Issue 315


Rally supports abortion rights By Robyn Marshall BRISBANE — Around 100 supporters of abortion rights rallied in the King George Square on April 24 as part of a national weekend of action for women's right to choose. The rally called on the
By Margaret Perrott WOLLONGONG — The slogan of the old Painters and Dockers Union — Touch one, touch all — will be the message carried on May Day by members of the Eric Wicker Defence Committee, which was launched on April 7 at a meeting of
By Jo Williams MELBOURNE — Every day since the sacking of the Patrick workers, East Swanson docks have been filled with picketers. The largest picket line runs down Appleton Road and has become a festival of protest and solidarity. Information
Sustainable Universities Month By Francesca Davis The National Union of Students' national environment department has named May "Sustainable Universities Month". A national campus-based campaign will highlight unsustainable university practices.
By Cameron Parker PARRAMATTA — It may have been a long way from the picket lines on the Sydney wharves, but the police still felt the need to send a senior constable to monitor the situation as supporters of the MUA gathered at a public meeting
BRISBANE — Some of Australia's leading social change trainers will be here May 1-4 for the Queensland environment movement's first conference dedicated to training environmental and social change activists. The conference, hosted by the Queensland
By Jane Beckmannand Alison Dellit NEWCASTLE — Maritime Union members here employed by Patrick have a long struggle still ahead of them. Patrick's Newcastle manager, Chris O'Brien, has said repeatedly that he would close the facility rather than
Just do it, Nike! By John Gauci SYDNEY — According to the footwear giant Nike's "Informed Consumer Update", Nike's factory workers in the Third World sometimes earn more than doctors and engineers in their countries. As well, Nike's policy of
Police violence at Indonesia solidarity protest By David Gosling CANBERRA — On April 24, more than 150 students and solidarity activists travelled from NSW and Victoria to meet local activists at the Indonesian embassy for an emergency rally in
Philippines workers support wharfies By Reihana Mohideen MANILA — More than 100 workers demonstrated outside the Australian embassy on April 24 in support of the sacked Patrick workers and demanding their immediate reinstatement with no loss in
Destruction of native forests continues By Francesca Davis On April 20, 70 protesters gathered around Harris Daishowa's woodchipping mill in Eden, preventing 40 trucks from entering the mill. Thirteen arrests were made. The protest was part of a
By Bill Mason BRISBANE — Support for the sacked maritime workers and the MUA has grown stronger here over the last week with unionists and other members of the community mobilising at different events to protest against the government's and
By Zanny Begg BRISBANE — The Brisbane Magistrates Court on April 22 banned a march by university students to Camp Solidarity and the MUA picket line at Fisherman Island. Although students agreed to 20 conditions set by the police, the magistrate
By Theresa Moore As PM John Howard railed against the "use" of children on the MUA picket lines, toddlers were in the forefront of demonstrations outside public hearings of the Senate committee of inquiry into the impact of commonwealth government
By Zanny Begg BRISBANE — On April 21, the MUA sent out an urgent message for more people to join the Fisherman Island picket line to stop goods loaded with scab labour leave Patrick's port. Within two hours, around 500 people, mostly trade
By Alex Bainbridge HOBART — Hundreds of Maritime Union of Australia members and supporters marched through the streets of Hobart on April 23, then held a victory celebration as the news of the Federal Court's rejection of Patrick's appeal came
By Edward Johnston BRISBANE — Seventeen inmates from the 20-cell Maximum Security Unit (MSU) at the Woodford Correctional Centre in Queensland's Sunshine Coast hinterland, refused food from April 4 in protest at conditions in the US-style
Industrial action debated on South Coast By Andrew Hall WOLLONGONG — More than 200 union delegates on April 21 and 22 met to consider the waterfront dispute. The meetings voted almost unanimously to support the resolutions of the ACTU
By Ana Kailis PERTH — Solidarity for the sacked maritime workers has been pouring in to the Fremantle picket line from fellow unionists, students and the broader community. Following the success of the workers' embassy established during last


By James Balowski On April 24, the Indonesian daily Kompas confirmed that Andi Arief, chairperson of Student Solidarity for Indonesian Democracy, which is affiliated to the outlawed People's Democratic Party, is now in police custody. Arief was
Kazak leader on hunger strike By Stephen Dye In the last seven years in Kazakhstan, thousands of factories and state-owned enterprises have been closed, and unemployment has reached unprecedented levels. Those who are lucky enough to have a job
Activist slams 'recolonisation' of Pacific By Norm Dixon Powes Parkop is general secretary of Melanesian Solidarity (Melsol), an organisation that unites environmental, land rights, student and urban poor community activists throughout Papua New
By Jon Land At the United Nations Human Rights Commission (UNHRC) in Geneva, the British government — backed by the Australian and other governments — has been manoeuvring to prevent a strong resolution on East Timor from being adopted. On
By Norm Dixon Fiji's trade unions on April 23 staged a widely observed general strike to protest against the government's attempts to impose wage restraint and its refusal to stem the loss of jobs associated with economic "restructuring". More than
PNG plans privatisation spree The Papua New Guinea government plans to sell many of its assets to reduce a 3.5 billion kina ($US 1.7 billion) debt. Prime Minister Bill Skate told Parliament last week the government would move to divest state-owned
Last bastion of free speech under threat By James Balowski Anyone who has taken a taxi in Indonesia will tell you that taxi drivers are an endless source of information and the latest political gossip, and are a general "barometer" of public
Progressive party planned in South Korea In the face of escalating attacks against jobs and workers' rights following the International Monetary Fund bail-out last November, progressive forces in South Korea have come together to plan the creation
According to a statement circulated by the Rubina Jamil Working Women's Organisation (WWO) last week, on April 16 the All Pakistan Trade Union Federation offices in Kashmir Road, Guberg in Lahore were attacked without warning and demolished by
More than 50 Indonesian activists disappeared By James Balowski According to an April 14 report released at a media conference by the Indonesian Legal Aid Foundation (LBH), 50 Indonesian pro-democracy activists have disappeared since January.
Iraqi Communists assassinated Two leaders of the Worker-Communist Party of Iraq (WCPI) — Shapoor Abdul-Kadir, a politburo member, and Kabil Adil, a member of the leadership committee of the party's Kurdistan organisation — were assassinated on
By Eva Cheng In recent years, many countries have been trying to denationalise a significant part of their public assets. Imperialist countries have been doing it, as have Russia, China and a number of Third World countries. That process speeded up


A film of mesmerising power WalkaboutRestored original cutDirected by Nicholas RoegStarring David Gulpilil, Jenny Agutter, Lucien JohnScreening at Trak, Toorak, in Melbourne and Chauvel, Paddington, in Sydney this month. Then at Electric Shadows,
A new direction for trade unionism Workers in a Lean WorldBy Kim MoodyVerso, 1997. 342 pp., $37.95. Review by David Bacon Last northern autumn, Italy's Party of the Democratic Left (PDS), which leads the country's new government of ex-Communists,
Roll Away the StoneKelly Joe PhelpsRykodisc (through Festival) Review by Barry Healy Even the most avid fan of the slide blues guitar would have to admit it's a slightly surreal form of music. Strange timbres and harsh harmonics mix with the
By Dave Riley We should thank Eric Singh (GLW #313) for reminding us that this year is the 100th anniversary of the birth of the German playwright Bertolt Brecht. No doubt, as the drama industry cranks up, we are sure to be treated to a fact feast
Left on-line WWWW (Wharfies on the World Wide Web) — The hottest topic on the web at the moment is the courageous struggle of the Maritime Union of Australia to defend its right to organise. Sites devoted to labour issues throughout the world


Editorial: The uses of racism The uses of racism Just over two years ago, John Howard coasted into office promising to make us all feel "comfortable and relaxed". That was only one of countless broken promises — all of which were intended to