Issue 671

News

NEWCASTLE — Seventy people on a vast array of canoes, kayaks, dinghies, surf skis and bodyboards occupied the world's largest coal port here on June 5, supported by 100 protesters on Horseshoe Beach.
The occupation was organised by Rising Tide,

Sue Bull, Geelong
Two hundred and fifty trade unionists and supporters chanting "Rats out!" forced the Australian Building and Construction Commission to abandon a planned employers' information session here on June 5.
The ABCC, better known as

Sue Bolton, Melbourne
Five religious leaders joined Victorian Trades Hall Council secretary Brian Boyd and ACTU assistant secretary Chris Walton on June 7 to voice their opposition to the Howard government's new Work Choices laws.
Reverend David

Chris Spindler, Melbourne
Twenty-five Finlay Engineering workers might have signed away most of their redundancy entitlements when they signed individual contracts (AWAs) the day after their two union shop stewards were sacked on April 4.
Under

Rachel Evans, Sydney
The NSW Labor government is set to run an operating deficit of $696 million over the coming year following the federal government's June 2 decision to pull the plug on the Snowy Hydro sale.
Premier Morris Iemma will be going

BRISBANE — The neo-colonial policies of the Australian government, particularly the theft of East Timor's oil, were the primary cause of the current crisis in East Timor, Green Left Weekly journalist Jon Lamb told a forum here on June 5.
Lamb

MELBOURNE — On June 3, 400 Tamils discussed the escalating violence in Sri Lanka, which is occurring despite a February 2002 cease-fire agreement between the government and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam.
Robyn Kilpatrick from Amnesty

BRISBANE — "No dams!", chanted 400 protesters angered by the proposed Mary River dam near Gympie as they marched on the ALP state conference here on June 10. While Labor Premier Peter Beattie says the project is vital to address Queensland's water

BRISBANE — The rotten individual contract that fabric retailer Spotlight is trying to "persuade" its employees to sign has so enraged people that protests are being held outside Spotlight stores around the country. In Brisbane, 60 people protested

Rachel Evans
Activists are disappointed and angry about Attorney-General Philip Ruddock's June 6 announcement that the federal government will overturn legislation for same-sex civil unions in the ACT by August 1. ACT Attorney-General Simon Corbell

Jody Betzien, Melbourne
"We are in the business of saving lives and our business is going to thrive", Anas Altikriti of the Muslim Association of Britain told the Unity for Peace Conference on May 27, at which some 300 activists discussed

MELBOURNE — Thousands of people marched on June 4 to mark World Environment Day and call on the state Labor government to protect Victoria's old-growth forests. The world's largest "tree hug" took place when a 70-metre-long banner, representing the

Alison Dellit, Canberra
On June 7, the ACT Labor government announced the closure of 39 schools (and the loss of 160 teaching jobs), the cutting of another 500 public service jobs and severe cuts to superannuation for the remaining workers, two new

GEELONG — A protest outside the local mail centre on June 9 coincided with Australia Post's first transfer of Geelong mail to Dandenong to be sorted by machine, placing local jobs at risk.
Speakers at the protest included federal Labor MP Gavin

Fiona Roberts, Melbourne
On June 5, 180 people attended a debate on uranium mining at the Northcote Town Hall organised by the Socialist Alliance. The speakers were Martin Ferguson, Labor MP for the federal seat of Batman; Dr Jim Green, the

SYDNEY — Residents of Marrickville in Sydney's inner west have formed a climate change campaign group, one of many local groups forming in Sydney suburbs, including Bondi, Maroubra and Newtown.
Sixteen people attended the Marrickville Climate

World

The following is a response to questions posed by the US-based People's Weekly World editorial board to Fathi M. El Fadl, a leader of the Sudanese Communist Party, about the current situation in Sudan and in particular Darfur.
Founded in 1946, the

Roberto Jorquera
As of June 7, Chilean high-school students continued to strike and occupy schools throughout the nation, demanding the repeal of the Organic Constitutional and Teaching Law (introduced under the Pincohet regime) and improvements in

Jon Lamb
Political tensions within the East Timorese elite continue to simmer amidst preparation for the first sitting of parliament since the arrival of the Australian-led international security force. The parliament is expected to discuss and

Rohan Pearce
Riots broke out in the Afghan capital of Kabul on May 29 after a US military truck crash. The truck crushed dozens of cars during peak-hour traffic, reported anti-imperialist group Left Radical of Afghanistan. According to LRA, 56

Kim Bullimore
According to a June 9 Bloomberg report, Hamas has "vowed to renew attacks" on Israeli forces in the wake of the deaths of at least 12 Palestinians during an Israeli artillery bombardment of the Gaza Strip. In March last year Hamas

Jim McIlroy & Coral Wynter, Quito
Celia Hart, a distinguished Cuban academic, member of the Jose Marti Institute and Cuban Communist Party militant, addressed an international seminar organised by the Socialist Party of Ecuador over May 17 and 18.

Pablo Stefanoni, La Paz
The arrows being fired between President Evo Morales and sectors of the Bolivian business elite found a new setting on June 2: the city of Santa Cruz de la Sierra. The heart of this rich area, which has embarked on an

Jim McIlroy & Coral Wynter, Caracas
More than 10,000 people marched in support of the homeless and those lacking housing security on June 4, in a mobilisation sponsored by the National Foundation of Those Without Roofs. The march commenced in

Coral Wynter & Jim McIlroy, Caracas
Some 15,000 students from around Venezuela, dressed in the red T-shirts of the Bolivarian revolution (as the movement led by socialist President Hugo Chavez to build a new society based on the principles of

Associated Press reported on June 7 that in May, the US Air Force carried out 750 air strikes against the Taliban and other insurgent groups in Afghanistan. This information was supplied to AP by General Gary North, the commander of US air operations

Doug Lorimer
Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al Maliki, whose government is completely dependent for its survival on the 133,000 US troops occupying his country, lashed out at the US military on June 2, denouncing what he characterised as habitual

On June 3, thousands of people from across Israel demonstrated in Tel Aviv against the Israeli government and the international boycott and sanctions against the Hamas-led Palestinian Authority. The rally was held on the 39th anniversary of the Six

Stuart Munckton
The second round of the Peruvian presidential election was dominated by a ceaseless campaign, backed by the corporate media and the United States, of scaremongering about a supposed plot by Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez to

On June 2, Green Left Weekly's Peter Boyle caught up with Matt McCarten, the secretary of New Zealand's Unite union, who was visiting Sydney. Like his union, which is widely acknowledged to be revitalising the trade union movement across the Tasman,

Leaders of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, a collective security organisation formed in 2001 by China, Russia and four former Soviet Central Asian republics (Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan) have welcomed Iran's decision to

Farooq Tariq, Lahore
On June 5, Anjaman Mozareen Punjab (AMP), an organisation fighting for land rights at the military farms in the Okara district, organised a successful public meeting at Probanabad in Depalpur, despite extreme attempts by police

Peter Boyle
Among the cynical circles of Australian foreign policy "experts" committed to Australia playing a neo-colonial role in the Asia-Pacific region, there are some differing views on the Howard government's military intervention in the East

A USA Today/Gallup poll, conducted on May 22-24, showed the Iraq war remains the top concern for US voters. Respondents were asked "What issue do you think should be the top priority for the president and Congress to deal with?" Forty-two percent

On May 3, Bolivian President Evo Morales issued the following statement in response to a declaration by Bolivia's key business federations attacking his government's policies.
Yesterday, Bolivians were able to read in the newspapers a declaration

An annual survey of trade union rights violations published on June 7 by the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions found that 115 trade unionists were murdered in 2005 for defending workers' rights, more than 1600 were violently assaulted,

On May 29, Britain's National Association of Teachers and Further and Higher Education voted to support an academic boycott of Israel's higher education institutions. NATFHE, which represents more than 67,000 educators, also passed a motion

"We are not going to sign the TLC [Free Trade Agreement] with the United States", Hugo Rodriguez, secretary of the Chamber of Senators and director of the Uruguayan Socialist Party, which is part of the Frente Amplio government, told Green Left

Stuart Munckton
In a step forward for the goal promoted by Venezuela's socialist President Hugo Chavez of increasing the economic integration of Latin American countries, Venezuela and Bolivia have signed another round of important economic

Doug Lorimer
On June 7, a US air strike killed Abu Musab al Zarqawi, the Jordanian-born leader of the Jamaat al Tawhid wal Jihad group, often referred to as "Al Qaeda in Iraq".
The June 8 London Times noted that Zarqawi was "a totemic figure",

Culture

New Orleans Jazz and Heritage FestivalNew Orleans, LouisianaApril 28-30 and May 5-7
REVIEW BY BILL NEVINS AND PRISCILLA BACA Y CANDALARIA
It was a long-delayed, emotion-charged journey for Johnny James this late April day, and he welcomed a chat

Message Stick: Six at the Crossroads — Inside the lives of Indigenous Australians across the country with stories presented in their own voices. ABC, Friday, June 16, 6.05pm.
The Best of the Chaser's War on Everything — Confronts and lampoons

Literature and RevolutionBy Leon Trotsky Haymarket Books, 2004$35Available from <http://www.resistancebooks.com>
REVIEW BY SIMON BUTLER
The eight chapters that make up Leon Trotsky's Literature and Revolution were drafted in 1922 and

Editorial

The federal government's decision to retain its stake in the Snowy Mountains hydro-electric scheme, prompting an immediate about-face by the NSW and Victorian governments, was a victory against bipartisan anti-working-class, privatisation policies.