Issue 407


A massive slap in the face for Howard
The racist policies of John Howard's government took a big blow in Sydney on May 28. As Green Left Weekly went to press, hundreds of thousands of people were walking across Sydney's Harbour Bridge in a massive

Protest hits Rio Tinto AGM
BRISBANE — Hundreds of angry protesters gathered outside the annual general meeting of the mining giant Rio Tinto here on May 24, accusing the company of human rights breaches and destructive

MELBOURNE — Friends of the Earth Australia and the Melbourne University Student Union have condemned the involvement of a corporate wing of the University of Melbourne in illegal oil and gas exploration in Pakistan's Kirthar

Burmese target Canberra embassy
CANBERRA — Fifty federal police were unable to prevent 200 Burmese pro-democracy demonstrators, chanting "Eliminate dictatorship", from staging a sit-in outside the Burmese government's embassy

MELBOURNE — Country Victoria hasn't finished taking revenge on the Liberal and National parties just yet, as was shown by the election of Labor candidate Denise Allen in the May 13 by-election for the state seat of

PERTH — Federal immigration minister Philip Ruddock and his state counterpart Rob Johnson defended Australia's harsh treatment of refugees at a public meeting here on May 12, claiming the policy was not racist. "Australia of

Thousands of people around the country turned "Sorry Day", May 26, into a day of protest against the federal government's policies on indigenous rights, in particular its attempt to deny the suffering inflicted on the generations of Aboriginal

Union centre teaches organising skills
SYDNEY — A new union centre in Indonesia, established with Australian trade union funds, has begun training workers in the textile, banking, hotel, tourism and teaching sectors in

Teachers plan state-wide strikes
BRISBANE — After teachers at Sarina High School near Mackay walked off the job for 24 hours on May 23, the Queensland Teachers Union has warned that unless Premier Peter Beattie began serious talks

Edith Cowan students reject fees for courses
PERTH — Students at Edith Cowan University here have established an education action group to reverse a decision by the university's council to establish an upfront fee-paying

BRISBANE — The University of Queensland Senate is poised to vote on a proposal to restructure the university's arts faculty. The pursuit of a "financially viable" education will see departments scrapped and general staff cuts

Wollongong students say no to internet fees BY CHRIS LATHAM WOLLONGONG — In the second such demonstration in a week, 100 Wollongong University students marched on the administration offices on May 24 to demand progress on a log of claims and

Log of claims campaign launched on La Trobe
MELBOURNE — Drawing inspiration from student campaigns at the University of Western Sydney, Bankstown, and the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology, students at La Trobe

Workers rally for jobs
ADELAIDE — Manufacturing workers, supported by a host of unions and the SA United Trades and Labor Council, marched on Parliament House on May 23 to protest against the lack of state government action to prevent job

University workers demonstrate against council
LISMORE — All but three members of the Southern Cross University council slunk in the back door rather than face the 100 angry campus workers demonstrating outside for a better

Socialist seminar discusses racism
SYDNEY — Mandatory sentencing laws and "zero tolerance" policing were part of a deliberate attempt to catch indigenous people in the criminal justice system, Aboriginal activist Kim Bullimore

Truck owner-drivers blockade over pay rates
BRISBANE — Truck owner-drivers blockaded the Cunningham Highway between Brisbane and Toowoomba as part of a national Transport Workers Union campaign for improved cartage rates. TWU

MELBOURNE — Refusing to accept the outcome in an election for Victorian state secretary of the Australian Manufacturing Workers Union, the backers of defeated incumbent Julius Roe have obtained a court injunction preventing the

Anti-GST protesters confront Costello
SYDNEY — "Tax the rich, not the rest, no GST", protesters cried as they confronted the federal treasurer, Peter Costello, speaking at a business forum on the tax organised by the Daily

Unionists face fines, jail
MELBOURNE — Five hundred union delegates rallied outside the Federal Court on May 22 in support of three union officials found guilty of contempt of court for organising union meetings. Electrical Trades

NT minister in denial
DARWIN — Country Liberal Party MP Chris Lugg labelled the stolen generations "a fraud contrived by Aboriginal activists and their supporters and legal advisors" for the purpose of "obtaining

SYDNEY — The NSW Labor government has once again received warm ruling-class approval for its annual budget, announced by treasurer Michael Egan on May 23. A projected budget surplus of $659 million in 2000-2001, an earlier than


PAKISTAN: Military capitulates on blasphemy law
On May 17, Pakistan's military ruler General Pervaiz Musharraf announced that he was withdrawing his plan to amend the controversial blasphemy law. His announcement came after conservative clerics

Letter from Ethiopia
I hesitate to attempt an analysis of the hostilities between Ethiopia and Eritrea, but, from the day the conflict began two years ago, I have watched with growing horror the waste of tens of thousands of young lives only nine

Iranian workers protest ILO conference
Iranian workers' organisations have called on their supporters worldwide to assist their demand to bar Iranian government representatives from an International Labour Organisation conference, scheduled to

LEBANON: South liberated from Israel's occupation
RAMALLAH, Palestine — On May 23, Israel's occupation of southern Lebanon finally collapsed as its local militia, the South Lebanese Army (SLA), crumbled as thousands of Lebanese residents moving

Debates in International Socialists
A factional debate has broken out within the International Socialist Tendency, the political current led by the British Socialist Workers Party (SWP) with which the Australian International Socialist Organisation

ZIMBABWE: Can the MDC solve the crisis?
The popular trade union-backed Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) poses the greatest threat that President Robert Mugabe's corrupt and authoritarian Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF)

The following is abridged from a speech on the situation in Mindanao presented by the chairperson of the Philippines Socialist Party of Labour (SPP), SONNY MELENCIO, at a public forum in Manila on May 18 organised by the SPP and sponsored by various

NORWAY: Strike ends in victory
A six-day private sector strike in Norway by 85,000 workers (one-third of the private sector work force) has won most of the strikers' main demands. On May 25, almost 79% of the workers involved voted to accept the

In early April, a Texas jury recommended that Kenneth Payne, 29, spend 16 years in jail. Payne's crime?: stealing a Snickers bar from a Tyler grocery store on December 17. When Smith county assistant district attorney Jodi Brown was asked by the

On May 17, 24 Indonesian soldiers and one civilian were sentenced to between eight and a half and 10 years' jail for the murder of Islamic teacher Teungku Bantaqiahand and 56 members of an Islamic boarding school in western Aceh in July 1999.

Kurdish refugees in Turkey need help
The International Federation of Iraqi Refugees has called on the United Nations High Commission for Refugees to cease its stalling on granting refugee status to thousands of people who have fled from Iraqi

JAKARTA — A group of fifty pro-integration East Timorese carried out a vicious attack on the office of East Timor solidarity group Solidamor on May 24 here. The gang, which according to an eyewitness was accompanied by a group of Indonesian

EAST TIMOR: Fretilin conference plans for the future
From May 15 to 20, the Revolutionary Front for an Independent East Timor (Fretilin) held a conference in Dili, East Timor. It was the first Fretilin conference in East Timor since the end of the

International news briefs
Sri Lankan left demonstrates against the war
COLOMBO — On May 25, 3000 people participating in a demonstration called by the People's Liberation Front, the Nava Sama Samaja Party (NSSP) and the Muslim United Liberation

Trade unions plan action on Fiji
Fiji's President Ratu Kamisese Mara formally sacked Labour Prime Minister Mahendra Chaudhry and his government on May 27. Parliament has been suspended for six months. A minister in the Fiji Labour

Behind the coup in Fiji is a retreat by sections of the Melanesian Fijian elite to the tried and tested divide-and-rule tactic of chauvinist scaremongering. Late on May 25, the Great Council of Chiefs (GCC) announced the result of three days of

The following speech by SHEMAL ALI from the Worker Communist Party of Iraq (WCPI) was presented to the 120 participants at the May Day toast at the Granville Town Hall on May 6, jointly sponsored by the Sydney west branch of the Democratic Socialist

On May 17 approximately 300,000 workers across Russia participated in protests against the government's proposal to introduce a draconian new labour code. The new legislation removes workers' rights that have been held for decades, renders trade

May Day in Iraqi Kurdistan
On May Day, 10,000 workers gathered at the centre of Erbil city and were addressed by Nasik Ahmad, a leader of the Worker Communist Party of Iraq. In Sulaymaniyah, the WCPI May Day committee organised and led a


A rush of liberation wind
Cradle Will RockWritten and directed by Tim RobbinsWith Vanessa Redgrave, Philip Baker Hall, Susan Sarandon and Ruben Blades Review by Max Lane
Cradle Will Rock, written and directed by Tim Robbins, is not just a breath

MELBOURNE — Free from corporate sponsorship and government control, 3CR brings the community social justice radio with integrity. They have tried to sue us, investigate us and to keep us quiet but 3CR prevails because it is the uncensored and

Sorry apology of a killer bean counter
The Living and the Dead: Robert McNamara and Five Lives of a Lost WarBy Paul HendricksonVintage, 2000427pp, $19.95 (pb) Review by Phil Shannon
In his 1995 memoirs, Robert McNamara, US secretary of defence

The world according to Mr TV
MR TVWritten and directed by Sean O'RiordanWith Andy Rodoreda, Tori Campbell, Yvette Alcott and Colin McCarlieTap GalleryDarlinghurst, SydneyThursday to Sunday until June 11 Review by Jonathan Singer
In the 1980s,

Allende in his own words
Salvador Allende Reader: Chile's Voice of Democracy — Ocean Press, Melbourne287pp., $29.95 Review by Jorge Jorquera
Thirty years after his election to the post of president of Chile in September 1970, Ocean Press has

By Jo Ellis and Robert Milne
DARWIN — The play Tuckiar's Trial was performed in Darwin's now unused Fannie Bay Gaol on May 19 and 20. It was presented by the Criminal Lawyers Association. There are many stories that could be told about Fannie Bay