Issue 667

Australia

LISMORE — In an action organised by the Northern Rivers Unionist Network, around 40 activists gathered on May 6 to mark May Day, entertaining passers-by with street theatre, and building the June 21 Lismore leg of the Your Rights at Work on the
Duncan Meerding, Hobart On April 25, the Beaconsfield goldmine in northern Tasmania had a significant rock fall due to seismic activity measuring 2.1 on the Richter scale. The rock fall led to the death of miner Larry Knight, 45, and the of
DARWIN — On May 6, Northern Territory Supreme Court judge Brian Martin told the Darwin Press Club that no civilised society should have allowed David Hicks to be detained at Guantanamo Bay for four years. "Whatever one might think about what
MELBOURNE — A forum at Victoria University's Footscray campus on May 1 drew 20 people to hear Socialist Alliance member James Crafti speak about the situation in Palestine. Crafti spent three months in the West Bank as a volunteer for the
Lisa Macdonald There are now 67 groups sponsoring or endorsing the national Unity for Peace conference to be held in Melbourne on May 27. Conference organiser David Glanz said, "The great response could not come at a more important time, as the
SYDNEY — Promoting a petition to have the United Nations reword the Universal Declaration of Human Rights to substitute "all women and men" with "all people", Kate Walker, the transgender support worker with the Women's and Girls' Emergency Centre
KATOOMBA — The Blue Mountains branch of the Socialist Alliance and Green Left Weekly held a May Day toast on May 1. Thirty people watched Actively Radical TV's newly released documentary about the campaign against the Work Choices laws, and were
Ian Jamieson, Fremantle On May 1, 100 trade unionists attended the May Day toast hosted by the WA branch of the Maritime Union of Australia. The toast was addressed by Indigenous rights activist Jan Cowan, MUA assistant state secretary Ian Bray and
Ben Courtice, Melbourne "Direct action gets workers' jobs back", announced the media release from community activist group Union Solidarity after the reinstatement of three workers who were sacked under the Howard government's Work Choices laws on
Peace activists in Australia participated in an international day of action on May 6 to demand 'Don't attack Iran!'. In Melbourne, protesters gathered outside the US consulate and heard speakers from the Medical Association for Prevention of War
Dale Mills The national push for more police officers and powers has led to a public clash between Australian Federal Police (AFP) commissioner Mick Keelty and ACT minister for police Simon Corbell. Keelty, a regular on TV concerning the "war on
Alex Bainbridge, Sydney Sixty supporters of West Papuan self-determination held a flag-raising ceremony outside the Indonesian consulate in Maroubra on April 30. Joe Collins from the Australia-West Papua Association told the gathering that such
Nick Everett, Canberra On May 2, 60 people attended an eyewitness report on Palestine co-sponsored by Green Left Weekly and Australians for Justice and Peace in Palestine. The forum was addressed by James Crafti, a member of the socialist youth
LITHGOW — On May 3, 25 people attended a forum on climate change organised by the NSW Greens and the Lithgow Environment Group. The forum was addressed by Greens campaigner John Kaye. The local campaign against the expansion of the nearby Mt Piper
Thousands of workers took to the streets in bigger than usual May Day marches around Australia on May 6-7, in opposition to PM John Howard's Work Choices laws.From Green Left Weekly, May 10, 2006. Visit the Green Left Weekly home page.
KATOOMBA — Local resident Jess Martin speaks out against bulk cyanide being transported through the World Heritage-listed Blue Mountains. The April 29 speak-out was organised by Friends of the Earth Blue Mountains and Cyanide Watch. More than
Sue Bolton, Brisbane There were big turnouts for May Day marches across Queensland on May 1. Brisbane's march of 35,000 was much bigger than the usual May day turnout of 10,000. The Builders Labourers Federation had a 2000-strong contingent, and
Tony Dee, Melbourne Supporters of self-determination for West Papua held a spirited, early morning rally outside mining corporation Rio Tinto's AGM on May 4. The action drew attention to the human rights abuses and environmental disasters linked to
Green Left Weekly is taking a one-week break from publication. Our next issue will be dated May 24.From Green Left Weekly, May 10, 2006. Visit the Green Left Weekly home page.
Rachel Evans At its meeting on April 30, the ALP-led national executive of the National Union of Students (NUS) voted against organising a national day of protest in August against the Howard government's "voluntary student unionism" (VSU)
CANBERRA — On May 5, Liquor Hospitality and Miscellaneous Union members protested outside the swish Holy Grail restaurant. The restaurant's owner owes $10,000 in unpaid wages to Dario DeGuzman, a Filipino guestworker. "Community pressure is
Amy McDonell, Canberra In an effort to counter ACT Labor Chief Minister Jon Stanhope's proposed Civil Unions Bill 2006, which would give legal recognition to same-sex partnerships, Liberal MPs introduced their own bill on May 3. It proposes setting
MELBOURNE — On April 20, 80 students from universities across the city marched to Parliament House to protest against the fact that Victoria is the only Australian state in which international, postgraduate and part-time students have to pay full

World

Federico Fuentes Declaring an end to the "looting of natural resources by the international petroleum companies", Bolivian President Evo Morales announced the nationalisation of the country's gas resources on May 1. "The day has come, the awaited
James Balowski, Jakarta Hundreds of thousands of Indonesian workers rallied peacefully in major cities and towns across the country on May Day against planned revisions to the labour law, which would drastically reduce existing restrictions on
Joseph Mutti Pits the size of football fields filled with a choking sludge of oil and dead animals. Children suffering from leukaemia at four times the national average. Birth defects and miscarriages soaring. Drinking water polluted by carcinogens
Doug Lorimer On May 4, by 28 to 22 votes, the Solomon Islands parliament elected Manasseh Sogavare as the country's prime minister. The Solomon Islands is a South Pacific archipelago-nation of 552,000 people — 80,000 of whom, mostly young men,
Eva Cheng Four days after King Gyanendra buckled under the pressure of mass protests and offered to reconvene the parliament that he forcibly suspended four years ago, Nepal's 205-seat parliament met on April 28. On April 30, it decided unanimously
On May 1, some 2000 workers took to the streets of Kuala Lumpur to celebrate May Day under the theme "Workers against privatisation of water and hospitals". Representing factory workers, V. Nathan told the rally that while fuel prices had increased
Jim McIlroy & Coral Wynter, Caracas Australian trade unionists who were part of a solidarity brigade to Venezuela participated in Caracas's huge May 1 demonstration and had an opportunity to address the crowd from the front stage near Miraflores,
On May four, hundreds of members of Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA) marched through central Bulawayo to government offices at Mhlanhlandlela, demanding that crippling school fee increases of up to 1000% be reversed. The marchers sang as they
On May Day, 30,000 people rallied in Paris and thousands more took to the streets in other cities across France to celebrate the victory against the CPE (First Employment Contract). The law, which would have allowed employers to sack young workers
Doug Lorimer On May 3, discussion began among the veto-wielding permanent members of the UN Security Council — Britain, China, France, Russia and the US — over how to respond to a report on Iran's nuclear program circulated to all 15 council
Barry Sheppard, San Francisco According to combined police estimates, 1.1 million immigrant workers and their supporters marched in more than 75 major cities across the US on May 1. Many more participated in smaller cities and towns. Even accepting
Reuters reported that on May 1, up to 10,000 Iranian workers marched through the streets of Tehran to protest against the growing use by employers of short-term employment contracts. Short-term contracts, while better paid than regular staff
Chris Kerr Twelve-thousand people marched on April 16 when the National Movement Against the Korea-US Free Trade Agreement held its first mobilisation. The coalition brings together around 270 different organisations, including the Korean
Marce Cameron "The world is rapidly being globalised; an unsustainable and intolerable world economic order is rapidly being established. Ideas are the raw material from which consciousness is forged; they are the raw material of ideology par
Jim McIlroy & Coral Wynter, Caracas More than a million workers from throughout Venezuela marched through city streets in Caracas on May 1. The theme of the May Day demonstration was "No to imperialism, no to corruption, no to bureaucracy; for
Doug Lorimer By the end of April, total US troop casualties in Iraq had topped 20,000, with at least 2401 killed and 17,648 wounded since the US-led invasion in March 2003. April was the deadliest month for US troops this year, with 70 killed, up
Lee Wengraf, New York As many as 300,000 protesters jammed the streets of Manhattan on April 29 for the first major anti-war demonstration in New York City in close to two years. The protest was organised by the national anti-war coalition United
On May 1, as millions of immigrant workers marched for their rights in May Day rallies across the US, an agreement was signed at the University of Miami giving hundreds of low-waged janitors the right to form a union. The agreement followed
Jon Lamb Fearing renewed violence, tens of thousands of East Timorese have fled Dili to outlying villages and districts. The situation remains extremely tense in the capital following the police crackdown on an angry demonstration of former
Stuart Munckton In an April 28-29 meeting in Havana, Cuban President Fidel Castro, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and Bolivian President Evo Morales signed the "Agreement for the Application of the Bolivarian Alternative of the Americas [ALBA]

Culture

Max Lane Scores of activists and young writers, as well as family members, were at the Karet Bivak cemetery in central Jakarta on April 30. Many were crying, tearful. The loss was felt greatly, a burden. But they rallied their spirits to also sing
Eyes of Fire: The Last Voyage of the Rainbow WarriorBy David RobieAsia Pacific Network, 2005180 pages, NZ$39.95 (pb) REVIEW BY PHIL SHANNON Just before midnight on July 10, 1985, the Direction Generale de la Securitie Exterieure (DGSE) emerged
The Chaser's War on Everything — Lampoons the world of politics, business, religion, media and culture. ABC, Friday, May 12, 10.05pm. Crunching the Numbers — Follows a woman struggling with the tough economic realities of health care in