workers' rights & unions

GREEN LEFT REPORT #10: Left wins in council and union elections + more

Features interviews with Sue Bolton, the newly elected Socialist Alliance councillor for Moreland in Melbourne and Lindsay Hawkins, one of the Progressive PSA team that have won control of the union representing NSW public servants.

Costa Rica: Status quo routed in poll

The election of Luis Guillermo Solis on April 6 as president of Costa Rica, with 77% of the votes, represents the end of a historical period and opens the door to unprecedented opportunities for the left.

Solis, representing the Citizens Action Party (PAC), crushed the remnants of the Party of National Liberation (PLN), a party that he once served as general secretary.

Editorial: Only unions can solve union corruption

The Royal Commission into the use of union funds began on April 9. The commission is not an attempt to stamp out corrupt union practices, but a serious political attack on unions by the Tony Abbott government. It is designed to weaken the union movement and break militant union activity.

Comments made by Coalition ministers before the public hearings have started sets up a presumption of guilt in order to prejudice the public mind.

Venezuela: Chavistas debate pace of change

The violent anti-government protests that shook Venezuela in February have again thrust the issue of the pace of change into the broader debate over socialist transformation.

Radical Chavistas, reflecting the zeal of the movement’s rank and file, call for a deepening of the “revolutionary process”. Moderate Chavistas favour concessions to avoid an escalation of the violence.

Pakistan: 'Left unity a precious gain'

Farooq Tariq, the general secretary of the Awami Workers Party (AWP) in Pakistan, will be one of the international guests at the 10th national conference of the Socialist Alliance, to be held in Sydney over June 7 to 9. He will speak on “The Struggle for Democracy and Justice in Pakistan” on June 7 at the Addison Road Community Centre in Marrickville. Visit www.socialist-alliance.org for more details.

Ahead of his trip, Green Left Weekly's Peter Boyle spoke to Tariq on Pakistani politics.

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Radical Wollongong film: From mass unemployment to war

A new documentary film Radical Wollongong, produced by Green Left TV, will premiere in Wollongong in early May, followed by screenings in other cities and regional centres.

The film features activist participants from Wollongong's radical history of strikes and community rallies, from miners’ struggles to Aboriginal justice and environmental protection.

Co-producer John Rainford gives some background to how the Communist Party of Australia grew quickly during the depression.

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Letter from the US: Obama ― a political balance sheet

When Barack Obama was elected President in the 2008 election, it marked an historic first. An African-American was elected in the country noted for its oppression of Blacks since the time of slavery.

My next door neighbour, an African-American who knew my history as a supporter of the Black liberation upsurge of the 1950s, '60s and '70s, raised his fist in celebration when he saw me the next day.

Inside China's economic miracle

China’s Rise: Strength & Fragility
By Au Loong Yu
Resistance Books, IIRE
Merlin Press, 2012
316 pages

The transformation of the Chinese economy a 20-fold rise in the size of the economy between 1979 and 2010 and huge development of private enterprise has been one of the most significant and remarkable phenomena in recent history.

However, neither the Western media and academia, nor the Chinese regime itself, provide much credible analysis on what is involved in this transformation.

Italy: New gov't gives fresh face to austerity

Italy’s new centre-left Prime Minister Matteo Renzi has proclaimed his intention to end corruption and economic woe. But there are doubts as to whether his government's actions will benefit the country's working people.

At 39, Renzi, a member of Italy’s Democratic Party, is the youngest PM in Italy's history. His youth and optimistic rhetoric have earned him the title of “Italy’s Obama”.

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