Issue 787

Australia

NSW police have entered an out-of-court settlement with anti-war activist Paddy Gibson after he sued them for wrongful arrest during the APEC protests in Sydney in September 2007.

A protest was held outside Rio Tinto’s Melbourne offices on March 13 to launch a campaign against multinationals investing in Colombia. Rio Tinto has several exploration projects in Colombia and it plans to start mining next year.

On March 12, the maintenance crew from Foster’s Brewery, sacked by the company in February, set up a protest outside their old workplace in Abbotsford, Melbourne.

While Pacific Brands continues to show contempt for its workers and refuses to reverse its decision to axe 1850 jobs, trade union and community opposition to the cuts is gaining momentum.

Forty workers on the Melbourne Westgate Reconstruction project have lost their jobs after construction giant John Holland’s refusal to honour a collective agreement.

The economic outlook for working people is becoming even bleaker.

After the Australian Jewish News decided on March 11 to pull a paid advertisement for the upcoming lecture tour by Professor Jeff Halper of the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions, the Emanuel Synagogue, which had agreed to have Halper speak to a class of 12 people, suddenly withdrew its invitation.

US imperialism’s war of terror and solidarity with Palestine will be big features of the World at a Crossroads conference to be held in Sydney from April 10-12.

Under a scheme about to be rolled out by the Rudd government, Aboriginal communities living in remote parts of Australia will be forced to bargain for access to public housing by surrendering control of their land for at least 40 years.

World

The article below is an abridged translation of the resolution adopted by the General Union of Workers of Guadeloupe (UGTG) at its 12th Congress, April 2-5, 2008. The UGTG republished the resolution on March 8.

The article below following is abridged from the March editorial of Eslabon, a monthly bulletin produced by the Argentinean Union of Militants for Socialism (UMS). It has been translated by Federico Fuentes. A UMS founding member and leader, Luis Bilbao, will be a feature speaker at the World at a Crossroads conference held in Sydney from April 10-12. Visit http://www.worldatacrossroads.org for more information or to register.

The second Campaign Against Climate Change Trade Union Conference brought together 160 trade unionists and climate change activists. The purpose of the event was to allow trade unionists to develop working class solutions to the threat that big business has created for humanity.

In some countries, the severe crisis of capitalism has resulted in a realignment of respective governments with the imperialist powers — and the adoption of different forms of cut backs that affect the living conditions of the majority.

An Iraqi court sentenced journalist Muntadar al-Zaidi to three years in prison on March 12.

The article below is reprinted from Tamilnet.org,
which has also published the full text of the resolution.

The legal battle for gay marriage rights in California may have suffered another setback. The California Supreme Court looks unlikely to overturn the state’s anti-same-sex marriage legislation, Proposition 8, following a session on March 5 regarding the legality of the amendment.

On March 3, thousands rallied outside the headquarters of the Association of Mexican Banks (AMB), in the centre of Mexico City, to denounce speculation, bank fees and the national government´s response to the economic crisis.

More than 300,000 people poured into the streets of San Salvador on March 7, for the closing rally of the campaign for Mauricio Funes, the left-wing Farabundo Marti National Liberation’s (FMLN) presidential candidate for the March 15 elections.

After 8000 km on the road with 100 vehicles and 500 volunteers, the passage of the Viva Palestina convoy into Gaza City brought out thousands of jubilant Palestinians to celebrate the latest breakthrough against Israeli oppression.

The killing of two British soldiers and a Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) officer by Irish republicans opposed to the peace process have threatened to destabilise the political situation in the six counties in the north of Ireland still claimed by Britain.

The consequences of the global economic and financial crisis is beginning to hit the Bolivian economy, the poorest in South America.

This article is abridged from accounts by Farooq Tariq, a leader of the Labour Party Pakistan, posted at http://www.links.org.au. An LPP representative will be attending the World at a Crossroads conference in Sydney, April 10-12. Visit http://www.worldatacrossroads.org.

The general strike in the French Caribbean colony of Guadeloupe, which began on January 20, ended March 4, when an accord was signed between the Collective Against Super-Exploitation (LKP) strike collective and the local governments, the employers’ federation and the French government.

On March 20, anti-war and international solidarity activists globally will mark the sixth anniversary of the invasion of Iraq by the US-led “coalition of the willing”.

On March 3, the People’s Liberation Army (PLA), which fought a 10-year war against the Nepalese monarchy, started recruiting new soldiers to fill vacancies.

In recent years, there has been a gradual growth in the BDS (boycott, divestment and sanctions) movement, which aims to put economic pressure on Israel until it recognises the rights of the occupied Palestinian people and puts an end the occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

The article below is compiled from reports from Tamilnet.org.
To express opposition to the Sri Lankan government’s genocidal war on Tamil civilians, carried out under cover of a military assault to defeat the armed pro-independence group, the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, and join growing international calls for an immediate ceasefire, send a letter to Sri Lanka’s acting consul-general to Australia, Gothami Indikadahena, slcgsyd@bigpond.com.

Analysis

The Australian Financial Review doesn’t mince words, nor does it try to conceal reality from its readership.

A debate is underway in the Australian Greens about how the party should respond to the Rudd government’s Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme (CPRS).

Except for a two-year blip from 1996 to 1998, the Australian Labor Party has ruled Queensland for the past 20 years. Following 32 years of successive conservative coalition governments, Labor was elected in a landslide in 1989.

The Iraqi workers movement is again beginning to organise, despite contending with the difficult conditions of occupation and war, and in defiance of harassment and arrests by the US military.

Write On: Letters to the editor

What paper are you reading?

Allen Myers's letter (GLW #786) said: "It would be nice to see a socialist analysis of the economic crisis in GLW."

I'm not sure what newspaper he thinks he has been reading, but it

Peter Marshall is the national secretary of the United Firefighters Union of Australia, which represents 13,000 firefighters working across the country. In the wake of the recent bushfire crisis in Victoria, he spoke with Green Left Weekly’s Katherine Bradstreet on the current debates surrounding the connection between bushfires, climate change, and the environmental movement.

The Fair Work Bill (FWB) being decided in the Senate will be weakened by Labor’s deal with the opposition and independent senators, which further delivers the corporate agenda to undermine gains for workers’ rights.

The following statement was recently released by Climate Action Canberra in response to the government’s proposed Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme. Visit http://climateactioncanberra.org .

General

“We’ve got two goals in the G20", US President Barack Obama said of the approaching London summit of finance ministers and central bank governors from 19 of the world’s largest national economies plus the European Union. “The first is to revive the capitalist system and the second is to agree on new regulations to save capitalism from itself.”

Resistance!

The US based Center for Economic Policy and Research (CEPR) recently released a report in February detailing the amazing improvements in economic and social indicators in Venezuela during the 10 years of Hugo Chavez’s revolutionary administration.

To mark International Women’s Day in 2009, socialist youth organisation Resistance has launched a call on all Australian radio stations to boycott the music of US R&B singer Chris Brown.

Culture

What misshapen forms perish for a flag?
Charge, lips pressed, shooter readied, eyes a moon
Final hoarse scraping breaths before the fall
for standard or pennant or rampant rag

Tis ever a murderous myth
A fabric sewn and crafted by hands with

The glory of being “the other”. The pride and punishment of not being “like them …” Not being white, being Indian and being half cast … That is the harsh but ultimately glorious destiny of the Bolivian.

Critique of Intelligent Design: Materialism versus Creationism from Antiquity to the Present

By John Bellamy Foster, Brett Clark & Richard York

Monthly Review Press, 2008

240 pages, $33.95

Guerrilla Girl – Isabel is an educated young woman from a wealthy family in Colombia who has decided to leave behind everything she knows to join the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC). SBS, Sunday March 22, 11.10pm.

Living Black –