Jim McIlroy

While the Venezuelan government of socialist President Hugo Chavez has made headlines for its battle with ExxonMobil, Venezuela is not the only country under attack by the world’s largest oil corporation for refusing to submit to its dictates.

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez received widespread popular acclaim when he toured the Central American countries of Guatemala and Honduras in mid-January, Rafael Pacheco, from Australian Solidarity with Latin America and the Committee in Support of the FMLN in Brisbane, told a meeting on January 28. The meeting was hosted by the Australia-Venezuela Solidarity Network.

Lawyers and civil libertarians have slammed Australian Federal Police Commissioner Mick Keelty after he called for a media black-out on coverage of cases under the federal government’s “anti-terrorism” laws until all legal avenues have been exhausted.

Workers at the Foster’s brewery at Yatala, south of Brisbane, have stepped up their campaign for a union agreement, following a victory over the latest attempt by the company’s management to impose a non-union agreement on the workforce at the plant.

Forty years ago, the Tet Offensive changed the course of the Vietnam War and world history. On January 31, 1968, fighters of the North Vietnamese Army (NVA) and the National Liberation Front of South Vietnam (NLF) — known dismissively as the “Vietcong” — launched an all-out assault on cities and towns throughout US-occupied South Vietnam, catching the US and its puppet regime completely by surprise, and stunning the world with their courage and audacity.

Long-time environmental campaigner David White has been preselected by the Socialist Alliance to contest the inner-city Central Ward in the March 15 Brisbane City Council elections.

On January 8, protesters took to piers around Port Philip Bay as part of the campaign against the planned dredging of the bay — scheduled to begin in the coming weeks. The Port of Melbourne Corporation intends to dredge an underwater rock wall containing unique sea life.

“In the new year, the progressive community needs to take up the cudgels for all those who continue to suffer human rights abuses in this country”, Sam Watson, Murri activist and Socialist Alliance Senate candidate in the recent federal elections, told a speak-out for International Human Rights Day on December 7. He condemned the attacks on Aboriginal rights inherent in the former Howard government’s invasion of the Northern Territory, and the infringement of civil liberties represented by the mandatory detention of refugees and the “anti-terror” laws.

The defeat of the Howard government in the November 24 federal election was “a great victory for the Australian working class”, Sam Watson, leading Aboriginal activist and Queensland Senate candidate for the Socialist Alliance, told Green Left Weekly. “John Howard has been cast out, senior ministers defeated, and many Coalition seats now made marginal. This represents a realignment of working-class forces in the country”, Watson added.

Workers at the Foster’s brewery at Yatala, south of Brisbane, have stepped up their campaign for a union agreement, following a victory over the latest attempt by the company’s management to impose a non-union agreement on the work force at the plant. Scott Wilson, Electrical Trades Union (ETU) organiser for the site, told Green Left Weekly that the Yatala workers had voted by 154 to 120 to reject management’s third offer of a non-union agreement, which provides wages and conditions significantly below those of workers at other breweries in southern states.

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