Issue 825

Australia

The crew on board the Tien Hau in the South Australian regional port of Wallaroo have had to resort to fishing for their meals. The International Transport Workers Federation (ITF) is calling for the $47,000 backpay owed to them in to be paid in full.

But the Hong Kong shipping...

The federal opposition and the Australian Greens have both slammed Prime Minister Kevin Rudd for delaying his promised report card on Indigenous affairs for a second year in a row, saying it is a telling indicator of the government's commitment to Indigenous people.

In 2008, Rudd made the...

Forty-five people attended a public forum called "Indigenous Survival and Resistance: Solutions — Rudd vs Chavez and Morales" in Sydney's Resistance Activist Centre on January 30. The forum was co-sponsored by Socialist Alliance and the Sydney Latin American Social Forum.

Green Left...

In early December, there was a call from Mexico for artistic activities to occur in March 2010 around the world.

The purpose of this global initiative is to raise awareness about the continuing violence against women, in particular in Juarez City, Mexico.

Since 1993, more than 300...

On January 29, the federal court granted the Australian Crime Commission (ACC) access to confidential medical files held by the largest medical clinic servicing remote Aboriginal communities in the Northern Territory — breaking doctor-patient confidentiality.

The ACC has sought access to...

Morning commuters at Laverton and Seaholme stations may have thought they had gone back in time on February 3. Usually the only staff are roving squads of ticket inspectors. Instead, commuters found a uniformed tram conductor riding the trains with them — giving out information on how the public...

The New Way Summit on Aboriginal rights was held at the Australian National University, Canberra from January 30 to February 1. It was attended by 150 people, plus around 600 who hooked in via phone and internet links.

Convened by Michael Anderson, the sole survivor of the original group...

A number of refugees in the Christmas Island detention centre remain in a state of lock-down, following an argument over a pool table on November 21.

A Tamil refugee, who wished to remain anonymous, told Green Left Weekly that he had been placed, with10 others, in what was known...

Bronwyn Jennings, Geelong teacher and community campaigner, is the Socialist Alliance candidate in the Cowie ward by-election for the Geelong City Council, which is currently underway by postal vote.

Two years ago, Jennings, received more than 10% of the vote in Cowie ward.

In...

I had the good fortune to attend a lesbian wedding in Sydney's Waterfall National Park on January 10. Activist Georgina Abrahams married Journey, her partner of five years, in a ceremony conducted by a monk, Dada Prana, and a nun, Didi, of the Ananda Marga.

The hall was packed with 200...

World

On January 27, 1500 people marched in Timika demanding a referendum on the future status of West Papua, a former Dutch colony that has been occupied by Indonesia since 1962.

The rally took place without being attacked, despite recent violent incidents in the area.

On January 24,...

An historic gathering took place in Faisalabad, the third largest city in Pakistan, on January 29.

The conference, involving more than 10,000 people, was jointly organised by the Labour Qaumi Movement (LQM) and the Punjab Tenants' Association (AMP), two movements of workers and peasants...

A February 4 Daily Dispatch Online article said soil fertility expert Xolobeni said the proposed heavy minerals mining project at Xolobeni is located in South Africa's Eastern Cape Province in one of the "most environmentally sensitive habitats" ever investigated for mining in the country.

...

"Gay-rights campaigners and secularists called on Tuesday for protests during a visit to Britain by Pope Benedict XVI this year after he condemned equality legislation seen as friendly to gays", AFP said on February 1.

AFP reported that observers said the pope was referring to legislation...

As a result of a joint decision taken by six union confederations in Turkey, millions of workers stopped work February 4 in support of workers from the closed-down Tekel leaf tobacco factory, a MRZine report that day said.

The reason for this large-scale action is the government's...

Pacific Rim are a Canadian multinational firm seeking to exploit the "El Dorado" gold deposits in El Salvador's rural north.

In a July 22 Dissent Magazine article, Michael Busch said the corporation began operations at the invitation of the neoliberal Arena party government,...

Hundreds of thousands of Hondurans took to the streets on January 27 to protest the inauguration of Porfirio "Pepe" Lobo, who was the victor in fraudulent elections held last November. Jeffery R. Webber spoke during the march with Rafael Alegria, a key leader in the National Resistance Front...

Perhaps one of the most breathtakingly hypocritical moments of the past year was when US President Barack Obama was awarded the Nobel peace prize.

But following closely behind was Obama's lie that the US is preparing to "withdraw" its military from Iraq.

The US military "draw-down...

On June 28 last year, US-trained military officers overthrew elected President Manuel Zelaya. This sparked sustained mass resistance from the poor majority, angry that the rich had overthrown a president who had carried out pro-poor reforms and sought to begin a democratic process to change the...

Unite is the fastest growing private sector union in New Zealand. Since being formed in 2004, it has grown to 8000 members.

Their latest campaign, which calls for a referendum on the minimum wage, has the potential to improve the lives of the half a million workers in New Zealand who...

Venezuela's Bolivarian revolution, led by President Hugo Chavez, has set "socialism of hte 21st century" as its goal. The process of change faces big challenges from outside and within. William I. Robinson, from the Latin American and Iberian Studies Program at the University of...

The Indonesian foreign affairs department was expecting a visit from an Australian "people smuggling envoy" when three refugee rights activists were apprehended and detained at Port Merak.

After four months, the conditions on a cargo vessel at Port Merak holding more than 240 Tamil...

Simon Butler represented the Socialist Alliance at the Labour Party Pakistan's January 27-28 conference. He also addressed the 10,000 strong rally of workers and peasants on January 29 on behalf of the Alliance. The article below is abridged from the Pakistani News on Sunday....

In the aftermath of Haiti's January 12 earthquake, the dispatch of US and United Nations troops was given priority — even at the expense of rescue teams and medical aid.

The mainstream media did not generally question the explanation: the country needed "stabilising", security being...

On February 12, the corporate sporting behemoth known as the 21st Winter Olympic Games will open to great fanfare here. In a time of economic hardship and government cuts to social programs across Canada, huge sums of public money have been spent to stage this uber spectacle.

Billions of...

The letter published below was sent by Cuban first deputy environment minister Fernando Gonzalez to Yvo de Boer, who is the executive secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, The December UN climate summit in Copenhagen ended in a farce with an "agreement" drawn up...

Analysis

Richard Downs is a spokesperson for the Alyawarr people from the Ampilatwatja community in the Northern Territory. Last year, he travelled the country on a speaking tour to publicise the situation for Aboriginal people in the NT since the 2007 NT Emergency Response legislation (known as...

When, after destroying Malcolm Turnbull, the Liberal Party took a surprise turn and embraced Tony Abbott as leader, there were those on the left who greeted the news with combined incredulity and glee.

Surely the Tories were done now! Not only were they bitterly divided, they were...

There can be no National Assessment Program Literacy and Numeracy tests in 2010. The Australian Education Union's national conference in January reaffirmed that, if NAPLAN data was used by the media to publish league tables, teachers would not co-operate in implementing the tests this year....

It seems bizarre that when the science of human-caused climate change is more worryingly conclusive than ever, climate denial could enjoy a resurgence. After all, no climate denier has published a peer-reviewed article in a scientific journal in the past 15 years.

But it's happening — at...

On February 2, opposition leader Tony Abbott released the Liberal-National Coalition's climate policy. For the Coalition, just as for the Rudd government, there's one thing that's irrelevant to climate policy — climate science. In Abbott's 30-page document, the global warming crisis doesn't rate...

Increased interest rates, declining working hours and stagnating wages are still chipping away at working people's living standards, despite small falls in the official unemployment rate in November and December.

The decision of the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) to leave official...

Letters

Optimistic about Cuba

Cuba is supposed to be a dangerous communist country. I spent January in this Caribbean island about the size of Victoria and suffering a trade embargo. My mobile phone stopped working at the US border. What about climate change already smashing...

General

James and Erica Packer have just had a baby. Luckily this time it's a boy.

Some, including Packer's mates in the corporate media, were starting to get really worried the Packer fortune might be passed on to someone without a penis.

But it's okay — everyone can now breathe easy....

Resistance!

The South Australian government recently passed laws requiring anyone wanting to make a comment about the upcoming state election on the internet to publish their real name and postcode. This strikes a bold blow against the right to anonymity.

The new law, which came into power on January...

Fast food workers have lost a promised rise in Sunday penalty rates, and nightly overtime for retail staff will be cut, after a ruling by Fair Work Australia.

The February 2 Age reported: "The rulings have shocked unions, but retailer groups yesterday remained critical of the...

Culture

In & Out of the Working Class
Michael D. Yates
Arbeiter Ring Publishing, 2009
217 pp, $19.95.

Michael Yates' collection of essays, In and Out of the Working Class, is filled with examples of how class consciousness and collective action are derailed...

In February 1965, John Coltrane released A Love Supreme, still regarded as a jazz landmark. It broke all contemporary sales records and opened a door to a new musical era still echoing today

At just 33 minutes, it seems strange today that it should have had such impact. But it...

We come here today to say we're sorry
For the injustice done
We reach out our hands to hold you
We grieve as one
But we won't leave it there cos it wouldn't be fair
We've just begun

Eddie Mabo was a man from an island
And his skin was black
And...

Lenin Rediscovered: What Is To Be Done? In ContextBy Lars T. Lih, Haymarket Books, Chicago 2008840 pp., $89:95 pb.

Epic intellectual conflicts have been waged over the meaning of Lenin's ideas. Trotskyists in particular, to their ever-lasting credit, argued for a revolutionary,...