Issue 664

Australia

MELBOURNE — On April 6, 85 people attended a forum at Melbourne University organised by Students Against War and Racism on the topic of Islamophobia and anti-Arab racism in Australia and the United States. Hala Abdelmonour, founder of the
ARMIDALE — Ten people joined an April 6 protest against Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry CEO Peter Hendy, called by Unions Armidale. Hendy had been invited by the local Liberal Party branch to talk about the "merits" of the Work Choices
Jon Lamb, Brisbane Queensland Labor Premier Peter Beattie announced on April 4 that he no longer opposes uranium mining in Queensland. This will give mining companies the green light to increase uranium exploration. One site near Mt Isa, known as
CANBERRA — One-hundred-and-fifty people demonstrated here on April 8 in support of a bill proposed by ACT Chief Minister Jon Stanhope that would give same-sex couples access to civil unions. After a noisy march through the city amid a sea of
SYDNEY — On April 4, NSW Greens MP and infrastructure spokesperson Sylvia Hale moved in the NSW parliament to stop the state government from selling off the Snowy Mountains hydro-electric scheme. Hale said: "This government's record on public
Noreen Navin, Sydney Actively Radical TV, a community-based volunteer group that produces progressive programs, was suspended from broadcasting indefinitely on March 31. ARTV had been broadcasting on Channel 31 for more than 10 years until the
Susan Austin, Hobart Kevin Harkins, state secretary of the Electrical Trades Union in Tasmania, spoke to Green Left Weekly about the June 28 national day of action against Howard's Work Choices laws. It is "a damn fine idea", he said. "You need
SYDNEY — The NSW Labor government has announced that riot police with Tasers, CS gas and police dogs can now be used against children detained in juvenile detention facilities. Juvenile justice minister Tony Kelly is quoted in the April 6 Sydney
SYDNEY — Fifty-five people attended an April 4 forum at the University of NSW on "War and racism: why are Muslims targeted?" It was the first public event organised by the UNSW Students Against War. Waleed Khadous from the UNSW Islamic Society
Ray Fulcher, Melbourne David Hicks' US military lawyer Major Mike Mori told a packed audience at Melbourne University law school on April 6 that Hicks' trial was "politically motivated". Mori was delivering the law school's 2006 Alumni lecture,
SYDNEY — More than 240 people attended the Australia Cuba Friendship Society's largest solidarity dinner in several years on April 2. The theme was "Venezuela and Cuba making history together". Nick Rawson, an ACFS organiser, said the turnout
BRISBANE — On April 5, about 130 delegates attended two combined union delegates' meetings organised by the Queensland Council of Unions to discuss the campaign against the Howard government's Work Choices laws. At each meeting, QCU
MELBOURNE — A thousand unionists and community members joined a solidarity picnic at Yarraville Gardens on April 2. The gathering listened to speakers, including ACTU assistant secretary Sharan Burrow and civil liberties lawyer Rob Stary, condemn
Sarah Stephen Soon after the federal government's decision to grant 42 West Papuan asylum seekers temporary protection visas, an April 2 national day of action in solidarity with West Papua welcomed the decision while urging the government not to
Ron Perkins, Perth On April 5, the Maritime Union of Australia led a snap protest involving 300 MUA members against the provocative actions of a number of maritime industry-based companies. Addressing the rally, MUA state secretary Chris Cain
HOBART — On April 3, the Tasmanian University Union voted down a motion from education officer Michael Harris to support the ACTU's June 28 workers' rights protests and to encourage students to participate in the demonstrations. All but three of
Sue Bull, Ballarat The long campaign for an enterprise agreement at the University of Ballarat has turned a corner. The March 7 departure of Vice-Chancellor Kerry Cox, who is also head of the employer body, has opened the way for a resumption of
MELBOURNE — On April 5, 200 Yarraville residents blocked off the intersection of Francis Street and Williamstown Road as part of the Maribyrnong Truck Action Group's campaign to limit truck traffic on residential streets. For more information
FREMANTLE — On April 6, 100 people picketed PM John Howard when he visited Fremantle harbour for the launch of the Dufyken's voyage around Australia. The protest, organised by UnionsWA to express opposition to the government's new Work Choices
Dave Riley, Brisbane On April 7, 2000 trade unionists gathered in the Roma Street Forum to protest against the Howard government's Work Choices laws and to hear a report from the Light the Fuse workers' rights tour that had been organised by the
Paul Benedek, Brisbane "Whenever I want to ride a bus to university, I pray that the bus driver won't be racist, pray that he will look beyond my scarf and treat me like everyone else", Salam El-Merebi, an activist with Al-Nisa, a Muslim women's

World

On April 6, South Africans commemorated the 27th anniversary of the execution of Solomon Kalushi Mahlangu. Mahlangu left South Africa following the 1976 Soweto Uprising to join the armed wing of the African National Congress, Umkhonto we Sizwe. He
Doug Lorimer "Shiite Muslim religious leaders ratcheted up their rhetoric against the United States during Friday prayers", the April 1 Los Angeles Times reported, adding that "Shiite religious leaders throughout the country ... condemned a March
On April 4, people in 32 cities and towns in Wisconsin voted in referendums asking "Should the United States begin an immediate timed withdrawal of its troops from Iraq?" Twenty-four out of the 32 communities voted "yes", including seven which had
Murray Smith, Paris "The executive is in tatters, the ministers squabble, the [parliamentary] majority is rent by divisions". The quotation is not from one of the leaders of the mass movement against the CPE (First Employment Contract) that has
"Almost 6700 Britons have needed hospital treatment in Iraq since the invasion three years ago — almost as many as the total number of British troops still stationed there", the March 31 Belfast Telegraph reported. According to Ministry of Defence
Allen Myers, Hanoi The International Conference of Agent Orange/Dioxin Victims, held in Vietnam's capital on March 28-29, drew some 150 participants, about half of them from outside Vietnam. After two days of discussion and a visit to Friendship
Farooq Tariq, Lahore The "Good Books" left bookshop was opened by well-known radical writer Tariq Ali on April 2. The opening of the joint venture of two radical publishers — Jamhoori Publications and Jeddojuhd Publications Lahore — was
Jim McIlroy and Coral Wynter, Caracas "I think it is possible to build socialism. We are demonstrating it already", Lilibet Sira Torres, Caracas director of the Frente de Francisco Miranda, told Green Left Weekly. The FFM is a revolutionary youth
On March 25, a million-strong march of immigrants made its way through the streets of Los Angeles in protest at proposed laws that would further entrench the oppression of undocumented workers in the US. Tens of thousands have joined protests in
Chris Latham On March 31, Delphi, the largest auto-parts company in the US and the former parts arm of General Motors, applied to US courts to cancel its labour contracts with unions to allow the company to reorganise and continue to function.
Pip Hinman, Karachi Renowned author and activist Tariq Ali was a hit, particularly with young Pakistanis, at the Karachi World Social Forum, held March 24-29. Wherever he spoke, whether at the 5000-strong opening ceremony or at seminars on
Allen Myers, Hanoi Mai Giang Vu was a conscript in the Saigon regime's military from 1968 to 1973, when he was wounded, losing his left eye. In 1968 he accompanied an infantry patrol on a week-long defoliation operation. In 1970 and 1971 he was
Eva Cheng The gap between the rich and poor in China, which started to widen when Beijing embarked on the pro-market reforms in the late 1970s, has now widened to an unprecedented level. According to a recent study by China's National Development
Protests continue in numerous cities against proposed revisions to the 2003 labour law, which will remove the obligation of employers to provide protection, welfare and health benefits to workers and will dramatically reduce severance pay. On March
Jim McIlroy & Coral Wynter, Caracas A "dangerous situation" is being created in Venezuela after a series of much-publicised murders in recent weeks, according to Carolus Wimmer, a deputy to the Latin American Parliament and prominent member of the
Doug Lorimer US officials claim that they will withdraw their occupation troops from Iraq as soon as the US-recruited and trained Iraqi army is capable of fighting and defeating the anti-occupation resistance movement. But the Pentagon is spending
British anti-terrorism detectives escorted a man from a plane after a taxi driver had earlier become suspicious when the passenger started singing along to a track by punk band The Clash, according to the April 6 Sydney Morning Herald. Detectives
Gregory Wilpert, Caracas Venezuela's state-owned oil company PDVSA took over seven oil fields in early April, which were previously run by foreign oil companies. Five of these fields were ceded to PDVSA intentionally and the others — one run by
Max Lane On April 5, the Papuan People's Assembly (MRP) issued a resolution calling for the closure of the huge Freeport mine, a demand that had been raised by student protesters at a March 15-16 demonstration and at protests earlier in the year in
Marek Edelman, the last surviving leader of the Warsaw ghetto uprising during the Second World War, has accused the conservative religious broadcaster Radio Maryja of "xenophobia, chauvinism and anti-Semitism" and has called on Prime Minister
On April 1, 80,000 people participated in a march through the streets of the northern Spanish city of Bilbao for peace and greater autonomy for Euskadi (the Basque Country). The demonstration came 10 days after the armed Basque separatist group ETA
Dale Mills Sylvia Boyes and Helen John, both in their sixties, are the latest suspected "terrorists" to be charged in Britain, according to a front page story in the April 6 edition of the London Independent. Both women are long-time activists,
Coral Wynter, Caracas Venezuelan political activist Miguel Laffe and three friends, members of the Communist Party Youth of Venezuela, were invited by the Farabundi Marti National Liberation Front (FMLN) to be international observers of the March
The mayor of Greater Caracas, Juan Barreto, announced on March 27 that the city will confiscate some 400 buildings and sell them to the people currently renting apartments within them. "All good rented buildings which were constructed between 10
Peru will go to the polls on April 9 in a hotly contested presidential race. Leading pre-election polls is Ollanta Humala, from the Union for Peru Party, a former army officer who led a rebellion against former president Alberto Fujimori in 2000.
Nelson Davila Within Venezuela we have always had strong solidarity movements with just struggles around the world, such as with Vietnam and Cuba. Our struggle in Venezuela is an international struggle, a struggle without borders. A central aspect
Federico Fuentes Three months into Evo Morales' presidential term, much of Bolivia's mainstream media has been focusing on a range of protests and mobilisations by different sectors that have sprung up across the country. The April 2 El Nuevo Dia
Venezuelanalysis.com reported on April 4 that Venezuela's socialist president Hugo Chavez gained an 82.7% approval rate in the latest survey conducted by the Venezuelan Institute for Data Analysis.From Green Left Weekly, April 12, 2006. Visit the

Editorial

At a media conference in Canberra on April 7, called by PM John Howard and Treasurer Peter Costello to release the report of the Taskforce on Reducing the Regulatory Burden on Business, Howard revealed that his government was "reviewing" the process

Culture

WaterDirected by Deepa MehtaStarring Seema Biswas, Lisa Ray, John Abraham and SaralaDendy FilmsScreening from April 13 REVIEW BY MARGARET ALLUM "There are three options from which widows may choose, according to our texts. They may burn with
Forever Lenin: The Secret Story of a Mummy — Charts the journey Lenin's embalmed body has made throughout Russia, reflecting the events of the 20th century there. SBS, Saturday, April 15, 7.30pm. Reza: Shooting Back — An Iranian in exile in
BY ALISON DELLIT Asked in 2005 if his decision to ask DC to remove his name from the V for Vendetta comic he scripted in the 1980s constituted "throwing the baby out with the bathwater", Alan Moore explained: "The baby is one I put a great deal of
The Cuban Revolution and Venezuela and Barrio Adentro and Other Social Missions in the Bolivarian revolutionBy German SanchezOcean Press, 200633 pages REVIEW BY EMMA CLANCY German Sanchez, Cuban ambassador to Venezuela since 1994, offers the
V for VendettaDirected by James McTeigueWritten & produced by Larry and Andy WachowskiWith Natalie Portman & Hugo Weaving V for VendettaCreated by Alan Moore and David LloydPublished by Vertigo Comics1988, Washington REVIEW BY ALISON DELLIT