Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Ground Report India: News from on the ground to keep us grounded


In our daily lives, in one of the best of the western developed countries, how often do we stop to think of the reality of the daily lives of people far away from us.  Dropping into my email from time to time is information from India by way of a site called Ground Report India.  India is a massive, diverse, and heavily populated country.  In so many ways, the very opposite of Australia.  Ground Report aims to do what it says - to keep us all grounded by giving news from on the ground - not higher up the food chain.

Below is the latest missive which is an extract from a book by Vivek Glendenning.  He can be found on Facebook.

Excerpts from the chapter from the first draft of the Book “Social Experiments and Experiences” by 'Nomad' (Vivek U Glendenning) :: part one ...


www.localgovernance.org chiefeditor@groundreportindia.org via googlegroups.com 


to groundreport Unsubscribe
Running Education centers for beggars and migrant unorganized labourers 
……………
Opening and running eight education centres for children of migrated construction labours and beggar children/ adolescents (teens) during student life 15-16 years ago.
At that time, I was establishing education centres at different places in Kanpur. As I was alone, I used to teach at every centre twice in a week and attended two centres every day. Thus, I could manage six centres in one week. For few days of week college finished off at 3 o’clock and some other days at 4 o’clock. The day when college finished at 3, I used to go centres which were far away and the day when it finished at 4, I preferred to go centres which were bit near.
I got very small monthly amount from home as student hence I had to cover a distance of 6 to 9 kilometre daily on foot to reach different centres.
Some professors from IIT Kanpur, IIT Madras, IIT Bombay, HBTI Kanpur gave away Blackboard, chalk, copy, pencil, books and emotional support to start these centres. Basis of this support was my personal relation with them.
While running these centres I gathered innumerable experiences and enhanced my understanding towards ground reality. I am grateful to supportive professors and will be obliged forever.
………
An Education centre for Beggar Children/Teenagers at CTI Crossing, Govind Nagar, Kanpur :
-
There is a place in Kanpur known as CTI crossing and it is adjacent to Govind Nagar. A big and stinking sewer-nullah (sluit) flows and local people call it ‘Ganda Nala’.

And on the bank of this nullah many families of beggar-children/teenagers used to live in hut-like structures made up of thrown away poly bags and torn clothes joined together and fixed on old spoiled bamboo sticks.
Stench of that sewer nullah, which we cannot bear even for one minute while moving on the road parallel to the nullah, had a round the clock lively relation with those families.

During rains, level of sewer increased and flowed through their so called huts.
Except few starting days, I had to search out these children and teens while begging and then I took them to the education centre holding their finger.
An SDO of UP Electricity Board had donated his portico for teaching for two hours, during which he used to keep his car out.

He also helped for copy, pencil, chalk and blackboard.

Sometimes children and teen used to pose strange conditions such as if you would not eat in our hut we would not study.

So, sometimes I had to eat on the bank of sewer nullah whatever they cooked and ate.

These children/ teens did not know how to read or write and it took many days to teach them how to write first letter of Hindi alphabet but in physical labour, making food and reading people’s psychology they were very dexterous .
Their talks and practical understanding surprised me numerous times and taught me so much. This relationship continues for only for one or two years but these memories are still afresh in my mind/ are still lively in the corner of my mind.
………
7 education centres for displaced Bilaspuriyan Construction Labours’ children/ Teens and bagger children/teens :
-
These centres were established and ran at Awadhpuri, Lakhanpur, Kalyaanpur, Vikasnagar, Naubasta and Barra.

Characteristics of these centres were same as sewer-nullah centres, there were only a few differences which I am going to state in following lines.
I no need to go far away to search these kids/ teens because these children usually found playing in their huts or near about areas.

Their parents met almost every day, hence sometimes they also came to study.
Place of study was hut of any of them, which changed after few days. These centres never continued for more than few months because after accomplishment of construction work of colonies they had to leave the place.
So, every time after few months, these centres displaced 2 to 3 kilometres.
I never showed false dream to children/ teens for study, never tempted them, never tempted them for sweets etc. I did not want them to suffer from any frustration or indulge in some impractical dreams. I knew these children/teens would face bitter reality
hence I had no right to hurt their understanding of life showing them false dreams.

As I was not showing any dream, not posing any lie and never tempted them so every time when I go to teach them first I used to walk 2 to 3 kilometre to find them and fetching them to the place for study and had to face their moods.
I have candidly stated to children/ teens and their guardians that study was not going to change their status. Only thing is that there will be less possibility of being cheated and perhaps this study may be useful for a few.

Today, when I remember this time, I find out, if I have not done during my student life, today I cannot be socially integrated, socially honest, sensitive and could not move ahead towards fundamental understanding of the society. 

Regards
Vivek U Glendenning ‘Nomad’
.

--
Dear Mentor,
Thank you for your continuous support.

I am trying to establish a "Social Accountable Media".
I go to the villages to see the ground works done by the common people. Some time for a report, I have to visit one area a few times.
Please support the idea and visit at
http://www.groundreportindia.org

I am also organising 206 community conferences and a 1,00,000 kilometres long inclusive national tour in the time span of 2012-2015 covering thousands of villages of hundreds of districts in all over India.

Your all kinds of supports are needed.
For more information, please visit at
http://www.environmentconferences.org

Thank you
Vivek U. Glendenning "Nomad"
http://www.nomadhermitage.groundreportindia.org

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Appeals for prayers, intervention and support for the suffering peoples of Middle East and North Africa from Kurdish Muslims and Christian Chaldeans



 August 2014

Esteemed Religions for Peace Colleagues: 

Warm greetings. 

Adding to the great sufferings of peoples in the Middle East-North Africa Region are the currently unfolding events in Iraq. 

H.E. Sheikh Majid Hafeed, an Iraqi Kurdish Muslim and Honorary President of Religions for Peace International, has contacted our International Secretariat strongly calling for intervention and support to protect the Yazidis in the town of Sinjar, northern Iraq.  

They are currently undergoing an attack by the ISIS / ISIL terrorist group.  Sheikh Majid reports to us that thousands have been massacred, hundreds of thousands have fled and their homes and shops have been looted and burned.  You will find Sheikh Majid's appeal (in Arabic) here

His Holiness Louis Raphael Sako, the Christian Chaldean Patriarch of Babylon and a Co-President of Religions for Peace International, has also contacted us with an urgent appeal for the 100,000 Christians who have fled their homes toward the Kurdish cities of Erbil, Duhok and Soulaymiya.  You will find Patriarch Sako's appeal here

In response, Religions for Peace is transmitting these appeals to the President of the United Nations Security Council, urging that the Security Council take appropriate measures to protect these innocent people. 

In addition, allow me also to request that all members of Religions for Peace around the world hold these suffering peoples in their prayers.  Let each of us pray in accord with her or his own tradition in solidarity with all across this region who are struggling to bear unbearable suffering. 

Yours in solidarity for Peace,

Dr. Vendley signature
Dr. William Vendley
Secretary General
Religions for Peace


RELIGIONS FOR PEACE--the world's largest and most representative multi-religious coalition-advances common action among the world's religious communities for peace. Religions for Peace works to transform violent conflict, advance human development, promote just and harmonious societies, and protect the earth. The global Religions for Peace network comprises a World Council of senior religious leaders from all regions of the world; five regional inter-religious bodies and ninety national ones; and the Global Women of Faith Network and Global Interfaith Youth Network. 

777 United Nations Plaza New York, NY 10017 USA Tel: 212 687-2163 Fax: 212 983-0098
www.rfp.org 

The Network's Note:The area of the warfare mentioned above is in one of the oldest parts of human history in the world.  War has diminished and eradicated much of this evidence. Readers will remember the looting of the National Museum of Iraq in 2003.  Readers will also recalled the destruction of the Buddhas of Bamiyah in 2001.  The heritage of these ancient civilisations are not only informative and precious to the peoples in whose regions they are situated.  They are precious to all of us.  The references used in the production of these antiquities are references to all of humanity.  Human life to-day is of vital importance to all of us.  So is our shared and ancient histories.


Friday, August 8, 2014

Rifles of remembrance at Queen's College, Melbourne

Before The Network, there was my very first blog, The Eagles Nest.  I have had a pleasant trawl through some of the stuff there.  This one seems applicable for re-posting because it references the first world war the centenary of which we are currently commemorating.

Saturday, October 08, 2005

Rifles of remembrance

I was at Queen's College at the University of Melbourne to-day. In a glass case, I came across a trophy shield and beside it a photograph of five handsome young men in suits with their rifles. The caption below the photograph said:

Queen's College Rifle team winners of the Intercollegiate Trophy in 1913. All 5 men shown in the photo enlisted, and between them were awarded two MCs (Military Crosses), a DSO (Distinguished Service Order), and a MM (Military Medal). The Intercollegiate Rifle Competition was not revived after the war and Queen's still retains the trophy shield.
It makes one wonder. Did these nameless young men return from World War I? If they came back, were they and the people associated with Queen's and its competitors too war weary and tired of shouldering rifles to carry on a competition in the shadow of a costly, horrifying and saddening war? I wonder....

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Green Left Weekly Activist Calendar - Emergency edition - 2014-08-06 (Hiroshima Day - a day celebrated as a Peace Day)

Green Left Weekly Activist Calendar
Emergency edition, August 6, 2014

Rally: Stop Israeli aggression! Free Palestine!
Saturday, August 9, 1pm. Israel's brutal assault on Gaza has killed more than 1450 people so far, 85% of whom are civilians, including more than 350 children. Thousands more are maimed and injured. Gaza's infrastructure is wrecked. Even if the latest ceasefire holds, the longstanding Israeli siege and blockade will continue. The Palestinian people need our solidarity. State Library, 328 Swanston St, City. Organised by Coalition Against Israeli Apartheid
Public meeting: The campaign for a free Palestine
Wednesday, August 13, 2pm. Guest speakers: Samah Sabawi (a Palestinian-Australian writer, playwright, producer, political analyst and commentator on human rights) & Farrah Agha (student eyewitness just returned from West Bank). RUSU meeting room, Building 8, Level 3, Room 18, RMIT (entrance from Swanston St). Organised by  Resistance: Young Socialist Alliance & Green Left Weekly. For more info ph 0431 311 520.
Green Left Weekly Comedy Debate 2014

Can we survive the Abbottoir?

Friday, August 15, doors open 6:30pm (for 8pm start)
Brunswick Town Hall, cnr Sydney Rd & Dawson St
MC: ROD QUANTOCK with the comedic talents of Carlo SandsCorey WhiteMorven SmithRose CallaghanSean Bedlam (other TBA)
Meal served from 6:30pm. Bar available.
Tickets (does not include meal): $40 solidarity, $25 waged, $12 concession. Bookings essential. Book now at
www.trybooking.com/FHBP or ph 9639 8622.
A fundraiser for the progressive newspaper Green Left Weekly.
This is a special edition of the Green Left Weekly Activist Calendar, made necessary by Israel's assault on and siege of Gaza. Our next regular edition will be dated August 13..

Monday, August 4, 2014

From the concern of the men who thought the war might end before they got there - to the sensibilities of early 20th century women

Does it occur to Networkers how tired we might get of the story of the First World War as we commemorate its centenary?  I am not complaining ... yet.  

So far I have noted with quiet pleasure that people are giving accounts of other lives than glorious, tragic ANZACS and the tragedy of the Western Front.  

We are getting to hear something of the German experience in Australia; of Australians and New Zealanders taking charge of the German colonies in the Pacific.  The doubtful glories of war are what usually take up the broadcast space so it is most welcome to hear of other events, of our social history under the impact of war, of the contradictions of an Australia that twice voted against conscription but seemed eager to embrace a far away war.  

What is going to provide some relief in all this, I feel, is the work of Geraldine Robertson who seems to be in the mould of the feminists and peace lovers of a century ago.  

You too, dear Networker, can get on Geraldine's mailing list to get the gems of her research and knowledge.

~~~~~~~~~

READ AND TAKE COURAGE -
Once a week from now till the end of 2019 I will pass on to you something women working for peace thought and did about the first world war.
 
4/11 August 1914, Vida Goldstein from the Women’s Political Association in Melbourne, Australia -

continued:
‘The food supplies of the world must cease when the hands that reap and sow are occupied in the work of slaying men ...
Let us not be blinded by the excuse that this is a war for liberty.
We shall curb on one autocracy only to give power to another, still more dangerous,
and we are fastening upon all the European workers a debt of countless millions,
and a burden of famine and disease which war brings in its train ...
It is my earnest hope that women in all parts of the world will stand together,
demanding a more reasonable and civilised way of dealing with international disputes.’

Geraldine Robertson
wmnsweb@iprimus.com.au

Women's Web - Women's Stories, Women's Actions
www.womensweb.com.au  

Women Working Together suffrage and onwards
www.womenworkingtogether.com.au 

Prejudice and Reason
www.prejudiceandreason.com.au

Friday, March 28, 2014

Morwell - in our midst, a portent of what may yet come to many places and peoples.

CommunityRun.org




http://goo.gl/8yPdel

It's taken 45 days for the fire raging through Hazelwood Mine's open-cut brown coal fields to be declared "safe". But that's 45 days too many for Morwell residents who've been breathing air full of carbon monoxide, carcinogens and other toxic fumes.

Now the whole town is suffering. Men, women and children complain of headaches, bleeding noses and bloody eyes, coughing, breathing difficulties, insomnia, lethargy, skin irritations, throat, eye and ear infections, depression, agitation and anxiety. The list goes on.

Community worker Tracie talks to Morwell residents every day about what effect the toxic air is having on their physical and mental health. That's why, this week, she decided to start a campaign on CommunityRun calling for an inquiry into the health impacts of the fire on the people of Morwell.

Victoria's Chief Health Officer, Rosemary Lester, is already considering an inquiry into the long-term health effects on the town's residents but hasn't made up her mind if it's in the best interest of the community.

A public outcry right now could help her make up her mind and end the uncertainty felt by Morwell's 14,000 residents.

"We're calling for an inquiry because there's no existing health information about this. Unless an inquiry happens now, Morwell residents won't get the health information they need to prepare themselves for any long-term effects of the Hazelwood mine fire." - Tracie, community worker in Morwell
When Tracie speaks with Morwell residents, she hears the same questions every time: Am I going to get sicker? Is something bad going to happen? Will my kids be alright? Am I going to be around to see them grow up?

Tracie knows it isn't the symptoms Morwell residents are suffering from right now that worry them most. Their biggest fear is about the long-term health problems they don't yet know about and the future health of their families.

This week Tracie's going door-knocking and flyering shop windows around Morwell to get the message out about her campaign. But to get the number of signatures she needs to put pressure on Ms Lester to announce an inquiry, Tracie needs our help too.

Can you let Tracie know she has your support? 


Tracie's fighting hard for an inquiry because she knows it means the difference between Morwell residents living in fear about what's to come or having the ability to move on from this tragedy and regain control of their lives.

Thanks for your support,
Emma and Michael, for CommunityRun.org

PS - CommunityRun is a tool built and powered by GetUp that allows any person to start, run and deliver their own campaign on the issue they care about. To learn more about CommunityRun or start your own campaign visit http://www.communityrun.org

CommunityRun is a new online organisation that lets anyone start, run and win their own campaigns. It receives no political party or government funding and is not affiliated with any political party. If you have trouble with any links in this email, please go directly to www.communityrun.org. To unsubscribe from CommunityRun updates, please click here or visit http://www.getup.org.au/unsubscribe?cr=true. To unsubscribe from individual CommunityRun campaigns, please visit www.communityrun.org. Authorised by Sam Mclean, Level 2, 104 Commonwealth Street, Surry Hills NSW 2010. 

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Crafting a spirit

Anna Quindlen’s Short Guide to a Happy Life, a soul-uplifting must-read in its entirety:
Photobucket


Monday, March 17, 2014

A Prince of Peace! Why not a Minister for Peace?

The picture below has come from Geraldine Robertson
wmnsweb@iprimus.com.au 


Women's Web - Women's Stories, Women's Actions 
www.womensweb.com.au  
Women Working Together suffrage and onwards
www.womenworkingtogether.com.au 
Prejudice and Reason
www.prejudiceandreason.com.auT

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

A slogan for International Women's Day 2014? PENALISE - PENALISE - PENALISE


"What's on your mind?" Facebook asks each time I post.  Well, what's on my mind is the dreadful interview with a young-ish woman on ABC TV this morning.  The young-ish woman spoke about why women are not getting a fair go in the workplace and are not well represented in the higher management positions etc ad nauseam.

Let me declare my interest.  I am a 1970s-1980s feminist and to see what happens to even the most basic feminist traditions such as IWD makes me ill.

The young-ish woman enunciated a new version of failure to understand or act on the REAL problem by discussing how mentoring of women had failed but this new thing called sponsorship of women would be a huge success. 
What absolute garbage!!!  The problem no longer lies with women - except perhaps those women who are unable or unwilling to study and work hard to progress.  A lot of women prefer stasis to playing boy's games or suffering  under boys' bias.  

But let's take a look at what women can do.  Work hard? See Gail Kelly, CEO of Westpac.  Manage family responsibilities - even multiple births?  See Gail Kelly! Extend your education in a new direction? See Gail Kelly.  Improve the company's bottom line? See Gail Kelly.    

Gail Kelly is not alone in managing all this.  She is merely (?) the most public face of what a lot of women are doing, have done, and will continue to do.

In 1984 Australia legislated the Sex Discrimination Act which in recent years has been revised without doing what needs to be done.  Discrimination of any type can be difficult to prove.  Discrimination on the basis of gender is particularly difficult.  Penalties for such discrimination either at business/corporate level or the individual level have been, more often than not, the equivalent of being well and truly beaten with a feather duster.  

The problem, in the main, is no longer a problem of women and their abilities and education.  Women - generally speaking - have never been more well-educated, well-qualified, and able.  

The problem lies where it has always lain - with men.  The problem lies even in the second-highest office in the land - the Prime Minister's office. The problem lies, currently, in the civil discourse established by Australia's current prime minister to defeat one particular woman - but also women within his own party.  What is the punishment for the Prime Minister's vilification of women?  Success - that's what.  He got there.  His cronies got there.  The media he favoured got there.  

What will the young-ish woman do about that?  What will the ABC Breakfast Show do about that?  What will the Sex Discrimination Act do about that?  What will that joke of a government bureaucracy titled the Workplace Gender Equality Agency or EOWA do about that?

Men are rewarded with real status and meaningful incomes while women are given useless legislation, a very dim government bureaucracy, a lot of lip service.  

Saturday 8 March is International Women's Day.  Are you spending it in a meaningful way or just going to one of the frippery type events.  I suggest that there be a one word message for this year's IWD - PENALISE!

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Beware of Australian mining corporations doing international business



My memories of the mighty Zambezi are simple.  
In 1985, following the UN Women's Forum in Nairobi, Kenya, 
I took a few days to visit Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe.  


During my stay, I walked across the bridge built by Cecil Rhodes 
In Zambia, I found a quiet corner of the Zambezi. 
I sat down and put my feet in its waters
 and transported myself back in time 
to schoolgirl social studies lessons about the Zambezi.

This morning I read of this - mining in a national park, a national park of world significance.  As I read this, I am mindful of what the Liberal and National Parties are doing in relation to intrusive activities in national parks in Australia.  Full scale mining is not yet allowed.  However, the thin edge of the wedge has begun with the Victorian government allowing prospecting in Victorian national parks

Australia has a proud record with regard to national parks.  Our history closely follows on the heels of the first national parks in the USA. But, it seems, none of this matters a fig to political parties in Australia - except to some minor players such as The Greens.  There is a continual battle to keep uranium mining out of the much-prized Kakadu.  The Mirrar people have fought valiantly to keep uranium mining at bay and the fight continues to this day.

There is the amazing story of Djok Senior Traditional Owner Jeffrey Lee who could have enriched himself with his land entitlement but who gave the land to be incorporated into Kakadu to keep it safe from uranium mining. 

It appears that the fight to keep the national parks of Australia out of the clutches of miners will never be over.

All this needs to be borne in mind - particularly when Australian mining companies are doing business internationally.  Let me say it bluntly, governments need to be very wary - if not downright hostile - to Australian companies seeking to mine in their nations.  Their track record is poor - even from our biggest and brightest, BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto.

These major corporations cannot be trusted from A to B - let alone right through to Z.  And these are Australia's major mining corporations.  They attract significant talent and investment to their businesses.  If they prove careless and untrustworthy, how much more should lesser corporations be regarded?  How much red carpet should be rolled out for them? 

When mining corporations have denuded the natural heritage of a nation following the dreams of dollars of struggling economies, are the clean-ups and the litigation and the court cases really worth it?

Further reading
Ok Tedi environmental disaster - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Bougainville Copper - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Denying Accountability? Australia’s International Mining Shame by Jane Andrew
Oxfam - Mining
Mining: when will the scandals stop?
El Salvador suffers Australia's maleficent miners

Postscript
Lest people are tempted to accuse the writer of this post of being anti-mining. I am not.  I am currently living in my third Australian mining town.  I love each of these three towns dearly and they have been a formative part of my life.  

However, I have lived around mining companies long enough to understand their secrecy; to understand the cabal of support they attract from governments, civic and business leaders.  I know that if there is a choice between corporate interests and community interests, the corporate interest will be paramount.  

I believe in mining.  It has been part of the human condition for millenia.  Mining, in my view, is a part of the human condition and enterprise.

I believe that communities must be watchful in their own interest in regard to mining activities in their areas - particularly environmentally with regard to water and pollution of soil, air, and water.  

I believe that communities need to safeguard their health and not take the company word as the be all and end all of the story.  

I believe that communities have to demand more from their governments so that political leaders are not resorting to closed door deals, nods and winks with mining corporations.  

I believe that, in the end, human communities are more important than governments and corporations.  Their well-being must prevail.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Green Left Weekly Activist Calendar - 2014-02-05

Green Left Weekly Activist Calendar
February 5, 2014
Rally: Defend our environment! No dredging in the Great Barrier Reef.
Saturday, February 8, 12 noon. Our environment is under attack like never before with forests being logged, large mining companies profiteering off the destruction of bushland and wildlife being culled. Now the Coalition federal government has approved dumping nearly 3 million cubic metres of spoil in an area near the Great Barrier Reef marine park as part of the Abbot Point coal port expansion near Bowen. State Library, 328 Swanston St, City.
Film screening: John Pilger's 'Utopia'
Thursday, February 27, 6:30pm. Examines the worsening oppression of Aboriginal people in Australia.  An epic production by the Emmy and Bafta winning film-maker and journalist John Pilger. Utopia is a vast region in northern Australia and home to the oldest human presence on earth. 'This film is a journey into that secret country,' says Pilger. 'It will describe not only the uniqueness of the first Australians, but their trail of tears and betrayal and resistance —  from one utopia to another.' See trailer here. (WARNING: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander viewers are warned that the following program may contain images and voices of deceased persons.)
Speakers: Vivian Malo (First Nations Liberation); Mick Bull (AMWU organiser who was involved in the 2010 union solidarity brigade that built a protest house in the Ampilatwatja community, a community that features in the film). Maritime Union of Australia Hall, 46–54 Ireland St, West Melbourne (2 min from North Melbourne station). Organised by Green Left Weekly & First Nations Liberation. Entry free, bookings essential. To book: ph 9639 8622 or visit http://www.trybooking.com/EFRC.
This is the regular Melbourne activist calendar compiled by Green Left Weekly. Emailed to subscribers each Wednesday fortnight, it is a one-stop listing of the main left and progressive events in Melbourne and Geelong.
Since it began in early 1991, Green Left Weekly has offered an indispensable alternative to the lies of the big-business media and has helped build the various movements for social change. To subscribe toGreen Left Weekly, visit our secure online website for rates and payment or call our national hotline on 1800 634 206.
You can also contact us at the Resistance Centre, 5th floor, 407 Swanston St, City; ph 9639 8622. In Geelong we are at the Activist Centre, Trades Hall, 127 Myers St (opening hours: Mon 2-4:30pm, Fri 10am-4:30pm); ph 5222 6900.
New email address? Not already receiving this calendar regularly? Want to subscribe someone else? Let us know at Greenleft Melbourne.
Ongoing
Pickets against the East-West Tunnel take place on most weekday mornings. Join the campaign to stop the East-West Link. For more info txt 'tunnel' to 0432 447 036 to get picket locations via text message.
Wednesday, February 5
Rally: For reproductive rights on the second day of parliament for 2014. We plan to show the LNP and Labor that we oppose the repeal of Section 8, and that we won’t have the Vic Liberals selling women’s abortion rights simply so they can stay in power until November. This demo has a double purpose: the anti-choice Helpers of God’s Precious Infants congregate at this very spot every day (all day!) parliament sits throughout the year. They also string their banner, depicting a cross for every foetus aborted since the first day of the year, on the fence outside Parliament House. This year, we plan to arrive first, so it’s us — the pro-choice majority — parliamentarians see as they head in to vote on laws that affect us. 7.30am. MP's carpark entrance, Parliament House, Macarthur St, opposite Women's Suffrage sculpture.
Forum: What is the TPPA? Our government is negotiating an international agreement that could have a huge effect on the lives of ordinary people. It’s called the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA), and it involves 12 Asian and Pacific-rim countries, including the United States. If it goes ahead, we risk damage to our innovative economy, our pristine environment, our health, and the ability to shape our own future. Speakers: Richard Denniss (executive director, Australia Institute); Deborah Gleeson (convenor, Political Economy of Health Special Interest Group of the Public Health Association of Australia); Angela Daly (2013 auDA Australian Internet Ambassador); Bob Phelps (executive director of Gene Ethics). Places unfortunately are limited so please reserve your free ticket via the ticketing system here: What is the TPPA? 6pm. 251 Queensberry St, Carlton South.
AAWL public meeting: Women workers in Asia. 6pm. Trades Hall, cnr Lygon & Victoria Sts, Carlton South.
Thursday, February 6
Moreland Campaign Against the East-West Tunnel (MCAT):  Special organising meeting.  To organise materials for our stalls this coming Saturday; to report back on plans for our community rally on March 30; and to plan how to build the rally. 6:30pm. Temple Park Senior Citizens Centre, Hodgson St, Brunswick. For more info call Sue Bolton on 0413 377 978.
Friday, February 7
Rally: For LGBTIQ rights in Russia. Last year the Russian government introduced new laws banning ‘propaganda of non-traditional sexual relations’. These laws essentially outlaw any positive mention of homosexuality. Putin is using these laws to deflect criticism away from his government, scapegoat minorities and cement power. Activists in Russia have called for people around the world to hold protests in front of Russia’s embassies and consulates on the day of the opening of the Olympic Games in Sochi. These Olympics will shine a spotlight not just on Russia and Putin but on the whole question of homophobia and LGBTIQ equality. 12 noon. Russia House, 114 Greeves St, Fitzroy.
Organised by the Socialist Party.
Rally: Australian and New Zealand march against the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement. 6pm. City Square, 44-86 Swanston St, City. For information about the TPP please visit this website:www.tppaustralia.org.
Saturday, February 8
Rally: Defend our environment! No dredging in the Great Barrier Reef. Our environment is under attack like never before with forests being logged, large mining companies profiteering off the destruction of bushland and wildlife being culled. Now the Coalition federal government has approved dumping nearly 3 million cubic metres of spoil in an area near the Great Barrier Reef marine park as part of the Abbot Point coal port expansion near Bowen. 12pm. State Library, 328 Swanston St, City.
Public meeting: The origins of homophobia and the struggle for LGBTI liberation. What are the origins of homophobia in society? How is it maintained? How can we win real human liberation? 2pm. Resistance Centre, Level 5, 407 Swanston St, City (opposite RMIT). Organised by Socialist Alliance. For more info ph 9639 8622 or 0435 934 199.
Sunday, February 9
Anatolian Peace & friendship festival. Live bands; traditional dances & foods; rides for children; art & craft stalls. 11am-6pm. Coburg Lake Reserve.
Festival of the photocopier: Annual zine fair. Sticky Institute presents their annual zine fair, as part of the Festival of the Photocopier 2014. The event includes over 100 zine stalls, live music, the launch of this year's Feed the Animals fundraiser, and a guided tour of the fair by zine academic Dr Anna Polettil. 12-4pm. Melbourne Town Hall, cnr Swanston & Collins Sts, City. Full program atwww.stickyinstitute.com.
Political Asylum: ABC Pty Ltd edition. Topical standup comedy. Now with commercial breaks! Featuring: Mathew Kenneally (MC), Toby Halligan, Stella Young, Dilruk Jayisuran, Tegan Marie Higginbotham & Nelly Thomas! 5:30pm. The Brunswick Green, 313 Sydney Rd, Brunswick. Sponsored by the Royal Australian Navy. $10/$5.
Wednesday, February 12
Rally: Abortion speakout outside Geoff Shaw’s office. We don’t like Geoff Shaw’s right-wing bigotry or his corruption. And we don’t appreciate the support he gets from the Liberal Party generally, or the premier’s office specifically — such as the help he’s getting from Denis Napthine to draft his private member’s bill that will curb our right to access abortion. We say: Doctors and politicians can keep their morals to themselves. Our bodies, our right to decide! 12pm. Geoff Shaw’s office, 140 Young St, Frankston.
Public meeting: Black and proud — racism in sport. On April 17, 1993, Indigenous AFL player Nicky Winmar raised his St Kilda jersey and pointed out the colour of his skin to the Collingwood fans that had taunted him throughout the match. That photograph, and his accompanying statement, 'I’m black and I’m proud to be black,' became an iconic moment in AFL history, forcing many in the sporting arena to analyse their attitude towards race. Author Gary Osmond assesses the legacy of this photograph in his book Black and Proud. Osmond examines what has changed, with a panel including Sean Gorman from the Centre for Aboriginal Studies, and host Angela Pippos. 6:15pm. The Wheeler Centre, 176 Little Lonsdale St, City.
Thursday, February 13
Concert: Apology Day anniversary. Celebrate the anniversary of the apology to Australia’s Stolen Generations. Indigenous and non-Indigenous performers come together in a shared vision of unity for all Australians. Featuring: Blue King Brown; Archie Roach, Tim Rogers, Claire Bowditch, Christine Anu, Thelma Plumb, Horrorshow & Jimblah. 6-10pm. Sidney Myer Music Bowl, 21 Linlithgow Ave, City. Entry free.
Friday, February 14
Rally: National Dingo Day. Rally to stop killing of dingoes and to ban the use of 1080 poison baits in Australia. 12 noon. State Parliament, Spring Street, City.
Sustainable Living Festival’s great debate: Environmentalism is in denial. Are green groups are avoiding complete honesty about the extent to which climate change will affect human populations and other species? Do they lack the courage to tackle this giant challenge, fearing political isolation and the difficulty of the task of selling an unpalatable message to the public? Is the environment movement to blame for the inadequacy of the solutions currently being advocated? With video introduction by Bill McKibben. Speakers: Christine Milne, Clive Hamilton, Amanda McKenzie, Philip Sutton, Mark O'Connor and Drew Hutton. 7pm. Deakin Edge, Federation Square. $25/$20.
Book tickets here.
Saturday, February 15
Rally: Our wombs are not for sale, defend Section 8. We are opposed to the repeal of Section 8, or any rolling back of current Victorian abortion law (as touted by Geoff Shaw, and supported by the Liberal Party), and we want to make this loud and clear before a vote in parliament. We have heard that Geoff Shaw will try to introduce his Private Member’s Bill, repealing Section 8 of the Victorian abortion law (at the very least!), in one of the February sittings of parliament. This repeal means that if a doctor doesn’t 'believe in' abortion, they won’t have to refer women to doctors who will perform the procedure. They also won’t have to perform emergency abortions to save a woman’s life. 1pm. State Library, cnr Swanston & La Trobe Sts, City.
Tuesday, February 18
Rally: Stop Napthine's silencing act. Speak up Victoria, while you still canOppose Napthine’s new draconian anti-right-to-protest laws! The government's new bill: (1) Removes protection for peaceful assembly; (2) Provides up to two years imprisonment for persons returning to a banned protest or picket; (3) Gives police and PSOs discretion to 'move on' protests. 10am. Trades Hall, cnr Lygon & Victoria Sts, Carlton South. March to Parliament House. For more info visit weareunion.org.au
Wednesday, February 19
Book launch: A country too far. One of the most hotly debated and pressing moral issues in contemporary Australia surrounds the fate of asylum seekers. A new anthology of work from 27 of the nation’s finest writers examines all aspects of this complex topic. A Country Too Far features fiction, memoir, poetry and essays that provide an indispensable contribution to the national debate. 6:15pm. The Wheeler Centre, 176 Little Lonsdale St, City. This is a free event. Bookings are recommended.
Friday, February 21
Fundraiser: Concert for the Tarkine. In 2014, is Australia the sort of country that puts an open-cut mine in a rainforest? It’s time to ramp up the Melbourne campaign to stop mining in the Tarkine. Come along to the launch of Save the Tarkine (Victoria) for a wonderful evening of music, and let us introduce you to the majesty of this remarkable place. Despite its world heritage significance, less than 5% of the Tarkine is protected as a national park and it is currently under attack from open-cut mining activity. 7pm. Thornbury Theatre, 859 High St, Thornbury.
Saturday, February 22
Film screening: Dirty Wars.  Pre-DVD release screening for this award-winning documentary. Dirty Wars follows investigative reporter Jeremy Scahill, author of the international bestseller Blackwater, into the heart of America’s covert wars, from Afghanistan to Yemen, Somalia and beyond. 8:45pm. 106 Nicholson St, Coburg. Entry by donation (suggested: $15/$10) to raise money for the 2014 Swan Island Peace Convergence. NB: outdoor screening (BYO rugs, chairs, cushions).
Saturday 22 February
Concert: Almanac trail tour. In the summer of 1941, Pete Seeger, Woody Guthrie, Lee Hays and Millard Lampell — The Almanac Singers — embarked on a tour, singing labour songs at union halls in many US cities and towns. Folksingers George Mann and Rik Palieri have just re-enacted that tour, singing the same songs in the same US cities and towns as the 1941 Almanac Singers and they have now released a CD entitled The Almanac Trail. George is now touring Australia, and this is a great opportunity to hear one of the great labour folksingers of our time. In Melbourne, the Victorian Trade Union Choir will perform with George and in Geelong, the Geelong Trades Hall Choir will perform. 7:30pm. Meeting Room 1, ground floor, Trades Hall, cnr Lygon & Victoria Sts, Carlton South. $10/$5. For more info ph Roger Smith 0438 302 061 or Jeannette Johanson 0400 004 427.
Thursday, February 27
Film screening: 'Utopia', John Pilger’s film on Aboriginal Australia. Examines the worsening oppression of Aboriginal people in Australia.  An epic production by the Emmy and Bafta winning film-maker and journalist John Pilger. Utopia is a vast region in northern Australia and home to the oldest human presence on earth. 'This film is a journey into that secret country,' says Pilger. 'It will describe not only the uniqueness of the first Australians, but their trail of tears and betrayal and resistance —  from one utopia to another.' Trailer at: http://johnpilger.com/videos/utopia-trailer. (WARNING: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander viewers are warned that the following program may contain images and voices of deceased persons.) Speakers: Vivian Malo (First Nations Liberation); Mick Bull (AMWU organiser who was involved in the 2010 union solidarity brigade that built a protest house in the Ampilatwatja community, a community that features in the film). 6:30pm. Maritime Union of Australia Hall, 46–54 Ireland St, West Melbourne (2 min from North Melbourne station). Organised by Green Left Weekly & First Nations Liberation. Entry free, bookings essential. To book: ph 9639 8622 or visithttp://www.trybooking.com/EFRC.
Monday, March 3
Forum: Launch of Writers for Refugees. Join us for the launch of Writers for Refugees, a Melbourne-based group of writers, journalists and academics who are committed to standing up for refugee rights under the Abbott government. Speakers and readers include: Arnold Zable, Maxine Beneba Clarke, Abe Ape, Jeff Sparrow and Ali Alizadeh. 6pm. Bella Union Level 1, Trades Hall, cnr Lygon & Victoria Sts, Carlton South. Entry by gold coin donation.
Saturday, March 8
Rally: Celebrate International Womens Day, protest for equal rights. Come out on International Women's Day and continue the fight for equality: demand equal pay; defend our right to abortion. 1pm. State Library, 328 Swanston St, City. Initiated by the National Union of Students.
Tuesday, February 18
Forum: 'We are one, but we are many'. Working towards a humane refugee policy. Speakers: Kon Karapanagiotidis (CEO & founder, Asylum Seeker Resource Centre); Vincent Long (auxiliary bishop, Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne & Bishop for the Western Region; a former asylum seeker and refugee); Louise Newman (psychiatrist, Convenor of the Alliance of Health Professions for Asylum Seekers). 7:15pm. Geelong West Town Hall, 153 Pakington St, Geelong West. Organised by the Combined Refugee Action Group. For more info email CRAG. Supported by the City of Greater Geelong. Entry free. Supper provided.
Friday, February 21
Red Cinema: Utopia — a film by John Pilger. (WARNING: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander viewers are warned that this program may contain images and voices of deceased persons.) One of the most extraordinary films about Australia. This is Utopia, an epic production by the Emmy and Bafta winning film-maker and journalist John Pilger. Utopia is a vast region in northern Australia and home to the oldest human presence on earth. 'This film is a journey into that secret country,' says Pilger. 'It will describe not only the uniqueness of the first Australians, but their trail of tears and betrayal and resistance —  from one utopia to another.' See trailer here6pm. Downstairs, Trades Hall, 127 Myers St, Geelong. Entry free. Presented by Socialist Alliance. For more info phone 5222 6900.
Sunday, February 23
Concert: Almanac trail tour. In the summer of 1941, Pete Seeger, Woody Guthrie, Lee Hays and Millard Lampell — The Almanac Singers — embarked on a tour, singing labour songs at union halls in many US cities and towns. Folksingers George Mann and Rik Palieri have just re-enacted that tour, singing the same songs in the same US cities and towns as the 1941 Almanac Singers and they have now released a CD entitled The Almanac Trail. George is now touring Australia, and this is a great opportunity to hear one of the great labour folksingers of our time. In Geelong, the Geelong Trades Hall Choir will perform with George. 7pm. MUA Hall, 4 Gheringhap St, Geelong. $10/$5. For more info ph Jeannette Johanson 0400 004 427.
Saturday, March 22
ALBURY Rally: Equal Love. 1pm. QEII Square, 538 Dean St, Albury
Friends of the Earth's Anti-Nuclear & Clean Energy (ACE) collective. Meets every second Tuesday. FoE office, 312 Smith St, Collingwood. For meeting times & more info email Zin.
Indigenous Social Justice Association. The Indigenous Social Justice Association was established in January 2005 campaigns to permanently stop Aboriginal deaths in custody. During 2013, ISJA will meet the first Thursday of every month. For more info visit ISJA.
Melbourne Feminist Action Group. It's time to put women's rights back on the public agenda. We've started an open organising group and everyone's invited, from already existing women's rights groups and activist organisations, to women and men who may never have been involved in feminist action in their lives but just want to do something. For more info ph 0438 869 790 or email us.
Quit Coal: No New Coal Power for Victoria. A Melbourne-based collective which campaigns against expansion of the coal industry in Victoria. We believe this is important because building new coal infrastructure locks in decades of dirty, old technology, when we should be moving towards clean, renewable energy. Quit Coal meets each Wednesday at 6pm, at FOE, 312 Smith St, Collingwood. For more info visit Quit Coal or email us.
Refugee Action Collective. Established in 2000, RAC is a democratic, grassroots activist collective, representing a broad cross section of the community. It aims to mobilise opposition to Australia's inhuman refugee policies. For more info ph 0413 377 978 or visit RAC.
Stop the East-West Link:
  • Moreland Campaign Against the East-West Tunnel (MCAT) meets on the 2nd and 4th Thursday of each month at the Temple Park Senior Citizens Centre, Hodgson St, Brunswick. For information contact Sue Bolton 0413 377 978; Michael Petit 0417 354 169; Riki Lane 0400 877 819.
  • Yarra Campaign for Action on Transport (YCAT). For information on the campaign against the East-West Tunnel (pickets, meetings, info) visit YCAT.
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Links: 'Socialism for the 21st century'
Links is an online journal which seeks to provide a forum for open and constructive dialogue between active socialists from different political traditions. It seeks to bring together those in the international left who are opposed to neoliberal economic and social policies, and reject the bureaucratic model of 'socialism' that arose in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe. Inspired by the unfolding socialist revolution in Venezuela, Links is a journal for 'Socialism of the 21st Century' and the discussions and debates flowing from that powerful example of socialist renewal.
Socialist Alliance: Broad, non-sectarian, activist
Socialist Alliance is a proud supporter of the Green Left Weekly project and contributes a regular column. Socialist Alliance is a broad, non-sectarian socialist party, dedicated to bringing together all those who want to resist the capitalist assault on our planet and its people and fight for a socialist society that puts people's needs before business profits. Anyone who agrees with the general approach of our policies is welcome to join and organisations are invited to affiliate. For more information visit Socialist Alliance or join us on Facebook.
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Contact Socialist Alliance. Join with other socialists in the struggle.
  • Melbourne: Visit us at the Resistance Centre, 5th floor, 407 Swanston St, City; ph 9639 8622. In Melbourne, Socialist Alliance meets on the first Tuesday of each month, 6:30pm, at the Resistance Centre.
  • Geelong: Activist Centre, Trades Hall, 127 Myers St (opening hours: Mon 2-4:30pm, Fri 10am-4:30pm); ph 5222 6900.
Moreland Socialists
Moreland Socialists is open to anyone (even if you live outside the area) who wants to work constructively to support Socialist Alliance councillor Sue Bolton and use her position to build up a stronger activist left presence in Moreland. In general, we meet monthly and alternate between Coburg and Fawkner.