Issue 481

Australia

BY ZANNY BEGG
SYDNEY — Since his meteoric rise to cabinet five months ago, the NSW Labor government's minister for police Michael Costa has implemented a series of initiatives that will send more people to jail.
One of his more subtle changes

BY GRAHAM WILLIAMS
GEELONG — Production workers at the Godfrey Hirst carpet factory are one of the first groups of workers in the country to win a trust fund that guarantees all their entitlements if the company goes bankrupt.
The Manusafe

BY ALEX BAINBRIDGE
HOBART — Dozens of activists are maintaining a "Weld River community picket". The blockade, which entered its 12th day on February 15, has stopped work on a forestry road and bridge into the Weld Valley in southern Tasmania.

Lord Mayor campaign launched
DARWIN — Members and supporters of Socialist Alliance gathered in the Resistance
Bookshop on February 13 to launch the campaign for Lord Mayor. The candidate,
Ruth Ratcliffe, told those assembled that, “now, more

BY PHILIPPA SKINNER
KATOOMBA — Five hundred Blue Mountains residents took to the streets on February 15 to protest the Coalition government's treatment of refugees.
Organised by local activists, the theme "Take a stand — free the refugees"

BY SEAN HEALY
SYDNEY — M1 2002 is up and running. On February 14, activists met to begin planning May 1 actions which will include protests across the city in the morning, a "unity rally" at midday in Martin Place and a festival or street party

BY SARAH STEPHEN
"I feel ashamed to be Australian", is the most frequently appearing comment on the online petition calling for a royal commission into the Australian government's treatment of refugees. More than 7000 people have signed on to the

If you have received a letter from the NSW State Electoral Office in the last six weeks requesting confirmation of your membership of Socialist Alliance, please reply NOW!
To succeed, the alliance's application for electoral registration in NSW

BY TIMOTHY KERSWELL
BRISBANE — Premier Peter Beattie's February 12 media statement, entitled "50 reasons not to protest this years' Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting" (CHOGM) is a deceptive attempt to prevent people from joining the March

BY STELLA REITHMULLER
BRISBANE — On February 15, 30 people attended a high school action demanding freedom for refugees. Although the action was small, it was an important show of defiance for students who have faced intense harassment at

BY SUE BULL
MELBOURNE — The metalworkers at Tiemans couldn't remember the last time they had been on strike. The older ones had hazy memories of the 35-hour week campaign 21 years ago. But on February 1, when the boss sacked three young workers

BY JAMES VASSILOPOULOS
CANBERRA — Socialist Alliance members held a 30-hour hunger strike, beginning on February 11, to publicise the February 12 refugees' rights convergence at Parliament House.
The action was reported by the local WIN and ABC

BY EDWARD JOHNSTONE
MELBOURNE — The Socialist Alliance is fielding candidates in four wards in the Darebin City Council election in Melbourne's north-east. The alliance's platform demands that Darebin City be made a haven for refugees, that Merri

BY LESLIE RICHMOND
ADELAIDE — Despite an (unofficial) election campaign that had dragged on for nearly six months, on the night before polling day in the South Australian elections, 10% of voters had not decided who they would vote for. This was

BY CRISTINA SACCO
WOLLONGONG — Residents of Sandon Point, near Thirroul, the controversial site of a proposed upmarket housing development by Stocklands Constructions, were woken by the roar of bulldozers at 5am on February 12. Immediately "phone

BY KAROL FLOREK
SYDNEY — More than 100 high school students walked out of classrooms on February 15 to voice their opposition to the Coalition government's inhumane treatment of refugees. The Resistance-organised protest commenced in Hyde Park to

World

BY VEENA DHOLAH
PORT LOUIS — The government of Mauritius has passed very repressive legislation, supposedly to "curb terrorism". The laws passed on February 4, only four days after they were made public.
The laws provide for the denial of bail

BY BEN REID
PORTO ALEGRE — The second World Social Forum occurred at an important time in Brazilian politics. On January 19 Celso Daniel, mayor of Santo Andre in Sao Paulo state, was found murdered. Daniel is the second mayor belonging to the

BY NICK SOUDAKOFF
On February 9, "terms of reference" for the "Balikatan" US-Philippines war "exercises" were agreed on by US and Philippines military officials. The 660 US troops, including 120 US special forces commandos, will be allowed to

BY TAFADZWA CHOTO
HARARE — The Zimbabwe government's repression against the opposition Movement for Democratic Change and other activists continues as the March 9-10 presidential election nears.
Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe and his ruling

BY ALLEN MYERS
PHNOM PENH — In a surprise move on February 8, the United Nations Office of Legal Affairs (OLA) announced its withdrawal from negotiations to establish a mixed Cambodian-international tribunal to try surviving leaders of the Khmer

BY NICOLE COLSON
CHICAGO — In his State of the Union address, President George Bush piously declared that "America will always stand firm for the non-negotiable demands of human dignity" — including "respect for women". But in the two weeks

BY URI AVNERY
JERUSALEM — Some weeks ago, something curious happened: Israel discovered that Iran is the Great Satan. It happened quite suddenly. There was no prior sensational news, no new discovery. As if by the order of a drill-sergeant, the

BY LEE SUSTAR
intro = PORTO ALEGRE — For a second year, the World Social Forum (held January 31 to February 5) attracted an incredible range of social movements, labour unions and political groups from all over the world. The spirit of

BY MALIK MIAH
SAN FRANCISCO — President George Bush's "war on terrorism" is leading to some complex and contradictory reactions among African Americans.
Like an overwhelming majority of Americans, blacks reacted to the heinous crime of

BY NORM DIXON
US forces in Afghanistan continue to inflict deaths and injuries on civilians, long after US air power has driven the Taliban regime from power and scattered its al Qaeda allies to the four winds. The latest slaughter occurred on

TEL AVIV — Around 10,000 people rallied here on February 9 to back the growing numbers of Israeli reserve soldiers who are refusing to serve in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.
A year ago, at a rally called by much the same peace and human

BY MAX LANE
"It was extremely disappointing to see Australian Prime Minister John Howard shake hands so enthusiastically with Indonesia's President Megawati Sukarnoputri. Doesn't he know how her government treats the people, not just in Aceh, but

Editorial

According to a Melbourne Age poll, conducted by AC Nielson last August and September, Prime Minister John Howard's government enjoyed 71% support for its policy of mandatory detention of asylum seekers who arrive without permission. However, a

Culture

LumumbaDirected by Raoul PeckWith Eriq Ebouaney, Maka KottoScreening at Valhalla and Chauvel Cinemas, Sydney, and Lumiere Cinema, Melbourne
REVIEW BY NICK EVERETT
Lumumba ends as the film begins, with a heart-wrenching dramatisation of the brutal

An Indelible StainBy Henry ReynoldsViking Press, 2001209 pages, $27
BY RUTH RATCLIFFE
In the introduction to An Indelible Stain?, historian Henry Reynolds predicts that after reading that book, "many people will seek more definite answers, firmer

BY BUSTER SOUTHERLY
Black Hawk Down, the first of the wave of patriotic US war and action movies being rushed to the screens following the September 11 incidents, opens across Australia on February 21. The film's Pentagon advisers hope that Black

[To the tune of "The Time Warp" from the Rocky Horror Picture Show.]
It's astounding, how prejudice is growingand xenophobia takes its tollListen closely for it's about time you did soRacism is taking controlIt's just a jump to the rightAnd then a