On August 15 at 9.30pm, Wang, a Chinese man in the maximum security building at the Villawood immigration detention centre, climbed onto the roof and threatened to kill himself. Wang, normally a happy man in a terrible environment, was driven to take this action after the immigration department refused to let him visit his wife in hospital where she had gone after an accident.
Warren Small and Norman Ham, striking workers from Esselte — a stationery company in Sydney’s south-west — spoke at the August 13 Parramatta Your Rights at Work meeting on their struggle against individual contracts (AWAs).
An Australian citizen passing through airport customs on August 6 came under invasive scrutiny because she wrote “activist” as her occupation on the landing card. Jessica Markham, who works for the Californian-based East Bay Local Clean Energy Alliance, was returning to Australia for three weeks to visit her mother.
Hiroshima Day “is not just a day for commemoration, but a day for action”, Nic Maclellan from the Nuclear Free Independent Pacific told a rally of around 200 people on August 5.
#151; On August 8, a new attack on civil liberties was approved by the federal parliament with the passage of amendments to the National Investigative Powers and Witness Protection Act (2006). The amendment bill was pushed through the Senate in 24 hours, with the ALP’s support.
On August 8, 1000 people packed into the Brisbane City Hall for a public forum on “Australia at the Crossroads: A New Direction”. Organised by the Just Peace and the Just Rights groups, the forum was sponsored by a wide variety of peace, environment, social justice and political organisations.
Around 30 workers and supporters rallied outside Foster’s Queensland marketing headquarters in Fortitude Valley on August 9. Foster’s is still refusing to accept a union-backed collective agreement despite it being the choice of the majority of workers at the Yatala Brewery.
Indigenous comedian and winner of ‘Deadly Funny 2007’ Mia Standford cracked everyone up at the ‘Unfinished Business’ concert — a joint fundraiser for Green Left Weekly and Indigenous children’s service Yappera at the Retreat Hotel in Brunswick on August 11.
Hundreds of people in South Australia could soon be left without defence lawyers, part of a nationwide crisis in the under-funding of essential legal services.
A group of 30 lawyers and law students have established a group to film police behaviour during protests against the September Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation summit to ensure that the police do not use unnecessary violence or break the law.
The June 27-30 African National Congress (ANC) Policy Conference and the South African Communist Party’s 12th Congress, held in July, confirmed what many political observers in South Africa have known for a long time: that the politics and practical work of the SACP and Congress of South African Trade Unions have become umbilically tied to the intensifying personal and positional power struggles inside the ANC-led Tripartite Alliance. The result is the paralysis of the SACP and COSATU’s ability to organise and mobilise on a genuinely practical, working class/poor-centred basis.
In a new initiative for a political party in Australia, the Socialist Alliance is using the web to open up the organisation of its federal election campaign. Mainstream parties have generated a lot of media attention with their self-promotion on YouTube, MySpace and Facebook, but the alliance is enabling open access to the way its campaign is run.
“If you can’t stand up and say what you feel and believe, then you’re a slave. And I ain’t no slave”, said one of the building workers prosecuted by the Howard government for withdrawing labour after the unfair dismissal of his shop steward.
Popular resistance to neoliberal “reform” was the underlying cause of Peru’s July general strike. On July 5, public schoolteachers walked off the job over government plans to privatise education. Within days, discontented workers from other industries joined the embattled teachers. Before long, schools, mines, factories and construction sites were shut down as tens of thousands of striking protesters took to the streets of every major city demanding higher pay, improved conditions and revisions to the US-Peru free-trade agreement. Peasant farmers joined the mass mobilisation, closing roads and paralysing transport networks.
Around 50 activists gathered on August 11 in the Maritime Union of Australia offices to nominate Socialist Alliance Senate candidates in WA and plan campaigns.
The Worst Jobs in History
Presented by Tony Robinson
Sunday, ABC 7.30pm


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