Issue 666

Australia

Peter Boyle In London's famous Hyde Park, on May 4, 1890, Eleanor Marx (daughter of Karl) addressed the first ever May Day rally in England. "I am speaking this afternoon not only as a trade unionist, but as a socialist. Socialists believe that
Rachel Evans On April 26-29, 40 university presidents and office bearers of the National Union of Students attended an NUS-organised "president's summit" in Canberra to discuss the restructuring of student organisations under the Howard
Pip Hinman, Sydney NSW police charged Socialist Alliance activist Alex Bainbridge on April 26 with "Use/operate a loudspeaker/public address system" for his involvement in a February 17 protest against the state-funded memorial service for deceased
FREMANTLE — On April 24, two days before the 20th anniversary of the explosion and fire at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in Ukraine, 150 people packed into Fremantle's La Tropicana Cafe for a screening of the academy award-winning 2002
Marce Cameron, Sydney The Australia-Venezuela Solidarity Network (AVSN) and the Australia-Cuba Friendship Society have joined forces to call for a rally outside the US consulate in Sydney on May 20 as part of an international day of action in
Alex Bainbridge & Raul Bassi, Sydney This year's May Day march will be the first opportunity for a major show of public opposition to the Howard government's new anti-worker legislation since it became law. More than 70% of Australian oppose the
Sue Bolton Large protests in France, Nepal, Indonesia and the Solomon Islands over the last few weeks have forced back-downs from their respective governments. Can Australian workers do something similar and force the Coalition to withdraw its
John Gauci, Sydney At the April 27 Unions NSW meeting it was reported that four Sydney-based combined delegate meetings would take place at the following locations: May 18, 10am — Masonic Centre, Sydney and Blacktown RSL; lMay 15, 10am —
MELBOURNE — On May 1, community radio station 3CR 855AM celebrated 30 years of being on the air with a day of special programming featuring rare archive material and historical interviews. 3CR was established to provide a voice for those denied
SYDNEY — The union representing journalists in Australia says that press freedom is increasingly under pressure. The media muzzled: Australia's 2006 press freedom report, sponsored by the Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance), was released on
Graham Matthews, Sydney A community rally and march against racism will be held in the western suburb of Auburn on June 3. The rally was initiated by the Socialist Alliance and has so far been endorsed by the Reid Greens, the Stop the War
WOLLONGONG — PM John Howard was met by 200 Shoalhaven protesters on April 24 demanding that his government abandon its anti-worker laws. Arthur Rorris, South Coast Labour Council secretary, told the protesters: "It's appalling to think that Howard
Emma Clancy Inspired by the example of the French students and workers who defeated their government's attacks on young workers with mass mobilisations, the socialist youth organisation Resistance has called for a student strike against Work
KATOOMBA — The federal government's changes to family support, sole parenting payments and child care were the subject of a robust discussion at a 60-strong forum organised by the Katoomba branch of the ALP on April 22. The forum was addressed by
Law firm Mallesons Stephen Jacques has taken legal action against the Howard government to force it to make an immediate decision on the application for refugee status of David Wainggai, the only one of the 43 West Papuan asylum seekers who arrived
Chris Williams, Wollongong Being part of the May Day protests this year is more crucial than ever, south-coast trade union legend Fred Moore told Green Left Weekly. "This year we've seen the most devastating industrial laws come in; our very
Katie Cherrington, Wollongong The Wollongong Undergraduate Students Association (WUSA) is organising a one-day conference of anti-war student activists on May 19 in an attempt to build networks to protest against Australia's support for US

World

Doug Lorimer With Republican legislators worried they will reap the result of voter discontent with US President George Bush's handling of the Iraq war in the mid-term congressional elections in early November, US officials have stepped up their PR
A letter delivered to the White House on April 26, on behalf of 1800 physicists, called on US President George Bush to abandon new nuclear weapons plans. Noting that the Bush administration is considering the use of tactical nuclear weapons against
On April 29, Bolivian President Evo Morales and Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez met with Cuban President Fidel Castro in Havana to kick-start the People's Trade Treaty (TCP). Morales said on April 25 that the treaty will enable the countries to
On April 20, two workers were shot and killed by police, another was crushed to death and 40 others wounded when Mexican authorities attacked striking workers occupying the Sicartsa steel mill. Parts of the plant have now been taken over by the army
Eva Cheng Seeking to break the increasingly explosive momentum of nearly three weeks of continuous mass protests and strikes despite shot-to-kill military curfews, on April 24 Nepal's King Gyanendra Bir Bikram Shah announced on national television
Stuart Munckton Ricardo Alarcon, president of Cuba's National Assembly and one the revolution's central leaders, gave a wide-ranging interview to Nestor Kohan and Luciano Alzaga, which was published on the Rebelion website on April 18. The
Delegates from 12 countries, including Australia, will visit the Philippines in early May to investigate the killings of union leaders and the repression of worker activists. Some of the cases to be looked into include the recent killing of United
Jim McIlroy & Coral Wynter, Caracas A March 30 meeting of almost 1000 Venezuelan trade unionists decided to organise a national congress in May of the National Union of Workers (UNT) — the major national confederation of militant and
CAIRO — On April 27, thousands of riot police broke up a protest outside the high court in defence of two judges who were facing disciplinary hearings. The pro-reform judges — Hisham Bastawisi and Mahmoud Mekki — exposed fraud in last year's
Leo Zeilig, Johannesburg Brian Mfisa starts work at 6am each day for the international security firm Chubb. He guards a large house in the wealthy suburb of Melrose in Johannesburg. Brian sits in a small wooden box — a "guard hut" — that is
On April 26, "Freedom Day", 5000 people joined a protest in Durban to mourn the "death of freedom". S'bu Zikode, leader of the shack dwellers movement Abahlali base Mjondolo, said residents from 35 informal settlements joined the demonstration to
DILI — A week of tense protest action by former Falintil resistance fighters and unemployed youth resulted in a violent crackdown by East Timorese police in Dili on April 28. At least four people have been confirmed killed and media reports cite at
Farooq Tariq, Lahore On April 26, a Pakistan Bhatta Mazdoor Union convention at the Lahore Press Club unanimously decided to end a national bhatta (brick-kiln) workers' strike after the government and bosses both made concessions. The strike began
Barry Sheppard, San Francisco Something that was completely unexpected even five weeks ago will happen this year — marches and rallies of hundreds of thousands of workers on May 1 in more than 100 cities and towns across the country. May Day,
Dick Nichols In the April 9-10 Italian general elections, outgoing prime minister and media super-boss Silvio Berlusconi just failed to pull off a miracle win for his centre-right coalition the House of Freedoms. The centre-right came to within
A report released on April 20 by the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions, Fighting for Alternatives: Case Studies of Successful Trade Union Resistance to the Policies of the World Bank and IMF, highlights how unions in Africa, Asia,
Doug Lorimer The veto-welding permanent members of the UN Security Council — Britain, China, France, Russia and the US — remained divided over how to deal with Iran's nuclear program following the council's receipt on April 28 of a report from

Editorial

On April 26, federal cabinet decided to proceed "in principle" with the introduction of a new "access card" to be used when accessing government-run health or welfare services. Despite claims to the contrary, the introduction of the card lays the

Culture

May 1, 2006 marks the tenth anniversary of the death of Rob Riley, one of Aboriginal Australia's most dynamic and courageous leaders. Aboriginal Studies Press have produced a new book called Rob Riley, An Aboriginal Leader's Quest for Justice, by
Message Stick: The Healer — Brian Dowd runs an Aboriginal men's healing program called Back on Track, highly regarded for helping turn around the lives of countless Aboriginal men. ABC, Friday May 5, 6pm. The Chaser's War on Everything —
Both Sides of The GunBen HarperVirgin Records REVIEW BY DUNCAN MEERDING "You whip the back of freedom till it bleeds an oil streamAnd you sailed down upon it in your killing machineOld men who send children off to die in vainThey will hear
Live and BecomeWritten and directed by Radu MihailenauWith Yael Abecassis, Roschdy Zem, Moshe Agazai, Mosche Abebe and Sirak M SabahatScreening nationally REVIEW BY KIM BULLIMORE AND LACHLAN MALLOCH Romanian-Franco Jewish writer-director Radu
Chernobyl HeartDirected by Maryann De LeoHBO/Cinemax Documentary Films REVIEW BY ANNOLIES TRUMAN If you're short of reasons to oppose nuclear power, Chernobyl Heart will give you a list a mile long based on its sobering portrayal of the human