Alex Bainbridge

Thirty people protested outside the office of NSW Labor MP Carmel Tebbutt on August 16 as part of a “Super Saturday” of campaign stalls against electricity privatisation. Around 50 electorates around the state were targeted by Power to the People — a campaign group that includes ALP members, trade unions, Greens, the Socialist Alliance, Solidarity, and other community and environment groups.

The Socialist Alliance campaign for Marrickville council is underway, with a ticket of three committed activists nominated for the north ward. The candidates are Pip Hinman, Jill Hickson and Howard Byrnes.

Fifty people took part in a discussion around the topic “Sex, sexuality and the church” hosted by the Socialist Alliance on August 6.

Socialist Alliance candidates in the upcoming local government elections are calling for a state-wide referendum on power privatisation to be conducted alongside council elections.

The Socialist Alliance will contest the council elections on September 13 in the seat of Marrickville. At a meeting on June 17, the alliance pre-selected three long-term activists: Jill Hickson, Pip Hinman and Howard Byrnes.

The Canterbury-Bankstown Peace Group has launched a petition calling for the immediate withdrawal of all Australian troops from Afghanistan. Successive governments have used the "pretext of pursuing terrorists to impose a 'pro-western' government on

Kathy Black, a convener of US Labor Against the War (USLAW), told a union reception in Sydney on February 29 that she is proud that the organisation has brought workers into the anti-war movement, remarking that “this was the first time that labour has been organised against a foreign invasion and occupation”.

More than 500 Fire Brigade Employee Union members turned out for a mass meeting on February 22 to discuss the progress of their campaign for a decent wage increase. Five hundred on-duty members voted by fax. The NSW government’s offer of a 4% pay rise with loss of conditions was rejected by a vote of 1025 to two, with 25 abstentions. A further motion endorsing the union’s log of claims including a wage rise of between $218 and $354 over three years was approved by a similar margin.

During the war against Vietnam, it was not until 1970 that the US union movement took protest action in an organised manner. And even then, it was a pro-war demonstration called by New York’s Building Trades Council in support of President Richard Nixon. However anti-war unions responded to that demonstration — held on May 20 and drawing 50,000 workers (many of them paid to attend) — with a protest of their own. While it only drew half as many people, it was a significant milestone — it was the first time that US unions formally organised an anti-war demonstration.

The polling company Opinion Research Business (ORB) has released detailed data confirming that the death toll from the Iraq war has exceeded 1 million people — more than the total number killed in the Rwandan genocide of 1994.

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