Issue 769

Australia

Outraged by illegal and unsafe development on the Illawarra escarpment, more than 50 local residents piled into their community hall on September 21 for a meeting organised by Corrimal Action for Rehabilitation of our Escarpment.

The meeting discussed the "Vellar family mansions", two...

On September 23, about 200 hospital administration workers in far-north Queensland were the first to strike as part of a state-wide campaign to improve wages in Queensland Health.

The workers are members of the Queensland Public Sector Union (QPSU) and the Liquor, Hospitality and...

The August-October speaking tour by Green Left Weekly journalist Kiraz Janicke has been inspiring students, workers and community activists around Australia with accounts of Venezuela's Bolivarian revolution.

For the last year, Janicke worked in Venezuela, writing for...

Salisbury Council, in the northern suburbs, is a world leader in stormwater harvesting. It is on track to produce 20 gigalitres of water per annum by 2010, just short of 10% of Adelaide's total water usage.

The council's director of city projects, Colin Pitman, addressed a 200-strong Save...

Two hundred dollars for the Cuban Hurricane Relief Fund was raised at a screening of the new documentary Salud!, which examines Cuba's remarkable attitude to health care — both within Cuba and around the world.

The film was introduced by Dr Brian Senewiratne, who contrasted Cuba'...

On September 20, hundreds of people converged on Clifton Park in Brunswick to admire the work of talented graffiti artists.

The gathering was part of a "Don't Ban the Can" campaign, launched in response to the state government's new anti-graffiti laws, which allow $550 spot fines to be...

Following a strike by Dandenong mail officers in June and an overnight picket by Union Solidarity in September, Australia Post has agreed to reinstate Communications, Electrical and Plumbing Union delegate Hemma Lorenz to her original position. The campaign was triggered by Australia Post's...

It's hard to ignore a group of people dressed in mangy Koala suits outside NSW parliament house. It's more difficult to ignore the campaign for the protection of red gum forests, which is what the September 23 Wilderness Society protest drew attention to.

The protest demanded the...

"We need a council that stands up for residents against greedy developers and the anti-people policies of the state and federal governments", Vannessa Hearman, a Socialist Alliance candidate for South Ward in the Moreland Council election on November 29, told Green Left Weekly.

...

"We need a genuine people's movement like this planet has never seen", Friends of the Earth's Dr John Mackenzie told the launch of Climate Emergency Week at the Queensland University of Technology (QUT) on September 22. "We need a global movement that will make the sixties look like a rehearsal...

The Newcastle ALP branch effectively delivered Newcastle Council to the right in the September 13 elections, by preferencing Aaron Buman's team of "razor gang" independents instead of the Greens.

Buman supported the NSW power privatisation plans and scrapping the Newcastle rail line. He...

"Save the Tamil children in Sri Lanka"; "Cricket Australia — don't play cricket in the Tamil killing field"; "Mr Rudd

The protest, which involved thirty people from the Tamil-Australian community and supporters of justice for Tamils, highlighted the humanitarian disaster taking place in...

Newspaper articles sometimes tell so much of the truth that they prompt raids by the Australian Federal Police.

This is what happened to Philip Dorling of the Canberra Times on September 23, after the publication of an article titled "Revealed: our spy targets", based on secret...

The "new racist regime" in Australia — also "called the Rudd government" — was condemned by Aboriginal activists at a Redfern rally held on September 27, before the release of a federal government review into the "intervention" into Aboriginal communities in the Northern Territory and other...

Members of a range of unions protested outside the RACV club on September 25, where the Victorian WorkCover Authority (VWA) announced its end of year financial and operational results. The protest was called by the Victorian Trades Hall Council (VTHC), which is concerned about changes to...

World

On September 23, one of Burma's longest-serving political prisoners, 78-year-old progressive journalist U Win Tin, was released from Insein Prison after more than 19 years. He was one of six political prisoners included in an amnesty of 9002 prisoners declared by the military junta.

...

Haiti has been devastated in recent weeks by Hurricanes Fay, Gustav and Ike, and tropical storm Hanna. Fay was the first to hit, on August 15, and Ike was the last, on September 7.

Partners in Health (Zanmi Lasante), a pioneering health services provider in Haiti, estimates as many as...

On September 18, Human Rights Watch released a report titled "Venezuela: Rights Suffer Under Chavez". The report contains biases and inaccuracies, and wrongly purports that human rights guarantees are lacking or not properly enforced in Venezuela.

In addition, while criticising Venezuela'...

"The surge has succeeded in ways that nobody anticipated", US Democratic presidential nominee Senator Barack Obama told Fox News on September 4. Obama's claim echoed Republican presidential nominee Senator John McCain. Both candidates claim that the surge, which involved sending more...

In an "open letter to the national and international community" written from prison, Colombian trade union and human rights activist Liliana Obando denounced the government's unprecedented "new witch-hunt against the political opposition in Colombia".

Obando was arrested on August 8 by...

Speaking from within the belly of the beast, Bolivia's indigenous President Evo Morales announced at the 63rd United Nations General Assembly that the world today is paying witness to a "fight between rich and poor, between socialism and capitalism".

"There is an uprising against an...

Former foreign minister in Nicaragua's revolutionary Sandinista government of 1979-1990, Miguel D'Escoto Brockmann, gave the United Nations Security Council a blast in his opening address to the new annual session of the UN General Assembly on September 16.

D'Escoto, who was elected...

On September 19, Nepal's finance minister and member of the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) Dr Baburam Bhattarai announced the first budget of the Republic of Nepal.

The monster 236 billion rupee (AU$3.9 billion) budget is 39.7% larger than the total allocation for the previous fiscal...

Washington's next war is already on the go. "Classified orders", according to the September 11 New York Times, were passed by US President George Bush in July. And the target is not "axis of evil"-famed Iran. It is Washington's close ally in the "war on terror", Pakistan.

On...

To sign the statement below, please visit http://www.gopetition.com/petitions/support-bolivian-democracy.html

A "civil coup" has begun in Bolivia, aimed at destabilising the government of President Evo Morales and destroying the peaceful and democratic process of change his government is...

Analysis

To lobby or not to lobby? Fortunately for the Australian union movement our forebears in the union leaderships didn't spend much time trying to answer this question. Campaigns were more direct and more successful than today's so-called strategies of "boxing smart" and "keeping your powder dry...

The Australian Building and Construction Commission (ABCC) had egg on its face when all criminal charges against Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU) member Brian Shearer were officially withdrawn by the Department of Public Prosecution on September 22.

Shearer had been...

The West Australian Wholesale Electricity Market (WEM) is "a growing cancer" designed to drive renewable energy production to the fringes, a climate activist says.

Hills Climate Action Group researcher and former Kalamunda Greens candidate Toni Warden told Green Left Weekly that...

On September 17, federal IR minister Julia Gillard unveiled Labor's "new" industrial relations system based on the IR policy it took to the federal election, Forward with Fairness (FwF). But rather than "tear up" Work Choices, Labor's pre-election promise, its replacement IR system largely...

A dangerous precedent for an ambiguous anti-terrorism law has been set by the conviction of a majority of the 12 Melbourne Muslim men accused of constituting a terrorist cell. Almost all the charges were based on a law that turned on the definition of a "terrorist organisation".

Vaguely...

"Rich people got it good in this country", said African-American comedian Wanda Sykes on the September 24 Tonight Show with Jay Leno. "We refuse to let them not be rich. Think about it. Broke people are about to bailout rich people. This is what is going on."

"And they want no...

On September 24, Greens Senator Rachel Siewert tabled legislation that would establish a fund to compensate members and families of the Stolen Generations, but the Rudd Labor government is unlikely to support it.

PM Kevin Rudd, on behalf of the federal government, apologised to members of...

Dear Professor Garnaut,

In your recent letter to scientists and environmental groups, you asked for further input into your final report on the question of the 450ppm target and "overshoot", and Australia's position given the uncertainties about the outcome of future global negotiations...

The Catholic Archbishop of Melbourne, Denis Hart, has threatened that Catholic hospitals could be forced to close emergency and maternity wards if a proposed bill to decriminalise abortion is passed.

The bill was passed unamended in the state's Lower House on September 12, and will be...

Residents of Caroona, in the Liverpool Plains of New South Wales, are in their 11th week of a blockade that has stopped BHP Billiton from carrying out coal exploration on their land.

In April 2006, in return for $123 million, the NSW government granted BHP a five-year coal exploration...

On the fateful evening of September 18, when Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson and Federal Reserve Bank Chair Ben Bernanke pulled together a closed-door meeting to discuss the rapidly unfolding crisis plaguing the financial system, congressional leaders feigned shock and horror at its severity....

In even the most exploitative African sites of repression and capital accumulation, sometimes corporations take a hit, and victims sometimes unite on continental lines instead of being divided and conquered. Turns in the class struggle might have surprised Walter Rodney, the political economist...

Whether or not US Treasury secretary Henry Paulson's rescue scheme works, one thing is already crystal clear: The capitalist system has failed spectacularly. The following editorial was published by the US Socialist Worker on September 25.

Henry Paulson is demanding the financial...

Letters

Anti-union culture in Centrelink

Union activists working at Centrelink have traditionally distributed printed material on workmates' desks as a primary means of communication about workplace issues. This practice has now been prohibited by Centrelink management. This is not a consistent...

General

Green Left Weekly is taking a break. The next issue will be dated October 15.

"I'm a strong believer in free enterprise, so my natural instinct is to oppose government intervention", affirmed US President George W. Bush, in his September 24 television speech to promote the biggest corporate bailout plan since the Great Depression. "I believe companies that make bad...

Resistance!

On September 17, the Uber Bar in Brisbane announced a new policy of refusing entry to high-profile sports players. According to the owner, Jim Davies, the ban was imposed following numerous "incidents" widely reported in the media.

One incident, on September 13, involved three National...

University of Queensland (UQ) women's collective members discovered racist, sexist and homophobic messages covering the Women's Room on the morning of September 17.

The messages, scrawled over the wall and posters, included: "I hate queers, Asians, Negroes and abos and women"; "I like...

Culture

I was a participant in the Australia-Venezuela Solidarity Network brigade to Venezuela in December 2006. I was lucky enough to squeeze into the packed presidential palace compound when the official national elections results confirmed an overwhelming victory for socialist President Hugo Chavez...

The autumn

Wears the dress

Of thorns

To hide the colours

Of the helplessness

Of the thorns

The tears

Of the sky

The raindrops

Wears the dress

Of the colours

Of the rainbows

To...

Engels: A Revolutionary Life

By John Green

Artery Publications, 2008

347 pages, £10 (pb)

Available from http://www.arterypublications.co.uk/

Most people know that Friedrich Engels (1820-1895) was the lifelong friend...

Mahmoud Darwish, the iconic Palestinian poet passed away on 9 August in Houston, Texas, at the age of 67 following unsuccessful heart bypass surgery. "Identity Card", was published in his first collection of poetry, Leaves of Olives published in 1964. The verses express the spirit of...