Analysis

John Bellamy Foster, author of Marx’s Ecology: Materialism and Nature and an editor of the prestigious US-based socialist journal Monthly Review (), was a featured speaker at Green Left Weekly’s April 11-13 Climate Change — Social Change conference in Sydney. He spoke to GLW’s Renfrey Clarke.
The detail of the federal Labor government’s plan for its new industrial relations system, to come into force in January 2010, is beginning to come to light. On April 9, the Australian Financial Review reported that it had obtained a copy of a letter sent by workplace relations minister Julia Gillard to a range of unions and businesses. It canvassed their opinion on issues including the scope of allowable content in workplace agreements, the scope of individual “flexibility” clauses to be mandatory in all awards and enterprise agreements and regulation of industrial action during a bargaining period for a new enterprise bargaining agreement (EBA).
Where in the world could a jury find in favour of someone, only to have a judge deliver a decision opposite to the jury’s finding? Well, this has happened in NSW and the victim is Mamdouh Habib, best known for being imprisoned by the US military without charges at its Guantanamo Bay naval base, before being released and flown home to Australia in January 2005.
In 2007, the 90th anniversary of the New South Wales general strike was ignored by mainstream politicians and media sources — a silence that contrasted markedly with the extensive coverage allotted to the 90th anniversary of the Gallipoli landing in 2005.
Overwhelmed by the greenhouse debate? Bamboozled by all the competing claims that renewable energy sources cannot supply 24-hours-a-day power (“base load”)? Depressed by the unending vastness of “the literature” on global warming and renewables?
At 11pm on April 7, 1998, Patrick Stevedores locked 2000 waterside workers out of their jobs. Following months of speculation, the “leasing” of Webb dock in Melbourne to the National Farmers Federation in late January and the abortive “Dubai affair” — where former soldiers were trained in secret in Dubai as strike-breaking scabs — Patrick opted for a frontal assault on the workers and their union.
Chinese authorities had detained more than 1000 Tibetans by April 3 in the wake of protests and riots calling for self-determination that started on March 10, the BBC reported on April 4.
The World Bank’s long-running identity crisis is proving hard to shake. When efforts to rebrand itself as a “knowledge bank” didn’t work, it devised a new identity as a “green bank”. Yes, it’s true.
Dave Holmes is a veteran leader of the Democratic Socialist Perspective, a Marxist tendency in the Socialist Alliance. He co-wrote the pamphlet Change the System Not the Climate (Resistance Books, 2007) and will be participating in the upcoming Climate Change — Social Change Conference. Green Left Weekly’s Peter Boyle spoke to him about the key issues the conference needs to address.
After decades of “greenies versus jobs” propaganda, it is high time unionists and environmentalists started working together on the looming threat of catastrophic climate change. Sadly, the Australian Council of Trade Unions’ (ACTU) policy on global warming released in March barely strays from what is acceptable to the government and big business.

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