Issue 615

Australia

SYDNEY — On February 12, exactly 40 years after the legendary 1965 Freedom Ride, 200 supporters farewelled the Freedom Ride 2005 bus as it departed from Sydney University to follow the original route. After a welcome to Gadigal Land of the Eora
Selena Black, Sydney On February 8, federal police conducted an early morning raid on a refugee supporter's house, taking notebooks, computers and documents. This followed similar raids on December 1, after which four people were summonsed to
Sue Bolton, Melbourne On February 2, 40 members and officials from 10 unions in Victoria founded the Defend the Unions Committee to coordinate resistance to the federal Coalition government's planned attack on union rights — its industrial
PERTH — On January 11, around 30 people gathered outside the ANZ bank in the Murray Street Mall for a speakout against the bank's profiting from the war in Iraq. The protest was called by Resistance to highlight the true nature of the US-led
Sarah Stephen, Sydney The Refugee Action Coalition held a protest outside the immigration department's offices on February 10 to call for an end to mandatory detention in light of the Cornelia Rau scandal. RAC activist Ian Rintoul condemned the
Jon Lamb, Darwin Ongoing problems at various mine sites and concerns about industrial and urban developments across the Northern Territory have prompted renewed calls for the creation of an independent environment protection authority. The absence
MELBOURNE — On February 10, Jack Thomas, who is facing charges under "anti-terrorism" laws, appealed the decision not to grant him bail. Under the "anti-terrorism" laws, suspects may not be granted bail unless there are exceptional mitigating
BRISBANE — The new wave of struggle for Aboriginal rights in Australia that began in the 1960s was launched by the Freedom Ride led by Charlie Perkins in February 1965, Murri activist Sam Watson told a solidarity night at the Jagera Centre,
James Vassilopoulos, Melbourne Eighty members of the National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU) employed at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology decided on February 8 to continue work bans in pursuit of a new enterprise bargaining agreement.
Selena Black, Sydney On February 11, hundreds of building workers were sacked in Sydney and Queensland by the collapsed company Walter Construction Group. Walter went into receivership on February 1 and many more of its 1000 employees are likely
Graham Williams, Melbourne Workers formerly employed at ABM Plastics have been picketing the plant since January 21 in an attempt to force company owner Abe Waisman to pay them $2.5 million in redundancy entitlements. ABM Plastics went into
BRISBANE — A Socialist Alliance forum on February 8 screened videos on the history and current stage of the Acehnese national liberation movement, and heard two speakers recount stories of recent upheavals and past conflict. Coral Wynter
Bridget Blackford, Perth The social forum phenomenon that has swept the globe since the first World Social Forum in Brazil in 2001 has finally arrived in Perth. The inaugural Perth Social Forum will be held on March 18-20 in the port city of
Michelle Brear, Sydney The coronial inquest into the death of Thomas "TJ" Hickey was a "whitewash", Ray Jackson, president of the Indigenous Social Justice Association (ISJA), told the 150-strong crowd that packed Redfern Town Hall on February 8.

World

Barry Healy A new and extensive investigation into Haiti's human rights situation has found that conditions in the country have sharply deteriorated since the elected president, Jean-Bertrand Aristide, was snatched from the country by US forces in
On February 4, New York's state supreme justice Doris Ling-Cohan ruled that the state's Domestic Relations Law, which prohibits same-sex marriages, was unconstitutional because it denied the right to equal protection. Ling-Cohen likened the ban on
On February 4, 60,000 public sector workers walked off the job to protest a climbing cost of living and government hostility to working people. Five thousand marched through the capital city of Ougadougou on the day. Public sector unions are
Duroyan Fertl On January 26, up to 250,000 Ecuadorians marched in Guayaquil, the largest city in Ecuador. Their demands included an end to rampant corruption and crime, improved health and sanitation services, and the reinstatement of the Supreme
On February 3, the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund claimed a victory, as US Customs released a shipment of Stripburger anthologies that it had seized in November on the grounds that two stories in the anthologies infringed copyright. The two stories in
Trevor Ngwane, Johannesburg The World Social Forum is coming to Africa in 2007. This is great news. But how exactly will the coming of the WSF to Africa in 2007 advance the struggle against neoliberalism and capitalist domination? This is an
Doug Lorimer "I call on all religious and political powers that pushed towards the elections and took part in them to issue an official statement calling for a timetable for the withdrawal of the occupation forces from Iraq", Moqtada al Sadr, the
Stuart Munckton In an editorial on January 14 attacking the government of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, the Washington Post wrote, "Mr. Chavez has pushed through a new law that allows the government to fine or shut down private media for
Mike Stark, Chicago In 1999, I was driving Ossie Davis around Washington, D.C., during a visit he made to participate in a delegation to the White House in support of Pennsylvania death row prisoner Mumia Abu-Jamal. Drawing on his Georgia roots,
Within his first 100 days in power, Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono broke his election promise not to increase the price of petrol, kerosene and natural gas. Yudhoyono announced in early February that oil prices would increase this
Doug Lorimer As the candidate most identified with the US occupation, former CIA pin-up boy Iyad Allawi's career took a nose dive in the January 30 Iraqi elections. With Allawi finishing a distant third after Sistani's United Iraqi Alliance and the
Farooq Sulehria On February 1, Kathmandu witnessed another government dismissal — the 14th government change in as many years. In May last year, Prime Minister Surya Bahadur Thapa resigned following weeks of street protests by opposition groups
On February 5, workers in the two factories in the free-trade zone in Ouanaminthe, north Haiti, reached an agreement with the Grupo M company that runs the zone to resolve a seven-month dispute. In June, more than 350 workers, including all known
Alison Dellit With tears in her eyes, radical lawyer Lynne Stewart braved reporters on the steps of the New York Courthouse in which she had just been convicted of conspiring to aid terrorists on February 10. "I hope this will be a wake-up call
On February 9, the French National Assembly passed a bill to significantly weaken the 35-hour work week won in 1998. The bill, passed four days after 300,000 people marched to defend the 35-hour work week, will now go to the Senate, where it is
On February 5, National Guard General Felipe Rodriguez was arrested in Venezuela. Rodriguez was charged by state prosecutor Danilo Anderson, since murdered, with being involved in bombing the Spanish and Colombian embassies two years ago and for his
Rohan Pearce "I hear there's rumours on the internets [sic] that we're going to have a draft. We're not going to have a draft, period. The all-volunteer army works... We're not going to have a draft so long as I'm the president", George Bush
On January 20, more than 10,000 secondary students from 18 schools in Quito took to the streets, demanding access to concession fares and student cards. Organised by the Federation of Secondary Students of Ecuador, the students have declared their
Marce Cameron Cuban president Fidel Castro told thousands of delegates to the first World Literacy Congress in Havana on February 1 that he had closely watched the inauguration ceremony of US President George Bush on January 20 and saw "the face of

Editorial

Industrial relations and welfare "reform" are the two most important goals for the Coalition government's fourth term, Prime Minister John Howard told Sunday program host Laurie Oakes on February 6. Over the last few weeks there has been a torrent

Culture

BY LINDA WALDRON In Lahore in early December, I met Toni Usman, a Norwegian actor of Pakistani descent working in Pakistan for a month to produce a special edition of the left-wing newspaper Mazdoor Jeddojuhd (Workers' Struggle). This January 13
Getting Away with Genocide? Elusive Justice and the Khmer Rouge TribunalBy Tom Fawthrop and Helen JarvisUNSW Press, Sydney, 2005320 pages, $39.95 (pb) REVIEW BY TONY ILTIS Commentators of the Gerard Henderson variety accuse the "left" of having