Peter Boyle

Seven hundred issues ago the first copy of Green Left Weekly hit the streets in the midst of the first US-led invasion of Iraq. “Just say no” to the war, was the cry on our multi-coloured cover, and the issue was snapped up eagerly at the anti-war protests.

An article by Adele Horin in the February 15 Sydney Morning Herald reported the findings of a world authority on income inequality, Sir Anthony Atkinson, of Oxford University, which he presented at a seminar at the social policy research centre at the University of NSW.

Dita Sari is arguably the most well-known progressive activist in Indonesia today. A former trade union leader and political prisoner under the Suharto regime, she is now the chairperson of the People’s Democratic Party (PRD), which is the leading force in the new, broader National Liberation Party of Unity (Papernas). Sari was interviewed in Jakarta by Green Left Weekly’s Peter Boyle after the founding conference of Papernas in January, which selected her as its candidate for the 2009 presidential elections.

Green Left Weekly has received a desperate appeal from Papernas (the National Liberation Party of Unity) in Indonesia for emergency solidarity in the wake of severe floods in Jakarta and surrounding heavily populated areas.

On February 2, I had a heart attack. All of a sudden, I was spun into the emergency health system. Over the next four days I received the most amazing health care from the ambos to the nurses and doctors at the public Royal Prince Alfred Hospital. It was a powerful rebuttal of the narrow-minded idea that society has to be based on material self-interest, profit and greed.

Isn’t it great to begin the new year of struggle with a victory! The January 26 announcement that Senior Sergeant Chris Hurley will be charged with the manslaughter on Palm Island in 2004 of Mulrunji, a young Indigenous man, was a historic victory. This will be the first time in Queensland history (and only the second time in Australian history) that a police officer is to be charged in relation to an Aboriginal death in custody.

Intimidation by armed right-wing thugs and police harassment failed to disperse the January 18-20 founding congress of Indonesia’s new National Liberation Party of Unity (Papernas) at Kaliurang, near Yogyakarta in Indonesia.

Last Friday, as I sat down to write this, a progress report on the Green Left Weekly fighting fund was emailed in from Will who heads our small but serious finance team. More than $16,000 came in from our supporters the previous week (donations and fund raising events), taking the total raised this year to $203,815.

One of the biggest lies that the corporate media has relentlessly pushed for many years is that the trade union movement is a “special interest group”. They argue this because only 23% of workers are members of trade unions today. However, studies show that the great majority of workers look to unions to defend their rights at work, would join unions if given the opportunity and if they didn’t risk being penalised by their boss.

For most of us, if you lose your job you’re in serious financial trouble. Not so for recently sacked US defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld.

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