Saturday, April 30, 2011

Green Left Weekly May Day celebration 14 May 2011

Tickets are now available for the
Green Left Weekly
2nd Annual May Day Celebration

Saturday May 14, 2011, 7pm

Ticket includes a North African inspired dinner. Cocktails and other drinks will be available for purchase. Vegetarians and vegans will also be catered for.

MUA Building, Kwong Alley, North Fremantle.

$50 solidarity price
$30 full price / $15 concession

Please call Annolies on 9433 6946 or Sanna on 0404 533 393 for more information. A shuttle will be available from the greater Fremantle area including both train stations between 6pm and 7:30pm. Parking is available.

Tickets can be paid for:
* Deposit or Transfer to: Perth Activist Centre [CBA, BSB: 066 003, Account: 1025 3459] (in which case please confirm by email to perth[at]
* Post cheque or money order made out to "Perth Activist Centre" to PO Box 204, Northbridge 6865
* Bring cash to the Perth Activist Centre (15/5 Aberdeen St, East Perth - phone first to check we're there); or
* Credit card over the phone 9218 9608, 0413 976 638

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Refugee rights convergence at Curtin detention centre

Over forty refugee rights activists travelled to Curtin detention centre over Easter 2011. Serco initially told lies to protesters and made it seem that visits with detainees would not be allowed but on the second day allowed only individual visits.

Detainees inside the refugee prison held their own protest and hunger strike demanding that they be allowed to meet visiting activists as a group.

Protesters outside respected that wish and boycotted individual visits but were refused the right to hold a group visit with protesting detainees. 16 people were arrested while protesting for the right for a group visit on April 24.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Serco lies on the first day of the Curtin Convergence as refugees hunger strike inside

Forty activists travelled over 30 hours on the road from Perth arriving at the gates of the Curtin detention centre on Saturday April 23.

We were greeted with legalistic warnings and numerous lies from the mounts of Serco guards imposing a road-block outside the centre.

More significantly, we have heard from detainees inside the centre that Serco guards have lied to them as well. Detainees had been told that the convergence bus has turned around and that activists no longer planned to visit. In response a hunger strike by 130 detainees has commenced with demands including that visits by refugee activists be allowed.

A couple of days before, a letter was signed by 700 detainees demanding that a delegation of convergence activists be allowed to meet a delegation of detainees.

It is a matter of record that the first words out of the mouths of Serco staff were a technical lie. Activists asked if there was a toilet at the road block and were told the answer "no". Minutes later, two children from the convergence bus were allowed to use a toilet at the road block.

While activists were read less than welcoming legalistic warnings, one person asked if Serco manager Michael Puglisi was among the Serco staff at the roadblock. This was denied, but later found to be the truth.

These small lies were simply in keeping with the range of excuses used to prevent activists visiting detainees. Despite having put in official forms for around 100 visits with detainees, excuses were given including the initial (and outrageous) claim that not a single visiting form had been put in requesting a visit today, that names on forms were spelled incorrectly, that detainees could not be located in the centre and that the centre did not have capacity to receive visits at that time. (Later we learned that refugee advocates from NSW were inside visiting detainees at that very moment.)

These lies show that the policy being implemented by Serco - mandatory detention of refugees - is an indefensible policy. It is a policy defended by razer wire and lies.

Tomorrow we will be back at the Curtin gates demanding our rights to visit detainees, demanding the refugees' rights to meet supporters from around the country and demanding the closure of all detention centres and the welcoming of refugees into the Australian community.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Solidarity forum with Zimbabwean democracy activists facing treason charges

Thirty five people attended a forum on April 20 in support of six democracy activists facing treason charges in Zimbabwe. Treason faces a potential death penalty in Zimbabwe.

Fremantle's socialist councilor Sam Wainwright hosted the meeting explaining that the supposed crime committed by the six activists was to show BBC and Al Jazeera news videos about the democracy movement in Egypt. Wainwright pointed out that this exposed the falsity of the idea that Zimbabwe president Robert Mugabe was an anti-imperialist figure.

Antoine Bloemen spoke as the father-in-law of Munya Gwisai, one of the accused. He pointed out that since Gwisai is married to an Australian he could potentially take up residency in Australia instead of fighting for democracy and socialism in Zimbabwe. Bloeman argued that this reflected Gwisai's principled character.

The forum was timed to coincide with a court appearance in Zimbabwe. During the forum, it was revealed that July 18 would be the date of the trial.

The forum was organised by Socialist Alliance and the Zimbabwe Information Centre. It was supported by Greens senator Scott Ludlam, ALP parliamentarian Melissa Parke and independent Adele Carles.

The "In My Community" website has a report of the issue here.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Stand up against Israeli apartheid

Socialist Alliance statement April 18, 2011
“Struggles for freedom and justices are fraught with huge moral dilemmas”, said Nobel Laureate and South African anti-apartheid campaigner Bishop Desmond Tutu last year in an address last year to students at the University of Johannesburg who were debating whether to terminate the university's agreement with Ben-Gurion University in Israel (BGU). The university decided to terminate relations with BGU on April 1, 2011.
This same moral dilemma faced Marrickville Council on December 14, 2010, but the majority of councillors (including all four Labor, all five Greens and one independent) voted in favour of joining the global non-violent call to divest and sanction Israel for its apartheid-like treatment of Palestinians.
Supporters of justice for Palestinians were very proud that Marrickville council was the first local government in Australia to take such a stand (even while some unions and church groups had already signed on). This particular council has a proud record of standing up for rights – it has also supported a boycott of Burma for 12 years.
However, for taking a stand, the council has come under an unprecendented attack from apologists for Israel including the reactionary Murdoch media empire, the Jewish Board of Deputies, the ALP, the Coalition and the newly-elected Premier Barry O’Farrell.
Now is the time for supporters of Palestine to take a stand.
First, O’Farrell has no right to threaten to sack a democratically elected council, or to sack one. His threats are about ingratiating his newly-elected government with that small but powerful chorus who believe that noone has the right to criticise Israel. This says a lot about the sort of "community" and "democracy" the O'Farrell government believes in.
Second, the establishment media, along with the ALP and Coalition, have done a thorough job of demonising those councillors, in particular the Greens Mayor Fiona Byrne, for standing up for justice. We now know that she has received death threats. If those opposed to BDS really were sincere in wanting to have a rational debate about the issues, they would be the first to condemn such threats. Yet, there has been a deafening silence from those quarters.
Third, for four months Israeli apologists in the corporate media have done nothing to explain where the BDS call has come from. The campaign against BDS has centered on the unacceptable view that any criticism of Israel is anti-Semitic. Meanwhile, it marginalises pro-Palestine voices who, correctly, point to Israel’s 44-year long occupation of Palestine and its continued flouting of international law as justification for the BDS campaign. These powerful elites are happy for confusion to rein, and for councils to stop taking a stand on human rights. For these elites, councils should do what they’re told to do – nothing more, nothing less.
In 2005, Palestinian civil society decided to call for a non-violent movement based on the principles of human rights, justice, freedom and equality to pressure Israel to heed the call that: “Israel withdraws from all the lands occupied in 1967, including East Jerusalem; removes all its colonies in those lands; agrees to United Nations resolutions relevant to the restitution of Palestinian refugees' rights; and dismantles its system of apartheid”
These demands are firmly based in international law, and by supporting this movement the Marrickville council is espousing its solid commitment to human rights locally and internationally.
Socialist Alliance strongly condemns the Zionist campaign against the Marrickville councillors, and urges councillors to continue to stand up for the basic democractic rights of the Palestinians.
Just as an international campaign helped bolster the efforts of south Africans – Black and white – to force and end to apartheid South Africa, so too an international campaign in the form of boycotts, divestment initiatives and sanctions can exert political pressure on Israel to abide by international law. The Zionists' response to Marrickville council's attempt to discuss it shows just what a powerful weapon BDS can be.
As Sam Wainwright, a Socialist Alliance councillor in the City of Fremantle, put it in an open letter to Marrickville Councillors: “Marrickville Council's support the BDS campaign is consistent with international humanitarian law and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Those who mock or condemn you are ignorant, cowards or bullies. Your policy is a positive example for both my and all local governments to follow.”

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Homeless protest plans to sweep them off the street for CHOGM

Twenty five people joined a demonstration organised by homeless people to protest plans by the state government to remove homeless people from the city at the time of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in October.

The protest was in response to a parliamentary debate on April 7 about the proposed new police powers for CHOGM. It was revealed that homeless people would be directed away from CHOGM security areas in Perth city.

Particularly insensitive was the comment in parliament by police minister Rob Johnson in response to a question about what arrangements would be made for displaced people. After describing the question as ``stupid'' he said he would provide homeless people with a ``tent and a cushion''.

Protesters were particularly aggrieved that the government wanted to keep them out of sight during the CHOGM summit without actually doing anything to create long term solutions to homelessness.

In keeping with the ``out of sight, out of mind'' attitude, billionaire Andrew Forrest has entered the debate, supporting token charity measures and calling for homeless people to be accommodated during the summit but without pushing for any long term solutions.

``Appalling'', ``disgraceful'', ``heartless''. These are some of the words used by homeless participants in the rally to describe the government's approach.

``We may be homeless, but we are not stupid,'' was a common sentiment from rally participants who spoke to Green Left.

Ken, one of the rally organisers, told Green Left ``we're here to protest the government's views on the homeless people''.

``When CHOGM comes in October, they want to take a few street people off the streets and put them in accommodation for seven days, and then after the thing is finished they want to throw them back on the street.''

``We cop enough flak from the government and the public as it is without the government putting it on TV and in the newspapers that we're not even worthy to be seen by dignatories [coming to CHOGM].''

``If the government can spend hundreds of millions of dollars to redevelop the waterfront and then yesterday they announced they are going to spend $9 million dollars to upgrade the facility at Kings Park for the CHOGM meeting but they can't afford any money to open up a 24 hour hostel or to organise some permanent accommodation, we just think that is totally unfair.''

[This article was written by Alex Bainbridge for Green Left Weekly. Bainbridge is a member of the CHOGM Action Network which is organising a mass protest on the first day of the CHOGM summit.]

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Public forum: Free the political prisoners in Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe - Free the political prisoners

Zimbabwean human rights activists were arrested on February 19 for showing a video about the democracy struggle in Egypt. They have been charged with treason, which is a capital offence in Zimbabwe.
International rallies calling for their freedom are being held to coincide with the opening of their trial.

Fremantle Stand Up for Freedom in Zimbabwe 

Antoine Bloemen (father-in-law of Munyaradzi Gwisai)
Scott Ludlam (Greens senator)
Sam Wainwright (Socialist Alliance councillor)
Moses Chamboko (Zimbabwe Information Centre)

Fremantle Town Hall Reception Room (enter via rear stairs, across patio)

Wednesday April 20, 7:00 pm 

Organised by: Socialist Alliance Fremantle/Walyalup branch and Zimbabwe Information Centre (WA).

Supported by: Adele Carles (independent), Melissa Parke (ALP), Scott Ludlam (Greens)

Monday, April 4, 2011

Perth premiere: John Pilger's The War You Don't See


The War You Don't See

Wednesday 6 April

6:30 for 7pm
FTI Cinemas Fremantle
92 Adelaide Street, Fremantle

$9 Tickets available from 9218 9608, 0413 976 638 or on the door (unless sold out)

Hosted by Green Left Weekly

'The War You Don't See' is a powerful and timely investigation into the media's role in war, tracing the history of 'embedded' and independent reporting from the carnage of World War One to the destruction of Hiroshima, and from the invasion of Vietnam to the current war in Afghanistan and disaster in Iraq. As weapons and propaganda become even more sophisticated, the nature of war is developing into an 'electronic battlefield' in which journalists play a key role, and civilians are the victims.

Includes an interview with WikiLeaks founder and editor-in-chief Julian Assange.

Official trailer

The War You Don't See (trailer)

Friday, April 1, 2011

Video from International Women's Day

Video by Zeb Parkes originally sourced from here.