Around 1000 workers rallied in Musgrave Park on April 20 to oppose the Howard government’s Work Choices legislation, under the theme “Time’s Up”.
On April 14, the Victorian Socialist Alliance held its state conference, which unanimously voted to make the federal election a key area of campaigning for the coming year. The alliance will hold further meetings to preselect candidates and determine the shape of the election campaign.
Protesters followed PM John Howard from the Williamtown RAAF Base to the Hunter Valley Grammar School on April 18, in opposition to his decision to send more troops to Afghanistan. Howard was kept safe from confrontation with any dissenters at both invitation-only events.
The Golden Triangle Community Crisis Committee (GOLCCOM), a community-based organisation in the south of Johannesburg, has been leading a struggle since the beginning of the year for access to basic housing in the Freedom Park informal settlement. A March 15 community march called for the right to land, housing, water, electricity and education, but the council has still not responded to these demands. In early April, another peaceful protest was held at which police randomly shot protesters and arrested 14 people, who were later released under pressure from the community and supporting organisations. One of those shot, Simon Mkupe, lost his right and GOLCCOM plans to take legal action in response. For more information, email Thabang Makhele at <thamihukwe@toughguy.net>.
Bulldogs winger Hazem El Masri and lawyer Adam Houda were racially harassed on the night of April 12, according to the two men.
Less than two weeks after resigning to protest against substandard wages and conditions, construction workers at the Coles-Myer distribution centre in Somerton have secured a collective agreement with construction industry-standard wages and conditions. Coles re-opened negotiations with the Australian Manufacturing Workers Union soon after community activists organised by Union Solidarity blockaded the centre’s gates on April 13. The workers had been employed as casuals on individual contracts with wages approximately $10 per hour below industry standards.
The “Our Public Transport” campaign was launched in Melbourne on April 12, when some 40 local commuters rallied at Flinders Street Station to demand free, publicly run transport.
The Australia-Cuba Friendship Society held its 2007 national consultation in Canberra on April 13-15, attended by some 60 activists from around Australia. The gathering was also attended by Cuba’s consul and consul general in Australia, Nelida Hernandez Carmona and Ifrahim Miranda Leon, as well as representatives of the Cuban Institute of Friendship with the Peoples, vice-president Buenaventura Reyes Acosta and Alicia Corredera Morales.
Green Left Weekly will be taking a one-week break. Out next issue will be dated May 9.
Around 100 people filled Newtown Neighbourhood Centre on April 18 to hear visiting Zimbabwean socialist Munyaradzi Gwisai explain the background to the Zimbabwean people’s struggle for democracy.
Resistance held a NSW activist camp on April 13-15, themed “Confronting war and imperialism, socialism in the 21st century”. The camp was attended by 50 people and included workshops on socialist solutions to the environmental crisis, the Venezuelan revolution, fighting sexism today, racism and imperialism, and the Palestinian struggle.
With his April 17 speech to the National Press Club, federal Labor Party leader Kevin Rudd launched a pre-emptive strike against all those unionists, including ALP members, who thought that the April 27-29 ALP national conference would be debating a new industrial relations policy to replace the Howard government’s hated Work Choices legislation.