Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Moving Beyond Rape Culture – can violence against women be eliminated?

Sat, Nov 5 
Perth Activist Centre
15/5 Aberdeen St
(next to McIver Stn) 
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A public forum to discuss what it would take to eliminate rape and other forms of violence against women.

It's easy to be united in objecting to the victim-blaming and slut-shaming that are part of the rape culture that shifts the blame for rape from the rapist to the person who is raped. 
But is there more to say than "teach boys not to rape" - and how do we teach them in a society that in so many ways promotes and facilitates rape?

This forum seeks to tease out what it is in Australian society that makes it a rape culture, and what we need to work on changing - politically, economically, socially, in the workplace, in the family, in how we even talk and think and act around gender, sex and sexuality - to reach the point where sexual and other violence against women becomes impossible.


Justine Kamprad
, former blue collar worker and union organiser, now law student, will use examples from popular culture to explain rape culture in Australia today.

Marianne Mackay, Noongar woman and fighter for her people, will speak about ending violence against women and the importance of ending police and other forms of racist violence that impact on women of her community.

Sanna Andrew, a social worker with years of experience in the housing sector, will speak about the impact of poverty, homelessness and housing stress on women, and the socioeconomic changes needed to break down violence against women.

Kamala Emanuel, women's health doctor and long-time feminist activist, speaking about a living example of a society without rape, and what western feminists can learn from it about how different ways societies create or experience gender, sex and sexuality facilitate or hinder the practice of rape.

She's Beautiful When She's Angry - film screening

Friday October 28, 7:30 for an 8pm start
The Perth Activist Centre, 15/5 Aberdeen St, Perth 

(next to McIver station)

Join us after the Reclaim the Night march for a screening of She's Beautiful When She's Angry, a documentary exploring the rise and breadth of the women's liberation movement in the US from 1966 to 1971. This movement raised the profile of women's rights and introduced a generation to collective struggle.

Many of the struggles depicted in the film are the same we continue to fight for today. Winning these campaigns requires building a broad and vibrant movement that can bring about real and lasting social change. Join us for this inspiring example of people power in motion!

Entry $15/10 (concession) includes a yummy vegan meal

Organised by Socialist Alliance WA as a fund-raiser for Green Left Weekly, Australia's leading left-wing weekly newspaper and online magazine.

Contact 0417 319 662 for more details

Like, attend and share on Facebook

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Help Socialist Alliance WA get onto the 2017 state election ballot paper!

The established political parties get their name on the ballot paper automatically, and many benefit from huge corporate donations. We're a small party with big ideas and we need 500 members to be registered so people can find our candidates on ballot paper when they go to vote.

Elections are only one way to gauge and build support for socialist change - but they're an important one. Pauline Hanson's One Nation Party is trying to get registered to run in the WA state elections next year. Please help us make sure that instead of just One Nation's fake alternative - racist, sexist, homophobic, anti-union and ultimately every bit as much a part of the capitalist nightmare - people can choose a socialist alternative to the establishment parties.

We're going to need your help to be successful. There are two things you can do:

1. Fill out this membership form. There is no financial or other obligation of membership, but you may be contacted by the WA Electoral Commission to confirm your details. If they leave a message please respond.

2. Can you help to spread our message? Another world is possible - a world based on social justice, wealth redistribution, community democracy, human dignity and making peace with the planet. Watch, like and share our campaign video.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Public forum: Fireworks and uprisings - confronting the legacy of colonialisation (Thurs 29 Sept)


Fireworks and Uprisings: Confronting the legacy of colonisation

Fremantle City Council recently voted to cancel their annual fireworks event for January 26 in recognition that for Aboriginal peoples and supporters the day marks the beginning of invasion, and consequent violence and dispossession.

The ongoing closure of Aboriginal communities, Aboriginal impoverishment and deaths in custody testify to the continued reality of violence to the present day.

Join us as we hear from Noongar activists and elected council members of the significance of the Council's decision, and how else we can fight for Aboriginal rights today.

Guest speakers:
Robert Eggington
Marianne Mackay
Mervyn Eades
Sam Wainwright

6:30pm Thursday 29 Sept

Fremantle Council Reception Room,
upstairs from the rear entrance
Fremantle Council Building

Ph 0415 922 740

Attend on Facebook:

Friday, August 19, 2016

Jobs for Women film screening at Curtin Uni - Wed 24 August

Perth's premiere of a short cinematic film on a determined group of women fought for work at the male-dominated Port Kembla steelworks in 1973. The women's struggle laid the groundwork for the 1980s 'Jobs For Women' campaign that followed.

From factory lock-ons to workplace tragedy, from consciousness raising to youth rebellion, it is an inspiring story of women struggling for equality.

Wednesday 24 August

6pm Tim Winton Lecture Theatre
Curtin University, Kent Street, Bentley

The cinematic short film will be introduced by Meredith Hammat (Secretary, UnionsWA), Bobbie Oliver (NTEU), Robynne Murphy (Jobs For Women Producers Group)

Event starts 6pm at Tim Winton Lecture Theatre (213:104), Curtin University, Kent St, Bentley. Refreshments followed by the film.

Ticket prices (all funds help make the Jobs For Women feature film):
Supporter price - $20
Regular price - $10
Concession - $5

Event sponsored by the NTEU Curtin University branch.

Attend on Facebook: www.facebook.com/events/1104477132959110

[Information from Jobs for Women Film campaign.]

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Forum:Campaigning against racism and Islamophobia today - Thurs 11 August

Public forum - all welcome

Campaigning against racism and Islamophobia today

Speakers include:

Shaun Harris (Dhu campaign against Deaths in Custody)
Christelle Barrere-Collet (Black Lives Matter)
Michelle Bui (Refugee Rights Action Network)
Farida Iqbal (Socialist Alliance)

Thursday 11 August

6 for 6:30pm Perth Activist Centre
15 / 5 Aberdeen Street, Perth (next to McIver station)
Ph 0415 922 740 or 0412 109 160
Hosted by Socialist Alliance

Attend on Facebook:

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Public Forum: Campaigning Against Racism and Islamophobia Today

Public Forum: Campaigning Against Racism and Islamophobia Today

Featuring guest speakers:

- Shaun Harris (Aboriginal Deaths in Custody)

- Michelle Bui (Refugee Rights)

Christelle Barrere-Collet (Black Lives Matter Perth)

- Farida Iqbal (Socialist Alliance)

Hosted by Socialist Alliance WA

Call 0415 922 740 for more details

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

PHOTOS: Black Lives Matter rally in Perth

Hundreds of people marched in Perth on July 23 to say that #BlackLivesMatter. The rally included strong expressions of solidarity with Nyoongar and Aboriginal campaigns for justice and sovereignty as well as expressions of anti-racism.

Here are some of the photos from the event.

[These photos were first published at Green Left Weekly on 27 July 2016.]

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Black Lives Matter - Peaceful Protest Sat 23 July

Black Lives Matter Peaceful Protest - Perth

Saturday July 23 @ 12pm

State Library of Western Australia
25 Francis St, Perth, Australia 6000

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Thanks for your support

A big thanks to all of our members and supporters that have helped out so much during this election campaign, what a champion effort!

With postal votes still to be counted, Socialist Alliance in Fremantle has almost doubled our first preference vote, garnering 1.6%. A big shout out to everyone that took the brave step to support the little party with big ideas.

We've injected issues and solutions into the public arena that no other party will touch; an economy largely in private hands and run for profit cannot and will not meet the needs of the community and planet. The only solution is to radically democratise our society, bringing the big sectors like the banks and mines into public hands to fund 100% renewable energy and much needed social services.

The struggle for a better world goes on, we'll continue to do all we can to help bring it about and we invite you to join us. Ours is a world and future to win!

Friday, July 1, 2016

Three reasons to vote 1 Socialist Alliance - your strongest progressive vote!

Socialist Alliance needs your NUMBER 1 vote in order to make an impact! If you want to see progressive change, this is the strongest vote you can make.

The establishment always tries to pressure people to vote for what they think is "realistic" - instead of what is needed. However legendary US socialist Eugene V Debs used to argue that "it is better to vote for what you want and not get it, than to vote for what you don't want, and get it". The successes achieved by Jeremy Corbyn and Bernie Sanders in the US show also that millions of people can be convinced that socialist change is perfectly reasonable and feasible.

Here are three reasons to vote 1 Socialist Alliance.

1 Socialist Alliance has the strongest progressive policies

Socialist Alliance supports a transition to 100% renewable energy in a decade. This is perfectly feasible but the Greens and Labor refuse to match it.

We support the abolition of all anti-union laws - not just some of them. We have an unambiguous position against mandatory detention and offshore processing of refugees and in favour of Aboriginal sovereignty.

Our policies are aimed at breaking the power of the big corporations and bringing about genuine democratic reform so that power can be in the hands of the people.

Unlike the Greens and Labor, Socialist Alliance parliamentarians would not have voted for the supply bills in Abbott's 2014 horror budget (which resulted in cuts to the ABC, SBS, CSIRO and more).

No other party can make all of these claims.

2 Voting Socialist Alliance puts left wing pressure on other parties

Historically the ALP has always been at its most progressive when it has faced strong pressure to its left. Their natural direction is to the right. Today even the Greens are drifting in more pragmatic direction. If you want to see a genuine, principled and consistent progressive change, giving your number 1 vote to Socialist Alliance is the strongest way to use your vote (even if our chances of being elected are slim at this point).

Using the preference system to preference Greens before Labor and Labor before Liberal means your vote will be passed on at full value if we're not elected.

3 Voting Socialist Alliance puts us in a better position to build grassroots protest movements against whichever government is elected

We all know that regardless of whether Labor or Liberal form government, we'll need to fight hard to stand up for our rights. A big vote for Socialist Alliance will help energise the social movements that are the foundation stone for a progressive people's power alternative. If elected, we will use the resources and the platform that come with parliamentary office to directly build and promote people's power.

P.S. You're welcome to come to the Socialist Alliance election night party

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Fracking: bad in USA, worse in Western Australia

The oil and gas industry plans to develop huge sections of the mid-west, the south-west, and the Kimberley.

I moved to Perth in June last year from a small, rural town in central Pennsylvania. There I witnessed first-hand the impact of the “fracking” boom — the rapid exploitation of the unconventional gas resources in the Marcellus shale play.

It hit rural Pennsylvania particularly hard because it is economically depressed, struggling to make ends meet by farming and what's left of manufacturing that has not been outsourced to China, Mexico, and other exploitable labour pools.

That might sound odd because the promise of fracking is that it will provide jobs and royalty income. The reality, however, is that the royalties do not last long and do not make up for poisoned land and water that are the by-products of the fracking industry.

Most towns lost money from fracking because the state did not levy enough tax to pay for all the road repairs that were necessary after heavy trucks invaded the formerly quiet, rural landscapes.

It affected the mental and physical health of residents, most of whom chose to live in the country because it was quiet. Overnight, these towns were transformed into industrial landscapes, with endless streams of trucks, construction noise, forests levelled for pipelines, constant noise from compressor stations, and the night sky lit up by weeks of flaring at the well heads.

Intense industry

People in Pennsylvania experienced the transformation of their land from a beautifully forested countryside to intense industrialisation within a couple of years. The tragedy is that in many cases, they welcomed the industry, believing the industry's stories of low impact, carefully managed risk and economic benefits.

Pennsylvania did not know what it was getting into, but it has found out the hard way. Water has been poisoned, air polluted, landscapes utterly transformed. The reason Pennsylvania did not know better was because the US government, lead by two oil and gas men — then-US President George Bush and then-US Vice President Dick Cheney—exempted the industry from environmental regulations. In particular, they allowed the industry to forego baseline testing.

So when communities started to notice symptoms of water and air pollution, the industry could claim that its activities were not responsible because there were no baselines to measure the impact of its activities against. To this day, the industry will claim that its activities do not pollute air and water, but this is pure Orwellian double-speak. People know their illnesses are the result of the industry, but cannot prove it because there are no baseline studies that would have incriminated the industry.

When I moved to Perth I thought I was escaping the tragedy of fracking. No one in their right minds would think of fracking in Western Australia, the driest part of the driest continent on Earth. Fracking is an insanely water-intensive operation, requiring about 90 Olympic-size swimming pools of water — about 30 million litres — per well, per frack.

Because of the spatial intensity of a commercial fracking operation, you need thousands of wells and you need to frack them repeatedly. None of that water can be returned to the water cycle because it is highly toxic, so you are talking about the permanent removal of millions of litres of fresh drinking water from WA's supplies.

Fracking in WA

Unfortunately, I quickly discovered that the oil and gas industry plans to develop huge sections of the mid-west, the south-west, and the Kimberley. Much of this land is highly productive agricultural land or very sensitive natural heritage, home by a factor of ten to a greater diversity of plant species than all of North America — and some of the most beautiful landscape that I have ever seen.

Various gas companies have now been granted exploration permits for all of these areas. As I saw in Pennsylvania, once a company gets its exploration permit, full exploitation is almost inevitable. It is not going to spend millions of its shareholders' dollars to explore and not give them a return on investment. The industry is poised for full mobilisation, even as their spin doctors downplay the inevitable for the public.

By some estimates, there will need to be 100,000 wells to fully extract WA's gas reserves. With those wells come massive increases in roads and traffic, pipelines, compressor stations, and the rest of the infrastructure. This represents the industrialisation of WA's rural and farming areas, as well as the increased drawdown of water from aquifers.

The aquifers are already 25–30% below normal levels. Perth has had to build two desalination plants — an extremely expensive admission that the region faces a severe, long-term water crisis. At least farming and recreational uses of water permit that water to return to the water cycle — fracking requires its permanent extraction.

The Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association claims WA is different from Pennsylvania, so the gas can be extracted without the problems experienced in the US. If WA were so different, then industry engineers would obviously use a different extraction process. WA has the same kind of rock — shale — and will use the same process — fracking. If anything, the differences in WA's geology should be cause for more concern — the fragility of its landscapes, the vulnerability of its aquifers, and its complex seismic fault-lines are reasons to be more cautious.

I have heard various politicians claim that WA has world class regulations that will make fracking safe. I have read WA's regulations—they are publicly available on the Department of Mines and Petroleum's (DMP) website.

They are just as bad as Pennsylvania's. They allow industry to regulate itself and they give the DMP the responsibility for regulatory oversight. This is the same department that recruits the industry to develop the gas and increases its revenue by granting licences. There will be no reason to deny a license anyway because the industry will be writing the environmental impact report that will give department regulators the cover they need to take any risks necessary.

These regulations are just window dressing to make the industry look good. If the WA government was really serious about protecting its citizens and land, it would create an independent regulatory agency and mandate independent environmental assessment for every well.

WA would also institute transparency, prohibit known toxins from the fracking fluid, and implement significant fines for violations. This is what WA's own 2015 Parliamentary Inquiry into Fracking recommended, but which the Department has refused to adopt.

Neither the inquiry nor the CSIRO give unqualified support for fracking; nor do they claim that it is safe. The reports actually say that fracking can be done safely with extensive regulatory reform and rigorous adherence to best practices. But the industry, with government blessing, has been allowed to use cheaper alternatives. Government regulations allow economics to determine what the industry does, not the safety of citizens or the protection of land and water.

Many reputable studies show that fracking can never be done safely no matter what practices are used. Up to 50% of wells leak after 15 years, and about 5% leak immediately. The technological challenge of fracking means that very slight deviations from perfection cause leaks.

That technological challenge ripples through the whole industry, from well head to end-user. The Porter Ranch pipeline leak in California caused the worst natural gas disaster in history. There is no way to guarantee that wells and pipelines will not leak; it is a risk that governments and industry assure us can be mitigated. Evidence proves that this faith in industry perfection is a mistake.

If WA goes ahead with its plans to frack huge sections of its farm land and natural heritage, it will have a similar outcome to Pennsylvania's: industrialisation of the rural landscape, poisoned water, polluted air, temporary jobs that disappear after the first phase, and the collapse of the whole industry after less than a decade.

Short-lived industry

Where will this gas go? Will it give WA residents lower energy bills? Absolutely not: all the gas will go to offshore Liquid Natural Gas plants, like the one Chevron is building near Port Headland, where it will be shipped to fuel China's and India's economies.

WA's irreplaceable natural heritage and its locally sustainable agriculture and tourism industries will be destroyed so that multinationals like Chevron can make a quick profit. And then, like all resource-dependent economies, WA's unconventional gas will go bust, leaving WA holding the bag.

I see this as an imminent threat to everything I have come to love about WA, so I joined No Fracking WAy, a grassroots organisation dedicated to educating Perth about fracking. It is a group that has been in existence for about four years and has made a lot of progress in raising awareness.

We have partnered with Lock the Gate, Frack Free Future, The Wilderness Society and 350.org to make fracking an election issue. Where a politician stands on fracking is a good indication of where he or she stands generally: pro-fracking is a clear indication that the politician puts industry first; anti-fracking means that the politician probably has a conscience and will put citizens first.

Politicians interested in helping WA develop its energy economy would support development of its extraordinary solar and wind resources instead of gas.

It would be good to develop some international exchange between activists in Pennsylvania and WA. Pennsylvania could use some of the Australian pragmatism and direct, no-nonsense approach to injustice and obvious facts. WA could use some of the knowledge that Pennsylvanian activists have collected to help debunk industry and government claims.

The parallels between what industry said to Pennsylvania and what it is saying to WA are striking. The difference is that the people of WA have an opportunity to learn from what happened in Pennsylvania and lock the industry out before it can get a foothold.

[This article by Drew Hubbell was first published in Green Left Weekly June 18, 2016.]

Monday, June 20, 2016

Refugee rights and marriage equality rallies on Saturday

Two important rallies will be on tomorrow (Saturday) for Refugee Rights and Marriage Equality. Unfortunately, the two rallies clash even though both are worth supporting. Details for both are below:

Freo Safe Harbour Refugee Rally and Walk—A 2016 World Refugee Week event

Saturday 25 June

12 PM — Event start at Pioneer Reserve (next to Freo Train Station)

12:15 PM — Welcome to Country and speakers

1 PM — Walk

A rally to establish Fremantle with pride as a place of safety for asylum seekers and refugees, and a walk through the heart of Freo in solidarity.

Attend on Facebook: www.facebook.com/events/1587610568216385

Rally for Marriage Equality (Perth)

With the federal election fast approaching, join Equal Love in this national protest to ensure that marriage equality and LGBTI rights remain a hot topic and election issue.

DATE: Saturday June 25
TIME: 1pm
PLACE: Murray St Mall

Attend on Facebook: www.facebook.com/events/268162726858591

Labor's proposed budget cuts ought to be slammed

The Labor Party announced a series of “savings” measures on June 10, including $1 billion worth of Abbott/Turnbull cuts that had previously been blocked in the Senate.

It has tried to make the attacks appear palatable by claiming they are directed at higher income families. However the truth is they reaffirm that a future Labor government's direction will be more about cutting government spending than raising revenue from the big end of town.

Further, they will have bigger impacts on ordinary workers than appears evident at first glance.

The highest profile cut is the proposed abolition of the Family Tax Benefit (FTB) Part A supplement to families earning over $100,000 per year. They claim this will save the government $500 million over the four years of forward estimates and over $2 billion in ten years.

The Supplement to FTB Part A is for an annual bonus of up to $726 which may not seem much to someone on $100,000. However it is important to remember that this is family income that is being measured. That is a couple who each earn $50,000 — hardly extravagant wages — would be affected by this policy.

Of greater concern is that this cut will not be indexed so over time it will affect increasing numbers of workers.

Labor is also planning to save $2.3 billion by continuing the Coalition's freezing of payment thresholds for private health insurance rebates. The community as a whole would be better off if all the money currently spent on subsidising private health insurance were redirected straight into the public health system.

However, after significant government campaigns to pressure people into taking out private health insurance, to cut the rebate paid is another slug on ordinary workers.

There are also a number of Abbott/Turnbull cuts — that Labor said “will never pass the parliament” — that Labor is now planning to implement. One of these is the change to the higher education indexation program. This will mean that graduates will have to start paying back student debt sooner: another slug on ordinary workers.

And there is no talk from Labor about reversing the cuts in former Prime Minister Tony Abbott's 2014 horror budget — which Labor and Greens voted for in large measure when they passed the supply bills. These included cuts to the ABC and SBS, the CSIRO and Aboriginal services.

Instead of slugging ordinary working families for hundreds of millions of dollars, Socialist Alliance says tax the super-rich. Returning to the 49% corporate tax rate of the 1980s and taking steps to close the loopholes that allow the multi-millionaires and billionaires to hide their taxable wealth in tax havens would net far more for the budget. These measures would be of significant benefit to the majority, creating jobs and fighting climate change.

The Socialist Alliance is for measures that will help more people. By taxing the corporations adequately, we could raise Centrelink payments to allow a decent standard of living, expand public housing to solve the housing crisis and fund free and accessible childcare. This is what pro-people policies look like.

In this election campaign, Labor has tacked to the left by promising some modest measures such as reform of negative gearing and criticising treasurer Scott Morrison's cuts to corporate tax, for instance.

However, the detail of the ALP's planned “savings” shows the party in its true colours. The policy direction they will implement in government is not so different from the Liberals.

It took mass protests — such as the March in March movement — to stall significant parts of Abbott's budget in 2014. Whichever capitalist party wins the July 2 election, we need to be prepared to protest again to defend our rights.

[This article by Socialist Alliance WA senate candidate Kamala Emanuel first appeared in Green Left Weekly. Photo from March in May protest in 2014.]

Thursday, June 16, 2016

How to vote Socialist Alliance in WA

The Socialist Alliance is recommending a vote in Fremantle with these preferences:

1 Chris Jenkins (Socialist Alliance)
2 Kate Davis (The Greens)
3 Josh Wilson (ALP)
4 Mick Connolly (Mature Australia)
5 Pierrette Kelly (Liberal)

In the senate, we suggest:

1 Group G: Socialist Alliance
2 Group J: The Greens
3 Group M: The Arts Party
4 Group O: Renewable Energy Party
5 Group S: Marijuana (HEMP) Party/Sex Party
6 Group N: Australian Cyclists Party
7 Group K: Animal Justice Party
8 Group D: Australian Labor Party

For National recommendations, check:

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Join the Socialist Alliance election campaign

It’s that exciting time of the year: join the Socialist Alliance election campaign!

Your contribution and participation in this election campaign is highly regarded. Help us spread the word: Another world is possible!

This is how you can support our campaign:
1) Volunteer for letter boxing. Initially, we are prioritising the Fremantle electorate; please contact Judith at 0406-225-179 or lyskten@yahoo.es. If you prefer to letter box in other areas, please contact Kamala on 0413 976 638 or kamala@greenleft.org.au).
2) Make a donation (big or small) at http://www.Socialist-Alliance.org/Perth
3) Volunteer now for polling day – Please contact Sam 0412-751-508 or use this online form.
4) Attend one or more of the events in the list below. Show your support to the candidates by spreading the word and letting your friends, family and people in your community about these events.
5) Have fun! Join the election party!! (Saturday 2 July 2016, from 6pm at 21a Jarvis St, O'Connor)

· Walyalup/Fremantle Branch meeting on Thursday 16 June 6pm, (phone Chris 0415 922 740 for details). We will be discussing election preferences and coordinating adventures campaign activities over a hot meal and drinks.

· Debate for the Federal Seat of Fremantle on Tuesday 21 June 5:45pm, The University of Notre Dame Australia, Tannock Hall of Education (ND4) Corner Cliff and Croke Streets, Fremantle. It will be good fun, come and support Chris. More info: here.

· Socialist Alliance election rally on Thursday 23 June, the Perth Activist Centre. This is THE opportunity for your friends, neighbours and family to meet those your support. Please share the Facebook event.

· Freo Safe Harbour Refugee Rally and Walk on Saturday 25 June at 12pm, at Pioneer Reserve, opposite the Fremantle train station. More info: here.

· Marriage Equality Rally on Saturday 25 June at 1pm Murray Street Mall.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Nurse for Fremantle

Socialist Alliance candidate Chris Jenkins has told the Fremantle Herald that his campaign is pushing for more companies to be brought into public ownership, increased social housing and campaigning against off shore processing of refugee claims.

The comments were reported in the May 14 issue.

“It’s not just that the indefinite detention and abuse of people who have sought our protection is an atrocious crime,” he told the paper, but that “Refugee-bashing and the anti-Muslim hysteria was cooked up in order to distract people from the corporate rorts.

“It is designed to spread racism, to confuse working people and get them fighting among themselves.

“If the union movement doesn’t stand up to this bullshit then it will pave the way for the emergence of violent anti-worker far-right outfits like we’ve seen in Europe.”

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Voices from Malaysia's left - Thurs 19 May

Public forum - all welcome

This forum will be a chance to hear from two leaders of Malaysia's preeminent Socialist Party (Parti Sosialis Malaysia - PSM).

Guest speakers:

Suresh Kumar

is an activist from Cameron Highlands in central Malaysia. He is a leader of the Malaysian Socialist Party (PSM) with a strong interest in environmental politics.

Soh Sook Hwa

is a respected human rights activist and winner of Freedom Film Festival award for her documentary film Kayuh. She is also a leader of the PSM.

6 for 6:30pm Thurs 19 May
Perth Activist Centre
15 / 5 Aberdeen St, Perth (next to McIver station)

Hosted by Socialist Alliance Ph 0413 976 638

Attend on Facebook:

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Socialist Alliance election launch

Socialist Alliance WA launched its election campaign launch on May 7 at a well-attended function at the Navy Club in Fremantle.

Socialist Alliance candidate for Fremantle, Chris Jenkins, told the crowd that "we believe a very different society is possible".

He outlined some of the key issues that the Socialist Alliance is taking into this campaign: "We want free education; we want free health care; we want a decent public transport system.

"We want an immediate transition towards 100% renewable energy.

"We want people to have access to decent public housing - housing is a right.

"We want to end all anti-worker and anti-union legislation and allow people to collectively organise and fight back for their rights.

"We want equal pay for women. We want equal marriage rights to be put immediately."

Jenkins addressed the issue of where the money will come from to pay for a socialist transition: "The question is where is that money going now. We already live in a society where the resources and material exist to have this transition made but it does exist in the bank accounts and in the hands of a very small number of corporations which are not accountable to the community."

"The only way we're going to see that change happen is when enough people - the majority of people - actively participate in reclaiming that wealth they they themselves have produced."

Socialist Alliance lead senate candidate Kamala Emanuel also addressed this theme. She said that if the four big banks were in public hands, that would give tremendous power of investment into the democratic hands of the people.

She pointed to the current campaigns of divestment from the big banks because of their irresponsible, profit driven climate polluting decisions. "Let's go a step beyond that," she said, "let's have that investment power in public hands, democratically run".

"Think what that could do for environmental repair."

She also highlighted Socialist Alliance's feminist politics and the need to end the gender pay gap. "We're very much in favour of pushing a vision of society where there is egalitarianism," she said.

Emanuel also paid tribute to the revolutionaries of Rojava who are paving the way for such a change.

Senate candidates Seamus Doherty and Farida Iqbal also spoke. Doherty spoke of the Alliance's commitment to justice and sovereignty for Aboriginal people and Iqbal spoke about the Alliance's campaign to support the Safe Schools Coalition and to win equal marriage rights.

The night also featured Chilean music and a message of solidarity with Chilean communities campaigning against the devastating ecological impact of industrial fish farming.

The video (above) was first published on Facebook

See also:

* Support the Socialist Alliance campaign

* Chris Jenkins: Why I'm running in the elections

* Socialist Alliance election platform

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Refugee rights vigil: No more dying for freedom

Refugee Rights Action Network organised a vigil to say: No More dying for freedom

"You don't save lives at sea by killing people on land"

#nomoredyingforfreedom #closethecamps #bringthemhere

Thursday, May 5, 2016

No more dying for freedom: Vigil Fri 6 May

Support this vigil for refugee rights:

6pm Friday 6 May
Perth Cultural Centre

Attend on Facebook:

[Information supplied by Refugee Rights Action Network.]

Join us in calling for an end to the killing of Australia's political prisoners.
We hold this vigil in memory of all those who have been brutalised, beaten and broken by the detention regime and call the government to account for brutal violence against people who have come to Australia in search of protection.

There should be no more deaths in our pacific black sites.
There should be no more temporary visas.
There should be no more anguish rendered invisible by the Australian government.
People who have sought asylum in Australia must have their protection claims assessed in Australia, the temporary protection visa regime must cease and refugees must be provided with permanent protection and resettlement.

Reza Barati was 23 years old.
He was brutally murdered on Manus Island.

Leo Seemanpillai was 29 years old.
He fatally self-immolated, fearing forced deportation to torture in Sri Lanka.

Hamid Kehazaei was 24 years old
He died after sustaining a treatable infection, he suffered medical neglect that proved fatal.

Omid Ali Avaz was 29 years old
He took his life, in the Australian community after living for year in limbo.

Raza was 25 years old.
He took his life, after suffering years of uncertainty on a bridging visa.

Mohammad Nasim Najafi was in his mid-20s.
He died under suspicious circumstances in the Yongah Hill Immigration Detention Centre.

Khodayar Amini was 29 years old.
He died by self-immolation in Dandenong, fearing redetainment by immigration authorities. Before his death he stated, "I ask you to stand up for the rights of refugees and stop people being killed just because they have become refugees. Humanity is not a slogan; every human has the right to live."

Reza Alizadeh was 26 years old.
He took his life in the Brisbane airport, in fear of redetainment.

Fazal Chegeni was 32 years old.
He died on Christmas Island under suspicious circumstances, his decline in mental health was well documented and known to the Department.

Rob Peihopa was 42 years old.
He died in the Villawood detention centre under suspicious circumstances.

Omid was 23 years old.
He fatally self-immolated on Nauru, before his death he stated ,
“This is how tired we are, this action will prove how exhausted we are. I cannot take it anymore.”

Nauru's political prisoners have asked "Who is next?"
We ask the government to put an end to the state violence.
Freedom should not be gained only in death.

Currently a 19 year old woman Somali woman named Hodan is in critical condition is a Brisbane hospital after self-immolating on Monday night.

We will gather on Friday to remember all those named and unnamed, known and unknown who have been beaten, raped, abused and killed by Australia's immigration system.

Please join us.

#stopthekillingsinourblacksites #nomoredyingforfreedom

Monday, May 2, 2016

Sam Wainwright on the budget we need: "National Security" versus national security

Remember last year when federal Treasurer Scott Morrison, picking up where Joe Hockey left off, declared that we had a spending problem not a revenue problem? That seems like a long time ago now.

They did try to increase revenues by floating an increase in the GST but soon after came the revelation that 600 of Australia's biggest companies paid no tax and hundreds more pay less that the 30% they could be paying. This is all the more galling when you consider that the rate has been cut from the 48% it had been in the early 1980s. And then came the Panama Papers!

Since then not a day has gone by without discussion about measures that might inch us a little closer to getting the corporate rich to pay a bit more tax — by removing negative gearing, introducing a "Buffet Rule" to raise $2.5 billion via a 35 cent in the dollar for incomes over $300,000 a year, scrapping the generous superannuation tax deductions benefiting high income earners and more.

All these measures would be welcome, but Morrison was right, we do have a spending problem. Not because we're spending too much, but because we're spending it on the wrong things.

Witness the eye-watering $50 billion to be spent on 12 submarines, out-stripping the $17.8 billion for the Joint Strike Fighter jets. This is the biggest defence purchase in Australia's history, but like nearly all military spending there is next to no debate.

Sure there is the suggestion that the jets are duds and criticism that we could have got the subs cheaper if we bought them complete rather that assembling them here. But there is no debate about whether we need them at all. Wave the wand of "national security" and it is off-limits to criticism. Even Greens leader Richard Di Natale gave his support for this huge commitment.

Already we're spending about $500 million a year on the intervention in Iraq, adding to the $4 billion we've already contributed to an invasion that cost the USA $2 trillion.

What have we got for that great investment? Well it turns out that contributing to the needless death of nearly a million people and shattering an entire society has created the breeding ground for the murderous Islamic State.

Somehow a repeat dose of Western democracy delivered via killer drones and bombing missions is meant to fix the problem.

What about the invasion and occupation of Afghanistan? Back in 2001 the Taliban offered to hand Osama bin Laden over but the offer was refused. But better to invade anyway because the Taliban are a bunch of dictatorial feudal gangsters, who we've replaced with a different bunch of dictatorial feudal gangsters at a cost of about $7 billion.

Since World War II Australia's overseas military actions have been primarily offensive and not defensive and the submarines have the same purpose.

Some feel compelled to support the submarine deal because of the manufacturing jobs it will create. Just think how many more jobs we could create with $50 billion to tackle global warming which really is the most serious national security threat of them all.

If we're to spend billions on buying cutting edge French technology very fast trains would be a better idea. With a fraction of that $50 billion we could develop centres for engineering excellence in renewable energy technologies in economically depressed areas and coal mining communities.

We have a revenue problem and a spending problem. Our budget does not just need a bit of tinkering here and there, we need to throw it out and start again. From the bottom up we need a people's budget that puts communities, the environment and social support ahead of the corporate tax dodgers and corporate welfare. For the billions, not the billionaires!

[Sam Wainwright is a Socialist Alliance councillor on Fremantle Council. This article first appeared as an Our Common Cause in Green Left Weekly #1093.]

Cycling on footpaths legalised in Western Australia

Cycling on footpaths was made legal in WA last week and the government agreed to increase the number of dedicated bike paths after two cyclists were hit and killed by cars in Perth on the same day last month.

Previously only children under 12 were allowed to ride on footpaths but the new rules apply to all cyclists.

All other states now allow adults to ride on footpaths except Victoria and New South Wales, which restrict the right to children under 12 and accompanying adults.

Transport Minister Dean Nalder said the Cycling and Pedestrian Advisory Group found allowing cyclists of all ages on footpaths had safety benefits and very low risks to pedestrians.

But Greens MLC and transport spokesperson Lynn MacLaren commented on the change:

"Bike riders who opt to ride on footpaths under a relaxing of the rules by the Barnett Government must take extreme care around vulnerable pedestrians," she said.

"Bike riders should be able to occasionally use the footpath because our roads are still largely configured with just cars in mind – however it is not an ideal situation and what we urgently need are more cycle lanes and paths.

[This article first appeared in Green Left Weekly #1093. Photo by Alex Bainbridge from a Critical Mass bike ride in 2009.]

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Successful start to ecosocialist tour

Fifty people attended a forum addressed by Canadian ecosocialist Ian Angus on April 30 in Perth.

Angus is in Australia as a featured speaker at the Socialism for the 21st Century conference in Sydney May 13-15. He is also on a speaking tour around the country in the two weeks preceding the conference.

His talk on the Climate War and the Billionaire Class was very well received and was followed by a lively discussion which canvassed issues including the Paris climate accords, the methods of winning support of workers in extractive industries and strategies for social change.

Other events in Ian Angus' Australia tour include:

  • Adelaide - 6pm, Mon 2 May, Box Factory Community Centre
  • Hobart - 6:30pm, Wed 4 May, Hobart Activist Centre
  • Brisbane - 6:30pm, Fri 6 May, Brisbane Activist Centre
  • Cairns - 6pm, Sat 7 May, German Club
  • Parramatta - 6pm, Tues 10 May, Parramatta Activist Centre

  • Newcastle - Wed 11 May, Newcastle Resistance Centre
He will be talking at the conference at these sessions:
  • Friday May 13, 6:30pm: Book Launch forum and reception

    Facing the Anthropocene: Fossil Capitalism and the Crisis of the Earth System
  • Saturday, May 14, 12 noon: Panel Discussion

    After Paris, Building the Movement for Climate Justice
[This first appeared in Green Left Weekly online on 30 April 2016.]

Sunday, April 24, 2016

PHOTO ESSAY: Far right/ultraleft fail to derail Safe Schools rally

Save Safe Schools WA organised a protest in Perth on April 23. The Safe Schools program is an important anti-bullying program that began in 2010 in Victoria and has since been extended throughout the country. Many young people claim the program is responsible for saving their life.

The rally organising group is a new activist campaign that formed after the highly successful demonstration the month before.

The Turnbull government is attempting to inflict devastating attacks on Safe Schools by restricting its activities and threatening to cut its funding.

The rally (like the previous one) was a wonderful opportunity for young LGBTI people to explain why the Safe Schools program means so much to them.

Kai Schweitzer is the creator of the "Why I need Safe Schools" Facebook page. He told young people in crowd "there is nothing wrong with you".

"To all the parents who have queer kids, there is nothing wrong with your children. We should all be free to go to school and get an education without constant fear of harassment and that goes for the teachers too who work in schools and should be able to teach in freedom."

This rally was complicated, however, by a counter protest by far right Reclaim Australia. They disingenuously claimed to "support the LGBT community" but that they "draw a line when it comes to children and pushing these views at such a young age" despite the fact that this is a blatant misrepresentation of the very popular Safe Schools program.

Socialist Alternative reacted to the counter demonstration by leading a split in the rally but most people stayed focused on defending Safe Schools.

Greens senator Scott Ludlam won a mighty cheer when he called on people to make a noise to drown out the "six, angry, pointless men" in the far right counter demonstration.

"I'm a little bit pissed off that we even have to turn up to explain the concept of Safe Schools," he told the rally. "I would have thought that was a really simple concept for people to understand."

He finished with a big message of thanks and congratulations to the organising team for getting a "big, colourful, bright demonstration" together.

State opposition education spokesperson Sue Ellery confirmed that "if the federal government does withdraw funds from Safe School, [a future Labor state government] will fund Safe Schools so that those schools who choose to participate can".

Responding to the counter protest, she said "people who use our nation's name motivated by hate do not speak for the majority of Australians".

"I support the Safe Schools program because it works," she said. "School leaders, principals, teachers and students have told me that this program saves lives."

Midway through the speeches, a march took place through the city.

More photos from the rally:

[Photos and article by Alex Bainbridge. This first appeared in Green Left online on April 24.]