The detention centre on Christmnas Island is really a concentration camp

The detention centre on Christmnas Island is really a concentration camp


 Press release earlier today by Refugee Action Coalition in Australia:


Around 50 people have spent the night on the oval (green zone) of Christmas Island detention centre, as more police and Serco guards gather on the perimeter of the centre.

As of 2.30am Christmas Island time, no attempt had been made by police or guards to re-enter the detention centre. Late yesterday, television had been cut off to the centre. Some food had been left at the gate of the centre and detainees told to collect it. Armed police and others in full riot gear can be seen outside the detention fences. Detainees report that drones have been circulating over the centre and the Federal police have been issuing instructions through a megaphone to ‘dump any weapons and return to your rooms.’

Most detainees have remained in the accommodation blocks in any case. “The government talks about ‘restoring order’ in the centre, but restoring order to the riot police and Serco’s Emergency Response Team will only mean a return of the brutal rule of force inside the detention centre, that led to the explosion on Christmas Island.

“The ‘behavioural management’ regime inside Christmas Island is reminiscent of the behaviour familiar in Read the rest of this entry »

Labour leader Andrew Little: a vacuous leader for an empty party

Andrew Little: a vacuous leader for an empty party

by Phil Duncan

Watching Q&A on Sunday morning, I was struck yet again by the apparently limitless capacity so many Labourites have for dissembling and backpedalling.

There was Annette King, with her idea of free dental treatment.


King was minister of health in the last Labour government, a government that was in power for nine years.  Where was free dental care then?  Certainly not on King and that regime’s agenda.

Moreover, King was a Labour MP throughout the fourth Labour government (1984-1990), the outfit that launched the biggest attack on workers’ rights, pay and living conditions of the Great Depression.  King happily went along with it all.

King also said the health system was being run down and there were big waiting lists.


It was Labour which introduced user-pays in the health system.  And King was a Labour MP at the time.  Moreover, does she really think people have forgotten the long waiting lists under the last Labour government?

And there were Robertson (the party #3 and finance spokesperson) and leader Andrew Little, the guy who as head of the EPMU signed off on the Pike River mine, talking about why they had to dump the idea of a capital gains tax – people “didn’t understand” it.  But as the economically right-wing panellist Fran O’Sullivan pointed out, National has since then introduced a tax which is a capital gains tax in all but name.  She criticised Labour for having no Read the rest of this entry »

povertyby Michael Roberts

The Nobel prize for economics this year went to Scottish Princeton University professor, Angus Deaton.  Of course, this is not really a Nobel prize as it is an invention by the Swedish central bank, the Riksbank, and has become a ‘Nobel’ prize. But leaving aside the controversy over whether it should be called a Nobel prize and whether all these mainstream neoclassical economists should keep winning it, what does Angus Deaton have to offer?

He is an expert on world poverty, the consumption patterns of households and how to measure them.  The media coverage of Deaton’s work is keen to emphasise that he shows that humankind have never had it so good in 2015 under the capitalist mode of production. As one commentator put it: “Deaton’s central message is deeply positive, almost gloriously so. By the most meaningful measures — how long we live, how healthy and happy we are, how much we know — life has never been better. Just as important, it is continuing to improve.”

And it’s true that Deaton has emphasised that life expectancy globally has risen 50% since 1900 and is still rising. The share of people living on less than $1 a day (in inflation-adjusted terms) has dropped to 14 percent from 42 percent as recently as 1981. Even as inequality has surged within many countries, global inequality has very likely fallen, thanks largely to the Read the rest of this entry »

Iranian Kurd and asylum seeker, Fazel Chegeni, found dead on Christmas Island.

Iranian Kurd and asylum seeker, Fazel Chegeni, found dead on Christmas Island.

The following piece is taken from the New Matilda blog in Australia*.  It looks at the background to the over-night seizure of one of the compounds on Christmas Island by asylum seekers and NZ deportees being held on the island by the Australian government.  The detainees’ rebellion followed the death of a Kurdish asylum seeker outside the wire.  The authorities refused to explain how the man had died after his escape.   

Today the Radio NZ programme Morning Report interviewed one of the NZ deportees on the island – for international readers, people in Australia who are not Australian citizens can be deported if they commit three crimes over their lifetime.  This includes people who are, for all intents and purposes Australian – eg, people who have lived there since they were small children, for instance migrants from New Zealand.

images These deportees, upon being released from prison, are then detained indefinitely by the Canberra government before being deported.  The fact that scores of them are NZ-born Australian residents has created a lot of resentment in NZ.  Happily, on the island, this seems to have led to solidarity between the asylum seekers and the NZ deportees, rather than simply the attitude of “We’re NZers, we shouldn’t be treated like ‘the boat people’ who came here illegally.”

The NZer interviewed on Morning Report said they were preparing for the compound to be stormed by the private security company that controls the detention centre – Serco.  The more attention is on the island, the harder it will be for the Serco goons to lay into any of those held in this veritable concentration camp.

We’ve changed the title of the original article somewhat, but not edited it at all.

by Max Chalmers

The question you have to ask on mornings like this is ‘how many more’.

Over the weekend Australia added another name – or, in the language of the Department of Immigration, another “illegal maritime arrival” – to the list of deaths that have occurred as a result of the nation’s punitive refugee and immigration policy settings.

According to refugee advocates the Read the rest of this entry »

downloadby Louise O’Shea

To a casual observer, it might seem incongruous that a campaign to prevent a prominent second wave feminist speaking on a university campus would be led by the women’s officer of the student union. But this is typical of the world we live in, and of student politics in the English-speaking world in particular.

The second wave feminist concerned is Germaine Greer, who was invited by the University of Cardiff in the UK to speak on the topic of “Women and power: the lessons of the 20th century”.

The campus women’s officer, Rachael Melhuish, initiated a petition calling for the university to cancel the event on the basis of Greer’s “misogynistic views towards trans women”. The petition attracted more than 2,900 signatures. While the university has resisted cancelling the 18 November event, it is unclear whether it will go ahead.

There is nothing to celebrate here.

The episode reflects a widespread tendency towards knee-jerk appeals to authority by student union officials as the preferred method of righting wrongs. Calling on a neoliberal university administration to use authoritarian measures to protect students from unpalatable ideas does nothing to strengthen the collective organisations of staff and students. Nor does it help develop the Read the rest of this entry »

Capitalist state has little trouble nationalising banks

Capitalist state has little trouble nationalising banks

by Tony Norfield

Nationalising banks might look like a good idea, especially if you think that private sector banks caused the worldwide economic crisis and that state ownership would eliminate the risk of it happening again. It would look even more attractive if you think that popular pressure on the state doing the nationalising would make sure that, in future, banks, or important parts of the financial system, would then benefit the national economy. This article explains why this view not only misunderstands what is really at stake but how it is a ‘reform’ proposal that can only endorse the capitalist system of power and control.

Two illusions

Two views underpin the ‘nationalise banks’ proposal. First is the notion that there is a national economy that can be managed in a progressive way. Second is the idea that the capitalist state can be forced to do it by popular pressure.

Proponents of nationalisation are aware Read the rest of this entry »

The piece below appeared as the editorial in the September 16 issues of the weekly bulletins for a range of workplaces produced by the Workers Fight group in Britain; we’ve slightly altered the subheads.

Jeremy Corbyn: leader or hostage?

Jeremy Corbyn: leader or hostage?

Jeremy Corbyn’s landslide victory in the Labour leadership election was a blow to all those who claim that the working class should pay with its jobs, conditions and services in order to boost the profits of the capitalist class.

The uproar and consternation caused by this result among the political establishment and most of the media, was an expression of their class contempt – if not their class hatred – towards us, workers. They just cannot swallow the fact that, for once, a quarter of a million people managed to voice their refusal of any form of austerity!

Yes, for once, the promoters of the capitalist market and the champions of austerity have been challenged in public. And that, if nothing else, should be cause to rejoice. But only provided we Read the rest of this entry »


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