Issue 568

News

Chris Latham, Perth On January 16, the Western Australian branch of the Australian Education Union indicated that it will recommend acceptance of a new offer negotiated between the AEU and the state education department for a certified agreement
Sue Bolton, Melbourne The postal and telecommunications section of the Communication Workers' Union (CWU P&T) set up an indefinite picket outside Australia Post's new Melbourne parcel facility on January 23, after negotiations with management broke
Newcastle — Long-time US anti-war activist and socialist Barry Sheppard spoke at a public forum organised by the Newcastle branch of the Socialist Alliance on January 17. Sheppard argued that the US-led invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan were not
Peter Boyle, Sydney At a raucous meeting on December 15, the ALP-controlled Marrickville Council, in inner-suburban Sydney, rammed through a proposal to bolster the ALP's chances of keeping control after the March 27 local elections. By
John Nebauer, Adelaide Industrial action by state government employees has pressured the SA Labor government to negotiate around a new industrial agreement. Four months ago, the Public Service Association of SA lodged a claim for a 12% pay rise

World

Marcus Greville, London On January 27, Britain's Labour government will attempt to introduce variable tuition fees for university education. Labelled "top-up" fees, it is the latest move to shift the cost of higher education to students. However,
Alison Dellit On January 16, the Washington Post reported that the US State Department had put half a dozen current and former Indonesian military officers on a "watch list", which will, in effect, prevent them from travelling to the US. The list
Kerryn Williams On December 29, the US-appointed Iraqi Governing Council (IGC) adopted an order placing family law under the jurisdiction of Islamic sharia law, overriding the family laws which have been in place under the civil code since 1959.
Kathy Newnam, Mumbai One of the most popular images at the January 16-21 World Social Forum was the face of Che Guevara. This not only reflected the radical mood of the WSF, but also the depth of solidarity with the Cuban Revolution. The delegation
Doug Lorimer As former US treasury secretary Paul O'Neill recently confirmed, Washington's post-9/11 "war on terror" was a coldly calculated conspiracy by the administration of US President George Bush, begun from its first week in office, to
Raul Bassi Nestor Kirchner's election as president of Argentina in May last year was the final act in a drama that began at the end of 2001, and shook Argentina's establishment. Nearly a year after his election, how are the people of Argentina
Helen Jarvis & Jon Lamb, Mumbai More than 80,000 people participated in the fourth World Social Forum, held on January 16-21 in the NESCO exhibition grounds, located in the north of Mumbai. There were rich discussions and debates on how to counter
Stan Goff, North Carolina Two hot little controversies are brewing among progressive and anti-war Americans. One is the question of how much energy we — if there is a "we" — put into the 2004 US elections, and in what way. The other is the
David Bacon, Los Angeles Mark Norton is one of 70,000 workers forced on strike, or locked out, in southern California. Soon he may be one of hundreds of thousands more facing the same difficult predicament. Across the country, the system for
Shane Bentley At its January 15 membership meeting, the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) Local 10 voted to hold a stop-work meeting on March 20 to shut down San Francisco Bay docks in solidarity with protest marches taking place
Mara Ochoa March 10 will mark a watershed day in the long history of US hypocrisy in international relations. This is the date set by the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals to hear oral arguments by attorneys for five Cuban nationals who, while working
Jon Lamb, Mumbai The January 16-21 World Social Forum followed many months of planning and coordination by the Indian Organising Committee. Green Left Weekly spoke to IOC member Srilata Swaminathan, a central committee member of the Communist Party
Maria Voukelatos The USAPATRIOT Act and other post-9/11 "anti-terrorist" laws have given local, state and federal authorities in the United States the power to detain people without charge or legal representation, and monitor people's
James Balowski, Jakarta In the presence of some 200 members and supporters, on January 16 the People's Democratic Party (PRD) "launched" its new central leadership board and 2004 general elections resolution. The resolution is titled "Not an
Doug Lorimer Filmmaker Michael Moore announced on his web site on January 14 that he would be backing retired US Army general Wesley Clark to the Democratic Party's candidate in the 2004 presidential election. "I believe that Wesley Clark will
Nicole Itano, Nairobi A Kenyan woman bleeding from a botched abortion is denied medical help by disapproving hospital nurses. It is the kind of incident that translates into high maternal mortality rates in Africa, where reproductive health clinics

Culture

Censored 2004: the Top 25 Censored StoriesBy Peter Phillips and Project CensoredSeven Stories Press, 2003367 pages, $36 (pb) REVIEW BY PHIL SHANNON On February 5, 2003, the day US Secretary of State Colin Powell made his case for war against Iraq
REVIEW BY NICOLE COLSON Sweet Sixteendirected by Ken LoachWritten by Paul LavertyWith Martin Compston, Michelle Coulter, Annmarie Fulton and William RuaneAvailable on region 2 DVD from Amazon.com. British socialist filmmaker Ken Loach is known
Actively Radical TV — Sydney community television's progressive current affairs producers tackle the hard issues from the activist's point of view. Includes the Green Left news. CTS Sydney (UHF 31), every Sunday, 9pm. Phone 9564 1277. Visit
Chorus:This is a song of freedomof a people brave and strong,a song of Australia's freedom;it won't detain you long. Many came here as convictswhen they escaped the noose.The privilege of the ganderwould really suit the goose. Aborigines forced
Behind the Barricades: The Best of David RovicsAK Press/Daemon Records$25 from Hobart Resistance Bookshop or US$15 from <http://www.davidrovics.com>. REVIEW BY ALEX BAINBRIDGE I'm not normally inclined to enthusiasm about "best of"

Editorial

On January 14, US President George Bush announced the he had set a human mission to Mars as a long-range goal after NASA, the US space agency, builds a base on the Moon. According to the January 16 Washington Post, a senior Bush administration

General

Alex Bainbridge, Hobart The progressive movement lost one of its truest stalwarts on December 25 when George Shenman passed away after a long illness. George had a tremendous respect for fellow human beings and devoted much of his energy to helping
Tom McLoughlin, Sydney The forestry assets of NSW public timber plantations have been valued at $1 billion dollars recently by ABN AMRO. This provides an opportunity for the NSW government to shift logging operators out of the native forest sector
Sue Bull & Mary Merkenich As nearly 70% of Australian students pack their school bags and return to school, they may feel bemused by not having Prime Minister John Howard's support, nor that of most of his cabinet. In an interview with the
Sarah Stephen On January 18, ALP leader Mark Latham announced on January 18 that a federal Labor government would introduce a foreign worker ID card, which employers would be obliged to check to see if someone is entitled to work. Employers who
Susan Price, a Socialist Alliance member who is in the Democratic Socialist Perspective, argues that feminists and socialists should oppose state-enforced bans on women wearing hijab, or Muslim headscarves. In December 2003, more than 3000
Kerryn Williams Last August, the Australian Council of Social Service (ACOSS) reported that older people, in particular those on low incomes, are receiving poor health care. Almost 20% of people requiring a place in a high-care facility wait more
Norman Brewer, Sydney On January 30, Will Saunders and Dave Burgess will face their second sentencing hearing at the Sydney District Court. These anti-war activists are charged with "malicious damage" for painting "No War" in five-metre-high
Iggy Kim, Sydney On January 18, NSW police commissioner Ken Moroney announced that he will recommend to police minister John Watkins that Taskforce Gain, which focuses on gangs linked to "Middle Eastern organised crime", be given extra resources
Kerryn Williams When federal parliament resumes sitting in February, the government's Medicare Plus bill will be put to the Senate. Health minister Tony Abbott has declared himself unwilling to respond to the "wish lists" of those opposing the
John van der Velden Building socialist and broad-left unity is the most urgent task for progressive people and groups in this era of war and unbridled corporate greed. Environmental destruction, exploitation and social dislocation pervade vast
Dave Riley, Brisbane With the Labor government sitting on a massive majority of 43 seats, the result of the Queensland state election is an easy call. The big end of town may be keen to reduce the arrogance that such a lead fosters, but the ALP
Kerryn Williams A national survey conducted by Roy Morgan Research last August found that 25% of Australians do not believe their local hospital would provide them with adequate treatment if they had an accident. If a quarter of the population
Bill Mason, Brisbane Socialist Alliance candidates running in the February 7 Queensland elections have challenged Premier Peter Beattie and the ALP to "use their likely continued big majority in the state parliament after polling day to bring
[The following call was issued on January 20 by the Canterbury-Bankstown branch of the Socialist Alliance in south-west Sydney.] The Canterbury-Bankstown Socialist Alliance is calling for unity against racism in the March [NSW] local government
Journalist John Pilger will be speaking at a public meeting in Sydney on February 15, the anniversary of the biggest ever global protests against war. Pip Hinman spoke to Pilger about the truth and lies in the "war on terror". What do you make of