Issue 638

Australia

My name is Peter Reid. I work as a tank maker. I earn a flat rate of $16.25 per hour, working four days on and four days off. I do 12-hour days and rotating shifts. That means I work days and nights, and public holidays, at the company's
Liam Mitchell Forty-seven workers have been locked out of their jobs at the Boeing maintenance depot in Williamtown since May for campaigning for improved working conditions and against individual contracts. Australian Workers Union Newcastle
PERTH — Braving blustery winds and rain, 40 people joined a picket organised by the Rail, Tram and Bus Union outside the Kewdale depot of freight forwarders Toll on 12 August. As part of a nationwide campaign to force Toll to negotiate seriously
James Caulfield, Canberra Despite making several other "rock solid" promises about what the ALP would do on industrial relations if it wins the next election, opposition leader Kim Beazley failed to mention the repealing of Australian Workplace
Thousands of students rallied and marched on August 10 in a nationwide protest against the federal government's "voluntary student unionism" legislation. The students were joined in many cities by members of the National Tertiary Education
Marce Cameron, Sydney Representatives from the City Hub and the City News, the Big Issue, Green Left Weekly and progressive organisations met on August 8 to launch the Sydney Free Speech Alliance. The alliance will campaign against the City of
Susan Price, Sydney Held at Olympic Park on August 7, the "Last Weekend" family day, organised by Unions NSW, attracted around 40,000 people. Workers and their families travelled from all over Sydney for the picnic-style rally, and were treated
Chris Peterson, Melbourne On August 7, 150 people attended the launch of a campaign to stop the building of the proposed immigration detention centre in the northern Melbourne suburb of Broadmeadows. The protest was organised by the local Hume City
Sue Bull, Warrnambool As the Temperance Hall in Warrnambool began to fill on August 6, it was clear that even in country towns people are worried about the impact of the federal government's amendments to industrial relations laws. Two hundred
Jim McIlroy, Brisbane "Woolworths: I won't shop there", "Save Maleny's platypus" and "Support Maleny residents" were some of the placards held up by protesters outside the Woolworths supermarket in the inner-city suburb of Spring Hill on August
On August 13, 1000 people marched in Sydney to demand the repeal of the federal government's same-sex marriage ban. Smaller rallies for same-sex marriage rights were also held in Melbourne, Perth, Brisbane and Hobart. Photo by Rachel Evans.
Susan Price, Sydney One hundred protesting unionists forced Imperial Mushrooms, located in Sydney's far western suburbs, to shut its gates for the day on August 12. The unionists were taking action in support of Carmen Walacz Vel Walewska, a
Jim McIlroy, Brisbane "What we need is action, not just commemorations. We need to stop future Hiroshimas by stopping today's Hiroshima: the war in Iraq", US peace activist Phyllis Bennis told a rally of 200 people in King George Square, held to
BRISBANE — It was revealed at last month's state budget estimates hearing that only one of Queensland's 54 senior public service executives uses an environmentally friendly vehicle. Although the Environmental Protection Authority operates 21 of the
Chris Slee, Melbourne Seventy people met in Brunswick on August 9 to discuss ASIO's powers and how they have been used against the Muslim community. Vicki Sentis from the Federation of Community Legal Centres chaired the meeting and spoke about

World

Simon Cunich The US is considering enforcing sanctions against Venezuela after Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez suspended cooperation with the US "counter-narcotics" Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA). According to the August 8 Washington Post, a
More than 1500 people rallied on August 9 against a proposed Coca-Cola bottling plant in Gangaikondan village in the Tirunelveli district in southern India. Local communities have united against the plant, arguing that it will further exacerbate
Max Lane According to the July Pulse Asia survey, Philippines President Gloria Macapagal Arroyos's approval rating has hit rock bottom at 19%, a further dip from 25% in June. Three out of four people want her to step down and some 80% in Metro
Alexander Billet Gerry Adams used to represent high hopes for the people of Northern Ireland. In the 1980s, he was the most outspoken and charismatic leader calling for a free and unified Ireland, a constant thorn in the side of Margaret Thatcher
Rohan Pearce When the WMD myths evaporated, the "coalition of the willing" was left grasping the ostensibly humanitarian justifications for the 2003 invasion and occupation of Iraq. Democracy, human rights and liberty for Iraqis — these were the
Eva Cheng Is China losing the battle to save its horrifically degraded environment? China's heavy reliance on coal has been a decisive factor in polluting the country's air and land, earning it the notoriety in 1998 of being home to seven of the
On August 11, South Africa's National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) accepted a wage increase of between 6% and 7% for its members employed in the country's gold mines. More than 100,000 gold mineworkers walked out on August 7. It was the first national
Conscientious objector Mehmet Tarhan was sentenced on August 10 to four years' jail, two years each for the charges of "Insubordination before command" and "Insubordination before command for trying to escape from military service". Turkish law
On August 10, Pastors for Peace announced that they would take their campaign to secure the release of seized aid to the road. On July 21, US customs officers seized 43 boxes of computer equipment intended for Cuban children with special needs from
After another week of defiant protest marches and government threats of retribution, the Tongan Civil Servants Strike Committee on August 11 rejected the King's decision to have an independent auditor examine the pay dispute that is pitting public
Ugandan women on hunger strike in Yarl's Wood Immigration Removal Centre in Bedfordshire are being denied access to legal and welfare support, including rape crisis services. According to Legal Action for Women, the women have also suffered
Osama Yousif In 1983, the Sudanese People's Liberation Movement (SPLM) formed in opposition to Sudan's Islamist military regime. The SPLM called for the liberation of Sudan from poverty, for peace, for a solution to the oppression and
On August 9, three anti-war protesters, including a 70-year-old woman, cut a hole in the fence of the Patch Barracks in Stuttgart and hung a four-metre-long banner between two trees. The banner marked the 60th anniversary of the Hiroshima bombing.
Scores of South African Municipal Workers Union (SAMWU) members have been arrested during protests around the country since the union launched an indefinite national strike on August 8 in demand of a living wage. The union is calling for wage
On August 10, PNG Power workers declared their intention to take industrial action if the proposed appointment of an Australian expatriate as the new CEO goes ahead. The PNG Energy Workers Association is demanding that the PNG Power CEO remained
Kerryn Williams On July 30, John Garang, leader of the Sudanese People's Liberation Movement (SPLM), died when the Ugandan helicopter that he was travelling in crashed near the Sudanese border. Garang was at the forefront of securing the January 9
Mike Fuller The August 9 overturning of the Miami court decision that unfairly jailed five Cubans charged with conspiracy to commit espionage was a major victory and they deserve an apology, stated their defence counsel Leonard Weinglass. By a
Stuart Munckton, Caracas Having come to Venezuela to witness the revolution and the social missions at its heart, I ended up having a closer view of one of the most important missions — Barrio Adentro (Into the Neighbourhood) — than I might
Doug Lorimer Under the headline "Military Plans Gradual Cuts in Iraq Forces", the August 7 New York Times reported that it had been told by "three senior military officers and Defense Department officials" that at a classified briefing given to
Some 20,000 delegates from more than 140 countries attended the 16th World Festival of Youth and Students on August 8-15 with the theme "For peace, solidarity and against imperialism". Australia-Venezuela solidarity brigade participant Paul Benedek
Eva Cheng A 2001 World Bank report, China: Air, Land and Water, provides a telling snapshot of the destruction of China's environment. Air In 1999, only one-third of the 338 monitored cities met the nation's air quality standard (with a similar

Editorial

In the wake of the July 7 terrorist bombings in London, both the British and Australian governments are pushing for new "anti-terrorism" legislation that will enable them to criminalise the expression of political views that these governments deem to

Culture

Turtles might fly ... Turtles Can FlyWritten and directed by Bahman GhobadiIran-Iraq co-productionPalace Cinemas from August 18 REVIEW BY LACHLAN MALLOCH Turtles Can Fly is a precious film. Its anti-war message about the enduring suffering of
Workers Radio Sydney is a new trade union radio program broadcasting 5.30-9am Monday to Friday on 88.9 FM. Trade unions, including the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union, the Maritime Union of Australia, the Australian Manufacturing
The Fight Against Fascism in the USABy James P Cannon, Farrell Dobbs, Joseph Hansen, Leon Trotsky & Murray WeissResistance Books, 2004$19.95, <http://www.resistancebooks.com> REVIEW BY SIMON BUTLER In January this year, a small