With the advent of the industrial revolution society underwent significant changes. The age of steam had arrived and a huge new source of energy was unleashed upon society. The immediate effect of this new source of energy was to bring about a qualitative change in the productive forces. The method of production became social in character.
On December 11 the Textile Clothing and Footwear Union said that the Australian Industrial Relations Commissions (AIRC) second consecutive rejection of carpet manufacturer Godfrey Hirsts sub-standard AWA (individual contract) is a clear message for the company to scrap it plans to strip existing rights and conditions from more than 300 Feltex workers.
While turmoil in the southern Mexican state of Oaxaca has been in the headlines for weeks, little media coverage has noted that at its centre is a crusading newspaper, Noticias (The News). The dailys sportswriter is now a leading spokesperson for the teachers, doctors, nurses, newspaper workers and others who have joined together to call for greater democracy, and a new direction for the states economy. David Bacon interviewed Noticiass Jaime Medina in northern Mexico, where the writer was seeking support from the Coalition for Justice in the Maquiladoras.
Reports from refugee advocates indicate that six people at the Baxter detention centre have attempted to end their lives in separate incidents over the last four days by hanging, WA group Project SafeCom announced on December 12. Some of them have also slashed themselves with broken glass and mirrors.
Comments by Peter Garret, Labor's federal environment spokesperson, that Australias coal is a blessing to be utilised, were condemned by climate action group Rising Tide Newcastle on December 12. Apparently, said Rising Tides Steve Phillips, [Garret] regards the cause of the present global climate crisis as a blessing.
Workers at the Braeside bolt-making factory of Ajax Fasteners are waging a struggle to protect their redundancy entitlements. The company has gone into liquidation. The workers have been stood down and fear they will soon be sacked.
Trent Hawkins is a leader of Resistance, an Australian socialist youth organisation, who participated in the December solidarity brigade to Venezuela organised by the Australia-Venezuela Solidarity Network. Below is his account of the December 3 presidential election and its aftermath.
December 9, the fifth anniversary of David Hicks capture by the US, will be marked by national protests calling for his immediate return.
The November 7 US mid-term congressional elections were a massive repudiation of the US-led war against Iraq and of the administration of President George Bush. But while the majority of US voters have turned against the war, most of the politicians of both Democratic and Republican parties have a clue about what to do.
In the January 16 New Yorker magazine, investigative journalist Seymour Hersh reported that the Pentagon has begun updating its plans for an invasion of Iran. Hersh reported that, "Strategists at the headquarters of the US Central Command, in Tampa, Florida, have been asked to revise the military's war plan, providing for a maximum ground and air invasion of Iran."
In their article No to carbon trading: make the polluters pay (GLW #691), Tim Stewart and Pip Hinman argue against the use of carbon pricing in general, and emissions trading in particular, as an important tool for reducing Australias greenhouse gas emissions.
The fundamental environmental problem facing humanity today is catastrophic climate change brought on by runaway greenhouse gas emissions. The relatively narrow band of climatic conditions within which we can function has been destabilised. As average temperatures rise extreme weather events (cyclones, floods, heat waves and droughts) are increasing and ocean levels look like rising dramatically, potentially making refugees of hundreds of millions of people. The very survival of the human race has now been called into question.
Dick Nichols was elected national coordinator of the Socialist Alliance (SA) at its 5th national conference held in Geelong at the end of October. Green Left Weekly interviewed him about the challenges and opportunities for the SA in the year ahead.
Mick Hoppy Rangiari, one of the last surviving members of the historic 1966 strike by Aboriginal pastoral workers at Wave Hill Station in the Northern Territory, died on November 12.
A year after the ratification of the Kyoto Protocol, which involves 166 countries and commits 36 industrialised nations to binding CO2 emission cuts of 5.2% by 2012, global emissions are rising faster than ever. This is because Kyoto promotes carbon trading as the key mechanism to reduce CO2 emissions. Today the global carbon market worth US$22 billion is being called a “green goldrush”.
The federal governments Uranium Mining, Processing and Nuclear Energy Review, released on November 21, had only one real purpose to provide John Howard with evidence for championing the nuclear power cycle. What other conclusion can we come to, when the review made its assessments while ignoring Australias most spectacular renewable energy resource the hot dry rock geothermal energy of the Cooper Basin and other regions.