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.]