JSalloum on Wed, 19 Apr 2000 09:44:48 +0200 (CEST)

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dpi (down under)
dispatch 1
April 19th, 2000

<Events in Washington well-taken by uni students here in Oz>

Uni students declare disgust at the corporatization of their educations as
they find themselves more and more bound to learning job-type technical
skills than anything in the humanities and as 'career day' type specialists
maraude their campuses. Just a few short years ago when the dictator, "Joh"
was head of Queensland it was a law here that assemblies of more than 3
persons on the street were illegal...no possibility for dissent...
Protesters went ahead anyway and got their heads bashed in under his rule.
Now under the Labor party, things have eased up, although, there are police
everywhere, and curiously, a lot of police helicopters.

The Seattle WTO protests of December 1999 inspire leftist young people here
who see themselves as allied with students all over the world and who feel
the effects of globalization more here probably than anyone in the UStates
as Australia is a client-state of the US economy. When Wall Street falls so
does the Aussie dollar.  Environmental issues are particularly killing in
Oz where US interests are considerable esp. for rich uranium deposits often
found on aboriginal sites in the desert and in the Northern Territory and
where the environment is exploited for tourism.

Aboriginals and police are in the news because of the racist Liberal
government which continues to place 'mandatory sentencing' of young people,
many of whom are aboriginal youths receiving the harshest punishment,
above offering solutions to poverty or racial equity. In a few recent
cases, aboriginal youths committed suicide while in jail for things like
stealing a piece of pizza and this of course, raised the ire of their
communities as well as non-racist citizens. Courts seem to see only the
color of their skin while a public lawyers
deal with obstacles towards justice.Issues here for young people are simple
to see:  racist national and regional governments, abuse of land rites,
colonization by the USA of Australia's economy, extreme white nationalism
and consumerism symbolized by the Olympics, cutbacks and corporate control
of education.

<the future>
On MayDay, protest celebrations here in Brisbane will take the form of a
banner-carrying carnival called 'Carnival Against Capitalism' an event in
open solidarity with the WTO protests in Seattle. Posters are everywhere.

<in the news>
DC protests made primetime television on the Australian Broadcasting
Commission channel at 7pm and 9:30 pm, though only briefly. We do get the
MacNeil-Lehrer Newshour as well and they did a whole story on the events.

Protests for the 2000 Olympics with many many people in attendance
including aboriginal leaders are planned for September.
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