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Rudd’s ETS: A lot of hot air!

Climate emergency. Here’s a tip. You can safely ignore anybody who claims that the warming of the planet’s oceans and atmosphere is a fiction. If you accidentally click through to Andrew Bolt’s blog, hit the back button. There’s nothing to learn there. If you hear Senator Stephen Fielding prattling on about how the earth is actually cooling, change the station. It’s just the delusions of a far-right fringe dweller. As the now-bankrupt Lehman Brothers Bank wrote in 2007: “climate change will remain a permanent and powerful force shaping the economic landscape.” That argument is over. Unless atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) is stabilised within the next six years, the people of the earth face an unprecedented social, ecological and economic disaster.

Meaningless rhetoric.

That is all the Rudd government’s Carbon Pollution Reduction policy amounts to. The largest polluters in the country will get free permits to keep on belching out CO2 and other greenhouse gases indefinitely. The reduction targets are a joke. More than this, the philosophy behind so-called “cap and trade” schemes is bogus. Far from reducing pollution, putting a price on CO2 simply encourages companies to make a profit out of environmental vandalism. It also encourages them to bump up gas and electricity bills as they pass on the “costs” of sustainability. In fact, even under a capitalist economic model, turning to sustainable energy will reduce costs as well as the dangers of climate change.

Stop polluting!

That is the simple solution. This country’s dirty industries need to be cleaned up, and quickly. There must be billions spent on renewable sources – like solar generation on every building roof, like geothermal and wind generation. This country has an abundance of alternatives to coal. That is where the money needs to be spent. However it won’t happen because industry is addicted to fossil fuel, and the government is in its pocket.

Don’t be fooled by the spin.

This policy is a sop to the vast majority of the population, which is deeply worried about what kind of world will confront the current generation of young people. Rudd’s policy is a fraud aimed at keeping the pollution industry in business. Change is never won in parliament, but on the streets. Time to hit the pavement to force corporate Australia to stop robbing the future of humanity.

Queers demand an equal society, not equal access to inequality!

Triumph and trouble:

it’s strange times for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. On the one hand, the mobilisation for same-sex relationship equality has resulted in law reform on a massive scale. On the other hand, the government continues to pander to the religious right by refusing to recognise same-sex marriage. Yet, public support for marriage equality has never been higher, and young people are especially supportive, with 74% in favour.

But there’s a sting in the tail. Queer couples are finding that among the benefits of recognition come significant disadvantages of being incorporated into a model built on the foundations of sexism.

Queers on Centrelink

benefits are justifiably pissed off by the “win” of enforced economic dependence! Some in the community have campaigned for special “grandfathering” provisions to soften the impact. While privileged queers argue, “equality is equality” – telling the poor in the community to stop whinging! But, there is another way! Feminists have long opposed enforced economic dependence. Queers and feminists should team up and build a mass movement to win independent incomes for all.

Over the last 40 years, the movement has lost its fighting spirit. The heroes of the 1969 rebellion at the Stonewall Inn in Greenwich Village sparked a movement demanding nothing less than liberation.

Inspired by the feminist

and Black Power movements, the new gay liberation movement organised in opposition to the political establishment and didn’t accept piecemeal concessions. It changed public opinion, not by being cautious and quiet, but by being bold and vocal. Queers today must be just as brassy, smart and demanding as those young queens, dykes and trans folk who fought back on Christopher Street. Demand a better, humane, homo-friendly society based on sharing. Don’t settle for the crumbs of formal equality in a society that is fundamentally unequal!

Down with theocracy: for workers’ revolution in Iran

Three decades after the 1979 revolution, courageous Iranian youth, women, workers, trade unionists and intellectuals have again taken to the streets to challenge the repressive Islamic regime and demand presidential elections where, at the very least, their votes are counted. However, in a theocracy such as Iran the ultimate power and legitimacy of the regime rests not with the people, but with the clerics. For this reason it is not enough to demand a new presidential election. What is needed is a new, secular regime where democratic rights are respected, including those of national minorities; stoning is outlawed; persecution of women, young people and gays who do not conform to the fundamentalist world view is banned; the right of unionists to strike is protected; freedom of thought and political affiliation are encouraged; and the vast wealth of the country is in the hands of the working people who create it, not a free trade elite.

Regime’s days are numbered.

If not this year, Iranian workers of all nationalities and both sexes will overthrow the Islamic regime sometime in the near future, just as they overthrew the despised Shah in 1979. Women played a vanguard role in that revolution only to be violently repressed by the Islamicists who seized control of the anti-Shah movement. For 30 years women have suffered as second-class citizens, but today they are proudly, once again, in the vanguard of the movement for democratic freedoms.

The reign of terror, that has been unleashed against protesters since the polls closed, is sickening. But demonstrators in Tehran are defiant, chanting: “Tanks, guns, Basij, you have no effect now!” The government must be forced to put down its truncheons, lower its guns, disarm the Basij militia and order police and Revolutionary Guards to respect the rights of free speech and assembly. Members of the militia and other armed forces, which are killing and maiming protestors, must be tried for their crimes.

Imperialist meddling.

The U.S. attempts to destabilise Iran through a covert operation, authorised by the Bush administration, funded by Congress to the tune of $400 million, and supported by President Obama, is both appalling and predictable. CIA backing for a Sunni fundamentalist group called Jundallah (Soldiers of God) has already resulted in death and injury inside Iran and is reminiscent of the support the CIA gave to the Taliban in its early years.

Down with the theocracy! For freedom and socialism in Iran! Freedom for women, gays and national minorities in Iran! U.S. stop meddling – hands off Iran!

New corporate branding will not fix Melbourne trains!

Appearance of change.

The result is in. After a long tendering process, the Victorian government has dumped the deeply unpopular Connex, which runs Melbourne’s crisis-ridden rail network. The government has signed an eight-year contract with the Hong Kong-based company, Metro Trains Melbourne (MTM), which will replace Connex in December.

Few are surprised at the outcome. The public transport system is a shambles – plagued by poor service, safety concerns, fare increases and overcrowding. It’s a massive drain on the public purse too! The government has been paying Connex $345 million each year to run the trains. The company then pockets the profit.

The Palestine solidarity movement has also been demanding that Connex be dumped. An intensive four-month campaign saw 100,000 pamphlets distributed, blowing the whistle on plans by Connex to build and run an apartheid light rail to transport Israeli squatters to Zionist settlements inside the West Bank.

With commuters angry and the pressure on, the Brumby government urgently required the appearance of doing something! It hopes that, with a new company at the helm and some new logos and corporate colours, the political heat might subside – at least until after the next election!

Privatisation the real culprit.

Melbourne’s public transport has been deteriorating ever since the conservative Kennett government privatised it in 1999. Every government since has refused to change course. An expert report, Putting the Public Interest Back Into Public Transport, has branded privatisation “an expensive failure.” By 2010, Victoria’s public transport system will have cost taxpayers $2.1 billion more than if it had remained state-owned. Just imagine if these funds had been spent on improving the system instead!

Commuters unite – no honeymoon period for MTM. The Brumby government must deliver!

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