jiselle's blog

Protests greet far right speaker to Australia

Well known USA far right propagandist and multimedia troll, Milo Yiannopoulos concluded his tour of Australian cities this week. Milo is a mouthpiece for the far right in the USA, targeting minorities, the labour movement and the left in general. Milo is backed by far right news outlets like the Breitbart News Network and capitalists like billionaire Robert Mercer. In Australia he was able to meet fellow far right personalities in the Australian Parliament. While thousands paid to hear his hate speeches, anti-fascist protests met his performances (see here for Adelaide, Perth, Sydney reports). Melbourne witnessed the biggest protest, lasting around 6 hours, including large numbers of people from the migrant working class communities who lived near the venue (for reports see here and here – for photos, see here and here). 

Union leader arrested for taking strike action

Piston National President and Kilusang Mayo Uno National Council Member George San Mateo was arrested this week in controversial circumstances for organising an ‘illegal’ strike. San Mateo had been about to enter the Justice building to post bail when the police swooped on him and arrested him. The charges against him relate to his involvement in the successful two day strike by thousands of Jeepney drivers earlier this year. San Mateo’s arrest is quite clearly an attempt by the government of President Duterte to intimidate activists and crack down on workers’ organising.

Start of court cases highlights climate of repression

This week, 150 academics in Turkey are facing trial under draconian emergency laws for signing a petition calling on the government to end the war against Kurdish insurgents. Solidarity demonstrations were held at the start of these trials as a show of support for those in court. These workers are only some of the tens of thousands that have been dismissed from their jobs following the failed coup last year. Some, like Uraz Aydin, face additional charges of ‘terrorist propaganda’.

Vale Comrade Denis Walker

The Aboriginal rights movement in Australia mourns the loss of brother and comrade, Denis Walker, co-founder of the Australian Black Panther Party in 1972.  Denis Walker was a major figure in the civil rights and land rights movements from the 1960s and continued to fight for a treaty until his death. Vale comrade Denis Walker.

Many workers killed in elevator collapse

Up to nine workers were killed last week at a tunnel construction site when their elevator they were in plunged over 70 metres. The workers were working on a major water infrastructure project near Akole village, around 100kms from the city of Pune in Eastern India. Preliminary enquiries point to the main elevator cable breaking while the workers were being brought up to the surface. The local government has ordered an enquiry into this incident and has promised 200,000 Rupees (US $3,100) of compensation to the families of the workers who were killed. Unfortunately, lax workplace safety is widespread in India.

Mysterious blast kills at least two people

A major explosion killed at least two people in the eastern Chinese port city of Ningbo on 26 November. Around 30 people were injured, some very seriously. The blast happened in a disused factory building and was so powerful that it levelled many buildings and windows were shattered up to one kilometre from the blast site. The actual cause of this explosion is unclear, but it is suspected that either chemicals were being illegally stored there or the factory was operating unlicensed. Unfortunately industrial incidents in China are still very common and up to 30,000 workers a year are believed to be killed while at their workplaces.

Dockworkers defend fellow workers against victimisation

A casual worker in Melbourne, Australia, employed by the global stevedoring giant International Container Terminal Services (ICTSI), was dismissed recently. He is a staunch unionist and had been complaining about bullying and harassment by the company. A community protest has been established outside the workplace to support this worker. The Maritime Union of Australia has been trying to establish minimum standards for wages and conditions, but ICTSI has refused to negotiate with the union. ICTSI is notorious globally for its unions busting (see here and here) with their Chief Executive being on the record as saying that ‘…countries with the best infrastructure in the world are dictatorships’.

24hr Community Assembly

78 Webb Dock Drive,

Port Melbourne

Another journalist murdered in India

On November 21, Sudip Datta Bhaumik, a journalist at the Syandan Patrika newspaper and the local television channel Venguard, was shot dead by a soldier belonging to the Tripura State Rifles battalion. Sudip is believed to have being killed because of his ongoing investigations of financial irregularities within the battalion. Sudip is the second journalist to be murdered in that state in the last two months, and the third in India. Newspapers all across the state of Tripura ran blank editorial pages as a protest against the murder of their fellow journalist.

Korean workers continue offensive on multiple fronts

On November 30, newly unionised workers of the Seoul Metro line began a strike against their employer, RATP Dev Transdev. Workers are fighting against the company’s attempts to cut workers’ conditions and its union busting attempts by bringing in scab labour. In another dispute, tens of thousands of building workers staged a mass rally and demonstration outside the South Korean Parliament. They were demanding that the government pass legislation to guarantee the right to form and join a union as well as a substantial increase to their living retirement allowance. 

History repeating itself for Aboriginal workers

When people in Australia refer to ‘Stolen Wages’, it is usually referred to as a past issue. This refers to the slavery-like system that saw Aboriginal people denied any or equal pay for hard work over decades during the 19th and the 20th century. The tragic reality is that the Federal Government's remote ‘work for the dole’ program, known as the Community Development Program, is doing exactly the same. In an example of the effects of ongoing structural racism, the program undervalues work done by Aboriginal workers and keeps them and their communities in poverty. Aboriginal people have always fought back.

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