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.
New Mardi Gras organisers called police to Community Action Against Homophobia’s (CAAH) peaceful banner action at Fair Day on February 18. Fair Day is the annual lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) picnic in Sydney’s massive Mardi Gras calendar.
Gippsland power industry unionists met on February 20 to discuss a plan for rescuing the industry’s occupational health and safety (OHS) standards after two deaths and one serious injury in the power industry late last year.
I was very saddened to hear about the death of Neville Curtis at his home in White Beach, Tasmania, on February 15. He was 60 years old.
On February 24, the Refugee Council of Australia called on PM John Howard’s government to grant “full and fair hearing” in Australia to any claims for asylum by a group of 83 Sri Lankans rescued off Christmas Island by an Australian naval ship.
At 8am on February 16, police served writs citing a court injunction from Forestry Tasmania on three Huon Valley Environment Centre (HVEC) office-bearers, according to the February 17 Hobart Mercury. The court order was to stop a “walk-in” planned for the following day in the Weld Valley exclusion zone to highlight the ongoing logging of old-growth forests.
The people in Baghdad don't count "I concluded that to step back from the fight in Baghdad would have disastrous consequences for people in America." — Emperor George Bush II, February 14, defending his decision to send an extra 21,500 US combat
A small Western Australia-based company, Eden Energy, is working on a project to convert most of India’s public buses to run on a cleaner type of gas that will reduce smog in packed Indian cities. Eden Energy owns the patent for a fuel known as Hythane, or HCNG, a compressed mixture of hydrogen and compressed natural gas.
Al Gore’s film, An Inconvenient Truth, raises the issue of global warming in a way that scares the bejeezus out of viewers, as it should since the consequences of global climate change are truly earth-shaking. The former vice-president does a good job of presenting the graphic evidence: exquisite and terrifying pictures that document the melting of the polar ice caps and the effects on other species, new diseases and rising ocean levels.
Hot on the heels of the Sydney protests against US Vice-President Dick Cheney, more than 100 people attended the Sydney Socialist Alliance’s ‘Stand Up for Your Rights’ concert and election launch on February 24 at the Newtown Neighbourhood Centre. Many performers gave their time to the event including Uncle Arthur Ridgeway from Newcastle and Munkimuk from Sydney.
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The invasion and occupation of Iraq has never been popular. With more than 650,000 Iraqis, mostly civilians, having been killed since the March 2003 US-British-Australian invasion, it is not surprising that three quarters of Iraqis want the US and other foreign troops out, with 61% supporting armed attacks on US troops. The war is also opposed by a majority in the West, including those countries that are involved in the US-led occupation.
Twenty-four hours before British PM Tony Blair’s February 21 announcement that his government would withdraw 1600 troops from Iraq in “coming months”, Australian foreign minister Alexander Downer warned that any, even staged, withdrawal of US and allied foreign troops from Iraq would be a “victory for the al Qaeda terrorists”.
An official European Union report issued on February 20 revealed that one in six people in the EU live below national poverty thresholds. The February 21 British Morning Star reported that according to the European Commission’s social inclusion report 10% of people in the EU — one of the wealthiest regions in the world — live in households in which no-one has a job.
The following report is by a correspondent in Zimbabwe: Zimbabwe’s political situation has suddenly become pregnant with the possibility of uprisings, as ordinary people begin to defy police brutality. Unlike in the past when people were very scared of the police, now the situation seems to be different, with events bearing testimony to the mood of resistance. Just a drive around Highfield Township on February 18 was enough to see the return of the late ’90s fighting spirit among the poor people.
The nationalist rejoicing and fervour displayed on January 26 each year celebrates the 1788 colonial invasion of Australia. However, this year the jingoism was broken by the Palm Island victory against the racist cops of Queensland. This resulted from the combined mass actions of the Palm Islanders themselves (including physical struggle in the immediate wake of the murder of Mulrunji Doomadgee), a similar grassroots response by the Aboriginal community at Aurukun against racist cop violence, and the urban solidarity campaigns centred in Brisbane.


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