Issue 393

News

By Michael Bull MELBOURNE — The man at the head of Yallourn Energy, Mike Johnson, stated in the Age on February 8 that the PowerGen company had paid too much for the plant in 1996 and has been losing money ever since. This was the main reason the
Crushing 'the lungs of western Sydney' By Alistair Dickinson SYDNEY — Development of the 1535-hectare Australian Defence Industries (ADI) site at St Marys in Sydney's outer west now appears imminent. The developer, Comm Land (formerly called
By Linda Kaucher SYDNEY — Cuba's Olympic Committee announced Havana's bid to host the 2008 Olympic Games on February 7, during its visit to Sydney. The delegation, headed by committee vice-president Angel Iglesias, came not just to check
National Textiles workers still waiting for money By Alison Dellit NEWCASTLE — In a significant victory for working people, Prime Minister John Howard announced on February 8 that cabinet had approved $4 million to pay the sacked National
East Timor group folds By Roberto Jorquera PERTH — Thirty-five people attended the final meeting of Friends of East Timor WA (FOET) on February 6, at which the single item for discussion was a proposal that the group wind up after two decades
'No menstruation tax!' By Kamala Emanuel HOBART — Seventy people, predominantly women, demonstrated outside the office of Liberal senator Eric Abetz on February 11 to protest plans for the GST to be levied on sanitary products, such as tampons
By Erica Haines ADELAIDE — On February 8, the South Australian Liberal government announced its plans to sell the TAB and State Lotteries Commission by the end of the year. Government enterprises minister Michael Armitage stated that a
By Rohan Gaiswinkler and Peter Johnston DARWIN — In a tragic event which puts the Northern Territory's mandatory sentencing laws under the national and international spotlight, a 15-year-old Aboriginal boy committed suicide here on February 10,
By Jonathan Singer Coalminers at the five BHP coalmines in the Illawarra region of NSW struck for a second consecutive day on February 9, claiming that BHP management harassed workers and their families during their first strike day. Construction,
By Philippa Stanford ADELAIDE — A "People's Conference" to discussed South Australia's proposed nuclear waste repository will convene here on March 4 and 5. Conference organisers have invited speakers from both sides of the debate. Speakers will
Union beats Yallourn Energy By Michael Bull MELBOURNE — Energy unions have claimed victory in an increasingly bitter battle over the future of Victoria's power industry, after the Australian Industrial Relations Commission ruled in the
Council calls for reactor closure during Olympics By Jim Green SYDNEY — The mayor of Sutherland Shire Council, Ken McDonell, has called on the federal government to shut down the nuclear reactor at Lucas Heights during the Sydney Olympic Games.
ACI reneges on agreement By Chris Slee MELBOURNE — Management at the ACI glass mould manufacturing plant has reneged on concessions made in negotiations with the union. Members of the Australian Manufacturing Workers Union have been locked out
Protest against Ruddock PERTH — Twenty people protested against immigration minister Philip Ruddock here on February 9. The protesters demanded the repeal of the Border Protection Act, full welfare rights for migrants and refugees, and an open
By Martin Schenke BRISBANE — Railway workers have won some concessions from the state government after they went on strike for 24 hours on February 9. The 14,600 rail workers walked off the job after their demand for a pay rise of 12% over two
Darwin's International Women's Day plans By Angela Hassan and Sibylle Kaczorek DARWIN — The International Women's Day (IWD) 2000 collective here is building on the gains made over the last few years. As the collective has broadened its
By Marg Perrott WOLLONGONG — The Port Kembla Copper (PKC) smelter started operating here secretly on February 4. Local residents began smelling sulphur fumes at 3pm. Some people began coughing, others had difficulty breathing. At a public meeting
CPSU to sack staff and set up a call centre By Stuart Martin CANBERRA — The national management committee of the Community and Public Sector Union (CPSU) has voted to restructure the administrative functions of the union, cutting staff and
Blockade of Beverley uranium mine planned By Bronwen Beechey ADELAIDE — Opponents of uranium mining plan to set up a blockade of the Beverley uranium mine in South Australia from February 25. The mine is situated in the foothills of the
Socialists to stand for Brisbane council By Jim McIlroy BRISBANE — The Democratic Socialists have announced they will be running two candidates in the Brisbane City Council election. They are Graham Matthews for the Dutton Park ward, which
Union leader demands Laidlaw resign By Erica Haines ADELAIDE — Chris White, the secretary of South Australia's peak union body, the United Trades and Labor Council (UTLC), has called for the resignation of state transport minister Diana
By Graham Matthews BRISBANE — On February 5, voters in the Queensland seats of Bundamba and Woodridge returned Labor members at by-elections. Both Labor candidates were elected with more than 50% of the primary vote. In Bundamba, Jo-Ann Miller
NTEU delays strike action at UQ By Robyn Marshall BRISBANE — The University of Queensland branch of the National Tertiary Education Industry Union voted on February 8 to delay a 48-hour strike for a pay increase. A few hours before the meeting
WA uranium mine on the rocks WESTERN MINING Corporation (WMC) announced that it would hand back the Yeelirrie uranium deposit to the Western Australian government if it failed to find a buyer in two years, according to a report in the February 9

World

Oleg Shein is the only elected revolutionary Marxist in the new State Duma of Russia. He is one of these characters who seems to work non-stop around the clock, seven days a week. The group he represents, the Movement for a Workers Party (MWP), was
Mbeki warns South African unions By Norm Dixon South Africa's President Thabo Mbeki used his annual "state of the nation" address to the joint sitting of national parliament on February 4 to warn trade unions that the African National Congress
Burmese demand independent investigation By Andrew Hall CANBERRA — Sixty members of the Burmese community marched and rallied outside the Thai and Burmese embassies on February 11. They were demanding an independent investigation into the
On February 5, an anti-war demonstration took place in Moscow's Pushkin Square. The demonstration was called by a number of Russian anarchist and ecologist groups, including the Anarchist Anti-war Movement, the Dikobraz group, the ecologist movement
Socialist parties from the Asian region have called for February 17 to become an international day of coordinated protest against the kidnapping of six-year-old Elian Gonzalez. The US government and the right-wing Cuban exile community in Miami
By Kurt Lhotzky VIENNA — The general elections in October brought a dramatic change to traditional politics in Austria. Support for the Social Democrats (SPOe), who polled 38.1% of the vote in 1995, dropped to 33.15%. The conservative bourgeois
Cuba's struggle for emigres' rights By Gilberto Firmat The case of Elian Gonzalez has put the spotlight on US-Cuba immigration disputes and the United States' 1966 Cuban Adjustment Act, Cold War legislation which grants all Cubans (except
By Eva Cheng The Communist Party of India-Marxist Leninist (Liberation) (CPI-ML) emerged in the late 1960s from the peasant revolts in the Naxalbari region of West Bengal (known as the Naxalite movement). At first, the party relied heavily on armed
By Eva Cheng Indian workers have launched a wave of strikes against the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which leads the ruling 24-party national coalition. The actions are in protest against the BJP's Hindu fundamentalism and its neo-liberal,
By Gilberto Firmat ATLANTA — More than one month after the Clinton administration announced that it would send Elian Gonzalez back to his father in Cuba, it has not lifted one finger to put this into practice. The six-year-old boy found adrift on
Campaigning for human rights in East Timor DILI — The East Timor Human Rights Commission (ETHRC) was established on October 1 to conduct investigations and monitoring of human rights violations in East Timor, educate the East Timorese people
The following is abridged from an open letter to United Nations' secretary-general Kofi Annan and Amnesty International's Middle East Watch, circulated on January 25 by Saman Karim from the Worker Communist Party of Iraq. There are more than 6000
How long does it take to change a child's mind? The Cuban government has published, as a new booklet titled How long does it take to change the mind of a child?, a round table discussion with psychologists and other specialists reflecting on the
Mexico: the poor fight for their university By David Bacon MEXICO CITY — Around 100,000 people marched through Mexico's capital on February 9, clamouring for the release from prison of the strikers who had shut down the National Autonomous

Culture

Whistle-blower versus big capital Review by Tyrion Perkins The InsiderDirected by Michael MannStarring Al Pacino and Russell Crowe The Insider exposes the lengths that big business will go to stop the people knowing how much harm it does to make
Writings of a Chinese dissident The Courage to Stand Aloneby Wei Jingsheng — Penguin Books, 1998288 pp. Review by Chris Slee Wei Jingsheng spent nearly two decades in prison for campaigning for democratic rights in China. He was imprisoned from
Viva East Timor! Liberdade Viva East TimorVarious artistsMushroom Records Review by Mark Abberton In 1975, Paul Stewart's brother was killed in East Timor, along with four other Australian journalists. His inspiration for helping to coordinate a
Helen and David v McGoliath Review by Jim Green McLibel: Two Worlds CollideSBS, Tuesday February 22, 8.30pm This documentary recounts the McLibel story — the David and Goliath court battle between two London-based environmental activists and
CIA defeated with 72 hours By Roberto Jorquera The Bay of Pigs and the CIABy Juan Carlos RodriguezOcean Press, Melbourne, 1999212pp., $24.95 In the early hours of April 17, 1961 the "Cuban Revolutionary Council" released a statement,

Editorial

Make the bosses pay The successful fight of the 342 workers sacked by National Textiles when it went bankrupt to secure payment of their full leave and severance entitlements is an important victory for all workers. It opens the door for other

Resistance!

By Ruth Ratcliffe Six-year-old Elian Gonzalez was plucked from the sea after his mother drowned in an attempt to get from Cuba to the United States. The vast majority of people in both Cuba and the US believe Elian should be returned to his father
By Angela Luvera BRISBANE — Forty-one students have joined Resistance during Orientation Week at the University of Queensland (UQ), February 7-11. Many of those who joined were especially interested in feminism and socialism, and were concerned
By Federico Fuentes and Marina Carman The latest craze in Sydney seems to be Cuban music. For two weeks in January, the Bacardi Festival attracted tens of thousands of people to Darling Harbour. Many trendy clubs have regular Cuban theme nights.
Notice The last issue of Resistance magazine reported that the National Union of Students' national education committee decided at its February 3 meeting to call a national day of action for public education on April 5. What was not reported is
By Simon Tayler and Eva Boland CANBERRA — In March, the NSW Labor government plans to sign the regional forest agreement (RFA) it put forward last year for the Eden management area. Eden has very little old-growth forest remaining, and the RFA