Australians March to Save Aboriginal Communities

By on 03/19/2015 

By Matthew McLoughlin  @soit_goesAustralia – On March 16, 2015, thousands took action across dozens of cities & smaller regional communities in Australia demanding the government abandon its plan to evict 150 Aboriginal communities in Western Australia. Major city centers in Brisbane & Melbourne were shut down by massive sit-ins while Perth marched on Parliament. Online people used the hashtag #SOSBlakAustralia to show their support for those taking the streets. The day’s actions were organized by a vast group of Indigenous peoples, community organizations, spear-headed by a small collective going by SOS Blak Australia.

This latest attack on Australia’s Aboriginal communities will create up to 20,000 refugees & add another chapter to the history of the Australian government’s attempted genocide of Indigenous peoples. The closures are being done under the guise of budget cuts, Australia’s racist Prime Minister Tony Abbott has gone as far as saying that the government can no longer fund a “lifestyle choice”, referring to Aboriginal people living on their traditional lands. Truth be told it is Aboriginal people who are being forced to fund the government’s “lifestyle” which continues to rely on exploiting stolen land and resources, including fossil fuels. The price they’ve paid includes not only their land but the attempted destruction of their culture. Continue reading

China’s migrants and the desperate struggle for survival

[“Civil society” activists examine the barriers to their “underground” influence and the effect of their activism among migrant workers in the post-socialist, capitalist China.  —  Frontlines ed.]

China: The view from the ground

The self-organising efforts of migrant workers and rights activists across China offer a vital insight into the nature and future of modern Chinese society, says Hsiao-Hung Pai.

The experience of migrant workers in China, who number well over 200 million in this society of 1.2 billion, is a vital route to understanding the nature of present-day Chinese society. Migrants are the most marginalised and unorganised group of workers in China. Many feel that they are like scattered sand (san sha), a phrase that evokes their lack of collective strength and power to change things. In face of unpaid wages and all levels of abuses by companies, they often find themselves fighting their battles alone – and even when they take their bosses to court, this rarely ends in victory.

An example of such protest is an incident in Yunnan province, in China’s southwest, where the tourism company Xinhua Shizhaizi owed 8 million yuan to 500 migrant workers for a construction project. They were helpless but were determined to fight to the end, even though no institutions and no media would come to their aid. Eventually, thirteen children of these migrants joined their parents and held up signs in front of the public – “I want to eat, to go to school, to drink milk, to eat cookies” – as part of their demand that the developer pay the wages owed to their parents.

It was a sign of how desperate and isolated the workers were that their children had to protest on their behalf on the streets. But, as so often, the developers could count on their political connections to avoid responsibility, migrant andworkers were left with nowhere to turn to. Continue reading