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.