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‘The Centre Cannot Hold’: Ten lessons for leftists from France’s Yellow Vests

by Don Longo

France, again

Yellow Vests 1

Once again, France provides salient lessons in radical social change. In May 1968 there was a student and union alliance that almost brought down De Gaulle and the 5th Republic. We now have the ‘Gilets Jaunes’ (Yellow Vests) movement. It has been called a ‘citizens’ revolution’ and their vests a ‘symbol of resistance worn with pride by the downtrodden’. They have been likened to Trump’s deplorables and the UK’s brexiteers. They have been copied in Canada, Germany, Portugal, Italy. They have been claimed by the left and the right. The ambiguous and polymorphous nature of the movement makes it impossible to assess clearly either its nature or direction, but for leftists there are lessons to be drawn from it even as it is still taking place in the streets of France. I have proposed ten, in no particular order.

 

 

 

The famous French Revolution painting by Delacroix, "Liberty leading the

people" modified with yellow vests

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US imperialists order Australia to confront China over South China Seas

By Richard Stone

Following a dramatic boost to Japan’s military budget, at the behest of the United States, the Pentagon has now issued an important regional directive for Canberra to follow.

It was not coincidental.

Japan and Australia are formally part of a triangular diplomatic relationship with the US, specifically for defence and security initiatives aimed at China. War-games and military exercises increasingly contain scope for real-war scenarios with the South China Seas a likely 'theatre of war' for future operations.

Over the Xmas holiday period, Randall Schriver, US Assistant Secretary of Defence for Asian and Pacific Affairs, called upon Australia 'to boost their military presence in the South China Sea, to send a signal to China'. (1) Schriver, as the top Pentagon official for the region, also used the opportunity to warn about possible planning by China to establish a military base in the region.

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Adani's WorkChoices Law Firm Cops a Defeat

By Lindy Nolan

Corporate law firms, like WorkChoices architect and Business Council of Australia member Herbert Smith Freehills, serve the biggest end of town.

Freehills has hammered workers for years. It helped draft John Howard’s anti-worker WorkChoices legislation.

Former feral Industrial Relations Minister Michaelia Cash, came into parliament straight from Freehills where she was a Senior Associate.

Freehills also had 43 contracts worth nearly $1.4 million with the Australian Building and Construction Commission (ABCC). Only fellow BCA member and corporate law firm Clayton Utz and the Department of Education and Training had more valuable ABCC contracts than Freehills.

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Corporate Head-kicker Puts Boot in at Adani

By Lindy Nolan

Adani’s recent tactics against First Nations bear the marks of a man well-known to workers in Queensland mines and in the Illawarra south of Sydney.

According to the Financial Review’s Matthew Stevens, Lucas Dow became new Adani CEO in April 2018 after leaving South32, which emerged from BHP Billiton in 2015.

Dow immediately took steps to ensure the struggling Adani project was self-financed, by cutting 50 per cent from initial planned costs. He also took steps to end battles with other corporations.

According to Stevens, Adani had been fighting not only those opposed to the mine, but Australia’s biggest freight operator and Business Council member, Aurizon.

Adani had been refused funding for a potential rail monopoly of its own that would have undermined Aurizon’s.

Dow quickly announced a new plan to link Adani’s rail line to the closest point on Aurizon’s system. This entrenched Aurizon’s position while providing dramatically cheaper result for Adani. Negotiations are ongoing.

In March costs were awarded to Adani after a court battle with yet another corporate giant, John Holland.

Dow stated, "We are close to finalising finance as the recent mine and rail decisions have significantly simplified the finance requirements for Carmichael."

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Journey into Obsolescence: Australia’s Adani Carmichael Mining Project

by Dr. Binoy Kampmark

Adani MineThe Carmichael mine being pursued in the Galilee Basin in Central Queensland is a dinosaur before its creation.  On paper, it is hefty – to be some five times the size of Sydney harbour, the largest in Australia and one of the largest on the planet.  Six open cut and five underground mines covering some 30 kilometres are proposed, a gargantuan epic.  The coal itself would be transported through the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park and World Heritage Area, and would feature a rail line subsidised by the money of Australian taxpayers.

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