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When Rafael Correa was elected president of Ecuador in 2006, campaigning on a strong anti-neoliberal platform to bring about a “citizen’s revolution”, one key social force seemed notably absent from his campaign — the country’s powerful indigenous movement.
As striking workers at office supplies manufacturers Esselte Australia in Minto entered their seventh week of resilient action against forced Australian Workplace Agreements (AWAs), their boss was getting more desperate.
For the last week, I’ve woken up each morning at five to join ordinary Hanoi residents exercising in Lenin Park, which surrounds one of several huge lakes in the centre of the city. The first time I went out of curiosity, but it was such a buzz I’ve returned every morning.
Around 100 posties and unionists rallied outside the headquarters of Australia Post on August 1 to protest the latest attempts by its management to undermine the wages and conditions of its employees and reduce its service to the community.
Green Left Weekly supporters packed out a global solidarity dinner and cultural night in Footscray on July 28. Special guest Malainin Lakhal, secretary-general of the Union of Saharawi Writers and Journalists, addressed the crowd. Singer/songwriter Anthea Sidiropoulos got everyone dancing and singing to the Greek blues (Rembetika) and Greek love songs (Kantathes).
On July 31, ALP environment spokesperson Peter Garrett and Labor leader Kevin Rudd — or at least larger-than-life puppets of them — lead a march of 150 people in Newcastle against the coal industry.
In an August 2 media release, Sydney branch of the Maritime Union of Australia (MUA) announced that it rejects “any suggested implication that demonstrating against the injustices of globalisation and war means support for violence”. The MUA statement was made in response to a NSW police training video for the September APEC summit that featured footage of MUA officials participating in legal non-violent protests.
#151; A report in the August 2 Herald Sun has Rail, Tram and Bus Union state secretary Trevor Dobbyn calling for ticket inspectors to be issued with handcuffs, because he says, “Our officers get publicly vilified for what looks like an assault on someone, but in fact they are trying to restrain them after they’ve been arrested”.
Green Left Weekly is taking a one-week break from publication. The next issue will be dated August 22.
#151; The Community and Public Sector Union (CPSU) is on the verge of formal affiliation to the ALP despite many members expressing their opposition. The proposed affiliation was endorsed in March by the union’s governing council, reversing a decision two years ago not to affiliate to the ALP.
The following is abridged from a July 29 report by the Residents Action Movement (RAM).
On July 29, Queensland University of Technology staged a protest on QUT’s “open day” to symbolically “lay to rest” the school of humanities and human services, and mark “the death of critical thinking and freedom of speech” at QUT.
About 1400 nurses in Fiji, who began a strike on July 25, were joined on August 2 by thousands of teachers and other public servants, resulting in at least half of Fiji’s 20,000 public sector workers being on strike.
Hundreds of people packed out the State Cinema in Hobart to watch the premiere of The Wilderness Society’s (TWS) pulp mill film Tasmania’s Clean Green Future: Too Precious to Pulp. The short film was made by award-winning film-maker Heidi Douglas, who is one of the “Gunns 20’’ defendants being sued by Gunns for previous films. It aims to counter the Tasmanian government’s latest propaganda campaign supporting the proposed pulp mill in the Tamar Valley, which consists of television and newspaper ads and large glossy brochures.
While the US corporate media trumpeted on the last day of July that US troop fatalities in Iraq were the “lowest for eight months”, according to the final Pentagon figure for the month, 80 US soldiers were killed — one less than the number killed in March. The July 2007 death toll was the highest of any July since the war began and was almost double the number killed in July 2006, when 43 US troops died. As of August 1, total US troop fatalities in Iraq since the March 19, 2003, invasion had reached 3659. As of June 30, a total of 54,100 US troops had been wounded since the invasion, with 35,600 of them requiring medical air evacuation out of Iraq.
An estimated 8000 people rallied at South Bank and marched to state parliament on August 3 to protest the Queensland Labor government’s plan for the forced amalgamation of 156 local councils into 72. The majority of the marchers were residents of Noosa shire, who were opposing the inclusion of their council into a Sunshine Coast super-council, involving Noosa, Maroochydore and Caloundra.

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