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Australia Day ambivalence

Back in 1788 on 26th January, the First Fleet of British Ships arrived at Port Jackson, New South Wales, having landed a few days earlier at Botany Bay. The British flag was raised right there at Port Jackson by Governor Arthur Phillip and the previous inhabitants were summarily and officially dispossessed. The First Fleet comprised six convict ships lead by two Royal Navy escort ships. There are varying accounts of the number of convicts who arrived in the First Fleet but I conclude after looking at a number of relevant sites that over 700 convicts arrived of whom about a quarter were female.

The irony of the Vietnam War versus the Australian Property Bubble

The Vietnam War led by the US spanned most of the 1960s through to 1975. The famous motto “All the way with LBJ” developed as a result of Australian PM Harold Holt’s commitment to military support of the US led War in collaboration with Lyndon Baines Johnson, the US President.

The conventional political wisdom at the time was that the North Vietnamese “Commos” were simply part of a larger Communist “Empire” led by Mao Tse Tung; the Chinese Communist revolutionary and founding father of the People's Republic of China, which he governed as Chairman of the Communist Party of China from its establishment in 1949 until his death in 1976.

The War was controversial and based partly on something called the “Domino Theory”, which meant that Australia was exposed to the threat of invasion by the Communist Chinese. Once the Commos took South Vietnam we were done for.

Today Australia faces the irony of an “invasion” by the Capitalist Chinese. Their money is invading Australia.

Keating and the legitimisation of Suharto's dictatorship in Indonesia

This article identifies a tendency internationally to desensitize the public to the mass-murder by Western-supported governments of whole peoples whom they find inconvenient. Australia has a history of cultivating 'wilful blindness' to these events in our neighborhood, under the leadership of powerful government figures. Geoffrey Taylor here draws our attention to an example of such a complex attitude in an interview with Paul Keating last year. [This article started out as a response to Tigerquoll's comment, "Willful Blindness in East Timor, Sri Lanka, and now West Papua".]

Madang landowners fight ecologically devastating Chinese mining invasion

Chinese government owned China Metallurgical Construction (MCC) corporation's efforts to establish the massively destructive Ramu Nickel mine in Madang Province, Papua New Guinea -- the largest investment in metal exploration and mining by the Chinese outside of China -- is in serious jeopardy. Local landowners are successfully initiating court cases and protests to demand mine tailings not be dumped into the sea -- poisoning fish stocks and causing extreme ecological destruction -- or the mine be stopped.

Article originally published as "Resistance Growing to Ecologically Devastating Chinese Mining Invasion of Madang, Papua New Guinea" on o 1 Apr 10. What you can do: e-mail China Metallurgical Construction Corporation to let them know of your objection to their invasion of Madang.

How did beautiful, rich, sustainable Haiti become Poor Haiti?

How the tragic situation of Haiti's overpopulation and poverty came about? There were not always 9m hungry people there. When this once rich and beautiful island was discovered by Christopher Columbus in 1492, it was inhabited by a population of about 100,000 Amerindians, living in a steady state economy. The Amerindians refused to mine gold for the Spanish, so the Spanish imported many thousands of slaves from Africa. The French took the whole island over in 1697 and it remained their most lucrative possession until 1825, despite the inhabitants claiming independence and freedom from slavery under the French Revolution of 1789. At that time there were few Amerindians but about 400,000 African slaves and 100,000 colonists.

Avatar - film review

Avatar is a remarkable movie, about a fabulous world and an old story with some great new twists and perspectives. This is an exciting and skilled 3D graphics state of the art creation which puts the viewer on a new planet in the skin of an alien tribe. We discuss this experience and the political message of the movie.

World Population Day - what helps keep populations sustainable?

July 11 was World Population Day, marking the day in 1987 when the world’s population passed five billion. This year’s theme is ‘Fight Poverty: Educate Girls.’ Most people think of overpopulation as something that occurs primarily in the 'third world', or if, as in Australia, it occurs with high immigration, they see this process as different from the one that caused the problems in the third world. In fact what is happening in Australia, Canada and the United States, is just what happened to India and Africa and every other now-third-world country.

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