Issue 786

Australia

Government ministers have called on private employers not to sack staff in response to the economic crisis (a call that the company bosses have predictably ignored). Yet the government has been sacking its own workers.

The Australian Taxation Office recently sacked 133 staff in regional-...

When the federal industry minister Kim Carr announced the ALP government would give the car industry $6.2 billion in taxpayers' money in November, he declared that it amounted to a "new beginning".

The big car manufacturers welcomed the unprecedented package. Spokespeople for Ford and...

As the Western Australian Coalition government slashes the state budget, vital community services for refugees are feared to be among the first to go.

A pregnancy support service for refugee and migrant women in Perth, that has been running on a small state government grant, is at risk of...

A March 2 open letter to minister for climate change Penny Wong has described the federal government's climate policy as "completely out of step with both current climate science and targets in other developed countries". The open letter was endorsed by 65 climate action groups (CAGs).

"...

On February 20, more than 200 workers were fired without pay from the Lavington-based Drivetrain automotive parts factory in Albury, New South Wales, as the company entered receivership.

While many of the workers had been at Australia's only gearbox factory for up to 30 years, Drivetrain...

Maintenance workers at the Foster's Abbotsford plant voted on March 3 to accept redundancy packages from the company.

On February 12, Foster's announced that it intended to make the complete maintenance crew, of more than 100, redundant and outsource the maintenance to labour hire firm...

Five hundred women marched in Sydney on March 7 to celebrate International Women's Day. Speakers demanded six months' paid maternity leave for all women; free, safe abortion on demand and free, quality child care. Other speakers urged women to fight for equal rights in the workplace, especially...

Two hundred workers and supporters protested outside the Pacific Brands factory in Wentworthville, Western Sydney on March 6 in response to the clothing company's plans to slash 1850 jobs around the country.

Thi Nyuen, a worker at Pacific Brands for 20 years, told Green Left Weekly...

Deputy PM Julia Gillard's outspoken support for Israel's attack on Gaza earlier this year prompted angry criticism from many, including from inside her own party.

Elly Howse, a member of the Young Labor Left and the ALP, condemned her party for supporting the war at a protest in Sydney...

World

The article below, by Jamal Juma, is abridged from <http://www.electronicintifada.net>. Juma is the coordinator of the Palestinian Grassroots Anti-Apartheid Wall Campaign (visit http://www.stopthewall.org). A leader of the South African Palestine Solidarity...

As Gaza struggles to rebuild despite Israel's ongoing near-total siege, more than 300 people in more than 100 vehicles are leading a convoy to bring aid and hope to the Palestinian territory.

Despite a series of setbacks, the convoy continues towards Gaza City, on a 8000km journey that...

The article below is abridged from a March 4 statement released by Adalah-NY: The Coalition for Justice in the Middle East. For more information, contactinfo@adalahny.org.

The British government has decided to boycott Israeli diamond and real estate mogul Lev Leviev over his companies'...

Polls on the March 15 presidential vote show the election will likely open a new progressive chapter in El Salvador's long, violent history of war and dictatorships with a victory by the left-wing Farabundo Marti Front for National Liberation (FMLN), which is promising to build a people-centred...

One of the many upsetting aspects to being in your 40s is hearing people your own age grumbling about "young people" the way we were grumbled about ourselves.

Old friends will complain, "Youngsters today have no respect like we did", and I'll think: "Hang on. I remember the night you set...

Following a week of inspections of privately owned rice processing facilities aimed at assuring the supply of essential foods at regulated prices, the Venezuelan government announced plans to expropriate a plant owned by the multinational food company Cargill, which was found to be modifying all...

On March 7, the second Campaign Against Climate Change UK Trade Union Conference was scheduled to be held in London, bringing together activists from left groups such as Socialist Resistance, the Green Party and Respect, as well as rank-and-file trade unionists and officials.

The aim of...

Under conditions of deepening recession, millions of working people went to the polls in the US on November 4 with the intention of voting for a change to the pro-corporate and pro-war policies of the Bush administration.

Democrat candidate Barack Obama was elected on a platform of...

While the US and European economies are in recession, the World Bank and International Monetary Fund inspired "export" oriented policies being followed by the government of India are about to create social and environmental catastrophe in the name of "special economic zones" (SEZs — geographical...

John Bellamy Foster is editor of Monthly Review and professor of sociology at the University of Oregon. He is the coauthor with Fred Magdoff of The Great Financial Crisis: Causes and Consequences, recently published by Monthly Review Press. This is a...

The article below is reprinted from Richard Fidler's blog, A Life on the Left, on February 26. On March 4, the strike was suspended after 44 days, with most of the strikers demands being met.

The general strike in two French colonies in the Caribbean remains firm.

It began in...

Since January 20, Guadeloupe has been providing a tremendous lesson in social resistance to the local bosses and the French government. Its people have responded to the growing insecurity with an historically unprecedented general strike.

What is behind this mobilisation? The answer would...

The attack on Sri Lankan cricket team at Liberty Chouck, Lahore on March 3 left eight policemen dead and six Sri Lankan cricket players injured in firing that lasted 25 minutes.

Watching footage of the attack, it is clear that religious fundamentalists have struck.

There were four...

The article below is abridged from a February 9 statement released by East Timorese president and Nobel Peace Prize winner Jose Ramos Horta calling for an immediate end the conflict in Sri Lanka.

Like many in this region, I have been following these developments...

Thousands of civilians have been killed or injured and hundreds of thousands are in danger from hunger and disease, as the Sri Lankan Army (SLA) continues its brutal offensive against the Tamil people in the island's north-east.

The Sri Lankan government is declaring an imminent victory...

Analysis

In the face of the Rudd government's refusal to confirm whether federally-funded maternity leave will be included in the upcoming May budget, the Australian Council of Trade Unions has retreated from its previous stance calling for immediate implementation.

The new ACTU position is a...

Cairns Action for Sustainable Transport formed at the start of last year. CAST advocates a sustainable transport system — urban mass transit, regional rail and bus services and rail freight, all powered by renewable energy, and bikeway and pedestrian access networks. Green Left Weekly's...

National accounts figures, released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics on March 4, showed that the Australian economy contracted by 0.5% in the three months to December, despite the federal government's $10.6 billion stimulus package, which was paid out to pensioners and families before...

On February 27, the federal government received a report on the review of the pensions system conducted by Jeff Harmer, the head of the families and community services department.

While the results of the review have not yet been made public, speculation is growing that the government...

On February 18, 10 Australian economists criticised the Rudd government's proposed carbon emissions trading scheme, and called for a science-based policy to achieve 25%-40% cuts in emissions by 2020. The statement is reprinted below.

* * *

The Australian government is to be...

"We have to cut down a lot of the clutter of anything, clutter of the work, focus product innovation, detail, all that is going on in the business but [we] just need to remove so much of the distraction to enable us to do that well".

This is how Pacific Brands CEO Sue Morphett, who pays...

The free market has got us into this mess, and the free market will get us out of it.

This nonsensical idea is at the heart of all carbon trading measures, the Rudd government's Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme (CPRS) included.

Nicholas Stern, the economist asked by the Blair...

On February 26, Prime Minister Kevin Rudd gave his first "report card" on the progress made on ending Aboriginal disadvantage, meeting a delayed election promise to do so every year at the opening of parliament. Rudd's report, however, has been meet with criticism from Aboriginal activists and...

With the looming downturn, the federal government expects that a further 300,000 people will be on the unemployment line by the middle of 2010. It expects that the unemployment rate will reach around 7%, around 800,000 people. Others have predicted unemployment could reach as high as 9%.

...

Editorial

As an alternative newspaper, based in grassroots, progressive political movements, Green Left Weekly aims to be a thorn in the side of the corporate media here in Australia and globally.

GLW is a paper that takes an uncompromising stand against war, racism, exploitation...

Letters

Keynesianism and neoliberalism

Graham Matthews' interview with Professor Bill Mitchell (GLW #785) presents a standard Keynesian view of the economic crisis. Essentially, it claims that the crisis is due to the bad policies of neoliberalism: "Mitchell...

General

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd likes to give the impression that he takes his mission very seriously.

What mission? The mission: to once again "save capitalism from itself", as he proclaimed in his essay, which appeared in the February 2009 issue of The Monthly.

Over the last...

Resistance!

Just blocks away from Washington DC's Capitol Hill, a new conversation swept the streets from February 28 to March 2. Within the crowded sidewalks and cafes along H and 7th Streets, certain words were likely to catch your ear: environmental sustainability, green economy, direct action,...

Today, the world is littered with crises. From the economic meltdown to the threat to life posed by climate change, the world is in real trouble.

Although, thanks to the new technologies, people in the global North are consuming more news than ever before, the corporate media system still...

Culture

Madame Sata – Joao Francisco dos Santos, better known as Madame Sata, was also a notorious gay performer in Brazil who pushed social boundaries in a volatile time. SBS, Saturday, March 14, 12.55am.

Outsourced – Outsourcing is the new...

The most eye-catching placard on a 120,000-strong march in Dublin on February 21 against the Irish government's austerity response to the tottering of the capitalist system was held aloft by a scrawny teenager with the look of a music-lover about him, reading "Make Bono Pay Tax".

The...

The decision by the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to ban Israeli tennis star Shahar Pe'er from playing in the US$2 million Dubai tennis tournament on February 16 — sent shockwaves around the world. However, in reporting this decision, many mainstream outlets have missed the point.

Firstly,...

IDAHO: the Exhibition

Pine Street Creative Arts Centre, Sydney

May 4-17

Contact Nick: idahosydney@yahoo.com.au or 0416 716 004

IDAHO: the Exhibition aims to raise the awareness of homophobia by inviting people who have...