Issue 654

Australia

BRISBANE — Acting on information received the night before, a small group of anti-war kayakers headed off to Luggage Point at Pinkenba early on January 27 to 'see off' the visiting USS Ronald Reagan. The kayakers were stopped by police, who
Roberto Jorquera Last December's National Assembly elections in Venezuela marked a significant step forward for the revolution that is unfolding there. It was the 10th consecutive electoral victory for the supporters of Venezuelan president Hugo
Kim Bullimore, Melbourne On February 24, 35 people attended a legal briefing by Brian Walters, president of Liberty Victoria and lawyer for one of the "Melbourne 10" arrested in the November 8 "terrorism" raids. The meeting was organised by
Duncan Meerding, Hobart On February 2, 3 and 6, bus drivers for Tasmania's main public transport supplier, Metro Tasmania, will be taking industrial action to win a wage rise. During the week of January 15-20, Rail, Tram and Bus Union (RTBU)
Renfrey Clarke, Adelaide The January 18 meeting of the South Australian branch of the Socialist Alliance decided to stand a candidate in the seat of Port Adelaide in the March 18 state election. The Port Adelaide community has some of the strongest
In cities and towns around the country on January 26, Invasion Day was marked by concerts, rallies and marches, commemorating the dispossession of Australia's Indigenous people and continuing the call for justice. Photo by Paul BenedekFrom Green
Adam Baker, Brisbane "Fifty-five million dollars are peanuts in a bowl", declared Lionel Fogarty, renowned Aboriginal poet and fighter for his people. Fogarty was speaking on the platform of Emma Miller Place, also known as Roma Street Forum, which
Australians protested around the country last week in solidarity with the 43 West Papuan refugees who have been detained by the federal government on Christmas Island. The protesters called on the government to immediately release the asylum seekers
Amanda Zivcic, Melbourne On January 25 and 27, Union Solidarity organised a community picket outside the Fitzroy Postal Delivery Centre. The picket was called in solidarity with shop steward Peter Vining, who was sacked last year. "Peter was
Selena Black, Melbourne The Northern Anti-Nuclear Alliance (NANA) has launched a campaign in the Batman electorate against Labor MP Martin Ferguson's support for increasing uranium mining in Australia. According to a January 25 Friends of the

World

Doug Lorimer Attacks by Iraqi resistance fighters rose by 29% in 2005 to 34,131, up from 26,496 attacks in 2004, according to US military figures released on January 22. The Pentagon reported that roadside bombs continued to be the most common
Eva Cheng Despite police repression thwarting a January 20 protest against the king's autocratic rule, a defiant demonstration of 10,000-50,000 people burst onto the streets of Nepal's capital Kathmandu on January 21. This was followed by more mass
Kerryn Williams The arrival on Australian shores of 43 West Papuan refugees on January 18 has put the spotlight on the long suffering — and determined resistance — of the people of West Papua. For more than two centuries West Papua was a
Doug Lorimer The US and three of its European Union allies — Britain, France and Germany (the so-called EU-3) — managed to get an emergency meeting of the 35-member board of governors of the UN's Vienna-based International Atomic Energy Agency
The following message, titled "Shafik Handal lives in the hearts and the struggles of the Salvadorean People!", was issued by the Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front on January 24. A long-time left activist and leader of the FMLN, Handal was
Kim Bullimore In a stunning victory, the Islamic Palestinian resistance group Hamas claimed 76 of the 132 seats in the second Palestinian Authority (PA) election on January 25. This was the first election for the Palestinian Legislative Assembly
On January 23, Ford announced a new restructuring plan for its North American operations, which includes the closure of 14 plants and the loss of 30,000 jobs by 2012. It will cut its production by 26% of current capacity by 2008. Ford also plans to
Alessandro Parma, Caracas New Bolivian President Evo Morales and Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez have confirmed eight agreements to create greater cooperation between the two countries. Chavez said the two governments are united in a "battle
On January 11, Ernest McQueen, who served in the military for nearly two years until he left his unit in 1969, was arrested by police in Fort Worth, Texas. "The Marines are trying to send a message to their troops in Iraq that deserters will always
Harrison Healy, Ramallah In East Jerusalem in the days leading up to the Palestinian election you could be forgiven for not knowing that there was an election going on. You could not find a single poster in the city. There was no information on
Jim McIlroy & Chris Kerr, Caracas Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez proclaimed "socialism or death" in finishing his rousing speech to a rally of around 10,000 people at the Polihedro Stadium on January 27. The rally was a feature of the Latin
On January 24, more than 1 million people demonstrated outside the US Interest Section in Havana against US aggression. Days earlier, a screen was installed on the USISH building to display continuous provocative messages. The following is abridged
After workers at the giant plantation and refinery in Pelalawan owned by the world's largest palm oil company, Musim Mas, dared to organise a union, the union leaders were sacked. The company brought in scabs and more than 700 union members were
Lawyer and journalist Andres Soliz Rada is one of the most well-known personalities on the Bolivian left. For over 30 years, since his involvement in the founding of the National Left current in Bolivia, he has been one of the strongest defenders of
Grant Morgan, Auckland The Workers Charter is launching a national newspaper in mid-February. Its editor will be John Minto, one of the best-known radical leftists in the country. John was a central organiser of the huge 1981 demonstrations against
Green Left Weekly's Walter Yoia from Resistance and Cameron Durnsford from the Australia-Venezuela Solidarity Network spoke to participants at the World Social Forum — held in Caracas on January 24-29 — about their impressions of the gathering.
The Latin America-wide satellite television station Telesur is set to increase its broadcasting five-fold in 2006, reaching 10 million people worldwide, Telesur president Andres Izarra said on January 26 at the World Social Forum in Caracas. As well
UNITED STATES: Rules changed to allow Guantanamo Bay executions The US Army has changed rules governing where military executions can take place, clearing the way for possible executions of detainees in the military prison camp at Guantanamo Bay.
Maria Voukelatos Five innocent Cuban men are in prison, while the terrorists they tried to stop are free. An article on the Canadian Network on Cuba website <http://www.canadiannetworkoncuba.ca> explained: "The five Cubans are Gerardo
A Scottish Socialist Party statement on January 26 reported that Labour joined with the Tories and Liberal Democrats to vote down an SSP bill to abolish Scottish National Health Service prescription charges. The vote was lost 77 to 44, despite the

Culture

Brokeback MountainDirected by Ang LeeStarring Heath Ledger, Jake Gyllenhaal, Anne Hathaway, Michelle WilliamsScreening nationally REVIEW BY JOHN BRANSGROVE In his 1984 book The Celluloid Closet, Vito Russo presented a critique of the way
Compass: Kevin Rudd and the God Factor — Explores what drives federal MP Kevin Rudd and the challenges he faces in elevating the role of religion within the Labor party. ABC, Sunday, February 5, 11.30am. Mandela: The Living Legend — Tells the
Canada in Haiti: Waging war on the poor majorityBy Yves Engler and Anthony FentonFernwood Publishing, 2005120 pages, C$14.95Order from <http://rabble.ca> REVIEW BY ROGER ANNIS Two leading activists for the right of the Haitian people to