Peter Boyle

Dear Green Left Weekly reader,

What a relief to finally see the back of John Howard and his despised Coalition government!

“Now that Labor has decisively won the federal election, it is urgent that Australian troops be withdrawn from Iraq as soon as possible”, Jim McIlroy, the Socialist Alliance candidate for Kevin Rudd’s seat of Griffith, said after the announcement that Labor had defeated the Howard government. McIlroy also called for an end to Australian support for the war in Afghanistan. “All Australian forces should be brought home by Christmas.

The Socialist Alliance "Howard Overboard" election night party in Green Left Weekly's offices in Sydney spontaneously spilled into the streets when John Howard conceded defeat. Jubilant activists celebrated with chants, whistles and pots and pans in a lap around the block which drew out people from their homes. A right-wing government that has plagued Australia since 1996 has been defeated and we have much to celebrate.

I became a grandfather last week. The much-anticipated first grandchild arrived at 11.42pm. That’s worse than it sounds because she was born in Perth and I live in Sydney — two hours ahead. I groggily answered the phone but my eldest daughter’s excited voice woke me up quickly and the memory of the birth of my younger daughter just 11 years ago came rushing back.

Come Saturday night, most political parties in Australia will be winding up their public campaigning until the next elections. The rank-and-file members who did their stint of letterboxing and polling booth duty will mostly retreat into inactivity, leaving “politics” once again to the professional politicians. No wonder so many people are cynical about politics — in their experience, it’s about politicians doing it by themselves and largely for themselves.

The idea that we build something much better than capitalism had been around for generations but, 90 years ago in Russia, for the first time an alliance of workers and peasants made a revolution that was to frame the course of history ever since.

The idea that we build something much better than capitalism had been around for generations but, 90 years ago in Russia, for the first time an alliance of workers and peasants made a revolution that was to frame the course of history ever since

Thousands of people will read Green Left Weekly for the first time this week. You may be one of these first-time readers. If so, chances are you will have picked up a copy at one of the large Walk Against Warming marches being held all around Australia on the weekend of November 10-11.

It was when they played Kermit the Frog singing The Rainbow Connection at Gail Lord’s funeral that I started crying.

When PM John Howard tried, unsuccessfully, to ban the use of the “worm” — the audience’s reaction graph in the only debate Howard’s agreed to have with Labor leader Kevin Rudd in this election campaign — Rudd protested with a scripted joke.

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