Saturday, October 27, 2012

Reclaim the Night Fremantle

Reclaim the Night, Fremantle
In what one longstanding Perth feminist activist described as the biggest Reclaim the Night march in Perth in 20 years, 3-500 people - women, children and men - rallied and marched in Fremantle on October 26, for an end to violence against women.

Gathering at Pioneer Park, participants heard incoming Murdoch University women's officer Amy Hoogenboom argue the need for consent education. “You need consent every time,” she said. “Consent is not “no” or “not now” or “maybe.””

Zoe Bush, an activist with the Feminist Action Network at the University of Western Australia, described rape culture and the fight against it at the UWA. She explained that while rape is the purest expression of rape culture, it is a more pervasive phenomenon that includes blaming and doubting the victim, trivialising its seriousness and even condoning, if not actively endorsing rape.

A speaker from Warrawee - Australia's first purpose-built women's refuge - described the crucial front-line services it provides to women leaving domestic violence and reclaiming the lives they deserve. She called for an expansion of services, explaining that in the past year alone, they hadn't been resourced enough to meet the need for accommodation for more than a small fraction of the many women and their children referred to them.

As rally participants marched through the bar and cafĂ© strip of Fremantle, they attracted a lot of attention, chanting “Women have the right - to walk the streets at night - without the fear of rape!” “Break the silence! Stop the violence!” and “Wherever we go and however we dress, No means no and yes means yes!” Many participants carried placards with anti-violence messages. Union banners, flags and t-shirts were particularly visible, with the National Tertiary Education Union, Australian Services Union, Community and Public Sector Union and Maritime Union standing out.

After the rally, there were further speakers in Kings Square.

Sarah Ross from the Refugee Rights Action Network spoke powerfully of the plight of refugee women - detained indefinitely behind barbed wire under Australia's mandatory detention policy.

Fremantle councillor and Greens member Rachel Pemberton spoke of the importance of measures to bring people out into public spaces to ensure women's safety - rather than a reliance on CCTV to help find the perpetrator after an attack, saying “that's just not good enough!”

Sex worker advocate Beck spoke out against the Barnett government's proposed law to license sex workers. The proposed licensing system would force sex workers into industrial zones, where they would be less safe. It would give greater power to parlour owners, and for sex workers who illegally work unlicensed, it would expose them to the hazards of legal harassment and act as a disincentive to report sexual assault or other violence if it - as is more likely - did occur. She criticised Adele Carles for offering her support for the bill in exchange for the establishment of a “rescue centre.” While acknowledging that some women leaving the sex industry need extra support, the majority “don't need to be rescued - if they want to get out of the sex industry, they stop doing sex work and do something else.”

This year's Reclaim the Night was organised by a new collective, comprising many campus feminist activists and some community activists. It allowed the establishment of new networks between activists involved in different campaigns and organisers are hoping it will be the beginning of stronger collaboration between feminists across Perth. At the end of the rally, participants were invited to leave their contact details with the organising group, which will use them to establish an ongoing Perth metro feminist activist network.

[This article is by Socialist Alliance member Kamala Emanuel, who was one of the organisers of the rally. It was written for Green Left Weekly #943. Photos by Alex Bainbridge.]

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Free Palestine Freedom Ride

Friends of Palestine is organising this action to call on the WA state government to cancel bus contracts to French multi-national Veolia and its subsidiaries.

Veolia provides transport services to illegal Israeli settlements in the Occupied West Bank (Palestine). Palestinians aren't even able to use the bus services in the West Bank which is one expression of the Apartheid system in place in Israel.

Veolia discriminates against Palestinians in other ways too.

The WA government should not be boosting the profits of a company that supports Apartheid in this way.

Meet outside the Perth Train Station (over the road from the "Green Cactus")

1pm Sat 27 Oct

Contact Friends of Palestine for more info

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Fighting misogyny: A Socialist Alliance forum - Wed 31 Oct

At a time when Tony Abbott is being called out on his misogyny and when Alan Jones is feeling the heat from a grassroots campaign against his offensive style of broadcasting, there is a new mood to resist the sexism rampant in Australian capitalism.

On the same day that Julia Gillard gave her inspiring speech against Tony Abbott, the ALP government moved 100,000 sole parents - mostly women - over to Newstart with a consequent cut in pay.

This forum will discuss the struggle for women's liberation today.

Kamala Emanuel
(long time feminist activist and Socialist Alliance member)

6:30pm Wed 31 October

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

Attend on Facebook:

Ph 9218 9608, 0413 976 638

Socialist Alliance member Margarita Windisch speaking at Reclaim the Night in Melbourne

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Aboriginal people march for sovereignty

Elders and activists from the Nyoongar Tent Embassy in Perth took to the streets on October 18 in a march to state parliament in defiance of Premier Colin Barnett's attempts to do away with native title.

Traffic was stopped as the crowd of 50 people took over St George's Terrace in Perth's CBD and made its way to parliament.

The protest delivered a petition putting the Barnett government and the South West Aboriginal Land and Sea Council (SWALSC) “on notice” because they are illegitimate bodies to make policy decisions affecting local Aboriginal people.

SWALSC has been in negotiations with the state government about receiving a $1 billion land and cash settlement in return for extinguishing Nyoongar native title rights.

Outrage over this proposed deal, and the marginalisation and lack of consultation with the broader Nyoongar community, led to the establishment of the Nyoongar Tent Embassy at Matagarup (Heirisson Island) in February this year, which faced severe police intimidation and repression.

This latest demonstration by local Aboriginal activists marks the continuation of the campaign for recognition of sovereignty, and the fightback against ongoing efforts to undermine those same rights.

[This article by Chris Jenkins was first published in Green Left Weekly #941. Photos by Zeb Parkes.]

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Uranium mine: 'more than the issues we'll lock on to'

Protest at Toro Energy 11 October 2012
Photos by Shane Guthrie
Twenty four hours after telling the world that "people need to start showing some respect for the environment they live in", environment minister Bill Marmion showed what he meant by that statement by approving Western Australia's first uranium mine.

The October 9 decision gives state environmental approval to Toro Energy for their Wiluna uranium mine. The mine still requires approval from the pro-uranium federal ALP government but the state approval is considered to be one of the major hurdles passed.

The state Labor opposition tries to walk both sides of the street - claiming that they are opposed to uranium mining but promising not to close down any mines approved by the current government. This current stance contrasts with the policy WA Labor had under their previous leader and is a marker of the shift to the right under Mark McGowan.

This is a mistaken policy according to Socialist Alliance candidate for Willagee Sam Wainwright. "Labor should be threatening to reverse approval for the mine and promising to utilise every democratic means possible - including the power of the people - to avoid paying a cent in compensation."

"At the moment, Labor is just giving comfort to the uranium industry and promising to give them a toe-hold to maintain their existence - just as the Bob Hawke government did in 1983 with their 'Three mines policy'."

"Socialist Alliance will be taking a policy to the next state and federal elections that the whole mining sector should be brought under public ownership," Wainwright said.

"This will mean we can immediately stop uranium mining, plan a rapid phase out of fossil fuel extraction and manage other mining projects in a way that protects the environment and allows the wealth generated to be used for the benefit of the community."

Forty people protested outside the offices of Toro Energy on October 11 in response to Marmion's decision.

Steve McCartney
Anti-Nuclear Alliance of WA spokesperson, Marcus Atkinson told Green Left Weekly that after protesting at Toro, the group moved to state parliament where they were joined by Manufacturing Workers Union state secretary Steve McCartney who gave a good speech against the approval.

Other speakers included former Greens senator Jo Vallentine and anti-nuclear campaigner Mia Pepper.

ANAWA is planning to contest the mines development in every possible way, including a possible legal challenge.

Toro managing director Greg Hall dismissed the threats, saying there would always be groups opposed to uranium mining that would "lock onto anything they can do to stop it".

Atkinson told Green Left that Hall should be prepared "because we're going to 'lock-on' to more than just the issue" of uranium mining.

[This article was written by Alex Bainbridge for Green Left Weekly #942.]

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Reclaim the Night march in Fremantle

Friday 26 October 2012

Pioneer Park, Fremantle (opposite Fremantle train station)

- End violence against women
- Stop victim blaming
- Demand consent education

This event has been organised by women. It will be lead by 70 women carrying candles, with anti-violence and anti victim blaming messages, to represent the 700 metres that Jill Meagher had to walk to get home. It also represents all women who have been the victims of violence in their homes and on the street. All those who support the goals of the rally are welcome to attend.

We want to stop violence against women both at home and on the street we need to emphasise that rape is at the fault of the perpetrator and not the victim.

As women, we have the right to be safe everywhere - in our homes, in our streets, out with friends and by ourselves. We have the right to be able to live without having to constantly be thinking of our safety- there should be nowhere that is deemed a 'bad neighbourhood' where violence 'just happens'.

We argue that women need to be respected sexually as well - Yes, not maybe. We encourage active consent at all times, no matter how many times you have been together before.

We recognise that men have a role to play in this as well, as people who respect us, support us and advocate change with us. It is important that we acknowledge the men who stand with us and say it is NOT OK to be violent - physically, sexually, emotionally - towards women. We ask that this message be passed along from person to person, to help End the Violence.

While the event is open to everyone who supports the goals of the event it is being lead and organised by women. All women are welcome to be involved in the organising of this event. If you wish to be involved either come along to a meeting or email us on reclaimthenightfreo [at] gmail [dot] com.

[Information supplied by the Reclaim the Night Fremantle organising collective]

Monday, October 15, 2012

Rally against offshore processing

80 people rallied in Perth on October 14 to protest against the Gillard government's recent move to reopen inhumane detention centres on Nauru and Manus Island. This represents some of the worst aspects of the previous Howard government refugee policy.

Rally speakers included Marianne Mackay (from the Nyoongar Tent Embassy), Victoria Martin-Iverson (from Refugee Rights Action Network) and Jonathan Hallet (from the Greens).

The rally was followed by a vibrant march through the city.

Assessing the Venezuelan election result

Socialist Alliance and Resistance meeting

Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez was re-elected on October 7 in an election with the largest ever voter turn out. Chavez received over 8 million votes which is a record - see graph below.

Chavez ran on a radical program aimed at advancing the moves towards socialism in Venezuela.

This meeting will discuss the meaning of the election result and the dynamics of the movement for social change in Venezuela.

Guest speakers:
Pip Hinman (participant in the solidarity brigade which witnessed the election period - via Skype)
Chris Jenkins (Socialist Alliance)

6:30pm, Wed 17 Oct

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

Ph 9218 9608, 0413 976 638.

Eye-witness: Venezuelans vote for socialism

Five things we can learn from Chavez's win

How Western press distort Venezuela

Chavez wins poll, days after largest ever march

Sunday, October 14, 2012

#GlobalNoise in Perth

Two videos and a few photos from #OccupyPerth's #GlobalNoise event on 13 October - one year anniversary of Occupy Perth.

Sam Wainwright: Where's the money for environmental and social justice going to come from?

Chris "1000 Eyes" Bonds performs "Occupy"

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Defend the right to protest: drop the charges on Kamala Emanuel

Emanuel being rough-handled
by police in April
Prominent Perth activist Kamala Emanuel faces court on November 28 in an important case dealing with the right to protest. She is charged with "failure to obey [an] order given by an officer".

The charges relate to an April protest rally against gas ``fracking'' that was attacked by Perth City Council rangers. Rangers tried to close down the rally, claiming that it was in violation of Council by-laws, including one by-law that prohibits a person from carrying a sign without authorisation.

Police and rangers seized banners, signs and stall materials but were unsuccessful in their attempts to shut down the rally.

Emanuel was trying to protect a banner when police gave her a move-on notice. They falsely claim that she was disorderly and then allege that "the accused immediately refused to bide by the order and proceeded to rejoin the rally, making absolutely no attempt to move away from the area".

Move on notices enable police in WA to direct people to leave an area for a time period up to 24 hours. They are controversial because police often use them in an arbitrary way. Homeless people, Aboriginal people and young people are frequent victims of their use.

The penalties for violating a move on order - $12,000 or twelve months in prison - are frequently worse than the penalties for any actions that were used to justify the original move on notice. The Aboriginal Legal Services believes that move on notices should be done away with.

Move on notices are also used in some protest situations - such as this case involving Emanuel. In parliament prior to the inclusion of move on notices in legislation, it was claimed that they would not be used in protest situations. Emanuel's case demonstrates that this promise has been violated.

Activists are calling for the charge against Emanuel to be dropped.

The attempted repression of the April fracking rally by rangers sparked a free speech campaign in Perth that was largely successful. The by-laws were not repealed however repeated protest actions took place in front of council rangers without any harassment.

More than a dozen organisations and hundreds of individuals signed a "free speech pledge" promising to exercise their free speech rights and to defend anyone whose free speech rights were violated.

Activists believe a similar victory can be won in this case.

[A free speech protest will be held outside the Perth Magistrate's Court (501 Hay St, Perth) at 9am on Wednesday 28 November 2012.]

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Occupy Perth Anniversary: Global Noise

Street festival to mark one year anniversary of Occupy Perth

Sat 13 October

6pm, Perth Cultural Centre
(James St Mall, Northbridge)

Organised by Occupy Perth

#Globalnoise lineup
  • 5.30 Setup
  • 6:00 Welcome to country and acoustic set Indigenous singer/songwriter – Dennis Symmonds
  • 6:20 Occupy Speaker – 1 year of Occupy
  • 6:30 Chris 1000Eyes performs his “Occupy” rap
  • 6:45 Selekt Few – hip hop duo
  • 7:00 Sam Wainwright – Public Planning & Development
  • 7:05 Turquoise Loop – a psychedelic musical ode to Chomsky
  • 7:20 Linley Lutton – Gatekeepers (waterfront develpoment)
  • 7:25 Zeks – post rock band
  • 7:50 Sam Fox – performance artist
  • 7:50 Renegade – electro roots
  • 8:10 Colin Penter - Serco Watch speaker
  • 8:20 Raptor Mishap – Uke duo
  • 8:40 RRANWA speaker
  • 8:50 Jeff Hewitt – comedian
  • 9:20 Open mic – show us your stuff!
  • 10:00 De Ess – Tech Funk DJ
#Globalnoise stalls
  • Occupy Perth
  • Unnamed Collective
  • RRAN
  • Socialist Alliance
  • International Workers of the World
  • Animal Rights Advocates
  • PAW’s Vegetarian Food
  • Permaculture
  • Socialist Alternative
  • No Fracking WAy
  • Stand up for the Burrup
  • Save the Kimberley
  • Forest Alliance
  • Colled Pressed Coffee
  • (more to be announced)
[Information provided by Occupy Perth]

Rally against gas fracking in WA

National week of action against unconventional gas fracking

Stop Gas Fracking in WA

Sat 13 October

1pm, Kings Square, Fremantle
(next to Freo Town Hall)

Fracking is happening NOW in WA.

Fracking involves blasting water, sand and chemicals at high pressure deep into the ground to release methane gas. This type of mining has serious health and environmental risks including pollution of ground and surface water, groundwater depletion, carcinogen exposure and mutagenic and radiation risks.

We must rpotest and spread the message now to stop this industry in its tracks!

Organised by No Fracking WAy

[Information provided by No Fracking WAy.]