Issue 784

Australia

"The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) plans to shed thousands of full-time jobs and drastically increase outsourcing in areas including debt collection, tax refund management and business activity statements as part of a new efficiency drive", according to the February 13 Australian...

Such is the outrage caused by Israel's latest attack on Gaza in December-January that even some local governments in New South Wales have passed, or are considering, motions condemning the attack and calling on the Australian government to ban the sale of any military material to Israel.

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SYDNEY— After a week of morning community assemblies at Circular Quay, the Maritime Union of Australia (MUA) has won a collective agreement with the private operators of the new fast ferry service to Manly.

Ferry operator Bass and Flinders and the MUA signed a memorandum of understanding...

On February 13, more than 100 people rallied outside the Moorabool Street 7-Eleven in the heart of Geelong, Victoria.

The protest called for 7-Eleven to start paying its workers the legal minimum wage and for all unpaid wages to be paid back to them. The rally also demanded that one of...

"One quarter of a million people are trapped between a concentration camp and a war zone", said Nish Vivekananthan, a young Tamil speaking on the current situation in Sri Lanka, at a public meeting on February 19 in Footscray.

Vivekananthan was referring to the detention centres set up by...

In minutes released of its February 17 board meeting, the Reserve Bank of Australia flags that its cuts to official interest rates may slow. It seems that the financial gurus at the RBA are unhappy that their cuts to interest rates (passed on only in part by the banks to home-buyers, and even...

Resistance members set up an 'Israeli military checkpoint' outside Flinders Street train station to call on the state government to not renew Connex's contract to run Melbourne's train system.

Connex is part of a consortium building a train system in Jerusalem, which connects illegal...

One month after 400 people entered an Upper Florentine "exclusion zone" to protest against the logging of old-growth forests in Tasmania on January 18, charges of trespass have been laid against 11 people.

Activists have asked why, if 400 people participated in the demonstration, only 11...

Telstra workers, members of the Communications Plumbing and Electrical Union and the Community and Public Sector Union, took 24-hour strike actions nationally (except Victoria on account of the recent bushfire tragedy) on February 9.

The workers are angered at Telstra's ongoing refusal to...

World

After the June 27, 2008 putsch by Robert Mugabe, signs were always there that the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) were headed for surrender. It officially happened on January 30 when the party hoisted a white flag on top of its Harvest House headquarters.

What followed was a pathetic...

Published below is a statement initiated by young Tamil Australians for Australian citizens add their name to in order to protest against the brutal and genocidal war being waged by the Sri Lankan Army (SLA) against the Tamil people.

The Tamil people are an oppressed minority in Sri Lanka...

The latest brutal attacks on Gaza have had a perverse effect on Israeli politics. Extreme right wing political parties have gained greater support in the recent Israeli elections.

Long-time Israeli peace activist Uri Avnery pointed out that the vote took place in the context of "...

On February 9, 40 students from Glasgow University occupied its computer science research building. This was just one in a series of university occupations by students across Britain — involving as many as 24 campuses at one point — in solidarity with the people of Gaza.

Student demands...

The below article is Abridged from . This strike action follows the successful actions of South African dockworkers, whose refusal to move Israeli goods resulted on February 6 in a ship carrying Israeli goods being unable to offload its cargo.

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In an unprecedented action, the...

Five children were shot dead by Australian troops on February 12, near the village of Sarmorghab in Oruzgan province.

A February 13 defence department statement admitted the children, and an undisclosed number of other civilians, were killed, along with a "suspected insurgent".

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The health of Zimbabwean human rights activist Jestina Mukoko has deteriorated as she enters her third month in jail.

Mukoko, the director of the human rights organisation Zimbabwe Peace Project, was abducted from her home in early December.

She was a prize catch in a nation-wide...

"For us there is no valid definition of socialism other than the abolition of the exploitation of one human being by another", insisted Argentinean-born revolutionary Ernesto "Che" Guevara at the Afro-Asian Conference in Algeria, 1965.

That one quote should make it clear that the "...

The article below is a statement released on February 16 by the New Anti-Capitalist Party (NPA) in France on the situation in the Caribbean islands of Guadeloupe and Martinique, which are still French-run colonies (French Antilles). It is reprinted from http://monthlyreview.org/mrzine.

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World food production will decrease by as much as 25% by 2050 due to "environmental breakdowns" associated with climate change, according to the United Nations.

A new report released by the UN Environment Program (UNEP) has urged radical changes in the way "food is produced, handled and...

The article below is an abridged editorial published by the US Socialist Worker on February 18. Visit http://www.socialistworker.org.

The US$787 billion economic stimulus bill that President Barack Obama signed into law yesterday is big. But not big enough.

It's larger...

Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi and others on the Italian right have had much to say recently about various medical matters.

Two stories have commanded considerable mainstream print and electronic media coverage. The first concerned Eluana Englaro (kept artificially "alive"...

"Today we opened wide the gates of the future ... Truth against lies [and] the dignity of the homeland has triumphed", Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez insisted to tens of thousands of celebrating supporters after Venezuelans voted to amend the constitution to end term limits on all elected...

If the gloomy predictions are to be believed, this crisis of capitalism will potentially prove worse than that of the 1930s Great Depression.

It is not hard to imagine that occurring, with world economies more closely linked than ever before and multinationals so deeply embedded in Third...

Analysis

Flag raising ceremonies will mark the 33rd anniversary of the Saharawi Republic in most states for the first time in Australia, as a gesture of solidarity and friendship with the people of Western Sahara.

On February 27, ceremonies will take place at the Victorian branch of the Australian...

The following letter was endorsed by 300 participants at a public meeting in Sydney on February 6 and sent to federal ministers and Labor backbenchers.

The killing of more than 1300 people in Gaza, a large proportion of whom were children, plus the devastation of homes and basic...

The federal government's $42 billion Nation Building and Jobs Plan stimulus package passed the senate on February 13 with the support of the Greens, Family First Senator Steve Fielding and independent Nick Xenophon.

The passing of the legislation was greeted by an enormous sigh of relief...

As the world economy spirals down into its deepest crisis since the great depression, the writings of Karl Marx have made a return to the top seller lists in bookstores. In his native Germany, the sales of Marx's works have trebled.

His theories have been treated with contempt by...

Australian Bureau of Statistics figures released on February 18 showed that retail sales increased by 0.8% (seasonally adjusted) in the December quarter.

The rise was less than what was expected by economists, according to ABC Online, increasing fears that the economy may have already...

The key United Nations report used as the basis for climate change policies in many countries, including Australia, seriously underestimated the dangers of global warming, one of its leading compilers has warned.

Professor Chris Field, of Stanford University in California, was a co-...

On February 13, Australian troops killed five children and injured at least two other adult civilians in a night-time "operation" in Afghanistan's southern Oruzgan province.

This is not the first time Australian occupation troops have killed civilians. In January, women and children were...

Warrick Jordan is a member of the Huon Valley Environment Centre in Tasmania and is one of the Triabunna 13 (13 forest activists being sued by logging giant Gunns' Ltd). Jordan spoke to Green Left Weekly's Susan Austin about his activities and the...

Looking back at the growth of the climate movement, it is clear we have made significant progress.

"First they ignore you, then they laugh at you
then they fight you, then you win."

Mahatma Gandhi

* * *

More climate groups, better coordination of grassroots...

Federal Labor's proposed internet filtering policy is an attack on freedom of speech and needs to be stopped.

In the last federal election, the ALP ran with a policy of introducing a mandatory internet filtering policy. This policy has received relatively little media coverage and was not...

The following statement is by Yingiya Guyula, a Yolngu man from North East Arnhem Land. His family is based in Millinginbi and Gapuwiyak.

My name is Yingiya Guyula from Liya-dhalinymirr clan of the
Djambarrpuy People. I am a Yolngu Studies lecturer at Charles Darwin University....

Editorial

Less than a year ago, it was widely held among mainstream economists that the world economy was doing fine, and that, in the face of any eventual problems, Australia would be secure.

Today, they are debating among themselves as to whether this economic crisis will be worse than the Great...

General

The 22 November 2008 edition of the Green Left Weekly (GLW #776) contained an article written by Margarita Windisch entitled "ALP, media targets militant ETU unionist".

The article carried the following imputations:

(a) Ms Garbett attempted to discredit Dean...

Resistance!

It's no secret that students are increasingly working late shifts after school to get by.

NSW education minister Verity Firth recently argued that she thought this was a big problem, which affected education outcomes. But instead of offering genuine solutions she has urged young people,...

From December 2008 to January 2009, activists travelled to Cuba for the Southern Cross Solidarity Brigade from Australia and New Zealand, organised by the Australia-Cuba Friendship Society.

Resistance member Ash Pemberton was in Cuba for the 50th anniversary of the...

Culture

Belching Out the Devil: global adventures with Coca-Cola

By Mark Thomas

Ebury Press, 2008

363 pages, $34.95 (pb)

Things don't always go better with Coke, declares the comedian, former Coca-Cola addict and human rights campaigner,...

The Last Albatross

By Ian Irvine

Simon & Schuster, 2008

383pages, $29.95

History is littered with examples of doomsday cults preaching an impending apocalypse: from the middle ages' superstitions of Christian sects predicting...

The Challenge and Burden of Historical Time: Socialism in the Twenty-First Century

By Istvan Meszaros

Monthly Review Press, 2008

480 pages, $59.49

Istvan Meszaros has produced what might yet prove a manifesto for the new socialism...

Message Stick: Voices From The Cape — Documents the "Community Prophet" approach to engaging young Indigenous people from the at-risk community of Aurukun, inspiring them to use their voices again using film. ABC, Friday, February 27, 6pm. ...