Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Understanding the Russian Revolution

Socialist Alliance and Resistance meeting

This presentation will outline the events in Russia 1917, what were their causes and what are the lessons and significance for today.

Presented by:
Rob McKenzie

6:30pm Wed 6 June

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

Growing Change screening in Hilton

Growing Change: a journey inside Venezuela's Food Revolution is a documentary that looks at one of the most exciting experiments in the world to grow a fair and sustainable food system.

This film will be screened in Hilton on:

Saturday 9 June

3pm at the Hilton Community Centre, Paget St.

Entry by donation.

Organised by Socialist Alliance

0412 751 508 or fremantle [at]

DOWNLOAD: A4 poster (PDF)

DOWNLOAD: A6 flyers (PDF)

Video preview

What boom? Training for youth and dignity for migrant workers, not visa rorts

GREEN LEFT TV: 457 visas and migration
[The following article was submitted by Fremantle councillor and Socialist Alliance member Sam Wainwright to the Fremantle Herald and is also published on Sam's Freo Report.]

Who really runs this country? The announcement by the federal government that it has struck its first Enterprise Migration Agreement with the world's richest woman Gina Rinehart reveals just how eager our governments are to serve the mining millionaires.

Youth unemployment in Kwinana is at 26.4%. So why a skills shortage?

Governments have stripped training schemes, removed apprentice ratios from awards, kept trainee wages pitifully low, not made apprenticeships a condition of government contracts and privatised institutions like Telstra and the railway workshops that used to provide tradespeople for the whole economy.

The two big stevedoring companies in Fremantle haven't put on a single apprentice for over two decades.

The big multinationals all want skilled workers, but none want to pay for it. Their solution? Poach them from small business or bring in "guest workers".

These workers are over a barrel because they depend on the employer for their visa. There are plenty of examples of some being subject to terrible exploitation.

Of course even if we make big business pay its way, restore apprentice ratios and match the people with the jobs; the massive expansion in both the mining and offshore oil and gas industries will still need workers from both interstate and overseas.

Let's welcome them, Australia was built by migrants. But there should be no category of second-class worker who can be thrown out when the boss doesn't want them any more.

The migrants who made Australia home after the Second World War were given permanent residency with full citizenship rights. They became a vital part of our society. That's how it should be today.

As long as a "guest worker" system exists, bosses will use it to push down everyone's conditions. Gillard must scrap it.

Meanwhile Allseas, a contractor to Chevron on the Gorgon project, is bringing in workers on tourist visas and employing them on third world wages.

Allseas contends that in waters excised from the Migration Zone in 2001, Australian labour law does not apply to vessels servicing the offshore oil and gas industry. On May 18 the Federal Court agreed.

So under under international law the resources belong to Australia, yet Australian labour law does not apply. Mining bosses' heaven!

The MUA is fighting this tooth and nail. If generalised it would wipe out the Australian seafarer.

Howard's anti-refugee hysteria, his “weapon of mass distraction”; is being used to directly attack our seafarers' existence. The federal government must be made to tear up this poisonous legacy too.

In 2010 the mining companies boasted about rolling Kevin Rudd and the Resource Super Profit Tax. The watered down Mineral and Petroleum Resource Rent Tax may generate even less revenue in a downturn .

It's all a far cry from Norway whose state-owned oil company takes a 50% stake in every project and then imposes a 90% tax on the profits of the private partner, or Venezuela and Boliva that just nationalised their oil and gas industries outright.

Thanks to Barnett's cut-backs the Disability Services Commission is planning to abolish the positions of 34 Community Social Trainers who help adults with disabilities perform daily tasks.

Many are already missing out on this so-called boom, and we're going backwards. It really is time to share the wealth. Our wealth, not Gina's. That's not the “politics of envy”, it's the politics of social justice.

Sam Wainwright is a Fremantle City Councillor, former wharfie and MUA member, disability support worker and Convenor of the Walyalup-Fremantle branch of Socialist Alliance

Victorious free speech speak-out

Perth City rangers were conspicuously absent as more than sixty people spoke freely in the Murray Street Mall on May 26. This speak-out was the first action called by new group Defend Free Speech Perth in response to a recent pattern of rangers harassing activist events.

Organisations represented among the people to speak included: the Nyoongar Tent Embassy, the Maritime Union of Australia and the United Motorcycle Council of WA.

The speak-out concluded with a unanimous agreement to return to Murray Street Mall on Saturday 9 June 2012 at 1pm. This also would also help pave the way towards the major Free Speech Festival planned for July 7.

Sign the open letter to show your support for Free Speech in Perth.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Bring Julian Home - no extradition to the US

The UK Supreme Court is due to release its decision about Julian Assange on the evening of Wed 30 May (Perth time).
This triggers the solidarity protest (or alternatively celebratory action) in Perth on Thurs 31 May:

5:30pm Thurs 31 May
Murray Street Mall, Perth

Attend on Facebook:

More info from Green Left Weekly. Global list of actions: here.

This graphic has been amended from artwork supplied to DefendWikiLeaksPerth by

Ph Chris 0415 922 740 or Kate 0468 375 321 for more info.

DOWNLOAD A6 flyers or A4 PDF

No 457 visas - full rights for migrants

Full rights for migrant workers - not "guest labour" exploitation
Workers on temporary visas are over a barrel because they depend on the boss for their residency. The problem is not migrant workers, but the rotten 457 system and other visa rorts the employers get up to. Of course Australia was built by migrants, and the expansion in both the mining and offshore oil and gas industries is going to need workers from both interstate and overseas.

But the migrants who made Australia home after the Second World War were given permanent residency with full citizenship rights. Many of them became valuable members of the union movement. That's how it should be today. As long as a temporary visa or "guest worker" system exists, bosses will use it to push down everyone's conditions. The Gillard government must scrap it.

Our unions need to join and organise 457 visa workers so the union can give them a voice. These workers are treated as second class citizens which undermines wages and conditions of all workers. If they are on union agreements and the same rates and conditions as the rest of the industry, then the bosses 'divide-and-rule' tactic is neutralised.

Guarantees on local content AND social objectives
We need a government policy that requires locally produced infrastructure for the mining and offshore projects. But by itself this would not stop contracts from going to the lowest-paying, most anti-union Australian employers.

In return for local content guarantees, the manufacturers that benefit must sign up to important social commitments. These could include union negotiated agreements, apprenticeship ratios, industry rates for 457 visa workers and employment for indigenous people. The agreements between the AMWU-ETU-MUA and a number of Aboriginal communities around the country to secure real training and jobs for young indigenous people are an example of this.

[The text above is from the WA Socialist Alliance May Day statement which can be downloaded in full from here.]

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

West TV on anti-association laws

May 20, 2012 Undercurrent episode on the anti-association laws.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Women's rights today

This forum will be introduced by a panel of speakers taking up different issues relating to women's rights today.

Guest speakers:
Bec Copestake (Prostitution legislation)
Kamala Emanuel (Reproductive rights)
Zoë Bush (Rape culture on campus)
Sanna Andrew (Equal pay victory)

All welcome

6:30pm Wed 30 May

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

Hosted by Socialist Alliance and Resistance.

Ph 9218 9608, 0413 976 638.

Capitalism, democracy and revolution

The free speech campaign and the anti-association laws raise the question: how much democracy do we really have?

This meeting will canvass: Where do democratic rights come from? How can they be maintained? What is the relationship between capitalism and democracy? Will socialist democracy be superior?

Guest speaker:
Alex Bainbridge
Perth Socialist Alliance convenor

6:30pm Wed 23 May

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

Hosted by Socialist Alliance and Resistance

Speak out for free speech

Help win free speech in Perth by participating in this speak-out for free speech:

1pm Sat 26 May
Murray St Mall
Perth City

Organised by Defend Free Speech Perth

This event will help to promote the Free Speech Festival on 7 July 2012.

Ph Alex 0413 976 639 or Jess 0416 160 605 for more info.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Resistance Conference 2012

Featuring guest speakers from Australia and around the world – from the UK, Middle East, New Zealand and the Asia Pacific Region.  Keep an eye on the website and facebook for speaker and program updates.

With the Arab Spring in the Middle East, anti-austerity protests across Europe and the Occupy movement in the US and beyond, 2011 was a year where the people of the world dramatically stood up to take centre stage in world politics. 

2012 is a year where these processes are still in motion. Globally the richest 1% continue to build their wealth - while poverty goes unchallenged. If this makes you angry, come along to the Resistance Conference and help make 2012 a time of revolution!

Arrange your travel and time off work early so you don't miss it!

The conference agenda will include panel presentations and workshops on a wide range of the urgent issues confronting humanity today, including:

·  Ecosocialism and the Climate Emergency
·  Justice for Indigenous people
·  People Power Movements around the world
·  Refugees and Racism
·  Socialism of the 21st century and the revolutions in Latin America
·  Anti-war, Anti-imperialism and Democratic Rights
·  Campaigning for Women’s and Queer Rights
·  Young Workers and the Labour Movement

Alongside the three days’ discussion of ideas to change the world, the conference delegates will vote on plans for Resistance’s practical campaigning in 2012 – Join Resistance to get involved!  


Register to attend on the website now:
Join the Resistance Facebook page
For more info, contact Gemma: 0437 714 786 or

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Green Left dinner a major success

Over 100 people packed out the Maritime Union Hall on May 12 for Green Left Weekly's annual May Day celebration.

Activists from a range of campaigns and Green Left subscribers came together to toast the paper and celebrate the successes of the progressive movement.

WA activists to give greetings included: Christy Cain (Maritime Union secretary), Soon Yee Yap (Berishkan Malaysia), Alfia Blond (No Fracking WAy) and Amy Flee (Forest Rescue).

The newly formed Free Speech campaign in Perth was promoted on the night as was the campaign to get Socialist Alliance registered to contest WA elections with our name on the ballot.

Over $3000 was raised for Green Left Weekly on the night.

Credit is due to Jenny, Justine and Janet for the highly praised cuisine on the night.

Photos by Desire Mallet

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Open letter to Perth City Council

[The following open letter is being distributed by the newly formed Defend Free Speech Perth. Ph 9218 9608 if you or your organisation are able to endorse this letter.]

To Lisa Scaffidi and members of the Perth City Council,

We, the undersigned, note with concern that there is an emerging pattern of City of Perth local laws being used to curtail free speech rights in Perth.

Some recent examples of interference by City of Perth rangers include:
  • the seizure of a sign advertising the CHOGM Protest (21 September 2011)
  • the moving on of Occupy Perth (November 2011)
  • attempts to disrupt the speak-out for Bradley Manning (17 December 2011)
  • attempts to shut down the Nyoongar Tent Embassy (numerous times, including 22 March 2012)
  • the harassment of a refugee rights speak-out (23 March 2012 and at least one other occasion)
  • the attempt to disperse the rally against unconventional gas "fracking" and seizure of materials including placards and signed petitions (21 April 2012)

Every one of these actions represents a legitimate expression of a political point of view. Attempts by City rangers to prohibit or disrupt these actions have been overbearing and draconian – they are also attempts by the City of Perth to curtail or prohibit free speech.

In our view, there can be no excuse for local government authorities to use (or misuse) local laws in ways that violate the right to free speech.

Yet, we note with concern that the City of Perth "Signs Local Law 2005" explicitly prohibits the "display [of] a hand held sign on ... a public place [without approval]" (Section 4.5). That this local law has been used against people in a protest situation is unambiguous confirmation that the City of Perth must look at its own local laws and policies to ensure that democratic rights are not curtailed.

We assert that all people have the right to free expression that no government body can take away. These rights include:
  • the right to assemble and protest;
  • the right to hold up signs;
  • the right to set up stalls to collect signatures on petitions and distribute information; and
  • the right to put up posters to advertise community events.

People do not need the permission of local governments or other authorities to exercise these rights.

We call on the City of Perth to amend or rescind any and all local laws that interfere with these rights in any way.

Further, we call on the City of Perth to direct City rangers to take no action that interferes with the exercise of any of these rights.

[Sign the open letter here.]

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Equal Marriage Rights: Rally Sat 12 May; Seminar Sat 19 May

The campaign for Equal Marriage Rights is making major strides forward around the country.

Veteran gay rights campaigner Rodney Croome writing in the latest Green Left Weekly points out that public support for equal marriage rights is reaching new highs:

On April 13, the Senate marriage equality inquiry announced it had received 75,000 submissions with 44,000 or almost 60% in favour.

As if to confirm this wasn’t a fluke, figures for the House of Representatives inquiry were released ten days later: 277,000 survey forms were sent in with 177,000, or 64%, in favour.

To put this in perspective, the next largest parliamentary inquiry on any other issue was about the 1997 Northern Territory euthanasia bill. It received 12,500 submissions. The 2009 climate change inquiry received 8000 and the Sydney airport noise inquiry 5000.

It is worth reading the whole article for an inspiring and informative update on the campaign.

Most importantly though, people need to come along to the rally on this coming Saturday to support the campaign. Repeated mobilisations on the streets are the best way to ensure that this campaign can be driven home to victory.

Rally details:
1pm, Sat 12 May 2012
Stirling Gardens (also known frequently as "Supreme Court Gardens")
cnr Barrack St & St Georges Terrace, Perth City
Organised by Equal Love

(Also on Saturday: the rally will be preceded by an Occupy Perth action and later in the evening there will be the important Green Left Weekly May Day Celebration.)

Then, next week, Socialist Alliance and Resistance are hosting an education seminar on:

The Road to Rainbow Liberation
3pm, Sat 19 May
Perth Activist Centre
15/5 Aberdeen St, Perth (next to McIver station)

Guest speaker will be long time Equal Marriage rights campaigner Farida Iqbal.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Tamil Remembrance Day

Remembrance Ceremony for the 500,000 Tamils killed or missing by the genocidal Sri Lankan government.

6:30 - 8:30pm (open from 6pm)

Sat 19 May

Manning Hall, cnr Bradshaw Cres & Jarman Ave, Manning.

Organised by Australian Tamil Congress.

6:30pm Remembrance Ceremony

Australian National Anthem
Vizhakettal (Main Lamp)
Malar Anjali
Speech in Tamil (Mr Shanmuganathan)
Song (Mr. Raj)
Kavithai (Mrs. Subaththira Panchalingam)

7:15pm The Way Ahead, Sharing of Opinions

P.A. Subramaniam (President ATC WA)

Prof Rajeswaran (National Chairman ATC)
Hon Manickavasagar (Minister TGTE)
Samuel Wainwright (Socialist Alliance member of Fremantle Council)
Alison Xamon (Greens parliamentarian)

Vote of Thanks:
Elankumaran Aruliah

8:15pm Informal Get Together

(Traditional Finger Food on sale)

Green Left Annual May Day Celebration

DON'T MISS OUT: on the ever-popular Green Left Weekly May Day Celebration on this Saturday night! Again we are looking at a fun and packed out night, but tickets are still available. Please purchase your ticket today!

Sat 12 May 2012

MUA Building
2 Kwong Alley, North Fremantle

The evening begins with a cocktail and drinks hour. We have an extensive cocktails menu, wine, beer, and other drinks will be available for purchase.

Ticket includes a three course buffet dinner.

Vegetarians and vegans will also be catered for.

This event is to help raise money for the ongoing publication of the Green Left Weekly.

The price for tickets is $50 Solidarity Price, $30 Waged or $15 Concession.

Tickets can be purchased by:
* phone Justine 0452 635 252 or Alex 0413 976 638
* email your reservation to: wacontact [at] and transfer or deposit money to CBA account: Perth Activist Centre, BSB 066003 Account 1025 3459.

Please call 0452 635 252 for tickets or information.

Friday, May 4, 2012

March with Socialist Alliance at May Day

The annual May Day march is coming up on:

Sunday 6 May

11am gather at stall
12 noon - March begins

Fremantle Esplanade

After the rally, at 2:30pm there will be an initial meeting of a new campaign group: Defend Free Speech in Perth.

Also, don't forget the Green Left May Day celebration on Sat 12 May 2012

Protest: 20 years of mandatory detention

20 years of mandatory detention is 20 years too long

May 6 marks the 20th anniversary of Australia's shameful policy of indefinite mandatory detention. People fleeing war zones, persecution and torture are locked up indefinitely, in a system that has seen scores of suicides, countless acts of self-harm and plunged many into mental illness. Join with us to send a message to the Gillard government that we will not stand for their racist political agenda.

Rally for refugee rights

12 noon, Sat 5 May 2012

Perth Immigration Detention Centre
cnr Baker & McComb Roads (near Perth Domestic Airport)

For more info:

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

May Day greetings from the Socialist Alliance

Dear comrades and friends,
The Socialist Alliance in Australia sends warm comradely greetings for May Day 2012.

May Day this year takes place in tumultuous conditions: the multiple crises confronting global capitalism are deepening, while mass resistance to its brutal rule grows. Taken all together, the people’s uprisings across the Arab world, the mass demonstrations and strikes occurring in Europe, the Occupy actions in the United States and the ongoing efforts of Latin American revolutionaries to construct socialism of the 21st century pose a huge challenge to the capitalist system.

The capitalist class is desperately striving to force working people and the entire Third World to pay for the worldwide economic, social and ecological crises it has created, but the momentum towards change and the creation of a system that puts the needs of people and the environment before private profit cannot be easily stopped.

In Australia, the federal Labor Party government is itself in crisis, plagued by corruption and a growing backlash to its neoliberal economic policies and regressive social policies, which are benefitting the big corporations and the wealthy at the expense of the most disadvantaged. In Australia today, the disparities between rich and poor are widening at a rapid pace: for example, while more than 600,000 (official) unemployed people live on less than $35 a day, Australia’s Labor prime minister has just received a $2,192 a week pay rise.

Labor’s “Fair Work” laws continue to be used to undermine trade union action and workers’ rights, and the federal budget to be introduced this month will impose big spending cuts in public services. Meanwhile, in their efforts to keep working people divided and weaken resistance to their attacks, the capitalist media and political parties are fueling racism, continuing the outrageous attacks on Australia’s Indigenous people and imprisoning, vilifying and scapegoating so-called “illegal” refugees.

The Socialist Alliance is working hard in many national and local campaigns to defend and extend working people’s rights, end Australia’s involvement in imperialist wars, and to build solidarity with people’s struggles in other parts of the world. Over the last few weeks, our members have been centrally involved in organising, alongside a wide range of other groups and activists, a successful National Climate Summit, a national week of protests for asylum seeker rights, protests against police brutality and racism, and, on May 1, a 5000-strong rally against coal seam gas mining that united farmers, environmentalists and left activists.

At the May Day rallies and marches to be held around Australia later this week, the Socialist Alliance will be focusing on the demand for the right to strike. This is part of a new Right to Strike campaign launched this year by left trade unionists, including Alliance members.

The unrestricted right to strike has never been guaranteed under Australian law, and all Australian governments have sought to restrict it further. But as the global economic and environmental crises worsen, and as capital tries to force workers to pay for the crises by cutting the social wage and attacking living standards, the right to strike will be essential to defending our social services, and public health care, education and housing, and to fight off further privatisation. It will also be essential to ensuring a just transition to ecologically safe industries where workers’ rights are protected.

The Right to Strike campaign will be holding a National Planning and Action Symposium on May 14, the outcomes of which will be reported in Green Left Weekly.

At this year’s May Day actions, the Socialist Alliance will also be distributing our new draft document Towards a socialist Australia. This document was prompted by our assessment that, along with the need for all socialists to immerse themselves in the new wave of popular anti-capitalist struggles that have erupted, it is equally important that socialists take full advantage of the fact that the global capitalist economic and environmental crises have opened up a big public discussion about alternatives to capitalism to win many more people to socialist ideas and organisations.

The document aims to promote a wide discussion about socialism in the 21st century, and the Socialist Alliance is inviting other socialist and progressive groups and individuals to make their input over the next eight months, before a final draft of the document is voted on at our next national conference in January 2013. The document is available at:

The collaboration of socialists and other progressive activists and organisations within and between all countries is an ever more necessary response to the many crimes - and crises - of capitalist globalisation. Such cooperation and solidarity will be essential to make progress towards a society based on collective ownership, participatory democracy, social justice and ecological sustainability, and we look forward to continuing our collaboration with your organisation to that end.

Long live international working class solidarity!

Long live May Day!

Yours in solidarity and struggle,

Susan Price and Peter Boyle
National Co-conveners
Socialist Alliance (Australia)

Say "No" to undemocratic "anti-association" law

[This statement was issued by Socialist Alliance after our participation in a 30 April 2012 meeting organised by the United Motorcycle Council of WA in opposition to the government's proposed 'anti-association' laws.]

Tuesday 1 May 2012. For immediate release.

"There is no way to improve the anti-association laws currently before parliament, they must be rejected outright," said Socialist Alliance WA co-convenor, Alex Bainbridge today.

"Guilt by association has no place in a modern legal system but is exactly what the Barnett government is planning to bring in," he said.

"Most shameful of all, the ALP opposition is planning to support this legislation, even if they move a few amendments first. Labor should make a stand for democratic rights and reject this legislation outright," said Bainbridge.

"The fundamental problem with this legislation is that in punishes people who have committed no crime. That would be an injustice, no matter which sector of society were affected," he said.

"The government may be talking a lot about bikies now when they're trying to get this legislation passed - which itself is an unfair slight against motorcycle clubs - however, this legislation could be used against many other community groups including trade unions, social and environmental activists and others."

For further comment:

Alex Bainbridge: 0413 976 638

See also:
WA: Libs, Labor attack civil liberties