Friday, December 10, 2010

Defend WikiLeaks - the issues at stake

Public forum - all welcome

This forum will discuss the issues of free speech and government secrecy in the context of the international attacks on WikiLeaks and the arrest of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.

Speakers include:
Scott Ludlam (Greens senator)
David Cohen (reporter, former branch president of the Media, Entertainment, Arts Alliance)
Kamala Emanuel (Socialist Alliance)

Wed 15 December 2010
6 for 6:30pm, Perth Activist Centre
15/5 Aberdeen St, East Perth (next to McIver station)

Ph 9218 9608, 0413 976 638.
Hosted by Socialist Alliance. Entry by donation.

Defend WikiLeaks

Defend WikiLeaks - Please display imagesDefend WikiLeaks

A major international movement has emerged campaigning to defend the whistleblowing website WikiLeaks, and its founder Julian Assange, from attacks by governments and business. There will be rallies around the country and around the world.

See the Socialist Alliance media release and more information in Green Left Weekly here, here and here among other places.

In Perth, the most effective action that can be taken at the moment is to bring "Defend WikiLeaks" placards to the Human Rights rally on Friday:

6pm, Fri 10 December, Wesley Church (cnr William & Hay Sts, Perth)

Ted Wilkes - Associate Professor, Curtin University, Aboriginal Elder
Dennis Eggington - CEO of the Aboriginal Legal Services WA
Glenn Moore – Leader of The Aboriginal Party
Victoria Iverson - Friends of Palestine WA
Peter Wilkie - Refugee Rights Action Network
Alexis Vassiley - Socialist Alternative
Alex Bainbridge - The Socialist Alliance
Elizabeth Hulm - The Communist Party Australia
Paddy Cullen - OXFAM Australia
 Marianne Mackay – Chair of The Deaths in Custody Watch Committee WA
Gerry Georgatos (MC) – Human Rights Alliance

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Green Left Weekly – end of year celebration

Sun 12 December
4pm, South Beach Reserve, Fremantle (free CAT bus from Fremantle station)

Ph Justine 0418 906 316 or Annolies 0418 996 451

Cheap food and drinks available

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

What my local member Melissa Parke should do about the ABCC

[The letter below was written by Socialist Alliance member and Fremantle resident Justine Kamprad after hearing the news that South Australian rigger Ark Tribe was found not guilty on November 24.]

May Day 2010 - Scrap the ABCC

Dear Melissa Parke,

As blue collar workers, I and my partner have been involved with our unions over the last decade. In that time I have seen our unions fight for safety, dignity and a better life for our family.

I welcome the "not guilty" verdict in the trial of Ark Tribe. The fact that Mr Tribe was on trial at all is a disgrace. Laws that compel people answer questions in secret, do not guarantee people access to lawyers of their choice and other breaches of basic human rights should disgust you.

Your government refocusing the ABCC on to sham contracting or other employer crimes is not good enough; all the coercive and discriminatory powers of this body must be immediately removed. Everyday these laws exist they put fear into the hearts of construction workers who, like Mr Tribe, seek to raise basic safety issues.

Recently we have seen too many deaths in the construction and associated industries. Every death is mourned by workers like us. With recent rulings over the difference between “safety” and “industrial” disputes workers are fearful they may come under the ire of the ABCC for attempting to keep their workmates safe.

I am now 22 weeks pregnant and my partner is a safety rep in a company associated with Gorgon Project and the thought of him being the victim of a fatal or catastrophic accident fills me with fear. Fear that my child will not have the father they need as they grow up. I support every decision that he makes to stand up for workers around him to make sure that like him they go home safe. I will also support a decision, should he make it, for him to not be subject to the coercive powers of the ABCC and, like Mr Tribe, refuse to be interviewed under the coercive powers that currently exist.

I call on you to also support workers like my partner and immediately introduce a private members bill to remove all coercive and discriminatory powers of the ABCC. I believe that the test of a person is standing up for something they believe in even if it is inconvenient to their career or Party. The question I have for you now is do you believe that discrimination and coercion are wrong? If you do you must act immediately and publicly to put and end to this disgrace.


Justine Kamprad
Constituent of Fremantle Electorate.

PS I will also share this letter with others.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

All aboard: Fremantle road to rail

Towards a truck-free, car-free future

Speakers include:
Scott Ludlam (Greens WA senator)
Sam Wainwright (Socialist Alliance councillor)
Save Beeliar Wetlands representative
Ian Alexander (Fremantle Society)

Leaving behind our current roads: congested, unsafe, polluted, climate change contributors, an unsafe environment!

Travelling to the future we want: a greener, sustainable, liveable city.

How to get there: light rail to lessen car dependence, heavy rail to reduce trucks, bike paths and pedestrian zones to liven up the city.

Venue: FERN, cnr Montreal & High Sts, Fremantle

Date: 6:30pm, Tuesday 7 December 2010

Organised by Fremantle Socialist Alliance. Ph Annolies 9433 6946 or Sanna 0405 208 943,

Protect the Kimberley- Community Rally!

The Wilderness Society and the Protect the Kimberley alliance are hosting a rally in the heart of Cottesloe for the community to connect and learn about government plans for the protection and industrialisation of the Kimberley!

What: We will have guest speakers, live bands, info stalls & face painting for kids!

When: November 28th, 2010 @ 11am

Where: Cottesloe Civic Centre, Main Lawns, Perth

Wear: Red or Orange coloured clothing

This community event will bring together all of the major environment groups in WA - and it will be a great chance to take direct action and either sign a postcard or letter in support of real protection for the Kimberley.

Check out The Wilderness Society website for more info.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Join the May Day 2011 solidarity brigade to Venezuela!

April 25thMay 4th, 2011

The Australia-Venezuela Solidarity Network invites you to observe first-hand the inspiring Bolivarian revolution in Venezuela. The sweeping social changes being carried out by Venezuela’s “people’s power” movements are radically transforming life for the majority in that country - workers, women, Indigenous people, young people and all those who have suffered the injustices of poverty, exploitation and exclusion that accompany corporate globalisation. 

Along the way, this remarkable revolution is showing the rest of the world that a more rational, socially just and sustainable future is possible.     

A special feature of the 2011 May Day brigade will be the opportunity it offers to observe the developing workers’ participation and workers’ control that is a vital part of the Venezuelan revolution, with visits to worker-run factories and cooperatives, and meetings with trade union and community management representatives in a variety of sectors and regions.

The brigadistas will also observe Venezuela’s grassroots democracy in action, with visits to the social missions, communal councils and communes. They will meet and speak with grassroots activists in the free, high-quality public health and education services; sustainable development projects; community controlled media; and women’s and Indigenous organisations. Joining the huge May Day rally in Caracas on May 1st will be a another highlight.

This brigade is the 12th solidarity and study tour organised by the AVSN. Participants’ reports and photos from previous brigades are available at

Registration and costs
The deadline for registering for the 2011 May Day solidarity brigade is February 28, 2011.
Participants will need to book their own international airfares, but the AVSN can help with advice (please do not book without contacting us to confirm the dates). The AVSN will organise all accommodation, transport and English-Spanish translation for the brigade.

People joining from Australia will need to budget for a total cost of $3500-4000, which will cover international return airfares (between $2200-2600 from Australia); all food, transport and accommodation (on a shared basis) during the brigade; and the brigade registration fee ($500 for workers or $300 for full-time students, unemployed and pensioners).

For more information about this or future brigades, please email or phone Lisa Macdonald 0413 031 108, Roberto Jorquera 0425 182 994 or John Cleary 0407 500 839. 

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

The Philosophy of Social Change

Socialist Ideas Seminar:
Philosophy of Social Change

Sun 21 November 2010
Perth Activist Centre
15/5 Aberdeen St, East Perth (next to McIver station)

1pm - cheap lunch
2pm - free seminar

Presented by Kamala Emanuel and Rudy Wentnel

Everyone experiences the pressures of capitalist decay and wants to change and improve the world.  But immediately we encounter the adamant opposition of the capitalists to any change that will affect their profits.

If we don’t take the time to think about how things change, we can become lost, like a ship without a rudder, constantly beset by these pressures.  Paying attention to philosophy is essential.

This seminar will discuss philosophy for activists. How much, if anything, do we need to know? What do we need to agree on? Is the traditional philosophy of the socialist movement ("dialectical materialism") useful today?

Western Sahara - Africa's Last colony

Film screening and discussion
Tues 16 November
6:30pm, Perth Activist Centre
15/5 Aberdeen St, East Perth (next to McIver station)

Western Sahara is the last remaining colonial case in Africa. The final status of this former Spanish colony has been at the heart of one of the continent’s longest disputes, and its fate remains undecided. Thirty years after Spain’s departure the Sahrawis are still waiting for a long-promised referendum to determine their territory’s future. For the 160,000 refugees living in camps -- many born in exile -- the stakes are high. Either they will become the 52nd African country or a province of Morocco.

The Moroccan invasion in 1975 signalled the beginning of a different kind of war. With the Spanish gone, the Sahwari people were confronted by a Moroccan army, well armed and far larger in number. The Sahrawis relied on their only advantage, which came from their Bedouin culture -- a deeply ingrained understanding of the desert terrain. They knew each rock formation and practically every tree. Against all odds, they kept fighting through 16 years of war, while their political leadership took up the struggle on the diplomatic front to gain international recognition. By 1991, with 76 countries recognizing the Sahrawis’ right to self determination, and no military victory likely, the UN negotiated a ceasefire based on the promise of a referendum that would determine the people’s wishes regarding their future status. More than a decade later, with half a billion dollars spent on a UN Mission and numerous attempts to decide who is eligible to vote, the Sahwaris believe that the UN has failed to live up to their commitments and has sided with Morocco.

This film and discussion will feature Western Sahara: Africa's Last Colony and a brief segment from the 7:30 Report which shows the Australian link. Discussion will be lead by Cate Lewis from the Australian Western Sahara Association based in Melbourne.

Ph Michele 0419 942 045 or Alex 0413 976 638, 9218 9608.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Fremantle Council should value council workers

Fremantle Council is grappling with the rights and conditions of the workers who it expects to implement the city’s projects. I’ve proposed a policy called “Employment Values for the City of Fremantle”. For supporters of workers’ rights, the policy is straightforward and modest.

It seeks to entrench the following principles:
1. Respecting the right of workers to union organisation and representation.
2. Limiting the use of fixed-term contracts and creating a guaranteed path to permanency.
3. Remunerating employees on the basis of equal pay and conditions for work of equal value.
4. Being a leader in “family friendly” leave and other work arrangements.
5. Placing the city in the top third of WA local governments in pay and conditions.

The policy on “equal pay and conditions for work of equal value” is the most contentious and timely. For a long time, workers at the Leisure Centre, Arts Centre and some other workplaces outside the main administration building have been on an inferior pay scale.

Typically, they are paid 20% less for work of equivalent complexity and experience. This means experienced swimming instructors get about $5 an hour less than a new starter fresh out of school at the administration building.

The relevant industry awards severely limit these workers’ access to penalty rates. The new Local Government Industry Award 2010 says recreation centre and community service workers cannot access penalty rates from 5am to 10pm, Monday to Sunday.

This is perverse. The more likely you are to have unsocial hours, the less likely you are to qualify for penalty rates.

To make it worse, these workers are on a lower pay scale.

Some local governments put all their workers on to the one pay scale, but others like Fremantle have separated some off.

These workers have copped a raw deal in the past because they share something in common with other low-paid workers; they’re mostly casual female workers with less bargaining power than other sectors. In these workplaces, 70% to 100% of staff are women.

It might be normal for our society to pay experienced women workers $16 an hour to work on a Sunday, but that doesn’t make it right.

Women have been historically undervalued in the workplace and this has led to an equal pay claim on behalf of workers across the community sector. Local government should support this movement now instead of waiting to be dragged along in its wake.

The WA Local Government Act 1995 stops elected councillors from intervening in the day-to-day operation of the organisation, including staff conditions.

This has been interpreted to mean councillors should not have an opinion on how we treat our workers.

This is both wrong and a cop out.

Council is under pressure from community expectations, councillors own worthy projects and cost shifting by the state and federal governments. It would be easy to treat staff costs as a cost like any other. But they’re not, they’re people.

As an organisation that should be serving the community, we should be in line with our community’s values. More than that, local government can be an example. This year, the Surf Coast Council in Victoria became the first employer in Australia to introduce the right to domestic violence leave for its employees.

The October Council meeting voted 5-5 (carried on the Mayor’s casting vote) to defer my policy until November. I was disappointed that it was not accepted there and then, but I’m hopeful that it will be adopted after more debate and that Fremantle Council will commit to principles of equality, fairness and social justice.

[This article is the first of a number of comment pieces by Fremantle councillor and Socialist Alliance member Sam Wainwright will be writing for Green Left Weekly. This one has been published here. See also Sam's Freo Report.]

Perth rally for equal marriage rights

Hundreds of people took to the streets of Perth for the fourth time this year to protest against the Labor-Liberal same-sex marriage ban. The latest rally took place on Sat 6 November and heard from speakers including Kitty Hawkins representing GALE (Gay and Lesbian Equality), Rebecca Leighton from the Greens and a representative from the State School Teachers' Union.

Most participants were young people disgusted by the government's ongoing refusal to allow same-sex couples the right to marry if they wish.

People turned up with home-made signs such as "I want hot gay sex on my honeymoon" and pointing out that Liza Minelli was able to marry two gay men in her life but that a man in Australia doesn't even have the right to marry one!

The rally was organised by Equal Love which won an award at the recent Pride parade for the best float by a small group.

Socialist Alliance had a successful stall with colourful rainbow placards saying "I support equal marriage rights".

Monday, November 1, 2010

Our Generation - screening at FERN - 7pm, Thurs 4 Nov

“This is a very important film that everyone needs to see… It will change your life” John Butler, of the John Butler Trio
“The truth in this film is like a red hot poker driven into the conscience of a nation. Aboriginal voices, unheard or ignored, make it plain that they are ‘of their land’ and that they will not trade off their lawful rights. This film is a plea for reason. Are we listening? Will we act?” Jeff McMullen (former ABC Foreign Correspondent)
“If ever Australia had an Inconvenient Truth, this is it. Our Generation is a highly emotional, powerful journey into territory that we have chosen too long to ignore. This is a film every Australian needs to see.” Cathy Henkel (director of The Burning Season)
"From the ongoing controversy of the Northern Territory Intervention, to being forced off their traditional lands into larger townships crippled by social dysfunction, to their languages being removed from school education, to mining deals sidelining traditional owners, the Aboriginal people of the Northern Territory are fighting for freedom.

Our Generation is their untold story; of a struggle hidden from the eyes of mainstream Australia."

-Come get informed and share ideas on how to help.

- All proceeds go to Aboriginal Rights Coalition

-donation based, suggested $5-$10

7pm at FERN, corner of High St and Montreal
NEED I SAY MORE? Bring a deck chair or a cushion as we'll be screening outside.... SEE YOU THERE.

Rally for equal marriage rights - Sat 6 Nov

Rally for marriage equality. End discrimination against LGBTI people - say no to homophobia.

Rally: 1pm, Sat 6 November
Forrest Place, Perth city. 
Organised by Equal Love WA.

We need to keep up this pressure on the government, showing them that discrimination in law is not ok and making it all the harder for them to ignore the 60% of Australians that support same-sex marriage rights (Galaxy poll).

Friday, October 29, 2010

Forum condemns land grab at James Price Point

Corporations trying to construct a gas processing hub at James Price Point, north of Broome on WA’s Kimberley coastline “might have a bit of difficulty getting their power plant built” if Premier Colin Barnett pushes ahead with compulsory acquisition of Aboriginal land, Australian Manufacturing Workers Union state secretary Steve McCartney told a Fremantle forum on October 28.

The land seizure is a “very serious problem for our union,” he said. The AMWU has signed agreements with Aboriginal peak bodies across the country guaranteeing union support for Aboriginal communities in dealing with mining corporations.

More than that, the AMWU will write Aboriginal cultural rights into enterprise bargaining agreements that it signs with companies. It is determined that corporations give “real jobs, with real education and real outcomes” for Aborigines.”

McCartney told an audience of around 60 people that the AMWU will stand “shoulder to shoulder” with the Kimberley Land Council in fighting the compulsory acquisition. “There should be no acquisition of Aboriginal land anywhere, anytime,” he said.

Aboriginal Party leader Glenn Moore said that his party opposes the project outright because of its greenhouse gas effects. “Australia should be the frontrunner in sustainable energy,” he said.

Moore said that the Aboriginal party is determined to “support Kimberley traditional society.”

Marine scientist Brooke Anderton explained how the proposed development would affect whale, turtle and other marine life attracted to the area by the Leeuwin Current. An example of how sensitive these species are to disruption is demonstrated by the Green Turtle, which breeds once every six years.

Socialist Alliance spokesperson Kamala Emanuel observed that the words “always was, always will be Aboriginal land” should be taken seriously even though governments never take land rights seriously if  “some rich greedy corporation wants it.” She said that the Alliance is totally opposed to the project, which would increase WA’s greenhouse gas emissions by 32 million tonnes per annum.

Robin Chapple from the WA Greens also said that his party is opposed to the project.

[Article by Barry Healy for Green Left Weekly. Photos by Alex Bainbridge.]

France in Revolt

Perth Socialist Alliance meeting

France in Revolt

Guest speaker:
Chris Latham

French workers have organised 7 national strikes in 7 weeks of 2.7 - 3.5 million each. More than half of the oil refineries are on indefinite strike since October 10 - indefinite strikes continue in other sectors. Student occupations are spreading, as the French people resist being made to pay for capitalism's crisis. Come and discuss the dynamics of this struggle and the lessons for anti-capitalism movements around the globe.

Friday 5 November
Perth Activist Centre
6 for 6:30pm, 15/5 Aberdeen St, East Perth (next to McIver station)
Ph 9218 9608 or 0413 976 638

Sunday, October 24, 2010

How tall are the richest people in Australia?

Check out this two minute video of Barry Healy from Fremantle Socialist Alliance. Click here to watch on YouTube.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Socialist Alliance "driving the debate" about Afghan war

Seems Socialist Alliance is driving the agenda in the parliamentary debate about Afghanistan according to Mr Laming (member for Bowman). See his quotes below and the link to Hansard where they were made.
Mr LAMING (Bowman) (11:02 AM);page=0;query=Socialist%20Alliance;rec=2;resCount=Default

"Let us learn why things are done. Let us learn why we are in Afghanistan. It is far more complex than downloading a page from the Socialist Alliance website and running through the eight reasons why we need to ‘get out of Afghanistan now’...

"We must endeavour, as the previous speaker, the member for Lyne, said, to negotiate with the Taliban. There is no secret about that. Secretary of State Clinton has not ruled that out. We know it is happening, but that is not what the debate is about. The debate is about pulling our troops out. The debate is being driven by a socialist alliance agenda. Two MPs who are in here, thanks to the vagaries of the preferential voting system, are saying, ‘Pull the troops out.’ And this is the list of Socialist Alliance reasons, and you can run through them: life is getting worse for Afghans. Wrong. Where were you during the Taliban? More people are dying and being displaced as a result of military operations. Before there was a military operation people were displaced for other reasons in equivalent numbers. Another reason: the war has cost us billions. The war cost the coalition $120 billion a year in Iraq. In Afghanistan we are spending just a fragment of that, at around $20 billion a year, for potentially far greater yields. This is not an economic war; it is a war to ensure there is nowhere left to hide..."

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Time to stop the war in Afghanistan

Periodically, when I pass Throssell Street in Perth, I think about the person after whom the street was named – WA’s second premier George Throssell – and more particularly his son, Hugo. Hugo Throssell was famous for coming home after World War One and announcing, with the authority of someone who’d won the Victoria Cross, that the war had turned him into a socialist and a pacifist.
I wonder what would he say about the current war Australia is fighting that was only debated in parliament for the first time this week?

While opposition to the war in Iraq was widespread in the Australian community, the same hasn’t always been the case with Afghanistan.

Kevin Rudd, who ostensibly opposed the war in Iraq, described Afghanistan as “the good war” in the lead-up to the 2007 election. On becoming prime minister, Julia Gillard emphasised that Australia’s war policy would not change and then pointedly made her first international visit to Australian soldiers in Aghanistan.

Since then, she’s said that she is prepared to increase Australian troop numbers and, in parliament on Tuesday, said that Australia should be prepared to stay in Afghanistan for the rest of the decade at least.

The problem with the “good war” theory is that supporters of the war have to resort to lies to sell it. Consider some of the porkies that Ms Gillard thought she could get away with in the parliamentary debate:

  • “We went with the support of the United Nations.” Not true. The UN never endorsed the invasion of Afghanistan. Instead, the US relied on the provisions of the UN charter that any country has the right to self defence against attack. However this was dubious since the state of Afghanistan was not the sponsor of the September 11 terrorist attack on the US. The Taliban regime even offered to hand over Osama bin Laden if the US could provide evidence that he perpetrated the 9/11 attacks – something the US never did. Arguably, the leaders of the original invasion, including former Prime Minister John Howard, are war criminals for this invasion alone which was in violation of international law.
  • “Al-Qaeda remains a resilient and persistent network”. This may or may not be true in a global sense but it hardly justifies war in Afghanistan when even the CIA Director Leon Panetta says there are only 50 to 100 and “maybe less” Al Qaeda members left in the whole country.
  • “We respect innocent civilian life.” The occupying powers pay lip service to these words, but the lie is exposed by the deeds of the war machine, including those revealed in the WikiLeaks’ Afghan War Diaries: multiple bombings of wedding parties, whole villages bombed and countless deaths of innocent civilians. Neither Australia nor the US military keep a record – accurate or otherwise – of the numbers of innocent civilians killed. However, the numbers are in the tens of thousands – many more than were killed in the September 11 terrorist attacks.

More revealing is what Ms Gillard did not talk about: systemic corruption, rigged elections (euphemistically passed off by Ms Gillard as “problems”) and human rights abuses by the government of Hamid Karzai.

Perhaps the most important truth Ms Gillard acknowledged in her speech was that Australia is involved in the war to support the “US Alliance”.

But this undermines the central excuse given for the war – that this is a “war against terrorism” – since the US is arguably the world’s leading terrorist state. The US refuses to sign a number of UN conventions against terrorism, harbours convicted terrorists such as Luis Posada Carriles with impunity and continues to pursue its global political objectives (including in Afghanistan) by means of force and violence.

I don’t think it is very likely that Hugo Throssell would have supported this war. And the rest of us shouldn’t either. It is time for the troops to come home.

[This article by Socialist Alliance co-convenor Alex Bainbridge was published in the Perth Voice 23 October 2010 edition. Bainbridge has been an anti-war activist since the 1991 invasion of Iraq. He has been actively involved in campaigning against the Afghanistan war since 2001 and was an organiser of the October 9 protest in Perth that marked the ninth anniversary of the war’s beginning.]

Monday, October 18, 2010

Kimberley gas hub: land rights not compulsory aquisition

Public forum: Kimberley Gas Hub
No compulsory aquisition, Yes to land rights

On September 2 Premier Colin Barnett announced that the government will forcibly acquire land at James Price Point, 60km north of Broome.

Barnett wants to help Woodside Petroleum speed ahead with a multi-billion dollar LNG processing facility. Yet again the WA government is trampling on Aboriginal rights to help a multi-national company make a huge profit.

Come hear about the key issues relating to this project: environmental, legal, the rights of Aboriginal people, trade union & Aboriginal alliances.

Kathy Watson (Nygina & Jabirr descendant)
Steve McCartney (WA State Secretary AMWU)
Kamala Emanuel (Socialist Alliance)
Brooke Anderton (Marine Scientist)
Lara Menkens (The Aboriginal Party, former ALS Lawyer)
Kimberley Land Council representative (invited)

6:30pm, Thurs 28 October
MUA Hall, Kwong Alley, North Fremantle

Organised by Fremantle Socialist Alliance & The Aboriginal Party. Ph Annolies 9433 6946 or Glenn 0432 479 132.


Monday, October 11, 2010

Report on weekend activities

Socialist Alliance members in Perth and Fremantle took significant responsibility (along with others) to pull off three successful actions over the weekend.

On Friday evening, there was the Pro-Choice speakout of 40 people which was called to support the Cairns couple who face court on Tuesday this week. She faces a possible prison term of seven years for the supposed "crime" of having an abortion. He faces a possible three year prison term for helping her. A YouTube video explains the issues (and myths of the case) fairly well. The Perth action was held in conjunction with other actions around the country.

Then on Saturday, over 55 people joined a rally against the Afghan War to mark the ninth anniversary of the invasion of Afghanistan. This was the first successful anti-war action in Perth for some time but was an important beginning in rebuilding an anti-war movement here. The prospects for doing this are increasing as the war is becoming more and more controversial. The Green Left Weekly report of the rallies (around the country including Perth) is here.

On Sunday, Safe Climate Perth launched a campaign for 10,000 signatures on a petition opposing the proposed new coal-fired power stations, coal mines and other coal developments in WA. This took place at an action involving around 40 people (in blistery weather) in the Cultural Centre as part of the global day of action.

None of these actions will set the world on fire by themselves, but they were all important, all contributed to real campaigns and all benefited from Socialist Alliance's involvement (and some may not have happened at all if it weren't for our initiative and/or support).

This weekend was an example of what Socialist Alliance can pull off in WA (we also had a presence at the John Pat memorial on Friday and the Festival of the Lakes on Saturday) and another reason to support the Alliance. As always, the more people get involved, the more we can achieve.

The next Socialist Alliance meetings to plan out our further activities will be:

  • Perth Socialist Alliance meeting
    Friday 15 Oct at 6 for 6:30pm (following a campaign stall at 4pm)
    Perth Activist Centre, 15/5 Aberdeen St, East Perth (next to McIver station)
    Agenda will include: "Politics of climate change after the federal election"
  • Fremantle Socialist Alliance meeting
    Saturday 16 Oct at 3pm
    (Ph Annolies 0418 996 451 or Sanna 0405 208 943 for address.)
    Agenda will include: "Kimberley land aquisition"
See also:
  • Socialist Ideas Seminar: Global Financial CrisisSun 24 Oct at 2pm
    Perth Activist Centre, 15/5 Aberdeen St, East Perth (next to McIver station)
    More info here.



See also Desire's photos on Indymedia: Pro-choice here and Afghan action here and here.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Socialist Ideas Seminar: Global Financial Crisis

The Global Financial Crisis feels like it came out of thin air.  The mainstream media talk of it as an aberration in the normal operations of capitalism. Politicians talk about “the recovery” as though the worst is already behind us.

Is any of that true?

What if the GFC is just the latest in a series of bigger or smaller shocks that have dogged capitalism from its outset because there are inherent faults in the way the system operates?  What if “the recovery” is as phoney as the weapons of mass destruction that justified the invasion of Iraq?

The crisis has not hit Australia as hard as other countries – will that last?

To get to grips with these issues we need to take a long view of history and examine capitalism from its birth to what could be its death agony.

Barry Healy & Elliot Herrington

Sunday 24 October
2pm, Perth Activist Centre, 15/5 Aberdeen St, East Perth (next to McIver station).
FREE ENTRY. Ph 9218 9608, 0413 976 638.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

A major weekend of social action in Perth!

Hi all,

I am writing to alert you to a major weekend of action that is coming up this weekend!

The weekend begins on Friday morning with the John Pat memorial organised by the Deaths in Custody Watch Committee (11am, Fri 8 Oct, Fremantle Prison).

Then on Friday afternoon, there is a pro-choice speakout in Perth as part of a national day of action in support of the Cairns couple that face the prospect of up to 7 years imprisonment for the supposed "crime" of having an abortion! (5:30pm, Fri 8 Oct, Murray St Mall - near Perth Underground Station)

On Saturday, there will be a rally against the ongoing war in Afghanistan. This comes at a time when Julia Gillard is telling the world that she is willing to escalate the war - send more Australian soldiers to kill innocent people instead of ending Australia's involvement in war crimes. (12 noon, Sat 9 Oct, Wesley Church, cnr William & Hay Sts, Perth city)

Then on Sunday, Safe Climate Perth has organised a campaign launch against the new coal-fired power stations in WA as part of the 10-10-10 global day of action. There are many exciting aspects to this campaign but attendance at the first action on Sunday is the beginning. (2pm, Sun 10 Oct, Cultural Centre (near PICA), James St Mall, Northbridge)

All of these events are important, and we'd like to encourage you to support as many as you are able.

Advance notice
Other upcoming events down the track include: Anna Baltzer speaking in Perth (Thurs 21 Oct), rally for refugee rights (Sat 23 Oct) & the next Socialist Ideas Seminar on the Global Financial Crisis (Sun 24 Oct).

Safe Climate petition now available

The Safe Climate petition calling for no new coal in WA is available here:

Please download one or more copies, get your friends and workmates to fill them in and return them to Safe Climate (c/- PO Box 204, Northbridge 6865) by the beginning of December so they can be presented at the "A Safe Climate is a Human Right" rally in December.

Safe Climate is aiming to collect 10,000 signatures in ten weeks. This is an ambitious campaign and your help would be appreciated.

Southern Gazette reports on anti-war rally

The Southern Gazette has published an article focusing on songwriter John Novatscou from the band NakedFlame who has written an anti-war song to promote the rally on Saturday against the war in Afghanistan.

The rally will take place at the Wesley Church, cnr William & Hay Sts, Perth city (12 noon, Sat 9 Oct).

The article can be viewed here:

Details about the rally:

The song on YouTube:

Monday, October 4, 2010

Our Generation - new film about the NT intervention

Our Generation

Fremantle Launch - Wed 6 October
Fremantle Arts Centre, 1 Finnerty St, Fremantle

The new, groundbreaking documentary on Aboriginal rights, presented by the film makers.

"This is a very important film that everyone must see. It will change your life." - John Butler.

Tickets $15/$10 on the door
Gates open 6:30pm. Film starts 7:30pm.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

RRAN calls refugee rights rally 23 Oct 2010


12:30 pm Saturday October 23 @ Department of Immigration and Citizenship offices
Wellington Central - 836 Wellington St, West Perth
  • Close all detention centres
  • No offshore processing
  • No deportations

We call on the new federal parliament to introduce humane refugee policies and stop using refugees as political footballs. Please bring banners with the key messages of the gathering as well as your own messages.

Was your voice heeded on asylum seekers during this election?

Many of us are worried about the way in which successive governments have treated asylum seekers and refugees. We are tired of seeing asylum seekers used as political footballs where each side of politics scores points by proposing increasingly harsher policies.
We believe it’s time to tell our parliamentarians, “Enough is enough!”
With the entry of the Greens and independents as significant players in government, there is a chance to end this endless round of punitive policy making and to achieve humane policies for refugees. We want to encourage these new players to demand better standards from the parliament on human rights.
We want to call a halt to this race to the bottom on human rights.
The reason we are coming together on this day is to say that we want to be heard. We care about how vulnerable people are treated and we want our politicians to stop using asylum seekers as political footballs.
Enough is enough.

Organised by Refugee Rights Action Network


Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Report on Venezuela brigade from Perth Resistance member

Hey folks,

For people I am still to meet, my name is Chris and am a member of the Perth branch of Resistance.

For the last two weeks I have been on a solidarity brigade in Venezuela to be here for the national elections and to get a first hand view of the revolutionary changes taking place across Venezuela.

The brigade itself was organised by the Australian Venezuelan Solidarity Network (AVSN), and consists of political activists and enthusiasts from Australia, New Zealand, Bulgaria, the UK, Canada and US. Before saying more, I'd thoroughly suggest this experience to anyone interested and with the means available to them.

By way of activities while on brigade, we have visited neighbourhoods, clinics, government offices, news stations, womens groups, land councils, factory committees, communal gardens - any group or place contributing to the process of extending and stregthening democracy in Venezuela. In each case, the folks we talk to all say the same thing - what they have achieved up until now is not socialism, we have not reached a point where political, social and economic decision making rests firmly in the communal hands of the majority.

How they view themselves and the movement generally is a measured progression towards that popular control, towards that democratic inclusion. People reflect on the quality of life experience by most Venezuelans 10, 5, 2 years ago, compare it to today, reflect on the means and nature of that change and see a revolution still in its first stages, though none-the-less real.

Workers committees in factories do not as of yet enjoy ownership of their workplaces, but they are much stronger positions today to prepare for this transition of power, believing in their own strength while being politically supported by the government and the community at large.

Just yesterday, the United Socialist Party of Venezuela won yet another general election, winning 60% of the vote [NB: actually 60% of the seats, the vote was actually very close]. While this fell short of the 75% target set by the party, it nonetheless expresses continued popular support for the government and the initiatives taking the country further down the revolutionary road. What goes from here is naturaly up to the movement of different forces and circimstances, and in Venezuela as in the rest of the world nothing is certain. Such an interesting time to be political!

A quick gist of things here. I'm here for another month. In the meantime, all the best with things back in Perth.

Love your work

Green Left on Venezuelan election results:
Next brigade to Venezuela will likely be for May Day next year. For more information, email or phone Lisa Macdonald 0413 031 108, Jim McIlroy 0423 741 734 or Roberto Jorquera 0425 182 994. 

BELOW: MUA assistant branch secretary reports back on previous Venezuela brigade.

Pro-choice national day of action - Stop the Cairns couple going to jail for abortion


A Cairns couple will face trial on October 12th, 2010 on charges brought under Qld’s Anti-Abortion laws. A woman is facing charges for intent to procure a miscarriage, which faces a penalty of up to seven years in prison. Her partner is facing charges for assisting her, which carries a penalty of up to three years in prison.

Anti-abortion Violence! Soon after the charges were brought against the couple, The Cairns Post published their address. Consequently their house was firebombed by anti-abortion campaigners, forcing the couple to relocate.

The Australian reported on August 8th, that Therese Martin, Qld President of the anti-abortion lobby group ‘Cherished Life’ claimed that they don't support the aggressive tactics adopted by some anti-abortion groups and that they don't confront women outside abortion clinics.

They claimed that they only mount ‘silent protests’. THIS IS A LIE. ‘Cherished Life’ and their collaborators in ‘Protect Life’ regularly confront and harass women outside Brisbane clinics. Therese Martin herself participates in the annual ‘Walk for Little Feet’ which protests outside various clinics in Brisbane, blocking the entrances.

The Bligh government and the corporate media have continually LIED about the facts of the case!

The Cairns case is putting Abortion on Trial in an attempt to set a dangerous new precedent on the abortion laws and set back women’s access to abortion.

It’s time to stand up for women’s Right to control their own bodies.

Speakout: Fri 8 October
5:30pm, Murray St Mall (William Street end)


Green Left: Tested and failed: Emily's List listless when it counts

Green Left: Campaign demands abortion charges be dropped

Safe Climate rally against new coal-fired power stations

2pm Sun 10 October
Perth Cultural Centre, James St mall, Northbridge (near PICA)

Local climate action group Safe Climate has planned a campaign calling on the Western Australian government to reverse approval for five new and refurbished coal-fired power stations.

The campaign will include: an ambitious goal to get 10,000 signatures on a petition opposing the new coal developments before the end of the year; a poster design campaign; and a rally in December.

Safe Climate is also discussing possible civil disobedience actions.

The campaign will be launched at an October 10 action, as part of the 10/10/10 Global Work Party day of action.

Safe Climate activist Kamala Emanuel told Green Left Weekly: “Safe Climate formed in the wake of last year’s climate summit to campaign for 100% renewable energy within 10 years.”

“Stopping these new power stations is the front line of working for a safe climate future — if we can’t stop these now, it’s difficult to see how we can achieve more far-reaching goals.

“One of the aims with the petition campaign — which is ambitious given our relatively small number of activists — is to try to reach out to the large numbers on our supporter list and to others who care about the climate to give them a very specific and helpful role they can play in the campaign.

“And of course the petition campaign is leading up to a big rally in December.”

[Safe Climate can be contacted via or Ph 0417 319 662.]

Sunday, September 26, 2010

The time has come to Stop the War on Afghanistan - Rally 9 October 2010

Stop the War in Afghanistan - Sat 9 Oct - please display images
There is going to be an anti-war rally in Perth on Saturday 9 October.
12noon, Sat 9 October, Wesley Church corner (cnr William & Hay Sts, Perth)

Speakers at the rally will include:
* Jo Vallentine (long time peace activist)
* Scott Ludlam (Greens senator)
* Alex Bainbridge (long time anti-war campaigner)
* Phil Chilton (Refugee Rights Action Network)
* Bill Hinds (Vietnam veteran)
This rally has been organised by a number of individuals who have come together to voice our opposition to the war in Afghanistan on the ninth anniversary of the original invasion.

There are many reasons to oppose this war including:
* The Afghan war is a "war on innocent civilians, not a war on terror" according to Afghan parliamentarian and human rights activist Malalai Joya (known as the "bravest woman in Afghanistan").

* WikiLeaks' Afghan War Diary has detailed civilians being killed and maimed; brutality and lawlessness from the occupying forces and their Afghan puppets; cover-ups; endemic corruption and wide-scale disorganisation in running the occupation effort.

* US and Australian troops are propping up the corrupt and unpopular Harmid Karzai government that is responsible for human rights abuses across the country and that relies on fraudulent elections to maintain power.

* a majority of Austalians (61% according to the Essential Media poll, June 22, 2010) are opposed to the war

* The continuation of the unpopular foreign occupation is leading to increased support for the Taliban

* The war is not isolated to Afghanistan. There are regular US drone attacks on Pakistan which kill civilians there. Despite Obama's publicised withdrawal of "combat troops" from Iraq, there are still 50,000 US troops (not to mention mercenaries) that engage in combat in that country. The drums of war are beating against Iran as well. It is time to stop the madness, not escalate it!

Organisations supporting this rally include:
* Women's International League for Peace and Freedom * Refugee Rights Action Network * Socialist Alliance * Women in Black * Socialist Alternative
We are seeking further endorsements. Please conact Alex 0413 976 638 or Felicity 0413 495 242 if your organisation can support the rally in any way.

Organisations can support this rally by:
* Formally endorsing the rally
* Advertising the rally in newsletters, email lists, etc
* Making a donation towards advertising costs

Individuals can support this rally by:
* Encouraging friends and workmates to come along
* Make a banner or sign to bring to the rally
* Contact us (0413 976 638 or 0413 495 242) if you want more ideas about how you can help

* Check out this information sheet from the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom.

* John Pilger on Why WikiLeaks must be defended

* Malayai Joya speaks to British Stop the War Coalition (44 minutes)

* This anti-war music video clip below is by Perth musician John Novatscou from the band Nakedflame. John is actively promoting the October 9 rally:

* The text below is from the Sydney Stop the War Coalition:

About 150,000 US-NATO troops (including from Australia) and at least 100,000 mercenaries are taking part in a war of terror against the people of Afghanistan and, increasingly Pakistan.  Bipartisan support for the war has meant that there has been no parliamentary debate, and yet a clear majority  (61% according to Essential Poll) now opposes Australia’s involvement. There is now a chance for a national debate on this nine year war with the Greens, and some independents, pressing for one.

This is not a war for Australia’s “national security”.  Australia is in Afghanistan because the US are in Afghanistan, to maintain the American alliance.  The US is not there to fight “terrorism”; it is protecting its interests in Central Asia vis-a-vis Russia and China, with the prize being - access to the region’s oil.

This war is not about “stopping terrorism”. Hostility to the corrupt Kabul regime and to the brutality of the occupation is driving the local population to use any means available to force the foreigners to leave. This is not terrorism: it is legitimate resistance to foreign occupation. If terrorist acts spread internationally, the cause is rooted in the occupation.

Meanwhile, tens of thousands of civilian Afghans and Pakistanis and more than 2000 US-NATO troops – including 21 Australians - have been killed and billions of dollars are being spent. The Australian 2010 defence budget earmarked $1.2 billion to be spent on 1550+ troops in Afghanistan. The US has spent an unimaginable US$1.6 trillion on the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. These trillions should have been spent on social needs, given the havoc caused by the global financial crisis, and addressing global warming.

Afghanistan is becoming more dangerous. The UN has been forced to withdraw its operating staff from Afghanistan. Violence against women continues and ethnic minorities, like the Hazaras, are increasingly targets for murder. Refugees are fleeing the country while the Australian government pretends it is safe to send them home and refuses to process their applications for asylum.

This war cannot be “won” by military force. Afghan MP Malalai Joya told Australians last year that Afghans want the foreign troops out. A political solution is what’s required, she said.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Friends of Palestine to host Anna Baltzer

Who: ANNA BALTZER, Jewish American former Fulbright scholar, award-winning lecturer, granddaughter of Holocaust refugees, and recent guest on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart with her book, Witness in Palestine.

What: First-hand reports on the conflict and the exciting nonviolence movement, followed by ways people can contribute to a just peace.

Why: To share information difficult to obtain through the mainstream media.

Date: Thurs 21st October

Time: 5:30 for 6pm start

Venue: University of WA, Austen Lecture Theatre (Arts
Faculty, next to Reid Library)

Entry: By donation

For more info: Ph 0449 028 894 Email:

Copies of Witness in Palestine will be available on the night.




Activists push for justice for Mr Ward at parliamentary hearing

Monday, September 20, 2010

Public Forum: The Fight for Aboriginal Rights in the NT

The Northern Territory Intervention, the NT government’s policy of withdrawing resources from Aboriginal homelands and bans on education in Aboriginal languages all form part of a savage assimilation agenda in the NT. Racist legislation is fueling apartheid style conditions in urban centres like Alice Springs. An explosion in uranium exploration and the push for an NT nuclear waste dump are also increasing pressure on communities.

These attacks are being met with strong resistance from a growing protest movement. And in the recent federal election, anti-Intervention Greens candidates outpolled both Labor and Liberal across Central Australia. Come along, participate in discussion and hear analysis and updates from Aboriginal rights activists based in Alice Springs.

Nat Wasley (Beyond Nuclear Initiative)
Paddy Gibson (Intervention Rollback Action Group)

Monday 27 Sept
6:30pm Earthwise (315 Bagot Road, Subiaco)

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Wall Street 2: Money Never Sleeps - GLW Fundraiser 24 Sept 2010

Come to see Oliver Stone's
Wall Street 2: Money Never Sleeps
with Green Left Weekly

6:30pm, Fri 24 Sept
Windsor Cinema
98 Stirling Highway, Nedlands

Pre-purchase tickets essential
$15 or $20 solidarity

You can purchase or make a booking by phone (9218 9608, 0413 976 638) or email (

(fundraiser for Green Left Weekly)

This is the official trailer on YouTube here:

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Two Aboriginal Rights events

1. Protest Action

On Wednesday 22nd September 2010 at 10am, the Deaths in Custody Watch Committee and Ms Daisy Ward will be appearing before the Parliamentary Committee Hearing on the Transportation of Detained Persons Inquiry.  A protest action will be held outside the Hearing (18-32 parliament Place, West Perth) calling on the government to: 
a) Return the sole responsibility for the management and delivery of all custodial transport to the Department of Corrective Services;
b) Immediately terminate the contract between the Department of Corrective Services and G4S for the transportation of detained persons; and
c)  End to the privatisation of prisons and custodial services.

2. John Pat Memorial Day

Invitation to participate in the annual John Pat Memorial Day.  It is 27 years since the death of John Pat.  Join with us to hear guest speakers to remember all those that have died in custody and to renew our commitment to bring about fundamental changes.

Fri 8 Oct, 11:00am
Fremantle Prison, The Terrace, Fremantle.

[This information above is from the Deaths in Custody Watch Committee. Ph 0415 074 602.]

Monday, September 13, 2010

Perth rally to free the Cuban Five

12 September 2010: Around 25 gathered at the Wesley Church corner in Perth city to mark the 12th anniversary of the unjust incarceration of the Cuban Five. Shoppers were told about the 3,400 people who have been brutally murdered by the actions of terrorist groups based in Miami.

Speakers spoke about the injustice against these 5 Cuban Heroes who harmed no one but were imprisoned after giving information they had collected about these terrorist groups operating against Cuba from U.S. soil to the U.S. government, hoping the U.S. would live up to its rhetoric against terrorism and intervene to jail the terrorists. Many shoppers stopped to find out more and to sign a petition for the freedom of the Five.

Following speeches the rally marched through the Hay Street Mall handing out leaflets to interested shoppers, calling for Obama to exercise his power to rectify the grave injustice of this politically motivated attack on Five brave men who were fighting against terrorism.

Written by Elizabeth Hulm. Photos by Alex Bainbridge. Video by Zeb Parkes.