Asylum seekers: No room at the inn

[Green Left Weekly, #812, September 26, 2009]

With seven boatloads of asylum seekers intercepted in September, Australia’s Christmas Island detention centre is fast filling up. It now holds 677 detainees. ALP Home Affairs Minister Brendan O'Connor told a conference that people smuggling was one of the key threats facing the country. But even he had to admit that the primary reason people seek refuge is because of "push factors" such as "war, civil conflicts, famines".

Tens of millions on move

Communism in Australia

[The text of a talk delivered to the conference A Century of Struggle — Laborism and the Radical Alternative. Lessons for Today. The gathering was held in Melbourne on May 30, 2009; it was organised by Socialist Alliance and sponsored by Green Left Weekly.]

The original Communist Party of Australia ceased to exist in 1991. (The present CPA is the renamed Socialist Party of Australia, the result of a pro-Moscow split from the old CPA in 1971.) So it is a long while gone. Many comrades here would have had no experience of it.

The Great Depression: Lessons for Socialists

[This is an edited version of a talk delivered at the World at a Crossroads Conference in Sydney, Easter 2009. It was organised by the Democratic Socialist Perspective and Resistance and sponsored by Green Left Weekly.]

It is widely recognised that the current global economic crisis is not a normal recession of the kind which characterises the capitalist business cycle — that is, it is not one of the periodic downturns which inevitably follow a boom period. Rather, it is a fundamental slump.

Not a normal recession but a fundamental slump

[Speech at the Melbourne launch of the pamphlet Meltdown! A Socialist View of the Capitalist Crisis (Resistance Books: Sydney, 2009); March 19, 2009]

Our pamphlet tries to briefly sketch for the reader some the main features of the current economic crisis and its main social and political consequences.

The first point to grasp is that this is a not a normal recession of the kind which characterises the capitalist business cycle — that is, it is not one of the periodic downturns which inevitably follow a boom period.

Nylex succumbs to 'oversupply' of water tanks

[Green Left Weekly, #785, February 28, 2009]

Victorian plastics manufacturer Nylex as been placed in the hands of receivers. Nylex is a well-known name — the company produces the iconic Esky, water tanks, wheelie garbage bins, hose and garden fittings, and interior trimmings for car manufacturers.