Thursday, 19 July 2007

40 years since Che Guevara, the lesson still stands...

On December 11, 1964, Ernesto "Che" Guevara, gave Imperialism a good smack about the face at the United Nations. Not only Imperialism, but that pathetic cop-out that characterised the Moscow camp, "peaceful coexistence". The video below is footage of that speech.

Perhaps one of the most relevant parts is this:

We want to build socialism; we have declared ourselves partisans of those who strive for peace; we have declared ourselves as falling within the group of non-aligned countries, although we are Marxist-Leninists, because the non-aligned countries, like ourselves, fight imperialism. We want peace; we want to build a better life for our people, and that is why we avoid answering, so far as possible, the planned provocations of the Yankee. But we know the mentality of United States rulers; they want to make us pay a very high price for that peace. We reply that price cannot go beyond the bounds of dignity.

And Cuba reaffirms once again the right to maintain on its territory the weapons it wishes and its refusal to recognize the right of any power on earth -- no matter how powerful -- to violate our soil, our territorial waters, or our airspace.

Click here for the full speech.

Why do the Wombats bring this up at this point? Well, as many readers will know, Latin america is again in the throes of revolution, as millions of people rebel against the poverty, oppression and inhumanity that has been wrought on them.

And this year is 40 years since Che was killed in the jungles on Bolivia.

So we are adding to the chorus of advertisements for the
LATIN AMERICA & ASIA PACIFIC SOLIDARITY FORUM 2007, to be held on October 11-14 in Melbourne. Details are below, or check out

Oct 11-14, 2007 - Melbourne, Australia - Fighting and organising globally against neoliberalism! - A global call for participation

We call on all activists, organisations and communities who are committed to building a better world to join together at the Latin American and Asia Pacific International Solidarity Forum to be held in October 2007, in Melbourne Australia.

The forum has been initiated by the organisers of several successful conferences and gatherings in solidarity with Latin America and the Asia Pacific, the Australia-Venezuela Solidarity Network (AVSN), Asia Pacific International Solidarity Conference (APISC) and the Latin American Solidarity Network (LASNET). With this call we would like to invite you to participate in this international forum.

A time of resistance, progress and struggle

Today, cracks are beginning to appear in the neo-liberal capitalist ruling system. In the Asia-Pacific there is a growing crisis of legitimacy for neo-liberal governments and mass movements of resistance are on the rise. In Latin American a people's rebellion is growing across the continent. An echo of the massive independence struggles against colonialism and imperialism can again be heard.

Old ideas are being re-examined and new ways experimented with. Discussion and debate have been revived among whole communities - on issues such as workers' control and management; indigenous autonomy and self-determination; building trade unions and social movements; electoral campaigning and counter-power strategies. These discussions have given birth to some of the most dynamic and successful social movements and political organisations in recent decades.

There is great diversity among these movements. Some are working to achieve power, while others, such as the Zapatistas, aim to completely re-define and recreate the notion of power. Some have formed links with political parties and are constantly adjusting how they relate to the government of the day.

Popular governments have won elections with the support of social movements, and in countries such as Venezuela, Bolivia and Ecuador we are seeing progressive and radical changes. The Venezuelan idea of socialism for the 21st century is giving renewed hope and energy to other liberation processes.

Many of these movements and political organisations are winning. They are strengthening people's participation, strengthening their communities, developing people's power and inspiring a new generation of political activists.

Another world can only be realised if people like you and me also commit to this emerging project of struggle against neoliberalism.

The main aims of the conference are:

* To facilitate the sharing of ideas and experiences and generate political discussions between Latin American, Asia-Pacific and Australian social movements, political organisations and individual activists, thereby helping to create spaces for global coordination and campaigning, as well as strengthening mutual ties.

* To build support for and solidarity with grass-roots movements and political organisations fighting neoliberalism and resisting the plunder of natural resources by capitalist transnationals and governments.

Major forum themes include:

* The histories and experiences of struggles and movements of resistance
* Campaigning and organising strategies
* Anti-capitalist and revolutionary theory and practice
* Emerging alternatives to neo-liberalism
* Saving our planet from ecological collapse
* Indigenous struggles and resistance
* Cultural action and liberation

International guests and participants
The Forum would like to see the broadest possible participation from the Asia-Pacific and Latin American regions, and also encourages activists from all parts of the world to participate.

The Forum will likely include featured guests from:
Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Venezuela, El Salvador, Cuba, Chile, Mexico, Indonesia, the Philippines, East Timor, Pakistan, Fiji, West Papua, India, Mauritius, Bangladesh, Japan, Korea, Malaysia and New Zealand.

The Forum encourages campaign organisations, trade unions, NGOs, progressive political parties, social movements, academics and all activists to submit proposals for workshops and papers. In order to maximise participation and inclusiveness, the conference will have an open door policy on workshops---space permitting. We will attempt to accommodate all workshop proposals that fall within the broad scope of the conference.

To register for the forum, sponsor it, submit a workshop proposal or be added to the forum email list to receive updates please contact us.

We hope that this Forum will be a contribution to popular global resistance and struggle against neoliberalism, war and injustice. We hope for a continued renewal of the solidarity movement around the world and for projects such as these to become more than isolated events.

Only organisation and struggle will make us free!

Latin American-Asia Pacific International Solidarity Forum
Organising Committee, Australia

Further Information:
Email or phone

Solidarity Forum steering committee contacts
Australia Asia Worker Links Tel: 03 9663 7277
Australia-Venezuela Solidarity Network - Jody Betzien 0425 887 078
Bolivarian Circle - Jorge Jorquera 0431 720 787
Asia Pacific International Solidarity Conference - Lisa Macdonald 0413 031 108
LasNet - Lucho Riquelme 0402 754 818

A new vision for Australia

Sam Watson

By Sam Watson, leading Indigenous activist and Socialist Alliance Senate candidate for Queensland

As Australia’s most important federal election in decades approaches we urgently need a new vision for this country’s future.

Traditional politics—Coalition and Labor—is more and more hostile and irrelevant to that future.

What hope can a government that has engaged in criminal wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and attacks on Indigenous communities in the Northern Territory offer us?

What hope is in there in a Labor “opposition” that stands shoulder-to-shoulder with John Howard in his latest racist attack, supports anti-terrorism legislation that destroys civil liberties, and retreats from its promises to tear up Howard’s hated anti-worker and anti-union laws?

It’s time to put the shameful and disgusting politics of the major parties into the rubbish bin.

It’s time to enshrine the values of the just, democratic and sustainable society we need in a Bill of Rights—something Australia’s ruling elites have never felt its people could be trusted with.

At the core of such a Bill should be reconciliation with and justice for Indigenous Australia.

Most of all, it’s time to build a political alternative that rejects the economic rationalist agenda of dog-eat-dog “competitiveness”, which threatens our planet with a permanent tragedy of war and environmental disaster.

The alternative we need must put people and our planet before the profits of the giant corporations. It must enshrine the principles of democracy, solidarity and cooperation. It must learn from Indigenous tradition and respect and live in balance with the natural world.

As a Socialist Alliance candidate in the 2007 federal election I am standing to advance these values and the concrete policies that can promote them.

If you agree with our approach, express your support by signing on below. By working together we will build the future we all need!

  • Yes, I support Sam Watson‘s New Vision for Australia
  • Download a copy of Sam Watson‘s New Vision for Australia statement
  • Download Sam Watson for Senate leaflet