Sri Lankan government arrests workers’ movement leader
Sri Lankan government arrests workers’ movement leader
)

Prominent Sri Lankan trade unionist and Ceylon Teachers’ Union General Secretary Joseph Stalin was arrested in his office on 4 August for taking part in a large anti-government protest in May.

Stalin’s arrest is part of a wave of repression by the new Sri Lankan president, Ranil Wickremesinghe, against the movement that toppled Gotabaya Rajapaksa, the country’s previous leader. Leftists, trade unionists and student unionists have been targeted by the new government. Activists have been pulled off planes and buses by plain-clothes police. Others have had arrest warrants issued, and their houses and offices have been raided.

Wickremesinghe’s crackdown rivals the authoritarian legacy of previous governments, notorious for the abduction, intimidation and surveillance of journalists and anti-government activists.

Hours after Gotabaya was forced to flee the country, Wickremesinghe, in a televised address declaring himself acting president, ordered the military to “do whatever is necessary to restore order”. Since being sworn in, he has declared a state of emergency. Protesters continuing to occupy the main protest site, Galle Face Green in the capital, Colombo, were attacked on 22 July by police and soldiers, who demolished their makeshift camp and attacked journalists covering the raid.

Stalin is the most high-profile unionist to be arrested since the crackdown began. It is not the first time he has faced reprisals from the government. The Ceylon Teachers’ Union has a history of standing in solidarity with the oppressed Tamil population in the north-east of the country, and Stalin has previously been arrested for protesting against the militarisation of education.

According to Journalists for Democracy in Sri Lanka, teachers across the island walked out in protest against his arrest, and hundreds of unionists rallied in Colombo demanding his release, along with all the other anti-government activists who have been arrested in recent times.

Read more
A revolution in Australia?
Ben Hillier

Revolutions happen only in places with repressive regimes and extreme poverty. They don’t happen in economically advanced, democratic countries like Australia. Most people think this. But is it right? Recent history might seem to suggest so—social revolutions are practically unheard of in the West. There are, however, a number of reasons why revolution in Australia is possible.

Vote Victorians Socialists

The billionaires have had it too good for too long. CEO salaries are up more than 40 percent in a year, while living standards for everyone else are getting smashed. Decade after decade, under both major parties, the rich have gotten richer while everyone else struggles. And the politicians run Victoria like it’s their own private cash machine. 

Women’s oppression and capitalism
Women’s oppression and capitalism
Diane Fieldes

Women’s oppression looks quite different today than 60 years ago. Women’s rights are more accepted now, women are a bigger part of the workforce, contraception and abortion are legal in much of the world. There are more women world leaders and CEOs than ever before. At the same time, the vast majority of women, even in a wealthy country like Australia, are still paid less on average than men, still do most of the unpaid child care and other domestic labour in the home and still have to contend with demeaning sexist stereotypes.

Greek resistance in WWII: from triumph to defeat 
Greek resistance in WWII
Tom Bramble

Imperialist occupation has always generated resistance. Time and again, oppressed people have risen up heroically to drive out occupying armies. But heroism isn’t always enough: the politics of the resistance frequently make the difference between victory and defeat. 

WA public sector workers fight back
Nick Everett

Western Australian public sector workers will rally at the state parliament on 17 August to demand that wages keep up with the cost of living. The rally, organised by the Public Sector Alliance of nine trade unions, follows several stop-work rallies held at WA hospitals over the last month, involving thousands of health workers.

Labor’s climate bill is a disaster
Jerome Small

The whole country is talking about Labor’s Climate Change Bill. But there’s nothing there.