Issue Number 4

September 2008

  • Obama means more war
  • Venezuela's revolution: Western media lies exposed

International News & Analysis

By Kim Bullimore

Forty-six human rights activists from 17 countries broke the Israeli siege of Gaza on August 23. The SS Free Gaza and SS Liberty, two refitted Greek boats carrying 40 people, some food and medical supplies, left Cyprus on August 21 to make the 350-kilometre, 32-hour journey to Gaza.

By Marce Cameron

It’s not surprising that we tend to associate Cuba with the word “dictatorship” rather than, say, “democracy”. This is not because Cuba really is a dictatorship, but because most Australians form an opinion of socialist Cuba based on how Cuba is portrayed in the corporate media.

By Gonzalo Villanueva

On August 10, Evo Morales, Bolivia’s first indigenous president, and his vice-president, Alvaro Garcia Linera, secured a resounding victory in an opposition party-initiated recall referendum with a popular vote of 67.4%, an increase of 14 percentage points on the vote that brought Morales to office in December 2005.

By Kim Bullimore

In 1964, a 22-year-old Palestinian poet named Mahmoud Darwish shared the struggle of his people with the world, writing: “Record!/ I am an Arab/ And my identity card is number fifty thousand/ I have eight children/ And the ninth is coming after a summer/ Will you be angry? … Record! I am an Arab/ I have a name without a title/ ...

By Barry Sheppard

San Francisco – The nomination of Barack Obama as the presidential candidate of the Democratic Party is historic. He is the first African American presidential candidate of one of the two major capitalist parties. He may win the election and become the first black president, something inconceivable even only two years ago.

By Shua Garfield

In the months preceding the March 2003 US-British-Australian invasion of Iraq, the French government’s opposition received a great deal of publicity. This led to illusions among some anti-war activists that the French rulers represented a progressive alternative to the “Anglo-Saxon” imperialists.

By Sam King

This year’s May Day demonstrations in Jakarta took on a special significance because they came 10 years after General Suharto was forced by mass street protests to resign as Indonesia’s president. The May 1 marches were followed by another lively round of protests on May 21, the anniversary of the day Suharto fell.

By Shua Garfield

“Chavez makes a new power grab” screamed an August 6 Wall Street Journal headline. The following day, in an article titled “The autocrat of Caracas”, the London Economist claimed that Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez was “violat[ing] the constitution”.

By Marcus Pabian

“I naively took as a reference point Tony Blair’s proposal for a ‘third way’ between capitalism and socialism – capitalism with a human face”, Hugo Chavez, told Time magazine in 2006, reflecting on his own views before he was elected Venezuela’s president in 1998. Since then, Chavez’s views have dramatically changed.

Australian News & Analysis

By Chela Weitzel

In December and January, the 26th annual Southern Cross Work-Study Brigade will visit Cuba and take part in celebrations marking the 50th anniversary of the triumph of Cuba’s revolution against US domination. The brigade is organized by the Australia-Cuba Friendship Society.

By Kathy Newnam

Protest actions are being planned for Brisbane in October when Lex Wotton faces court. Wotton has been portrayed by the Queensland police, government and establishment media as the leader of the “riot” that occurred on Palm Island on November 26, 2004.

By John Percy

Issy Wyner, one of the pioneers of revolutionary socialism in Australia, died in Sydney in August, aged 92. Issy was an early member of the Workers Party, the first Trotskyist group in Australia, formed in May 1933.

By Kerry Vernon

In a July 29 speech, Labor immigration minister Chris Evans announced an end to the previous Howard Coalition government’s costly “Pacific Solution” to “illegal” asylum seekers – closing the offshore processing centres on Nauru and PNG’s Manus Island.

The Australia-Venezuela Solidarity Network (AVSN) will be organising its eighth solidarity brigade to Venezuela later this year to coincide with the elections for governors and mayors on November 23. Roberto Jorquera is one of the organisers of the AVSN brigade and a member of the Revolutionary Socialist Party.

By Hamish Chitts

Officially the governments that wage war on the peoples of Iraq and Afghanistan acknowledge that by August 26 this year, 4460 of their troops had died in Iraq and 934 had died in Afghanistan.

By Jorge Jorquera

A number of educators here in Australia and internationally have become increasingly interested in the radical education reform taking place in Venezuela, as part the country’s march toward socialism.

By Nick Everett

On September 6, Western Australians will be voting in a state election to determine which of the two big-business parties can best manage WA’s resources export boom for the big end of town. WA Premier Alan Carpenter called an early state election on August 7, just one day after WA Liberal Party leader Troy Buswell resigned.

Views, Discussion & Debate

By Helen Jarvis

September 7 marks the 40th anniversary of the event that put on the front pages of the world’s press the feminist movement, or more precisely its “second wave” (following the long lapse since the strong campaigns of the early 20th century for women’s suffrage and emancipation).

By James Crafti

“Socialists argue that, while the student union bureaucracy can’t simply be ignored, it’s far more important to involve the vast bulk of ordinary students in campaigns or demonstrations rather than concentrating on the factional manoeuvres that often take place within relatively small cliques within the student unions.” This good advice offered by Gerard Morel and Jeff Sparrow in S

By Allen Myers

Exploitation, as I wrote in the previous issue of Direct Action, is an unequal economic relationship, in which one party to a transaction gains something at the expense of the other. That is a very broad definition; it would include being short-changed by a shopkeeper and other fairly trivial inequalities.

By Nick Everett

On August 12, ACTU president Sharan Burrow called on the federal Labor government to introduce new industrial relations laws into parliament before the end of the year.

Reviews

By Allen Myers

Here’s a non-trivial question for trivia night organisers: In the late 1960s, what was the world’s busiest airport? Stumped? Here’s a hint: What was the most bombed country, per capita, in the history of warfare? If you answered “Vietnam”, you’re getting close, but not quite there.

Reviewed by Dani Barley

Where in the World is Osama bin Laden?
Directed by Morgan Spurlock
Running time 93 minutes

Letters

Telling the truth or fostering false hopes

Kieran Latty (Letters, DA #3) claims there are two problems with my article “NSW Labor’s electricity privatisation plans” in DA #2.

In Their Own Words

He moves in mysterious ways

“This is why God made banks, for this kind of transaction.” – A surprised US factory owner, whose bank unexpectedly refused him a loan to expand his business.