Sunday, July 26, 2009

Fremantle residents rally against uranium

By Alex Salmon, Fremantle 26 July 2009

Fifty people rallied outside the Fremantle Esplanade Hotel on July 22. The hotel was the venue of the Australian Uranium conference. The protest was organised by the Fremantle Anti-Nuclear Group.

The protest was addressed by mayor of Fremantle, Peter Tagliaferri, who denounced the Western Australian Coalition government’s support for uranium mining as a short-sighted and costly policy. He reaffirmed the Fremantle City Council's commitment to keeping Fremantle a nuclear-free zone.

Greens parliamentarian Lynn MacLaren denounced the federal environment minister Peter Garrett for his approval of the Four Mile uranium mine in South Australia. She called for the state government to invest in renewable energy rather than uranium mining which is dirty and dangerous.

The crowd was also addressed by Indigenous activists David Collard and David Gilroy, the state shadow environment minister Sally Talbot, Natalie Lowry from the WA conservation Council, and veteran peace campaigner and former Greens senator Jo Valentine.

Along with an anti-nuclear sing-along, a highlight of the action was a surprise visit from the Clown Army who searched the venue for radioactive waste. They managed to “uncover” Peter Garrett hiding in the crowd.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Iran: Understanding the struggle for democracy and socialism

IRAN: Understanding the Iranian revolution and the struggle for democracy & socialism in Iran today

Guest speaker:
Chris Latham
Socialist Alliance

6.30pm, Thurs 23 July
Resistance Centre, 15 / 5 Aberdeen St, East Pert (next to McIver Station)

Leftists around the world have responded to the recent post-election upsurge in Iran with positions differing from support for the current regime through to support for the grassroots opposition in the streets. Chris Latham will discuss the different positions with reference to the dynamics of the 1979 Iranian revolution & the unfolding struggle in the Iranian street.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Rally against proposed Kimberly gas plant

Alex Salmon
18 July 2009

PERTH: Thirty people rallied against a proposed new gas plant on July 10 outside the Perth Offices of Chevron and Shell. The protest was organised by the Wilderness Society. The two companies are considering joining a proposed joint venture development with fellow-fossil fuel companies Woodside, BHP Billiton and BP for a gas processing (LNG) industrial hub at James Price Point, 50 km north of Broome, in the Kimberly.

The protesters said the development would include dredging, blasting, pollution and land clearing that would devastate the local environment. The LNG development would endanger one of the world’s most significant humpback whale populations and would raise Western Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions by 14%, the Wilderness Society said.

So far, Shell and Chevron have not committed to the project. However, the WA Coalition government of Colin Barnett has aggressively backed it. The Wilderness Society plans to hold monthly protests in Perth against the proposed gas plant.

For more details on the campaign visit

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Wainwright to stand for Freo council

Alex Salmon, Fremantle 11 July 2009

Local community activist, socialist, wharfie and unionist Sam Wainwright will stand in the Hilton ward in the October Fremantle Council elections.

Referring to the May Fremantle by-election that that resulted in Greens candidate Adele Charles defeating high profile Labor candidate Peter Taliaferro, Wainwright told Green Left Weekly: “I hope to bring a strong voice to council in favor of community democracy, workers’ rights and environmental sustainability.
“The recent by-election brought welcome winds of change; let’s extend that to Freo council.”

Wainwright was the Socialist Alliance candidate in the by-election in which the socialist vote increased.

“We’ve got strong views on workers’ rights and community democracy”, he said. “I think that through the by-election we demonstrated that we’re not just wide-eyed radicals: we’ve given serious consideration to the practical steps we can and need to take to tackle the big social and environmental questions.

“The local Socialist Alliance branch and a number of other activists and residents have asked me to stand in order continue to do this.”

Wainwright is keen to see the council become a forum for active community debate, participation and action, not just a passive arm of government administration.

“People have to understand that there is no white knight in shining armour to save us, whatever our main area of concern is, whether it’s massively extending and subsidising green technologies for the home or stopping nuclear-armed and powered ships from stopping in our port”, he said.

“Rather we have to get out and make change happen. Freo council can and should be helping this process, including helping community members organise to pressure state and federal government.

“It’s not good enough that businesses and wealthy residents who could install green technology don’t, whereas tenants and Homes west [public housing] residents who would love to have it can’t because their landlords don’t want to spend the money.

“This turns water tanks and solar panels into middle-class accessories when they should be something for everybody. These technologies need to be made a condition of planning permission and more actively subsidised by the Water Corporation and Western Power. The council should be doing its part and putting the pressure on the state government to do the same.”

Referring to the regular visits to Fremantle by the US Navy he said: “Fremantle is supposedly a Nuclear-Free Zone council but what does this really mean? At the same time we have nuclear-powered and armed vessels visiting our port, and the Australian uranium industry regularly meets at the Esplanade Hotel.

“Uranium exports through our port could be next. These things might be outside the jurisdiction of the council but that doesn’t mean the council and the mayor should silently dodge the issue. The council could be actively assisting Fremantle Anti-Nuclear Group and be telling the uranium industry that we don’t want its blood money.”

Friday, July 10, 2009

Perth Voice reports on Freo SA forum

The Perth Voice newspaper reported on the June 30 forum hosted by Fremantle Socialist Alliance on the topic of "Challenging the Two-Party System: how far can we go?".

"The Socialist Alliance has likened Australia's political system to a battle between soft drink giants Pepsi and Coke: Both big brands sell expensive, sugary junk and it's hard to tell them apart," the paper wrote in its 11 July issue.

"Last Tuesday the East Perth-based workers' party held a forum in Fremantle where its candidate, Sam Wainwright, had polled in the top half of an 11-strong by-election field."

"Unionist Les McLaughlin opened with a speech about workplace agreements, saying the Rudd government had failed: 'Workplace agreements have not been completely abolished, as the government said they would be' he said."

The paper also reported comments by state upper house Greens member Lyn MacLaren (who stepped in at the last minute to replace Adele Carles who was unwell). "Challenging the two party system is a good way to strengthen our democracy" the paper quoted MacLaren as saying.

Since then, the Perth Socialist Alliance has held a successful branch meeting on July 8 featuring guest speaker Jonathan Strauss from the Cairns Socialist Alliance.

Each meeting attracted between 20-25 people with not much overlap between them. Socialist Alliance in WA now has more than 50 currently financial members - more than double the figure from the beginning of this year.

The next Perth Socialist Alliance forum will be on July 23 on the topic of Iran. The meeting will aim to increase understanding about the 1979 Iranian revolution and about why we need to both defend Iran against attacks from Western imperialist governments and support Iranian movements for democratic reform.

Socialist Alliance is also planning a forum on on the coup in Honduras (details soon) and our upcoming state conference from 1pm on Saturday 15 August at the Resistance Centre (15 / 5 Aberdeen St, East Perth - just next to McIver station).

For more information, phone Alex Bainbridge 0413 976 638.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Photos from Perth protest against Honduras coup

On July 3, more than 20 people protested against the June 28 coup in Honduras. We demanded that the Australian government - which has so far been silent about this violation of democracy - should condemn the coup, impose sanctions against the coup regime and call for the return of the democratically elected president Manuel Zelaya.

Daily updates about the situation in Honduras are being written by Eva Golinger on her blog.

Protest the coup in Honduras 5pm Fri 3 July

Military Coup in Honduras

End the Coup! Sanctions Against the Coup Regime Now!
Speak Out:
Friday 3 July 5pm
Cnr Hay & Williams Streets (outside Wesley Church)

This Friday a protest will take place to condemn the military coup against the democratically elected Honduran President Zelaya. We are demanding that the Australian government:

1. Unequivocally condemn the coup;
2. Refuse to recognise the coup regime and end all diplomatic ties
until Zelaya is safely returned to office;
3. Support international sanctions against the coup regime.

For more information, phone Nick Everett (0409 762 081), Alex Bainbridge (0413 976 638), Vinnie Molina (0419 812 872)

Restore democracy in Honduras!

A statement from the Socialist Alliance, Australia, July 2, 2009

The Socialist Alliance strongly condemns the June 28 coup d’etat by the military, members of the oligarchy and their political agents in Honduras. The violent kidnapping and expulsion to Costa Rica of democratically-elected President Manuel Zelaya Rosales is an attempt to deny the people of Honduras their fundamental human rights to determine their own government and political future.

The coup took place as millions of Hondurans were preparing to exercise their right to vote for the first time in a consultative referendum on the future convening of a constitutional assembly to reform Honduras’ constitution. The Zelaya government’s proposal to draft a new constitution is the culmination of other measures under his presidency that have come under attack by conservative forces, including a significant raise in the minimum wage, measures to re-nationalise energy generation plants and telecommunications, signing a bill to greatly improve labour conditions for teachers, joining the Venezuelan Petrocaribe program, and delaying recognition of the new United States ambassador after the Bolivian government implicated the US embassy in supporting paramilitary groups destabilising Bolivia.

The Socialist Alliance also condemns the June 28 assassination by the armed forces of Honduran congressperson Cesar Ham, the organiser of the consultative referendum on a new constitution, and the abduction of Honduran foreign minister Patricia Rodas. The assault and attempted kidnapping on the Venezuelan, Cuban and Nicaraguan ambassadors in Honduras, who were trying to protect Rodas was a direct attack on the Bolivarian movement for unity and progressive change in Latin America.

The Socialist Alliance is very concerned for the safety of the human rights organisations that have supported the president and the efforts for constitutional reform. Reports of the military pursuing civil society leaders in the street and of leaders of the National Council of Indigenous Peoples being forced into hiding must be responded to be all who support freedom.

We applaud and stand in solidarity with the thousands of brave Hondurans who have mobilised to defend democracy by demonstrating in the streets and attempting to exercise their right to participate in the referendum despite intimidation and assault by the armed forces. We also solidarise with the Honduran trade unions and social movements calling for a general strike in support of their ousted president.

The Socialist Alliance congratulates the nine governments of ALBA, the Organization of American States, and the UN General Assembly president Miguel D’Escoto for their immediate condemnation of the coup and support for Zelaya as the only legitimate president of Honduras. We note that the European Union and numerous governments have condemned the coup, and call on the Australian government to:

  • Refuse to recognise the Congressional appointed ‘de facto’ government of Roberto Michelletti;
  • Demand the immediate, safe return of the President Zelaya and foreign minister Rodas, and the reconstitution of the elected government;
  • Demand the immediate release of all political and social movement organisation leaders who have been detained by the military;
  • Insist on respect for the safety and human rights of all Hondurans; and
  • Support calls from the Honduran people for the coup leaders to be arrested and tried for their crimes.
  • We pledge the Socialist Alliance’s active solidarity with the Honduran people’s fight for democracy and justice, and will continue to protest until the coup is overturned and democratic rights are reinstalled in Honduras.

    For further information: Lisa Macdonald 0413 031 108

    More background information and articles:

    Coup & mass resistance in Honduras

    Resistance and Repression in Honduras

    Honduras: Old Coup Strategy, Different Stage

    Coups and Constitutions: From Bolivia to Honduras

    Protest the US nuclear-power warships in port Sat 4 July

    [The info below is from Fremantle Anti-Nuclear Group]
    CONTACT 0402 180 737 /

    Thursday, July 2, 2009

    Protest against Julia Gillard Perth 2 July 2009

    This photo is from the protest against Julia Gillard as she addressed a bosses breakfast in the Hyatt Regency in Perth on July 2. The picket was supported by Socialist Alliance, Community Solidarity, Friends of Palestine and the CFMEU.

    Gillard will be meeting corporate executives tonight (2 July). For a mere $5500 you could join the gathering too!

    These Socialist Alliance placards can be downloaded by clicking here for "Close down Gillard's Gestapo" and here for "Shame on You Gillard & Rudd".