Issue 760

News

Despite the heavy rain, more than 100 people participated in a rally through Sydney’s CBD on July 25, protesting the ongoing discrimination, abuse and killing of Tamil civilians by the Sri Lankan state.
Following a week of protest action, Mick Pattel, organiser of the lobby group National Road Transport Shutdown Forum, confirmed a planned national transport shutdown from July 28.
For three years, the Health Services Union (HSU), which covers ambulance drivers, has been pleading with the state Labor government to employ 300 additional ambulance service staff in NSW. In late July they lost patience.
Aboriginal leaders from Arnhem Land met with Prime Minister Kevin Rudd on July 23 and called for the restoration of the Racial Discrimination Act. The act was suspended in June 2007 to allow for the passing of the bi-partisan Northern Territory (NT) intervention legislation.
Thulasitharan Santhirarajah, the director of a Mebourne business college, was arrested on July 14 by the Australian Federal Police at the request of the US FBI.
The NSW combined rail unions negotiating and campaign committees met on July 23 to discuss RailCorp’s latest offer for a new enterprise agreement.
A documentary film-maker arrested and held without bail overnight after the September 2007 anti-APEC protest in Sydney was cleared of all charges on July 21.
An enthusiastic audience of 60 attended a public meeting on July 23 to hear the environmental, social and economic case for opposing the Queensland government’s decision to construct a dam on the Mary River.
A team of three experienced activists will contest the September 13 local government elections in Blacktown for the Socialist Alliance.
Qantas chief executive officer Geoff Dixon announced on July 18 that the company will sack 1500 workers by December and that its plan to hire 1200 more people has been cancelled. The sackings include 99 workers in Qantas call centres in London and Tucson, Arizona, when those centres are shut down.
On July 23, Australian Workers Union national secretary Paul Howes teamed up with a select group of CEOs of some of the richest companies and major employers of AWU members in a roundtable discussion on climate change.

Analysis

Why do we put so much faith in the market to solve environmental problems? Why do we assume that increasing the cost of fossil fuel emissions will reduce their use rather than just increase everyone’s cost of living?
Labor won the November, 2007 federal election on the promise to “tear-up” Work Choices, abolish the hated Australian Workplace Agreements (AWAs — individual contracts) and overhaul the entire industrial relations system. Of course, all of this was promised to contain ample consultation and be in the spirit of balance.
Dramatic events within the worldwide Anglican Communion have revealed a “cold split” with the potential for a complete collapse of the Episcopal formation.
“The ABCC [Australian Building and Construction Commission] should be abolished … and its powers should be subsumed by the Workplace Authority and its successor, Fair Work Australia”, Professor Ron McCallum AO from the law faculty at the University of Sydney told Green Left Weekly on July 22.
Wollongong residents are campaigning to defend their community and environment from profit-driven developers and bureaucratic cover-ups.
Less than a fortnight after the release of the Rudd government’s Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme green paper, the potential losers are howling at the spectre of lost profits while the potential winners - global investment banks, hedge funds and commodities traders - are rubbing their hands at the thought of making millions from the permits to pollute that the scheme will create.

World

The below is an abridged July 18 statement by Bolivian President Evo Morales on the current round of World Trade Organization (WTO) negotiations. The full version, with notes, can be read at http://boliviarising.blogspot.com.
Tensions and uncertainties continue to rise as what some are calling a bout of “referendumitis” sweeps through Bolivia.
Rights Action calls for protests against Inter-American Development Bank (IADB) policies that fund agrofuel monoculture.
The following article by the International Socialist Organisation of Zimbabwe first appeared in the July issue of Socialist Worker, newspaper of the ISOZ. Visit http://iso.zim.googlepages.com.
Reprinted from http://asia-pacific-action.org. Visit http://blackjuly.info for more information and documentaries.
The British Ministry of Defence (MoD) on July 10 agreed to a payout of £2.83 million to ten Iraqi victims tortured in custody by British soldiers in Basra in 2003.
Three months after the historic April elections to the constituent assembly that has created a republic, Nepal finally has its first president.
The British Labour Party and beleaguered Prime Minister Gordon Brown were dealt a new, savage blow in the Glasgow East by-election, which Labour lost to the Scottish National Party (SNP), according to a July 25 British Independent article.
“I return from Palestine, only to go back to Palestine. I promise families in Palestine that we are coming back, me and my brothers in the resistance”, newly released Samir Kuntar, one of the longest serving prisoners in Israel, told a jubilant crowd of tens of thousands in Beirut on July 17.
Several hundred Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people and their friends converged at the Mi Cayito section of Guanabo Beach east of Havana on June 14, to celebrate newfound pride and launch “Together with You”.
There’s no way of saying this without sounding a bit pretentious, but I was in Chicago a couple of weeks ago. And the most instructive person I met may have been a frail old Black woman in a newsagent, who picked up a newspaper with a photo of Barack Obama on it, and thrust it under my nose.
Commenting on how much the two had in common — same age, three children, similar music tastes — Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa said to Mexican President Felipe Calderon on April 11 that “perhaps we represent the new generation of leaders in Latin America”.

Culture

A Life for the Revolution
Documentary by Chris Den Hond
90 minutes, 2005 A Man Called Ernest Mandel
Documentary by Frans Buyens
40 minutes, 1972
2 disc DVD, available from
Five Days In August - Tracks the key events of the Israeli partial disengagement of the Gaza strip in August 2005. SBS, Friday, August 1, 1pm.
The Age of the Warrior: Selected Writings
By Robert Fisk
Fourth Estate, 2008
522 pages, $30 (pb)

General

Socialist Alliance and Democratic Socialist Perspective (DSP) member Colin Campbell died suddenly in the early hours on July 17.
When federal environment minister Peter Garrett paid a visit to a Sydney public primary school last term he discovered that the school had installed enough solar panels to supply three-quarters of its electricity needs.

Letters

Muslim Aid raids Three weeks after the Australian's Richard Kerbaj whipped up a storm over humanitarian aid by a Sydney-based charity to the suffering people of Gaza, we find our own federal police jumping at this organisation in what seems to be

Resistance!

“We are the sons and daughters of Bolivarian socialism and we want to defend it”, explained Eduardo Churrio, speaking to Green Left Weekly.
I was a participant in the NoToPope protest in Sydney on July 19, and was part of the broad coalition that organised the protest. One of the issues the NoToPope coalition raised as part of the World Youth Day protests was the gap between what the Vatican preaches, (no to condoms and abstinence in sex education) and the reality of sexually transmitted diseases around the world today.