Issue Number 20

March 2010

  • US-Australia alliance: an axis of evil
  • Why Obama maintains economic war on Cuba

International News & Analysis

By Sam King

An Australian company has a significant but little-known role in the creation of the world’s largest mud volcano, located in the densely populated Sidoarjo district of Indonesia’s East Java province.

By Marcus Pabian

Before representatives of the grassroots communal councils from across Venezuela assembled in Ezequiel Zamora Park in the capital Caracas, President Hugo Chavez enacted the Organic Law on the Federal Government Council on February 20, which he said will “further open the door to advancing in the distribution of power in the hands of the people, and to achieving a more efficient and

By Jon Lamb

Few events in world politics in recent times could be considered more perverse or absurd than the awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize to US President Barack Obama. Just prior to the award presentation, his administration announced it would undertake a new military offensive in Afghanistan with a “surge” of an additional 30,000 troops.

By Barry Sheppard

San Francisco – During the 1980-82 recession, US car corporations were closing factories, reflecting growing international competition and overproduction. One of the plants closed was a large General Motors facility in the city of Fremont, California, part of the San Francisco Bay Area. This factory was reopened in 1984, in a deal between Toyota and GM.

By Max Lane

From March 23 until May 3, Zely Ariane will be touring Australia, speaking at Direct Action forums, at universities, to trade union meetings and at other venues. Ariane is the National Spokesperson of the Committee for the Politics of the Poor-Peoples Democratic Party (KPRM-PRD), one of Indonesia’s left-wing political parties.

By Kim Bullimore

Last November, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced that his government would be implementing a 10 month “settlement freeze” as a supposed concession to calls by US President Barack Obama for a halt to the construction of Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT) so as to clear the way for a resumption of “peace” talks with the Palestinian Aut

Sri Lankan Tamil asylum seekers

[For five months, 254 Sri Lankan Tamil asylum seekers have refused to disembark the rickety cargo boat Jaya Lestari 5 which was towed into the Indonesian port Merak, after being intercepted by the Indonesian navy at the request of Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd. One pregnant woman onboard is due in early March.

By Harry Huijsmans

Amsterdam – There is growing tension between Venezuela and the Netherlands over the US use of airfields on the Dutch Caribbean islands Curacao and Aruba for aggression against Venezuela. These small islands, some 80km off the Venezuelan coast, are part of the Caribbean segment of the former Dutch colonial empire and still part of the Netherlands.

By Hamish Chitts

When the visit of US President Barack Obama was announced last month, an official White House statement said he “is looking forward to commemorating the 70th anniversary of Australia-US relations”.

By Marce Cameron

When running for the US presidency in 2008, Barack Obama promised “change you can believe in”. As president, he has failed to live up to the hopes and expectations of his supporters for progressive change.

Australian News & Analysis

By Nick Everett

On January 28, 2010, singer, songwriter and socialist Alistair Hulett died from cancer at just 58 years old. I recall first seeing Hulett perform at the Sandringham Hotel, in Newtown, Sydney, in 1989.

By Kathy Newnam

Hundreds of people gathered on February 14 for the launch of a “protest house” established by the Alyawarr people at the protest camp at Honeymoon Bore – 350 kilometres north east of Alice Springs. The camp was set up in July 2009 when Alyawarr elders led a walk-off from the Ampilatwatja community in protest against the federal government’s racist treatment of the community.

By James Crafti

On January 26 (“Australia Day”), two members of the Revolutionary Socialist Party (RSP), Sam King and Van Rudd, demonstrated outside of the Australian Open Tennis Championships at Melbourne’s Rod Laver Arena to highlight Australia’s racism.

By Jon Lamb

The East Timorese government is standing firm against pressure to sign a natural gas downstream processing deal for the Greater Sunrise field in the Timor Sea.

By Kerry Vernon

A January 25 Darwin inquest into the deaths of five asylum seekers – after an April 16 explosion last year on a boat (Suspected Illegal Entry Vessel 36) carrying 49 asylum seekers and two Indonesian crew near Ashmore Reef and under the control of the Australian naval vessel HMAS Childers – was adjourned on February 19 until March 17, when Northern Territory coroner Greg Cava

By Ian Jamieson

Amid howls of protests by employers, their representatives, the media and politicians, Maritime Union of Australia (MUA) members employed in the offshore gas and oil industry are concluding protracted negotiations for an enterprise agreement that will substantially improve wages and conditions.

By Kathy Newnam

Rallies will be held across the country this month for same sex marriage rights – the first in a series of protests being organised by the Equal Love campaign as part of a national year of action for the campaign, now in its sixth year. The campaign has been growing since the federal government introduced a ban on same-sex marriage in 2004.

By Jorge Jorquera

The Revolutionary Socialist Party will be running Van Rudd against Julia Gillard in the Melbourne seat of Lalor for the next federal election. Van Rudd’s campaign will take a stand against the failure of both state and federal governments to defend Indian students against racist attacks.

By Owen Richards

A significant blow against the Australian public school system was delivered on January 29 when the Rudd Labor government launched a website providing data on the performance of schools across the country – the much heralded “MySchool” website, hosted by the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority.

By Kathy Newnam

A photo exhibition and songs of struggle night will be held in Brisbane on March 27 to raise funds for Direct Action. The “Struggle, Solidarity, Socialism” evening will feature local performers Phil Monsour, Jumping Fences, Ovideo Orellana and Mark Cronin.

Views, Discussion & Debate

By Doug Lorimer

The first issue of the Socialist Alliance’s Green Left Weekly for this year, dated January 20, carried an article headlined “New period of left unity and struggle launched”.

By Shua Garfield

In the wake of the failure of last December’s UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen to reach even a token legally binding agreement for greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reduction, and with the Rudd Labor government’s patently inadequate emissions trading scam blocked by the Senate, reformist environmentalists have been casting around for an alternative way to try to address the c

We stand for the transformation of human society, from its current basis of greed, exploitation, war, oppression and environmental destruction, to a commonwealth of social ownership, solidarity and human freedom, living in harmony with our planet’s ecosystems.

By Allen Myers

An Sydney Morning Herald report a few months ago unintentionally pointed out one of the absurdities of modern capitalism. This is that a good part of the so-called wealth of capitalist societies doesn’t really exist.

By Kerry Vernon

International Women’s Day began at a time of political and social upheaval more than 100 years ago, on February 28, 1908, when socialist women in the US organised demonstrations and meetings all over the country demanding women workers’ political and economic rights and called it “Women’s Day”. In 1909, 2000 people attended a Women’s Day rally in Manhattan.

By Tim Stewart

“Penny Wong jeered, Hugo Chavez cheered” was the headline of an article in the Australian newspaper during the final days of the UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen last December. Wong, the Australian Minister for Climate Change, was there to “seal a deal” which favoured business-as-usual for the world’s biggest carbon dioxide polluters.


Reviewed by Dani Barley

Going Rouge: An American Nightmare
Edited by Richard Kim & Betsy Reed
OR Books (2009)
335 pages (pb)

Reviewed by Nick Everett

Inside the revolution: a journey into the heart of Venezuela
Directed by Pablo Navarrete
65 minutes
Alborado Films 2009
Available at

By John Pilger

Why are so many films so bad? This year’s Oscar nominations are a parade of propaganda, stereotypes and downright dishonesty. The dominant theme is as old as Hollywood: America’s divine right to invade other societies, steal their history and occupy our memory. When will directors and writers behave like artists and not pimps for a world view devoted to control and destruction?

In Their Own Words

And it cost only $1.9 billion

“Quite obviously chlorinated … on the nose, with an interesting texture … a little bit oilier in the mouth and a little bit of pucker, almost like you find with tannin in wine.” – Wine taster Peter Bourne, commenting on a blind tasting of water from the NSW government’s new desalination plant.