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South Africa
Socialist election campaign at full throttle

24/04/2014: Building a bridgehead to a new mass workers’ party

  South Africa

Bangladesh
One year on from Rana Plaza disaster

24/04/2014: Protest letter from Paul Murphy and other MEP’s

  Bangladesh

Scotland
Capitalist ‘Project Fear’ backfiring?

23/04/2014: The socialist case for independence

  Scotland

Chile
Socialism 2014 a success!

22/04/2014: First Santiago Socialism event organised by CWI in Chile

  Chile

CWI
History of the Committee for a Workers’ International

21/04/2014: 40th anniversary of the founding of the CWI

  History

Sri Lanka
Provincial elections spike president’s plans

20/04/2014: Repression can provoke opposition

  Sri Lanka

China
Labour disputes soar

17/04/2014: 40,000 workers paralyse world’s largest sports shoe maker

  China

Greece
International anti-fascist conference “No pasaran!”

16/04/2014: Four thousand attend three-day event in Athens

  Greece

South Africa
Enthusiastic response for WASP ahead of May elections

15/04/2014: WASP campaigning material available on pdf

  South Africa

India
Massive election process could end in turmoil

14/04/2014: New party expresses, but cannot solve, major discontents

  India

Cyprus
Austerity sees living standards fall back 40 years

11/04/2014: One year of the right wing Anastasiades government

  Cyprus

 Iranian nuclear talks
Hypocrisy abounds

10/04/2014: Paul Murphy MEP

  Video

Britain
Dave Nellist on BBC outlining TUSC’s socialist policies

10/04/2014: Trade union and socialist coalition (TUSC) candidate count reaches 476 for May local election

  Britain

Taiwan
Occupation of parliament ends after 23 days

10/04/2014: What are the lessons of the island’s ‘sunflower movement’?

  Taiwan

Hungary
Election highlights lack of Left challenge

09/04/2014: Declining vote for ruling Fidész party; neo-fascist Jobbik picks up 20% as false ‘alternative’

  Hungary

Environment
Ukraine crisis exploited by multinational fracking lobby

09/04/2014: Oppose the pro-big business EU/ US Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership!

  Environment, Ukraine

Belgium
50,000 join ETUC Brussels demonstration

08/04/2014: Protesters’ radical mood

  Belgium

Britain
One in ten council seats will have TUSC candidate

07/04/2014: No-cuts election challenge grows

  Britain

Review
Net political impact

06/04/2014: To Save Everything, Click Here • By Evgeny Morozov •

  Review

Belgium
The rise of the PTB/PvdA

05/04/2014: Recent polls confirm a probable electoral breakthrough for the Workers’ Party of Belgium (PTB/PvdA).

  Belgium

Ivory Coast
First victory for students at University of Cocody

04/04/2014: An important step to push the struggle against neo-liberal policies further

  Ivory Coast

Canada
Port of Vancouver truckers’ strike wins significant gains

03/04/2014: After bosses’ seen off - unions must defend their right to strike!

  Canada

France
Government punished in local elections

02/04/2014: Far right gains highlight need for strong fighting left opposition

  France

Nepal
Turning back the wheel of history

01/04/2014: Second constituent assembly election – a shift to the right

  Nepal

South Africa
WASP manifesto launch success!

01/04/2014: On Saturday 29 March the Workers and Socialist Party launched its 2014 election manifesto at a rally in Katlehong, Gauteng

  Africa, South Africa

Taiwan
Half a million on the streets against President Ma

31/03/2014: Demonstrators call for trade pact to be withdrawn and for president to step down

  Taiwan

US
Winning $15 an hour in Seattle

31/03/2014: A socialist strategy

  US

Netherlands
Socialist Party local election gains

31/03/2014: Vote for SP can be the basis for a mass struggle against cuts

  Netherlands

 Video
Hypocrisy of Irish Govt & EU on Ukraine

29/03/2014: Joe Higgins, Socialist Party (CWI MP) speaks in Irish parliament

  Ukraine, Video

 Sweden
New political winds affect CWI Congress

28/03/2014: Optimistic Rättvisepartiet Socialisterna prepares for elections

  CWI, Sweden

No to the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership!

28/03/2014: Anti-democratic agreement seeks to increase corporate domination of politics

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

South Africa: Socialist election campaign at full throttle
24/04/2014, Workers and Socialist Party (WASP):
Building a bridgehead to a new mass workers’ party

Bangladesh: One year on from Rana Plaza disaster
24/04/2014, Socialistworld.net:
Protest letter from Paul Murphy and other MEP’s

Chile: Socialism 2014 a success!
22/04/2014, Socialismo Revolucionario (CWI in Chile) reporters:
First Santiago Socialism event organised by CWI in Chile

Sri Lanka: Provincial elections spike president’s plans
20/04/2014, Siritunga Jayasuriya, Secretary of United Socialist Party (CWI Sri Lanka):
Repression can provoke opposition

China: Labour disputes soar
17/04/2014, chinaworker.info reporters:
40,000 workers paralyse world’s largest sports shoe maker

Nigeria: Bomb explosions in Abuja - more evidence of the failure of capitalist government
16/04/2014, Segun Sango, Socialist Party Nigeria National Chairperson:
For democratic self-defence committees

Greece: International anti-fascist conference “No pasaran!”
16/04/2014, Sebastian Forster (CWI Germany) and Elin Gauffin (CWI Sweden):
Four thousand attend three-day event in Athens

South Africa: Enthusiastic response for WASP ahead of May elections
15/04/2014, Socialistworld.net:
WASP campaigning material available on pdf

India: Massive election process could end in turmoil
14/04/2014, Clare Doyle (CWI international Secretariat):
New party expresses, but cannot solve, major discontents

Cyprus: Austerity sees living standards fall back 40 years
11/04/2014, Athina Kariati, New Internationalist Left (CWI in Cyprus):
One year of the right wing Anastasiades government

Iranian nuclear talks: Hypocrisy abounds
10/04/2014, :
Paul Murphy MEP

Britain: Dave Nellist on BBC outlining TUSC’s socialist policies
10/04/2014, :
Trade union and socialist coalition (TUSC) candidate count reaches 476 for May local election

Hungary: Election highlights lack of Left challenge
09/04/2014, Sonja Grusch and Tilman M. Ruster:
Declining vote for ruling Fidész party; neo-fascist Jobbik picks up 20% as false ‘alternative’

Environment: Ukraine crisis exploited by multinational fracking lobby
09/04/2014, Paul Murphy, Socialist Party MEP, and Tanja Niemeier:
Oppose the pro-big business EU/ US Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership!

Belgium: 50,000 join ETUC Brussels demonstration
08/04/2014, Eric Byl, General Secretary, Linkse Socialistiche Partij / Parti Socialiste de Lutte (PSL/LSP):
Protesters’ radical mood

Review: Net political impact
06/04/2014, Ben Robinson, Socialist Party (CWI in England & Wales) published in Socialism Today:
To Save Everything, Click Here • By Evgeny Morozov •

Ivory Coast: First victory for students at University of Cocody
04/04/2014, CWI in Ivory Coast:
An important step to push the struggle against neo-liberal policies further

Canada: Port of Vancouver truckers’ strike wins significant gains
03/04/2014, Socialist Alternative Reporter, Vancouver:
After bosses’ seen off - unions must defend their right to strike!

France: Government punished in local elections
02/04/2014, Gauche Revolutionnaire (CWI in France) reporters:
Far right gains highlight need for strong fighting left opposition

South Africa: WASP manifesto launch success!
01/04/2014, Workers’ and Socialist Party (WASP):
On Saturday 29 March the Workers and Socialist Party launched its 2014 election manifesto at a rally in Katlehong, Gauteng

Taiwan: Half a million on the streets against President Ma
31/03/2014, CWI reporters in Taipei:
Demonstrators call for trade pact to be withdrawn and for president to step down

Netherlands: Socialist Party local election gains
31/03/2014, Pieter Brans, Amsterdam:
Vote for SP can be the basis for a mass struggle against cuts

CWI Comment and Analysis

ANALYSIS

Scotland: Capitalist ‘Project Fear’ backfiring?
23/04/2014, Philip Stott, Socialist Party Scotland:
The socialist case for independence

CWI: History of the Committee for a Workers’ International
21/04/2014, Socialistworld.net:
40th anniversary of the founding of the CWI

Taiwan: Occupation of parliament ends after 23 days
10/04/2014, Interview with Sally Tang Mei-ching, CWI participant in Taipei protests:
What are the lessons of the island’s ‘sunflower movement’?

Belgium: The rise of the PTB/PvdA
05/04/2014, Eric Byl, LSP/PSL (CWI in Belgium):
Recent polls confirm a probable electoral breakthrough for the Workers’ Party of Belgium (PTB/PvdA).

Nepal: Turning back the wheel of history
01/04/2014, Senan, CWI:
Second constituent assembly election – a shift to the right

US: Winning $15 an hour in Seattle
31/03/2014, Patrick Ayers, Socialist Alternative, USA:
A socialist strategy

Spain: A million march for dignity in Madrid
26/03/2014, Angel Morano, Socialismo Revolucionario (CWI in Spain):
22M: A before and after moment for the class struggle

Taiwan: Ma government rocked by mass protests and occupation of parliament
26/03/2014, Sally Tang Mei-ching in Taipei and Vincent Kolo:
Down with undemocratic Kuomintang rule – for a Taiwan-wide student strike as the next step!

Bosnia-Herzegovina: Mass protests - The first flowers of spring
26/03/2014, Sonja Grusch, Socialist Left Party (CWI in Austria):
What programme should the Left advocate?

Britain: After Bob Crow and Tony Benn
24/03/2014, Peter Taaffe, from Socialism Today (No.177, April 2014), monthly magazine of the Socialist Party (CWI England & Wales):
Mourn the loss, fight for the future

Scotland: Unions and the socialist case for independence
23/03/2014, John McInally, national vice-president of the Public and Commercial Services union (personal capacity):
Aruging a independent, working class position

Ukraine: Crimea breaks away to join Russia
18/03/2014, Niall Mulholland, CWI:
Tensions between powers worsen

Australia: Socialist Party playing key role in fight against East-West tunnel
13/03/2014, Mel Gregson and Stephen Jolly, Socialist Party (CWI in Australia), Melbourne:
Campaign brings public transport to forefront of political debate

Bosnia Herzegovina: Mass protests of working people and youth show the way forward
13/03/2014, CWI Leaflet text:
Working people stir to end poverty, joblessness, corruption and ethnic divisions!

Socialist perspectives for Aotearoa / New Zealand
09/03/2014, CWI Aotearoa / New Zealand:
The world and New Zealand in crisis

International Women’s Day 2014
07/03/2014, Clare Doyle (Committee for a Workers’ International):
Fighting austerity and oppression world-wide

Venezuela: A year after Chavez’s death
06/03/2014, By Gabriela Sanchez (CWI Venezuela).:
Commemorations in context of new crisis

Ukraine: Russian troops take up positions throughout Crimea
04/03/2014, CWI Reporters:
Tensions deepen between Western powers and Moscow

Greece: Still in the eye of the storm
26/02/2014, Interview with Andros Payiatsos, Xekinima (CWI in Greece) published in Socialism Today:
From the outside, it can appear there’s a certain pause in the struggle in Greece. Is this true?

Ukraine: Bloodshed in Kiev
19/02/2014, Rob Jones, from Socialism Today (March edition, No.176):
What lies behind the Ukraine crisis?

Venezuela: An analysis of 12F
19/02/2014, By Gabriela Sanchez- SR Venezuela:
On 12F, three people (two right wing supporters and one government supporter) were killed in Caracas and dozens injured and arrested in the protests and demonstrations that took place around Venezuela to commemorate the annual ’Youth Day’.

Pakistan: Negotiating peace
18/02/2014, Khalid Bhatti, SNP Lahore:
Government/Taliban talks begin - But where will they go?

South Africa: The end of Cosatu?
17/02/2014, WASP (Workers and Socialist Party) Reporters, S Africa:
Time for a new socialist trade union federation

Greece: The fascist threat
08/02/2014, Christina Ziakka, Xekinima (CWI Greece) - translated by Amalia Loizidou. First published in Socialism Today:
Deep economic crisis, savage austerity and social upheaval have polarised Greek society.

South Africa: After NUMSA’s Congress
04/02/2014, Workers And Socialist Party (WASP) statement:
Seize the historic opportunity of the 2014 elections