Issue 662

Australia

SYDNEY — The new Coalition for Justice and Peace in Palestine will be launched on April 2 at the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU) offices in Lidcombe, Palestinian activist and CJPP convener Jamal Daoud told Green Left Weekly
Liam Mitchell, Sydney Around 150 people marched through inner-city Glebe on March 25 to protest against the Howard government's Work Choices legislation. The rally was organised by Inner West Your Rights at Work (IWYRaW). Rally speakers included
Alex Bainbridge, Sydney More than 200 students gathered on March 23 to support an orchestra strike at Sydney University's Conservatorium of Music ("the Con"). The protest was called over the administration's handling of the visit by US Secretary of
Sarah Stephen On March 23, the immigration department announced that 42 of the 43 West Papuan asylum seekers who arrived in Australia on January 18 and have been held on Christmas Island since then, had been granted refugee status. They will be
SYDNEY — On March 20, the NSW Refugee Action Coalition held a forum about the 151 Chinese asylum seekers (of 245 detainees) being held in Villawood detention centre. Speakers included Mark Goudkamp from RAC NSW; Chin Jin from the Federation for a
PORT MACQUARIE — On March 5, 60 people attended a screening of David Bradbury's new documentary Blowin' in the Wind, which focusses on the use by the US military of depleted uranium munitions. The DVD showing raised funds for Amnesty
Linda Waldron, Melbourne On March 22, 40 people attended a Green Left Weekly forum on the topic "The Hamas Victory: What now for Palestine, Israel and the 'peace process'?" Addressing the forum were Michael Shaik from the International Solidarity
Peter Short, Perth On March 21, the monthly Unions WA council meeting looked set to decide against organising an ACTU-proposed June 28 protest rally against the new federal industrial relations laws. However, several unions intervened to get
PERTH — On March 21, labour historian Michael Crosby presented the WA Labour History Society's annual Harold Peden Memorial lecture to 50 people at the Unions WA office. Crosby, author of Power at Work — Rebuilding the Australian Trade Union
KATOOMBA — "The Venezuelans have learned a lot from the experiences — good and bad — of other revolutions, and out of that are building a 'new' socialism for the 21st century", Fred Fuentes told a public meeting organised by Green Left Weekly
Chris Latham, Perth The ALP retained the WA state seat of Victoria Park in a by-election held on March 11, with its candidate Ben Wyatt polling 61% of the vote on a two-party preferred basis. The by-election was prompted by the surprise resignation
Niko Leka, Newcastle On March 16, Boeing conceded on three demands made by the Australian Workers Union on behalf of 25 aircraft maintenance workers employed at the company's Williamtown centre. The previous day, the AWU lodged objections with the
Nick Everett, Canberra On March 24, ACT teachers agreed to postpone industrial action planned for this week after ACT education minister Katy Gallagher referred their pay dispute to the Industrial Relations Commission (IRC) for conciliation. This
SYDNEY — Proposed anti-terror legislation may allow police to spy on those who try to contact the Terrorism Hotline, according to the March 18 Weekend Australian. The Telecommunications (Interception) Amendment Bill 2006 is now before the federal
SYDNEY — In a March 23 media release, Kate Gauthier, national coordinator of the A Just Australia refugee policy group, said that disclose a third case of unlawful detention of another Australian citizen by the commonwealth ombudsman's report in to
Farida Iqbal, Sydney On March 7, the NSW Industrial Relations Commission (IRC) granted the state's childcare workers a 16% pay rise over two years. Childcare workers will be paid between $70 and $166 more a week, following the IRC's ruling in
Dick Nichols, Melbourne The March 18 Victorian state conference of the Socialist Alliance, held in Melbourne's Trades Hall, focused on the fight against the Howard government's Work Choices legislation and its racist policies against Muslim and
Ben Courtice, Melbourne Australian climate and refugee policy was condemned by British professor Norman Myers, an expert on global warming issues, in his address to a seminar in Melbourne on the topic of environmental refugees on March 21.
Susan Austin, Hobart Progressive people in Tasmania shook their heads with disappointment at the initial results of the state's March 18 House of Assembly election. Pre-election polling indicated the Greens were likely to win one-third of the votes
Doug Lorimer Almost two-thirds of Australians want all Australian troops to be withdrawn from Iraq immediately or no later than May, a telephone poll of 500 randomly selected Australians conducted from March 10-13 found. Australia was one the
BRISBANE — On March 23, students at Griffith University's Nathan campus discussed the fight against the Howard government's new industrial relations laws. Organised by the Education Action Group (EAG), the forum was addressed by Ron Edwards, the

World

Duroyan Fertl Protests by unionists, students and indigenous activists against a free trade agreement (FTA) between Ecuador and the US have strengthened, forcing the government to declare a state of emergency in several states around the capital
Pip Hinman, Karachi More than 12,000 people from 58 countries packed into the City Sports Stadium on March 24 to launch the first World Social Forum ever held in Pakistan. Among the many participants were peasants from Baluchistan struggling
On March 23, around 500 members of the Mehdiganj community, near Varanasi in northern India, began an indefinite vigil against a Coca-Cola bottling plant. The protesters are vowing to maintain the vigil until the plant is permanently shut down,
Forces from both sides of the debate on Taiwan's independence have mobilised in three actions in Taipei since March 12. The so-called Pan-Blue Alliance — led by Taiwan's former ruling party Kuomintang (KMT) and comprising KMT splinter groups the
Tim Anderson In late 2005, while war raged in the Middle East and oil prices rose drastically, governments and oil companies repeated the "market forces" mantra, saying there was nothing they could do about oil prices. However, the Venezuelan
Survival International reported on March 22 that at least 15 Bushmen in the New Xade resettlement camp have died suddenly of unknown causes since the start of the year. A further three are in a critical condition. Gaseitsiwe Gaorapelwe, who was
Omar Hamed, Auckland "Fuck 12 dollars, we want 20", rapped Unite union member and hip-hop MC Fyzykl to around 1000 students and workers in Myers Park on March 18. The occasion was the Supersizemypay.com concert — the Big Pay Out — which
Stuart Munckton "A wave of condemnation swept through Bolivia today after the terrorist attacks that killed two people and resulted in the arrest of a U.S. citizen", Prensa Latina reported on March 22. Two bombings occurred at low-cost tourist
In a speech in Cleveland on March 20, US President George Bush cited the Iraqi city of Tal Afar, 60 kilometres west of Mosul, as providing a "reason for hope" that the US would win its now three-year-long war in Iraq. Last September, Tal Afar was the
On March 21, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez announced that a Venezuelan delegation travelled to Bolivia to be part of a new social mission dedicated to eliminating illiteracy in Bolivia. The Venezuelan delegation will start the project in the
Farooq Tariq, Lahore Thousands of Pakistani bhatta (brick-kiln) workers protested on March 17 in three cities against attempts by employers to maintain the peshgi (advance) system of bonded labour. The demonstrations were organised by the Pakistan
Doug Lorimer The US military has "dramatically increased air strikes in Iraq during the past five months", Tom Lasseter, the US Knight Ridder Newspapers' Baghdad correspondent reported on March 14. "A review of military data shows that daily
Federico Fuentes Even before the January 22 inauguration of Evo Morales as Bolivia's first indigenous president, commentators from all sides of the political spectrum, particularly on the left internationally, have begun to speculate about what
KATHMANDU — Armed Police Force (APF) personnel arrested Madhav Kumar-Nepal, general-secretary of the Communist Party of Nepal (United Marxist-Leninist), on March 23. A team of APF officers took him to the APF barracks at Kakani, Kumar-Nepal's
James Balowski, Jakarta On March 16, left-wing Acehnese political activists publicly launched the Acehnese Peoples Party Preparatory Committee (KP-PRA), which they hope will provide the basis for establishing the first local political party. The
Doug Lorimer Undeterred by the erosion of public support for the war in Iraq, in an update of its September 2002 US National Security Strategy document, US President George Bush reaffirmed his policy of "pre-emptive" attacks — what used to be
Detik.com reported on March 21 that the Indonesian Armed Forces (TNI) continue to keep guard against the "danger" of communism. "The TNI is still continuing to monitor the communist movement. We are constantly keeping on guard", Rear Admiral
Nicole Colson Just how far will the Bush administration go to railroad Zacarias Moussaoui? Moussaoui is the only person to be charged in the US in connection with the September 11 attacks. Although he admits to being an al Qaeda member, he denies
Eva Cheng On founding of the People's Republic of China in 1949, the Communist Party of China (CPC) declared that "women shall enjoy equal rights with men in political, economic, cultural, educational and social life". In the years after 1949,
On March 5, the Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front and Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez's government announced a new joint venture to help reduce transport costs in FMLN-governed municipalities. Part of the alternative Latin American
Jim McIlroy & Coral Wynter, Caracas Venezuelan right-wing parties Accion Democratica, Primero Justicia and Sumate are "up to their neck" in planning for a transport strike that will use as a pretext the increase in crimes that are affecting the
Five bus drivers from the executive board of the Tehran bus drivers' union and metalworker Sattar Amini were released from jail on March 18 and 19. Yet the union's leader Mansoor Ossanlou, as well as auto worker Afshin Bahrami, are still being
Socialist Vietnam and Venezuela, led by socialist President Hugo Chavez, have agreed to build a "strategic relationship" and to bring their economic relationships on a par with their already strong political links. The countries' two-way trade in
Jim McIlroy & Coral Wynter, Caracas Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez rejected recent attacks by the US administration on his government, and slammed President George Bush as a "coward, murderer and responsible for genocide", in an outspoken talk on
Walter Yoia, Buenos Aires On March 24, more than 100,000 people moved toward the Plaza de Mayo, made famous by the mothers of the disappeared who, along with unions, human rights organisations, students and people from all walks of life, demanded
Kerryn Williams After police attacked a protest outside the Cendrawasih University in the West Papuan capital Jayapura on March 16, several police officers and an Indonesian military intelligence officer were killed. Many students and other
On March 15, Reuters reported on new findings by the Washington-based World Resources Institute that human-fuelled global warming has reached a "tipping point". The institute has released a report surveying recent scientific research, which found

Culture

Diplomatic RelationsArtworks by Azlan McLennanThe Anti Mascot Project, part of the New Wave FestivalPlatform Two art space, Flinders Street, Melbourne, until April 2 REVIEW BY ELSIE SNASHALL-WOODHAMS A display of artworks by controversial
Little BritainWritten and performed by Matt Lucas and David WalliamsABC TVWednesdays 9pm REVIEWED BY DAVE RILEY Political correctness (PC) is the death of satire in many ways, as it precludes tackling the undercurrents such that you cannot so
Fight the Power: Defend SocialismVarious artists including Emmanuel featuring K, Braintax, Kam, Rodney P, Benjamin ZephaniahSingle Cell PressOrder at <http://www.socialistproductions.org> REVIEW BY EDDIE TRUMAN Some of the leading rap
Message Stick: Deadly Yarns — This short film festival includes "Talk About A Walkabout" about Josie, a women of the stolen generations, her father and her love of the land. ABC, Friday, March 31, 6pm. 2013: Oil No More — More than 80% of the
The Great War For Civilisation: The Conquest of the Middle EastBy Robert FiskFourth Estate 20051366 pages, $39.95 REVIEW BY MICHAEL GOLDSTEIN This book makes compelling reading. It is a record of Fisk's first hand experiences of events in Iraq,
Rod Quantock is a Melbourne institution in comedy. This year, he marks his 20th anniversary at the Melbourne Comedy Festival with his new show Australia. Australia looks at this wide brown land and examines what's so good about it, other than its