Issue 659

Australia

Jon Lamb, Darwin The February 23 decision by NT environment minister Marion Scrymgour to reject the expansion of the McArthur River lead and zinc mine on environmental grounds has prompted a huge campaign by businesses and the mining lobby to get
Susan Austin, Hobart A poll published in the Mercury newspaper on February 25 indicated that the Labor Party is likely to win 11 seats in the March 18 state election, the Liberals nine and the Greens five. The Greens, however, are confident of
Peetee Lloyd, Hobart On March 1, 300 people opposed to the proposed Tamar pulp mill gathered at Hobart's Town Hall to hear about the effects of the proposal on our environment. Vica Bayley from the Wilderness Society, who hosted the forum, gave a
SYDNEY — Hundreds of workers protested in martin Place on March 2 against PM John Howard, who was attending a Liberal Party fundraiser to celebrate his 10 years in office. The protest was organised by Unions NSW. Photo by Alex Bainbridge
Ian Jamieson, Fremantle Rail-line construction contractor Leighton-Kumagai has threatened to sack and sue about 430 of its employees — all members of the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU) — who are working the city end of
SYDNEY — Forty-five university students from Canberra, rural NSW, Newcastle, Wollongong and inner Sydney campuses attended the March 3 NSW Queer Students Network conference. The conference decided to continue to fight against the Howard
Kim Bullimore, Melbourne On March 1, 160 people packed out the Kaliede Theatre to hear former Guantanamo Bay detainee Moazzam Begg speak live from England via video conferencing hookup. The public forum, organised by the Civil Rights Defence
PERTH — On March 3, 35 people came to the Maritime Union of Australia's rooms in North Fremantle to hear eyewitness reports titled "Revolution on the March in Latin America". Resistance activists and Green Left Weekly writers Federico Fuentes and
Sue Bull University of Ballarat workers engaged in a class action against their employer have declared victory in the first round. Interlocutory action against the university's use of Australian Workplace Agreements (individual contracts) was heard
CANBERRA — The date for warmongering British Prime Minister Tony Blair's visit to Australia has now been confirmed. Join the protest at parliament lawns on March 28 between 10.30am and 1.30pm to give Blair the "welcome" he deserves. The
Ben Courtice, Melbourne Qantas aircraft maintenance workers marched to passenger terminals in Melbourne on February 28 and in Sydney on March 1 to protest against management's threat to move up to 3000 maintenance jobs to other countries in Asia.
CANBERRA — Thousands of ACT teachers are to strike this month as part of a campaign of industrial action for better pay. The ACT government offered 4000 teachers, in ACT public schools and the Canberra Institute of Technology, a pay increase of 9%
Bruce Marlowe Dr Carolus Wimmer, international secretary of the Communist Party of Venezuela and member of the Latin American parliament, finished his Australian speaking tour with a March 5 meeting in Newcastle. He also spoke in Sydney, Canberra,
Sarah Stephen, Sydney On March 2, the immigration department reached an out-of-court settlement with the parents of an 11-year-old Iranian boy, Shayan Badraie, over his experiences in the Woomera and Villawood detention centres in 2000 and 2002.
Bringing down a corrupt system Peter Boyle So the Howard government has been forced to admit that a cable was sent in 2000 to a variety of its ministers, including PM John Howard and then-defence minister John Moore, warning of kickbacks in the
BLUE MOUNTAINS — Labor voters rejected a sleazy preference deal between the ALP and Liberal Party candidates in a Blue Mountains City Council by-election on February 25. Labor candidate Mark Greenhill and the Liberals' Rodney Forrest swapped
Sue Bolton, Melbourne Union delegates from the Geelong region who met on March 1 sent a clear message to the Australian Council of Trade Unions: it must show leadership by calling for a national strike against the federal government's new
Ray Fulcher, Melbourne Joseph "Jack" Thomas is not a terrorist. That was the verdict of a Victorian Supreme Court jury on February 26. He was, however, found guilty on two other charges, one of which carries a potential sentence of 25 years'
Paul Benedek, Brisbane "Mulrunji was arrested on November 19, 2004, [for drunkenness] and 75 minutes later he was dead in his cell", Murri leader Sam Watson told a meeting here on March 1. "This fit man had four broken ribs and his liver was split
Ron Perkins, Perth Media coverage of the March 11 Victoria Park by-election campaign has been marked by indifference, reflecting the fact that the seat has been held by the Labor Party continuously since 1953. A 16% swing would be needed to oust
PERTH — A February 27 meeting of WA Civil Service Association delegates angrily rejected the state government's response to the union's pay claim and instructed their negotiating team to give the government 14 days to improve its position.
DARWIN — A small group gathered outside the SkyCity Casino on February 28 to protest against a planned nuclear waste dump and the expansion of uranium mining, which were being discussed at an industry seminar inside. The protesters highlighted
Sue Bolton, Melbourne "The Victorian branch of the Australian Manufacturing Workers Union has decided that there should be another national day of action as soon as possible" against the new federal anti-worker laws, AMWU state secretary Dave

World

Doug Lorimer In the aftermath of the February 22 bombing of the Shiite Golden Mosque in Samarra - a predominantly Sunni city 125 kilometres north of Baghdad - by four men wearing Iraqi interior ministry commando uniforms, the Western corporate
In January, Joanne Delaney was sacked from Dunnes Stores in Dublin for wearing a union badge. After an international campaign demanded her reinstatement, including thousands of emails sent to the company and motions passed in the British, Scottish
Kim Bullimore The January 25 Palestinian elections not only delivered a landslide victory to the Islamic resistance group Hamas, it also resulted in a record number of women being elected to the Palestinian Legislative Council. Thirteen women —
'Killer Bush go back!' PAKISTAN — Labour Party Pakistan activists defied a ban to demonstrate in Lahore and Karachi on March 2 against the visit of US President George Bush. The protesters chanted 'Killer Bush go back' and 'Hands off
Vietnam's Ho Chi Minh Communist Youth Union has launched a new website in the lead-up to its 75th anniversary on March 26. The site will include information on the activities of the youth union, the Vietnam Union of Youth Associations and the Ho Chi
Doug Lorimer In an 11-page report on Iran's nuclear program circulated on February 27 to the governing board of the UN's Vienna-based International Atomic Energy Agency in advance of its March 6 meeting, IAEA director-general Mohammed ElBaradei
The US-based Human Rights Watch has condemned a plan by the mayor of Moscow to ban the city's first ever gay pride march. Organisers have been anticipating 5000 participants for the May 27 parade. A spokesperson for the mayor told reporters on
Coral Wynter, Caracas During the January World Social Forum, Medea, a spokesperson from the US women's organisation Women in Pink, asked that women organising International Women's Day events this year incorporate opposition to the war in Iraq as
Alex Miller Hard on the heels of its disastrous performance in the Dunfermline parliamentary by-election on February 9, the Labour Party lost a safe council seat to the Scottish National Party (SNP) in a by-election in Milton, Glasgow, on February
Cuba's National Office of Statistics has calculated that between 1959 and the end of 2004, the US caused US$80 billion of damage to the island's population through its economic blockade. According to a foreign ministry report on the statistics, which
The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) has declared its solidarity with Venezuela's socialist President Hugo Chavez and vowed to help defend Venezuela against any invasion from their "common enemy", the US. FARC leader Raul Reyes told the
Elizabeth Schulte, Chicago In the most sweeping anti-abortion measure in 10 years, South Dakota state senators voted on February 22 for a bill that will ban virtually all abortions. Under the bill — which states that human "life begins at the
Stuart Munckton In her February 16 budget speech to the US Senate, during which she singled out the government of Venezuela's socialist President Hugo Chavez for attack, US Secretary of State and renowned neo-conservative Condoleezza Rice came out
Max Lane On March 3, Philippines President Gloria Arroyo lifted the state of emergency that she had declared a week earlier. Arroyo claimed she had successfully prevented a coup, yet no details of this coup attempt have been made public. The week
Stuart Munckton Venezuela's socialist president Hugo Chavez has sacked three government ministers, according to a February 21 Venezuelanalysis.com report, in response to irregularities and problems relating to food production and distribution.
Eva Cheng On January 5, Bant Singh, a Dalit (low-caste) activist from the Mansa district of Punjab, was brutally attacked by seven thugs. It is believed that the attackers were sent by the local village head in revenge for Singh's five-year pursuit
Norm Dixon January 9 marked the first anniversary of the historic "comprehensive peace agreement" (CPA), which ended the devastating 21-year war in the south between the central government in Khartoum and the impoverished people of southern Sudan.
According to a Zogby poll released on March 28, 72% of US troops in Iraq support US withdrawal within a year. Of the 944 troops surveyed, 29% wanted an immediate withdrawal and just 23% thought that US forces should remain in Iraq "as long as they
Harrison Healy, Nablus Over several days beginning on February 19, the Israeli army conducted a series of incursions in the Balata refugee camp, claiming it was trying to track down 16 Palestinian resistance fighters. According to camp residents,
Zoe Kenny On February 25, the five-day blockade by several hundred West Papuan villagers of the sole access road to Freeport's Grasberg mine was called off. The villagers achieved their modest goal of retaining the right (although formally illegal)
Bernie Stephens, Harare With the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) divided down the middle, President Robert Mugabe would have celebrated his 82nd birthday in February with temporary respite. The MDC split in the lead-up to last
Linda Waldron Five months after the October 8 earthquake struck north-west Pakistan, a much-anticipated tragedy has been largely avoided. Through the work of NGO, political and trade union activists in Pakistan and other countries, some successes
TONGA: Public servants threaten new strike A Tonga Public Service Association meeting on February 24 decided to go on strike if the government fails to meet its demands. The union is calling for the 40% balance of agreed upon wage increases to be
Around 100 solidarity activists from 17 cities met on February 25 in Bielefeld to discuss solidarity with the Venezuelan revolution. The meeting discussed the possibility of forming an umbrella organisation later in the year, and decided to deepen

Culture

SyrianaDirected and written by Stephen GaghanWith George Clooney, Matt Damon and Jeffrey WrightScreening nationally REVIEW BY LACHLAN MALLOCH Syriana is part of a new wave of political films coming from Hollywood that are more or less critical of
BY SIMON TAYLER After almost two years of waiting, Actively Radical TV will be (re)occupying the airwaves of Channel 31. Tune in to Channel 31 on Sundays at 10:30pm and watch ARTV's new program. The new format includes documentaries, The Left News,
Coining for CapitalBy Jyotsna KapurRutgers University Press, 2005197 pagesOrder at <http://rutgerspress.rutgers.edu> REVIEW BY BARRY HEALY This book's title derives from a statement by Karl Marx in Capital Volume I. He commented that
Creating a Caring Economy: Nora Castaneda and the Women's Development Bank of VenezuelaEdited by Nina LopezCrossroads Books, 200672 pagesOrder from <booksvideos@crossroadswomen.net> REVIEW BY CORAL WYNTER Creating a Caring Economy is a