Thursday, 30 August 2007

Jailbreak! Prisoners get their vote back

In a rather surprising move, the High Court handed down a decision this morning overturning a 2006 amendment to the Electoral Act that disenfranchised prisoners.

Aside from the fact that the current court isn't exactly known for it's support for implied rights (think "right to vote", "right to free speech/ political communication", "right not to have an onerous curfew placed on you for no bloody good reason except that the government needs a terror scare every now and then", etc), what was surprising was that the High Court made public its decision without giving its reasoning and explanation (which they will of course give eventually).

But there's more. The person (represented by the
Victorian Human Rights Law Resource Centre) who initiated the case is an aboriginal prisoner from Victoria, Ms Vickie Roache, who was sent to jail for five years in 2004 for "negligently causing serious injury through a car accident", and isn't eligible for parole until August 2008.

Why is this noteworthy? Well, the reactionary 2006 amendments also included the deregistering of the small parties (the Socialist Alliance being just one, although they should be reregistered any day now), or rather, of any party that has not had, or doesn't currently have, representation in Federal Parliament. But this isn't the point the Wombats want to make here.

More importantly, the effects of the amendments with regards to prisoners' rights have two distinct elements:

  1. Their class nature: of the 25,000 prisoners currently incarcerated in Australian jails, the vast majority are of lower socio-economic background, and;
  2. Their racist nature: particularly (as readers may have noticed) I'm going to make a point of aboriginal over-representation. Despite being only 2 percent of the Australian population, indigenous people make up over 20 percent of the prison population, a reality that leads, amongst other things, to an inordinate amount of deaths in custody.

So, not only were the (defeated) amendments yet another attack on the working class, they
effectively constituted an attack on indigenous australia as well.

The High Court's decision restores voting rights to prisoners serving 3 years or less, but it still leaves other prisoners disenfranchised. Short of a Bill of Rights, or a revolution, this situation ain't going away, but this is still a welcome decision.

Apparently Phillip Ruddock was "disappointed" with the decision.
Hopefully he, Howard and their mates will be even more "disappointed" in a few months time.

Time's up Howard!

Tuesday, 21 August 2007

House raids without warrants in NT

This is the text of a letter from Jennifer Martiniello
that has gone to the 7.30 report and several newspapers. Please circulate to your networks.

Jennifer Martiniello is a writer and academic of Arrernte, Chinese and Anglo descent. She is a former Deputy Chair of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait islander Arts Board of the Australia Council for the Arts, and a current member of the Advisory Board of the Australian Centre for Indigenous History at the ANU

Dear Kerry O'Brien and 7.30 researchers,

I have just returned from the Northern Territory. I want John Howard to explain why house to house raids without warrants are being conducted by the AFP in all the Alice Springs town camps.

I also want to know why at least two of the senior women who toured major cities speaking out against a uranium waste dump on their traditional lands have been raided by the AFP on warrants issued by a Federal Magistrate in Canberra, their furniture slashed with knives, belongings damages, laptops and mobile phones seized, and phones tapped. I was told by one of the women that the warrant gave 12 hours access to her home, and that she was told that the measures were justified because of the security crackdown for APEC ministers. One of those women is an elderly grandmother.

I have also been told by town camp residents that the AFP has set up surveillance on all households in the town camps, and have photographed without consent, every Aboriginal child in those town camps. In the 1990s the AFP were successfully taken to court for exactly the same violations in Redfern.

Please report on this disgraceful conduct, and pursue a full explanation from the Howard Government.


Jennifer Martiniello
Member, Advisory Board
Australian Centre for Indigenous History,
Australian National University

This email may contain creative spelling!

Jennifer Martiniello
e: kemarre@optusnet.
m: 0423629470

Thursday, 16 August 2007

Socialism and Climate Change

This will only be a quick post, as various bits-and-bobs of work-to-do are keeping the Wombats out of the mischief we relish so much.

Firstly, via the blog ClimateAndCapitalism, we draw readers' attention to the impending international conference of Eco-socialists in Paris this October. This is a matter on which a longer post will shortly be forthcoming, and is one to which our minds ought to be bent rather sharply, as it re-opens some interesting doors that were closed over a decade ago.

Relatedly, although the links are there to your left, we though we might remind readers to check out the similar, but more local, Green Lefts : Left Greens blog.

Finally, and leading more directly into the next post, and the looming federal election, at least one socialist organisation has produced a comprehensive response to the climate crisis - and what a response!

The Socialist Alliance Climate Change Charter (which the Wombats have now had the opportunity to view in printed format (and it's in colours!)) is an outstanding example of a simultaneously politicial and practical approach to the catastrophe that capitalism threatens to wreak on our planet. An online version is available here.
has voted the Socialist Alliance policy on the issue the best of all of the parties. Not being entirely clear of the methodology for the decision, it might be possible for some to dismiss this as a bunch of unrealistic far-left nonsense. However, the VoteClimate site has a number of clear criteria for their measurement that make it worth taking a look at.

More importantly, having read the Socialist Alliance's charter on Climate Change, it is precisely the right balance of socialist policies (of the transitional sort necessary) which balance the otherwise competing interests of "jobs" and "the environment", and place the solution firmly in a democratic framework. Very impressive.

It's the kind of document that Greens members should be asking "why can't we produce something like this"?

Thursday, 9 August 2007

Venezuela Hosts Indigenous Congress, Gives Land Titles to Indigenous

As decades of indigenous struggle get majicked into thin air with the flick of a pen and the spineless political opportunism of the federal "opposition", the Wombats would like to remind readers that the world does not end at the Australian coastline.

The struggles of other peoples, especially in Latin America, still serve as an inspiration to everyone that dreams of a better world, especially today, August 9, which is World Indigenous Day.

The irony of the date is not lost in Australia, but the promise of what might be is a lot stronger...

Here's one glimpse of that:

Venezuela Hosts Indigenous Congress, Gives Land Titles to Indigenous

Wednesday, Aug 08, 2007

By: Kiraz Janicke -

Caracas, August 8, 2007 (— Coinciding with the launch of the First International Congress of the Anti-imperialist Indigenous Peoples of Latin America (Abya Yala), yesterday, in San Tomé, Anzoátegui state, Venezuelan vice-president Jorge Rodriguez, together with Nicia Maldonado, the Minister of Popular Power for Indigenous Peoples, handed over eleven housing and land titles recognizing indigenous ownership of various indigenous groups throughout the country.

Minister Nicia Maldonado assured that along with the recognition of land titles, the government will provide financial support for projects of integral development and housing for the indigenous communities of Pumé, Yaruro, Kariña and Warao, the first peoples of the states of Apure, Anzoátegui, and Bolívar.

She also said that during the past eight years the Venezuelan government has handed over nine-hundred thousand hectares of land titles to the indigenous peoples of various regions of Venezuela.

The minister said that 2,205 indigenous communities representing more than forty different groups had been identified at a national level, including 26 communities in urban zones and that the delivery of resources for the development of projects would come through financing plans presented by the Indigenous Communal Councils throughout the country.

The minister confirmed that the National Registrar of Indigenous Communal Councils had reached 800 and of these, 520 had so far received financing from the national government for various development projects. She added that financial resources would be made available for the other 280 Communal Councils.

She explained that the Chavez government has encouraged a process of “dignification of the original peoples of the country,” through incorporating them into the education missions, Robinson, Ribas and Sucre, as well as programs of social production such as Mission Vuelvan Caras, now called Mission Ché Guevara, among others.

Maldonado also emphasized that the Constitution of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela “rescued the dignity and rights of the original peoples,” through the Organic Law of the Indigenous Peoples.

Anti-Imperialist Indigenous Congress Opens

The First International Congress of the Anti-imperialist Indigenous Peoples of Latin America (Abya Yala), also opened yesterday in San Tomé. Minister Maldonado said the conference, while promoting cultural diversity, had an “integrationist and unifying character” with the aim of creating a front against the political hegemony of the US imperialism.

More than a thousand delegates of first peoples from 22 different countries participated, including Chile, Ecuador, Peru, Mexico, Bolivia, El Salvador, Canada, Colombia, Costa Rica, Argentina, Guyana, Suriname, Paraguay, San Vicente and the Grenadines, Brazil, Honduras, United States, Uruguay, Panama, and Venezuela.

The Venezuelan delegation included representatives of forty different indigenous groups, first peoples form the states of Anzoátegui, Amazonas, Apure, Bolívar, Delta Amacuro, Monagas, Sucre, and Zulia, as well as members of Indigenous Communal Councils from diverse regions throughout the country.

The first day of the congress covered issues of empowerment of indigenous people, through the articulation of their demands at a national level and expressions of communal power such as the Communal Councils in Venezuela, as well as the importance of promoting and strengthening cultural diversity and preserving indigenous languages, and the Bolivarian Alternative for the peoples of the Americas (ALBA).

The indigenous peoples of the Americas will also share their experiences of US imperialism, privatization of land and resources and struggles against privatization and for the recognition of land rights. Also to be discussed at the conference is the concept of 'Indo-American socialism', the discourse of Socialism of the 21st Century, and more specifically the Bolivarian Revolution in Venezuela, including the “five constituent motors” for pushing the revolution forward, and the role of indigenous peoples within the revolution.

The conference also provided space to discuss strategies and articulate anti-imperialist proposals to create a better world, including the proposal to form a Continental Anti-imperialist Indigenous Council and a proposal to create an Indo-American Indigenous Network of Alternative Communication.

“We are going to celebrate this congress with the aim of going towards the formation of a Continental Anti-imperialist Indigenous Council, constructing 'Indo-American' socialism and the Bolivarian Alternative of the peoples of the Americas,” declared Maria Caicuto, the vice-minister for the communal indigenous territory of the Deltas, Mountains, Coasts and Mangroves.

The closing of the conference coincides with the International Day of Indigenous Peoples on Aug 9.

Wednesday, 8 August 2007

Aboriginal Leaders' Gulkula Letter to Kevin Rudd

Two letters were written on the weekend at a meeting at Gulkula in Arnhem Land of some of Australia's most respected indigenous leaders, including former Northern Land Council president Galarrwuy Yunupingu, Mandawuy Yunupingu from Yothu Yindi, the "father of reconciliation" Patrick Dodson, Social Justice Commissioner Tom Calma and Jackie Huggins, co-chairwoman of Reconciliation Australia.

Some of the
top Aboriginal leaders in the country carried the letters to Canberra earlier this week, in an effort to stop the Howard's government's attacks on aboriginal communities from passing through Parliament. The delegation was led by former Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Employment Coordinator Pat Turner and former NT government minister John Ah Kit, and tried - in vain - to meet with Prime Minister John Howard and Opposition Leader Kevin Rudd before parliament debated the legislation.

Labor voted for it anyway. This is the text of the letter to Rudd:

Mr Kevin Rudd MP
Leader of the Opposition
PO Box 6022
House of Representatives
Parliament House
Canberra ACT 2600

Dear Mr. Rudd

Aboriginal leaders meeting at Garma this weekend have called upon the Prime Minister not to introduce the proposed legislative measures to give affect to his declaration of a national emergency in our communities in the Northern Territory.

The safety and wellbeing of all our children is paramount. We understand the need for tackling violence and abuse in some of our communities. Aboriginal people have led the way in addressing these issues in the absence of government support.

If any measure is expected to achieve the desired outcomes, there must be collaboration with community leaders throughout the Northern Territory. However, the Prime Minister’s unilateral action, without consultation or negotiation with us puts in jeopardy our relationship with the Government. It jeopardises the possibility of achieving any sustainable outcomes. The leaders brought to the Garma meeting messages from communities across the Territory expressing our people’s continuing concerns and alarm at the way in which the Australian Government’s intervention is being used to do much more than the intended protection of our children.

We are at a loss to understand how the removal of the permit system and the introduction of compulsory acquisition of our lands have anything to do with redressing the many complex social issues afflicting our communities. It is more likely that the Governments proposals will open the floodgates to illegal alcohol, drug and pornography dealers and to those who intend to prey on Aboriginal women and children.

We are deeply concerned at the severity and widespread nature of the problems of child sexual abuse and breakdown in our communities. But these are complex matters that occurred due to the neglect of successive governments in Australia that require a long term commitment of resources and political resolve on all our parts if we are to achieve the sustainable, positive changes that are so long over due.

We will continue to work collaboratively with Governments and communities to ensure that children are protected, they are our future and we will not compromise that for them. Above all, the role of our families and the need to strengthen and maintain our families must lie at the heart of any proposed solution. The widespread
fear caused by the deployment of Defence Force personnel in our communities will be a long term obstacle to achieving stable, healthy families and communities.

The Governments present intervention is not sustainable and the personnel presently working in our communities will inevitably leave. The impact of this intervention will have serious negative consequences, and one which concerns us most, because of the widespread defamation of all Aboriginal people that has resulted, is that Aboriginal people will lose confidence in any intervention, such as regular visits to medical services.

The Government’s decision to terminate the CDEP and replace it with social security arrangements will affect a majority of those people living on Aboriginal land. The detrimental impact of this new policy will be to force people into townships and communities where Aboriginal housing and services are drastically inadequate and create further dysfunction in those populations. Their policy of making social security entitlements conditional on school attendance and other factors will also contribute to a large transmigration with disastrous potential.

Moreover because the homelands have served as safe havens for families escaping alcohol, drug abuse, criminal behaviour and related dysfunction there will no longer be the option of the protection of their homelands. Thereby, the scale of the problem that concerns us all will accelerate rapidly particularly exposing women and children to greater risk.

We believe that the following steps are a pathway forward in dealing cooperatively with these matters.

Sit down and talk

It is convention upon the declaration of a national emergency for the Prime Minister to visit the affected areas to offer support and to listen to the needs of the people directly affected. Normally, the Leader of the Opposition accompanies the Prime Minister on such visits.

This fundamental courtesy has not been extended to the Aboriginal people of the Northern Territory. It is a matter of urgency that, before taking any further action, the Prime Minister come to the Northern Territory and meet with us. We believe that you should seek to accompany the Prime Minister in the event he has the courage to make the trip and meet with our people. Indeed, an earlier request to the Prime Minister on 26 June has gone without even any acknowledgement. Nor has there been any acknowledgement of the preliminary response of the Combined Aboriginal Organisations of the Northern Territory sent to the Government on 10 July 2007. We have invited the Prime Minister to meet with us at the earliest opportunity to find a sustainable way forward.

Stop the legislation The Aboriginal leadership meeting at Garma believes that there is no need for the extraordinary legislation that is to be put to the national parliament in the coming week. The proposed legislation has been drafted without any consultation with the people most affected by it – we the Aboriginal people of the Northern Territory.

Our people are concerned that the proposed legislative measures will be in breach of the Racial Discrimination Act, and as such, will bring further international condemnation to all Australians.

The permit system

The current permit system allows for all government officials to enter Aboriginal Land to carry out their duties at any time. These permits are issued by The Australian and Northern Territory Governments, not by any Aboriginal Land Council.

No more dispossession

The Government must negotiate with Aboriginal people with legitimate property rights before any compulsory acquisition of our property. The usurping of our property rights does nothing to engender confidence that we are part of the democratic polity of Australia.

This is our land. Australia recognised this in the Aboriginal Land Rights (Northern Territory) Act 1976 and further reinforced it in the Mabo and Wik native title High Court decisions. Additionally, the Special Purpose Leases in perpetuity for Town Camps provides the necessary security of tenure for Aboriginal people in the Northern Territory.

We know that Australians support the recognition and protection of the property rights of all Australians, including those held by Aboriginal people. The Government’s intention to remove these rights, however well meaning his proposals to protect our children, will be regarded as deceitful and a betrayal of our children.

We would welcome the Oppositions support in defeating this iniquitous legislation. In the event of the legislation passing in the Parliament we would seek a commitment from the Australian Labor Party to repeal it immediately should you win government. We request that you meet with us on our traditional lands in the very near future. If you are agreeable to such a meeting we nominate Ms Olga Havnen as our contact person.

She can be contacted on 0488107060.

Yours Sincerely

Galarrwuy Yunupiŋu
4th August 2007

Tuesday, 7 August 2007

Indigenous rights - Labor fails again!

Word came to the Wombats yesterday that the Howard government's package of legislative amendments to back up their attack on Indigenous communities in the Northern Territory went to Parliament yesterday. Thanks to the support of the ALP, the package passed the Lower House last night. The Government has now given the Senate only one day to review the bills, before they ramm them through on Friday.

Predicting the spineless response from the ALP, outspoken indigenous activist Michael Mansell called Kevin Rudd and Labor's Indigenous affairs spokeswoman Jenny Macklin "intellectually lazy and politically weak" on indigenous issues.

"They have failed to show leadership on any Aboriginal issue put before them."
"That shows how intellectually inadequate Mr Rudd is."

"Kevin Rudd is a dead loss. So is the federal ALP."

The head of the Combined Aboriginal Organisations of the Northern Territory, Pat Turner, also lambasted Warren Mundine, former National President of the ALP, after he launched an attack on the Labor Left for criticising the Government's plan.
Mundine supports the government's attacks on Land Rights.

Turner was among the Aboriginal leaders who came from across Australia came to
Canberra this week to stop the Government's legislation allowing it to grab Aboriginal land, smash Aboriginal self-government and occupy Aboriginal communities in the Northern Territory with police and soldiers. Mal Brough and representatives of the government refused to even meet with them, so there will be a further protest in Canberra this Saturday:

Protest Howard's attacks on Aborigines
11. 00 am Saturday 11 August
Aboriginal Tent Embassy, in front of Old Parliament House,
for a march up
the hill.

Anyone wanting to sign a petition against the attacks, you can download one here, and stay tuned for more updates and actions.

Sunday, 5 August 2007

NT intervention worrying and sickening: Yunupingu

Speaking at the Garma festival at Gulkula near Nhulunbhuy in the Gove Peninsular, north-east Arnhem Land, Galarrwuy Yunupingu, former Northern Land Council president and highly respected indigenous leader, attacked the Howard government's intervention in the Northern Territory, calling it "sickening, rotten and worrying".

"We in the Northern Territory are about to be dispossessed of everything, everything that we've got left from the original dispossession of our land and lives.

"That I should go and change my lifestyle and become a white man is worrying, worrying and sickening."

While the theme for this year's festival is
Indigenous Health: Real Solutions for a Chronic Problem, the federal government's invasion of indigenous communities overshadowed the event, as it did the UNSW Indigenous Law Centre's national forum, intended to mark forty years since the referendum, that this wombat attended recently.

The tide of public opinion has turned so fast against Howard's intervention (but not entirely), the report's authors have been so critical, and they have dropped the ball so quickly, that there is only one good thing that can be said about it: it has got people's attention.

The gradual erosion of rights that the Native Title Act ensured, especially after Howard's amendments, the underfunding and abolition of ATSIC and other indigenous bodies, the ongoing deaths in custody, the exclusion, racism, poverty, health and housing problems, and Howard's stubborn refusal to bow to the "black-armband" view of history and apologise for the Stolen Generations (and there's finally been a victory on that front too) has hidden a very real problem - the lack of a coordinated, activist, strategy for solving the problems indigenous australia. But from the Gove to the York Peninsular, from
Mutijulu to Cumeragunja, from Perth to Palm Island and Redfern, and Canberra, the challenge has been laid out: Whadja gunna do about it?

As Yunupingu pointed out so succinctly,
"I am just reminding people that this is a struggle."

And to win a struggle, you need a vision of what victory will look like, and to know who's on your side.

This from the National Indigenous Times:

"But one fact that Aboriginal Australians can take to the polls with certainty is that nothing will really change under a Rudd government."
"Confronting us at the election booth are two parties - who both have historically discriminated against people and whose Indigenous platforms are shallow to say the least."

At the July 14 rally against Howard's attacks in Sydney, and again at the UNSW-organised forum on July 20, Pat Turner, CEO of the Combined Aboriginal Organisations of the Northern Territory (who have released a 30 page response to Howard's attacks - PDF) echoed those same sentiments, putting Labor on notice: Either distinguish yourself from Howard, or risk losing indigenous support. And everyone should vote for a minor party in the senate, because neither of the major parties can be trusted.

But it's not just about exposing the hypocrisy of the ALP - most people know about it. What we need is a new vision for Australia - Indigenous and non-Indigenous.

As Sam Watson, Socialist Alliance Qld senate candidate says: "
It’s time to put the shameful and disgusting politics of the major parties into the rubbish bin."

Friday, 3 August 2007

High Court Jack Thomas decision underlines need for Bill of Rights

By Raul Bassi, Socialist Alliance National Executive
August 3, 2007

“With its decision to uphold the legality of the Howard government's preventative detention order against Jack Thomas the High Court has lined up with the Coalition's disgraceful campaign to severely curtail civil liberties and destroy the presumption of innocence”, Raul Bassi, Socialist Alliance spokesperson on democratic rights said today.

“This decision, coming on top of the disgusting treatment of David Hicks, Dr. Mohamed Haneef and Mamdouh Habib, underlines why we desperately need a Bill of Rights in this country.

Bassi said that the decision came as no surprise given the conservative stacking of the court during a decade of Howard government judicial appointments

“What the court has effectively said is that governments can use the defence power in the Constitution to pass laws not just in respect of external threats to Australia’s security, but internal threats as well.

“In doing that it has decided that a government of rogues like the Howard administration can be trusted with an absoluely draconian power”, Bassi stressed.

The Socialist Alliance spokeperson noted that the decision effectively overturned one of the key decisions in Australian legal history—the Communist Party case of the 1950s, when the High Court blocked the attempt of the Menzies government to ban the Communist Party.

Bassi praised the principled stance of the dissenting justice Michael Kirby, drawing attention to his comment that:

I did not expect that, during my service, I would see the Communist Party case sidelined, minimised, doubted and even criticised and denigrated in this Court. Given the reasoning expressed by the majority in these proceedings, it appears likely that, had the Dissolution Act of 1950 been challenged today, its constitutional validity would have been upheld. This is further evidence of the unfortunate surrender of the present Court to demands for more and more governmental powers, federal and State, that exceed or offend the constitutional text and its abiding values.

Bassi concluded: “The Socialist Alliance will be using the coming federal election to build the growing campaign for an Australian Bill of Rights. In particular, we call on the Labor Party to stop vacillating on this vital issue and express its support for a principle with which the vast majority of Australians agree.”

For further comment: Raul Bassi (0403 037 376)

Thursday, 2 August 2007

Jack Thomas loses challenge on control orders

This morning (August 2, 2007), the High Court handed down its judgment in the case of Thomas v Mowbray - better known as the challenge by Joseph Terence "Jihad Jack" Thomas against the control orders placed on him by the Federal Government under the new anti-terror laws.

By 5 to 2, the Court found the legislation allowing the control orders valid. The Wombats were not surprised, only disappointed, angered, and
and somewhat peeved.

Unsurprised, because we have little trust left in the corrupt, empty shell that is the liberal bourgeoise democracy and its 'rule of law'.

Angered at a system (it extends beyond merely one government, federal or otherwise) that should allow such a law to be passed in the first place, and angered that the High Court should go against even the logic of its own flawed tradition and reasoning and support the legislation. That an unconvicted man could be placed under such a regime.

Angered also that it comes so soon after the victory for Dr Mohamed Haneef, the Indian doctor arrested for terrorism (and subsequently bailed, then had his visa revoked, then had the charges dropped, then got deported anyway) because he gave his cousin a SIM card, and his cousing might have been involved in the bungled terror attcks in Britain. In so doing, the Thomas judgment gives the Howard Government a bit of a distraction in the terror stakes as its own bungling and political football-playing over Haneef is exposed bloodily in the media.

And not just a little peeved that at least one wombat now has an enormous (over 200 pages) judgment to read in order to scrabble together a 4000-word paper on the thing.

Justice Michael Kirby (who now bears the dubious title of most dissenting judge in High Court history) was true to form, as the fall-guy to straight-man Kenneth Hayne in the minority. Kirby's criticisms, however, reflect some of the central concerns felt about both the legislation and the judgment.

The High Court's decided that the defence power was a valid 'head of power' to enable the legislation under which Thomas' control was ordered.

The Wombats will provide (in a few days, once the judgment has been scrutinised -
maybe weeks given the size) an analysis of just how far this goes, but Kirby's concerns over the breadth of interpretation given to the defence power seem legitimate.

In a nutshell, the court found that the defence power could be used for the purposes of combating terrorism, and could be used for matters internal to Australia, both of which are somewhat worrying developments.

As Kirby points out:
“Moreover, drawing a line between acts designed to coerce or intimidate an Australian government for a political, religious or ideological cause (thus falling within the definition) and pure advocacy, protest, dissent or industrial action (falling outside of the definition) could be difficult,’’
The Wombats will return later - including double-checking this decision with the Communist Party case and a few points on the Bill of Rights debate - but in the meantime, we are left with the hard facts. There's little point trusting in the dessicated follies of the legal system to protect civil liberties and basic human rights.

These things are won (as they always have been) on the streets and in the workplace.