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Talk at 50th Anniversary of Clarrie O’Shea Penal Powers Victory

Melbourne 15 May 2019.

50th Anniversary jointly hosted by Spirit of Eureka and Rail Tram and Bus Union (Victorian Branch)

by Shirley Winton

Shirley Winton speaqking at the O'Shea 50 AnniversaryShirley Winton is a founding member of Spirit of Eureka Committee, established in 2004.

Shirley has been involved in workers’ and community struggles for many years.  She was an organiser with the Communication Workers’ Union – Postal and Telecommunication Division and National Tertiary Education Union. 

In 2005 Shirley and other unionists living in the western suburbs of Melbourne initiated the Western Suburbs Unions and Community Coalition, a grass roots network campaigning against WorkChoices and the ABCC.  Shirley also worked in the Western Suburbs Community Legal Centre.

In 1969 as a young worker and student Shirley participated in the 6 day strikes and protests against the Penal Powers and for the release of Clarrie O’Shea from gaol.  She met Clarrie O’Shea on several occasions.

Read more: Talk at 50th Anniversary of Clarrie O’Shea Penal Powers Victory

Parent Category: Spirit Content

A Matter of Independence: Equinor and Drilling the Great Australian Bight

by Dr. Binoy Kampmark, May 8 2019

Such companies advertise themselves as slick and professional, the best in the business, all things to men, women and everyone in between. They insist that we can all have that vast cake of wealth and eat it too.  Equinor, a Norwegian multinational beast of an energy company with its headquarters in Stavanger, has been doing much in the way of making cakes and eating them. It seeks“to be the world’s most carbon-efficient oil and gas producer” but at the same a sound investor in renewables. The earth may well be heating up, but there is no point in not having a bet each way as the frog boils.  Whatever its formula, the company is boastful. “We energize the lives of 170 million people.  Every day.”

Interest has now shifted to the Great Australian Bight, an area deemed by the Great Australian Bight Alliance “one of the most pristine ocean environments left on Earth, supporting vibrant coastal communities, jobs and recreational activities.”  The Norwegian company is determined to drill for oil at a location some 476km west of Port Lincoln, a site which is intended to become the Stromlo-1 well with an intended depth of 2,240m.  A period of 60 days is anticipated, with commencement taking place for late 2020.  A submitted proposal to do so is currently being assessed by the National Offshore Petroleum Safety and Environmental Management Authority (NOPSEMA).

Read more: A Matter of Independence: Equinor and Drilling the Great Australian Bight

Parent Category: Spirit Content

No Pasaran! - Anti-racism after Christchurch

A review of Antifa: The Anti-Fascist Handbook by Mark Bray (Melville House, 2017; MUP paperback, 2017)

by Don Longo, 31 March 2019

The persistence of white supremacy

Race politics and white supremacy have a long and dispiriting history in the European tradition. They have informed its political ideas for 500 years, from the 16th century slave trade through the völkish nationalism and eugenics of the 19th century to the authoritarian regimes of Italy and Germany after the Great War. They have fed numerous ultra-right fantasies of monocultural ethno-states constituted on the concept of an organic gemeinschaft. After 1945 they became important planks for the opponents of decolonisation, civil rights and Indigenous recognition. In Australia, issues of race have been an integral part of its history since 1788, with sporadic conflicts between settlers and Aborigines, the English and the Irish, British and German colonists, old Australians and new, white and Asian Australians. It was only in the 1960s and 70s that the foundations for a new social compact were laid to ensure racial, religious and cultural tolerance and put an end to the centuries of discrimination and violence. It had limited success.

Perhaps we needn’t go past Christchurch to see the results of the white ultra-right’s emergent confidence and its ascendancy in public affairs. But it’s worth noting that there have been similar atrocities committed in Québec (January 2017) and Italy (February 2018). Overtly neo-nazi rallies have been held in Melbourne, Charlottesville (USA) and European cities. Ukraine has had members of Svoboda (a neo-nazi party) in the nation’s cabinet. Hungary’s Fidesz Party has made the exclusion of Middle Eastern immigrants a major element of its political platform. Elderly celebrities like Brigitte Bardot publicly call the French overseas territory of Réunion ‘a demoniac island’ and its indigenous people ‘degenerates’ with ‘barbarous traditions’ and the ‘genetic makeup of savages’ (she has since apologised!). The Reclaim Australia movement has placed the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, a fabricated anti-semitic tract, on its website. Need I mention the likes of Pauline Hanson and Milo Yiannopoulos? 

Read more: No Pasaran! - Anti-racism after Christchurch

Parent Category: Spirit Content

Assange Extradition Will Have Chilling Effect on Investigative Journalism, Free Speech

This video came from The Real News Network
Published on May 3, 2019

The Real News Network speak to Julian Assange's lawyer, Jennifer Robinson, about the first extradition hearing Assange had in London, where he refused to voluntarily turn himself over to US authorities

 

Parent Category: Spirit Content

What can the peace movement can learn from the Clarrie O’Shea’s Penal Powers Struggle

This article was first published in IPAN Voice No 28  May, 2019

by Shirley Winton

O'Shea PosterClarrie O’Shea was gaoled for carrying out his union members’ instructions not to pay tens of thousands of dollars in fines imposed on the union for taking industrial action in defence of wages, working conditions and jobs.

Australian workers never had the right to strike.  Nevertheless, they did take “illegal” industrial action to protect wages, conditions and living standards. Between early to mid-1950s the Menzies government introduced harsh industrial laws, called the Penal Powers.  These industrial laws were designed to prevent working people from exercising democratic rights in their workplaces.  The anti-union laws and the courts imposed millions of dollars in fines on unions for taking “unauthorised” industrial action.  But this did not deter unions and workers from defying unjust industrial laws. The Tramways and Bus Union refused to pay the heavy fines.

For many years unions, workers and communities had organised protracted and broad grass roots campaign against the Penal Powers in workplaces and communities.  Unions and many community organisations worked hard in educating and raising awareness about the undemocratic Penal Powers and why they needed to be removed. A great deal of time and attention was dedicated to explaining, educating and raising awareness amongst working people in workplaces and communities. Clarrie and many workers insisted that only a mass campaign and mass movement could push back the penal powers, not relying on parliament and the courts to do justice.

Read more: What can the peace movement can learn from the Clarrie O’Shea’s Penal Powers Struggle

Parent Category: Spirit Content

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