Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Irish politics today

Australian socialists Emma Clancy and Phil Chilton who both have experience in Ireland recently will discuss their experiences and views on Irish politics, and strategies for progressive change.

6pm Wed 3 August
Perth Activist Centre (15/5 Aberdeen St – next to McIver station)

Hosted by Socialist Alliance and Resistance * Ph 9218 9608
www.socialist-alliance.org * www.resistance.org.au

Fremantle road to rail campaign launch

A public campaign is being launched by Fremantle community members in response to the increasing volume of heavy vehicle traffic through our residential areas. We are concerned about greenhouse gases emissions, particulate and other pollution, noise and unsafe road conditions.

We’re calling for freight on rail to keep our roads and community safe.

George Crisp, from Doctors for the Environment, speaking on particulate pollution
Jon Strachan, President of the Fremantle Society, presenting a model of getting freight into rail
Annolies Truman, Road to Rail charter

Shadow minister for transport Ken Travers;
Fremantle Green independent MLA Adele Carles;
Greens transport spokesperson Lynn MacLaren;
Fremantle Mayor Brad Pettitt.

5pm Saturday 6 August

Reception Room at the rear of Fremantle Town Hall (Go up rear stairs)

Sign the Charter at freoroad2rail.org

Does your library ban Green Left online?

When you get a chance, please check your local library computers to see if the Green Left Weekly website has been blocked.

For over one month, Green Left online and several other left wing sites were blocked at all Bayswater City Council libraries.

When we were notified of this, we took it up with the library manager who immediately unblocked the sites in question. It seemed to take a little longer at Maylands library (possibly because they were moving premises).

The blocking occurred because of a piece of internet filtering software called WebMarshal that picked up on some key words on the Green Left site. What were these key words and why were legitimate left wing sites affected? We'd love to know.

Although the matter was quickly resolved when we took it up with the manager, we're concerned that it happened in the first place. We'd also like to you check your local library to see how widespread the problem is.

The Perth Voice were similarly concerned and ran the story on the front page of their July 23 issue. For the time being it still pops up on their front page when you visit the Voice online: http://perthvoice.com/

Make sure you check www.greenleft.org.au and www.socialist-alliance.org and any other left wings sites you love to visit. If you find any sites that are blocked, let the library manager know straight away and also ensure you let us know as well: Ph 9218 9608 or 0413 976 638.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Protest war criminal Tony BLiar

Protest against war criminal Tony BLiar

Fri 29 July

5:30pm - Speakout and leafletting @ Esplanade Station
6:15pm - Protest @ Convention Centre

Attend on Facebook

Organised by Chogm Action Network and Friends of Palestine

John Pilger: Tony Blair must be prosecuted
August 2010

Tony Blair must be prosecuted, not indulged like his mentor Peter Mandelson. Both have produced self-serving memoirs for which they have been paid fortunes. Blair’s will appear next month and earn him £4.6 million.

Now consider Britain’s Proceeds of Crime Act. Blair conspired in and executed an unprovoked war of aggression against a defenceless country, which the Nuremberg judges in 1946 described as the “paramount war crime”. This has caused, according to scholarly studies, the deaths of more than a million people, a figure that exceeds the Fordham University estimate of deaths in the Rwandan genocide.

In addition, four million Iraqis have been forced to flee their homes and a majority of children have descended into malnutrition and trauma. Cancer rates near the cities of Fallujah, Najaf and Basra (the latter “liberated” by the British) are now revealed as higher than those at Hiroshima.

“UK forces used about 1.9 metric tons of depleted uranium ammunition in the Iraq war in 2003”, the defence secretary Liam Fox told parliament on July 22. A range of toxic “anti-personnel” weapons, such as cluster bombs, was employed by British and US forces.

Such carnage was justified with lies that have been repeatedly exposed. On January 29, 2003, Blair told parliament: “We do know of links between al-Qaeda and Iraq.”

Last month, the former head of the British intelligence service, MI5, Eliza Manningham-Buller, told the Chilcot inquiry into the Iraq war, “There is no credible intelligence to suggest that connection. [It was the invasion] that gave Osama bin Laden his Iraqi jihad.”

Asked to what extent the invasion exacerbated the threat to Britain from terrorism, she replied, “Substantially”.

The bombings in London on July 7, 2005 were a direct consequence of Blair’s actions.

Documents released by the High Court show that Blair allowed British citizens to be abducted and tortured. The then foreign secretary, Jack Straw, decided in January 2002 that Guantanamo was the “best way” to ensure British nationals were “securely held”.

Instead of remorse, Blair has demonstrated a voracious and secretive greed. Since stepping down as prime minister in 2007, he has accumulated an estimated £20 million, much of it as a result of his ties with the Bush administration.

The House of Commons Advisory Committee on Business Appointments, which vets jobs taken by former ministers, was pressured not to make public Blair’s “consultancy” deals with the Kuwaiti royal family and the South Korean oil giant UI Energy Corporation.

He gets £2 million a year “advising” the US investment bank JP Morgan and undisclosed sums from financial services companies. He makes millions from speeches, including reportedly £200,000 for one speech in China.

In his unpaid but expenses-rich role as the West’s “peace envoy” in the Middle East, Blair is, in effect, a voice of Israel, which awarded him a $1 million “peace prize”. In other words, his wealth has grown rapidly since he launched, with George W. Bush, the bloodbath in Iraq.

His collaborators are numerous.

The Cabinet in March 2003 knew a great deal about the conspiracy to attack Iraq. Jack Straw, later appointed “justice secretary”, suppressed the relevant Cabinet minutes in defiance of an order by the Information Commissioner to release them.

Most of those now running for the Labour Party leadership supported Blair’s epic crime, rising as one to salute his final appearance in the Commons.

As foreign secretary, David Miliband, sought to cover Britain’s complicity in torture, and promoted Iran as the next “threat”.

Journalists who once fawned on Blair as “mystical” and amplified his vainglorious bids now pretend they were his critics all along. As for the media’s gulling of the public, only the Observer’s David Rose, to his great credit, has apologised.

The Wikileaks exposes, released with a moral objective of truth with justice, have been bracing for a public force-fed on complicit, lobby journalism.

Verbose celebrity historians like Niall Ferguson, who rejoiced in Blair’s rejuvenation of “enlightened” imperialism, remain silent on the “moral truancy”, as Pankaj Mishra wrote, “of [those] paid to intelligently interpret the contemporary world”.

Is it wishful thinking that Blair will be collared? Just as the Cameron government understands the “threat” of a law that makes Britain a risky stopover for Israeli war criminals, a similar risk awaits Blair in a number of countries and jurisdictions, at least of being apprehended and questioned.

He is now Britain’s Kissinger, who has long planned his travel outside the United States with the care of a fugitive.

Two recent events add weight to this. On June 15, the International Criminal Court made the landmark decision of adding aggression to its list of war crimes to be prosecuted. This is defined as a “crime committed by a political or military leader which by its character, gravity and scale constituted a manifest violation of the [United Nations] Charter”.

International lawyers described this as a “giant leap”. Britain is a signatory to the Rome statute that created the court and is bound by its decisions.

On July 21, Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, standing at the Commons despatch box, declared the invasion of Iraq illegal. For all the later “clarification” that he was speaking personally, he had made “a statement that the international court would be interested in”, said Philippe Sands, professor of international law at University College London.

Tony Blair came from Britain’s upper middle classes who, having rejoiced in his unctuous ascendancy, might now reflect on the principles of right and wrong they require of their own children. The suffering of the children of Iraq will remain a spectre haunting Britain while Blair remains free to profit.

[Reprinted from www.johnpilger.com.]

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Action in Fremantle demanding the Freedom of political prisoners in Zimbabwe!

by Zeb Parkes

On the 18 July 20 activists gathered in Fremantle WA, to respond to calls from Zimbabwe political activist for international solidarity.
Activists singed a giant postcard demanding that charges be dropped against the six Zimbabwe political prisoners with messages expressing international solidarity, specifically in the struggle for free speech and democracy.
This is part of an ongoing struggle that started In February 19 this year when 45 activists in Zimbabwe were arrested for screening a youtube video of protests in Egypt and Tunisia. The footage is similar to what you view on a channel like BBC. This is yet another extreme attack on free speech and public assembly that has become a standard part of the Mugabe regime.
During February and March the 45 activists were held in solitary confinement and charged with treason, which carries the death penalty. Under public pressure, the charges of all but six of the activists got dropped and their charges downgraded to that of subverting the constitutionally elected government which carries a 20 year prison sentence.
On monday 18 July, Munyaradzi Gwisai, Tafadzwa Choto, Hopewell Gumbo, Welcome Zimuto, Tatenda Mombeyara and Edson Chakuma went to court facing this charge and the charge was once again downgraded to inciting public violence which carries a 10 yrs prison sentence. They will face court again on 22 August.
Whilst the downgrading of the charges is a positive step in the right directions, the position still remains the same that no charges should have been laid in the first place and the people of Zimbabwe should have the right to freedom of speech and public assembly.
Sadly, during this time one of the 45 activists arrested in February for showing the video, David Mpatsi a member of the International Socialist Organization (ISO), whose health never recovered after he was held in solitary confinement in February and March died on 14 July. Another victim of the Mugabe regime.
Paul Kaplan for the Zimbabwe Information Centre (WA branch) speaking at the action believes that the downgrading of the charges proved that public pressure was working and showed that the “tide was beginning to turn in Zimbabwe, no longer has Mugabe got total power there.”
He also went on to mention that the frontline African states surrounding Zimbabwe, members of SADC (Souther African Development Community) are now being far less supportive of Mugabe and pushing harder for fair elections and democracy in Zimbabwe since the Egypt and Tunisia uprisings.
SADC has being consistent in the past with saying a lot about having fair elections in Zimbabwe without actually doing much to achieve it. Where in fact their actions have often supported the Mugabe regime. In 2007 newszimbabwe.com reported SADC had asked western governments to end sanctions against Mugabe’s government. International sanctions are a key part of weakening Mugabe’s regime and must continue.
Even in 2008 when SADC put in place the GPA (global political agreement) in response to political violence and rigged elections that came under international criticism as a solution to Zimbabwe's political crisis. The GPA was meant to pave the way to fair elections. This failed miserably for various reasons, key amongst them was it wasn’t being monitored by an independent body and Mugabe ignored it and SADC didn’t try and enforce it.
In October many of the leaders of SADC are coming to Perth as participants of CHOGM (Commonwealth heads of government meeting). Paul Kaplan sees this as an important opportunity for people in WA to pressure SADC members “to show them very clearly that to get a fair and free election happening in Zimbabwe they hold the key.”
SADC must do more than it is currently doing if Zimbabwe is to become a democracy where people can hold screenings of youtube video’s without the threat of being arrested.

Realm of Suppression - art exhibition

Realm of Suppression
An exhibition by Didotklasta Harimurti
Free Range Gallery
399 Wellington St Perth
July 22-26 July

Didotklasta Harimurti, an Indonesian social activist, visual artist, theatre director and writer, will hold an exhibition of his drawings at the Free Range Gallery in Perth in July.

Titled Realm of Suppression, this will be his first solo exhibition in Australia.

Didotklasta began writing about social issues in senior high school. In the early 1990s he became active as a painter and in establishing theatre groups. He eventually established a radical theatre group, the Yogyakarta Institute of Popular Theatre, which worked with poor communities.

After several years off for therapy, Didoklasta came back in 2000. He began to actively publish his writing, to paint and to facilitate several forums for marginal community empowerment and critical pedagogy theatre.

Today, Didotklasta works as a productive artist and is Director of the Institute of Media for Community Action (KALANGAN).

Green Left Weekly's Rebecca Meckelburg spoke with Didotklasta at his home in Salatiga Central Java.

What factors have influenced and shaped you and your thinking as an artist?

I was born in the very early years of the bloody Suharto dictatorship [which began in 1965]. I grew up in a regime that stifled and suppressed people’s ability to think and express their ideas and aspirations.

I grew up in an era of Indonesian economic and social development that ultimately served the elite few and abandoned the common people.

I entered university and became familiar with the radical anti-dictatorship movement in 1989. I became active as an artist-activist in a range of media from painting to theatre to writing.

From the middle to the end of the 1990s, I had a mental health breakdown that I assume was about my difficulties to deal with my reality both in an individual/private and a social context.

I don’t know where it came from, but since I was very young I had a strong sense and sympathy about others, especially the poor. This sense grew and become a desire to understand, to help and to be in social solidarity.

In some way ― some cases I tend to put myself there, as a part of they who are marginal. Also in some aspects, I am marginal.

This life path has developed my character, it drives my acts as an activist as well as my creativity as an artist.

How do you think about and how do you practise your art?

Because my aesthetic and artistic desire develops and grows along with my critical thought, I have always thought of and used art to express things about what it means to be human in my society. For me, the human in my artworks means humanity's problems.

I have been involved in many kinds of art practice, each of which have a different purpose for me personally. But the thoughts or ideas behind all my art are more or less the same ― human problems.

For me, theatre is a tool for change, real-practice change. I see a direct correlation between what we do when we work with communities and how things change.

That is, we are doing theatre with people ― so I prefer to call myself a facilitator or community organiser rather than a director or trainer.

When I write, besides expressing my concern with social issues, I want to share and maybe provoke alternative, critical perspectives in others.

I’m not sure if that can influence social change, I also don’t know how far that influence can go. I just like writing. And I have to write as an activist.

In my visual art, I paint and draw as a “victim”. It becomes therapy to express my inner feelings ― my protest, my sickness and tiredness, my hope, my anxiety.

For me, life in this world is not ok. As a humanist I have to deal with human problems. I believe happiness is the basic nature of humans, but it is not a problem. That is why you will not see happy things in my drawings and paintings.

What is the concept behind your current exhibition?

In its essence, I like the term suppression. This exhibition is a presentation from a creative period where I have become aware that with the activity of drawing, I am expressing those things that I have suppressed.

I make an effort to explore the area and process of psychology ― or maybe just the subconscious and its visual expression.

My artworks in this exhibition do not pamper the eye and it is precisely this that I am trying to convey ― art is not just a matter of beauty or happiness.

What do you hope will happen with this exhibition?

With this newest exhibition, the important thing is I want to gain some certain experiences ― to understand the interaction between an artist and his artwork with a different audience (First World people) and the potential for enrichment for both sides.

For me this is the most significant experience because different cultures and different social-politic-economic backgrounds I believe have different aesthetic paradigms.

I hope this is some kind of small case dialogue between countries ― actually we make a lot of “dialogue” between Indonesia and First World countries or let’s say between the “Third World” and “First World” ― but the daily practice of interaction is not collaborative, but one of domination.

What I mean is, First World people do not watch Indonesian soap operas but we (Indonesians) watch your (First World) films.

Our youth culture is heavily influenced by “developed country culture”, but youth culture in Australia does not seem to be influenced by Third World culture.

I want to give them a perspective in my own way; in general about my people’s life and especially about a version of aesthetic that grows from this kind of life.

Last but not least, I am very sure that all my experiences through this exhibition will be a step forward for me as an artist.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Jail Rupert Murdoch, Free Julian Assange

Make sure you pick up a copy of this week's Green Left Weekly with fantastic coverage of the crisis facing the Murdoch empire and also analysis of Gillard's carbon price.

This cover article titled "Jail Murdoch not Assange" in particular has attracted a lot of attention. WikiLeaks has tweeted it to its 1 million followers and readers of the article have contributed to a significant spike in Green Left online readership this week.

This issue also includes Mark Steel's hilarious take on the topic and another interesting article by Tony Iltis. It also includes the article on ASIO and the "WikiLeaks amendment".

On the carbon tax, the current issue includes: Gillard's carbon price: not a serious response, Carbon Price - what's in it for renewables, Offsets: the hot air in Gillard's climate plan, and A carbon price reality check.

There's heaps more of interest as well so check it out. Of course you can read it all for free on the web but it is important to pick up the paper version whenever you can to ensure that this valuable resource keeps on coming out. You can also subscribe or make a direct donation to keep the green, left wheels turning.

Councillor Sam speaks out to save refuge

Councillors Sam Wainwright and Josh Wilson have spoken out in support of the Warrawee Women's refuge in the face of a Barnett government decision to exclude the refuge from a 15% funding increase.

The funding increase was denied to all services run by local government bodies - ostensibly because local governments have the power to raise rates.

In reality, the move is designed to create pressure for privatisation of local government services.

Pictured is the Fremantle Herald article covering the issue.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Sinn Fein - Uniting Ireland

UPDATE: A video from this talk is available here.

Martin Ferris to speak in Australia on 'Uniting Ireland'

* PERTH: Wednesday July 27, 7.30pm. Irish Club, 61 Townshend Rd, Subiaco. $5 entry - tickets at door.
* SYDNEY: Thursday July 28, 7pm. UTS, Haymarket Campus (Room CM5C.1.31). $5 entry - tickets at door.
* MELBOURNE: Saturday July 30, 7.30pm. Celtic Club, 316-320 Queen Street. Supper and entertainment. $40 entry. Tickets available at door. Ph John 0407 863 291.

Martin Ferris, a TD (MP) from Irish republican party Sinn Féin, is to address audiences in Australia later this month on the ongoing struggle for Irish reunification and independence. Ferris will address audiences in Perth, Melbourne and Sydney on the topic of ‘Uniting Ireland’.

Ferris was part of the Sinn Féin negotiating team in the lead-up to the signing of the Good Friday Agreement in 1998 and will speak on the progress and challenges of the ongoing peace process, and the implementation of the Good Friday Agreement and subsequent international agreements.

Elected to the Dáil (Dublin parliament) in 2002, Ferris is the Sinn Féin spokesperson on workers’ rights. He will outline the economic crisis unfolding across Ireland, which has caused soaring unemployment and emigration, and the mass opposition to the government’s austerity measures and the IMF/EU ‘bailout’.

Ferris will also be discussing the legacy of the 1981 hunger strike in which 10 Irish republican prisoners died in the protest for political status in Long Kesh prison, an event which caused profound and long-lasting changes in Irish politics. This year marks the 30th anniversary of the hunger strike and events are being held all over the world to commemorate their deaths.

Ferris, a former IRA Volunteer and political prisoner who has been active in the Irish republican movement since 1970, said: “For centuries Britain's involvement in Ireland has been the source of conflict; partition, discord and division.

“The Irish peace process has delivered an end to conflict and that is to be welcomed. But the underlying cause of conflict persists – the British government's claim of jurisdiction over a part of Ireland. It is this denial of the Irish people's right to self-determination, freedom and independence that is the core outstanding issue that must be resolved.

“The Irish diaspora and supporters have a very important role to play in the ongoing struggle for Irish reunification and independence. In the construction of the peace process the progress we achieved would not have been possible without that support, especially in Britain, the US, Australia and Canada.

“Sinn Féin has organised a series of conferences and meetings on the topic of Irish unity in Ireland, Britain, the US and Canada over the past two years in order to start a conversation about achieving these goals.

“We are glad to be bringing similar events to Australia this year and hope it lays the basis for future engagement with the Irish community and supporters of Irish self-determination here in Australia.”

* This speaking tour is being organised by Friends of Sinn Féin Australia and the Casement Group Melbourne. For more information phone Emma on 0450 835 189.

[This information is from Friends of Sinn Féin Australia, Director John Little]

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Albany rally for Rex Bellotti


Saturday, July 23 · 12:00pm - 3:00pm

Local Elders and Politicians as speakers


In March 2009 Rex Bellotti Junior, then 15, was run down by police driving on the wrong side of the road in Albany, Western Australia. Over two years have gone by.

There is conjecture about the police and vehicle involved –did they fail to stop, Why was the vehicle not impounded immediately? Why were they driving on the wrong side of the road? Why had witness statements not even taken by Albany police until after a month later, and only when the story was raised by the Sunday Times newspaper?

There is conjecture about the response of the hospital – why did it take 13 hours for an operation to be performed? The police department has never prosecuted any of the police officers involved.

The incident left the young indigenous man with a broken femur and severe lacerations to his left leg. Even ...now, it is unclear whether the promising young footballer will require his leg to be amputated. By chance an off duty paramedic passerby kept Rex Bellotti Junior from bleeding to death at the roadside.

The family is calling this rally in Albany to allow public debate to find out if a public inquiry into the incident is needed. The family has never received proper legal representation for compensation and assessing the culpability of police. The Bellotti family are appealing to all members of the public to support them in their quest for justice.

Come to the rally and discussion forum in Albany to talk about the issues surrounding this injustice. You may be able to help in some way.

Please come with a warm heart and no violence.

Location: possibly Albany Town Hall

This rally has been organised by the Bellotti family and the Bellotti Support Group. For more details
contact Darryl Kickett 0417 984 581

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Stop the James Price Point Gas Hub

The fight to stop the James Price Point gas hub in the Kimberly in Western Australia's north reached a critical point on July 4 as police arrested dozens of people. The arrests were an attempt to break the spirit of the community protesters who have blockaded the site for a month.

Woodside Petroleum is the lead company in a consortium that is planning to build a $30 billion gas-processing hub that would destroy pristine environment and result in up to 39 million tonnes of greenhouse gas pollution a year.

The campaigners and arrestees include local Aboriginal people defending their country.

This heavy-handed action by police took place in the week of the National Aboriginal and Islander Day of Commemoration. It shows how little regard Woodside and the state government have for Aboriginal rights.

The Save the Kimberley website said police arrived in force before first light, waking 100 people who had camped overnight.

Seven police cars had been held up in the pre-dawn on July 4 but “after some discussion, the police vehicles were allowed through — just like all tourists and local vehicles have been for 30 days” though “without the friendly wave and well wishes that were customary”.

Woodside vehicles by contrast were not allowed through and when police tried to break the blockade, they were held back by a protest that had grown to 200 people.

Save the Kimberley makes the issues in dispute clear: “The protesters had no intention of allowing clearing and drilling workers or machinery through.

“They stood on principle. Protesters were supporting Indigenous Custodians to protect Culture and Country. They were acting to stop the environmental and social nightmare of a polluting gas plant on their doorstep.

“There were also justified concerns expressed about this development being a ‘thin edge of the wedge’ for industrialisation of the Kimberley, one of the world's last great wilderness areas.”

Save the Kimberley said: “Police moved in with clear intentions of making arrests.

“There were tears as three Indigenous women including a grandmother and her granddaughter were forcibly carried away from the protest. This during NAIDOC week.

“Other brave people including mothers and grandmothers were hauled away for their peaceful protest as they refused to move out of the way of bulldozers and drill workers.”

Other key developments in the last week include:

• Protester Shayne Hughes, who locked on to a bulldozer at the beginning of the blockade, was fined on July 4 but had no conviction recorded after the magistrate said he was obviously of good character.

• The Wilderness Society organised a well-attended lunchtime protest outside Woodside's Perth head office on July 5, and

• Broome resident Andrew Dureau has announced that he will complain to police and seek legal advice after he was injured by police and prevented from helping his 76-year old father who tripped in front of a bulldozer at the blockade site.

His father is frail and has a medical condition. He told The West Australian: “I went there to help him get up off the road, out of the way — then all the cops grabbed me and dragged me off ... all I wanted to do was help my father.”

Campaigners argued the effort and expense in breaking the blockade is misplaced.

“This development has no final investment decision, no federal environmental approval and is unnecessary.

“There are other, better, alternatives.

“The compulsory acquisition of land which was the ‘gun to the head’ for those Traditional Owners who have accepted payment to give up land is being challenged in court. A failure to get all required heritage clearances, and a breach of the one they did get, is currently under investigation.”

This campaign can be won and needs support today.

[This article by Alex Bainbridge was first printed in Green Left Weekly #886. Video by Zeb Parkes.]

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Gaslands screening - must see film

3 for 3:30PM
Gaslands screening

Perth Activist Centre (15/5 Aberdeen St, Perth - next to McIver station)

Presented by Safe Climate Perth
Phone Kamala 0417 319 662 for more information.

About the film:
Part vérité travelogue, part exposé, part mystery, part showdown, GasLand is a compelling and emotional first-person story of discovery and, ultimately, empowerment.

In September 2006, theatre director and part-time banjo player Josh Fox received an unexpected letter in the mail: a natural gas company offering him $100 000 for permission to explore his family’s upstate New York property, in the lush Delaware River Basin area.

Rather than join many of his neighbours in signing on the dotted line, Josh’s curiosity saw him asking questions. He soon discovered that in the race for ‘cleaner’, greener & more efficient energy sources, the largest natural gas drilling boom in history is sweeping the globe, and in the US, the Halliburton-led drilling technology of hydraulic fracturing (or ‘fracking’) has unlocked a “Saudi Arabia of natural gas”.

So Josh picked up his camcorder, and set out on a journey across America’s heartland. His personal concerns quickly uncover global ones, as the citizens of ‘GasLand’ testify to what’s been happening around them. It becomes evident that the multi-million dollar business of fracking has contaminated the water supply, the corporate giants are in cover-up mode, and the PR-spun government has not only turned a blind eye, it has regulated itself out of the picture…

Rough-hewn yet poetic, the film is a desperate plea for scrutiny of a powerful industry that has now turned its eyes on a new, massive and (for now) largely unexplored territory: Australia.

GasLand was awarded the Special Jury Prize for Documentary at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival, and voted the best competition film of any section by indieWIRE’s Sundance Critics Poll. It has recently received a 2011 Academy Award nomination for Best Documentary Feature.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Friends of Palestine presents Miral

Miral - the film you won't see anywhere else

FTI Cinema
Film and Television Institute
92 Adelaide St, Fremantle

Sunday 7 August 2011
3 for 3:30pm
(note new time and date)

$20 solidarity/$15 waged/$10 concession

Miral is a ground-breaking new film by Academy Award nominee Julian Schnabel. It is based on the true story of a young Palestinian woman who finds her previously sheltered life changing forever.

At age 17 Miral leaves the orphanage she grew up in to teach at a refugee camp. It is here that she first becomes aware of the plight her people face.

Schnabel – the award-winning director of The Butterfly and the Diving Bell – explores the Israel-Palestine conflict from a Palestinian perspective.

Sean Penn and Robert De Niro supported the release of Miral at its premiere in the US, despite the controversy whipped up around the film by pro-Zionist forces.

Now Miral has arrived in Australia, a country where the government and the media are only interested in representing Israel's point of view.

This movie is therefore a must-see for anyone who wants to know the full story behind the conflict in historic Palestine.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Support democracy in Malaysia, oppose crackdown on socialists and oppositionists

Protest action for democracy in Malaysia

Facebook Event Page: http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=193179104064996

Date: July 9, 2011
Venue: Malaysian Consulate-General, 252 Adelaide Terrace, Perth, Australia
Time: 1.30 for 2pm

Altogether, the TheStar.com.my said on June 30 police arrested 101 people nation-wide in a preemptive move against the July 9 "Bersig 2.0" demonstrations, which have been declared illegal. The article said 45 were still detained.Thirty activists from the Socialist Party of Malaysia (PSM) have been charged and kept in jail over planned pro-democracy protests in Malaysia on July 9.
There are reports PSM members have been mistreated in prison. The Malaysia Chronicle said on June 29: "14 of its [PSM's] women members detained in a recent crackdown have been 'kicked on the legs', 'pushed and spat on', told to drink water from the toilet bowl and forced to change clothes in front of male officers."
The PSM released a sttement on July 1 that said "finally after 4 days of pressure, the police finally allowed visitation rights for the family" the previous day".
"During this visitation the detainees informed that they were harrased and mentally tortured."
The statement said forms of abuse suffered by detained PSM members included solitary confinement, denial of legal representation, denial of needed medication, verbal abuse, denial of sufficient drinking water and other basic goods such as soap and toothpaste.
A veteran Filipino socialist, Party of the Labouring Masses deputy general secretary Romy Castillo, who was visiting Malaysia and the PSM, was also arrested and remained in custody as of July 1 (with Malay authorities failing to follow through with plans to deport him).
The PSM is a legal party with two members of parliament. The largest left-wing group in Malaysia, its members are heavily involved in a wide-range of campaigns for democratic rights and for the rights of workers and the poor.
Below is an appeal for solidarity. Details of protests planned protests in solidarity with those arrested across Australia are at the bottom. Malaysians around the world are also planning to stage protests to coincide with the Bersig 2.0 marches, including around Australia. Details can be found here.
* * *
Dear friends and comrades
We have received an urgent appeal for solidarity from the Socialist Party of Malaysia (PSM) following the arrest and detention of 30 of their members including Member of Parliament Dr Jeyakumar Devaraj and several other leading members.
They were arrested while conducting a peaceful nation-wide bus tour calling for the ruling Barisan Nasional government (which has run the country since independence) to retire. For background see Malaysia: Government arrests socialists ahead of Bersih 2.0 pro-democracy rally.
Please publicise this matter and send your messages of solidarity to the PSM to: "International Bureau PSM"int.psm@gmail.com and arul.psm@gmail.com
A copy of a letter of protest I have sent on behalf of the Socialist Alliance can be read here.
Details of solidarity actions in Australia that you can join and promote are here
Peter Boyle
National Convenor Socialist Alliance (Australia)
* * *
30 Activists from Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM) including two juveniles have been charged under Section 122 of the Penal Code (waging war against the Monarch and trying to revive the communist ideology ) and are remanded for 7 days for practicing their freedom of expression. If they are charged under this section, then they will be denied bail.
The group were arrested on the 25th June at Kepala Batas, Penang while they were distributing leaflets to inform the public of the Udahlah-Bersaralah ("It is Enough, Time to Retire") national awareness campaign that the PSM recently conducted from 24 to 26 June 2011.
The news of PSM trying to revive communism was based on common t-shirts of left leaders found in the bus carrying the PSM activists.
The news that PSM was trying to revive communism was the major story in all the local mainstream media and is meant to create fear of an imaginary enemy -- a tactic used commonly in the past to crackdown on activists.
Among those arrested are PSM National Deputy Chairperson M.Saraswathy and PSM Member of Parliament Dr. Jeyakumar Devaraj.
The following are the PSM activists arrested.
7 detained at the Penang Police Headquaters are:
1. Dr, Jeyakumar – PSM’s sole Member of Parliament
2. Choo Chon Kai – PSM International Coordinator
3. Selvam (bus driver)
4. Letchumanan- PSM Sg. Siput Branch Secretary
5. M.Sarasvathy – PSM National Deputy Chairperson
6. Chong Moi
7. Soh Sook Hwa – PSM Central Committtee Member
The remaining are being held at Kepala Batas detention centre :
8. M.Sukumaran – PSM Central Committee Member
9. Kamaladevi
10. Indra
11. Saroja
12. Velayutham
13. Santhana
14. Ravindran - PSM Youth Secretary
15. RaveenVeerasenan
16. Thivya Kumar
17. Packialechumy
18. Jody
19. Wong Mei Yong
20. Nalaiyani
21. Deepa
22. Remy - Tanjung Malim Branch Chairperson
23. Saratbabu - PSM Youth Chairperson
24. Gana - Buntong Branch Chairperson
25. Sivoosamy - Bercham Branch Secretary
26. Shanmugam
27. Subramaniam
28. Arokiammangalam
29. Murugan
30. Tanushia
31. Kavitha
The PSM condemns the charges by the government who is trying to implicate PSM in waging a war against the King and reviving the old Malayan Communist Party. This big blatant lie is used on the 30 PSM activists who were involved in the "It is Enough, Time to Retire" national awareness campaign by PSM held from the 24th-26th June 2011. The activists who were supposed to be released unconditionally have been remanded for 7 days under Penal Code Section 122 that is waging a war against the King.
The statement by the police and the accusation by the current government on the PSM activists is baseless, absurd and politically motivated. Thus PSM demands the government to stop all this nonsense, release the detainees and apologise to the PSM on its baseless accusation.
PSM feels it is rather hilarious that the government tries to connect PSM with Communists just by finding a few t-shirts that have communist leader images. These t-shirts are sold very openly and anyone can buy it without any problems.
Moreover the government of Malaysia has political and diplomatic ties with the Communist Party of China, Cuba, Vietnam and many other countries.
Besides that, it must be pointed out that the Malaysian government has signed the peace agreement with the MCP in 1989 and also senior communist leaders like Rashid Maidin, Suriani dan Abdullah CD have had a royal audience with the DYMM Sultan Azlan Shah. Thus, bringing back the communist bogeyman in the post cold war era is a desperate move by the UMNO–BN regime to continue to cling in power while instilling fear among the people and to justify the use of the draconian [Internal security Act] ISA.
PSM is a registered party who is doing legal (above ground) activities and is well known and a popular party. PSM has always acknowledged the contribution of the left parties in the struggle for independence such as PKMM, API, AWAS and the MCP (PKM). This recognition of these left parties by the PSM cannot be narrowly interpreted that the party is trying to revive the MCP.
The media controlled by UMNO-BN has highlighted this accusation to scare people away from the Bersih 2.0 rally scheduled for July 9th. PSM supports the Bersih 2.0 rally, even though the "It is Enough, Time to Retire" BN Campaign has got nothing to do with Bersih 2.0 rally. However police are trying to make a connection between the both so that they can stop the Bersih 2.0 rally.
PSM is aware that the action against the PSM is a systematically planned action by the police to create an imaginary enemy with the intention to create an ”Emergency” environment where the government can justify the use of the ISA as well as do a massive crackdown to stop the Bersih 2.0 rally on 9th of July which is gaining momentum and mass support by the people.
The recent police action on PSM will not stop us from continuing our struggle and fight for the rights of the workers and people.
We seek solidarity locally and Internationally. PSM is currently the sole socialist mass movement in the country and we will continue this great struggle.
Long Live Socialism!
Long Live the PSM!
Released by S.Arutchelvan
National Secretary General
Parti Sosialis Malaysia
What can you do?
Urgent action needed:
Please write protest letters to the government and the police to express your strongest condemnation of the arrests and the crackdown on the PSM activists. Please also demand the Malaysian government to release all the Activists to continue and respect the freedom of expression as stated in Article 10 of Federal Constitution. Please demand the Government to stop the crackdown on PSM and the absurd allegations leveled against it.
[Letterhead of your organisation]
1. Dato' Sri Mohd Najib bin Tun Abdul Razak,
Prime Minister of Malaysia,
Prime Minister's Office,
Main Block, Perdana Putra Building,
Federal Government Administrative Centre,
62502 Putrajaya , MALAYSIA
Tel: 603-8888 8000
Fax: 603-8888 3444
E-Mail: ppm@pmo.gov.my
Dear Sir,
Re: Release all those detained and stop on- going crackdown on Malaysian socialists
We are writing to you, to express our outrage and our strongest condemnation over your government's on-going crackdown and the arrest of the 30 PSM Activists.
We are appalled by your government and the police's latest actions and view this as an attempt by your government to intimidate Malaysian citizens from exercising their civil and political rights
We further demand that your government stops the assault on freedom of expression and release all the 30 PSM Activists immediately.
Yours sincerely,
Cc To:
1. Inspector-General of Police
Tan Sri Ismail Omar,
Ibu Pejabat Polis Diraja Malaysia,
50560 Bukit Aman,
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Tel: +603 2262 6015
Fax: +603 2272 5613
2. Tan Sri Hasmy Agam,
Malaysian Human Rights Commission,
Level 11, Menara TH Perdana,
Jalan Sultan Ismail,
50250 Kuala Lumpur.
Tel: 03 26125600
Fax: 03 26125620
3. Mr. Frank La Rue
Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression
Palais des Nations
CH-1211 Geneva 10
Fax: +41 22 917 9006
Email: freedex@ohchr.org
4. Ms. Margaret Sekaggya,
Special Rapporteur on the situation on human rights defenders,
Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR)
Email: defenders@ohchr.orgurgent-action@ohchr.org
5. Christine Chung,
Human Rights Officer,
Office of the High Commissioner of Human Rights,
Asia Pacific Section, Asia Pacific and Middle East Branch,
Field Operation & Technical Cooperation,
OHCHR- Palais Wilson,
United Nationas Office at Geneva,
CH-1211 Geneva 10,
Tel: +41 (0) 229289673
Fax: +41 (0) 22928 9018
Email: cchung@ohchr.org
For Further Information
Website: www.parti-sosialis.org
Facebook: Parti Sosialis Malaysia
Twitter: @partisosialis or #udahlah
News websites:

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Protest condemns university’s decision to host climate denier Monckton

A small but spirited group of protesters braved driving wind and rain outside Fremantle’s Notre Dame University on the evening of June 30 to express their opposition to the University playing host to British climate change denier Christopher Monckton.

Earlier that day, Perth's daily newspaper The West Australian had obligingly provided free publicity for Monckton’s impending speech in an article occupying most of its front page.

In his speech, Monckton reportedly attacked wind farms, a favourite target of the British landed gentry and aristocracy, for whom this clean, safe form of energy is unthinkable because it may interfere with the views from their stately homes.

Prior to his latest visit to our shores, Monckton had likened the Australian government's climate change advisor, Ross Garnaut, to a fascist.

The Australian corporate media and the ABC uncritically allow Monckton to style himself "Lord Monckton" and describe him as a British politician and climate change sceptic.

Almost all elements of these descriptors are misleading, except for the word British. A check on the British House of Lords website confirms he is not a member of that chamber.

A politician is, in everyday language, a member of a legislative body (usually popularly elected). Monckton is not. His only political office of any note is that of deputy leader of the fringe UK Independence Party. 'Sceptic' is a weasel word for denier.

Monckton has no credentials in climate science and his views deserve no more media coverage than those of any other unqualified person.

But it is no accident that media owned and controlled by billionaires have wildly inflated Monckton’s importance and his views while not holding him to account for his multiple deceptions.

Many billionaires stand to lose in the transformation of the economy from fossil fuel dependence to renewable energy, which a safe climate demands. The publicity accorded his views provides just the sort of distractions the polluters need to help sow doubt and confusion over climate change in the public mind.

[This article by R W McKenzie for Green Left Weekly. Photos by Zeb Parkes.]

Protest for democracy as Zimbabwe activists face trial

For Freedom & Democracy in Zimbabwe

Six Zimbabwean human rights activists are on trial, in danger of 20 year prison sentences, for having shown a video about the democracy struggle in Egypt.

Fremantle Stand Up for Freedom in Zimbabwe

Melissa Parke, MP

Kings Square (next to Fremantle Town Hall)
Monday July 18, 4:00 pm

Organised by: Zimbabwe Information Centre (WA) & Socialist Alliance Fremantle/Walyalup

Supported by: Adele Carles MLA, Melissa Parke MP, Senator Scott Ludlam

Further information, call Paul 0438 949 898, Sam 0412 751 508

Monday, July 4, 2011

Help make the Activist Centre better

The latest installation at the Perth Activist Centre is this new bank of bookshelves to display the wide variety of books available from the Activist Centre bookshop.

While the books have always been interesting, unfortunately the presentation has had a lot of room for improvement.

The closure of Borders bookstores has given us the opportunity to get these impressive bookshop fittings that there is no way we could have afforded new. The Borders' administrators have not given us these professional book display out of the generosity of their hearts - we've had to pay $1500 for this upgrade.

Can you help defray the costs of this purchase by making a donation to the Perth Activist Centre today? You can donate by transferring or depositing money into our account (BSB: 066 003, Account: 10253459) or writing a cheque or money order to "Perth Activist Centre" and posting to PO Box 204, Northbridge WA 6865.

Alternatively, drop in to the Activist Centre and check out the range of books, t-shirts, badges and other merchandise that is available. If you're interested in environmentalism, feminism, socialism, history, politics or other justice issues, there is bound to be something of interest.

This is not the only improvement we want to make at the Activist Centre. Why not help us out today and make Perth's premier activist resource better?

Above items plus a wide range of left and progressive books, pamphlets, t-shirts, flags, badges, and stubby holders are available online at Resistance Books and at the Perth Activist Centre.

Video from Socialism and Religion

Thirty people attended the "Socialism and Religion" seminar hosted by Socialist Alliance and Resistance on 2 July 2011. This video shows the presentation by Kamala Emanuel.