Issue 413

Australia

Globalisation's myths revealed

BY RUTH RATCLIFFE

CANBERRA — The real "globalisation" battle was not to defend the rights of the nation-state against international institutions but to defend peoples' rights against neo-liberal governments and multinational...

Pie workers get the union of their choice

BY SUE BULL

GEELONG — It took four days of lost pay for Beaumonts Pies and Cakes workers to get their union recognised by the boss. But they all reckon it was worth it.

The workers had joined the...

It's unanimous: no more women's prisons!

BY SEAN HEALY

SYDNEY — Prisoners' rights group Justice Action has called for the state's corrective services minister Bob Debus to abandon plans to build a new women's jail at Windsor, after the Upper House Select...

Workers protest student association merger

BY RORY CAMPBELL

GEELONG — Staff at the Geelong Association of Students struck for three days, from July 18-20, in protest at the refusal of the association's board to discuss the impact of a planned merger with...

BY BARBARA WHELAN

PERTH — After months of campaigning by students and staff at Murdoch University here, including a nine-day occupation in May, the university's Senate has backed off from plans to cut courses, imposed in a management drive to make the institution...

Mayor defends Townsville homophobia

BY BRIDGET RIGGS

TOWNSVILLE — Responding to televised accusations of rampant homophobia in his city, Townsville Mayor Tony Mooney has dug himself in further by blaming the messenger, claiming to be "outraged" by the story...

BHP plans to sack 800 workers

BY ANDY GIANNIOTIS

WOLLONGONG — Australia's fifth largest multinational company, BHP, has announced plans to contract out up to 800 maintenance jobs at its Port Kembla steelworks. The decision has been condemned by unionists,...

Darwin council cracks down on free speech

BY PETER JOHNSTON

DARWIN — Darwin City Council has cracked down on free speech on the city's streets, fining Resistance activist Jo Ellis $50 for distributing Green Left Weekly in a public place without a...

S11 Alliance pickets Downer

BY ANGELA LUVERA

BRISBANE — Armed with a leaflet declaring "Picket Downer! Shut Down the WEF!", 25 students braved the early morning to picket a function attended by Foreign Minister Alexander Downer. The function, held at the...

Asylum seekers threaten hunger strike

BY DANIEL OOI

SYDNEY — Infuriated by the conditions under which they're held and new repressive measures imposed by the department of immigration, asylum seekers at the Villawood Detention Centre here have threatened to...

BY RAYYAR FARHAT

SYDNEY — Over the objections of many farmers present and despite the urging of environmental activists, the NSW Farmers Association voted at its July 18 annual general meeting to support the release of genetically engineered crops.

...

World

SYRIA: al-Assad junior ascends the throne

HOMS — Syria's government-imposed 40 days of mourning for President Hafez al-Assad came to end on July 20. During that period, I was told, brides were forced to wed in black by the Syrian police. Most Syrians wisely cancelled celebrations...

International news briefs

Rio Tinto workers resume blockade

JAKARTA — Coalmining company PT Kaltim Prima Coal (KPC) stopped operations on July 18 for a second time in less than five weeks after striking workers resumed their blockade in the Sanggata regency in East Kalimantan on...

As two of its warships docked in the east Javanese port of Surabaya on July 20, the administration of US President Bill Clinton made official its re-establishment of military ties with Indonesia, after a temporary suspension during last year's carnage in East Timor.

CARAT...

A coalition of seven US consumer and environmental groups announced this month the formation of a major new US campaign to keep genetically engineered ingredients off grocery store shelves, unless they are thoroughly safety tested and labelled.

As the first formal action...

HANOI — "Sovereignty is about pointing your guns at invading aircraft. Trade liberalisation has nothing to do with sovereignty." This was the confident response from a visiting Canadian "expert" to a concerned Vietnamese official's question during recent discussions in Hanoi on economic...

On July 21, the armed forces of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) ordered the closure of the offices of the Independent Women's Organisation (IWO) and its women's protection centre in Sulaymaniyah, Iraqi Kurdistan.

The armed PUK thugs gave the women just 30 minutes...

DURBAN — On July 9, 5000 people, many wearing "HIV Positive" T-shirts gathered at the Durban city hall to demand equitable access to HIV/AIDS treatment.

The march preceded the opening of the 13th International AIDS Conference, held here on July 14-19. The excited group of...

SAN FRANCISCO — Is it wrong for the state to murder its own citizens?

In the United States, the answer is no. If you're convicted of murder, capital punishment (as the death penalty is euphemistically called) is carried out by the state. This has been true since 1976; and...

At least one protester was killed, more than 100 were injured and 57 were arrested when Indonesian security forces attacked an 800-strong protest in South Sumatra on July 20. The detainees were beaten in jail.

The action was organised by the National Peasants Union (STN)...

INDONESIA: Activists demand an end to corruption

On July 20, huge banners, which dwarfed the activists who daringly scaled the walls of Indonesia's parliament building in Jakarta to hang them, announced the demands of the People's Democratic Party (PRD).

Two giant...

EAST TIMOR: Unanswered questions on transition

As East Timor moves towards full independence under the jurisdiction of the United Nations Transitional Administration in East Timor (UNTAET), the obligations and conduct of the UN, international aid organisations and foreign...

SYRIA: Baath Party renounces socialist agenda

The ruling Syrian Baath Party held its ninth convention on June 17 to appoint Hafez al-Assad's oldest surviving son, Bashar, as its new general secretary, thus paving the way for his official election by a national referendum on July...

PHILIPPINES: Protesters disrupt Congress

MANILA — Five members of the Philippines Socialist Party of Labour (SPP) were detained on July 18 in the Batasan (parliament) hall. The SPP members interrupted a special session of Congress called to pass the emergency powers bill with which the...

A group of unions has demanded President Abdurrahman Wahid disallow a new labour rights bill, which was unanimously passed by the House of Representatives on July 10 but needs the president's approval to become law.

While the new bill gives workers more legal rights to...

Four years ago on July 27, television images of the Indonesian military bashing and kicking helpless protesters exposed the world to the brutality of the Suharto dictatorship. The Australian government's and the Jakarta lobby's carefully cultivated image of the regime was shattered. It...

Twenty thousand heavily armed police, six navy warships and a two-kilometre nautical exclusion zone may have allowed the world leaders, including United States President Bill Clinton, attending the G8 summit in Okinawa to rest easy, but it wasn't enough to prevent tens of thousands of...

PACIFIC: 'We want to be nuclear free and independent'

The failure of another United States missile test at Kwajalein Atoll in the Marshall Islands highlights the folly of the new arms race in space, notes the Suva-based Pacific Concerns Resource Centre.

"For 50...

SOUTH KOREA: Workers mobilise against repression

SEOUL — On July 20, more than 20,000 people rallied in 14 cities in a national day of action organised by the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions (KCTU). It was in response to two recent police attacks on striking workers....

EAST TIMOR: The meaning of reconciliation

DILI — On July 19, an Indonesian investigation team arrived here to interview witnesses to the worst atrocities that took place from April to September last year. These include the Liquica massacre in April, the massacre of refugees and...

Editorial

No support for US militarism!

The Australian government's support for "baby Star wars" — the US government's proposed National Missile Defence (NMD) system — must be opposed.

Much of the criticism of NMD has focused on the stupidity of the plan, since it is doubtful that a missile...

Culture

The puppet in Pakistani politics

BY DAVE RILEY

Right-wing thugs disrupted and closed the showing of a political satire, Jhoot ke Palende (Bunch of Lies), at Lahore's Al-Hamra Arts Council on June 16. The play, scheduled to run from June 15-19, was...

Tear out your eyes

Oedipus
By Seneca
Directed by Barrie Kosky
Sydney Theatre Company
The Wharf

REVIEW BY MARK STOYICH

Lucius Annaeus Seneca (4BC-65AD) was tutor and close friend to the...

Globalise this!

Globalization
Insurge
Chatterbox/Phantom Records
Order at <http://www.insurge.com.au>.

REVIEW BY SEAN HEALY

There have been plenty of bands who've been radical and angry...

Exploding like a sonic Molotov cocktail

BY RICHARD PITHOUSE

The surge of interest in "world music" and the development of compelling popular music forms like acid jazz, trip-hop, breakbeat and hip hop have made most rock bands look uninspired by comparison...

Theatre, money and privilege

The Great Gatsby
New Theatre, Newtown, Sydney
July 15-September 2

REVIEW BY BRENDAN DOYLE

The Sydney theatre establishment functions as a sort of club. If you're a...

Bougainville shows its courage and community

An Evergreen Island
Frontyard Films
Made by Mandy King and Fabio Cavadini
Showing Tuesday, August 1, 7pm at the Side On Café, 83 Parramatta Road, Annandale, Sydney

REVIEW...

Wanted: your videos of protest

Undercurrents, the British-based alternative media group, wants your videos for a new series of programs, Undercurrents Global Views 2000, focussing on "international direct action and diverse global issues".

"Get connected...