Monthly Archives: June 2010

Free Speech Fund Appeal

Free Speech Fund Appeal

In early March the police attacked a peaceful pro-choice protest in Brisbane as we spoke out against the anti-abortion bigots. A Pro-Choice Action Collective supporter was arrested and charged with obstructing police and has been fined $800. The Pro-Choice Action Collective is appealing for your support to pay this fine. We have launched a Free Speech fund appeal – we only need 80 people to donate $10. If you can help, please transfer your donation to:

Pro-Choice Action Collective
BSB: 06 4001
Account: 10971230
Reference: free speech

Or send a cheque/money order to Pro-Choice Action Collective, PO Box 8254, Woolloongabba, 4102

Thanks for your support

Pro-Choice Action Collective
http://www.prochoiceactionqld.org

DPP at it again – no charges on death in custody

This decision is as outrageous as the cowardly decision taken by the queensland dpp in the mulrunji doomadgee death on palm island in 2004. to protect then s/s chris hurley from facing charges the qld. dpp overturned the recommendations of a/state coroner, christine clements, bravely found ( some would say foolishly found) that hurley definitely had a legal case to answer.

The outrage of the family, the palm island community, other aboriginal and torres strait islander communities and all right-thinking peoples forced the dpp attempt to save hurley from prosecution to be overturned band hurley faced trial.

As we all know an all-white townsville jury exonerated him of any blame in the death of doomadgee.

Our esteemed elder, mr ward, was the victim of ignorance and racism by the white custodial system. upon his arrest he came before a new justice of the peace who should have bailed to appear in court, instead he accepted the police recommendation that he be transported 600 kilometres from laverton to Kalgoorlie to face court there.

In 42 degree celsius summer heat this was done. the transport van had no workable air-conditioning for the back of the van and it is stated that the temperature in the van exceeded 50 degrees celsius. mr ward was literally ‘cooked’ to death!

To be forced to wait some 2 1/2 years and then to be ‘kicked in the guts’ by the system that is supposed to seek justice for all is in itself a travesty of justice for mr ward’s family.

The g4s personnel who escorted mr ward on that day acted with absolute callous indifference as to whether he lived or died on that trip. their duty of care to mr ward was non-existent.

Nina stockoe and graham powell are as responsible for the death of mr ward as then s/s hurley is responsible for the death of mulrunji doomadgee.

Our collective voices, raised in righteous anger, must overturn the decision of the wa dpp, joe mcgrath, to ignore the recommendations of the wa state coroner, alistair hope, who rightly found that slockoe and powell did have a case to answer. both must face some level of manslaughter charges. at least.

Also g4s and the wa department of corrective services must also face intensive questioning on their role and responsibilities for the death of mr ward.

It is very telling that the coroner, whilst recommending legal action be taken in his scathing report, also advised the family not to get their hopes up that justice would indeed prevail. merely another sickening example of the racist (non) justice system in action.

Black deaths count for nothing!

Blood money, conscience money, wash-your-hands money is not enough. they have the money, we have the sorry-business.

We want justice! nothing more, nothing less. deaths in custody will not stop until someone is found to be fully responsible for that death. hurley snaked out with the great assistance of his corrupt legal system. slockoe and powell must have their day in court facing the family of mr ward and explain their criminal actions

WA contacts are given below to put your protests to the dpp decision. it must be over-turned.

fkj
.

Outrage over no charges being laid! “This is institutionalised racism at its worse!!” – DICWC

Dear Friends & Supporters;

The Western Australian Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) flew to Warburton over the weekend and advised the family that no criminal charges will be laid in relation to the death in custody of Mr Ward due to a so-called ‘lack of evidence’.

The Deaths In Custody Watch Committee (WA) Inc calls on people across the country to express their outrage to the WA Premier, Hon Colin Barnett MLA, the WA Attorney General and Minister for Corrective Services Hon Christian Porter MLA and the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions as a matter of urgency.

It is outrageous that a significant Aboriginal Elder and Leader can be killed at the hands of the State and its contractor G4S under the most horrendous circumstances and yet no one is held criminally culpable.

This is institutionalised racism at its worst!

There will be widespread community outrage across the nation if those responsible are not held to account. The Deaths In Custody Watch Committee (WA) Inc will be calling an urgent demonstration of community outrage at the decision.

Express your outrage…contact;

***************

Honourable Colin Barnett MEc MLA

Premier; Minister for State Development

Address: 24th Floor, Governor Stirling Tower, 197 St Georges Terrace PERTH WA 6000

Telephone: 9222 9888

Fax: 9322 1213

E-Mail: wa-government

Web: http://www.premier.wa.gov.au/Ministers/Colin-Barnett/Pages/Contact-The-M…

******************

Honourable Christian Porter MLA

Attorney General & Minister for Corrective Services

Telephone: (08) 9316 0666

Fax (08) 9316 0300

Email christian.porter

Web: http://www.christianporter.com.au/

Postal: Locked Bag 2000, BOORAGOON WA 6954

Office: Suite 12 Riseley Corporate Centre (above the ANZ bank), 135 Riseley Street, BOORAGOON WA 6154.

****************************

Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions

Level 1, “International House”
26 St Georges Terrace
PERTH WA 6000

Telephone: (08) 9425 3999
Freecall for country callers: 1800 264 144
Facsimile: (08) 9425 3600

E-mail: dpp

Web: http://www.dpp.wa.gov.au/frames.asp?pageId=u3458965&content=/content/con…

**********************

G4S

Corporate Head Office:
G4S plc, The Manor
Manor Royal, Crawley, West Sussex
RH10 9UN United Kingdom

Switchboard:
+44 (0) 20 8770 7000
or +44 (0) 20 8722 2000

On line Contact Form: http://www.g4s.com/en/Site%20Tools/Contact%20Form/

Media Enquiries:
The G4S Press Office is available 24 hours a day on +44 (0) 7973 672 649 or email media

Web: http://www.g4s.com/

ray jackson
president
indigenous social justice association

Film this Saturday: The FARC Speaks

As Venezuela’s neighbour it is important for those interested in solidarity with Venezuela to understand what is happening in Colombia as well. The struggle in Colombia cannot be separated from other struggles in Latin America. This film lets the FARC speak for themselves.

Hope to see many of you there,

Hamish

Direct Action Cinema:

Into the Jungles of Columbia: The FARC speaks

In this film from the jungles of Columbia the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Columbia (FARC) an armed insurgent group, speak about fighting for social change and social justice in Columbia. The US Treasury Department has put them on the list of terrorist organisations. The FARC reject that label and expose Columbia’s history of US-backed injustice.

Saturday July 3, 7pm
(cheap meal available at 6:30pm)
Direct Action Centre, 8 Gillingham St
Woolloongabba (next to Buranda railway station)

www.directaction.org.au

Message to GetUp – Respect Aboriginal Rights

[Aboriginal News]
I have just sent the following message to GetUp through the online contact email at http://www.getup.org.au:

“I have a deep objection to one of the Forestry principles in your current campaign. Your proposal to ‘establishing ‘protected areas’ for all of our high conservation value native forests’ is another coloniser proposal to deny Aboriginal land rights. The High Court found that Aboriginal people held and continue to hold title to the land. When is white Australian going to work out what that means? No new title over lands without the approval of the Aboriginal people! Stop giving the land over to white Australia! – Les Malezer”

Like many people I am a conservationist at heart. As an Aboriginal person I belong to the greatest conservation civilisation the world has ever seen. I will stand up next to any naturalist, environmentalist, conservationist in the world.

However I am strongly opposed to self-centred attitude of a colonising society which decides what is conserved and what is consumed in another peoples’ land, ultimately in alien interests. Aboriginal people not only have a say in what happens to this land, we are the people of the land and we must be respected by the people who are the colonisers and consumers of this land and its resources.

I have strongly supported GetUp political campaigns, but this time they have gotten ahead of themselves. I suggest that they change the second principle to remove ‘ALL’, and add a new third principle acknowledging and respecting the rights of the Aboriginal people, the people of the land, and the inherent custodians of ‘mother earth’.

Universal human rights principles state that the Aboriginal peoples lands and resources, including ‘Forests’ should be hander back to the Aboriginal people and that Aboriginal people have the right to development in their own territory. To protect natural forests, Australia must come to terms with the property and development rights of Aboriginal people, including bearing the burden of financing Aboriginal development away from those same forests.

les

Foco Nuevo in July


Foco Nuevo continues to bring great music in a welcoming atmosphere, warming the soul on winter nights! Our guests for July are Fallen Angels and Tim O’Brien.

FALLEN ANGELS

TIM O’BRIEN

JUMPING FENCES

Friday July 2
8.00 p.m.

Kurilpa Hall
174 Boundary Street
West End

(Next to the West End Library. Click here for a map)

$10 / $7 concession

Maggie’s delicious cakes, tea and coffee on sale.

BYO

Fallen Angels features the exquisite voice of Amanda Gilmour, tasteful accordion by Rose Broe, and John Holmbergs hot mandolin and clawhammer banjo. Enriched with great harmony singing and underpinned with some cool fretless bass by Andrew Heath, this tight foursome of veteran performers pull together an entertaining and emotionally rich set from a diverse repertoire of folk, swing and bluegrass including Amandas passionate and cherished originals [website] [YouTube].

Tim O’Brien is a well-known contemporary finger-style guitarist who has performed and taught throughout Queensland for many years. Tim performs a great mix of acoustic fingerstyle music, using a range of guitars, from the not often heard Baritone Resonator guitar (described as having a ‘deep rich voice with a unique tonal colour’), a Martin Fingerstyle guitar and maybe even the less heard Banjo/Guitar. Tim is looking forward to his performance entitled “The Good, The Bad and The Ugly” [website].

Jumping Fences the song-writing partnership of Lachlan Hurse and Sue Monk, will be playing their energetic mix of original and Latin American songs. Enjoying an extended line up, they will be accompanied by Ross Gwyther (tenor sax) Robbie Stewart (lead guitar), Dan Simpson (drums) and James Harper (percussion) along with Leonor Orellana. Their songs extend the folk tradition, and give new insights into contemporary life. [website]

hope to see you soon

Lachlan and Sue

web
www.foconuevo.org.auemail
Lachlan
Sue

The Trouble With Alice

The Trouble With Alice

{Editors note: Please see below excerpts from an excellent article by Jennifer Mills 8 June 2010 in The New Matilda. To read the entire article go to http://newmatilda.com/2010/06/08/trouble-with-alice}

Residents of Alice Springs reject the notion that their town is rife with racism and violence. But unless they admit there is a problem, nothing will change, writes Jennifer Mills…

Recently, a by-law has been enforced by Alice Springs Town Council which bans Aboriginal people from selling their art in the mall.

…And tomorrow, the resale royalty scheme for the sale of Indigenous art comes into effect. Is the timing ironic?

… a law which applies to everyone might not be discriminatory, but if it is designed to target Aboriginal people, it is still racist.

…Recently I had visitors, a couple of Aboriginal poets on their way to the NT Writers’ Festival in Darwin. They went to the shop to get some
food. One waited outside so he could smoke and was rudely moved along by a security guard. He wondered if this would have happened to him if he hadn’t been wearing the Aboriginal flag on his shirt.

…Less than a year ago, 33-year-old Kwementyaye Ryder was beaten to death by five white men. Four of these men were recently sentenced to
between four and six years in jail. Afterward, Damien Ryan, the Mayor of Alice Springs, famously declared that this is not a racist town.

…At the NT Writers’ Festival a couple of weeks ago, Germaine Greer talked during her panel on “Australian myths” about witnessing an
incident at Darwin’s art gallery the previous day. She had seen a policeman push an Aboriginal man with his boot.

…”You’ve become inured to it,” she (Greer) said. “This would never happen in Europe.” … I am not sure that Territorians have become inured to racist violence. Institutional racism, yes.

…This kind of everyday racism, the kind that outraged Greer, is so common that maybe it is true we have become inured to it. …
What struck me most about Greer’s treatment of the incident she witnessed was that it did nothing for the audience’s paralysis — save
raising the issue. What are the alternatives — apart from running a line that Alice is the new Johannesburg?

…Be a hero:
mates don’t let mates drive into riverbeds and shoot people. If just one of those five men had said no (and the driver was sober) last year, Kwementyaye Ryder would still be alive.

…In the absence of political leadership it is up to everyone in Alice Springs to take responsibility for building a decent society. We need
to tackle racism at work, in the shop, in the street, write letters to the Ombudsman when we witness police violence, talk about racism with
our kids. It is hard work but the consequences of not doing it are worse. We need to fight racism on every level. If we continue to be
paralysed by the complexity of the issue we will end up with a town plagued by escalating violence — and ruled by bullies.

http://newmatilda.com/2010/06/08/trouble-with-alice

From where does change come?

“Sweet dreams and flying machines in pieces on the ground” — from ‘Fire and Rain’ by James Taylor.

We were reminded yesterday that the Australian people do not choose the Australian Prime Minister.

Kevin Rudd was elected as the member for Griffith by about 30 or 40 thousand people voting for him. The ALP won the 2007 election where Howard lost his own seat of Bennelong. It was the ALP parliamentary caucus that elected Kevin Rudd as leader of his party and then the Governor General (the Queens Representative) who made him Prime Minister. Similar machinations occur when the Liberal Party wins an election.

So why was Kevin Rudd, a former public servant in foreign affairs and in Qld government, sacked from the job of Prime Minister by his own party and replaced by Julia Gillard, a former industrial relations lawyer in the 1990s? Was it

A )  The Labor Government’s attempt to introduce a new Mining Tax?
B)   The failure of the house insulation scheme and the subsequent deaths of Australian Workers?
C )  The wastage of money in the building of school halls and libraries in the  ‘building education revolution’?
D )  The failure to introduce an Emissions Trading Scheme to slow down Climate Change?
E )  Increased interest rates on home mortgages that are sending working people into more and more debt so that the government can prop up the banking system?
F )  All of the above?

The Left has spent a lot of time and resources to change the ‘Kevin Rudd’ Labor Party on Palestine, on the environment, on the stolen generations, on union rights, on workers wages and conditions, on refugees  — but all this becomes a high risk strategy in the world of parliamentary politics. There is even doubt that the the elected parliamentarians are in control of the process of reform. For example, much of the tax review was left in the hands of Ken Henry and his bureaucrats.

‘Electorialist’ politics deliver dubious outcomes for those who wish to bring about fundamental change.

Perhaps it was the mining companies that got rid of a Prime Minister? Indigenous people know that the mining companies control their land. Home owners know that banks increase interest rates. And workers know that the means of production is in the hands of the bosses. Big corporations run the country

Only workers who produce the benefits we enjoy can change the world for the better. That is if you accept that society is run on class lines.

With this in mind it is workers we should be speaking and organising with.

The Labor government votes for laws that discriminate against workers. It set up the Australian Building and Construction Commission that ignores serious breaches of workplace safety (i.e. the faulty installation of insulation batts in homes) yet attempts to prosecute rank and file unionists for calling for a OH&S committee on a construction site at Flinders University in South Australia [the case of Ark Tribe].

ACTU Congress in Brisbane (2009)

The current Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, voted for these discriminatory laws that mean a worker can be jailed for refusing to dob in his union. So did Kevin Rudd [see Inside the ACTU].

A number of different responses by organised workers are possible:

1. Accept the IR legislation and the current system
This means seeking to reform the anti-union laws through parliament. This was tried with the Rudd government but failed. Now we are expected to accept Simon Crean as the replacement for Gillard. Crean is a former ACTU secretary who sold out the SEQEB workers in Qld by calling off a transport workers blockade against the Bjelke-Petersen government. Can we trust him during a recession not to use Industrial Relations laws against unionists like Ark Tribe?

2. Defy the laws in a piecemeal way

This is what the building unions have done with the Ark Tribe campaign. It has been effective in highlighting the nature of the ABCC but has resulted in activism confined to court wins (Noel Washington) with little change on the ground i.e. workers are still dying on construction and mining sites at the rate of one per week (says Construction Forestry Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU)  federal secretary, Dave Noonan).

3. Defy the laws in a concerted campaign

This strategy presupposes the only weapon that workers have to stop the government and employers’ attacks is their unions’ industrial power. It recognises that union power based on collective bargaining is stronger than organisation based on enterprise bargaining. How to go about this is outlined in courses of action

Please incude comments below on how the organised Left should respond to these immediate challenges.

Ian Curr
June 2010

References

Inside the ACTU

After the Waterfront – the workers are quiet – courses of action

Gillard accused of soft line on Tel Aviv


Pro-Choice Action Collective update

Dear friends,

Please find attached a campaign newsletter from the Pro-Choice Action Collective – featuring reports about the growing national support for the campaign against the abortion charges in Cairns.

The trial date for the Cairns case has not yet been set, but we do know that on the Saturday before the trial there will be a national day of action to demand the dropping of the charges. We are appealing for support for the rally – please find attached a sign-on form to add your organisation to the list of supporters.

The Cairns couple has now faced over 18 months of being dragged through the legal system, media scrutiny and have had to put their lives on hold, facing the prospect of years in prison if the charges are upheld. This case threatens to destroy many more lives as women’s access to abortion is threatened. We cannot let this happen – which is why your support is needed now more than ever.

Please fill in the attached form and help spread the word. The Pro-Choice Action Collective can provide speakers and/or information about the case and the growing campaign – please get in contact if you are able to organise a meeting in your local area or with your organisation.

in solidarity,
Kathy Newnam
Pro-Choice Action Collective
www.prochoiceactionqld.org

Endorsement form – National Day of Action – Drop the abortion charges.pdf

Pro-Choice Action Collective newsletter.pdf

Tel-Aviv school principal to face Knesset Committee on 21 June over his outspoken views against the occupation

How I was summoned to the Knesset

by Ram Cohen
Ynet Hebrew, June 18 2010
http://www.mynet.co.il/articles/0,7340,L-3907144,00.html
Translation Adam Keller

On Monday, June 21, I am to appear before the Knesset Education Committee and the Minister of Education, Mr. Gideon Saar, following my unequivocal words to my students, condemning the 43 year-old occupation and rule over the life of the Palestinian people.

A school principal should have a clear and unequivocal moral position about any subject and issue on the agenda of Israeli society. A principal is not an educational clerk. A principal must have, for example, something to say about the deportation of the children of migrant workers, trafficking in women, the separation fence, the withdrawal from Gaza, minimum wage law, settlers attacking Palestinian villagers to exact a `price tag`, the removal of Arabs from their homes in Sheikh Jarrah, the siege on Gaza, corruption in government, or the relations of religion and state.

It is the duty of a school principal to take a stand and to defend it if necessary. A principal can not rest content with nodding and mumbling when students ask questions about the conflicts in Israeli society. The one who gives evasive answers is a hollow person, not worthy of being called an educator. Being an educator means to uphold a set of universal and national values which deserve to be part of the state`s symbols.

Being at the storm center of controversy, I was recently obliged to introduce for discussion at our school a spectrum of opinion for and against our presence in the Occupied Territories, and I must admit that this was very difficult for me. When I believe that our country does not respect International Law and its own laws, nor does it have proper regard for human rights – I frankly find it hard to admit into the school representatives of views which support the status quo. Since the expulsion from Paradise it is our duty to distinguish right from wrong. It is my duty to point out the wrong, and to strongly condemn it.

Those who demand that I prepare students for recruitment should know that my duty is also to tell them that they would enter a territory which was occupied 43 years ago, in which human rights are being shamefully violated on a daily basis by means of our military superiority. In future, these children will have to account for themselves, and they will ask if their school has revealed to them the terrible secret called occupation. Yes, occupation. An occupation, not a liberation, not a return to an ancestral land. Not even a return to dry water holes which have been re-filled with tears. *

In the school which I run, there is no entry to proponents of the racist Kahane ideology. There is no place for people who advocate the use of drugs for relieving stress, nor to rabbis who argue that discrimination of Sephardi girls is justified due to the internal codes of their religious community, to those who promote a multiculturalism which includes female genital mutilation – and to those who justify the discrimination against Arab residents of this country or the `encouraging` of them to emigrate.

Wherever there is a conflict, any decision will be a political decision. When I decided seven years that this school would teach Arabic rather than French, that was a political decision. The same when I decided that school hikes will not include the `City of David` settlers.**

On the other hand, also school principals who let their students go to a protest against the withdrawal from Gaza and who present it as the deportation of Jews from their land are performing a political act. To talk to students about a holy duty of settling Jews from the sea to the Jordan River, on the basis of a Divine promise, is a political act. Expressing opposition or support to the release of hundreds of Palestinian prisoners in exchange for Gilead Shalit – what is that if not taking a political stand?

So what are the limits of freedom of expression at school? My answer is: everything is permitted provided that it does not contradict such basic values as democracy, universalism and humanism, as well as observing the laws of the State of Israel which should conform to the norms of the Family of Nations.

I can not end this statement without noting that this Knesset debate would probably not have taken place had Professor Yuli Tamir still been Minister of Education and Haim Oron Still headed the Education Committee***. The obvious conclusion is that free speech in the schools is not determined solely by the innocuous expedient of `examining the boundaries`. Rather, it varies according to the political perceptions of those who at the moment occupy the top positions in the educational system, the Knesset and the government.

Ram Cohen is an educator and principal of the Aleph High School in Tel Aviv.

* This is a reference to the song `Jerusalem of Gold`, embodying the nationalist euphoria of 1967, which includes the words `We have come back to the waterholes`.

** The settlers group known as `Elad` have established themselves at Silwan Village, directly south of the Old City of Jerusalem, where they claim King David had his palace 3000 years ago, with the proclaimed aim of `Judaising` it. They have expelled Palestinian residents from several homes and took them over, and the `archeological` diggings conducted by settlers undermine the foundations of many other houses. The `National Park` maintained by the settlers is recommended by the Ministry of Education as a venue for school hikes.

*** Yuli Tamir and Haim Oron, of respectively the Labor Party and the Left-Zionist Meretz Party, held the positions mentioned until the accession of Binyamin Netanyahu to power.

Vigils, Gallipoli Barracks, Thursday afternoons.

Hi friends and comrades,

A message from Merv Langford who was closely involved in organising the community vigils in Brisbane during the Israeli assault on Gaza last year.

Regards,
Ross Gwyther

Friends, for some years there has been a vigil / protest held (almost) weekly on Wardell St, Enoggera – near the corner of Lloyd St. This is the last intersection closest to the main entrance to Gallipoli Barracks.

As I understand it, it came out of both the Quakers (Religious Society of Friends) and the Catholic Worker movements – both groups with long traditions of anti-war actions. It has been very focused on both the Afghan and Iraqi wars.

And with the barracks’ being a last jumping off point for Australian troops heading to the Middle East, focusing on this is very appropriate. Sometimes we even have the pleasure of fit looking young men with “short, back and sides” wandering along to set us straight. Explaining why “we” have to kill people in Afghanistan and Iraq to keep Australia “safe”, of course.

On rarer occasions, worried looking young women – with young children –
stand on the other side of the road and watch these men passing on to us what they have obviously been told – in their classrooms at the barracks.

However, we have mainly been making our point to the passing commuters with placards – and it is a fairly busy road.

In discussions with some of the recent attendees, it seemed best to spread the word to a wider circle of peace activists so as to increase the numbers of possible participants – and so help increase the impact of what we are doing.

Consequently, Thursday afternoon has been made the afternoon of choice.

I would like to invite all anti-war activists to keep in mind what you are doing on Thursday afternoons and see if you can include becoming a regular placard waver, as part of your day —4pm – 5pm Thursdays, Wardell St, Enoggera, close to Lloyd St (the intersection where the Matilda servo is). Easy parking in Lloyd St.

Please pass this info on to your friends. Look forward to seeing you there,

Mervyn

Left and Right in Contemporary European Politics

You are invited to a meeting on Wednesday the 23rd of June at 7pm in unit 6 at 20 Drury St, to be addressed by two visiting left scholars who are briefly in Brisbane, Peter Thomas, recently the author of The Gramscian Moment and well-known to many of those who were familiar with Brisbane radical politics in the nineties, and Sara Farris, who is well-known for her work on Weber and on Italian political theorists.

The topic will be Left and Right in Contemporary European Politics.

The discussion will be introduced by two brief talks, the titles and summaries of which appear below.

‘Project Europe’ and the Radical Left.
The Western European Radical Left has gone through important experiences of regroupment and recomposition over the last 15 years. Waves of social struggles in individual nation-states (most prominently, France and Greece) have interacted with European-wide and international protest movements (e.g., the movement against the EU constitution; the alternative globalisation and anti-war movements).

These movements have given rise to the emergence of new political formations and actors in number of Western European nation-states (particularly in France and Germany), which are struggling to develop a radical alternative to the increasingly aggressive (post) neoliberal dimensions of ‘Project Europe’.

Other political cultures (such as England and Italy) have witnessed arguably less successful but nevertheless significant attempts at the consolidation of political formations to the left of traditional social democracy. The deepening of the global economic crisis and its regional articulation as a crisis of the Eurozone, both economically and politically, can only be expected to pose further difficulties – but also opportunities – for these projects of ‘refoundation’ of the radical Left. This talk with provide a brief and selective survey of the history and of some of the most significant recent initiatives of Western European Radical Left to develop a socialist alternative to the ‘New Old World’.

Peter Thomas is a Lecturer at Brunel University, London. He is a member of the editorial board of ‘Historical Materialism: research in critical Marxist theory’.

The Far-Right in Europe. Hegemonic Project or Fragmentary Reaction to the Economic Crisis?
Recent European Elections have revealed at least two alarming phenomena: on the one hand, the increasing distance of EU citizens from the European Institutions, and, on the other hand, the dramatic growth of xenophobic and ultra-nationalist parties. The unprecedented success of far-right parties in Europe is certainly one effect of the failures of the process of European integration, although in a very contradictory fashion. Yet, more importantly, this success is especially the result of the economic crisis, the dismantling of welfare state services and the impoverishment of the population that has increasingly threatened the European working classes since the late 1990s. The far-right, and especially its anti-immigration and racist propaganda, has started becoming more aggressive. It has even managed to find support in social strata and territories that were once points of reference for the left. Can we speak of a hegemonic project of the far-right in Europe? How can we establish an hegemonic project for the left that will be able to challenge the threats represented by these xenophobic and right-wing organisations?

Sara R. Farris is a Lecturer at the University of Amsterdam and senior research fellow of the Institute for Women’s History, Amsterdam. She is a member of the organisation Sinistra Critica (Critical Left), in Italy.

There will be food and drink, convivial interaction and a possible but not guaranteed absence of Leon. Bring your friends.

Solidarity forum: The roots of Australian racism

Solidarity forum:

THE ROOTS OF AUSTRALIAN RACISM

Guest Speaker: Phil Griffiths, Academic and Historian

The recent hysteria around refugee boats has brought back some of the worst bigotry of the Howard years. Why does this racism persist? This meeting will attempt to explain the roots of Australian racism and why it’s in the interests of everyone to fight it.

All welcome.

2pm, Saturday 26th June
Meeting Room 2D, Level 2
Queensland State Library, Southbank

Presented by Solidarity

Veteran Group disgusted by patronising rhetoric about soldiers’ deaths

Veteran Group disgusted by patronising rhetoric about soldiers’ deaths

The Australian-based veterans group Stand Fast today rejected recent statements made by Defence Minister John Faulkner regarding the recent tragic deaths in Afghanistan of Australian soldiers.

Stand Fast spokesperson Hamish Chitts said the group, comprised of veterans and former military personnel who oppose the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, regards the rhetorical remarks of Faulkner and others as a vile attempt to turn public opinion to support the war in Afghanistan.

“This war is primarily about having easier access to the oilfields in Turkmenistan to the North of Afghanistan, including a possible pipeline from these oilfields through Western Afghanistan to lucrative markets in Pakistan and India. It is about strategic real estate for the US military in a resource rich part of the world. Soldiers are sacrificing their lives so that others can earn a profit from it,” he said.

“To bury this war under the cloak of democracy and a war on terror is ridiculous. As veterans and ex-service personnel, we reject this attempt to say that anyone in Afghanistan has died for Australia’s security or international stability. We think Faulkner is looking after the interests of big business and dressing it up to look like the people of Afghanistan have the capability and desire to invade Sydney,” Mr Chitts said.

The veteran’s comments came after John Faulkner was quoted as saying; “While our mission in Afghanistan is difficult, it is vital for international stability and for the security of Australia.”

“Stand Fast would like to ask Mr Faulkner and Mr Rudd how is international stability and security achieved supporting US funded Afghan Government departments whose sole job is to offer bribes and government positions to the worst terrorist leaders of the Taliban and Hezb-i-Islami? ”

“In this Faulkner and Rudd security, the very terrorist we were supposed to be afraid of is now offered rewards while between 8,768 to 28,360 innocent peasant farmers and their families have been slaughtered,” Mr Chitts said.

Stand Fast does not support the politics and religious fundamentalism of the Taliban. Initially the Taliban was easily defeated because they didn’t have the support of most Afghans.

Now their ranks are swelling, not by people who have suddenly been won over to the Taliban’s view of the world but by people who oppose rigged elections and the puppet regime of thugs and opium barons whose rule our troops help enforce.

“These Members of Parliament, both Labor and Coalition vie with each other to be seen as ‘the diggers friend’. Most have never served in the Defence Force nor left the comforts of their parliamentary offices. ”

“The fact that politicians use these deaths to sell their unpopular and unjustifiable war in Afghanistan is disgusting. As veterans our thoughts are with the families of the dead and all those still in harm’s way in Iraq and Afghanistan. No more blood should be shed for the profiteers, 6 out of 10 Australians oppose the war, bring the troops home now,” Mr Chitts said.

For further information
contact Hamish on 0401 586 923
or email standfast.au@gmail.com
or http://www.stand-fast.webs.com

Gallery

Bonhoeffer Four trial – not guilty!

This gallery contains 1 photos.

At 6am on 31st March [2010], two people used boogy boards to paddle to the Swan Island SAS base near Queenscliff, Victoria, while two others blocked the main entrance. Once there they pushed the emergency stop button for the main … Continue reading

World Refugee Day – Rally and March this Sunday

WORLD REFUGEE DAY

Rally and march for refugee rights

End the freeze on asylum seeker claims.

End mandatory detention.

Say no to another Tampa election.

1pm, Sunday June 20

Brisbane Square, at top of Queen st Mall, George St, City

Speakers:
Chair, Frederika Steen, refugee advocate.

Father Pan Jordan, Tamil community

Chaman Shah Nasiri, Hazara Afghani community

Ian Rintoul, Refugee Action Coalition

Andrew Bartlett, The Greens

Sonia Caton, human rights lawyer

David Forde, Labor 4A Just Palestine

Dr Alison Stewart, refugee health

Organised by the World Refugee Day Committee, a broad coalition of groups that has come together as a voice for justice in this election year.

Supported by: Australian Tamil Congress, Taj (Hazara) Association of Australia Inc, Refugee Action Collective, Labor for Refugees, Catholic Justice & Peace Commission, The Greens, Dean of St John’s Anglican Cathedral, Rally for Peace & Nuclear Disarmament, St Mary’s Community in Exile, Eritrean Women’s and Families’ Network.

Further info: Paul, Ph. 3392 3843; email andrewpaulmac

naan4ayabYGAWbnpQ6Lc

Northey Street Winter Solstice Sat June 19

hello,

there is a Winter Solstice festival being held at the Northey Street City Farm (in Windsor) tomorrow, Sat June 19.

There’s three stages of entertainment going from 4pm-10pm after which Spankenhide (west african drumming) inspire the dance around the fire.

We’re playing at 9 in a kooii/ruby blue fitting.

Some other groups include, Nea Combo (reggae, raggamuffin) from New Caledonia at 5pm,
Asim (Sudanese Violinst, Oud player, singer and whistler) and Combo at 6pm,
Noble (Zimbabwian Mbira player) 7.30pm,
Tenzin Cheogyl (tibetan singer) and Shen Findell (on tabla) 8pm

please make a donation if you come

peace

Peter

Boycott the State of Origin

Let’s Boycott the State of Origin

Wait a minute… listen to what I am saying.

Timana Tahu should be in the State of Origin NSW team. Let us make sure he is there for the third game and that the players welcome him back. He should not be a victim of racism.

Racism in sport is not a rare event. The recent controversy regarding racist-speak in the rugby league ‘State-of-Origin’ competition is but a continuation of typical racism in Australia and in Australian sport.

As far as racism goes, there is not much of particular interest in this case except the celebrity status and associated sensationalist but unhelpful media coverage.

Listening to the sports commentators on Sunday afternoon, I became increasingly agitated by the stupid remarks. While no-one made comments in support of the racist offenders, there were some problems with the discussion.

Most remarks avoided the words ‘racism’ or ‘racist’, preferring instead to talk about ‘race’ or ‘racial’. ‘Racism’ and ‘racist’ as words, are almost banned from the english language in Australia. If someone were to use these words, most likely in an accusation, there would be an immediate rush of denials of racism in Australia.

I do not want to have to listen to sports ‘jocks’ adjudicate on whether the act of racism occurred or how racism should be addressed. Unless they are black or experienced racism they have no idea. ‘Taxi-driver opinions’ are of no use here.

But why is the incident getting so much airing. The problem is that the NRL, or ARL, QRL and NSWARL, have no firm stance on racism. The answer is easy – ZERO TOLERANCE.

As the Johns – Tahu incident slowly leaked into public viewing, drawn out over a number of days and still undisclosed in full detail, it has shown that no-one had a clue how to handle the situation.

Johns’ racist rants were obviously thought to be acceptable until Timana Tahu openly reacted. Johns should never have made the remarks and, if the football code had been serious about non-racism, he would have already been well aware of it.

It seems that Tahu discussed his concerns with the coach but that obviously did not lead to satisfactory resolution of the basic breach of trust in the football camp caused by Johns’ racism.

Tahu left the NSW team without going public with his complaint. Since then there has been a flurry of stupid and inadequate comments and responses.
As I mulled over the incident and public commentary, I came to a point of concern. Why is Timana Tahu now out of the NSW team?

Why is he carrying the burden of missing out on a career highlight? He should be on the field and we should be applauding him for his stance against racism and his commendable personal conduct in responding to it.

Yes, he withdrew from the squad. That was his choice. But the NSWRL should be making a statement that Tahu, and others, were rightfully offended and confirming that Tahu’s actions were supported by the league. The logical next step is to return Tahu into the team by giving him good reasons to return.
They should have immediately set about apologising to Tahu and asking him for his terms to re-join the squad. Tahu’s terms if they are as I would expect, in accordance with his conduct, should be immediately accepted.

So why didn’t I come to this conclusion earlier so that Tahu was not penalised by missing the second game? Too slow, I think.

(I will not fuss with any views that Tahu should have handled it in a different way. Rugby League has failed to establish the code of conduct and to enforce it. Tahu was the victim of a system tolerant of racism! Otherwise everyone in that NSW side should have complained as Tahu did.)

I had made my plans to watch the State of Origin game, on tomorrow night, but yesterday I asked myself why am I putting aside the racism to gratify my desire to watch this prominent sporting event. (I know many people who would refuse to watch the game, but they hate football anyway.)

So now I am resolved; they must reinstate Tahu to the NSW side and they must make it clear to the NSW players, the Queensland players, the fans and everyone that there is ZERO TOLERANCE of racism in rugby league. This is the only way out of this mess.

Even Andrew Johns should be agreeing with this and also be calling upon the NRL etc to include and enforce a code on racist comments. It is no good saying Johns is not a racist. If Johns had known and understood the code, he would still be the assistant coach for NSW.

So I am sending a message to the rugby league that they must reinstate Tahu for the third State of Origin game, OR ELSE, they will lose my valuable support. Please join in this call.

regards
les

>

Federal parliament used as a forum for Israeli lies

Senator Scott Ryan (Victoria) was sponsored by the Australia/Israel Jewish Affairs council on a paid business class trip to Israel in August 2009.

In his speech to the federal parliament yesterday Scott Ryan returned the AIJA favour by attacking the TIME TO HOLD ISRAEL ACCOUNTABLE ads placed in national newspapers by Australians for Palestine.

Middle East
Tuesday, 15 June 2010 SENATE 103
Senator RYAN (Victoria) (7.53 pm) Several weeks ago we were informed that Israel had allegedly outrageously intervened to stop a so-called peace flotilla, with commandos launching themselves at a peaceful armada seeking nothing more than to take humanitarian aid to Gaza.

Excuse me if I was a little cynical when I first heard the news, for despite days of a highly orchestrated media campaign to vilify Israel and her defence forces, the truth subsequently came out.

These were not peace activists; they were agents of provocation, radicals seeking a violent confrontation as they broke the legal maritime blockade of Gaza.

I did not realise that peace activists were so well armed, in this case, with knives, chains, firearms, molotov cocktails and pepper spray.

By viciously attacking the soldiers, they quickly betrayed their true agenda with their anti-Semitic cries, as they did by their refusal to cooperate with the UN, Israeli or Egyptian authorities, who could have facilitated the entry of the humanitarian materials to Gaza.

This was no peace flotilla; it was part of an orchestrated campaign to vilify the state of Israel for doing nothing more than would be expected of us in this place: to protect her own citizens.

…So what was the real agenda of this alleged peace flotilla?

It was part of the campaign to delegitimise Israel in the West.

It was intentionally aimed at weakening the historic friendship between many nations of the West and the only liberal democratic state in the Middle East.

Over the past decade, a campaign of vili- fication against Israel has been undertaken by elements of the left in the West. Using NGOs, an occasionally ignorant media and a lack of understanding in the West of the existential threat faced by Israel, they have joined with other groups, including violent Islamic groups in the Middle East who seek to destroy Israel.

The incidence of academic boycotts and the use of terms such as apartheid are all an attempt to achieve through factual manipulation what the enemies of Is- rael have not been able to achieve through other means.

It could not be achieved by three wars and it could not be achieved by an unprecedented terror campaign against civilians, so now these organisations seek to weaken Israel by demonising and delegitimising it, weakening its alliance with other nations to diplomatically cripple and hopefully destroy it.

This was merely the latest media stunt in that campaign.

A group called ‘Australians for Palestine’ has been running a campaign entitled Time to hold Israel Accountable.

Israel is accountable to its people via elections, courts and the rule of law, while Hamas, the Palestinian Authority and Israels other neighbours are not. Israel has a right to protect itself, and the campaign to undermine this must be opposed.

More importantly, it must be exposed.

The lies and misrepresentation of facts and the application of double standards in considering Israels legitimate right of self-defence cannot go unanswered.

Contrast the Senator’s account of what happened aboard the ‘Mavi Mamara’ with that of one of the peace activists, Ken O’Keefe, who was aboard the ship when it was attacked in international waters by Israeli commandos:

“While in Israeli custody I, along with everyone else was subjected to endless abuse and flagrant acts of disrespect.

Women and elderly were physically and mentally assaulted. Access to food and water and toilets was denied.

Dogs were used against us, we ourselves were treated like dogs. We were exposed to direct sun in stress positions while hand cuffed to the point of losing circulation of blood in our hands.

We were lied to incessantly, in fact I am awed at the routineness and comfort in their ability to lie, it is remarkable really.

We were abused in just about every way imaginable and I myself was beaten and choked to the point of blacking out and I was beaten again while in my cell.

In all this what I saw more than anything else were cowards and yet I also see my brothers.

Because no matter how vile and wrong the Israeli agents and government are, they are still my brothers and sisters and for now I only have pity for them.

Because they are relinquishing the most precious thing a human being has, their humanity.”

Ian Curr
June 2010

Aside

There was a Palm island ‘death in custody’ rally and protest at parliament house in George street Brisbane at 9am Thursday 17th June 2010. Nearly six years after the death of Mulrunji, the CMC report into the police handling of … Continue reading