Issue 791


Young Tamil activists Sutha Thanbalasingam, Mathivannan Sinnathurai and Pratheepan Rajathurai were prepared to starve to death in the face of Australian government inaction over Sri Lanka’s genocidal war against the Tamil people. They began a hunger strike on April 11 in Parramatta, Sydney.

In the aftermath of industrial action by Qantas workers at airports in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth on March 30 over plans out-source jobs, Qantas announced on April 14 that 1750 jobs would be cut.

A seven-week industrial dispute between building industry giant John Holland and 39 sacked workers from the West Gate Bridge reconstruction project has entered a new stage. Workers and their supporters unanimously supported a moratorium on further protest actions against the company at a meeting on April 17.

On April 15, receivers for collapsed childcare company ABC Learning announced they had found new operators for 210 of its 241 childcare centres deemed unprofitable. As well as the 55 centres already shut down at the end of last year, 19 are set to close next month.

On April 18, the revolutionary and progressive governments of Latin America were waging a battle against the US at the Summit of the Americas. On the same day, Luis Bilbao, an active participant in the Venezuelan revolution, addressed a public meeting in Sydney on the topic of “Latin American integration at a crossroads”.

The NSW government has decided to pour $5.1 million into the expansion of a rifle range in the state’s Southern Highlands, despite opposition from residents.

RailCorp NSW has announced that it intends carrying out a staff review at CityRail stations under provisions in the current enterprise bargaining agreement. This could mean massive job cuts, including up to 71 positions at Central station alone, according to the April 7 ABC Online.

Attendees at the World at a Crossroads conference, held in Sydney on April 10-12, remarked that the conference could not have been better named.


There are two unforgettable images of Vietnam’s Liberation Day on April 30, 1975.

For the fourth time in 40 years, troops have opened fire on pro-democracy demonstrators in Bangkok. Each time, the aim has been the same: to protect the interests of the conservative elites who have run Thailand for the past 70 years.

After a British court threatened mass arrests, 200 sacked Ford Visteon workers ended their nine day occupation of the Enfield car plant in London on April 9. The workers are now running a 24-hour picket outside the factory gates.

A NATO operation killed six civilians on April 13, including a young girl, in eastern Afghanistan, an Associated Press article that day reported villagers and officials as saying. The NATO occupying force denied the allegation, instead claiming eight “militants” had been killed.

About 300 women protested against a new anti-women marriage law on April 15. The law denies women basic rights and legalises rape. The women were surrounded by 1000-strong mob who pelted them with stones, Associated Press said that day.

Nestled in the heart of Barrio 23 de Enero, a large impoverished neighbourhood in Caracas, among the man-made ranchos with red brick walls and metal roofing, stands the Ramon Ismael Ramos Infocenter.

“The great Latin American revolution began on April 13, 2002”, President Hugo Chavez said during a speech to tens of thousands of supporters in front of the Miraflores Presidential Palace exactly three years later.

Hundreds joined a march in Belfast on April 8 in support of the 210 Visteon workers sacked on March 31, who have been occupying their plant since.

On March 30, France’s eight union confederations issued a joint statement announcing they would organise a general strike on May Day.

Renowned progressive journalist and veteran anti-racist campaigner Mumia Abu-Jamal, who faces the death penalty over a police killing he denies, is set to live out his life in prison after a new trial was denied by the US Supreme Court on April 6, said that day.

Egypt has arrested 49 Hezbollah members and is searching the Sanai Peninsula for a further 13 members, claiming that the Lebanese resistance group is plotting terrorist attacks in Egypt to undermine the government.

Massive protests in London, Toronto, Canberra and elsewhere around the world have demanded the Sri Lankan government agree to an immediate ceasefire and open negotiations with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).

“Pirates caught redhanded by one of Her Majesty’s warships after trying to hijack a cargo ship off Somalia made the grave mistake of opening fire on two Royal Navy assault craft packed with commandos armed with machineguns and SA80 rifles”, began a November 22, 2008 London Times article.

On April 1, Bolivia beat the Argentine soccer team, coached by legendary Diego Maradona, by 6-1.

Government officials said that security forces foiled an assassination plot against Bolivian President Evo Morales on April 16, Reuters reported that day.

US President Barack Obama’s administration is pressing for diplomatic retaliation, perhaps in the form of more sanctions against North Korea, after Pyonyang launched a rocket into space.

The streets of Rome were filled with 2.7 million red-flag waving protesters on April 4, many sinigng the famous anti-fascist song "Bella Ciao". The mass demonstration was organised by Italy's General Confederation of Labour (CGIL).

The protest rejected the handling of the economic crisis by the conservative Silvio Berlusconi government and condemned employer attempts to take away union collective bargaining rights.


At an April 7 combined delegates and shop stewards meeting, 500 members from the Building Industry Group (BIG) unions decided in a unanimous vote to hold a mass protest on April 28.

A medical professional from the Sunrise Health Service has attacked the Rudd government for continuing with the NT intervention policy. Instead of “closing the gap” between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal health outcomes, the intervention has made Aboriginal people less healthy, she says.

The following open letter was sent to Greens Senator Bob Brown on April 16, the day before Brown met with Tamil hunger strikers.

Every week it seems as if a new law in NSW is passed which rolls back civil liberties. This time it is “anti-bikie” gang laws which, despite assurances, can be used against any sort of organisation, including activist or pressure groups. Other states have said they may copy the laws.

In an era of climate change, global warming, high carbon emissions and with renewable energy coming to the fore, it is astounding that a proposal for another “open cut” coal mine is set to reach the NSW planning department.

On March 26, the NSW Legislative Council passed the motion by Greens NSW MP John Kaye that called on the government to drop its demands that TAFE teacher conditions be slashed to pay for salary increases.

The April 2 G20 summit brought together the leaders of some of the world’s most economically significant countries. They were intent on working out a rescue plan for the capitalist system, the very system that is killing the planet and condemning billions of people to poverty and oppression.

On March 31, Western Australian treasurer Troy Buswell announced a cap on wage rises for public sector workers.

On April 16, Prime Minister Kevin Rudd launched the Global Carbon Capture and Storage Institute. The day before, CSIRO scientists told a Senate inquiry that the world needs immediate and significant cuts to greenhouse gas emissions to have any hope of preserving a climate that can support humanity.

The article below is abridged from the speech delivered by M. Saraswathy, deputy chairperson of the Socialist Party of Malaysia, to the final plenary of the World at a Crossroads conference. The conference, hosted by Green Left Weekly, was held in Sydney over April 10-12.

On April 16, an explosion on board a small fishing boat, packed with 47 Afghan asylum seekers and two crew, killed five people and injured many more.


One of the great crimes of modern times is occurring on the island of Sri Lanka without a word of protest from governments the world over. The Tamil people are facing genocide.


Questions to Smith

Once again, great coverage of the Israeli slaughter of Palestinians and their culture, especially Stu Harrison's article plus Salim Vally's article about Apartheid Israel (GLW #790).

Here is a set of what I thought would be

Questions to Smith

Once again, great coverage of the Israeli slaughter of Palestinians and their culture, especially Stu Harrison's article plus Salim Vally's article about Apartheid Israel (GLW #790).

Here is a set of what I thought would be


Green Left Weekly is proud to have sponsored the hugely successful World at a Crossroads: Fighting for Socialism in the 21st Century conference, held over the Easter weekend in Sydney.


In recent years, Australia has seen some of the biggest protests in its history, namely those against the Iraq war and Work Choices. Over the past decade increasing numbers have taken to the streets, in support of various movements such as anti-war, workers’ rights, anti-neoliberalism, climate change action and many more.

Following the rich and inspiring World at a Crossroads conference, socialist youth organisation Resistance held its annual national conference on April 13 in Sydney.


Crossing Hitler: The Man Who Put the Nazis on the Witness Stand

By Benjamin Carter Hett

Pier 9, 2009

349 pages, $45 (hb)

Hand in hand with transformations headed by President Hugo Chavez, Venezuela is experiencing a surge in demand for socialist classics, which compels editorial houses to reprint works like the Communist Manifesto.

Climate Wars

By Gwynne Dyer

Scribe Publications, 2008

272 pages, $32.95