Issue 684

Australia

MELBOURNE — On September 10, a meeting of 52 taxi drivers at the Richmond Town Hall decided to promote the formation of the Victorian Taxi Drivers Association. Socialist Party Yarra city councillor Steve Jolly told the meeting that the VTDA needed
SYDNEY — Thirty people attended a moving video presentation organised by the Canterbury-Bankstown Peace Group on September 9 that focused on the US torture prison at Guantanamo Bay and the campaign for the return of David Hicks and Mamdouh Habib.
On September 13, the Australian Law Reform Commission released a report criticising the federal government's sedition laws. ALRC president Professor David Weisbrot said: "We found that there is a real problem in the current law's continued use of the
Kiraz Janicke, Sydney Although US imperialism today is immensely powerful, it is facing some severe challenges. Unable to subjugate the people of Iraq despite a brutal invasion and occupation, the US empire also faces a continent-wide rebellion
Trish Corcoran, Sydney Barry Hemsworth, the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU) delegate at Botany Cranes, one of the largest mobile crane businesses in Sydney, was sacked on September 6 for "gross insubordination". Hemsworth
Marcus Greville, Melbourne "Not paying these workers is in fact theft", Electrical Trades Union (ETU) organiser Shaun Leane told Green Left Weekly. He was commenting on the refusal of electrical parts manufacturer Heinemann Electric to pay wages to
Geoff Payne, Newcastle The long sharpened axe for Bryce Gaudry, the ALP's MP for the state seat of Newcastle, has fallen. Labor's national executive dropped the 15-year incumbent in favour of businessperson and former TV newsreader Jodi McKay, who
SYDNEY — Unknown activists put up cardboard cut-outs of soldiers around this city to commemorate September 11, 2001. More photos at <http://www.flickr.com/photos/checkpoint_911>.
CANBERRA — A new campaign urging the Howard government not to proceed with its proposed security treaty with Indonesia was launched on September 15 by former West Papuan politicians Willem Zonggonau and Clemens Runawery, and Greens Senator Bob
Cameron Vincent On September 12, Mechanical Engineering Services Pty Ltd notified the Australian Manufacturing Workers Union (AMWU) that the company would be locking out 45 of its employees from its Yallourn premises for up to three months.
BALLARAT — The Howard government has given the University of Ballarat a hefty reward for carrying out the most aggressive anti-union industrial relations' strategy in higher education. From 2005 to early 2006, the former vice-chancellor Kerry Cox
Adam Maclean, Sydney At nationally coordinated meetings on September 14, Community and Public Sector Union (CPSU) and Media Entertainment and Arts Alliance (MEAA) members at the Australian Broadcasting Corporation voted in favour of a campaign of
LAUNCESTON — On September 16, 8000 people participated in a march and rally opposing a pulp mill on Tasmania's Tamar River. The pulp mill has been proposed by logging giant Gunns. The rally was organised by the Wilderness Society and Tasmanians
Ian Jamieson, Fremantle The International Confederation of Free Trade Unions has added its support to the campaign in solidarity with the 107 construction workers facing fines of up to $28,600 each for going on strike. The ICFTU said the Howard
MELBOURNE — On September 14, 200 people attended a forum at Melbourne University to hear Mamdouh Habib speak about his time in the US military prison at Guantanamo Bay. The forum was organised by Students Against War and Racism. Habib condemned the
John McGill & Emma Murphy, Adelaide On September 14, 200 people rallied outside the Prospect Radio Rentals outlet in support of 16 employees who have been locked out without pay for one month. The rally was addressed by Australian Manufacturing
Sam Wainwright, Perth Forty workers employed by Total Corrosion Control (TCC) are being sued for up to $28,600 each for being 15 minutes late for work after a union meeting. The Australian Manufacturing Workers Union (AMWU) is being sued for
Paul Benedek, Brisbane "Peter Beattie's axing of Indigenous affairs as a stand alone ministry, just days after the election, is a disgrace", Murri leader Sam Watson told a protest on September 15. Around 40 people rallied outside the Queensland
Paul Benedek, Brisbane On September 14, 400 people attended the launch of the Workers and Civil Rights Coalition (WCRC). Griffith University industrial relations professor David Peetz, Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU)
Alex Bainbridge, Sydney Fifty unionists protested outside the Korean embassy on September 12 in support of striking construction workers in Korea. The Korean workers are facing jail, injury and even death in pursuit of their demands for better

World

In a stroke of irony, US federal magistrate Norbert Garney issued a ruling on September 11 recommending that international terrorist, and former CIA operative, Luis Posada Carriles should be released from a Texan immigration detention centre. Posada
Doug Lorimer US President George Bush used the fifth anniversary of 9/11 to tell the US public that their safety from future terrorist attacks would be decided by the "outcome of the battle in the streets of Baghdad". "If we do not defeat these
Troy McGuinness A 48-hour strike by 500 National Distribution Union members in three New Zealand cities has turned into all-out war. The workers were locked out of supermarket distribution centres when they took strike action on August 25.
Jim McIlroy & Coral Wynter, Caracas Around 2000 Caracas tenants met in the Teresa Carreno complex on August 26 to demand the full implementation of the Law on Expropriations, which promises to convert a million renters into owners of their
Stuart Harrison, Toronto A 23-year-old sergeant in the US National Guard has become the latest deserter from the US military the September 1 Toronto Star reported. Corey Glass signed up for an eight year National Guard stint in 2002, believing he
Doug Lorimer Following two days of talks in Vienna with Ali Larijani, Iran's chief nuclear negotiator, European Union foreign policy chief Javier Solana told journalists on September 10 the discussions had been "positive" in seeking a compromise
The following open letter to Canadian PM Stephen Harper was issued on September 8 by Ken Georgetti president of the Canadian Labour Congress the largest trade union federation in Canada representing 3 million workers. In May Harper's minority
CARACAS — Around 500 people gathered in Plaza Venezuela and marched to the Llaguno Bridge on September 11, in solidarity with the peoples of Lebanon and Palestine and against 'imperialist terrorism'. The event was organised by the Forum for
On September 10 the Workers Challenge Alliance (ABM) held a demonstration at the state palace in Jakarta, demanding that the government set a standard national wage. The action involved more than 100 people from several ABM-affiliated labour
Federico Fuentes Reporting in La Epoca, Daniela Otero wrote of the September 8 "pro-autonomy" strikes across Bolivia's four eastern departments (Santa Cruz, Tarija, Beni and Pando): "The government and the leaderships of the civic committees with
Federico Fuentes During the swearing-in of more than 300,000 people to the "battalions" of the Miranda Command on September 9, Venezuela's socialist President Hugo Chavez, who is seeking re-election through a massive grassroots effort led by the
The September 9 Haaretz reported that during Israel's 34-day war against Lebanon, the Israel Defense Forces fired 1800 cluster bombs containing at least 1.2 million bomblets into Lebanese towns and villages. Haaretz reported that soldiers in IDF
Jim McIlroy & Coral Wynter, Caracas National and state governments are attempting to tackle the threat posed to Venezuela by right-wing paramilitary groups that have infiltrated the regions of the country bordering Colombia, particularly the state
Jim McIlroy & Coral Wynter, Caracas Speaking to thousands of supporters during a September 6 election rally in Maracaibo, capital of the western state of Zulia, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez announced he would promote a recall referendum against
Dahr Jamail & Ali al Fadhily, Ramadi The US military has lost control over the volatile Anbar province, Iraqi police and residents say. The area to the west of Baghdad includes Fallujah, Ramadi and other towns that have seen the worst of the US
Jim McIlroy & Coral Wynter, Caracas A major row has been created after moves by Greater Caracas's mayor, Juan Barreto, to expropriate two golf courses, frequented solely by the very wealthy, in order to build houses in the capital, which faces a
Federico Fuentes At the September 9 swearing-in of the members of the Miranda Command, Venezuela's left-wing president, Hugo Chavez, called for the creation of the "great party of the Bolivarian revolution" to unite the groups that support
Alex Miller, London It was a torrid week for Prime Minister Tony Blair. On September 6, the normally Blairite defence minister, Tom Watson, resigned in protest at the PM's refusal to specify a timetable for handing over his job to a successor. The
Max Lane Protest demonstrations continue to sprout every day across Indonesia on almost every kind of issue — socio-economic injustice, political abuse, administrative arbitrariness and ecological damage. Poverty and economic hardship still
On September 12, the Baloch Yekjehti Committee and Labour Party Pakistan held a joint rally in Karachi condemning the August 26 killing of Nawab Akbar Bugti, a leader of the Baloch national liberation movement in Pakistan's south-western Balochistan
On September 6, thousands of residents from Orange Farm (a township south of Johannesburg) blockaded the Golden Highway, a major arterial road in Gauteng. The protesters demanded that Johannesburg's mayor address their lack of access to basic
Kim Bullimore On September 13, Palestinian political leaders condemned Washington's refusal to lift its aid embargo against the Palestinian Authority (PA) after Hamas and Fatah, the two major Palestinian political parties, reached agreement on

Editorial

On September 14, PM John Howard threatened to end Canberra's $85 million per year "aid" package to the Solomon Islands, upon which the Solomons' government is dependent to meet its budget. Howard's threat came shortly after Canberra imposed visa

Culture

Photographic exhibition by Rodney DekkerSeptember 28-October 15, 69 Smith Street GalleryOpens September 27, 6-8pm with live Music by The Counterfeit Gypsies<http://www.vicnet.net.au/~smith69> REVIEW BY MARGARITA WINDISCH Rodney Dekker,
My Israel QuestionBy Antony LoewensteinMelbourne University Press, 2006340 pages, $32.95 REVIEW BY KIM BULLIMORE Australian Jewish writer and journalist Antony Loewenstein has set the cat among the pigeons with his first book, My Israel Question.
Soft TargetsExibition by James Lamar PetersonSeptember 29 ... October 12Art Factory Gallery, 84 Merrivale Street, South BrisbanePhone 0417 002 122 "Soft Targets" is an exhibition of recent art works by James Lamar Peterson. It incorporates
Message Stick: The Gathering — The Mirning people of the Nullabor: the reconnection to their land and their ancient tradition of whale dreaming. ABC, Friday, September 22, 6pm. One Mile Dam/Writing Wrongs — Traces the survival of a community
The Wind That Shakes the BarleyWritten by Paul LavertyDirected by Ken LoachWith Cillian Murphy, Padraic Delaney, Liam Cunningham, Gerard Kearney and William RuaneIn selected cinemas now. Ken Loach's new film The Wind That Shakes the Barley is a