$250,000 fighting fund: People's power and Howard's exit


Saturday September 8 was another red banner day for people's power.

Did you notice the stark contrast between the smiles on the faces of the protesters as our numbers swelled and the angry glare of thousands of pumped up and over-armed riot police? In some dark room somewhere, NSW police commissioner Andrew Scipione (still smarting from the Chasers' stunt) might have been glowering at TV screens fed by the those hooded police cameras on poles, which monitored us from all angles.

There were weeks of unprecedented intimidation against any protest, captured by cartoonist Joel Tarling's satirical postcard: "Greetings from APEC: Sydney, you have the right to be silent." We refused to be silent. An army of Darth Vaders, helicopters with snipers and a menacing but redundant water cannon truck locked down Sydney, but still we defied them in our thousands.

PM John Howard's campaign to convince us that we have to sacrifice our democratic rights in the name of the "war on terror" fell apart. The Drizabone-clad global warming charade fell flat and over the next few days things got decisively worse for Howard.

The betting agency Centrebet has picked every election result since it started taking wagers on election outcomes 15 years ago. It now gives Howard only a 25.7% chance of winning the next election.

When the Liberal pollies panicked and called a meeting to discuss replacing Howard as PM, Centrebet and Lasseters, another bookie, froze wagers on who would win the federal election.

"If the Prime Minister is to get the tap on the shoulder then [opposition leader] Kevin Rudd may as well get his keys cut for The Lodge", Lasseters' sports betting manager, Gerard Daffy, warned in a press statement over the weekend.

Bowing to the proven superiority of bookies' odds over all known political opinion polls, the Liberals kept Howard in the driver's seat. But the Liberal-National coalition is still on the exit ramp and Peter Costello is probably quietly relieved he hasn't been picked this time!

None of this would have happened if the humble masses had meekly stayed at home in the face of the war in Iraq, the reactionary industrial relations laws, the irresponsible global warming denial, the jackbooted "anti-terrorism" laws, etc.

But the more important lesson is that even after Howard is thrown out at the elections we cannot stop fighting. Just listen to Rudd and you know we will need an ongoing and independent campaign to defend our rights.

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Since the last issue our supporters have raised $5028 for our Fighting Fund. This brings the total raised so far to $148,563 or 59% of our $250,000 target for this year. Please help us make that target by depositing 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/fogl.htm.