One of the biggest lies that the corporate media has relentlessly pushed for many years is that the trade union movement is a "special interest group". They argue this because only 23% of workers are members of trade unions today. However, studies show that the great majority of workers look to unions to defend their rights at work, would join unions if given the opportunity and if they didn't risk being penalised by their boss.
A measure of the success of this propaganda campaign is that there are probably a few progressive-minded people reading this who might think they are not really interested in all that "union stuff" that this paper regularly reports on.
But this coverage is a critical part of Green Left Weekly because it tells the story about important battles taking place right now around the rights of workers to organise collectively. It is about more than "workplace" rights because, if the Howard government succeeds in destroying the trade union movement, all other progressive movements are going to be seriously weakened. This is why Green Left Weekly is serious about doing everything it can to help stop, or at least hold back, Howard's attacks on these fundamental rights.
Ironically, we are uniquely placed to make a big contribution in this battle because the activists who write, publish and distribute Green Left Weekly are politically independent of what is truly one "special interest group" — the Australian Labor Party.
Despite the "Labor" in its name, the ALP represents only the most self-serving, bureaucratic and conservative sections of the labour movement and that's why Green Left Weekly does a better job than any ALP publication on reporting on the struggles of workers for our rights.
ALP governments have, time and time again, loyally served the interests of the corporate elite. Indeed, Howard's current attacks on workers' rights are built on the assaults by the previous ALP federal government on the principle of solidarity that underpins the collective power of workers. That's why the corporate elite donate millions of dollars to both the ALP and the Liberal-National Coalition. This is why the corporate chiefs pay big bucks to have private lunches and dinners with ALP as well as Coalition politicians.
Meanwhile, Green Left Weekly's activist correspondents are literally reporting from the picket lines. Recently, GLW correspondent Sue Bolton rose at 2am to join a picket line at Woodside's Otways gasworks plant construction near Port Campbell in western Victoria. She received a $100 donation to the Green Left Weekly Fighting Fund from the striking workers for her support.
Thanks comrades! It's working-class solidarity like that which has helped us raise 75% of our ambitious $250,000 Fighting Fund target this year.
If you can help, please deposit a donation to the Green Left Weekly Fighting Fund at: Greenleft, Commonwealth Bank, BSB 062-006, Account No. 901992. Alternatively, send a cheque or money order to PO Box 515, Broadway NSW 2007, phone it through on the toll-free line at 1800 634 206 (within Australia), or donate online at <http://www.greenleft.org.au/donate.php>.
And remember to check the calendar on page 23 for end of year fundraising events.