Left unions publish new paper

Issue 

Left unions publish new paper

By Peter Boyle

MELBOURNE — A number of Victorian unions under left-wing leadership and some community groups have produced the first issue of a new monthly newspaper called FrontLine. Their aim is to "help that process of promoting understanding, developing effective struggles, and projecting a different vision of the sort of society that ordinary people want to build".

Each month they will attempt to distribute 20,000 copies, free of charge, through unions and community groups.

FrontLine declares that it is "not a publication for bosses and bureaucrats, or economic rationalists and cost slashers on either side of politics. It's for all those who want to organise and educate, agitate and struggle for their rights and needs as workers, community activists, the dispossessed and the exploited."

The first issue, professionally put together by David Spratt, contains informative and agitational articles on the Victorian situation, sections 45D and E of the Trade Practices Act, the peace movement and the "New World Order" (by John Pilger).

Among the contributors are Labor left activists like Mike Salvaris, Geoff Lazarus and Pat Power, the state Labor MP for Jika Jika. Len Cooper, Victorian state secretary of the Communications Workers Union (Telecommunications Branch), Electrical Trades Union assistant secretary Dick Gray and community activists Kevin Healy and Nic Maclellan also contribute articles.

FrontLine is critical of federal and state Labor governments which have pursued "policies of deregulation and privatisation, of cutting back services and of keeping the money markets and the bosses happy". The ALP-ACTU Accord has held back wages for a decade and, as Prime Minister Keating boasts, "delivered an all-time high profit share to employers".

"The theory that high profits create investment has crashed", says the FrontLine editorial. "Manufacturing industry and jobs are being deliberately destroyed, unemployment is 11 per cent and rising, and we are told to 'exercise restraint'. No wonder people are cynical about politics!

"But the advent of the Kennett State government, with the possibility of Hewson to follow federally, makes urgent the need to develop our struggle in the workplace, in the community and on the streets with all our energy. Recent experiences teach us that the age-old Labor call to 'just hang on till the next election and we'll fix it up' is a fraud. It is a call to surrender."