Alex Bainbridge

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.

Sydney Stop the War Coalition has confirmed that it will be organising an Australian tour of US Labor Against the War (USLAW) leader Kathy Black. The tour will be in the lead-up to the March 16 Palm Sunday rallies that will mark the fifth anniversary of the invasion of Iraq.

To cries of “Barry’s back, Howard’s out”, sacked union delegate Barry Hemsworth marched through the gates of Botany Cranes on November 29 to reclaim his job after 441 days picketing outside the crane yard.

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