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Ben Kohler, a year 11 student and member of the Socialist Alliance and Resistance, is running for the position of school captain at Woonona High, in Wollongong's northern suburbs. He spoke with Green Left Weekly’s Patrick Harrison about his campaign. * * * What motivated you to run for school captain? I was reading Stupid White Men by Michael Moore. He talks about schooling, and basically encourages students to take over the school. He also said we should “mock the vote” and I thought, “I have to do that!”
This year marks the 30th anniversary of the murder of San Salvador Archbishop Oscar Romero, who was killed on March 24, 1980 by one of El Salvador’s infamous government-backed “death squads”. As archbishop, Romero spoke out about economic inequality and violent government repression. The anniversary of his murder always triggers reflection on the nightmare the country experienced during the 1980-’92 civil war, which left 75,000 people (mainly civilians) dead, 8000 “disappeared” and 50,000 permanently disabled.
Coalminers in Tahmoor have been locked out of their workplace again. They've been fighting with their employer, the coal giant Xstrata, for more than 22 months for a fair, new Enterprise Agreement. Attempts to negotiate have collapsed repeatedly because the company has refused to budge, even during mediated talks. During a workplace dispute over job security and safety conditions, the workers held a six-hour strike on February 7, followed by a 24-hour stoppage on February 8.
Below is an English translation of an open letter to the French government published in the August 16 French daily Liberation signed by a wide-range of writers and activists. Signatories include writers Tariq Ali, Eduardo Galeano and Naomi Klein, Filipino parliamentarian Walden Bello and US academic Noam Chomsky. The English statement, and the introduction below, are reprinted from The Bullet, where a full list of signatures can be found.
In April 2009, Kevin Rudd, then Labor prime minister, announced the National Broadband Network (NBN), a massive infrastructure project to provide high-speed network access to 93% of Australia, with satellite access for the rest. Rollout of the network began in Tasmania in July. 2009. Operations began in some other areas in July 2010.
No … politeness, happiness, humanity Have … pain, sorrow, suffering Nobody is here, to love us Nobody is here, to be honest We are suffering without love We are expecting politeness person We are looking for humanity — but we couldn’t see anywhere We couldn’t see in the dream also We are suffering difficulties for a long time We faced so many sorrows in our country Even we can’t tell anything that our past life We can’t explain in a word
Thirty students, parents, teachers and FairWear activists met at Brunswick South West Primary School on August 16 to celebrate and highlight that school’s commitment to ethical uniforms. Students at Brunswick South West Primary School joined with FairWear supporters to praise their school community for ensuring that the uniforms they wear are made fairly and ethically.
Trans-Continental Hustle Gogol Bordello Colombia/ DMZ Review by Mat Ward Gogol Bordello have always said their aim is to smuggle Roma music into mainstream Western society. Their latest album, produced by former Beastie Boys DJ-turned-super-producer Rick Rubin, might just do that. The US-based band, whose music combines elements of traditional Romani music with punk rock, is largely made up of Eastern European Roma immigrants who understand the long-standing persecution of their people.
For most queer rights activists, the most pressing issue is queer marriage rights. Denying this basic right to a large number of Australians is abhorrent. In a democracy, the elected officials are supposed to represent the views of the people who elect them. The majority of Australians are in favor of giving same-sex couples the right to marry, but both major parties have shown their contempt for the opinions of the majority.
August 19 marked 91 years since Afghanistan gained its freedom from the British Empire, following three bloody wars of independence. US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has issued a video statement to mark the occasion. It’s worth watching, if only to appreciate the new Empire’s irony-laden platitudes. In her greetings of “friendship”, Clinton wished Afghans a “happy and safe Independence Day”. She said: “On behalf of President Obama and the American people, I want to congratulate the people of Afghanistan on 91 years of independence.
On August 11, the NSW Combined Unions Campaign Committee (CUCC) — which consists of 80 rank-and-file delegates of the combined rail unions, called off a planned strike on election eve, August 20. Delegates were divided over the decision. The CUCC was discussing how to respond to Railcorp’s latest offer, which, the August 25 rail union bulletin reported, had three elements: “• A four year agreement ,to protect our jobs and entitlements should we be faced with a new State Government following next year’s State election, with guarantees for no forced redundancies;

Green Victory I The most striking thing about the Greens victory in the seat of Melbourne is not that it is their first lower house seat at a federal election. More significant is that more than 11% of the vote for the Greens results in less than 1% of the seats. In theory, a party could receive 20% or 30% of the vote and get no seats whatsoever. It is time that Australia moved to a more democratic proportional representation system where parties are represented in proportion to their level of support among the people. Alex Bainbridge Perth