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The strategy and tactics of the Venezuelan opposition is a replay of events that took place leading up to the coup against Hugo Chavez on April 11, 2002. The blatant distortions and in some cases lies of the media — CNN in Spanish playing a lead role — represent an essential element in the strategy. There are two main groups that the United States-funded right-wing opposition has mobilised. From all appearances, the two act in coordination even though their style, and even social background, differs.
Most of the first world is still feeling the effects of the global financial crisis (GFC), as economies remain either stagnant or in recession. The financial crisis can be traced back to the decision in the United States to lower interest rates, which fell from 6% in January 2001 to 1% in mid-2003. This led banks and other financial institutions, awash with cheap money, to conclude that lending to prospective home buyers at risk of being unable to afford their repayments was a safe bet. Between 2002 and 2007, sub-prime lending rose from 3% of US residential mortgages to 15%.
“Forgetting Fukushima makes it more likely that such a nuclear disaster could happen elsewhere,” said Tatsuko Okawara, one of the hundreds of thousands of victims of the Fukushima accident that began on March 11, 2011. The nuclear industry, however, is trying its hardest to make us forget. It is downplaying the impacts of the accident, ignoring the fact that the Fukushima reactors are still not under control and claiming that lessons have been learned. Nothing is further from the truth.
Three Australian unionists recently returned from Bangladesh gave a reportback to a forum in Melbourne on March 5 on the conditions experienced by its clothing and textile workers. The meeting was organised by Australia Asia Worker Links (AAWL).
March in March graphic

Green Left Weekly is liveblogging March in March rallies happening this weekend. There are 31 events being held across the country.

The ex-Labor Party federal president and former national president of the Health Services Union (HSU), Michael Williamson, is now in jail after pleading guilty in October last year to defrauding union members of $5 million. When he was granted bail after his conviction he immediately filed for bankruptcy. The bankruptcy documents declared he had almost no assets to his name. This is despite his annual salary at the union ranging from $290,000 to more than $500,000.
First there was climate denial. But the mocking laughter of the informed public – along with the indignation of the scientists – finally reached the energy-company boardrooms. So now instead we get the non sequitur. That’s Latin for “it doesn’t follow”. Rather than lying outright, the fossil-fuel chiefs make nakedly contradictory statements and count on us not to notice.

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ebulliently congratulated president-elect Salvador Sanchez Ceren of El Salvador’s FMLN party, who was declared winner on March 10 by just 6000 votes after a tense electoral race. The left-wing Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front (FMLN) resisted a string of US backed governments throughout the 1980s during El Salvador’s devastating civil war. Maduro wrote on Twitter: “Sanchez Ceren is a legendary leader for democracy and human rights in El Salvador. The results mean another triumph for left-wing Latin America, thank you for waking up history.”

The Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement (TPP) is a secret trade deal being negotiated by the governments of 12 countries, which could have serious implications for the citizens of the nations that sign. A public forum in Sydney on March 11 hosted a panel of speakers who analysed leaked aspects of the agreement.
Members of the National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU) at Macquarie University held a strike and picket on March 11 as part of their campaign to win a fair enterprise agreement and a quick resolution to bargaining. Union members picketed the main entrances to the university and distributed leaflets to students and staff explaining the reasons for the strike.
Socialist Resistance -- We are deeply shocked at the news that National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers general secretary Bob Crow died suddenly of March 11 of a heart attack at the age of 52. We send our heartfelt condolences and solidarity to his family and friends, and to the Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union and its members. His death is a huge blow to the RMT and to the wider trade union movement and to the cause of militant class-struggle trade unionism.
We interviewed Ali Mustafa live from Egypt on January 24 — the Friday of the weekend marking the third anniversary of the popular uprising that captured the global imagination and put fear in the hearts of despots everywhere. Over a terrible connection and crackling phone line, Ali’s voice was difficult to make out as he described the scene: “The streets are empty, it’s almost eerie and ominous the way the streets are deserted.”