Issue 807

Australia

National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU) members at the University of New South Wales will vote on the next steps in protracted enterprise bargaining negotiations with the university’s management.

Members of the National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU) at the University of Melbourne protested outside the vice-chancellor’s office at lunchtime on August 11 as part of a half-day strike.

Construction Forestry Mining Energy Union national secretary Dave Noonan said that if building worker and CFMEU member Ark Tribe is jailed for defying the Australian Building and Construction Commission (ABCC) there would be industrial action until he was released.

Australian Education Union national president Angelo Gavrielatos has condemned the federal government's plans to allow the creation of league tables that compare Australian school results. He spoke at the Victorian AEU branch conference on August 1.

US singer/songwriter David Rovics, Brisbane-based musician Phil Monsour and Aboriginal artist Tjupurru took 120 people in the packed Ahimsa House on a journey to Palestine, telling the story of a people forced from their homeland.

Male South Australian police have routinely stripped women prisoners naked and put them into padded cells, the Advertiser said on August 14.

Environment minister Peter Garrett announced on August 10 that $9 million will be spent on rescuing 100 Aboriginal languages. However, the Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre condemned the plan as “cynical and false”.

Two Geelong council workers who were sacked on July 24 for accepting free steak sandwiches from a Geelong club owner have been reinstated. The victory followed an escalation in the two-week-old dispute, when the Australian Services Union (ASU) members walked off the job on August 10.

World

South American presidents have expressed deep concerns over a United States plan to increase its military presence in Colombia. They voiced their fears at a Union of South American Nations (Unasur) summit in Quito, Ecuador on August 10.

US imperialism is “already preparing the [military] attack”, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez warned, speaking to industrial workers in the region of Guayana on August 8.

The National Front against the Coup D’etat in Honduras (FNRG) accused the United States on August 3 of engaging in two-faced politics to allow the leadership of the June 28 military coup that overthrew President Manuel Zelaya to gain time and strengthen their position.

The following article is abridged from an eyewitness account of repression of protesters in Tegucigalpa, Honduras’ capital city, on August 12. The protest was against the coup government, which overthrew the democratically elected government of President Manuel Zelaya on June 28. The article first appeared at www.hondurasresists.blogspot.com. It was based on a phone report filed by Alexy Lanza, who lives in Chicago and is a member of La Voz de los de Abajo, Casa Morazan and Producciones EN EL OJO — independent media.

US President Barack Obama responded to growing criticisms of his government’s position on the coup regime in Honduras at an August 7 press conference. The Honduran military overthrew elected President Manuel Zelaya on June 28.

On August 6, a general strike in Kanaky (the French colony of New Caledonia) was called off after an accord between the Federation of Unions of Kanak Workers and the Exploited (USTKE) and Air Caledonia was finally signed by the airline.

In June, several Melanesian community groups met in Madang, Papua New Guinea, to create a land defence group. The Melanesian Indigenous Land Defence Alliance (MILDA) will coordinate efforts in the region to help traditional families maintain control over their own land.

Thirty thousand workers at state-owned Chinese steel works Tonghua Iron and Steel Group clashed with 1000 riot police and prevented the company's privatisation, the Information Center for Human Rights and Democracy said on July 24.

More than 100 people attended a conference in Belfast on August 8 on political persecution in the Basque Country organised by the Don’t Extradite the Basques Campaign as part of Feile an Phobail (Festival of the People).

On August 3, Ecuador celebrated a milestone when left-wing President Rafael Correa was sworn in for a second term — the first president to serve a second term since democracy was restored 30 years ago.

Recalling the words of Les MiserablesVictor Hugo, United Socialist Party of Venezuela Youth (JPSUV) leader Heryck Rangel said “nothing is more powerful than an idea whose time has come, and today in Venezuela, the time of socialism has arrived”.

If combating climate change is left up to the governments of the world’s wealthy nations, much of humanity is likely done for.

Vestas workers ended their 18-day occupation of Britain’s last remaining wind turbine factory on August 6, declaring their fight to be “just the start” of a mass campaign for green jobs.

The article below is abridged from an August 11 open letter from Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez to the Union of South American Nations (Unasur) meeting in Quito, Ecuador. The full letter can be found at Venezuelanalysis.com. It was translated by Kiraz Janicke.

Fatah, the dominant party in the Palestinian Liberation Organisation (PLO) and which controls the Palestinian Authority (PA) in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, held its sixth general conference in Bethlehem over August 4-6.

What is the smart thing to do when you are travelling through a major international transport hub and are asked to “step this way” by someone in a uniform or a Marks and Spencers suit to answer a few questions while they rummage through your luggage?

At 10:40pm on August 1, an unidentified man with a ski mask walked into a weekly meeting of Gay Lesbian Bisexual Trangender teenagers in Tel Aviv and shot indiscriminately with an automatic weapon. Two people were killed and a dozen wounded.

Recently the International Transport Workers’ Federation general secretary David Cockroft issued a letter to the Thai government in support of three trade unionists who face charges for closing down the international airports last year.

“BHP Billiton and two other leading US energy companies operating in Australia have been caught up in a lobbying scandal that was aimed at defeating the landmark US climate change bill”, the Sydney Morning Herald said on August 13.

Analysis

On August 12, ALP federal Attorney-General Robert McClelland announced a discussion paper that foreshadowed a new raft of draconian “anti-terror” laws. The proposed new laws would give police the power to enter premises without a warrant and create new “terrorist” offences.

The 40th Pacific Islands Forum (PIF) took place in Cairns on August 5 and 6.

Pemba Dorje Sherpa is the world record holder for the fastest climb of Mount Everest. He toured Australia from August 11 to 17 to raise awareness about the drastic impacts of climate change on the Himalayas.

The following statement was released by the Australia-Venezuela Solidarity Network on August 12. Visit www.venezuelasolidarity.org.

Two equal love activists were bundled off the stage at a Christian right breakfast held in Parliament House on August 13.

On August 6, the Australian Bureau of Statistics released labour force figures for July that showed unemployment remained steady at 5.8%. However, while the total number of people employed stayed stable, full-time jobs fell by 16,000 while part-time employment rose by 48,200.

A 200-strong public meeting that claimed to support the Palestine-Israel peace process was organised by right-wing union leader Paul Howes at the ALP conference in Sydney on July 30.

Access to safe medical and surgical abortion is a right that women have fought for and are still to fully achieve. They’ve kept fighting because the right to decide if and when to bear children is a cornerstone for women’s equality in society.

Below is an abridged version of a speech by Greens NSW parliamentarian John Kaye at an anti-privatisation forum held at Parramatta Town Hall on July 16.

Letters

Garrett's a hypocrite

As a longtime anti-nuclear and anti-uranium campaigner, former state coordinator of the Nuclear Disarmament Party (Tasmania) and other organisations, I write to publicly express my utter disgust with Peter Garrett and the

General

Since its launch in February 1991, the content of Green Left Weekly has been available on the internet free of charge. A full archive of every published article is available on its website www.greenleft.org.au

Resistance!

A high number of homeless youth in Australia are lesbian, gay, transgender, bisexual or intersex (LGBTI).

Graham Brown, a retired coalminer from the Hunter Valley in NSW, kicked off a national speaking tour by telling a University of Sydney forum on August 12 that Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has “no clue whatsoever” about green jobs.

Culture

Anyone with a basic sense of humanity can take heart from the fact that 2DayFM radio host Kyle Sandilands lost his lucrative $1 million contract to judge Australian Idol.

Human Smoke: The Beginnings of World War II, The End of Civilization Simon and Schuster, 2009566 pages, $26.99 (pb)

Best Australian Essays 2008Edited by David MarrBlack Inc, 2009$29.95

These things I see,
each day,
as I wander round this great, gaunt city.

I.

Mornings I hear her.
and the wail of those hungry tired children,
shadows beyond the frost cracked windows
of her battered Toyota.

When its rusted rear door