Issue 660

Australia

Linda Waldron, Melbourne "Stop the war on our unions, civil liberties and working people's rights!" was the theme of the March 8 International Women's Day (IWD) demonstration at the Victorian State Library. The rally, called by the Victorian
Paul Benedek, Brisbane "The history we are so often shown would have Australians believe that the ANZACs defended us against the Japanese in New Guinea", Marxist historian Humphrey McQueen told a meeting of 50 people at the Brisbane Activist Centre
Ben Courtice, Melbourne Qantas Airways, Australia's major airline, announced on March 9 that it will close its Sydney Airport heavy maintenance base for its fleet of Boeing 747s, sack 480 workers, and transfer 140 of the positions to Brisbane and
The following is abridged from an open letter from the construction workers building the city end of the Perth to Mandurah rail link. You have every right to know the reasons why we stopped work [on February 24] on the Metrorail project and why
WA Liberal opposition leader Matt Birney has backed state police commissioner Karl O'Callaghan's call for mandatory jail sentences for people who assault police. O'Callaghan advocated the measure after two police officers were bashed during a riot
Ian Jamieson, Perth The return to work of 430 construction workers on the multi-billion-dollar Perth to Mandurah rail project has not eased threats from their employer, Leighton Kumagai, or from the Australian Building Construction Commission
NEWCASTLE — Venezuelan revolutionary Carolus Wimmer wound up his national speaking tour here on March 5 when he addressed 35 people at the Resistance Centre. Wimmer, a member of the Latin American parliament, explained the need for international
Nick Everett, Canberra Airservices Australia announced on March 1 that it will cut its work force by 10%, making 300 workers redundant. The government-owned corporation manages Australia's airspace and oversees air-traffic control at 28 of the
NSW Libs worried about Work Choices The NSW Coalition parties must be worried that widespread anger against the federal government's Work Choices legislation could affect their election prospects at the state election in March 2007. On March 9,
Pip Hinman Cindy Sheehan, from Gold Star Families for Peace; Hassan Jumaa, the president of the General Union of Oil Employees in Basra; Sabah Jawad from the Iraqi Democrats Against Occupation; Anas Altikriti from the Muslim Association of Britain
SYDNEY — On March 7, a Students Against War group was established at the University of NSW. The group made plans for building the March 18 rally and march against the occupation of Iraq, and holding an anti-racism forum on campus. Any student or
Peter McGregor The Packer Dis-Memorial Collective, named after our protest at Kerry Packer's taxpayer-funded funeral on February 17, is organising a "take-two" on March 14 at 8.30am outside the Downing Centre court in Sydney. Eight people are
CANBERRA — The Liquor, Hospitality and Miscellaneous Union's campaign for Filipino guest workers hit the streets on March 10 to expose a Canberra restaurant found guilty by the Department of Employment and Workplace Relations of more than $5000
Dale Mills A complaint by prisoners' pressure group Sisters Inside led to a 20-month inquiry that found that in a four-year period, 41,728 strip searches were performed on women in Queensland's prisons. Only two searches found "significant
Stuart Martin, Melbourne The Australian Manufacturing Workers Union (AMWU) held the first of a series of national delegates' meetings at Storey Hall on March 8. The meeting updated delegates and union activists about the campaign against the
SYDNEY — On March 7, 33 people met at the Gaelic Club to hear two left-wing activists — Tim Anderson and Rachel Evans — recount what they had seen in Venezuela. Both participated in the sixth World Social Forum (WSF) held in Caracas in January.

World

Percy Ngonyama, Durban South Africa's local government elections — held on March 1 — were neither an expression of the "will" of the people nor a sign that "our democracy is maturing" as President Thabo Mbeki, in collusion with the Independent
Wal-Mart has been pressured by women's rights activists in the US to reverse its discriminatory policy of refusing to stock the 'morning after' pill. The morning after pill, which if taken within days of unprotected sex has a very high chance of
Max Lane The second congress of the Acehnese Peoples Democratic Resistance Front (FPDRA), held on February 23-26 in Aceh Besar, took a decision to form a new political party in Aceh. The FPDRA was established in the late 1990s and grew out of
On March 6 South Korean riot police launched an attack on the autonomous village of Daechuri, which along with the nearby community of Doduri has for over four years been resisting the siezure of local homes and fields for the expansion of the US
Harrison Healy, Jerusalem On February 8, Palestinian activist Mohammad Mansour made his 11th court appearance relating to "crimes" committed at a demonstration in 2004. For over a year-and-a-half, Mansour has been repeatedly required to appear
Doug Lorimer The March 1 Middle East edition of the US military's Stars and Stripes newspaper reported that a poll of active-duty US troops in Iraq found that 51% of them believe all US military forces should be withdrawn from Iraq within at least
On March 6, environmental protesters demonstrated at Australian embassies and consulates in the US, Canada, Japan and Britain against the destruction of old-growth forests in Tasmania and the undermining of democracy by Forestry Tasmania and logging
Cindy Sheehan, whose GI son was killed in Iraq in 2004, has become a leading figure in the US anti-war movement. The following is abridged from a speech she made to a public meeting at the January World Social Forum in Caracas. It's great to be
Ray Fulcher Pakistani General Pervez Musharraf's government plans to commence construction of a massive dam in 2016 on the Indus river at Kalabagh, near the border between the Punjab and North West Frontier provinces. Opponents of the World
Late February, PDVSA, Venezuela's state-owned oil company, announced its intention to re-open its program to replace some of the country's vehicular gasoline consumption with natural gas. The project was closed down some five years ago because of
Faiza Mardzoeki & Max Lane A united front has developed among almost all women's rights organisations to campaign against a new law currently before the parliament, the Law Against Pornography and Porno-Action (UUAPP). Opposition to the law was the
Doug Lorimer The February 12 London Sunday Times reported that the US is drawing up plans for air and missile strikes against Iran's nuclear facilities. Giving the impression that such an attack was imminent, the paper reported that its source was
Harrison Healy, Ramallah Since January 2005, there have been regular demonstrations in Bil'in against the apartheid wall being constructed in the West Bank. The wall has divided Palestinian towns, destroyed homes, removed access to fertile land and
On March 8, demonstrations to mark International Women's Day took place across the globe, many focusing on opposition to war and occupation. Palestinians and Israelis joined together at the Ar Ram checkpoint near Jerusalem and marched along the
Benjamin Dangl Leonida Zurita Vargas, a Bolivian coca farmer organiser and alternate senator, was planning to be in the US as part of a three week speaking tour on Bolivian social movements and human rights. This tour would take her to Vermont,
Stuart Munckton Workers from factories that have been expropriated by the government of socialist President Hugo Chavez, as well as factories currently occupied by workers, have established the Revolutionary Front of Companies Occupied or Under
Stuart Munckton At the same time as the US government continues to escalate its hostile rhetoric towards the left-wing government of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, March 8 marked the beginning of a week of solidarity with the US people. The
Peter Boyle "The Pentagon plan, designed to fight what it describes as 'The Long War', envisages 'long-duration, complex operations involving the US military and international partners, waged simultaneously in multiple countries round the world'
Walter Yoia, Buenos Aires The longest roadblock in Argentina's history reached a month on March 4, as residents and environmentalists protest neighbouring Uruguay's push to allow construction to continue at the Fray Bentos paper mill. What began as
Three bills affecting temporary workers were blocked after a general strike led by the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions (KCTU) on February 28 and March 2. The union federation says the bill will not improve the wages and conditions of contract
Stuart Munckton Venezuela's socialist President Hugo Chavez claimed on March 5 that the US is attempting to build a secessionist movement in the resource-rich state of Zulia. Venezuleanalysis.com reported on March 8 that Chavez accused the governor
On January 22, Evo Morales — former trumpeter, llama herder and coca-grower union leader — became the first popularly elected indigenous president of Bolivia. His election followed five years of intense social struggle that kicked out two

Editorial

As the US, British and Australian governments enter their third year of occupation in Iraq, opposition and resistance to the occupation by the Iraqi people continues to steadily grow. Last October, the London Sunday Telegraph revealed that a secret

Culture

Brown launches Recherche Bay book CANBERRA — Australian Greens Senator Bob Brown launched his new book Tasmania's Recherche Bay on February 28. The book launch caps off a successful campaign involving a buy-back of south-east Tasmania's
As It Happened: Life Behind The Wall — Looks at the now extinct German Democratic Republic 15 years after the fall of the Berlin Wall. SBS, Saturday, March 18, 7.30pm. Message Stick: Julie Dowling — With the support of her identical twin sister
Corporate Social Responsibility Failures in the Oil IndustryEdited by Charles Woolfson and Matthias BeckBaywood Publishing Co., New York, 2005 216 pp. REVIEW BY BARRY HEALY Oil drilling on land or at sea is always risky but the oil giants
Rough Music: Blair, Bombs, Baghdad, London, TerrorBy Tariq AliVerso, 2005104 pagesOrder at <http://www.versobooks.com/> REVIEW BY ALEX MILLER On July 7, 2005, four young British Muslims blew themselves up on the London transport system,
The Festival of SeditionHuskisson Community Centre, ShoalhavenMarch 18Phone Chris Nobel on (02) 4465 1285 Sandra Lee Like a large section of the Australian public, many artists, poets and musicians are concerned about the potential impact of the