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Venezuelan foreign ministry official statement The president and commander-in-chief of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, Hugo Chavez, in the name of the Venezuelan people, applauds the genuine lesson of political and democratic maturity that the courageous Egyptian people have brought before the eyes of the world.
Send your own greetings and congratulations to weekly.greenleft@gmail.com * * * One of the despairs of our time is a corporate media that speaks for authority and power, rarely for its readers and viewers. One of the excitements of our time is the means by which we can now circumvent the old gatekeepers. WikiLeaks is a new creation, but Green Left Weekly has been a pathfinder for 20 years, no less. Congratulations! — John Pilger, renowned journalist and filmmaker.
Send your own greetings and congratulations to weekly.greenleft@gmail.com * * * Over the course of the past 20 years, Green Left Weekly has emerged as a focal point of the world green left movement, its leading weekly guide to theory and practice. Long may its flag fly! — John Bellamy Foster, editor, Monthly Review.
For communities affected by Cyclone Yasi and the recent floods across Queensland, Western Australia, NSW, Victoria and Tasmania, it will be no comfort to hear that the Fair Work Act provides little protection for workers from unscrupulous employers. Many bosses will choose to stand workers down without pay if their business is affected by these natural disasters. At the height of the Queensland floods, state Workplace Rights Ombudsman Don Brown told ABC Online on January 21 that employers have the right to not pay workers for time off caused by the floods.
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez expressed his support for workers in a dispute at a Venezuelan Coca-Cola plant conflict in a televised address on February 4. “If Coca-Cola doesn’t want to comply with the constitution and the law, well, we can live without Coca-Cola,” he said to cheers from the crowd. Chavez was speaking in Valencia, the capital of Carabobo state, where 1230 workers are striking in a bottling and distribution plant of Coca-Cola Femsa.
Socialist Alliance candidate for upper house in the coming NSW elections Bea Bleile expressed her continuing support for family of TJ Hickey, who are still fighting for justice following his death in 2004. TJ Hickey, a young Aboriginal man, was killed during a police chase. He was impaled on a spiked fence in Phillip St, Waterloo. In 2006, the NSW coroner exonerated the police involved from any wrongdoing. Yet a large amount of evidence was not included in the hearing. The family has called for the inquest to be reopened.
The fall of Egyptian dictator Hosni Mubarak sent waves of joy, jubilation and relief through Sydney's Egyptian community, who celebrated their country's newfound freedom outside Town Hall on February 12. Amnesty International hosted the celebrations. Socialist Alliance members, and members of other left groups, were also present as part of their ongoing campaign of solidarity with the Egyptian people. Chants of “Down, down Mubarak” from previous solidarity rallies were replaced with choruses of “Freedom for Muslims, Christians, Jews! Freedom for everyone!"
Venezuela marked the 12th anniversary of President Hugo Chavez’s first oath of office in February 1999 on February 2. Chavez won presidential elections in December 1998 on a pro-poor program that pledged to break the corrupt, two-party system that had dominated Venezuela since 1958. To commemorate the occasion, Chavez and supporters held four televised site visits in Caracas. The visits highlighted gains in education, food, health and people’s power that have occurred as part of the “Bolivarian revolution” the Chavez government is leading.
More than 400 people attended a February 7 forum that condemned the federal government’s intervention into Aboriginal communities in the Northern Territory. The forum was organised by Concerned Australians. It coincided with the launch of a public statement addressed “to the people of Australia” by seven Indigenous elders. The statement asked for support to “help to put an end to the nightmare that Northern Territory people are experiencing on a daily basis”.
Conservative Party chairperson and the first Muslim woman to attend the British cabinet, Sayeeda Warsi, said in January that Islamophobia and prejudice against Muslims has “passed the dinner table test” and is now widely accepted in Britain. The rise of Islamophobia within Western societies has grown more since the September 11, 2001 attacks in the US. A 2007 Zogby International study said 76% of Arab-American youth surveyed had been discriminated against.

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