Tiananmen Square 25 year anniversary checklist (gulp!) #100daysofblogging #day3

Yesterday was the 25 year anniversary of the June 3-4 massacre in Tiananmen Square, China.

Tiananmen Square Lego recreationThe massacre was the Chinese governments response to ongoing protests by students and pro-democracy activists who had been agitating for several years by then.

Students had previously protested in Tiananmen Square on New Years Day in 1987, with 24 ‘troublemakers’ being taken away by police. Then Communist Party General Secretary Hu Yaobang is said to have resigned ‘as a result of the [recent] student demonstrations‘.

It was Hu’s death in 1989 which provided the initial impetus for students to march on Tiananmen Square, beginning on the night of April 15. On the night of April 17 thousands of students met and occupied the square.

On April 21 over 100,000 people marched on Tiananmen Square. Continue reading Tiananmen Square 25 year anniversary checklist (gulp!) #100daysofblogging #day3

‘High’ cost for dole tests – #100daysofblogging #day1

Yesterday I started a controversial debate on my Facebook wall after posting a status about the Liberal Party’s proposed mandatory drug testing of people receiving unemployment benefits. So far the post has 39 likes, 4 shares and 257 comments.

Mandatory drug testing is a ‘feel good’ policy that in actuality would be ineffective. It would not create employment. It would be very expensive to implement is likely to lead to higher crime rates.

Mandatory drug testing won't work

Punishing the unemployed by removing their life-support payments – because lets face it most of us would struggle to live on $255/week – is not going to help people gain employment.

Nor for that matter will quadrupling the cost of a diploma from TAFE and then forcing people under 30 to ‘earn or learn’, despite there being 100,000 too few opportunities.

Then on top of that you want to remove peoples right to privacy too?

How would you like it? Imagine this: every week for the next 6 months you will be forced to line up awkwardly with a bunch of other people for the pleasure of having someone watch you pee. Continue reading ‘High’ cost for dole tests – #100daysofblogging #day1

Book Review: Profits of Doom by Antony Loewenstein

Profits of Doom book cover

Antony Loewenstein’s book “Profits of Doom – How Vulture Capitalism is Swallowing the World” is an apt extension of the investigations conducted in Naomi Klein’s “The Shock Doctrine” and Jeremy Scahill’s “Blackwater – Rise of the Words Most Powerful Mercenary Army”.

What does the book promise/offer?

Antony’s focus on giving a voice to those directly impacted by vulture capitalism makes for a refreshingly honest and compelling read. There is no false pretext of neutrality in this book. Antony’s purpose is clear from the get go – to pick up where Klein & Scahill left off exposing massive international industries which profit from the perpetuation of human misery – and there is no doubt he achieves this goal.

Naomi Klein exposed the history of vulture-like multinational corporations and their exploitation of disasters both natural and man-made to reap massive private profits. Jeremy Scahill examined how unaccountable privatised military organisations grew to be the favoured tool of exploitative governments and corporations, used to enforce unpopular policy and redistribute military spending to achieve maximum private profit from the public purse.

In Profits of Doom Antony expands this research to include a variety of other contexts, including how disaster capitalism has made itself at home in Australia. Continue reading Book Review: Profits of Doom by Antony Loewenstein

Sudan Protests & Excessive State Violence

In recent weeks large protests have broken out across the Sudanese capital Khartoum, with at least 210 activists killed in clashes with security forces last week. The protests are said to be sparked by the removal of fuel subsidies in a nation already crippled by extreme poverty, but Sudanese activists say the people are ‘fed up’ with the Government of President Omar al-Bashir.

On Saturday I was sent the following footage clearly showing excessive violence being conducted by Sudanese security forces against unarmed civilians.

The events in the video occur in the Shambat area of Khartoum, the images at the bottom of this post of an injured woman are from a separate incident which occurred within a state security ‘house’, also in Khartoum. Both events occurred on October 4, 2013.

Continue reading Sudan Protests & Excessive State Violence