekly's Spanish-language supplement, September 2012 issue

September 9, 2012 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Providing facts and analysis, and publicising and organising Latin America solidarity activities in Australia, Green Left Weekly and Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal has sought to promote greater understanding and solidarity between the people of Australia and Latin America.

We are therefore delighted to publish Latin America Social Forum (Foro Social Latinamericano), a Spanish-language supplement produced regularly by the Latin America Social Forum in Sydney.

We hope the supplement will help build stronger links and solidarity between the Spanish-speaking communities in Australia and all those involved in the urgent struggles for the people and the planet. In the words of Venezuela’s President Hugo Chavez: “Time is short. If we don’t change the world now, there may be no 22nd century.”

GLW and Links congratulates the Latin America Social Forum for this important publication, and looks forward to continuing to help build solidarity in Australia, and around the world, with Latin America’s movements for freedom, democracy, sustainability and justice.

* * *

La campaña contra Wikileaks debilita las campañas contra violaciones

[In English at http://links.org.au/node/3000.]

Por Ash Pemberton, traducido del inglés para Rebelión por Germán Leyens

29-08-2012 -- Green Left Weekly -- La odisea personal del jefe de WikiLeaks Julian Assange se ha utilizado para eclipsar el innovador periodismo de WikiLeaks que sacó a la luz los secretos de gobiernos y corporaciones de todo el mundo.

Unos cables diplomáticos australianos obtenidos por el Sydney Morning Herald en diciembre revelaron: “WikiLeaks es objetivo de una investigación criminal ‘sin precedentes’ por parte del gobierno de EE.UU.” A pesar de esto, el gobierno australiano sigue argumentando públicamente que no tiene conocimiento de una campaña estadounidense contra Assange –editor y fundador del sitio– e incluso argumentó que era muy improbable.

No es sorprendente que el mayor incriminado por las publicaciones de WikiLeaks –el gobierno de EE.UU.– se proponga estatuir un ejemplo con los involucrados. Uno de los miles de correos electrónicos hackeados de la firma de espionaje privada Stratfor publicados por WikiLeaks en febrero dice que EE.UU. tiene una acusación en firme contra Assange.

Anti-Wikileaks crusade undermines anti-rape campaigns; George Galloway wrong on rape

By Ash Pemberton

August 24, 2012 -- Green Left Weekly -- The personal saga of Wikileaks editor-in-chief Julian Assange has been used to overshadow the ground-breaking journalism of Wikileaks in exposing the secrets of governments and corporations around the world.

Australian diplomatic cables obtained by the Sydney Morning Herald in December revealed, “WikiLeaks is the target of an 'unprecedented' US government criminal investigation.” Despite this, the Australian government continues to argue publicly that it has no knowledge of a US campaign against Assange — the site's editor in chief and founder — and even argued it was highly unlikely.

It is unsurprising that the main party incriminated by Wikileaks' releases — the United States government — is out to make an example of those involved. One of thousands of hacked emails from private spy firm Stratfor released by Wikileaks in February said the US had a sealed indictment against Assange.

Assange was granted political asylum by Ecuador on August 16 after staying in Ecuador's British embassy since June to avoid extradition to Sweden. He remains in the embassy in a stand-off with British police who have backed down on their threat to raid the embassy.

Sudanese rally for freedom

July 20, 2012 -- GreenLeftTV -- A popular uprising against the brutal tyranny of the Omar al-Bashir regime is sweeping Sudan. It began with protest led by women students at Khartoum University but has spread throughout the country, despite severe repression from the Sudan regime. Sudanese refugee communities around the world have started holding actions in solidarity with the uprising and on July 20 was the Sydney community's turn. It will be only the first of many more actions, they vowed. Video by Peter Boyle for GLTV.

For more on Sudan, click HERE.

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