Issue 354

News

By Vannessa Hearman MELBOURNE — Library workers in the Hume-Moonee Valley library service, covering an area from near-city Flemington to the dormitory suburb of Melton, shut down and picketed all library branches there on March 15 in support of
Democrats denounced over 'lunatic fringe' charge By Jonathan Singer The Greens have called the Australian Democrats' NSW election slogan, "Silence the lunatic fringe", offensive and hypocritical. Lee Rhiannon, Greens upper house candidate, on
Environment rally in Lismore By Nick Fredman LISMORE — Despite heavy rain, more than 200 people attended a "Vote with your feet for the environment" rally here on March 20. It focused on opposition to the destruction of native forests, the
Hobart abortion services to expand By Kamala Emanuel HOBART — Over the past month, the local Mercury newspaper has run a series of reports and letters regarding a proposal to establish a new abortion clinic at Bellerive on the city's eastern
Reclaim the Streets MELBOURNE — In a protest against the increasing amount of space being taken up by cars, the Friends of the Earth Transport Collective here organised a Reclaim the Streets march and street party on March 13. Around 1500
ASIET meeting on East Timor By Mike Byrne BRISBANE — A public meeting at the Resistance Centre on March 17, organised by Green Left Weekly and Action in Solidarity with Indonesia and East Timor (ASIET), discuss "Which way forward for an
NSW elections: who are you really voting for? By Peter Boyle SYDNEY — So you've decided to vote against the Liberal-Labor establishment in the March 27 NSW elections and you want to support green and left parties. With a Legislative Council
Residents resist McDonald's By Vannessa Hearman MELBOURNE — Residents in the Moreland area are fighting attempts by fast food giant McDonald's to build an outlet on the site of a 110-year old house. The house, at 1 Sussex St, Coburg, is the
More Jabiluka protesters face court DARWIN — Three university students — Michael Williams, Wendy Edwards and Rebecca Nissim — go to court on March 22 on four charges arising from their participation in a "lock-on" protest at the Energy
Dorf workers fight redundancies By Chris Spindler MELBOURNE — The Australian Manufacturing Workers Union is organising a campaign to stop the redundancy of 300 workers at Dorf Industries, a tapware manufacturer. Mass meetings of AMWU members at
Kennett continues sell-off of gas By Ben Reid MELBOURNE — The state Coalition government is continuing its privatisation of gas services despite mounting concern from consumer and trade union groups. On March 10, the government announced that
Mass mobilisation on Palm Sunday By Trish Corcoran MELBOURNE — On March 28, the Palm Sunday march, rally and festival will take place. The main demand is "Stop the Jabiluka uranium mine". Other demands are "Stop the nuclear threat" and "Land
CPSU branch rejects communications split By Ben Courtice MELBOURNE — A major issue at the March 11 Victorian branch conference of the Community and Public Sector Union (PSU group) was a proposal for the Telecommunications section of the union
Native title attacked again in SA By Emma Webb ADELAIDE — The United Nations race discrimination committee has found that the federal Native Title Amendment Act (the so-called Wik bill) breaches the UN convention against racial discrimination.
Rank-and-file challenge to MUA incumbents By Dick Nichols Nominations have closed for elections for all positions in the Maritime Union of Australia, to be held between April 14 and June 14. The election includes the biggest rank-and-file
UNSW academics turn backs on celebration By Bea Brear SYDNEY — On March 18, about 100 academic staff at the University of New South Wales turned their backs in a symbolic protest on the launch of the university's 50th anniversary celebrations.

World

By Cam Walker March 24 marked the 10th anniversary of the oil spill from the Exxon Valdez tanker in Alaska, one of the worst oil disasters in history. Friends of the Earth International chose that day to release a report on Exxon and its new
Ireland: RUC suspected in lawyer's murder By Dave Riley A well-known human rights lawyer who had received death threats for her work representing nationalists in one of Northern Ireland's most volatile communities was killed on March 15 when a
Upsurge in Iranian Kurdistan By Norm Dixon News filtering out of Iranian-occupied Kurdistan (north-west Iran) indicates there has been a significant upsurge in the Kurdish people's struggle for national self-determination since the seizure of
BAKRIE, a member Komite Rakyat Pekalongan (KPR — Pekalongan People's Committee) spoke to Green Left Weekly's SAM KING about his group's work organising the urban poor community in north-central Java. Question: What motivates you to organise Java's
By Nadeem Ansari CANBERRA — In a public meeting here on March 16, Tamil surgeon Dr Thayalan Ambalavanar asked the Sri Lankan government to respect the right of self-determination of the Tamil people and to open peace talks with the Liberation
Indonesia plays delaying game with East Timor By Jon Land United Nations-sponsored talks between Indonesia and Portugal on the future of East Timor, which took place March 9-11, resulted in Indonesia agreeing to allow some form of direct ballot
Challenges face new workers' party in Zimbabwe By Patrick Bond HARARE — The March 1 announcement by Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) secretary-general Morgan Tsvangirai that his federation's executive has mandated the creation of a
By Renfrey Clarke NOVOSIBIRSK — There's not a great deal of joy in being a worker in Russia, and things are harder still if you are not in the relatively well-off capital, Moscow. Left-wing activism continues even in some of the most remote
Rights wins Salvadoran election On March 10, the Salvadoran Supreme Electoral Tribunal officially certified Francisco Flores, of the right-wing Republican Nationalist Alliance (ARENA), as the winner of the March 7 presidential elections. Flores won
Zero tolerance or zero survival? By Norm Dixon The New York Police Department is issuing hollow-point ammunition — dum-dum bullets — to its cops. This is being done despite protests from citizens' groups and despite the fact that the use of
By Shane Bentley PARRAMATTA — The International Federation of Iraqi Refugees has launched a campaign to protest against the rejection of applications for asylum from Iraqi Kurds by European governments. These governments claim that Iraqi

Culture

Intellectual Impostures: Postmodern philosophers' abuse of scienceBy Alan Sokal and Jean BricmontProfile Books, 1998274pp., price? Review by Neville Spencer The complexity and difficulty of most writing by postmodernist theorists is widely
Coping with the water crisis Sydney on TapBy John ArcherPure Water Press, 199896pp, $9.95 (paperback) Review by Dot Tumney John Archer's latest water quality opus provides a description of the events surrounding Sydney's 1998 water crisis. The
Greek Australians: beyond the stereotypes In Their Own ImageBy Effy Alexakis and Leonard JaniszewskiHale & Iremonger, 1998.240pp. $49.95 (hb) Review by James Vassilopoulos The most enduring stereotypes of Greek Australians are that they are
Feminist Cabaret Resist By Karen Fletcher BRISBANE The Resistance Centre hosted the second in its monthly series of political cabarets, Cabaret Resist, on March 19 — a special all-women line-up in honour of International Women's Day. "This
Early Williamson packs a punch The RemovalistsBy David Williamson New Theatre, NewtownFriday-Sunday until 1 May Review by Helen Jarvis Written nearly 30 years ago, and becoming David Williamson's first major success in Australia before going
SYDNEY — On Friday, April 9, three top Latin American bands will be joining forces to help raise funds for Cuba. Bands Candela, Charanga Libre and Club Havana will perform a vast spectrum of Cuban music styles. The event will take place at
The French Dickens Victor HugoBy Graham RobbPicador, 1998 — 682 pp., $19.95 (pb) Review by Phil Shannon Scotland Yard regarded him as "the most obnoxious" of the French exiles, but his picture was a common sight in the homes of French workers.

Resistance!

By Sean Healy Resistance has organised a national speaking tour of campuses on the topic "What would Marx say today?". The four forums held so far have revealed a high level of interest among students for Marxist ideas. At Sydney University last
Is sexism inevitable? Can we change things? What role can men play? Is parliament the solution? These questions were debated at a lively Resistance public meeting in Sydney on March 13. More than 60 people gathered to hear Catriona Elek, a feminist
By Natalie Zirngast and Larisa Freiverts The latest assault on feminism comes from a woman who is herself billed as a "feminist". Wendy Shalit, interviewed by the Sydney Morning Herald on March 5, has written a book titled A Return to Modesty:
Brisbane: 12pm, King George Square; Canberra: 1pm, Workers' Club; Hobart: 12.30am, Refectory steps, Tasmania University; Melbourne: 1.30pm, State Library; Sydney: 1pm, Town Hall.
By Hayley Platt BRISBANE — It is disgustingly hypocritical that some principals continue to get up in front of school assemblies, rave on about how racism is bad and that it is up to young people to stop it, and then punish us when we try to do
Students across New Zealand are organising against government attempts to introduce "voluntary student membership" of student organisations. A VSM law passed last year requires all student associations to run referendums on "compulsory" membership by
The proposed "voluntary student unionism" (VSU) legislation has provoked a major uproar. Screaming headlines, such as "Student union plan disaster", "Why voluntary unionism won't work" and "Voluntary union fees split Liberals", have appeared in many