Issue 628

Australia

MELBOURNE — National Union of Workers Victorian secretary Martin Pakula has rejected claims made by Kemalex Plastics on May 23 that it is a small family-owned company that is struggling to survive. Kemalex employs 200 people in Victoria and South
SYDNEY — At a May 10 Defend Our Unions public forum at the Gaelic Club in Sydney, attended by 60 people, it was unanimously decided to launch a cross-union defence committee to oppose the federal Coalition government's anti-union laws. The public
Bronwyn Jennings, Geelong PM John Howard had to cut and run on May 28 when he was confronted by workers protesting the federal government's anti-worker changes to the industrial relations laws. Howard was in Geelong to announce funding for the
SYDNEY — Tony Kevin, author of the book A Certain Maritime Incident and well-known campaigner for a judicial inquiry into the SIEV X sinking, was awarded the Community Relations Award in the NSW Premier's Literary Awards, which are attached to the
Kerryn Williams, Sydney TAFE workers will join university staff around Australia on June 1 to protest the federal Coalition government's attacks on the tertiary education sector. In NSW, TAFE employees will stop work to participate in city
Graham Matthews, Sydney "Blair was elected on 36% of the vote, with a voter turnout of just 61%, giving him the support of just 22% of the voting population", began David Golan, introducing his report on George Galloway's electoral breakthrough for
Susan Price& Marce Cameron, Sydney Cross-unions delegates' meetings held across Sydney and regional NSW on May 27 were well-attended, with the largest of at least 1000 delegates at Sydney's Masonic Centre spilling into a second auditorium. The
Kathy Newnam, Darwin This month, 11,000 US troops will arrive in Australia to join with 6000 Australian troops for the Talisman Sabre military exercise in northern Australia. Protests across the country will take place on June 10 to mark the

World

SOUTH AFRICA: Housing protests spread to Cape Town Housing protests in Gugulethu and Khayelitsha, the huge impoverished "townships" that are home to many of Cape Town's working class and poor, erupted on May 23. These protests follow a wave of
Norm Dixon "Equality, liberty, humanity, feminism, ecology" are the watchwords of Lalit, the revolutionary socialist party active in the Indian Ocean state of Mauritius. "Lalit nurtures a love of and respect for ordinary people, and gives value to
A huge crowd of people attended a protest march in the Tongan capital, Nuku'alofa, on May 26. The march was organised by the Human Rights and Democracy Movement, which claims 20,000 people took to the streets. The demonstration took aim at the
Doug Lorimer On May 21 human-rights activists in Lahore finally succeeded in holding a mixed-sex marathon after the authorities decided against intervening or stopping the event by force. An earlier mixed marathon, on May 14, was stopped by police,
Kim Bullimore On May 15, the Israeli government voted to extend racist amendments to Israel's citizenship laws, preventing the reunification of up to 21,000 Israeli and Palestinian families. The amendment to the Law of Citizenship and Entry
In possible signs of a renewed attack on file sharing, on May 25 FBI agents simultaneously executed 10 search warrants across nine states to shut down Elitetorrents.org, a free members-only BitTorrent aggregate site hosted in the Netherlands.
On May 24, Tanzania's government confirmed that it had cancelled its 2003 deal with Biwater to bring clean water to the capital, Dar es Salaam, and the surrounding region within five years. The US$140 million scheme, pushed on Tanzania by the World
Alison Dellit & Federico Fuentes Monday May 23 On Monday May 23, around 10,000 coca growers, marched into El Alto, the capital of Bolivia, ending a 200-kilometre, four-day march led by the Movement Towards Socialism (MAS), and its leader Evo
Stuart Munckton Speaking on his weekly television chat show on March 22, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez said that if Washington refuses to extradite Cuban terrorist Luis Posada Carriles, Venezuela could severe diplomatic ties between the two
Jack Smit In a quiet corner of the often-deserted Merwehaven in Rotterdam, the Netherlands — a much quieter harbour than the high-tech Maashaven — two flat barges are moored. Not that this in itself is something to carry on about — for
On April 22, imprisoned activist Mumia Abu-Jamal was able to give the following address the Attica to Abu Graib Conference via a mp3 recording. A former Black Panther, Abu-Jamal was convicted of killing a cop on scandalously contradictory evidence
Eva Cheng Since the mid-1990s China has embarked on a major program to privatise its industries. Beijing has dressed its privatisation efforts as an attempt to "diversify the ownership structure", and promised to confine the denationalisation of
Doug Lorimer On May 18, a briefing by top Pentagon generals conceded that the US would need to maintain the current numbers of troops in Iraq — 138,000. According to a United Press International report published the next day, General John
At least 10,000 pro-democracy protesters defied heavily armed Nepalese security forces on May 23 to support a seven-party alliance's call for the complete restoration of democracy by jamming the central Kathmandu market of Ason. The protesters,
On April 8, Mehmet Tarhan was arrested for "insubordination" after failing to serve his compulsory military service. Tarhan had declared himself a conscientious objector in 2001, but such status is not recognised under Turkish law. Tarhan fears he
@boxintro = Action in Solidarity with Asia and the Pacific has received an appeal from the People's Democratic Party (PRD) in Indonesia to help raise funds for an Indonesian activist to join the Venezuelan Solidarity Brigade leaving Australia for
After it became one of the few governments deporting Zimbabwean asylum seekers this year, London has significantly embarrassed in the last few months by such deportees creating ugly scenes at international airports. The tactic has proved effective in
Swedish activist, Johan Persson has become the 90th international peace activist to be deported by Israel since 2002. Persson was arrested by the Israeli occupation forces, as he took part in a non-violent action against the illegal Apartheid wall in
On May 26, hundreds of teachers and pupils from St John's Primary School in Rochdale marched down the town's streets to the local Catholic church. The students held homemade signs, one reading: "Why send our friends to their deaths?". Many carried
Throughout May, 10,000 Ugandans will be recruited to work as "security personnel" in Iraq, and US military bases worldwide. The recruitment effort is spearheaded by World Wide Special Operations, who work with multinationals and governments to
Roberto Jorquera, Caracas In early May, the opposition to the left-wing government of President Hugo Chavez launched a campaign through the main private media outlets under its control to discredit the state-owned oil entity PDVSA. Since then,
Visiting the European Union headquarters in Brussels on May 25, indigenous leaders from Arctic regions around the world called on the EU to do more to fight global warming and to consider giving aid to their peoples. Associated Press reported that
The May 21 British Guardian reported that four jurors who acquitted four Algerians in the so-called ricin plot trial that ended at the Old Bailey the previous month have expressed outrage at the news that the government is seeking to deport three of
Roberto Jorquera, Caracas On May 21, more than 1000 people attended the Third National Seminar on Ideological Formation, organised by the Centres for Ideological Formation (CFIs). The CFIs are grassroots groups initiated in March this year by
On May 14, at least 2500 workers employed by Katexindo Citra Mandiri, went on strike to protest ill-treatment and unpaid overtime. Katexindo is an Indonesian-owned garment factory licensed to produce clothing for several famous US designer brands,

Editorial

On May 23, a federal cabinet meeting finalised the Coalition government's planned "reform" of Australia's industrial relations laws. The "reforms" were publicly unveiled by Prime Minister John Howard in parliament on May 26. Most media attention

Culture

Augustus Rumwaropen, lead singer, lyricist and guitarist of pioneering West Papuan rock outfit the Black Brothers died of a heart attack in Canberra, aged 52. The internationally acclaimed Black Brothers were forced to live in exile from their native
Behind the LinesNational Museum of Australia, Canberra, until June 13Constitutional Centre of WA, Perth, July 1 to August 31Free admission REVIEW BY ANA HANSON Whether it be three embellished warmongering leaders pitched against an intense battle
Why Read Marx Today?By Jonathan WolffOxford University Press, 2002136 pages, $26.95 (pb) REVIEW BY ALEX MILLER This book is intended to be both an introduction to the main lines of Marx's thought and also an answer to critics of Marx who question
The Wages of SpinWith David Williams, Stephen Klinder & Deborah PollardPerformance Space, Sydney, until June 5$25/$20/$15. Bookings (02) 9698 7235The Street Theatre, Canberra, July 20-30$29/$24. Bookings (02) 6247 1223. REVIEW BY SARAH STEPHEN &
I Hate AustraliaAdam GeczyCanberra Contemporary Art SpaceUntil June 4<http://www.ccas.com.au> REVIEW BY MICHAEL ASCROFT In I Hate Australia's exhibition essay, Geczy gives his justifications for delivering such a deliberately