Issue Number 1

June 2008

  • Global food crisis made in USA
  • Revolution in Venezuela: Workers celebrate big gains

International News & Analysis

By Doug Lorimer

Across the globe, working people are facing a disastrous surge in the price of food. Prices for basic staples such as maize, rice, and wheat have more than doubled over the past year.

By Doug Lorimer

On May 12, the American Broadcasting Corporation reported that US voters’ “disgruntlement neared a record high and George W. Bush slipped to his career low in the latest ABC News/Washington Post poll.

By Kim Bullimore

In Ramallah, Occupied West Bank – On March 12, Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd moved a motion calling on the House of Representatives to “celebrate and commend the achievements of the State of Israel in the 60 years since its inception” and to reconfirm Canberra’s support for “Israel’s right to exist” and a “two-state solution” to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

By Max Lane

During the 1998 struggle against the Suharto dictatorship, there were threats that a deeper radicalisation might begin, as the most radical groups called for the establishment of “people’s councils” wherever mass protest was strong. More and more of Suharto’s elite supporters deserted him, forcing him to resign.

By Ian Jamieson

Caracas – A sea of red stretching for miles through the streets of the Venezuelan capital. Vibrant, exciting, determined and powerful. A sea of red, the colour of President Hugo Chavez and socialism.

By Helen Jarvis

Thirty-three years ago – on April 17, 1975 – the people of Phnom Penh lined the streets of Cambodia’s capital to celebrate the end of civil war and welcome the victorious Khmer Rouge (KR) troops. Photographs of that day show optimism and relief on the faces of the crowd, as they waved white cloths and offered cigarettes to the incoming troops.

By Theresia Dian Septi Trisnanti

Zely Ariane is a spokesperson for the Indonesian Political Committee of the Poor – People’s Democratic Party (KPRM-PRD). The following interview was conducted by Theresia Dian Septi Trisnanti and translated by James Balowski.

Question: When was the KPRM-PRD formed?

By Roberto Jorquera

Since the defeat of the constitutional reform referendum last December 3 there has been much discussion surrounding the future of the Venezuelan revolution. Commentators and activists inside Venezuela and internationally have expressed their views on this topic.

Australian News & Analysis

By Kathy Newnam

Throughout the 1970s and ‘80s, the women’s liberation movement won the public debate about abortion – in Australia today more than 80% of people support a woman’s right to choose whether or not to terminate her pregnancy. But the opponents of this right of women haven’t given up.

By Nick Everett

Australian Bureau of Statistics figures released on April 14 show an alarming decline in union membership. In the 12 months to August 2007, unions lost 89,000 members (5% of their membership). Union density declined from 20.3% to 18.9%. Only 14% of private sector workers are union members, compared with 41% of public sector workers, according to the ABS data.

By Linda Waldron

“What sort of peculiar capitalist country is this, in which the workers’ representatives predominate in the upper house, and until recently did so in the lower house as well, and yet the capitalist system is in no danger?” Lenin’s 1913 question was prompted by the pro-capitalist politics demonstrated by the 1910-13 Fisher Labor government.

By James Donaldson

Taking inspiration from US groups such as Iraq Veterans Against War, a new group of former military personnel opposed to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan – Stand Fast – was launched at the March 16 anti-war rallies across Australia, in time for the fifth anniversary of the US-led invasion of Iraq.

By Ian Jamieson

“Organising Nationally is Organising Internationally” was the theme as some 300 delegates and more than 100 international guests met in quadrennial conference of the Maritime Union of Australia in Sydney in April. Delegates began to chart a course for the union industrially and politically in the climate of a newly elected neo-conservative Labor government.

By Owen Richards

“While my portfolios can be a mouthful, I’ll be happy to be referred to simply as the minister for productivity”, said deputy PM Julia Gillard on December 3, explaining why she has been made minister for education and minister for employment and workplace relations, as well as minister for social inclusion in the newly elected federal Labor government.

Campaigns & Solidarity

By Chris Atkinson

The US-led wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are in crisis. Troop morale in the US-led occupation forces in both wars is waning as the futility of trying to subdue an entire population grows clearer and the numbers of dead and wounded mount. The Iraq war in particular suffers from a growing crisis of legitimacy.

By Doug Lorimer

On May 17 the Asia Pacific Solidarity Network (APSN) launched its new website of the same name.

By Marcus Pabian

In November 2004, the Democratic Socialist Perspective (DSP) adopted a national policy of seeking to establish clubs on university campuses to build solidarity with the socialist revolution in Venezuela.

Left Politics

By Jorge Jorquera

The Direct Action group was a small organisation of Melbourne- and Geelong-based activists who left the Democratic Socialist Perspective (DSP) in June 2006, five months after its 21st Congress.

By Allen Myers

Capitalism, through its direct application of scientific knowledge to the production of goods and services, has promoted the use and control of the forces of nature far more rapidly and extensively than any previous system of production.

Comment & Analysis

By Marce Cameron

Fidel Castro is no longer Cuba’s head of state. Is this a critical moment in the life of the Cuban Revolution as it approaches its 50th anniversary in January 2009, or merely a symbolic changing of the guard?

By John Percy

This is the first issue of a new paper, Direct Action, but it has two proud precursors, each with an excellent tradition.

By Allen Myers

The Revolutionary Socialist Party (RSP) is a new organisation on the Australian left, a fusion between a minority expelled from the Democratic Socialist Perspective and the Direct Action organisation, formerly the Marxist Solidarity Network, whose members, based in Melbourne and Geelong, left the DSP two years earlier.

By Marce Cameron

Capitalist governments can take many forms, from fascist tyranny to liberal democracy. However, the essence of capitalism is the very opposite of democracy, if democracy is understood as “the rule of the people”. Under capitalism, both wealth and power are concentrated in the hands of a tiny elite, the capitalist class.

By Kerry Vernon

When the Socialist Alliance was proposed by the Democratic Socialist Party (now the Democratic Socialist Perspective) in 2001, it was intended as a step forward for left unity.

The SA national website states, in part: “The Socialist Alliance was formed on February 17, 2001, by eight socialist groups and parties that saw an urgent need for greater left unity in Australia”.

By Zoe Kenny

The latest news on climate change is not good.


By Nick Everett

“Nine decades ago a revolutionary journalist from New York, John Reed, published a book of his findings of a great revolutionary upheaval, the Russian revolution, titled Ten Days That Shook the World”, Ian Jamieson, a Maritime Union of Australia (MUA) delegate who participated in the Australia-Venezuela Solidarity Network (AVSN) May Day brigade to Venezuela, told a May 28 public me

Reviewed by James Crafti

Iron Man
Directed by Jon Favreau
Starring Robert Downey Jr., Terrence Howard, Gwyneth Paltrow, Jeff Bridges
Screenplay by Mark Fergus & Hawk Ostby

Reviewed by Allen Myers

By Fidel Castro.
Edited by Ignacio Ramonet.
Translated by Andrew Hurley.
Penguin (UK), 2007. 724 pp (hb). RRP (Australia) $59.95.

By Scott Lewington and Jo Williams

Melbourne-based band, The Conch, is an 11-piece outfit, formed in 2004 when US President George Bush and Australian Prime Minister John Howard were re-elected amid a climate of warmongering and racist xenophobia against the Muslim peoples of the Middle East.