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Australia

Malaysia's pro-democracy Bersih 2.0: It’s 50k and a big success; Support in Australia

Statement by Bersih 2.0 organisers: Malaysians show great bravery, the struggle for clean and fair elections continues

July 9, 2011 -- Bersih 2.0 -- Bersih 2.0 is proud that in spite of all the obstacles and hindrances that we were forced to face, Malaysians of all walks of life overcame the oppressive acts of the police to come out peacefully and in incredibly large numbers to show their love for their country and for the principles of justice.

We are nonetheless horrified that several hundred people have been detained, many of them without any justification whatsoever. We particularly condemn the arrests of Dato’ Ambiga Sreenevesan and Maria Chin Abdullah, two members of the Bersih 2.0 Steering Committee.

The only violence witnessed was perpetrated by the police, who unleashed immense amounts of tear gas and chemical laced water on innocent members of the public. Police also baton charged those who gathered, injuring many and some very seriously.

The truth behind Chevron's greenwashing: 'The true cost of Chevron'

June 22, 2011 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Television viewers in Australia are being bombarded by an expensive series of PR advertisements extolling how much the giant "energy" corporation Chevron "agrees" with the Australian people's concerns for the environment. In a classic example of "greenwashing", Chevron's "We Agree" campaign is a concerted effort to defuse opposition to its activities around the world.

But as with most capitalist advertising, the truth and reality behind the glossy claims are very different, as the True Cost of Chevron: An Alternative Annual Report below highlights in extensive detail. Fortunately too, the satirical exposers of corporate shams the Yes Men joined forces with the environmental groups Amazon Watch and the Rainforest Action Network to issue a bogus press release and set up a phony website to expose the "We Agree" campaign.

`Foro Social Latinamericano', Green Left Weekly's Spanish-language supplement, June 2011 issue

June 15, 2011 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- For environmentalists, Indigenous rights activists, feminists, socialists and all progressive people, Latin America is a source of hope and inspiration today. The people of Venezuela, Cuba, Bolivia and Ecuador, among others, are showing that radical social change is possible and a better, more just society can be imagined and built.

The tide of rebellion and revolution now sweeping Latin America is posing a serious challenge to imperialism’s brutal global rule. For anyone who wants an end to war, exploitation and oppression, Latin America’s struggles to create alternatives are crucially important.

Australia's leading socialist newspaper Green Left Weekly is strongly committed to supporting the growing “people’s power” movement in Latin America. Through our weekly articles on developments in the region, GLW strives to counter the corporate media’s many lies about Latin America’s revolutions, and to give a voice in English to the people’s movements for change.

Malaysian and Australian socialists: `Refugees are not commodities! No outsourcing refugee obligations to Malaysia!'

Joint statement of the Socialist Party of Malaysia (PSM) and the Socialist Alliance (Australia)

May 18, 2011 -- The Socialist Party of Malaysia (PSM) and the Socialist Alliance in Australia denounce the recent agreement made between the governments of Malaysia and Australia, whereby Australia will send 800 asylum seekers who have been detained by Australian authorities to Malaysia in exchange for 4000 refugees currently in Malaysia.

The arrangement for this “Malaysian solution” to asylum seekers attempting to arrive in Australia clearly shows that the Australian government is washing its hands of its responsibility to protect refugees and is “off-shoring” or “outsourcing” the violation of refugee rights to Malaysia, a country with no proper legal instruments to protect the rights of refugees. Both the governments of Malaysia and Australia have not taken the plight of refugees and asylum seekers seriously, and only treat them like trade-able commodities.

Communists in local councils: The red shire of Kearsley, 1944-47

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

May 18, 2011 -- Recent electoral victories in Australia by socialists at the municipal council level -- the Socialist Party's Stephen Jolly in Victoria and Socialist Alliance's Sam Wainwright in Western Australia -- have sparked renewed interest in the experiences of socialists who have been elected to such bodies. Below is a study of one such experience in Australia: Martin Mowbray's classic (1986) "The Red Shire of Kearsley, 1944-1947: Communists in Local Government". It is posted here for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Mowbray, Martin, "The Red Shire of Kearsley, 1944-1947: Communists in Local Government", Labour History, no. 51 (Nov., 1986), pp. 83-94. Published by the Australian Society for the Study of Labour History, Inc.

Download HERE in PDF format, or read it on screen below.

(See also "Red councillors during the Cold War: Communists on Sydney City Council, 1953-59".)

Colombia must free Joaquin Perez Becerra

Statement from the Socialist Alliance in Australia

May 14, 2011 -- The Socialist Alliance calls on the Colombian government to immediately release independent media activist Joaquin Perez Becerra, who is now facing charges of “terrorism”.

Perez Becerra, a refugee from Colombia, is a Swedish citizen. We also call on the Swedish government to do its upmost to defend the rights of one of its citizens.

Under Article 33(1) of the Geneva Convention, no refugee shall be returned “in any manner whatsoever to the frontiers of territories where his life or freedom would be threatened on account of his race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion”.

We also call on the Venezuelan government, which complied with Colombia's request to deport Perez Becerra to Colombia, to demand that Colombia respect the rights due to Perez Becerra under international conventions.

Perez Becerra, a strong voice in defence of human rights in Colombia, was forced to leave Colombia in 1993 following the murder of his wife and constant death threats against him due to his membership in the Union Patriotica (UP).

As a member of this democratic and legally registered party, Perez Becerra was elected city councillor in Corinto, Valle del Cauca. However, a state-sponsored campaign of violence and terror against the UP resulted in the assassination of more than 4000 UP members.

Malaysian socialists: No to Australia's outsourcing of the violation of refugee rights to Malaysia

May 12, 2011 -- The Socialist Party of Malaysia (PSM) denounces the recent agreement made between the governments of Malaysia and Australia, whereby Australia will send 800 asylum seekers who have been detained by Australian authorities to Malaysia in exchange for 4000 refugees currently in Malaysia.

The arrangement for this “Malaysian solution” to asylum seekers attempting to arrive in Australia clearly shows that the Australian government is washing its hands off its responsibility to protect refugees and is “off-shoring” or “outsourcing” the violation of refugees' rights to Malaysia, a country with no proper legal instruments to protect the rights of refugees.

Both the governments of Malaysia and Australia have not taken the plight of refugees and asylum seekers seriously, and only treat them like tradeable commodities.

Socialist Alliance: International greetings on May Day 2011


Made with Slideshow Embed Tool.
May Day March in Sydney, May 1, 2011. Photos by Peter Boyle.

By the Socialist Alliance (Australia)

April 30, 2011 -- The Socialist Alliance in Australia sends our warm comradely greetings and best wishes for successful activities on May 1, International Workers’ Day.

May Day this year takes place in a tumultuous time: the multiple crises confronting global capitalism are deepening, while mass resistance to its brutal rule grows. The people’s uprisings across the Arab world this year pose a major challenge to imperialism and neoliberalism, and are inspiring hope and resistance among oppressed people everywhere.

Green illusions and the carbon tax

By Tim Anderson

April 30, 2011 -- The proposal for a carbon tax raises the issues of tax equity and political strategy. Yet despite their inter-relatedness, we need to disentangle these issues to focus on the original question. As a mean of addressing climate change, the carbon tax proposal comes in the context of difficult global negotiations, where almost any proposal has been seen as a breakthrough, and where (after the last financial derivatives bubble) there is justified suspicion of emissions trading schemes.

In Australia the political context includes a narrow, two-party debate which has reverted to tax incidence, with both major parties basically captured by the major investor groups and Labor having recently been humiliated over a failed proposal for a new mining tax. Into this mix we have the Greens, presenting as an alternative, yet signing an accord with the Labor government over its carbon tax.

I would like to briefly touch on the tax equity issue, before moving to the carbon tax and then to the question of political strategies.

Tax equity

Australia & New Zealand: The imperialist reality behind ANZAC myth (updated 2015)

Film by John Rainford and Peter Ewer

April 24, 2015 -- Green Left TV/Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- As the 100th anniversary of the ANZAC's ill-fated Gallipoli campaign approaches, this timely short film (above) cuts through the myth making, and shows with damning facts how lives were used as fodder as strategic and tactical blunders led to the slaughter of so many.

It reveals the context behind the Gallipoli campaign - a war fought because the world had been cut up into colonies by the major powers who were now battling for the spoils.

The film shows exactly why the terrible ANZAC Cove campaign should never be forgotten — and the crimes of the warmongers responsible never forgiven.

* * *

George Monbiot vs Helen Caldicott: Who is right about the Chernobyl death toll?

By Jim Green

April 17, 2011 -- Green Left Weekly -- With the 25th anniversary of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster falling on April 26, a debate is brewing over the estimated death toll. The debate has erupted with a heated exchange between prominent British columnist George Monbiot and anti-nuclear campaigner Dr Helen Caldicott. Monbiot claims the “official death toll” from Chernobyl is 43. Caldicott puts the death toll at 985,000. Someone's wrong. Perhaps they both are.

The debate over the Chernobyl death toll turns on the broader debate over the health effects of low-level ionising radiation and in particular the risk of cancer. The weight of scientific opinion holds that there is no threshold below which ionising radiation poses no risk and that the risk is proportional to the dose — the “linear no-threshold” (LNT) model.

Australia: Strong support for Marrickville council's stand against Israel's apartheid

April 19, 2011 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- The following letters and statements have been sent to the Marrickville City Council, in Sydney, Australia, in support of its decision to boycott Israel. The council has been under enormous pressure from Australia's capitalist media and the pro-Israel lobby to reverse the policy. For background information, please see "Australia: Murdoch press demonises Greens over support for Palestinian rights". For more on the BDS campaign and the struggle of the Palestinian people, please click HERE.

Marrickville council – continue to stand on the right side of history!

By the Palestinian BDS National Committee

Australia: Murdoch press demonises Greens over support for Palestinian rights

Racist vandalism of Greens’ election campaign billboards, Sydney. Photo: Peter Boyle.

By Samah Sabawi

April 10, 2011 -- Green Left Weekly -- While Palestinian, Israeli and international non-violent protesters who march against Israel’s policies in the Occupied Territories are literally showered in sewage, beaten, arbitrarily arrested and sometimes killed by Israeli forces, the battle against non-violent resistance has taken its own ugly form in Australia.

Supporters of the non-violent global boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement — especially members of the Greens — have been subjected to abuse in a deliberate national campaign of misinformation and slurs orchestrated against them. It has questioned their values and integrity and falsely accused them of anti-Semitism.

The war on BDS is part of a concerted effort to sabotage Palestinian and Israeli non-violent resistance against Israel’s 43-year-old illegal occupation and its 63 years of discrimination against non-Jewish Israeli citizens.

Japan: Left appeals for solidarity with victims and evacuees of the earthquake/tsunami and Fukushima nuclear disaster

Evacuees sit through an earthquake at a temporary shelter at a stadium in Koriyama. Photo: Reuters.

Appeal for financial solidarity with the victims and evacuees of the northeastern Japan earthquake/tsunami and Fukushima nuclear disaster

By the Japan Revolutionary Communist League (JRCL) and the National Council of Internationalist Workers (NCIW)

March 17, 2011 -- On March 11, at 2:30 PM (JST), the tremendously powerful earthquake of magnitude 9 hit the vast area of eastern Japan, comprised of northeast and Kanto regions. The earthquake gave rise to the formidable tsunami, which devastated numerous cities and towns all along the Pacific coast from the northernmost prefecture of Aomori to the southern Chiba prefecture. At the time of March 17, the number of deaths and missing persons is already close to 20,000, and the number continues to increase.

Socialist Alliance: Support the Libyan uprising but reject foreign military intervention

February 22, 2011 -- Solidarity rally in Sydney with the Libyan people in their struggle for democracy. Photo by Kiraz Janicke. See an article about this action here: http://www.greenleft.org.au/node/46782.

Socialist Alliance statement

March 18, 2011 -- The threat of military air strikes against Libya by Britain, France, the US and allies — now supported by a March 17 UN Security Council resolution — may or may not force the despotic Libyan regime of Muammar Gaddafi to stop using its armed forces against the rebel-held city of Benghazi in the short term.

However, it does pose grave dangers for the sovereignty of Libya and for the wave of democratic revolts that have swept the Arab world this year.

Is Australian uranium fuelling Japan’s looming nuclear disaster?

Explosion at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.

Latest: The British Independent reported on March 16 that four of Japan’s atomic reactors are in dire trouble at once, three threatening meltdown from overheating, and a fourth hit by a fire in its storage pond for radioactive spent fuel; radiation at about 20 times normal levels had been detected in Tokyo.

By Jim Green

Give Israel the South African treatment

“I am a black South African, and if I were to change the names, the description of what is happening in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank would be a description of what is happening in South Africa” - Archbishop Desmond Tutu, New York 1989.

By Antony Loewenstein & Moammar Mashni

March 6, 2011-- Green Left Weekly -- When Desmond Tutu made this comment, the South African apartheid regime was still in power. In 1994, after 45 years of racial segregation, the apartheid era was officially over. When watershed moments like this occur, multiple factors can be attributed. But history is clear that one of the many reasons this tyranny finally succumbed was an international boycott, divestment and sanctions campaign (BDS).

Climate change: Rupert Murdoch’s 'Australian' peddles damaging bad science

By Renfrey Clarke

March 6, 2011 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal – Readers of Rupert Murdoch’s flagship, the Australian, will have noticed a flurry of self-justifying articles and editorials in recent months, as the editors try to deflect criticism of the newspaper’s global warming coverage. What has the Australian been saying on the topic, and does this measure up to the responsibilities of a major news outlet?

In Britain in 1998, the medical science journal The Lancet published a study that claimed to identify a link between the mental disorder autism and the administering to children of the widely used measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine.

`Foro Social Latinamericano', Green Left Weekly's Spanish-language supplement, February 2011 issue

February 25, 2011 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- For environmentalists, Indigenous rights activists, feminists, socialists and all progressive people, Latin America is a source of hope and inspiration today. The people of Venezuela, Cuba, Bolivia and Ecuador, among others, are showing that radical social change is possible and a better, more just society can be imagined and built.

The tide of rebellion and revolution now sweeping Latin America is posing a serious challenge to imperialism’s brutal global rule. For anyone who wants an end to war, exploitation and oppression, Latin America’s struggles to create alternatives are crucially important.

Australia's leading socialist newspaper Green Left Weekly is strongly committed to supporting the growing “people’s power” movement in Latin America. Through our weekly articles on developments in the region, GLW strives to counter the corporate media’s many lies about Latin America’s revolutions, and to give a voice in English to the people’s movements for change.

David Hicks' Guantanamo nightmare

Review by Coral Wynter

Guantanamo: My Journey
By David Hicks
William Heinemann, 2010

February 25, 2011 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Everyone who is curious about David Hicks and his imprisonment at the US concentration camp at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba for six years, should read this book.

It is an honest account of Hicks’ life as a youngster and his torture at the hands of the US army. Contrary to what many of the mainstream reviews of Guantanamo: My Journey assert, Hicks goes into a lot of detail about why and how he first ended up in Pakistan, and then Afghanistan. He explains, in detail, the circumstances of how he became trapped in Afghanistan and his attempts to get back his Australian passport to be able to return home to Adelaide.

Hicks was like so many teenagers looking for adventure. He was also a confused young man, coming from a broken home when he was just nine years old and finding it difficult to find his place in his second family with his stepmother and stepbrothers.

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