Australian peace movement steps up direct action against the wars

Australian peace activists are taking direct action against military expenditure, war games, the U.S. alliance, the Afghanistan War and the trial of Julian Assange over the next few weeks. On June 28th in Adelaide, activists are picketing a Defence Industry Expo. From July 4th-8th a a blockade of the Swan Island military base is occurring to protest the Afghanistan War. Throughout July actions are occurring around Shoalwater Bay and Rockhampton to protest and disrupt the 2011 Talisman Sabre war games between the U.S. and Australian militaries. In London, prominent Australian Peace activist Ciaron O’Reilly is organizing solidarity actions around the impending trial of Julian Assange under the banner: "WAR CRIMES EXPOSED! Don't Shoot the Messenger! FREE Assange!" All of these are non-violent direct actions seeking to disrupt the involvement of Australia in brutal imperialistic U.S wars both current and future. Whilst small in number these actions possibly demonstrate the seeds of rebirth of a mass movement against the wars in Australia.
Related: Adelaide Industry Expos Blockade (D.I.E.) -- Swan Island Peace Convergence -- Shoalwater Bay Peace Convergence

All day picket of Defence Industry Expo
The Left Unity group has organized the blockade in Adelaide on June 28th against the Defence Industry Expo being organized by the Federal and South Australian governments. The expo will have over 200 exhibitors showing of their weapons of death.

The expo’s >website proudly states ” In the decade to 2020, the Australian Government will invest more than $150 billion in defence capability. Eighty per cent of all Australia’s war fighting assets are set to be replaced or upgraded, and this creates major opportunities for the local defence industry.”

Left Unity has other ideas however stating on their Facebook page We think taxpayers money should be spent on the creation of renewable industries and essential services like health, education, public transport and the like.

Why are thousands of public sector jobs being cut and services slashed while millions are being spent on the manufacture of weapons that are ultimately used to kill people in other parts of the world?

These weapons are being bought to help shore up the self-interested global military strategy of the United States. This course has caused people around the world, including Australians, needless suffering and loss in places like Korea, Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan.

> Adelaide Industry Expos Blockade (D.I.E.)

Talisman Sabre Peace Convergence: Stop the war games, closes the bases, end the wars
In Queensland throughout July actions are occurring as part of the 2011 Peace Convergence The Peace Convergence is a loosely aligned array of peace social justice and environment groups and individuals. Every two years, around June July, they gather near Rockhampton to challenge the nature and activities of the Australian and US military alliance by focussing on the military exercises, Talisman Sabre, which are held there each two years.

The call to action on the Convergence’s website states:
“Some of us pilgrims, will again enter the war-making area to build shrines and reflect what it means to be in perpetual war.
• You can enter into this site of preparation of war
• You can witness as millions of taxpayer dollars are spent in our name in training young men and women to kill.
• Put your body where you mind is: Use the time to reflect, pray, study, meditate, further your spiritual and political practice.

Peace Convergence website and details of planned actions

Swan Island Peace Convergence
The Swan Island Peace Convergence 2011 in Queenscliff, Victoria will take place for one week in the school holidays from July 4th to 8th. It is timed to , coincide with the Talisman Sabre joint Australian-US military exercises already underway in Queensland, Australia. It’s calling on people to “Be brave – Resist the War!”. The Swan Island military base is being targeting for a daily blockade because it is where SAS troops are trained before serving in Afghanistan as well being home the operations of ASIS. As well a blockade there will be non-arrestable actions such as children’s activities, non-violence training and film’s on peace and Afghanistan. The group has outlined why it believes Why she should end the Afghanistan War The actions at Queenscliff follow on from two successful direct actions at the base in 2010 by peace activists.

Register to attend and learn more about the action here

Julian Assange Solidarity
After a flurry of rallies the solidarity campaign around Julian Assange seems to have died down. However prominent Australian peace activist Ciaron O’Reilly is currently organizing in London around the impending deportation hearing of Julian Assange on July 12th and 13th. They are campaigning around the banner “"WAR CRIMES EXPOSED! Don't Shoot the Messenger! FREE Assange!", which explicitly makes the link between defending Assange and Wikileaks and stopping the U.S. wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Ciaron has repeatedly made the point publicly that the peace movement needs to show solidarity to both Julian Assange and Bradley Manning if we want people to know that if they actively oppose the wars they will be supported when the state moves against them.

Ciaron is helping to organize
*Sat July 9 Public Meeting Giuseppe Conlon Venue, Harringay, London where Human Rights Activist Peter Tatchell, Iraq War Veteran Ben Griffin, and former prisoner of the U.S. Ciaron O'Reilly will speak.
*Tues July 12 & Wed July 13 Vigil outside High Court, The Strand, London
LINKS to FLYER - "Free Assange!"



Regarding your
activity calendar,
June 28, 2011
is a Mayan Prophecy day.

There is a Grand Square.

Sun in Cancer 6 degrees
Pluto in Capricorn 6 degrees
square to
Uranus in Aries 4 degrees
Saturn in Libra 10 degrees.

See the picture on my blog,
this makes an Astrological
Grand Square which means it is
a Mayan Prophecy Day.

Be careful during your activities
on this day, June 28, 2011, a
Mayan Prophecy Day because of
the Astrological Grand Square.

Cris Ericson

I don't know if writing here is for criticising the article but i'd just like to point out two inconsistencies in it, as someone who's been both organising for this action and is a part of the left unity network(it's not a group, as such, but combines input from a number of groups and individuals).

First is that we aren't staging a blockade, we're staging an all day picket and an evening rally. If we'd organised a blockade, we'd be having a blockade, but ultimately we weren't organised enough, so there isn't going to be a blockade.

Second is that while this action is non-violent in nature, but political we are not explicitly non-violent - that is, most of us don't affiliate ourselves with the ideologies of non-violent direct action, though we are undertaking a non-violent action.

That said, we aren't urban guerilla's, and we don't engage in armed struggle, nor do we promote armed struggle - we promote class struggle, which, as you can see on the news, often has violent outbreaks. Though mostly these outbreaks result from repression against our class, the working class, by our wealthy and powerful masters and their police.

In solidarity,
member of Organise! - a participating group in the LU network.

"And so begins the final drama
In the streets and in the fields
We stand unbowed before their armour
We defy their guns and shields
When we fight, provoked by their aggression
Let us be inspired by life and love
For though they offer us concessions
Change will not come from above" - The Internationale, Billy Bragg version.

Firstly - this IS the place to critisize articles, Indymedia exists to promote debate and discussion. Secondly - thanks for the clarification of both the action (I made the appropriate changes) and the position of Left Unity. Hope to see some coverage of the action on Indymedia if possible.