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latest news

Latin America
A new turn?

25/04/2015: Historic handshake between Barack Obama and Raúl Castro, turmoil in Venezuela, and stalled reforms in Bolivia – as well as crises in Brazil – symbolise a new turn in Latin America and the Caribbean

  Latin America

Finland
Worst ever election result for traditional Left

24/04/2015: Finns Party second biggest in parliament

  Finland

Iran
Proposed nuclear deal reflects transformed Middle East

24/04/2015: In aftermath of disastrous Iraq occupation, Obama administration balancing between region’s forces

  Iran, Middle East

Scotland
Labour face annihilation as millions seek an answer to austerity

23/04/2015: The SNP, according to the polls, will win 53 of Scotland’s 59 Westminster MPs

  Scotland

 Video
Paul Murphy speaking at anti-water charges demo in Dublin

23/04/2015: Socialist Partty (CWI) and Anti-Austerity Alliance TD speaks at march of tens of thosuands against water charges on April 18

  Ireland Republic, Video

 Video
Interview with Jawad Ahmed, famous Pakistani singer and activist

22/04/2015: Jawad Ahmed, Singer and central committee member of International Youth and Workers Movement (IYWM) from Pakistan spoke to CWI about the work of IYWM.

  Pakistan, Video

South Africa
Organise against xenophobia – a programme for our communities

21/04/2015: Build a country-wide socialist civic movement. Fight for jobs, houses and services for all

  Africa, South Africa

 Video
TUSC 100% anti-austerity election broadcast

20/04/2015: Broadcast goes out on all 5 national terrestrial channels

  Britain, Video

Britain
Labour - party of cuts

19/04/2015: Oppose the ’logic of capitalism’

  Britain

Tunisia
After the Bardo terrorist attack

18/04/2015: New class battles loom

  Tunisia

 Video
Paul Murphy attacks bosses’ victimisation of strikers

17/04/2015: Socialist Partty (CWI) and Anti-Austerity Alliance TD speaks in Irish Parliament

  Ireland Republic, Video

US
National day of strikes and protests for $15

17/04/2015: Snapshot of the movement – the fight for $15 in 7 major cities

  US

 Video
Kshama Sawant on Democracy Now

16/04/2015: Socialist Seattle councillor debates Hillary Clinton run for President

  US, Video

Ireland North
Hundreds protest against racist arson attack

15/04/2015: Build a united mass movement to challenge racism, sectarianism and all forms of bigotry

  Ireland North

Yemen
Brutal onslaught on country’s poor

15/04/2015: For unity of workers and poor against imperialism and sectarianism

  Yemen

Québec
A hot spring in the making?

14/04/2015: Students take strike action against austerity

  Quebec

China’s feminists
A victory for protests in China and worldwide

14/04/2015: Five women activists released in rare climb down by Beijing regime

  China

France
First one-day strike against austerity gets big response

13/04/2015: 300, 000 people marched on demonstrations across France on Thursday 9 April

  France

Australia
Budget - Who should pay for the economic crisis?

13/04/2015: Federal government preparing the ground for their second budget

  Australia

Britain
UKIP blame immigration for problems facing working class

12/04/2015: Workers’ unity to defend pay jobs and services

  Britain

Panama 2015 Trade Union and Social Alternative Summit

11/04/2015: For an end to imperialism and capitalism, long live socialist and revolutionary united solidarity in our Americas!

  Latin America

Kenya
The Garissa massacre, Al-Shabaab and US imperialism

10/04/2015: Growing regional destabilisation

  Kenya, US

US
40,000 Seattle workers get pay rise

08/04/2015: Coalition of students and workers demand $15 minimum wage at University of Washington

  US

Australia
Anti-racist protesters vastly outnumber ‘Reclaim Australia’ Melbourne rally

07/04/2015: Only ‘minority’ to blame for society’s problems is ultra-rich 1%

  Australia

Climate change
Looking for a cheap fix

06/04/2015: The cyclone that devastated the Pacific island of Vanuatu in March, the most severe ever recorded in the region, highlighted again the very likely connection between extreme weather events and global warming.

  Environment

Nigeria
Ruling party crumbles in historic election

05/04/2015: But only mass struggle can guarantee the interests of workers and poor masses under buhari’s presidency

  Nigeria

Scotland
Is the SNP: a threat to the political establishment?

04/04/2015: The SNP (Scottish National Party) looks set to win the majority of Scottish seats in the general election

  Scotland

Economy
What low oil prices cost the world economy

03/04/2015: The sudden plunge of oil and gas prices has underlined the volatility in the world capitalist economy

  World Economy

 Video
Paul Murphy speaks in support of striking workers

02/04/2015: Socialist MP challenges Labour Deputy Prime Minister in parliament

  Ireland Republic, Video

Scotland
Indefinite strike by Glasgow Council Homeless workers

01/04/2015: Workers treated unfairly by council for years

  Scotland

South Africa
Cosatu splits as ‘Vavi’ expelled

01/04/2015: Expulsion opens new chapter in working class struggle

  Africa, South Africa

Singapore
Former Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew dies

31/03/2015: Apologist for neo-liberalism and autocracy

  Singapore

France
Elections punish Valls and Hollande

31/03/2015: Department results show need for fightback against austerity and racism

  France

Australia

Northern Territory Intervention - 3 years of hell for Indigenous people

www.socialistworld.net, 07/10/2010
website of the committee for a workers' international, CWI

The horrific living conditions faced by many Indigenous people are a blight on Australian capitalism.

ByCorey Snoek, Socialist Party (CWI Australia)

This article shows that the Northern Territory intervention has not changed this reality. It argues that only a united anti-capitalist struggle of Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people can achieve the radical reforms necessary to improve basic living standards.

In the 19th century, the founder of socialism, Karl Marx, explained that: “It is in the direct and absolute interest of the English working class to get rid of their present connexion with Ireland. The English working class will never accomplish anything until it has got rid of Ireland…. The English reaction in England had its roots in the subjugation of Ireland.”

Similarly today the Socialist Party argues that the non-Aboriginal working class will be greatly strengthened by working with Indigenous people to end their oppression. Australian capitalism has its roots in the subjection of Indigenous people and the stolen land on which this nation was built.

It has now been 3 years since the Northern Territory Intervention was first implemented. Its effects on Indigenous communities in the Northern Territory have been devastating. A recent government assessment report of the NT intervention noted that: “health, child health care referrals are down… child malnutrition is up… On education, total enrolments and school attendance rates are marginally down”

“On law and order, alcohol, drug and substance abuse incidents are all up (p.32–33); domestic violence related incidents are up (p.33); and breaches of domestic violence orders are up (p.33) despite a far greater police presence… all categories are up except for sexual assault reports that are slightly down.”

The truth is that the Northern Territory Intervention was never intended to raise the living standards of Indigenous Australians. The policy first came into place in 2007 in the dying days of the Howard government. It had the full backing of the Labor Party. Emergency measures were implemented which banned alcohol and pornography in Indigenous communities, the police were armed with increased powers to arrest and detain individuals, welfare benefits were quarantined and in many places entire communities were forcefully evicted by the Government.

At one stage the military were mobilised to “police” these communities. As the policy singled out individuals according to their birth it also required the suspension of the Racial Discrimination Act.

The agenda of the Intervention has been simple. Mining, agribusiness and tourist corporations have long demanded unrestricted access to mineral-rich Aboriginal land. The Intervention facilitates this. On top of this the cuts to welfare and shutting down of small isolated communities will mean a steady supply of cheap labour for Australian big business.

To implement the policy Howard, with the backing of the Australian press, pushed a myth that paedophilia and child prostitution rings were rampant in Aboriginal communities. The fact of the matter is though that no evidence has been found of these claimed prostitution rings. There is nothing proving that paedophilia rates in poverty stricken Aboriginal communities are any higher than in poor white communities.

Conditions worsen

However there is evidence that child malnutrition rates have gotten worse in many Aboriginal communities because of the Intervention and primarily because of the welfare quarantining measures that have been introduced. School attendance for Aboriginal youth is down, sitting at 62%. Self harm is on the rise and child attendance at medical centres is dropping.

One key element of the intervention has been the introduction of the “basics card” for Indigenous welfare recipients. If you are Indigenous and on welfare you will most likely see 50% of your welfare payments quarantined. What this means is that you can only spend that 50% on basic goods such as food, clothing and medicine.

Furthermore, the basics cards can only be used at designated shops, such as Coles or Woolworths. Not only does this policy blame the poor for their own misfortune, but because the cards cannot be used in many small general stores, people have had to travel great distances to find a store that accepts the cards.

There are numerous horror stories that have spawned from this, people having to fork out excessive taxi fares just to buy groceries, others having to sleep overnight next to these stores in wait for a bus home. It has even been reported that 30% of the 3.8 million attempted transactions on the card have been unsuccessful.

Another significant cause for concern has been the acquisition of Indigenous land through the Intervention. From the outset the Howard Government said it would hold Aboriginal land for five years and then promote 99-year leases in an attempt to push “economic development” and private home ownership.

Resistance

While the Intervention has been devastating for Indigenous people there have been several examples of resistance. Apart from various protests being held in major cities, there has been a significant response to the Intervention from within Indigenous communities across the Northern Territory.

Possibly one of the most important to note has come from the Ampilatwatja community. There has been no new houses built in this area for the past 4-5 years, and before the Ampilatwatja community took action there was an average of 12-17 people living in each house.

The Ampilatwatja community was compulsorily “acquired” under the Government’s 5 year lease scheme. With local infrastructure in tatters, the Ampilatwatja people had hoped to at least get their share of funding for new infrastructure in return. One of the community’s 25 year old sewerage pipes had cracked and it was posing a serious risk to health. Community leaders continually called on the government to provide funding to fix the leak. Disappointingly no funding came through.

In response the Ampilatwatja people staged a walk off, setting up a new community outside of the area leased to the government. This new community now functions as a permanent protest camp against the policies of the Intervention. Elders from the community have conducted speaking tours around the country visiting universities and trade unions in most states.

Through union and community funding they raised over $20,000 for a water bore to be dug at their new camp. This will provide clean water to the community for the next 2 years. Furthermore, a delegation of trade unionists helped build a house for the community. The house was built in protest to the fact that not one new house has been built by the Government during the Intervention.

Labor steps up the attacks

Although Labor gave full support to the Intervention while in opposition, many people had hoped the election of the Rudd Labor Government in 2007 would see some of the measures scaled back or at least reassessed. Unfortunately what the past few years have shown is that Labor has actually stepped up Intervention.

For example the buy off and often compulsory seizure of Indigenous land has been extended under Labor. Within a year of coming to office 17 out of 18 Alice Springs Aboriginal camps had been handed over to the Government. Labor changed the terms of the leases so that they run for 40 years instead of 5 years as under Howard.

There were two major ways that the government gained access to the land. Firstly they withheld funds to these communities, saying that if the leases were not signed the communities would miss out on their share in $100 million worth of infrastructure funding. Worse still, if the communities refused to sign the leases the government threatened to compulsorily acquire the land. This happened to the Alice Springs town camp Ilpeye Ilpeye.

This land grab directly serves the interests of big business as under state ownership these communities are free for mining, tourism and big business interests to stake their claim. Under the legislation, while freehold title remains with traditional owners the Minister has the right of exclusive possession of the area. On top of this the government can lease and sublease the land without any monetary compensation being paid. Having taken possession, the Government can exclude anyone from the land, because the terms of leases are at the Minister’s discretion.

Welfare quarantining

Labor has also stepped up welfare quarantining. They have made it clear that they see the Northern Territory as a testing ground and at some stage they hope to extend the measures across the country.

When the Intervention was first introduced a key part of it was the suspension of the Racial Discrimination Act (RDA). Labor had pledged to reinstate the RDA but in doing this they did not scale back the Intervention. Instead they made welfare quarantining applicable to all people across the Northern Territory regardless of their race. The RDA has been now been reinstated but in Labor’s eyes this means that the poor of Australia are to be discriminated against equally - at least in terms of welfare anyway.

As welfare quarantining is extended across the NT, more and more people will be pushed onto the basics card. Welfare recipients classed as either long-term unemployed, disengaged youth or vulnerable will be restricted to spending half of their welfare payments on items such as food, medicine and clothes. This includes pensioners and single parents in “financial hardship”. There is even the ability for the Minister to extend welfare quarantining in any area across the country.

Big business interests

Around 75% of Australia’s uranium deposits are found in the NT. The mining giants along with tourism and agribusiness bosses have vested interests in more access to land.

Aboriginal communities who live on the land are obviously a barrier to access and increased profits. Therefore their aim is to move an estimated 10,000 people into settlements and townships. Driving people off the land not only allows for better access but it also means that pools of cheap labour are created in the settlements and townships.

As the ALP has openly stated, any new housing and infrastructure that is provided as part of the Intervention will be concentrated in “hub towns”. The intention is to close down 73 smaller communities and push Indigenous people into more industrial areas.

Recently a rally was staged by Gurrindji people who are complaining that they are already being pushed into work for the dole schemes with pay that is much less than the minimum wage. Some people are being forced to work 30 hours a week in the construction industry for wages as low as $4 per hour. Comparatively unskilled construction workers in Melbourne, Sydney or Perth earn upwards of $25 per hour.

This is just one example of government and employer attempts to use Indigenous people as a cheap supply of labour. This should be of concern to unions and to workers right across the country. If employers can get away with paying less to one section of the class they will be trying it on other sections very soon.

If we want to fight against this race to the bottom we need to build solidarity and links between Indigenous and non-Indigenous workers. There are many proud examples in Australian history of trade unions supporting Indigenous struggles. The labour movement needs to build on this tradition and campaign for an end to the Northern Territory Intervention. Undermining Australian capitalism and its treatment of Indigenous people strengthens the position for all workers.

Self-determination impossible under capitalism

On almost all fronts conditions are getting worse for Indigenous people in Australia. Aboriginal communities desperately need more funding and more control over their lives. Indigenous people, like all people should have the right to determine their own fate.

Unfortunately self-determination for Indigenous people is unachievable as long as the profit driven capitalist system continues. Capitalism sees Indigenous people as a barrier to accessing economically rich land. Once they are driven from their land they are seen as little more than a source of cheap labour.

That is why we need to link the fight against the Northern Territory Intervention to the fight to change society. We need a system that provides Indigenous people with both collective ownership and democratic control of their land. If this was the case a plan could be implemented to distribute wealth and resources to those most in need.

Socialists campaign for Indigenous rights, workers rights and for the protection of the environment. We fight for a socialist society where the main pillars of the economy are in public ownership and under democratic control. Only a socialist Australia would be capable of putting an end to abject poverty in Indigenous communities and fostering self determination for all.



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NEWS

Finland: Worst ever election result for traditional Left
24/04/2015, Jonas Brännberg and Juha Tapio for CWI in Finland:
Finns Party second biggest in parliament

Scotland: Labour face annihilation as millions seek an answer to austerity
23/04/2015, Philip Stott, Socialist Party Scotland (CWI in Scotland):
The SNP, according to the polls, will win 53 of Scotland’s 59 Westminster MPs

Video: Paul Murphy speaking at anti-water charges demo in Dublin
23/04/2015, Socialistworld.net:
Socialist Partty (CWI) and Anti-Austerity Alliance TD speaks at march of tens of thosuands against water charges on April 18

Video: Interview with Jawad Ahmed, famous Pakistani singer and activist
22/04/2015, socialistworld.net:
Jawad Ahmed, Singer and central committee member of International Youth and Workers Movement (IYWM) from Pakistan spoke to CWI about the work of IYWM.

South Africa: Organise against xenophobia – a programme for our communities
21/04/2015, Workers and Socialist Party (WASP) leaflet text:
Build a country-wide socialist civic movement. Fight for jobs, houses and services for all

Video: TUSC 100% anti-austerity election broadcast
20/04/2015, socialistworld.net:
Broadcast goes out on all 5 national terrestrial channels

Britain: Labour - party of cuts
19/04/2015, Editorial from The Socialist, paper of the Socialist Party (CWI in England & Wales):
Oppose the ’logic of capitalism’

Video: Paul Murphy attacks bosses’ victimisation of strikers
17/04/2015, Socialistworld.net:
Socialist Partty (CWI) and Anti-Austerity Alliance TD speaks in Irish Parliament

US: National day of strikes and protests for $15
17/04/2015, Socialist Alternative (CWI in US) reporters:
Snapshot of the movement – the fight for $15 in 7 major cities

Video: Kshama Sawant on Democracy Now
16/04/2015, socialistworld.net:
Socialist Seattle councillor debates Hillary Clinton run for President

Ireland North: Hundreds protest against racist arson attack
15/04/2015, Daniel Waldron, Socialist Party (CWI), Belfast:
Build a united mass movement to challenge racism, sectarianism and all forms of bigotry

Québec: A hot spring in the making?
14/04/2015, Deirdre Grégoire, Alternative Socialiste (CWI in Quebec):
Students take strike action against austerity

China’s feminists: A victory for protests in China and worldwide
14/04/2015, chinaworker.info reporters:
Five women activists released in rare climb down by Beijing regime

France: First one-day strike against austerity gets big response
13/04/2015, Report from website of Gauche Revolutionnaire (CWI in France):
300, 000 people marched on demonstrations across France on Thursday 9 April

Australia: Budget - Who should pay for the economic crisis?
13/04/2015, Socialist Party (CWI in Australia) editorial:
Federal government preparing the ground for their second budget

Britain: UKIP blame immigration for problems facing working class
12/04/2015, Editorial of The Socialist (issue 851), weekly paper of the Socialist Party (CWI England & Wales):
Workers’ unity to defend pay jobs and services

Panama 2015 Trade Union and Social Alternative Summit
11/04/2015, The Committee for a Worker’s International, via its Venezuelan Section Socialismo Revolucionario, greets the Panama 2015 Trade Union and Social Alternative Summit.:
For an end to imperialism and capitalism, long live socialist and revolutionary united solidarity in our Americas!

Kenya: The Garissa massacre, Al-Shabaab and US imperialism
10/04/2015, Shaun Arendse, CWI South Africa:
Growing regional destabilisation

US: 40,000 Seattle workers get pay rise
08/04/2015, Kailyn Nicholson, republished from 15Now.org:
Coalition of students and workers demand $15 minimum wage at University of Washington

Scotland: Dundee porters and Glasgow council workers on indefinite strike
08/04/2015, Socialist Party Scotland (CWI) Reporters:
Build solidarity now!

Australia: Anti-racist protesters vastly outnumber ‘Reclaim Australia’ Melbourne rally
07/04/2015, Socialist Party (CWI Australia) Reporters:
Only ‘minority’ to blame for society’s problems is ultra-rich 1%

Climate change: Looking for a cheap fix
06/04/2015, Pete Dickenson, article from Socialism Today, magazine of the Socialist Party (CWI in England & Wales):
The cyclone that devastated the Pacific island of Vanuatu in March, the most severe ever recorded in the region, highlighted again the very likely connection between extreme weather events and global warming.

Nigeria: Ruling party crumbles in historic election
05/04/2015, By National Executive Committee Democratic Socialist Movement (DSM – CWI in Nigeria):
But only mass struggle can guarantee the interests of workers and poor masses under buhari’s presidency

Scotland: Is the SNP: a threat to the political establishment?
04/04/2015, Philip Stott, Socialist Party Scotland (CWI):
The SNP (Scottish National Party) looks set to win the majority of Scottish seats in the general election

Video: Paul Murphy speaks in support of striking workers
02/04/2015, socialistworld.net:
Socialist MP challenges Labour Deputy Prime Minister in parliament

Australia: Counter-protests set for ’Reclaim Australia’ rallies
02/04/2015, Mel Gregson, from The Socialist (monthly magazine of the Socialist Party - CWI Australia):
Stand against racism & Islamophobia!

CWI Comment and Analysis

ANALYSIS

Latin America: A new turn?
25/04/2015, Tony Saunois, article from May issue of Socialism Today, magazine of the Socialist Party (CWI in England & Wales):
Historic handshake between Barack Obama and Raúl Castro, turmoil in Venezuela, and stalled reforms in Bolivia – as well as crises in Brazil – symbolise a new turn in Latin America and the Caribbean

Iran: Proposed nuclear deal reflects transformed Middle East
24/04/2015, Robert Bechert, CWI:
In aftermath of disastrous Iraq occupation, Obama administration balancing between region’s forces

Tunisia: After the Bardo terrorist attack
18/04/2015, Serge Jordan:
New class battles loom

Yemen: Brutal onslaught on country’s poor
15/04/2015, Judy Beishon, from The Socialist (weekly paper of the CWI England & Wales):
For unity of workers and poor against imperialism and sectarianism

Economy: What low oil prices cost the world economy
03/04/2015, Lynn Walsh, article from Socialism Today, magazine of the Socialist Party (CWI in England & Wales):
The sudden plunge of oil and gas prices has underlined the volatility in the world capitalist economy

Israel: Netanyahu mobilises far right to win election
25/03/2015, Yasha Marmer, Socialist Struggle Movement, Israel-Palestine:
New coalition will face unresolved crises and bitter struggles

Italy: The instability of domestic capitalism
24/03/2015, Marco Veruggio, ControCorrente (CWI Italy):
Political vacuum pushes FIOM to take initiative

Greece: Varoufakis’ “erratic Marxism” is not the answer
23/03/2015, Peter Taaffe, from Socialism Today (monthly magazine of the Socialist Party, England & Wales):
Necessary to clarify ideas upon which successful struggles of European working class will be conducted

Belgium: No agreement reached between unions and government over austerity
20/03/2015, Eric Byl, LSP/PSL (Belgian section of the CWI), Brussels:
New action plan against right wing government takes off

Ukraine: Conflict unresolved after ’Minsk-2’ agreement
18/03/2015, Rob Jones, CWI, Moscow:
Only independent working-class mass movement can remove the region’s authoritarian rulers

Greece: Syriza’s first months in power
07/03/2015, Andreas Payiatsos, from Xekinima (newspaper of the CWI Greece):
The working class and social movements must enter the struggle for their rights

Quebec: Towards a hot spring
02/03/2015, Deirdre and Bruno, Socialist Alternative (CWI Quebec):
Disrupt them like they disrupt us!

Greece showdown
26/02/2015, Article to be published in the March issue of Socialism Today (magazine of the Socialist Party, CWI in England and Wales):
Niall Mulholland interviewed NICOS ANASTASIADES, of Xekinima (CWI Greece), just as Syriza leaders agreed a four-month bail-out extension with the EU.

Libya: War-torn country becoming new hub for IS activities
25/02/2015, Serge Jordan (CWI):
Libyan people bearing the brunt of NATO’s fiasco

Europe: Eurozone time-bomb
25/02/2015, Lynn Walsh, article from Socialism Today (magazine of the Socialist Party of England and Wales):
Mired in recession, the eurozone is haunted by the spectre of stagnation

Greece: Syriza retreats under Troika threats
24/02/2015, Nicos Anastasiades, Xekinima (CWI Greece), Thessaloniki:
Popular mood shows anti-austerity, socialist policies would win huge support

History: The political legacy of Malcolm X
21/02/2015, Eljeer Hawkins, Socialist Alternative:
50 years after his assassination

Spain: Is ‘Podemos’ the Spanish Syriza?
16/02/2015, Danny Byrne, CWI:
Dangers of “moderation” and domestication

Egypt: Regime brutality on fourth anniversary of revolution
10/02/2015, David Johnson, Socialist Party (CWI England & Wales):
Masses will regain confidence and willingness to fight

Greece: Not a single step back!
08/02/2015, Statement by the Editorial Board of Xekinima (CWI Greece):
Conflict between SYRIZA government and EU escalates

Kurdistan: ‘Islamic State’ driven out of Kobanê
02/02/2015, Serge Jordan, CWI:
Will the end of Kobanê’s siege turn the tide against IS?

Greece: Why did Syriza and the KKE fail to reach agreement?
29/01/2015, Article from Xekhinima (CWI Greece) website [dated 26 January 2015] translated and slightly edited:
For socialist policies to end austerity nightmare!

Greece: Syriza comes to power, as old ruling parties collapse
27/01/2015, Niall Mulholland, socialistworld.net, interviews Andros Payiatsos, from Xekinima (CWI Greece):
Left parties fail to form government - Syriza goes into coalition with populist right Independent Greeks

Cuba: Diplomatic relations with US restored, embargo eased
24/01/2015, Tony Saunois, CWI:
Threat of capitalist restoration accelerates