Issue 614

Australia

SYDNEY — A packed February 2 opening of When the World Said No to War — an exhibition of images from the global anti-war protests of February 14-15, 2003 — heard from John Pilger, whose comments on the anti-war movement's need for
#2 Sacked lifesavers picket base WOLLONGONG — The crew of Wollongong's Westpac Life Saver Rescue Helicopter is continuing its five-week-long campaign to be reinstated. The crew was stood down on December 24 after voicing concerns about poor
Sue Bolton, Melbourne On February 1, workers employed by construction contractors on Esso's Bass Strait oil and gas platforms defeated an attempt by the oil company — the Australian subsidiary of ExxonMobil, the world's biggest oil corporation
Kathy Newnam, Darwin The immigration detention centre at Coonawarra in Darwin will incarcerate Indonesians caught fishing in Australian waters, according to new plans announced by federal fisheries minister Ian Macdonald on January 31. The
PERTH — The Socialist Alliance has announced that it will be running six candidates in the WA state elections, scheduled for February 26. Ian Jamieson and Sam Wainwright, two Fremantle wharfies, are running for the Socialist Alliance in the South
Sarah Stephen Cornelia Rau is a very unlucky woman. She suffers from schizophrenia and escaped from a mental institution in Sydney last April. She was taken to a Queensland police station by Indigenous people she had been living with, but instead
Dave Riley, Brisbane With the coronial inquiry still pending into the November death-in-custody of Cameron Doomadgee, the Queensland government and its police force have been able to avoid taking responsibility for the death. The inquest will
Jim McIlroy, Brisbane The pay rises of up to 27% over three years recently announced for the Queensland power industry were "some late justice" for the sacking of 700 electricity workers in 1985, according to Bernie Neville. Neville was a leading
SYDNEY — One-thousand people reclaimed a main street of inner-city Sydney to dance to music and have fun on January 29. Speakers on the open mike discussed the war in Iraq. A prominent banner announced "Welcome Mamdouh" Habib. Photo by Norman
Paul Benedek, Brisbane On February 1, refugee-rights activists picketed Emirates Airlines in several cities. The airline is directly involved in forced deportations. On January 11, the federal Coalition government forcibly deported two asylum

World

The scheduled beginning of the school year in Nicaragua came and went without schools opening. The strike begun on February 2 by 80% of Nicaragua's 35,000 teachers is just one example of a growing political crisis. The teachers were demanding the
Zely Ariane has been the secretary-general of the Peoples Democratic Party (PRD) since 2003. Indonesia's only openly operating socialist party, It played a central role in the movement to overthrow Suharto between 1994 and 1998 and has been at the
Kim Bullimore After being elected president of the Palestinian Authority (PA) with 62% of the popular vote on January 9, Mahmoud Abbas was due to be sworn in on January 15. However, on January 14, Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon announced that
On January 29, police officers in Port Sudan opened fire on a protesting crowd, killing 23 people, including two children. The police then detained 150 protesters. The protesters were members of eastern tribes, particularly the Beja tribe, who have
Stuart Munckton "We are very concerned about a democratically elected leader who governs in an illiberal way", intoned US Secretary of State-designate Condeleeza Rice addressing a January 18 Senate foreign relations committee. Rice was referring to
The Public Broadcasting Service pulled an episode of the children's television show Postcards From Buster on January 26 because it featured lesbian parents. In the episode, cartoon rabbit Buster visited the home of real-life children and their "mom
On January 28, security forces at the Cairo Book Fair arrested three activists associated with the Center for Socialist Studies, and charged them with disseminating false propaganda against the ruling regime. The first to be arrested were Mawa
The first state-funded evaluation of the impact of the US abstinence-only approach to sex education in Texas has found that more teenagers were sexually active after taking the program than before it. The evaluation, which involved surveying all
A retired US Army officer turned revolutionary socialist and author, Stan Goff spent the majority of his military career in a field euphemistically termed "Special Operations". Beginning with Vietnam in 1970, Goff was deployed to eight countries
As the radical left-wing Sandinista National Liberation Front (FSLN) looks increasingly likely to win government at the next presidential election, the US has manufactured a crisis in order to force the government to give up its anti-aircraft
Federico Fuentes A manifesto proposed by 19 intellectuals created a stir at this year's World Social Forum. The 12-point platform of proposals is designed to make concrete the slogan "Another World is Possible". Circulated in order to gain the
Members of the Scottish Socialist Party will elect their new national convenor at the party's national conference in Perth on February 12-13. There are two candidates for the post, Colin Fox, and Alan McCombes. Colin Fox has been active in socialist
Norm Dixon After four months of virtual silence and tens of thousands more deaths, the January 31 release of the report of the United Nations International Commission of Inquiry on Darfur has prodded US spokespeople into repeating the charge that
Federico Fuentes The spirit of two familiar figures, one old and one new, dominated this year's World Social Forum. The old was the ever-present Che Guevara whose spirit not only lives on in the form of his images plastered across buildings and
Lorenz Gonschor, Honolulu On February 13, voters in Tahiti will once more go to the polls, less than a year after the last general elections on May 23, 2004. Even though this upcoming assembly election is only called a "by-election", it will be
In a witness statement for the inquiry into the death in custody of Asian teenager Zahid Mubarak, the British Prison Service's first race equality advisor, Judy Clements, has revealed an administration-driven culture of racial abuse. Mubarak was
Despite Botswana's President Festus Mogae November claim to British MPs that Bushmen had been allowed to hunt in the Kalahari Game Reserve, on February 2 Botswanan courts handed out 1000-pula (AU$310) fines for hunting gembok antelope. The Bushmen

Editorial

One year after the death of 17-year-old Aboriginal man Thomas "TJ" Hickey, the Redfern community is still fighting for justice. TJ was riding his bike in Waterloo, Sydney, on February 14, 2004, when he was impaled on a metal fence after being

Culture

BY LISA SARAMEL Checkpoint is a series of life-sized depictions of armed soldiers, which were to be placed at various locations in Blacktown in November 2004. The "checkpoints for weapons of mass distraction" were intended to confront people with
Che Guevara and the Cuban RevolutionBy Mike GonzalezBookmarks 2004186 pages, $28 REVIEW BY CHRIS SLEE Che Guevara and the Cuban Revolution is a critique of Che's political theory and practice. Mike Gonzalez argues that Che's understanding of
The SapphiresBy Tony BriggsBelvoir Street Theatre, SydneyUntil February 20 REVIEW BY BRENDAN DOYLE Was it because of the tsunami and the sombre mood we've all had to get used to lately? In any case, the Sunday afternoon audience was really pumped
Vera DrakeWritten and directed by Mike LeighStarring Imelda Staunton and Phil DavisOpens nationally February 10 REVIEW BY ELIZABETH SCHULTE Movies that even mention abortion are few and far between. So when a movie like Vera Drake, which depicts