Issue 771

Australia

The Queensland Plumbers Union says the Australian Building and Construction Commission (ABCC) is a gross waste of taxpayers' [money] and called for it to be scrapped after a case against the union was thrown out of court.

The union said ABCC Queensland manager Wayne Jenkinson and ABCC...

The Parramatta Climate Action Network (ParraCAN) will stage a Walk Against Warming (WAW) in Parramatta CBD on November 15, as a lead-in to the city-wide event being organised at 11am.

The Parramatta event will begin at 8.45am at the Parramatta Mall amphitheater. ParraCAN member and WAW...

The latest issue of the Socialist Alliance's national discussion bulletin, Alliance Voices, is out, in a new web-based format. It can be found at http://alliancevoices.blogspot.com.

This issue features a discussion starter on perspectives for the sixth national conference. What...

On September 30, more than 400 people gathered on the courthouse lawns in Mparntwe-Alice Springs to demand an end to the Northern Territory intervention.

From Newcastle, Sydney, Brisbane, Adelaide, Melbourne and across the NT they came to listen and learn the truth of what's happening on...

Around 600 members of the Australian Tamil community converged on Canberra on October 14 to protest Sri Lankan foreign minister Rohitha Bogollagama's visit to Australia to meet with foreign minister Stephen Smith. Bogollagama was addressing an invite-only audience of Australian journalists...

SYDNEY — More than 100 people attended a public forum on October 17 featuring Maria Eugenia Guerrero, sister of "Cuban Five" political prisoner Antonio Guerrero.

Guerrero is visiting Australia to raise public awareness of and strengthen the campaign for freedom for five Cuban men...

Environment groups are calling for the dredging of the Yarra River to stop immediately until there has been an investigation into whether there is radioactive waste in sediments of the river.

The Blue Wedges coalition, which has led the battle to stop the dredging of Port Phillip Bay, has...

Socialist Alliance candidates for local council elections in Geelong and Queenscliffe in late November are calling for "climate action councils" that will stand up against polluting industries and big developers.

In Greater Geelong, Bronwyn Jennings is contesting the ward of Cowie and...

Conditions in South Australian prisons have been brought to light by prisoners at the Port Augusta Prison protesting on October 9.

Prisoners housed in the maximum security unit, Bluebush, took control of the unit to protest inadequate staffing and overcrowding. Prisoners spent the day on...

"How can we maintain a safe and habitable climate? That's the question we need to pose to build this movement", Kirrliee Boyd from the Adelaide Hills Climate Action Group told a workshop at the Climate Emergency — No More Business as Usual conference on October 10-11.

The conference was a...

With the release of its third report into corruption in Wollongong City Council, the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) recommended charges be laid against 11 people for 139 criminal offences.

Most of the people named were either ALP members or political donors. ICAC...

Train drivers employed by Rio Tinto's Iron Ore operations in transporting iron ore in the Pilbara struck on October 11 and will stage a 24-hour stoppage on October 22 .

The strike action, the first industrial action on a Rio Tinto project in the Pilbara for 16 years, is aimed at winning a...

One hundred students and staff at RMIT attended an information session on October 14 organised by the Islamic Students Society (ISS).

Muslim students at RMIT have been campaigning for eight months to hold the university administration to its promise to provide a dedicated prayer facility...

Across 12 Melbourne suburbs, a groundswell of community outrage is growing against the proposal for a new road tunnel that will link the eastern and western suburbs.

As residents have found out about the project, public meetings have been held and community protest groups established in...

Melbourne residents who live in the Yarra, Maribyrnong and Moreland local council areas will be able to vote for socialist candidates in the council elections in November.

Socialist Party member Steve Jolly has been a Yarra councillor since 2004. For the upcoming elections, Jolly is...

A police officer who is a key witness against Palm Island Aboriginal resident Lex Wotton has admitted at the trial that he lied during a previous investigation into senior sergeant Chris Hurley.

Wotton is facing one charge of "rioting with destruction", with up to 10 years' imprisonment,...

Following the announcement by South Australian Treasurer Kevin Foley that the Asia Pacific Defence and Security Exhibition has been cancelled, peace activists who had been planning anti-APDSE protests had reason to celebrate.

Slandered by Foley as "feral low-life" and accused of planning...

An independent review into the Northern Territory Emergency Response (NTER), or NT intervention, has been accused of being "watered down" before its final release in order to not embarrass the federal Labor government.

The long-awaited review into the intervention into Aboriginal...

World

On October 10, McDonald's workers who are members of the Unite union, as well as community fair trade groups held a protest outside Queen Street McDonald's in Auckland.

The rally coincided with strike action across Auckland by Unite members working in McDonald's McCafes. The strikes aim...

The case of the Cuban Five, five Cubans who have spent the past 10 years in US jails for the undercover gathering of intelligence on terrorism against their country, provides further evidence of the hypocrisy of US rhetoric about fighting terrorism and supporting human rights.

Gerardo...

Venezuela's tax and customs enforcement office, SENIAT, forced a 48-hour closure of all 115 McDonald's restaurants in the country on October 9 as a punishment for tax irregularities, according to an October 10 Venezuelanalysis.com article.

The McDonald's restaurants, which are operated by...

On October 12, the National Day of Indigenous Resistance, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez delivered land titles to traditional land to four indigenous communities, according to an October 14 Venezuelanalysis.com article.

The titles were delivered to mark the day, which was changed in...

Several hundred students and other activists brought the City of London to a standstill in a flash protest on October 10, according to a report posted to Socialistworker.org.uk the followed day.

Chanting "No bail! send the bankers to jail", they stormed into the upmarket Royal Exchange...

In August, over 1300 people attended the Revolutionary Communist League's (LCR) annual "Summer University".

However, despite being the biggest such gathering for the LCR — born out of the May-June 1968 revolutionary upsurge, it will be the last. LCR activists are preparing to dissolve...

Independent presidential candidate and anti-corporate activist Ralph Nader led a protest of hundreds in front of the New York Stock Exchange against the US government's US$700 billion Wall Street bail-out package on October 16, according to an AFP report that day.

Nader demanded a new tax...

Hand in hand with the struggles of French workers and students has been the massive growth in popularity of postal worker and Revolutionary Communist League (LCR) spokesperson Olivier Besancenot.

Recent opinion polls listed "The Postie", as even the capitalist media call him, as the...

Distributing a parody newspaper may seem an unlikely crime.

But for Canadian activists fighting for balanced coverage of the Palestinian struggle in the monopolised mainstream media, it has become an all too real one.

Last year, veteran activist and retired academic Mordecai...

On October 15, the United States and Iraqi governments agreed on a draft security pact, which could result in US troops being withdraw from Iraqi cities by the middle of 2009 and from Iraq entirely by 2011.

However, it is still subject to the approval of the council of Iraqi leaders, the...

Hundreds of Tamil people turned up on October 11 for an awareness and protest campaign in Toronto against the Sri Lankan cricket team.

Tamil citizens of Sri Lanka are being killed by the Sri Lankan armed forces daily in their land, sea and air attacks, while the Sri Lankan government is...

As stock markets crashed and a global credit squeeze threatened global economies, Latin American governments pushed ahead with plans for a new financial architecture, to replace the current bankrupt system.

The people of the world "no longer support" this privatised banking system,...

Bankers in Chicago are angry with Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart.

Dart announced on October 8 that his office would no longer forcibly remove residents from foreclosed properties, essentially imposing a moratorium on any mortgage-related evictions in the third-largest city in the US and a...

Ever since Andrew Johnson welcomed the New York Mutuals to the White House in 1867, presidential politics has exploited professional sports. It's a foolproof way for politicians to show voters they enjoy competition, fair play and are salt-of-the-turf Americans.

Sports signifies different...

Colombian President Alvaro Uribe declared a 90-day "state of emergency" on October 9 to break up a six-week strike by the National Association of Judicial Employees (Asonal Judicial — AJ).

The measure allows Uribe to rule by decree on issues related to "disturbances of public order" and...

The developed capitalist system is today in a crisis.

But, it is not the usual crisis happening once in a number of years; not even the traumatic crisis of the 1930s, but the worst of all crises since the world started to pursue this growth and development model.

The current...

The interview below was carried out by Argentinean newspaper Pagina 12 with Monthly Review editor and Marxist economist John Bellamy Foster.

It was posted on http://www.mrzine.monthylreview.org on October 10, from which the version below is...

Bolivian President Evo Morales has called for a national referendum on the country's new draft constitution on December 7.

The demand of the Bolivian people for a new and inclusive constitution is at the heart of Bolivia's present political upheaval.

Right-wing forces representing...

The recent infant milk formula scandal in China, in which at least four babies have died and over 50,000 have become sick due to poisoning with the industrial chemical melamine, highlights the way capitalism cannot guarantee the health and well being of people — particularly the most vulnerable...

Analysis

Former federal court chief justice Murray Wilcox has been commissioned by deputy PM Julia Gillard to prepare a review of the powers of the Australian Building and Construction Commission (ABCC) and its integration as a specialist division into Labor's proposed industrial relations umbrella, Fair...

Our addiction to coal is not only killing our planet but also those who mine it, burn it and live around it, a Perth climate activist has claimed.

Toni Warden, co-convenor of Stop the Eastern Terminal Sub-Station, researcher with the Hills Climate Action Group and member of Sustainable...

"This strategy is designed to help pensioners, carers and families, and first home buyers", declared Australia's Labor Prime Minister Kevin Rudd in his October 14 address to the nation. Rudd was announcing a $10.4 billion "economic security strategy" in response to the global financial crisis....

Letters

Thank you for your article "Is the abortion law reform in Victoria enough?" [GLW #768]. I appreciate your comments about Canada (one correction: the Canadian Abortion Rights Action League has been defunct for about 5 years, and a different national group has formed to fill the gap: the...

The vanishing protest

The October 13 meeting of the Parramatta Your Rights at Work group received a visit from a young organiser from Unions NSW, whose lamentable job it was to report on the future of the campaign against power privatisation.

Parramatta YRaW has been involved in...

General

I've lost count of how much bailout money governments have thrown at the global financial crisis. We all remember the US$700 billion that the US Congress recently approved, but in the months before that the US Reserve had already dished out nearly the same amount in bailouts, buyouts and...

Resistance!

A student at a Hobart High School was suspended two weeks ago for dying his hair a bright colour.

On October 10, 100 angry students held a mass hair dye event to protest their schools' hair dye ban.

Students argued that having different hair colour should not affect their...

Young people today face an uncertain future. Watching the news on any channel at night is proof enough of this. The current crisis taking precedence on news broadcasts around the globe is of course the financial crisis.

With stocks falling by the day and trillions — yes, trillions! — of...

Culture

The Blogging Revolution

By Antony Loewenstein

Melbourne University Press, 2008

294 pages, $32.95 (pb)

Antony Loewenstein is confused. Flushed with the success of his first book, My Israel Question, he has ventured into...