Issue 642

Australia

Call to protest Rice-Rumsfeld visit Emma Murphy, Adelaide The Rice/Rumsfeld Reception Committee (RRRC) has begun organising around the possibility of the inaugural meeting of the Asia Pacific Partnership on Clean Development and Climate being
Susan Price, Sydney Melanie Reardon, a salesperson at a Harvey Norman store in Liverpool, was sacked on August 19 when she challenged the roster conditions of her new individual contract (Australian Workplace Agreement — AWA). Reardon, who is the
Ben Courtice, Melbourne The Socialist Alliance will run candidates in two wards for the November 26 Maribyrnong City Council elections — George Papanastasiou for Sheoak ward and Jorge Jorquera in Ironbark ward. The Socialist Alliance has two
Eyewitness reports on the revolution rapidly unfolding in Venezuela were presented to public meetings around Sydney, Melbourne, Perth and Hobart last week. The report-backs, organised by the socialist youth organisation Resistance, featured activists
Tim Stewart, Canberra "We used to have freedom to fish and to swim in our lagoon, but now we have freedom no more", Yat Paol, a visiting activist from Papua New Guinea, told a September 9 forum organised by Aid/Watch and hosted by Greens ACT
MELBOURNE — On September 6, 50 people gathered at the Collingwood Town Hall to discuss the federal government's planned new workplace laws. Zana Bytheway, the director of Jobwatch; Michele O'Neil, the Victorian secretary of the Textile, Clothing
Bill Mason, Brisbane Staff in the Queensland public health system have launched a campaign for a new enterprise agreement. The current agreement expired on August 31. The Queensland Public Sector Union is holding a series of stop-work meetings to
Helen Masterman-Smith, Adelaide A large crowd gathered at the Adelaide Town Hall on September 2 to hear speakers on the impact on women of the Howard government's planned welfare and workplace changes. Elspeth McInnes of the National Council of

World

Stan Goff I haven't been sure how to respond to the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, or its coincidence with the almost 1000 Iraqis who were killed during a panic stampede when a bridge suffered a structural failure. I go back and forth, between
Survival International reported on September 5 that Bushmen in the Central Kalahari Game Reserve have been threatened at gunpoint by wildlife guards in an attempt to force them to abandon their homes. This is part of a crackdown by Botswana's
In Boston on September 7, Massachusetts attorney-general Tom Reilly certified a ballot initiative to require the governor to withhold further National Guard deployment to Iraq and to use his office to recall all Massachusetts National Guard troops
Alex Miller The Scottish Socialist Party (SSP) has abandoned its plan to mount a legal challenge to the banning of four of its parliamentarians (MSPs) from the Scottish Parliament for the month of September. Colin Fox, Frances Curran, Carolyn
Rohan Pearce Even given Iraq's history of suffering in recent times — brutal repression under Saddam Hussein, combined with 13 years of merciless economic strangulation by Hussein's former Western allies and finally a brutal war of conquest and
A bloody confrontation erupted on September 7 in Kampong Saujana Shah Alam, when four truckloads of riot police clashed with local residents who had formed a human chain to prevent the demolition of their homes. Seventeen people were arrested,
Roger Annis, Vancouver Eighteen months after an imperialist invasion that served the overthrow of the elected government of Haiti, a ferocious repression continues to rain down on the people of that country. The three invading countries — the US,
Max Lane Over the last few weeks, the Indonesian rupiah has lost more than 10% of its value. It has "stabilised" at around 10,500 to the US dollar compared to 9500 before August. The stock market has also suffered similar declines, losing 17% of
On September 8, at Europe's largest coal port in Rotterdam, the Greenpeace ship Argus blocked cranes from unloading coal imported from South Africa, the US, Indonesia and Australia. Greenpeace is demanding that European governments immediately cease
Dean Parker, Auckland According to a Herald-DigiPoll poll, released on September 9, the incumbent Labour government of Prime Minister Helen Clark and the opposition National Party are running neck and neck in the lead-up to the September 17 New
Norman Brewer, Bremen The latest opinion poll suggests that the centre-left Social Democrat-Greens federal government of Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder will fail to win enough seats in the September 18 federal parliament election to retain
On September 6, Venezuela and 13 Caribbean nations signed the Petrocaribe cooperation agreement in Montego Bay, which aims to ease the burden faced by small Caribbean countries in the face of sky-rocketing oil prices through the supply of oil by
Stuart Munckton "Cowboy" Bush failed US citizens in his handling of the crisis caused by Hurricane Katrina, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez said in a televised cabinet meeting, Reuters reported on August 31. Chavez attacked Bush, who he referred
Kerry Smith Act Now to End Racism and War (ANSWER), one of the two main anti-war coalitions in the United States, issued a call on September 3 for US voters to demand that President George Bush accept socialist Cuba's offer, first made on August
Stuart Munckton The Venezuelan government seized a Heinz Baked Beans processing plant that was left idle by the company, just days after a similar seizure of an idle maize processing plant owned by Alimentos Polar, the largest food company in
A new pharmaceutical product to treat cancer, LeokoCIM, has received successful preliminary results in 24 hospitals throughout Cuba, reported the Prensa Latina news service on September 5. Trials will conclude at the end of the year and patents for
Eva Cheng, Hanoi Around 100 solidarity and left-wing activists travelled here from some 40 countries on August 31-September 2 to join the 82 million Vietnamese people in celebrating their 60 years of hard-won independence. Throughout several days
Barry Sheppard Any person in the world who is not a stone cold racist or sociopath cannot help but react with visceral disgust, outrage and revulsion at the criminal response of the US government to the catastrophe of New Orleans; and to feel deep
According to a report on progress towards the Millennium Development Goals, announced on September 7, Cuba has the lowest infant mortality rate in Latin America — 5.6 deaths per thousand in 2004 — putting it on a par with developed countries. The
The Public Service Association signed an agreement with the Tongan government on September 3, ending a 47-day-long national strike by public sector workers that brought the country to a standstill. The government agreed to pay the workers wage rises
Kiraz Janicke, Caracas In recent months, the introduction of a new higher education law in Venezuela has sparked a number of demonstrations against President Hugo Chavez's government by rectors and students from the national autonomous
Socialist feminist Linda Averill, a bus driver and a union activist, is campaigning as a Freedom Socialist Party candidate for the September 20 Seattle City Council election. She is backed by her union, Amalgamated Transit Local 587, as well as other
Doug Lorimer While 5000 US troops, using armour, artillery and warplanes, continued a three-week battle with Iraqi resistance fighters for control of the city of Tel Afar, 420 kilometres north-west of Baghdad, officials of Washington's puppet Iraqi
The United Nations General Assembly has been "completely turned, its main aim kidnapped", president of Cuba's National Assembly Ricardo Alarcon said on September 9, in a speech read by Cuban ambassador to the UN Orlando Requeijo. Alarcon was denied a

Editorial

Having taken control of the Senate on July 1 and then bullied and bribed recalcitrant Coalition MPs, particularly Queensland National Party senators, PM John Howard was all set to steamroll through parliament the legislation needed to sell off the

Culture

Zygielbojm's Death — Follows the search for information about Szmul Zygielbojm, charismatic leader of the Jewish Socialist Bund Party in Poland who was active in the Jewish underground after the Germans invaded in 1939. SBS, Friday, September 16,
Who dies?September 16-18 & 23-25, 8pm St Luke's Hall, 11 Stanmore Rd, Enmore$22/$15For bookings phone (02) 9747 1402 or email <kineticenergy@iprimus.com> Sydney's Kinetic Energy Theatre Company is celebrating its 30th birthday by
The Rising: Ballad of Mangal PandeyDirected by Ketan MehtaStarring Aamir Khan, Toby Stephens, Rani Mukherjee, Amisha Patel and Coral BeedScreening nationally at selected cinemas REVIEW BY RAJIV RAWAT A strange North American silence seems to have
Uncharted Waters: Social Responsibility in Australian Trade UnionsBy Greg MalloryBoolarong Press, Brisbane, 2005243 pages, $35 (pb) REVIEW BY JIM MCILROY In his foreword to Uncharted Waters, former NSW Builders Labourers Federation (BLF)