Issue 749

News

Wiradjuri traditional owner Neville “Chappy” Williams has helped expose a pit wall collapse at Barrick’s gold mine in Lake Cowal, 47 kilometres north-west of West Wyalong in central western NSW.
“The May 1 news that Mt Isa, in central Queensland, is unable to cope with the influx of people fleeing the government’s intervention in the Northern Territory is yet another example of why this policy must end”, Greg Eatock told Green Left Weekly on May 1.
A three-week dispute that stopped production at Port Melbourne-based Boeing subsidiary Hawker de Havilland (HdH), closing sections of the Triple Seven aeroplane assembly line in the US due to a lack of parts, ended on April 27. At a mass meeting outside the gates of the Boeing plant the 700 workers voted overwhelmingly to return to work.
Australia Post is proceeding apace with a restructure ahead of its privatisation. According to Joan Doyle, it intends to close some of its Melbourne delivery centres and wants to replace its full-time workers with casual part-timers.
About 2000 people attended the May Day rally in Sydney this year. The rally had been moved from the traditional first Sunday of May to Saturday, May 3, so that it could begin and end outside the state ALP conference in Darling Harbour.
Victorian public school teachers are close to reaching a settlement with the state Labor government on a new pay and conditions agreement. Their previous enterprise bargaining agreement (EBA) expired in August, and they have not had a pay rise since October 2006.
On April 29, 640 people attended a public meeting in Launceston entitled "Tasmania: A Failed Democracy?". A week earlier, 300 people had attended a similar meeting in Hobart. The calling of the meetings was sparked by revelations of corruption that
The Canterbury-Bankstown Peace Group has launched a petition calling for the immediate withdrawal of all Australian troops from Afghanistan. Successive governments have used the "pretext of pursuing terrorists to impose a 'pro-western' government on
The vote against the planned sell-off of electricity by the NSW government of Premier Morris Iemma at the May 3 NSW ALP conference exceeded the expectations of ALP and union anti-privatisation campaigners.
The Australia-Venezuela Solidarity Network May Day brigade of 15 unionists attended a massive May Day march in Caracas along with an estimated 500,000-750,000 people, all in red T-shirts, from all over the country. Two of the participants, John Cleary and Coral Wynter, addressed the rally. “It was amazing and exciting. We gave greetings on behalf of Australian workers and received a loud cheer. You really feel the power of the working class”, Coral Wynter told Green Left Weekly. “We had a great banner and as I think we were the only organised group of foreigners we were interviewed by three television stations — Telesur, VTV and Vive — and had numerous radio interviews. We danced and skipped along the route from La Bandera to Puente Laguno. Unfortunately President Hugo Chavez didn’t speak, but the day before he announced another 30% increase in the minimum wage. It was a great day!”
The death of the fifth Australian solider in Afghanistan on April 27, followed a few days later by the wounding of another, has refocused attention on Australia’s involvement in the US-led occupation.
On April 28, Labor PM Kevin Rudd’s government began to deport asylum seekers, beginning with a Chinese woman. The next day, two Indian men were placed in stage 1 of the Villawood immigration detention centre for preparation for deportation.
The Australian newspaper has labelled Griffith University (GU) an “agent of extreme Islam” in recent articles targeting the Islamic Research Unit and its director, peace activist Dr Mohamad Abdalla.
Taxi drivers staged a spontaneous and ultimately successful protest on April 29-30, shutting down the major intersection of Flinders and Swanston Streets for more than 22 hours, after the near fatal stabbing of a young driver.
A subediting error in Green Left Weekly #748, "Boeing workers defy bosses, Work Choices", indicated that Boeing's sites other than in Melbourne were either not unionised, or are dominated by industrially weaker unions. The article should have read:

Analysis

In an interview with Melbourne’s Joy FM on April 24 ACT chief minister Jon Stanhope announced he intended to pass the ACT Civil Partnerships Bill through the Legislative Assembly before the October 18 territory election.
Nuclear power must be rejected as a climate change abatement strategy for three major reasons: a doubling of nuclear power would reduce global greenhouse emissions by no more than about 5%. A much larger expansion of nuclear power would deplete conventional uranium reserves in a few decades.
On April 2, federal environment minister Peter Garrett gave the green light to Gunns to start bulk earthwork operations on the site of their proposed pulp mill in Tasmania’s Tamar Valley.
Nuclear analyst Mycle Schneider noted in “Climate Change and Nuclear Power”, published in April 2000 by the World Wide Fund for Nature, that countries and regions with a high reliance on nuclear power also tend to have high greenhouse gas emissions. Following is an extract from his findings.
On April 28, Labor PM Kevin Rudd’s government began to deport asylum seekers, beginning with a Chinese woman. The next day, two Indian men were placed in stage 1 of the Villawood immigration detention centre for preparation for deportation. One of the men has been held in detention for six years. He was also among the 61 long-term detainees whose cases Labor immigration minister Chris Evans had promised to review by the end of April.

World

In a blow to repeated claims this year by US and NATO officials that their 50,000-strong occupation force has Afghanistan’s Taliban-led anti-occupation insurgency “on the run”, insurgents used assault rifles and rocket-propelled grenades to attack a heavily guarded official ceremony near the presidential palace in the centre of Kabul on April 27.
“The Adelitas have arrived/To defend our oil/Whoever wants to give it to the foreigners/ Will get the shit kicked out of him!” yodelled the brigades of women pouring onto the esplanade of the Mexican senate. The demonstration was to protest a petroleum privatisation measure President Felipe Calderon insists is not a petroleum privatisation measure — and which he sent onto the Senate for fast-track ratification at the tag end of the session this April.
On July 24, 2003, the Regional Assistance Mission to the Solomon Islands (RAMSI) — an Australian-dominated force of police, military and bureaucrats — was deployed in the small island nation at the invitation of the Solomon Islands government.
DILI — A May Day rally was attended by some 700 workers, according to Mericio Akara. The rally was organised by the Trade Union Confederation of Timor-Leste and demanded the implementation of labour laws, just wages that comply with minimum wage
The killings of four US soldiers in Iraq on April 30 pushed the US troop death toll for April up to 52, making it the deadliest month for the US occupation forces since last September, when 65 US soldiers were killed. US troop fatalities have now reached 4063 since the occupation began.
Beyond the sound and fury of its conquest of Iraq and campaign against Iran, the world’s dominant power is waging a largely unreported war on another continent — Latin America.
An extraordinary summit of the Bolivarian Alternative of the Americas (ALBA), held on April 23, adopted a plan addressing the impact of rising food prices on Latin America’s poor.
According to the May 2 New York Times, ports on the US west coast were shut down on May 1 by dockworkers calling for an end to the US-led occupation of Iraq.
As I write this article, the situation in Bolivia seems to be heading toward a civil war provoked by the secessionist attitude of the oligarchies in Santa Cruz and the other departments of the Half Moon (Tarija, Pando and Beni — in resource-rich eastern Bolivia), the prefect of Cochabamba and maybe someone else who remains in the shadows.
Below is an April 30 statement by Survival International (SI). Visit <http://survival-international.org>.
One of the US government’s most important allies in the Middle East was shaken in early April by strikes and demonstrations over rising food prices.
JAKARTA — Around 1000 workers, students and urban poor held a pre-May Day demonstration outside GKBI Towers, a flashy skyscraper that is the Indonesian headquarters of a number of multinational corporations, including ExxonMobil, ANZ Bank,
“We have just attended a massive march of workers for May Day in Caracas”, Coral Wynter, a coordinator of the current Australia-Venezuela Solidarity Network’s brigade to Venezuela, told Green Left Weekly.
On live TV, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez signed the law on April 30 that re-nationalised the giant Sidor steelworks — majority owned by Argentinean-based Ternium corporation.
US Professor John Bellamy Foster is editor of Monthly Review and teaches political economy and environmental sociology at the University of Oregon. He is the author of Marx's Ecology: Materialism and Nature and Ecology Against Capitalism. He was a

Culture

10,000 B.C.
Directed by Roland Emmerich
With Omar Sharif, Camilla Belle & Steven Strait
Hau Abut (I am Woman)
Compilation CD for the women of East Timor
Available in Australia for $25.00 (postage included) from <info@afap.org>
The Hungry Mile and Other Poems
By Ernest Antony
republished by the Maritime Union of Australia, 2008
64 pages, $20 (pb)
Available from the MUA, Level 2, 365 Sussex Street, Sydney 2000
The Seventh Well
By Fred Wander, translated from the German by Michael Hoffman
WW Norton & Co, 2008
160 pages, $37.95 (hb)

General

The first new subscription to come in on May 1 was from Graeme, from the Sunshine Coast in Queensland, who had read about the Climate Change — Social Change conference on the internet. He took out a one-year subscription to Green Left Weekly and sent us this note of appreciation:

Letters

Nuclear power I David Walters (Write On, GLW #747) repeats the nuclear industry's misinformation regarding carbon dioxide emissions. Nuclear power can only reduce CO2 released from electricity generation. There are five classes of greenhouse gases

Resistance!

A May 1 visit to Deakin University by PM Kevin Rudd was met with a small but very vocal demonstration by students campaigning for an end to Israel’s oppression of the Palestinian people.
“Australia’s Homeless Youth”, a report by the National Youth Commission, reveals the reality behind reports of Australia’s economic prosperity.