Issue 770

Australia

Trade-offs agreed to by the NSW Public Service Association (PSA) are now coming to light, weeks after the union signed off on a 12% pay rise — 4% a year for three years — on September 17.

By signing the "Memorandum of Understanding" (MOU) on October 2 the PSA has agreed to deliver "...

Public sector workers across Queensland demonstrated in large numbers on September 30. Public servants are seeking a minimum 5.1% annual pay rise, simply to keep pace with inflation.

The Queensland Labor government has not budged from its offer of 3.25% a year for three years, which...

Noel Washington, vice-president of the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU) Victorian branch, has been charged by the Australian Building and Construction Commissioner with new offences under the Building and Construction Industry Improvement Act.

This is less than one...

An official visit to Australia by Vietnam's Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung, beginning October 13, is aimed at boosting economic and trade relations between the two countries. Australian companies have direct investment projects worth more than US$1 billion in the country Australia once invaded...

On October 8, around 500 workplace delegates and occupational health and safety representatives attended a meeting called by the Victorian Trades Hall Council (VTHC).

The meeting was called in response to a list of changes to the current WorkCover legislation recommended by Peter Hanks QC...

Ron Guy and Garry Holliday, trade union activists with the Australian Workers' Union (AWU), and Margarita Windisch, a member of the Media Entertainment and Arts Alliance (MEAA) and Socialist Alliance candidate for the Maribyrnong council elections, will be part of a delegation attending the 6th...

On October 7 a group of students from Chisholm, Bendigo, Kangan Batman and Victoria University TAFE campuses demonstrated their opposition to proposed TAFE reforms at Parliament House. Their cries were for education for everyone, not just the rich.

Victorian Premier John Brumby's...

Carrying the views of thousands of people who oppose the construction of a dam on Queensland's Mary River, Steve Posselt will kayak from Brisbane to the Sydney office of federal environment minister Peter Garrett to deliver their petitions.

Posselt, a 55-year-old civil engineer who...

"It is important that this book is being released at this time. It allows us to better understand the reality of the Venezuelan revolution", Nelson Davila, Venezuelan Charge d'affaires, told a meeting in Wollongong on October 4. Davila was launching Voices from Venezuela: Behind the...

On October 10, 200 people attended "This is an emergency: an introduction to the real science of global warming". The public forum was also the official launch of a new environmental organisation in Adelaide, the Climate Emergency Action Network (CLEAN).

The forum was addressed by four...

After much debate, mounting pressure from the Catholic Church and attempted legislative amendments, the Victorian Abortion Law Reform Bill was passed unamended by the Victorian Upper House on October 10.

A week earlier, on October 4, more than 200 people had rallied to support the bill,...

Professor Ross Garnaut delivered his final report on impacts of — and responses to — climate change to Australian federal and state governments on September 30.

In the previous week, a series of protest actions was held around the country to highlight the need for emergency action on...

World

The next move, presumably, will be to nationalise the country's gambling debts.

To revive confidence among blokes in betting offices, the government will hand over £300 billion to cover the money they've lost.

Then a leading gambler will be quoted as saying: "This package goes...

The statement below was released on October 8 by Committee in Solidarity with the People of El Salvador (CISPES). The delegation's report can be downloaded at http://www.cispes.org.

A recently returned US delegation to El Salvador has published a report on human rights abuses, the...

The October 8 article below is reprinted from http://www.cubanews.ain.cu

According to Bolivian President Evo Morales, Cuban-Argentinean guerrilla fighter Ernesto "Che" Guevara did not shed his blood in vain, since many nations of the world are currently following the path he drew towards...

Peru's entire cabinet tendered their resignations to President Alan Garcia on October 9 in the wake of a corruption scandal involving kickbacks in return for oil contracts.

The scandal has already forced out mining minister Juan Valdiva and two other high-ranking energy officials, Alberto...

Many people are understandably frustrated when they try to make sense of the world financial crisis based on what they read in mainstream newspapers.

These papers typically fence off business news into a special section dominated by jargon. Until the economic crisis broke, television news...

Britain's most senior military commander in Afghanistan, Brigadier Mark Carleton-Smith, told the British media about the US/NATO occupation of Afghanistan that "We are not going to win this war".

According to an October 5 Timesonline.co.uk article, Carleton-Smith stated the current...

On September 28, 65% of Ecuadorian voters approved the country's 20th and newest constitution — strengthening the mandate of left-wing President Rafael Correa.

Correa was elected in 2006, promising a "citizen's revolution" to build a "socialism of the 21st century" in order to overcome...

On October 8, Prensa Latin reported that the Second International Congress of Indigenous People of America (Abya Yala) had begun in the Venezuelan state of Zulia, focusing on imperalism. The multi-national event, to be run until October 12, will also debate topics related to the strengthening of...

Canada's largest media group is suing Palestinian solidarity activists who created a parody version of the Vancouver Sun newspaper.

The parody newspaper, produced by the Vancouver-based Palestine Media Collective (PMC) in June 2007, aimed to expose the pro-Israeli and anti-...

More than 26,000 members of the International Association of Machinists (IAM) working at Boeing commercial plants in the US began strike action on September 6. The strike, which was supported by 87% of IAM members, followed Boeing's insistence that a new contract include significant contract...

A popular uprising in Bolivia is defending its government and democratic institutions against US-inspired minority violence.

On September 23, about 20,000 peasants and miners marched on the eastern city of Santa Cruz, where the right-wing regional government has been encouraging terrorism...

The political rupture in South Africa is being presented in the outside world as the personal tragedy and humiliation of one man, Thabo Mbeki. It is reminiscent of the beatification of Nelson Mandela at the death of apartheid.

This is not to diminish the power of personalities, but their...

The Wall Street crisis seems light years away from the side streets of Manila's urban poor slums.

For the labouring masses in the Philippines the capitalist system has been in crisis for some time now, unable to deliver life's basic necessities.

According to official National...

The below October 1 article was written by Mumia Abu Jamal, a political prisoner currently on death row in a US prison. Mumia is a radical African American journalist and activist who has been wrongfully imprisoned since 1981 over the shooting of a police officer. He...

"The right of self-determination is important because it's part of the pure principle of democracy", Jacob Rumbiak, foreign affairs co-ordinator of the West Papua National Authority (WPNA), explained to Green Left Weekly during the national conference of the Australia West Papua...

An overlooked order by the National Labor Relations Board's (NLRB) lead lawyer this summer dealt a serious blow to the rights of US workers to protest government policies.

On May Day, 2006, hundreds of thousands of immigrant workers walked off their jobs to protest restrictive immigration...

"The idea that markets were always right was mad", right-wing French President Nicolas Sarkozy stated, according to a September 29 Businessweek.com article. "The all-powerful market that always knows best is finished."

The recent bank take-overs and bail-outs by capitalist governments has...

Late on the evening of October 6, the ultra right-wing fascist mob that calls itself the Peoples Alliance for Democracy (PAD) laid siege to the Thai parliament.

They came prepared with iron bars and crash helmets. Their plan, as always, was to create chaos in the hope that the military...

Analysis

"Meltdown" is a word that one hears a lot on the news these days.

Despite the US$700 billion government bailout of banks in the US, similar (albeit smaller) bailouts in Europe, and various forms of state intervention in the finance industry on both sides of the Atlantic, sharemarkets...

There has been intense media speculation on the fate of New South Wales infrastructure plans following the "discovery" of a supposed $20 billion dollar "black hole" in the NSW budget, announced by departing treasurer Michael Costa on September 5.

The failure of ex-premier Morris Iemma's...

The campaign against the jailing of tramways union leader Clarrie O'Shea, in Melbourne in May 1969, for refusing to pay fines imposed under the infamous anti-union penal powers of the time is rich with lessons for today's campaign against the Australian Building and Construction Commission's (...

The Reserve Bank (RBA) of Australia announced on October 7 that they would cut the official interest rate by 1% — the largest single cut since 1992 — in response to the US financial crisis.

The RBA decided on the interest rate cut in order to stimulate the banking sector and the economy...

Millions of tonnes of the potent greenhouse gas methane have apparently begun leaking from the seabed beneath wide areas of the Arctic Ocean, the British Independent reported on September 23.

Scientists on board the research ship Yakov Smirnitsky recently finished taking...

Letters

In defence of civil liberties

Colin Mitchell's article, "Terror trial: criminalising speech", and the column of the Socialist Alliance, "We won't be silenced by terror laws", (both GLW #769), on what has been happening pursuant to Australia's anti-terrorism laws were both...

General

Miranda Devine is usually the first to turn a ridiculous right-wing rant into a newspaper column.

So she must have been fuming when fellow right-wing columnist Gerard Henderson, in his October 7 column in the Sydney Morning Herald and several other newspapers, explained that the...

Green Left Weekly is launching a campaign for an extra 350 subscriptions before the end of 2008. Every new subscription helps build a people-powered movement for change and you can help us!

While the international financial and global warming crises are plain to see, not...

Resistance!

The following article is based on a speech Resistance member Kimberly Yu gave to an October 4 rally in Melbourne.

The act of a doctor performing an abortion in Victoria has been in the Crimes Act since 1958. The Australian Capital Territory is the only state that...

On September 15, Resistance kicked off our competition to determine who is Australia's worst environment minister. Resistance members in Melbourne headed down to 50 Lonsdale Street to present Gavin Jennings, Victoria's environment minister, with the illustrious award of Australia's Worst...

Culture

Der Krieg [War]

An exhibition of Otto Dix's anti-war prints

Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney

Until October 26

November 11, 2008, will mark the 90th anniversary of the end of the First World War.

Remembrance Day, with...

Rogue Economics: Capitalism's New Reality

By Loretta Napoleoni

Allen & Unwin, 2008

292 pages, $29.95 (pb)

I was attracted to this book after hearing Loretta Napoleoni on ABC radio on June 2. In a short, punchy talk she made...

Looking back on the political movements of the '60s and '70s is now a fairly well trodden path in the form of fiction, history and memoirs alike.

Hari Kunzru's latest novel, My Revolutions, however, strikes refreshing new ground in that it is written not, as usual, by a...