Monthly Archives: December 2014


Pride review – power in an unlikely union

Bill Nighy, Imelda Staunton and George MacKay sparkle in this tale of lesbian and gay activists’ support for the miners’ strike Cards on the table: having been actively involved in the banner-carrying, badge-wearing, internecine bickering of student politics in the … Continue reading

Environment: maimin’ and shamin’

(Paradigm Shift fri at noon 26 Dec 2014 4zzz fm 102.1 with Corey and Ian)

My story is your story
We’re going to go to a poem. Alice Eather – my story is your story Alice was raised in Brisbane but has returned to Maningrida in Arnhem Land to protect her mother’s sacred waters from petroleum and gas seabed mining.

The town that was murdered
Just before Christmas the Deputy premier Jeff Seeney announced the verdict in the coronial inquiry into Acland, the town that was murdered on the Darling Downs when New Hope Coal decided to plou~h ahead and expand the existing coal mine in preference to have the best agricultural land in Australia. We counter-pose this picture because it is the farmer’s party that is supporting this assassination. There is only one man sitting down in Acland to hold back the miners. Lets listen to local farmers Nicki Laws and Pamela Bolton tell the story of Acland.

Native title and mining
One of the most excitlng events of the year was the Decolonisation Before profit conference. It was held in Musgrave Park from the 8th-16th November in resistance to the G20. It was amazing being in the park, learning so much, and being surrounded by interesting and inspirational people. It was really great working together in a community and feeling like this could be a sort of blueprint for a better way to live. One of the people I talked to during this conference was uncle Yillah who’s a Githabul man from Northern NSW. He’s fighting mining companies who have moved in on his land after they signed a Native Title agreement.

There is more from uncle Yillah from May this year. After a long blockade by the local community at the proposed gas well in Bentley, Metgasco’s license to drill was suspended by the government and the company was referred to ICAC, the
Independent commission against Corruption. During their drilling program, Metgasco tried to use the name of the Githabul
tribe without the consent of the elders to help force gas-fields on an unwilling community. This is uncle Yillah’s rebuke to Metgasco boss, Peter Henderson, on the day of the suspension.

alice eather (Fl) – your story is my story
the lurkers (FA) – who’s got a padlock and chain?
john boyd – leave it in the ground
jumping fences (IF) – strike the beast hard

Listen to the show podcast


Celebrate the Freedom of the Five

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Come and help us celebrate the Fredoom of the Five, and this momentous step for the Cuban Revolution and it’s people. ACFS Brisbane


Tribute To Arthur Murray – an Australian hero whose skin was the wrong colour

On 12 June, 1981, Arthur and Leila’s son, Eddie, aged 21, was drinking with some friends in a park in Wee Waa. He was a star footballer confident he would be selected to tour New Zealand with the Redfern All Blacks Rugby League team. At 1.45 pm he was picked up by the police for nothing but drunkenness. Within an hour he was dead in a cell, with a blanket tried round his neck. At the inquest, the coroner described police evidence as “highly suspicious” and their records were found to have been falsified. Eddie, he said, had died “by his own hand or by the hand of a person or persons unknown”. It was a craven finding familiar to Aboriginal Australians. Everyone knew Eddie had too much to live for. Continue reading

Merry Christmas, and a hopeful new year

Here's to all the little kids
 Who haven't got no clothes
 Here's to all the little kids
 Who haven't got no homes
 It's Christmas time in Palestine
 It's Christmas in Beirut
 They're scrapping 'round for rice
 Not for tutti fruits
             Shane McGowan 
             Christmas Lullaby


It’s Christmas again, and whatever the year has brought, it shudders to a halt for the last week. Which gives everyone a chance to catch up with family, time for reflection, and a much needed break from the busyness of our normal lives. In some ways, it seems a bit like the biblical nativity story of Mary and Joseph trekking it out to Bethlehem – hitching south-west to my hometown I met all kinds of people who are on the same journey, back to places and people they rarely see to celebrate Christmas together.

I think a lot about the biblical story of Christmas this time of year. Of course we are surrounded with the Christmas carol or nativity display version; but the story, like any story, is more nuanced.

This year I’ve been thinking about the Jewish people, who for 400 years had been living under the burden of…

View original post 1,118 more words


ISIS does not represent Islam

If ISIS didn’t exist, anyone who wanted to promote hate against Muslims or have a poster boy for creating and fuelling Islamophobia would have to create them. The more we hear and read of statements made by ISIS members and … Continue reading


Christmas cruelty

A visit to the MITA ( Melbourne’s family friendly detention camp) on the night before Christmas Eve. Yesterday six men awaited release after years of detention. Now two men remain, one looking at his seventh Christmas in detention. The other … Continue reading

Nauruan refugee girls attacked at School

Three refugee high school girls were confronted by around 15 teenage Nauruan boys around 11.00am, last Friday (5 December) at their class room at Nauruan College.

The boys came to the refugees’ English class, threatening and abusing them before physically attacking the three girls.

One young woman has been left with soreness and bruising to her nose and eyes after punches were thrown, and a door was pushed into her face. Windows were also broken in the melee.

The boys threatened to attack the girls after school.

The attack is the latest in a campaign of intimidation directed at number of physical attacks directed at refugees on Nauru. One of the attacks has left an Iranian refugee blinded in one eye.

Despite the girls being able to identify their attackers, no action has been taken against them.

“We are afraid to go to school now,” one of the girls told the Refugee Action Coalition.

“That an attack could take place in the Nauruan college is extremely worrying, and an indication that intimidation and attacks on refugees is becoming socially acceptable,” said Ian Rintoul, spokesperson for the Refugee Action Coalition.

“This attack is yet another demonstration that Nauru is unsafe for refugees, and that neither the Nauruan government nor the Immigration department is able or willing to protect refugees.

“The Senate vote has given the government carte blanche to send babies and families back to danger in Nauru. Their vote has left asylum seekers and Nauru is the most precarious situation.

“The cross-benchers who voted for Morrison’s bill have turned a blind eye to the danger on Nauru and the willingness of the government to arbitrarily bargain the rights of one section of refugees against another.

“The asylum seekers and refugees on Nauru must be brought to Australia. And the pregnant refugee women kept on the bus in the Darwin heat after being brought to Australia to give birth must be released from Wickham Point.”

For more information contact Ian Rintoul mob 0417 275 713

Pamela Curr Refugee and Detention Rights Advocate Asylum Seeker Resource Centre

Please note our new address details:

214 – 218 Nicholson St

Footscray Vic 3011

T: 03 9326 6066

M: 0417 517 075

F: 03 9689 1063



ASRC is on the land of the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin nation

Supporters Flock to Redfern Aboriginal Tent Embassy Amid Reports of Attempted Eviction

By Chris Graham

Turns out the NSW Police aren’t the only ones with a ‘rapid response unit’. Chris Graham reports.

Dozens of supporters descended on the Redfern Aboriginal Tent Embassy this afternoon, amid reports on social media that NSW Police were trying to evict activists.

Shortly after 1pm, the call went out from the Embassy’s Facebook page for the troops to rally.

“Everyone in Sydney get to the block asap. We need 100s like on blockade day. Right now. [Aboriginal Housing Company] and redfern police planning to evict us. Share and come down asap pls”

The Embassy was established in May, in opposition to Aboriginal Housing Company plans to develop the Block not for Aboriginal housing, but for office blocks and university student accommodation (the land was gifted to Aboriginal people specifically for the provision of housing for some of the state’s most disadvantaged residents).

Embassy activists have occupied the iconic Aboriginal site ever since, despite repeated attempts to convince them to leave, and despite the ongoing harassment of embassy protestors.

This afternoon, more than 50 supporters descended on the Embassy within an hour of the call for help being broadcast. The Embassy remains in tact, but one resident was effectively evicted from the site.

Embassy leader and Gamillaroi elder Jenny Munro cannot return to the Embassy, after this morning being charged by Redfern Detectives with assault, following an altercation at the Embassy the previous week.

Aunty Jenny strongly denies the allegations and asserts that like a number of other Embassy activists in the recent past, she was the victim of an attack. But while police gave her bail, one of the restrictions they imposed prevents her from residing at the protest site.

It was a clever play by police – Embassy lawyers are unable to challenge the appropriateness of the bail conditions until January 9, when Aunty Jenny will appear in the Downing Centre Local Court.

Until then, she’ll have to reside at her home in a nearby suburb.

Embassy leader and Gamillaroi elder Jenny Munro (left) pictured at the Block earlier this year. The woman on the right is Aboriginal journalist Kate Munro.

Embassy leader and Gamillaroi elder Jenny Munro (left) pictured at the Block earlier this year. The woman on the right is Aboriginal journalist Kate Munro.

Police imposed the bail conditions despite a lengthy submission from Aunty Jenny’s lawyer, Lisa De Luca which argued that preventing an Aboriginal woman from entering Aboriginal lands, while allowing a non Aboriginal woman (the alleged victim) access to private Aboriginal lands was “unacceptable”.

In her written submission, Ms De Luca argued:

1. The area known as the Block is owned by Aboriginal people, held in trust by the Aboriginal Housing Company;

2. It is private property, and is clearly marked as such, although is not enclosed by fencing. The alleged victim, a white woman, had no business being on the Block uninvited.

3. Ms Munro has continuously resided on the area known as the Block, Redfern since May 26, 2014 and as a respected Aboriginal elder, is the leader of a peaceful protest known as the Redfern Aboriginal Tent Embassy. It is a protest against the Aboriginal Housing Company and developers proposing to build offices… instead of housing for Aboriginal people.

4. To force her to leave her place of residence, and the protest by excluding her from the Block, I submit is both unfair and unreasonable. As stated on the phone, “having an Aboriginal woman excluded from Aboriginal land in favour of a white woman who has no rights to enter the land is unacceptable”.

5. Since May 2014, Ms Munro and other occupants have been subjected to threats, intimidation and assaults by people connected with the Aboriginal Housing Company, at least one of whom is a police witness in this matter.

The submission also alleges inappropriate conduct on the part of police, and highlights the fact that Embassy protestors have been the ones who have been the victims of violence.

“It is a concern that both the alleged victim and one of the witnesses were interviewed in the same room at the same time….” Ms De Luca writes.

“Police have laid several charges against these people, of which all are pending in the criminal courts.

“All of these acts of violence have been perpetrated against the Redfern Aboriginal Tent Embassy with the sole purpose of stopping the protest.

“I am instructed, and indeed the attached statement confirms, that Ms Munro was acting in self-defence. Accordingly, the matter will be vigorously defended.”

Ms De Luca finished the submission with a request:

“If it is decided that regardless of the above, you wish to exclude Ms Munro from residing on the Block over the weekend, I ask that you please call me prior to doing so (as per our discussion) and that you please list her matter before Downing Centre Local Court on 22 December 2014, where I will make an application for variation of the bail conditions.”

Instead, police waited until December 22 to charge Aunty Jenny, issued their own bail conditions, and then gave her a court attendance notice for January 9.

In the interim, protestors will continue to man the Embassy site over the Christmas holiday season. Other Aboriginal elders will remain on site.

If you want to become part of the Redfern Aboriginal Tent Embassy’s ‘rapid response unit’, or you’re simply after updates on the Embassy’s progress, then you can ‘like’ their official Facebook page here.


Passengers’ protest stops deportation of Chinese asylum seeker

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Seven passengers stood up on an Air China flight to stop a Chinese asylum seeker being deported late last Friday night. Wei Lin, a 33 year old Chinese asylum seeker was escorted by four Serco guards; was tightly handcuffed and … Continue reading

Gabriel Garcia Marquez

Gabriel García Márquez in 1975: ‘He would say things like “you’re my voice in English” and I just melted.’ Photograph: Isabel Steva Hernandez /Colita/Corbis

An agent I knew called me one day and said: “Would you be interested in translating García Márquez?”, and I said: “Are you kidding me? Of course I would.” It was for Love in the Time of Cholera and I sent in a 20-page sample. I thought about it long and hard, as you would imagine, because there are as many ways to translate a text as there are translators.

I thought about what style of English I was going to use and apparently made the right choice. He did have one comment, which came by way of his agent, Carmen Balcells in Barcelona, and that was that in Spanish he didn’t use adverbs – that is words that in Spanish end in “mente”; the equivalent in English would be “ly”. His request was that I eliminate all of those from the translation. It’s very hard to figure out how to say “slowly” without the “ly”! So you find strange phrases like “without haste” in the books because I’m avoiding “ly”. It was like being back in school, having a very strict composition teacher. But also, I thought, he must be a damn good writer to be so aware of what he’s putting into his writing.

When I got to know him, I found him an utterly delicious man. He was very funny, with a straight-faced wit. I never knew what the expression “a twinkle in the eye” meant really; I couldn’t visualise it until I met him, because his eyes did twinkle. He was very witty, very smart, very underplayed. A very attractive person. We talked mostly about literature, a little bit of gossip. He would talk about Woody Allen, whose movies he admired. At the beginning of the 00s, I was terrified and excited at the prospect of translating Don Quixote and mentioned it in a note to him. I needed to talk to him so his secretary got on the phone and said: “Please hold for Mr García Márquez” and his first words to me were: “So I hear you’re two-timing me with Cervantes.” When I finished laughing we got down to business. I could see that twinkle in his eye all the way from Mexico City.

He had a simplicity of manners that was very charming. He would say nice things like “you’re my voice in English” and I just melted.

The last time I saw him was a while ago because he got sick and when he came here it was to Los Angeles, where one of his sons lives. He was seeing American doctors. So his travels to the US were to the west coast, and not New York, where I am.

I was really grief-stricken when he died. I felt as if the world were a smaller, darker place without him. It followed very soon after the death of [fellow Colombian writer] Alvaro Mutis, who died the previous September, and I translated his writing too. They were very close friends. Each other’s first readers. To lose Mutis and then García Márquez, I really felt very sad.

I recently reread Love in the Time of Cholera. It’s one of the great love stories. I’ve just finished teaching it and I thought, Oh my god! Imagine writing this. Just fabulous. In my opinion, he was one of the great novelists of the 20th century – right up there with Joyce, Thomas Mann, William Faulkner. I can’t imagine Toni Morrison writing without García Márquez; I can’t imagine Salman Rushdie writing without him. We should remember him with joy. And with the immense respect that genius deserves.


Jagera support for Cairns Family

2015 Calendar for Jagera Arts Hall

Program for 2015

‘Right to March’ Movement 1977-1979

Strange primitive piece of flesh, the heart laid quiet
 hearing their cry pierce through its thin-walled cave
 recalls the forgotten tiger,
 and leaps awake in its old panic riot;
 and how shall mind be sober,
 since blood's red thread still binds us fast in history?
 Tiger, you walk through all our past and future,
 troubling the children's sleep'; laying
 a reeking trail across our dreams of orchards.
                          -- Trains by Judith Wright

[Publishers Note: Here are excerpts from an article published in the Social DemocraticRights_thumb.jpgAlternatives Magazine which was a beacon of light in the dark days of the Bjelke-Peterson era. It gives some insight into movement politics, as distinct from issues based politics sponsored by political parties of the Left. At that time, a protagonist of movement politics was Dan O’Neill, a veteran of the 1967 civil liberties march after the first ban on street marches by Premier Nicklin. Ten years later, on 22 October 1977, Dan stood at the top of the steps of King George Square steps with his back to 1,000 police and beseeched the crowd of 5,000 people in the square:

We have to build a movement which is systematic, organised, non-violent and absolutely massive.

The temperature was in the high 30s [cf People Rally at G20, 37 years later]. Wonderful poet Judith Wright, curiously oblivious of the crowds eagerness to march against uranium mining and export (was it her deafness?), had just finished speaking … for over 2 hours in the searing heat … or was it because she was unconsciously delaying the inevitable confrontation with police?

Nevertheless, after abortive attempts by Ian Henderson and Bob Phelps from Campaign against Nuclear Power (CANP) to martial people in twos and threes out of the square, Dan O’Neill finally put an end to the pussyfooting declaring that we mass in formation out of King George Square:
1977 arrest
So what I propose we do is to link arms in a sign of defiance and to march from the square. When we are confronted by police we should raise our arms in a sign of massive civil disobedience (that will fill the police watchouses) and bring the system to a standstill.

In the following three hours, 418 people were arrested in the largest single mass arrest in Australian history. I am no advocate for either issue politics or movement politics – but we should be aware of these formations and how they arise in resistance struggles – Ian Curr, 11 Dec 2014, participant of the democratic rights struggles. ]

CIVIL LIBERTIES IN QUEENSLAND: a nonviolent political campaign

by Ralph Summy and Mark Plunkett
[excerpts from SOCIAL ALTERNATIVES Vol. 1 Nos. 617, 1980 73]

u're all under arrestWith the exception of the anti Vietnam War campaigns of the sixties and early seventies, as well as some protracted industrial disputes, the years 1977-80 in Queensland witnessed Australia’s biggest protest movement of the post World War II period.

Moreover, what had become known as the ‘Right to March‘ movement was one of, if not the biggest sustained protest in the entire history of the State of Queensland.

In September 1977, the Queensland Government banned political street marches, thereby triggering off a statewide civil liberties campaign of defiance that resulted in some two thousand people being arrested, locked up, and fined, and about one hundred being imprisoned.

That such dissident fervour could be generated in a state like Queensland, generally regarded as having the most unenlightened politics and most reactionary government of any of Australia’s six states, came as a surprise to many people. Its two million population comprises mainly conservative and apathetic citizens whose politics are grounded in an ambiance of affluent complacency and no intellectualism.

This article will focus on the dynamics of the nonviolent political action that characterised the campaign. It will examine how the Queensland civil liberties movement non-violently challenged Parliament, Government, Police, Courts, Prison and the Public. It will show how the movement, by harnessing nonviolent techniques, was able to:

1) twice plunge the Government budget into deficit, and financially break the Queensland Police Force, thereby proving it was cheaper to allow marches than to stop them,

2) contribute to the downfall of the leaders of both the State Liberal and Labor Parties,

3) cause a great upheaval in the Queensland Coalition Government, the discord spilling over into the federal sphere,

4) generate nationwide debate and concern on the issue,

5 )expose the authoritarianism and injustice of the Queensland political system, recruit and radicalise a great number of individuals,

6) recruit and radicalise a great number of individuals,

7) win widespread third party support from numerous non participants,

8) and force ultimately the State Government to relax the
march ban.

 This article will focus on the dynamics of the nonviolent political action that characterised the campaign. It will examine how the Queensland civil liberties movement could recruit and radicalise a great number of individuals, and thereby win widespread third party support from numerous non-participants,

Sit down in the 'Valley of Death'

Sit down in the ‘Valley of Death’ – Albert Street Brisbane 22 Oct 1977

The aim was to ultimately force the State Government to relax the March ban.

Despite these successes, the campaign revealed many shortcomings. Since the principles of nonviolence were applied in only primitive form, the movement had far greater potential than it ever realised.

However, it was in the streets against the nonviolent demonstrators that the Government, through its agent, the police, most strikingly revealed its hypocrisy. Senior police officers when briefing police prior to an attempted march created the impression of an impending ‘riotous situation’.

Police repression
The Queensland Police Journal, official organ of the Queensland Police Union of Employees, ran articles on the Brisbane riots of 1919, ‘in order to afford our readers an opportunity of forming an opinion of the recent upheaval in our midst’. One article referred to the heavy police casualty list, detailing bayonet wounds, lacerations, broken ribs, and bullet wounds to the feet and backs of heads. In such an atmosphere it is not surprising that the police overreacted and created the violence they were supposed to prevent.

At one rally it was reported that police even placed sharpshooters on nearby tall buildings overlooking King George Square.

The Queensland Secretary of the Australian Journalist Association, Norm Harriden, described the strong-arm way in which the police made their arrests:

‘They were twisting people’s arms up behind their backs so they had to react and then a couple of other policemen would move in on the arrested person. That’s a technique they haven’t been using recently.’

If protesters saw the police roughing up a fellow marcher, they would shout, ‘Assault! Assault!’

The leader of the Australian Democrats, Senator Don Chipp, commented in the Australian Senate that:

Senator Georges did not create the force and violence, the police did.

Perhaps the worst aspects took place under cover. The Special Branch police engaged in spying, surveillance, clandestine photography, intimidation, and harassment of protesters.

Harassment of leaders
The break-ins that occurred during rallies into the homes of leaders were thought to be the work of the plainclothes force. Their invasions into people’s privacy would presumably have been conducted to give them information not only for containing the movement but also for preventing certain people’s entry into or promotion in the state public service.

Against the full panoply of the Bjelke-Petersen regime’s heavy-handed lawlessness and violence, the nonviolent strategy of the movement, no matter how imperfectly conceived and executed, was bound to attract some third party support. The regime’s arrogance and ignorance played directly into the hands of the movement. However, chastened now after its first encounter with nonviolence, the regime may devise a more sophisticated approach if it projects the conflict into a second stage.

Alternative Media
The movement also set up its own media. Demonstrations were video-taped not only to provide evidence at court trials but so students and others could see what the television stations refused to show. A few enterprising actionists set up a pirate radio station 4PR. Known as the people’s radio, it made a number of broadcasts in FM at 94 kilohertz.

Thanks to Radical Times for this footage shot by Bruce Dickson

What if the movement grows…
Should this occur, an imperative will exist for the movement to counter with a deeper understanding of nonviolent theory and a more judicious use of the armoury of nonviolent methods. The use of nonviolent means against violent repression creates an asymmetrical conflict situation in which the two forces are using different weapons systems.

The skillful, determined and extensive application of nonviolent techniques will throw a violent opponent off balance.Arrests in Right to march

His/her violence will rebound against him/her, as in jiu-jitsu.

According to Gandhi, the process is similar to that of a person violently striking water with a sword; it is the person’s arm which becomes dislocated.

Total no of arrests in right to march campaign

Summer campaign
Whilst the movement triggered considerable third-party support, which it then often assisted. It rarely engaged directly in soliciting the initial support.

One important exception was the 1977-78 summer campaign conducted by Dan O’Neill and Jane Gruchy who toured the length and breadth of Queensland, reaching country areas as far away from Brisbane as the Atherton Tableland.

The purpose of the tour was to explain to country people (whose media exposure was decidedly one dimensional) the central issues involved and seek their organisational support.

The success of the tour can probably be measured by contrasting the extensive degree of protest that subsequently occurred in the provincial cities and towns with that which rarely developed during the years of the anti-Vietnam War campaign or during the 1971 tour of the Springbok rugby team.

To read the full article – Civil Liberties Movement

• These figures represent the Brisbane total in 1977 alone. Two or three hundred more should be included for marches conducted in provincial cities and towns. For example quite a lot of people were arrested in Townsville (1977-1979).


CIA and political police

Hmmph … Pope and U.S. blockade of Cuba


A little-known book [“Dialogues between John Paul II and Fidel Castro”] about Cuba by Jorge Mario Bergoglio now Pope Francis provides new insight into his views on Cuban society, Marxism and the U.S. trade embargo that helped inform his behind-the-scenes role in helping bring about the historic thaw in U.S.-Cuba relations.

Bergoglio compiled “Dialogues between John Paul II and Fidel Castro” in 1998, soon after the Polish pope’s landmark visit to the communist island. Bergoglio attended the event as the soon-to-be-named archbishop of Buenos Aires, but he clearly was versed in the issues well before given the impact of the Cold War standoff throughout Latin America.

In the booklet, Bergoglio harshly criticized socialism and by extension Castro’s atheist revolution for denying individuals their “transcendent dignity” and putting them solely at the service of the state. At the same time, he denounced the U.S. embargo and economic isolation of Cuba that impoverished the island.

“The Cuban people must overcome this isolation,” he wrote.

Significantly, the first chapter of the book is titled “The value of dialogue,” and it is clear that Bergoglio fervently believes as did John Paul that dialogue was the only way to end Cuba’s isolation and its hostility to the Catholic Church while promoting democracy.

In quoting from both John Paul and Castro’s speeches during the trip, Bergoglio noted that the two sometimes talked past one another as John Paul insisted on a space for the church to operate in Cuba and Castro insisted on the similarities between Marxism and Christianity.

“But they both had to listen to each other,” he wrote.

Francis has frequently emphasized the need for dialogue to forge peace, as evidenced by his invitation to the Israeli and Palestinian presidents to come together to pray at the Vatican last June. His invitation to U.S. President Barack Obama and Cuban counterpart Raul Castro to hash out their differences over the Caribbean island, with the Vatican as a mediator, was done in that same vein.

Austen Ivereigh, who referenced the book in his new biography of Francis “The Great Reformer,” said Bergoglio demonstrated an “incredibly evenhanded” approach to the Cuban problem while outlining a future for the island that may well be more realistic now that the thaw has begun.

“He sees Cuba’s future as being a democratic government rooted in the Christian, humanist values of the Cuban pueblo,” he said in a phone interview. “It’s a kind of nationalist Catholic understanding of politics, neither left nor right, neither communism nor unadulterated market capitalism.”


Nominate for first ever National Indigenous Human Rights Awards

The National Indigenous Human Rights Awards will be launched at NSW Parliament in late June, with nominations now open. The Awards will be Welcomed in by NSW parliamentarian, Linda Burney and launched alongside Yalmay Yunupingu and Gail Mabo and will … Continue reading


Unity & Community! Brisbane Community Action Network invites you to…

End o’ year BBQ! Dec 21, 2014 5pm-8pm The Basement @ 5 Paris Street, West End (near the 199 bus stop cnr Vulture and Hardgrave Rd) After many achievements this year, the Brisbane Community Action Network would like to invite … Continue reading

“BETRAYAL”: A critical analysis of rape culture in Anarchist subcultures

“In the end, it won’t be
the words of our enemies we remember, but the silence of
our friends."


7pm Tues 23rd Dec

69 Thomas St, West End

JOIN US IN A READING GROUP TO DISCUSS “BETRAYAL”: A critical analysis of rape culture in Anarchist subcultures. The essay speaks on rape culture in the anarchist milieu and what tends to happen during accountability processes stressing survivor autonomy.

The reading discusses the challenges in and gives perspective on how people can be held accountable by the community, from things like bullying all the way to sexual assaults. Brisbane Solidarity Network Believes it is important in understanding this subject matter if activists are going to be able to relate to each other in a healthy way and to create safer spaces.

We acknowledgement of how sensitive the subject matter is and because of that there will be people on hand to accompany if people who need a time out, as we understand some of the subject matter can cause people to relive painful experiences. Without developing a culture of understanding the nature of interpersonal violence we will be less equipped to stop it and hold people accountable for it, thus we invite everyone to join in such a reading and discussion.

This is the zine and be read, downloaded and printed out with this link here –

Trigger warning – The content of the zine discusses the nature of interpersonal violence & sexual assault.

The BSN understands it might be too intense for people, to talk about it publically and it might be— BSN |

Ordinary citizens organising for social justice in response to the G20.  Brisbane, Australia.

List members are private, only list members can view posts or archives. Mind you, this may not stop them.


History repeats: Ethnic cleansing in ACT 1954 and now in WA removal from homelands.

Subject: [SU] History repeats: Ethnic cleansing in ACT 1954 and now in WA removal from homelands. find attached another missive from ghillar michael anderson on removing aborigines from their homeland areas. i have nothing to say on this matter other … Continue reading


Cuban Five and the Blockade

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Since my election as President of the State Council and Council of Ministers I have reiterated in many occasions our willingness to hold a respectful dialogue with the United States on the basis of sovereign equality, in order to deal … Continue reading


‘No appeal from the grave’

‘No appeal from the grave’ Phillip Hughes, workplace deaths and getting the balance right. The death of cricketer Phillip Hughes on 27 November was one of several hundred workplace fatalities during 2014. His death was indeed an accident. Today, bouncers … Continue reading


a day of great shame

today is day of great shame for our police-controlled judicial system! today is a day were legal fraud has been blatantly put on show in its most arrogant form! today four nsw police were exonerated of the police-initiated death of … Continue reading


Action Alert – Melbourne overnight protest vigil to stop forced deportation to danger

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‘The Refugee Action Collective and Hazara community representatives have called a protest vigil to stop the deportation of Gulistan, a 33 year old Hazara man who has been in Australia for 3 years. Hazaras returning to Afghanistan have been tortured … Continue reading


Force of circumstance: siege ends in grief

And once, when Sartre had made some comment,
he [Fanon] gave an explanation of his egocentricity:
a member of a colonised people must be constantly aware
of his position, his image; he is being threatened from
all sides; impossible to forget for an instant the need
to keep up one’s defences.
— Simone de Beauvoir, The Force of Circumstance Continue reading

West Papuans unite to form new umbrella group


Newly elected spokesman for the unified movement Benny Wenda is treated to a chiefly welcome at the opening ceremony of the meeting in Port Vila. Photo: Ben Bohane/

Unified movement represents a new hope for West Papuans to continue building momentum for their struggle.

In a gathering of West Papuan leaders in Vanuatu last week, different factions of the independence movement united to form a new body called the United Liberation Movement for West Papua (ULMWP).

In kastom ceremonies that included pig-killing and gifts of calico, kava and woven mats, West Papuan leaders embraced each other in reconciliation and unity while the Prime Minister of Vanuatu, church groups and chiefs looked on. The unification meeting was facilitated by the Pacific Council of Churches.

The new organisation unites the three main organisations and several smaller ones who have long struggled for independence. By coming together to present a united front, they hope to re-submit a fresh application for membership of the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) as well as countering Indonesian claims that the West Papuan groups are divided. The divisions have tended to be more about personalities than any real policy differences since all the groups have been pushing for the same thing: independence from Indonesia. But the apparent differences had sown some confusion and gave cover to Fiji and others in the region to say the movement was not united and therefore undeserving of a seat at the MSG so far.

This narrative has been challenged by other leaders in the region such as the Vanuatu Prime Minister Joe Natuman who said that the very fact the West Papuans are a Melanesian people gives them the automatic right to be represented by the MSG.

Following the unification gathering, newly elected spokesperson for the ULMWP Benny Wenda said “We West Papuans are united in one group and one struggle now.” Wenda claimed this was the most important gathering of West Papuan leaders since the struggle began 52 years ago.

The key groups to have united include the Federal Republic of West Papua (NRFPB); National Coalition for Liberation (WPNCL) and National Parliament of West Papua (NPWP), which incorporates the KPNB (National Committee for West Papua). An external secretariat consisting of five elected members from the various groups will now co-ordinate the ULMWP.

Octovianus Mote, a former journalist who has been based in the US for many years, has been elected General Secretary of the ULMWP. Benny Wenda is the spokesperson and the other three elected members are Rex Rumakiek, Leone Tangahma and Jacob Rumbiak.

“The ULMWP is now the only recognised co-ordinating body to lead the campaign for MSG membership and continue the campaign for independence from Indonesia.”

General Secretary Mote said at the close of the unification meeting “I am honoured to be elected and very happy we are now all united. The ULMWP is now the only recognised co-ordinating body to lead the campaign for MSG membership and continue the campaign for independence from Indonesia.”

In a speech outside the Chief’s Nakamal (the hut which serves as a focal point for all the chiefs of Vanuatu), Mote spoke of the urgency of their situation. He quoted economist Dr Jim Elmslie whose demographic projections suggest that Papuans will comprise only 29% of the population by 2020, highlighting the massive transmigration program that continue to bring settlers in from around Indonesia. Indigenous Papuans are already a minority in their own land – and Mote warned that once West Papua is fully “asianised” then PNG will be next.

PNG is already under sustained pressure from Indonesia, witnessed by the last minute blocking of a charter flight organised for 70 delegates, many of whom had travelled for weeks through the jungle of West Papua to reach PNG, from leaving Jackson’s airport in Port Moresby. Peter O’Neill’s PNG government had originally organised and paid for the charter to get delegates to the Vanuatu meeting but appears to have succumbed to Indonesian anger. In the end 5 of the 70 delegates marooned in Port Moresby found commercial flights and got to Port Vila in time for the final day’s signing ceremony, which became known as the Saralana Declaration.

While Indonesia dangles the carrot of “assistance” and supporting Fiji and PNG’s bid for ASEAN membership, other Melanesian nations  are not so easily bought. No-one could accuse Vanuatu or its successive Prime Ministers of bowing to Indonesian pressure – the issue has bi-partisan support there and has become a domestic political issue. Vanuatu’s current Prime Minister Joe Natuman gave full state support for the West Papuan gathering saying he didn’t care if Indonesia cut diplomatic relations with Vanuatu.

On December 1st, the day West Papuans traditionally celebrate their independence day, Vanuatu’s leaders joined a large rally of supporters who marched through the capital Port Vila, led by the VMF (Vanuatu Mobile Force) marching band in uniform. Prime Minister Natuman was present at a flag raising ceremony which hoisted both the Vanuatu flag and West Papuan “Morning Star” independence flag. Indonesia promptly sent a “warning” to Vanuatu with unspecified threats.

West Papuan delegates were moved by Vanuatu’s support and spoke emotionally about ongoing atrocities and repression in their homeland. Even as they united, reports of more killings surfaced this week.

General Secretary Mote told me the next step is for the new movement to re-submit their MSG application for membership between February and March next year, with MSG leaders expected to make a decision when they meet in the Solomon Islands in June 2015.

No doubt some internal tensions will remain, given the tribal diversity of West Papua and its traditionally de-centralised leadership, but the newly unified movement under the ULMWP represents the best chance yet for the Papuans to continue building momentum for their struggle.…/west-papuans-unite-to-form-ne…/


Season’s Greetings to all who stand with Palestine

This gallery contains 3 photos.

As a Christmas gift to the people of Gaza please sign my petition calling for Byron Bay to twin with Gaza: Continue reading

Full Circle: Activism, Creativity and Academia

This lecture will be a reflection on my life in academia juggling creativity and activism with a scholarly life. Bio Dr Janie Conway-Herron is a senior lecturer in Creative Writing in the School of Arts and Social Sciences Southern Cross University. She has been teaching creative writing at the university since 1997 and is retiring at the end of the year.


REFUGEE POLICY: Something Shocking is going on

The Saturday Paper December 13 2014 in an article about a threatened Afghan family, under the subheading Morrison’s new power, recorded: “In the early morning hours of Friday, December 5, while much of Australia slept, the senate passed its final … Continue reading

Struggles for Land in Palestine … in Australia

Palestine and the Levant in 1917PShift broadcast 4zzz fm 102.1 friday 12 Dec 2014. Podcast of whole show is at

Andy and Ian speak about the taking of land by the corporate state in Australia and in Israel.

Features two interviews.

The first with Phil Monsour about the the Palestinian story which is one of catastrophe and struggle following the Palestinian dispossession of 1948 and the creation of the homeland for Jewish settlers from Europe.

It has been subsumed beneath European and US support and sympathy for the Jewish people following persecution and genocide in Europe. Israel’s circumstance depends on massive military and economic support from the US to maintain its domination. In the Western media the full Palestinian narrative is overshadowed by Western support for the settlers.

The second is with a cattle farmer Ed Robinson who talks about AGL trying to take his land to put in CSG wells. Farmer Ed Robinson from Gloucester opposes AGL (CSG) on his land – he talks about damage to the Avon river and the complex geology of the area.

A temporary camp to accommodate anti-coal seam gas protesters at Gloucester in northern New South Wales has been approved by the local council. The campsite will be located on Ed Robinson’s farming property on Jacks Road adjacent to AGL’s Waukivory Pilot Project where it will frack four wells.

Episode Notes

Phil Monsour – Masters of war
Canorous – Terrorist is the CIA
Ducks In The Mud – Fences
Steve Towson – Christmas Island


Palestine 2015 Asian Cup

Palestine will play in its first top-tier international football tournament in Australia five weeks from now. Palestine qualified after Ashraf Al Fawaghra kicked a brilliant long-range goal to clinch the 1-0 final against The Philippines in the Asian Football Confederation … Continue reading