Issue 609

Australia

Sam Wainwright, Perth On November 25, 300 workers employed by Leighton Contractors on the construction of the Perth to Mandurah railway won a significant victory in their fight for better night shift penalties. Negotiations between the
#1 NT power workers take action DARWIN — Power station workers, control room operators, technicians and other workers covered by the Communication, Electrical and Plumbing Union (CEPU) have held a series of workplace meetings and vowed to
Pavita Khosa, Sydney On December 1, 150 people came to hear John Pilger launch his latest book. The event was organised by the North Sydney Library. Tell Me No Lies: Investigative Journalism and its Triumphs pays tribute to some of the greatest
Kylie Moon, Sydney "Fightback: Resisting Howard's Agenda" was the theme of a public meeting at the Sydney Gaelic Club on December 2 that brought together 90 activists involved in many of the current campaigns against the attacks of the Howard
Sue Bolton, Melbourne A mini-bus of workers from the SPC Ardmona cannery in Mooroopna, central-northern Victoria, were joined by other Australian Manufacturing Workers Union members in a protest outside the company's headquarters on November 30.
Paul Benedek, Sydney The inner-city suburbs of Redfern and Waterloo, home to the Australian Heritage-listed Redfern Block, which has historically been a centre of Black empowerment and organising, faces a $5 billion state government
Sarah Stephen, Sydney Early on the morning of December 1, Refugee Action Coalition activist Mark Goudkamp got a knock on his door. He opened it to find eight Australian Federal Police officers and immigration department officials. The AFP
#2 Prostitution law opposed DARWIN — On December 1, the Scarlet Alliance, a national sex workers' rights group, held a World AIDS Day public forum to highlight issues surrounding the unjust and discriminatory sex worker law in the Northern
Chris Slee & Graham Matthews, Melbourne Stephen Jolly, national secretary of the Socialist Party, was elected to the Yarra City Council for the ward of Langridge in the November 27 Victorian council elections. An ALP and a Greens member were also
Jim McIlroy & Margarita Windisch, Ballarat "The spirit of Eureka has always been part of the progressive trade union movement", environmentalist and former NSW Builders Labourers Federation secretary Jack Mundey told a crowd of several hundred at
#3 Don't log Recherche Bay HOBART — French ambassador to Australia Patrick Henault visited Recherche Bay on December 1. Environmentalists were hoping for official French support for the campaign to stop logging at the bay, however Henault

World

Boris Kagarlitsky, Moscow On Russia's state television channels there was hysteria. Astonished viewers, plunged into a Cold War atmosphere, learned that neighbouring Ukraine was experiencing a coup d'‚tat planned by foreign spy services. The
Twenty years after the horrific disaster in Bhopal, probably responsible for 20,000 deaths, the victims are still fighting for compensation. This article on this act of mass murder is abridged from <http://bhopal.com>, where information on
South Africa's Supreme Court of Appeal issued a ruling on November 30 that may enable same-sex marriage in the country within a year. A lesbian couple applied to the court to change the common-law definition of marriage from "a union between a man
According to the December 3 Washington Post, a recent classified report found similar abuses existed in Afghanistan's prisons to those in jails in Iraq. The report found that a lack of available guidelines had "created opportunities for abusing the
Linda Waldron, Delhi The Fourth National Conference of the All India Progressive Women's Association was held in Delhi on November 24-25. The conference opened with two minutes' silence to honour Manju Singh, an AIPWA activist from Bihar gunned
A half-day stoppage brought Italy to a halt on November 30, as millions of workers protested the planned 2005 austerity budget of Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi. Berlesconi is planning sweeping cuts to public spending, particularly on public
Kim Bullimore, West Bank Ten candidates, including jailed Palestinian leader, Marwan Barghouti, have nominated to contest the January 9 Palestinian presidential elections. Barghouti, who had previously said he would not contest the elections in
Three US broadcast networks have rejected an advertisement from the United Church of Christ, deeming it too controversial. The ad is designed to advertise the church's welcoming policy, particularly towards gay men and lesbians. It depicts two
December 1, West Papuan Independence Day, was commemorated by solidarity activists across the world. Indonesia has banned the display of West Papua's "Morning Star" flag in West Papua, and the province's governor, Jaap Salossa, banned all celebration
The following is based on a report by Stuart Munckton that was adopted by the national committee of the Democratic Socialist Perspective, an affiliate of the Socialist Alliance, on November 7. The Venezuelan revolution is the first revolution of
Jeff Shantz, Ontario Over November 30 - in Ottawa - and December 1 - in Halifax - US President George Bush made his first official visit to Canada to participate in bilateral meetings with Prime Minister Paul Martin and the ruling Liberal caucus.
Alison Dellit Students from more than 60 colleges, universities, and high schools worldwide organised events to mark the 20th anniversary of the Bhopal disaster, and to demand that Dow Chemical resolve its legal and moral responsibilities for the
Raul Bassi Under the slogan "less work so we can all work", around 5000 people filled one of the historic places for the Argentine working class, Federacion del Box, on October 29. Delegates and representatives from different unions — including
Donna Mulhearn, Baghdad In the chilly darkness, Baghdad father of three Ali rises at 3am. He grabs a blanket and makes his way to the car. He nervously watches the fuel gauge, deep in the red, as he slowly crawls through back streets to join the
Six indigenous activists ended a hunger strike on December 3, after attempting to draw attention to US and British attempts to stall the adoption of a United Nations declaration on indigenous peoples' rights. 2004 marks the end of the UN's Decade of
On December 1, the British High Court ruled that the Telegraph had defamed former Labour MP George Galloway when it claimed that documents had been found in Baghdad alleging Galloway was in the pay of Saddam Hussein. The paper was ordered to pay
On November 26, 10,000 Haitians marched in support of deposed President Jean-Paul Aristide. Aristide was ousted in a US-backed coup in February, and a new government installed. The protesters called for the establishment of a new "government of
On November 26, an asylum seeker doused himself in petrol inside the British Home Office's immigration headquarters, in front of a long queue of asylum seekers. He said that he was going to set himself alight. Police officers guarding the centre
Doug Lorimer November was the deadliest month for the US occupation forces in Iraq since the war began in March 2003, with twice as many US soldiers dying as in October. At least 135 US troops died in November — the same number as last April,
As of November 18, Chilean women can finally achieve financial independence from abusive husbands, as the country finally legalised divorce. Until now, the only ways to end a marriage in Chile were to have it annulled, which is complicated, must be
Jo Williams Since its election in 1998, the Venezuelan government led by Hugo Chavez has implemented a range of mass social programs aimed at eradicating widespread poverty, and at reversing the systematic social exclusion of millions of

Editorial

No politician wants to be associated with the James Hardie scandal. Who can blame them? Australia has the world's highest per capita incidence of mesothelioma, one of the painful forms of cancer caused by exposure to asbestos fibres. By 2020, 18,000

Culture

The Polar ExpressWritten and directed by Robert Zemeckis Based on the book by Chris Van AllsburgWith Tom Hanks, Chris Coppola and Nona Gaye REVIEW BY NICOLE HILDER The Polar Express is a tale of Christmas Eve re-education. A mysterious train
The Bolivarian Revolution: Enter the Oil Workers!Directed by Selma Jones & Nina LopezProduced by the Bolivarian Circle of the Global Women's StrikeVHS only, $16 (includes postage and handling) REVIEW BY MARGARITA WINDISCH When Hugo Chavez was
The Trouble with Capitalism: an Enquiry into the Causes of Global Economic FailureBy Harry ShuttZed Books, 1998238 pages, $36 (pb) REVIEW BY EVA CHENG Since the worldwide shift to neoliberal policy in the early 1980s, capitalist apologists have
I stand with the people of Fallujahas they try to repel the Yankee murderer.I cry with the children and their mothersas they stare at the bodies of their brothers.I walk through the ruins of their housesand watch while the wives bury spouses. From