Issue Number 7

December 2008

  • Are we headed for another Great Depression?
  • Venezuela: Majority votes for socialism

International News & Analysis

By Kim Bullimore

The election of Barack Obama to the US presidency has generated hope among many that not only will the US soon be out of Iraq, but there will also be a resolution to the Israel-Palestine conflict. However, a closer look at Obama’s stated views on Israel and Palestine reveals that he is unlikely to depart significantly from the pro-Israel policies of George W. Bush.

By Doug Lorimer

“The severity of this economic contraction is a once-in-a-hundred-year phenomenon. It really does compare in severity to the Depression of the late 1920s and through the ’30s”, Donald Brean, a professor of finance and economics at the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto, told the November 11 London Financial Times.

By Shua Garfield

The World Energy Outlook 2008, released by the International Energy Agency (IEA) on November 12, makes an alarming prediction: Without new government policies aimed at reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, and assuming current rates of growth in energy demand continue, global GHG emissions could rise 45% by 2030.

By John Pilger

Dallas – My first visit to Texas was in 1968, on the fifth anniversary of the assassination of president John F. Kennedy in Dallas. I drove south, following the line of telegraph poles to the small town of Midlothian, where I met Penn Jones Jr, editor of the Midlothian Mirror.

By Allen Myers

Thirty years ago, at the end of December 1978, Vietnamese troops and rebel Cambodian forces crossed into Cambodia and in a few weeks overthrew a regime whose savagery rivalled that of Nazi Germany.

By Barry Sheppard

San Francisco – Many people have high hopes that Barack Obama will led the US in a new direction. What can we say now about his likely course? Obama’s mantra during the election campaign was “change”. Now he is emphasising “continuity” and a seamless transition from the Bush administration. The only change from the current regime is to go back to the Clinton years.

By Owen Richards

On January 1 Cuba’s working people will celebrate 50 years of freedom from imperialist rule.

By Owen Richards

In June 2008, a US appeals court upheld the convictions of the Cuban Five – five Cuban nationals who were arrested and convicted of espionage, conspiracy to commit murder, and other illegal activities, in the US. The appeals court vacated the sentences of three of the five men, ordering re-sentencing trials for them.

By Nick Everett

Over the weekend of November 7-9, 2008, socialists from Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Philippines, Singapore, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Hong Kong, Australia, Britain, Sweden and Taiwan gathered near Kuala Lumpur for Socialism 2008, a conference hosted by the Parti Socialis Malaysia (Malaysian Socialist Party, PSM).

By Kim Bullimore

On November 7, the UN General Assembly conducted its annual vote on a range of resolutions relating to the Middle East “peace process”.

By Sam King

Thousands of factory workers blockaded the Padalarang highway in West Java causing traffic to back up 10 kilometres along the road for four hours on November 24.

By Roberto Jorquera and Marce Cameron

Caracas – Elections of state governors and local mayors were held across Venezuela on November 23. Candidates of President Hugo Chavez’s United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) won 5.7 million votes, 1.4 million more votes than supported Chavez in the December 2007 constitutional referendum.

By Barry Sheppard

San Francisco – As has been widely noted, the election of an African-American as president of the United States is an historic event. This is true irrespective of the politics and perspectives of Barack Obama. That a black family will occupy the White House, which was built by black slaves, is a powerful symbol.

Australian News & Analysis

By Hamish Chitts

Many who voted for the ALP on November 24, 2007, did so thinking that a Rudd Labor government would end Australia’s involvement in the US-led war in Iraq. One year on and the Australian military under PM Kevin Rudd is still an active cog in the US-led imperialism war machine in Iraq.

By John Percy

John McCarthy, a Brisbane doctor who in the 1970s played a significant role in the development of the revolutionary socialist movement in Australia, died on November 1 after a long battle with cancer. While in Britain in the 1960s McCarthy joined the International Marxist Group (IMG), the British group supporting the Trotskyist Fourth International (FI).

By Hamish Chitts

After PM Kevin Rudd’s February 13 official apology to the Stolen Generations, media outlets around the world hailed him as a great humanitarian friend of Aboriginal people.

By Nick Everett

On November 25 – a day after the first anniversary of the election of the Rudd Labor government – deputy PM and workplace relations minister Julia Gillard introduced the government’s Fair Work bill into federal parliament. She said the bill would “sweep away” the Howard government’s Work Choices laws and deliver on Labor’s election promises.

By Kerry Vernon

In a media release on November 20, Edmund Rice Centre director Phil Glendenning said the response to a November 19 SBS broadcast of the new documentary A Well-Founded Fear had been overwhelming. The documentary, by Anne Delaney, highlighted the centre’s research into the fate of more than 400 asylum seekers deported from Australia.

By Linda Waldron

On November 6, ABC Learning, which controls nearly a quarter of Australia’s childcare centres, went into receivership owing more than $1 billion to the banks. Less than two weeks later CFK, Australia’s second biggest childcare company, also went into receivership, after revealing it was losing $400,000 per month.

Views, Discussion & Debate

By Allen Myers

In its earliest stages, capitalism necessarily began from what was provided by the feudal economy that preceded it. This was primarily an extremely low level of productivity, based mostly on very simple tools and producers (peasants and artisans) with few skills.

By Marcus Pabian

Despite Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez leading a popular socialist revolution in his country that has inspired millions beyond its borders, a range of people describing themselves as revolutionary socialists don’t accept that such a revolution is taking place and have declared Chavez incapable of leading such a revolution; that he is an obstacle to carrying through such a revolut

By Owen Richards

The visit of Pope Benedict XVI to Sydney in July for the Catholic World Youth Day festival has focused attention on the relevance of religion in the 21st century. One of the most bizarre spectacles of the 400,000-strong event was the grisly worship of the 83-year-old corpse of Italian Catholic Pier Giorgio Frassati, flown in for the festival.


Review by Kim Bullimore

Chicago 10: Speak Your Peace
Written and directed by Brett Morgen
Limited release as part of the Australian International Human Rights Film and Arts Festival.

Visit for details.


Solidarity’s privatisation ‘campaign’ backflip

The October issue of Solidarity magazine shares the same sense of disappointment found in the most recent articles coming out of other far left newspapers like Green Left Weekly and Socialist Alternative – all of which hyped up the Unions NSW “campaign” against electricity privatisation – since new NSW La

In Their Own Words

The optimist

“If you print enough money, you can create inflation.” – Kenneth S. Rogoff, a former IMF chief economist, on trying to prevent deflation and economic stagnation.

The realist

“The undercurrent in the market is one of absolute terror.” – a US stockmarket “veteran trader”, quoted in the November 21 Wall Street Journal.