On August 14, Alex Salmond, Scotland’s first minister and leader of the Scottish National Party (SNP), revealed his minority government’s plans for a referendum on Scottish independence.
Peaceful protest In response to Benjamen Standing (Write on, GLW #719): There is absolutely nothing sectarian about advertising a peaceful protest as "a peaceful protest". Further, there is no contradiction whatsoever between organising a peaceful
Three years on from the passage of the federal ban on same-sex marriage, people have not given up on fighting back. Around 3000 people protested nationwide during an August 12 national day of action calling for same-sex marriage rights, civil unions and adoption rights.
The Howard government’s legislation for its “emergency” military-police intervention into Aboriginal communities in the Northern Territory was rushed through the House of Representatives on August 7. MHRs were given less than 24 hours to read the 500-odd pages of legislation before being asked to vote on it.
Many working-class people in Western Australia are suffering the consequences of a “two-tier society” despite the state’s booming economy, the Socialist Alliance candidate for Pearce, Annolies Truman, told the party’s state conference on August 11.
East Timor: Beyond Independence
Edited by Damien Kingsbury and Michael Leach
Monash University Press, 2007
302pages, $36.95
Environmentalists around the country are gearing up to protest the world’s biggest climate criminals — US President George Bush and PM John Howard — who will be pushing their environmentally disastrous agenda at the September 8-9 Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Sydney.
On August 6, East Timorese President Jose Ramos Horta appointed his predecessor, Xanana Gusmao, prime minister and asked him to form a government without Fretilin, the largest party in the parliament elected on June 30. Despite the constitutional legitimacy of this being unclear, Gusmao’s government was sworn in on August 8. Since Ramos Horta’s decision there have been outbreaks of rioting and arson, as well as protests that were tear-gassed by UN police and the Australian-led International Stabilisation Force (ISF).
Shakedown: Australia’s grab for Timor oil
By Paul Cleary
Allen & Unwin, 2007
336 pages, $29.95
Showing them the red card "I want America to go out. Today, tomorrow, or the day after tomorrow, but out. I wish the American people didn't invade Iraq and, hopefully, it will be over soon." — Iraqi soccer team captain Younis Mahmoud, speaking
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.
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.
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.
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.
“The only way this war will end is if we end it” — this was the central point of a talk by Matt Howard to an audience of around 100 people at the University of Sydney on August 14. Howard, a former soldier and a member of the US-based group Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW), was in Sydney as part of a national speaking tour.


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