Green paper on climate change by nyut545e2

VIEWS: 14 PAGES: 12

									                          The Guardian
                                                                                                                                                                                       July 23
                                                                                                                                                                                         2008
                                                                                                                                                                                           $1.50

                                                                                                               The Workers’ Weekly                                                  # 1375
                         COMMUNIST PARTY OF AUSTRALIA                                                                                                                                 ISSN 1325-295X




Green paper on climate change
Paid to pollute
Anna Pha                                           real solutions and away from the immediacy
                                                   of the climate change crisis.
“An important biological species is at
risk of disappearing due to the rapid and          Flawed concept
progressive removal of its natural habitat:             Successive Australian governments have
humankind. We are becoming aware of this           either denied the reality of climate change,
problem when it is almost too late to prevent      or have made some token acknowledgement
it.” This warning was made by Fidel Castro         while doing very little to reduce greenhouse
at the Rio Earth Summit in 1992*. In a short       gas emissions.
seven-minute speech, the Cuban President                The situation is urgent. It is a life-and-
identified the urgency of the situation, who       death matter, requiring radical changes NOW.
was responsible for it and what had to be          The main polluters are the transnational cor-
done. More than 15 years on, the situation         porations and the consumer, car-driven life-
has become even more urgent and grave.             styles of the richer nations.
Climate change is a reality, and it is already          The concept of a carbon tax or carbon
taking its toll on that important species and      emissions trading system is to make some
its habitat. Floods, droughts, rising seas         financial imposition on those who pollute
and the destruction of crops are some of the       as a means of pressuring them to reduce or
outcomes being experienced and taking a            eliminate their emissions altogether. Even at
huge toll on those affected.                       its best this concept falls far short of what is
     So what is the Rudd government plan-          required. It is a cop out, which avoids tackling
ning for Australia, one of the worst green-        the major polluters and developing alternative,
house gas emitters per head of population?         renewable energy sources, and concrete action
Climate Change Minister Penny Wong last            to reduce emissions.
week released the government’s green paper              In fact, the scheme is even worse than that
titled Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme.          because it compensates the major polluters
Regrettably, the green paper does nothing of       for the extra cost involved in buying permits.
the sort; it is a blueprint for a system to pay    This defeats the purpose of the scheme, as the                                                                                        Photo: Anna Pha
the worst polluters to continue polluting as if    higher prices were meant to act as a motiva-       There is an urgent need to develop alternative, renewable energy sources.
there were no tomorrow.                            tion for companies and people to change their
     The centrepiece of the system is a carbon     ways.                                                  There seems to be no limit to the extent to       Instead of paying polluters to pollute
emissions trading scheme where polluters                But that is not all: the biggest polluters    which capitalism will go to profit from crisis    more, subsidies should be directed towards
would be required to buy permits allowing          who export their goods will be given free          and suffering. The big seed and chemical          the cost of whitegoods with low energy usage
them to produce a certain amount of carbon         permits to pollute and a 90 percent subsidy on     companies have prepared for climate change        ratings, to assist with research into renewable
gases. These permits would become com-             those they pay for. Agriculture and land clear-    with new products that will grow in the new       energy, and the development of alterative,
modities themselves, to be auctioned by gov-       ing and logging are exempt – completely free       environmental conditions following further        renewable energy sources.
ernment. Those who bought permits would            to add to the problem.                             climate change. (See Culture & Life, page             The lack of investment in public transport,
be able to trade them on markets in much the            The paper pits economic growth against        10.)                                              which is bursting at the seams in some areas,
same way as shares or taxi licences can be         emission reductions as though it were some                                                           is nothing short of criminal.
bought or sold.                                    juggling act to try and get the right balance.     Greenhouse gas reduction                              As Castro said in concluding his contri-
     They are a licence to pollute. Their cost     It is not a game, it is not about balancing.            Australia has a responsibility to reduce     bution to the 1992, “Now that the supposed
would push up the price of the coal, electric-     Emissions must be reduced. Hysterical media        its carbon footprint. There are many ways in      threat of communism has disappeared and
ity or whatever else was being produced. The       headlines such as “Carbon trading could cost       which this can be done – but it will need a       there is no more pretext to wage cold wars or
green paper goes into detail on the ins and        15,000 jobs” or claiming certain industries are    government prepared to stand up to the coal-      continue the arms race and military spending,
outs of how such a scheme would be phased          at risk, are based on a narrow economic per-       fired powerhouses, to the major coal mining       what then prevents the immediate use of those
in, who might receive compensation (pension-       spective, typical of the corporate sector.         corporations, to the aluminium industry, the      resources to foster development in the Third
ers, families, etc), how much permits might             One of the reasons given by government        petrol companies, car makers, and other cor-      World and to avert the ecological destruction
cost per tonne of carbon gases, whether caps       for subsidising polluters is that the higher       porate culprits.                                  threatening the planet?
would initially be placed on the price of pol-     cost of permits would deter future investors in         The Australian public are very conscious         “Let this be the end of selfishness and
lution permits, what corporations might be         coal-powered energy generation!                    of and willing to make changes to reduce          domination; the end of callousness, irrespon-
exempt from the scheme, etc.                            The various employer organisations make       their pollution. It is the corporate sector and   sibility and deceit. Enough of insensitivity,
     The media has run hot, debating the detail,   loud noises about greenhouse gases and the         its loyal servants in government that are the     irresponsibility and deceit. Tomorrow, it will
interviewing different employer groups, trade      environment. They see these issues in terms of     obstacles to progress.                            be too late to do what should have been done
union leaders. All of this, without question-      how they can be used to generate new meth-              Forget the emissions trading scheme.         a long time ago.”
ing the validity of carbon emission trading        ods of profit-making. They still fail to under-    Instead, a simple 10 percent reduction of         * See page 2 for full text of Castro’s
schemes, let alone debating the alternatives       stand that their own future profit-making will     Australia’s $22 billion annual military spend-    contribution and page 12 for reports at
and comparing what those alternatives might        come to a halt along with the rest of society      ing could be used to fund solar panels on the     the World Food Crisis Summit from the
achieve. The narrow parameters of the debate       if serious action is not taken to reduce carbon    roof of every house, block of flats, school,      Pacific and African delegations. 
have in fact diverted attention from pursuing      emissions.                                         enterprise and office block.



   2
  page                                     4
                                         page                                       6
                                                                                  page                                       8
                                                                                                                          page                                        9
                                                                                                                                                                   page

                Labor                                 Litmus test                                                             Ireland’s Lisbon
           pomise on                                    of Rudd’s                   Chile - shaking off                            vote gives a                               Food and
         dental health                              IR credibility                   Pinochet’s legacy                        strong mandate                                 water crisis
2                                                                                                                                                                                             The Guardian
                                                                                                                                                                                                    July 23   2008




                 The Guardian                                              Fidel Castro at Earth Summit
    Issue 1375                                         July 23, 2008
                                                                           Consumer societies responsible
                    A See of money
    It’s jobs for the boys with a twist. The twist is that a Labor prime
minister is handing out the jobs to Liberal and National Party fig-
                                                                           for environmental destruction
ures. PM Rudd’s announcement that former National Party leader             The following is the complete text of Cuban President                                    destruction throughout the planet.
and deputy PM, Tim Fischer, would be appointed ambassador to               Fidel Castro’s speech at the Earth Summit in Rio de                                      Less luxury and less waste in a few
the Holy See shocked the Coalition and diplomatic corps. It has            Janeiro on June 12, 1992.                                                                countries would mean less poverty and
angered many of Labor’s bright boys, who were waiting for a plum                                                                                                    hunger in much of the world.
                                                                           An important biological species is          Billions of tons of fertile soil are              The transference to the Third
position overseas.
                                                                           at risk of disappearing due to the          washed into the sea every year.              World of the lifestyles and consumer
    “It will allow Australia to expand dialogue with the Vatican in        rapid and progressive removal of its
areas including human rights, political and religious freedom, food                                                    Numerous species face extinction.            habits ruin the environment should
                                                                           natural habitat: humankind.                 Overpopulation and poverty lead to           be avoided. Let human life be more
security, arms control, refugees and anti-people trafficking”, said
Rudd. A comment which give the impression the ultra-conservative                We are becoming aware of this          desperate efforts for survival, even at      rational. Let a just international
Pope Benedict XVI intends to play an interventionist role in inter-        problem when it is almost too late to       the expense of nature.                       economic order be implemented.
national politics.                                                         prevent it.                                      It is not possible to blame the         Let science work toward a sustain-
                                                                                It is worth indicating that the        Third World nations, yesterday’s             able development without pollution.
    The Diplomatic corps are not impressed; they are sick of “jobs
                                                                           main responsibility for the atrocious       colonies and today still despoiled and       The ecological debt should be paid
for the boys” political appointments that undermine their career
                                                                           destruction of the environment lies         plundered by an unjust international         and not the foreign debt. Hunger
paths. They are not happy about the allocation of $500,000 for the         with the consumer societies. They           economic order, for all this.                should be done away with, and not
Holy See appointment when other postings are being cut back. The           are the offsprings of the old colonial           The solution cannot be to prevent       humanity.
government is undertaking a $57 million three-year program of staff        metropolises that also engendered the       the development of those who need it              Now that the supposed threat of
cuts in Athens, Berlin, Nairobi, London, and several other cities.         poverty and backwardness which are          the most. The truth is that everything       communism has disappeared and there
    The Pope is the head of a church, the Vatican is its headquar-         today the scourge of the great majority     that contributes to underdevelopment         is no more pretext to wage cold wars
ters, although it acts like and is internationally recognised as a state   of humankind.                               and poverty constitutes a flagrant           or continue the arms race and military
which interferes in the internal politics of numerous other states. It          With only 20 percent of the            violation of the ecology. As a con-          spending, what then prevents the
has its own bank and other infrastructure, and is rolling in riches.       world’s population, they consume two-       sequence, tens of millions of men,           immediate use of those resources to
    The church’s World Youth Day last week is estimated to have            thirds of all metals and three-fourths of   women and children die every year in         foster development in the Third World
cost the federal government about $55 million and the NSW state            the energy produced worldwide.              the Third World, far more than in the        and to avert the ecological destruction
government about $108.5 million. The church’s contribution was                  They have poisoned the oceans          two world wars.                              threatening the planet?
a mere $15-20 million. The centre of Sydney was disrupted, thou-           and the rivers. They have polluted the           The unequal terms of trade,                  Let this be the end of selfishness
sands of police were on duty; catching a bus became a challenge as         air. They have weakened and opened          protectionism and the foreign debt           and domination; the end of callous-
routes were changed.                                                       holes in the ozone layer and have           are also an assault on the ecological        ness, irresponsibility and deceit.
    The appointment will “mark a significant deepening of                  saturated the atmosphere with gases         balance and facilitate the destruction       Enough of insensitivity, irresponsibil-
Australia’s relations with the Vatican”, said Rudd.                        that impair climatic conditions with        of the environment.                          ity and deceit. Tomorrow, it will be too
    Rudd’s personal and financial support for the appointment are          the catastrophic effects we are begin-           A better distribution of the wealth     late to do what should have been done
far more sinister than other populist or cynical exercises in oppor-       ning to suffer.                             and available technologies would be          a long time ago. 
tunism, such as being seen at the football or drinking with workers             Forests disappear, deserts grow.       necessary to spare humanity such
in a pub.
    They are an indication of the moral, social and non-secular di-
rection the conservative and religious Rudd wants to take Australia.
They are an attack on multiculturalism and an exercise to try and
                                                                             In Memoriam
return to the time when the church and state were closely linked.            Laurie Kiek died just one year ago on July
                                                                             25, 2007. He joined the Communist Party
             Get out of Afghanistan and Iraq                                 of Australia in his ‘teens and was an active
    Kevin Rudd went to the electorate last year with a very cau-             member for the whole of his long life.
tious program of tinkering at the edges of the neo-liberal economic
agenda applied by Howard. He also pledged to keep intact a foreign           He served in the RAAF during WW2,
policy grounded in subservience to US global interests. A minor              became General Secretary of the SA
point of difference with the Coalition was the proposed withdrawal           Institute of Teachers and helped to
of Australian troops from operations in Iraq. The justification was          secure equal pay for women teachers.
tissue thin. It was claimed that the Iraqi government forces were            He supported Spanish Relief during
getting on top of the security threats in the country and that a more
pressing problem existed in Afghanistan requiring the commitment             the Spanish Civil War and was an active
of more troops.                                                              member of the Australia-USSR Friendship
    Both claims are self-serving. Rudd sensed the growing disquiet           Society and the Australian Peace
over Howard’s commitment to US-led endless wars. The war in                  Committee.
Iraq never had the support of most Australians and brought un-
precedented numbers onto the streets in February 2003 as the US              Laurie was an ardent seller of The
finalised preparations for the invasion and occupation of the coun-          Guardian and other Party publications. He
try. The partial withdrawal was not a brave or groundbreaking                tutored Party classes until his final year.
move. Australia was only the latest of a long list of the “coalition
of the willing” that finally had to buckle to the will of their own          He was a loving family man, married to
people.                                                                      Mavis for 52 years and then, to Jessie
    The redeployment to Afghanistan was also a means of smoothing            when Mavis died. Laurie’s sons – Rollo
ruffled feathers of the hawks in the Bush Administration. “The core
reason for the deployment in Afghanistan – which we supported to             and Llew – remember him with thanks
a man and a woman in Opposition – was a direct reflection of our             and pride as do his many friends and
alliance obligations to the US”, Rudd said recently. “The ANZUS              comrades.
treaty committed us to respond to a direct attack on any of its mem-
bers. That happened in September, 2001.”
    The root cause of the situation in Afghanistan is the same as


                                                                             Hiroshima Day
that in Iraq. The presence of foreign troops is not a solution to these
countries’ crises but a real root cause. People will resist foreign oc-
                                                                                                                                                   Melbourne
cupation and the plundering of their resources. The defence of US
                                                                                                                                                   7-9 pm Wednesday 6 August
global corporate interests is not a worthy goal. It is shameful. It is


                                                                             Commemoration
                                                                                                                                                   Corner Swanston & Flinders St
not worth the life of one more Iraqi or Afghani person or Australian                                                                               (outside St Paul’s Cathedral)
soldier.                                                                                                                                           Organised by the Medical Association for the Prevention of War
                                                                                                                                                   For info: 03 8344 1737

                           PRESS FUND                                                                                                              Sydney
Last week George Street, Sydney’s main thoroughfare, was closed                                                                                    12.30 pm Saturday 2 August
to traffic for the Catholic Church’s World Youth Day events.                                                                                       Town Hall Square
One Sydneysider commented that the money spent by Australian
                                                                                                                                                   Brisbane
governments on this event would have been enough to turn
                                                                                                                                                   No to War and Militarization, No to a Nuclear Australia,
George Street into a pedestrian mall, as well as paying for its long-
                                                                                                                                                   Yes to Human Rights in Peace and War
awaited new tram service. Speaking of money, we’re very short of                                                                                   2 pm Wednesday 6 August
contributions this week. Has everyone gone off to see the Pope? We                                                                                 Queens Park, Cnr George and Elizabeth Streets
really need your support, so please send us in something for the next                                                                              Speakers: Andrew Dettmer, State Secretary Australian
issue. Don’t put it off! Our gratitude to the following contributors                                                                               Manufacturing Workers Union; Salam El-Merebi, Al Nisa,
this week is in inverse proportion to their numerical strength:                                                                                    Australian Muslim Women’s Youth Group; Dave Copeman,
Jeesie, Rollo & Llew In memoriam Laurie Kiek $350                                                                                                  Amnesty International Australia; Liz Shields, Friends of the
                                                                                                                                                   Earth Anti-nuclear; Daniele Viliunas, Qld Coordinator Medical
Ray Scott $120, “Round Figure” $10.                                                                                                                Association for the Prevention of War; Kim Stewart, Peace
This week’s total: $480. Progressive total: $7,690.                                                                                                Convergence.
The Guardian
July 23   2008                                                                                                                                                                             Australia              3



Oh brave New South Wales
Peter Mac                                  the reach of many motorists. The
                                           production of battery-operated cars is
The current Catholic World Youth           already technically feasible, but this
Day (CWYD) activities in Sydney            will be forestalled as long as possible
have placed tremendous burdens             by the existing automobile and oil
on the city’s transport network, and       corporations
have exposed serious weaknesses                 As more and more people come to
which the Iemma Government has             rely on public transport, the rail net-
failed to address.                         work will have to become economical
    City stations which are normally       and efficient, and serve a wider land-
crowded became extremely dangerous         mass and population.
at peak-hours, as youthful pilgrims             However, the Iemma Government
jostled with other passengers for          is still determined to introduce a
space, perilously close to the platform    totally new system of “Metro” rail
edges. Trains entered at a snail’s pace,   lines. The astronomical cost of
while station staff attempted desper-      constructing this completely dif-
ately to persuade everyone to stand        ferent system would absorb all the
back from the trains and not rush to       funds available for upgrading and
the doors as they opened.                  maintaining the existing system over
    Sydney’s public transport system,      the nest 20 years. The Metro would
which did such wonderful service dur-      also be privately owned, which
ing the 2000 Olympics, was brought         would inevitably result in a massive
to the limit of its capabilities by the    increase in fares and an abysmal fall
CWYD events, to an extent which            in maintenance and upgrading, as has
was clearly not even considered by         already happened in Melbourne and
the Iemma Government.                      other cities.
                                                One recent report concluded that
Sydney’s future                            the Iemma Government’s costing            existing Richmond RAAF base west            eliminating the need for a second          electrical wind farms, which are soon
                                           of its Metro proposal was totally         of Sydney, or at Williamtown, outside       airport altogether.                        expected to provide up to eight percent
public transport                           inadequate, and the estimates of its      Newcastle.                                                                             of the nation’s power.
     The CWYD certainly provided an        capacity were grossly exaggerated.             It is entirely possible that state     NSW or bust                                     The German government is lining
example of how right-wing theologi-        This hasn’t deterred the Labor gov-       and federal governments could finally            Humankind is facing an enormous       the highways with solar voltaic panels,
cal conservatives can sell mediaeval       ernment, which is determined to sell      decide to build a brand spanking huge       natural crisis caused by its own activi-   and either encouraging or forcing the
mumbo-jumbo en masse with the              off the state’s electric power system,    new airport at either of these locations,   ties. Climate change and petroleum         private sector to invest in renewable
help of media. However, it also dem-       despite huge opposition from within       or at some other location, at equally       shortages will require a second indus-     energy systems. For the first time
onstrated the demands likely to be         the Labor Party, the unions, envi-        huge public expense.                        trial revolution on a vaster scale than    in 30 years, European citizens are
placed on Sydney’s transport system        ronmental groups and the general               However, government planning           its predecessor, involving the global      experiencing lighter-than-air travel by
within the next 20 years, as a result of   public.                                   does not seem to have taken into            abandonment of the internal combus-        dirigibles, and in Switzerland research
normal population increase.                                                          account the harsh reality that the          tion engine, and the development of        is being conducted into solar-powered
     Moreover, as in other major           That second airport                       soaring cost of aviation fuel is soon       new “no-emission” methods of power-        aircraft.
urban centres, planning for Sydney’s           NSW governments have been             likely to push air travel beyond the        ing transport and industry.                     Climate change and petroleum
public transport network will need         arguing for 50 years about the pos-       reach of most would-be tourists, even            State and federal governments in      shortages will require a second indus-
to be revised radically in the light of    sible location for a second airport       if firms like Qantas manage to suc-         many countries are responding with         trial revolution on a vaster scale than
climate change, and the rocketing cost     for Sydney. The Iemma government          ceed in crushing the wage levels of         determination and imagination. In the      its predecessor, involving the global
of petroleum, arising from the “peak       and representatives of tourism and        its employees.                              Netherlands they are investigating         abandonment of the internal combus-
oil” crisis.                               other industries have recently been            There will then be a far lower         storing energy in huge subterranean        tion engine, and the development of
     As a result of these developments     promoting the establishment of            load on the capacity of the existing        compressed air tanks. The Chinese          new “no-emission” methods of power-
the cost of petrol will soon rise beyond   a new international airport at the        Kingsford-Smith airport facilities,         government is constructing massive         ing transport and industry. 




Faith or knowledge
In welcoming the Pope to Sydney                 On the other hand reason is          comprises all the conditions and ele-       to preserve their domination over          coverage of the Catholic World
Kevin Rudd said “Some say there            described as: “The intellectual           ments of research.”                         the minds of humanity. This strug-         Youth Day, whether it be print, radio,
is no place for faith in the 21st          faculty characteristic especially of           In the face of the march of sci-       gle has used both sanguine and             television or internet, it would be
Century. I say they are wrong.             human beings by which conclusions         ence the Catholic Church, in particu-       peaceful means and the claim by            hard to find any reference to science.
Some say that faith is the enemy of        are drawn from premises. It goes on       lar, attempts to find a way to marry        Kevin Rudd that the Pope is “an            It was all about faith. Faith is the
reason, I say also they are wrong.         to describe reason as those who “use      faith and science. This is what is          apostle of peace” and is the “light        stock-in-trade of religion and could
Because faith and reason are great         argument with person[s] by way of         behind Kevin Rudd’s remark, obvi-           of the world at a time when the            never subject its faith to the scrutiny
partners in our human history              persuasion… to “form or try to reach      ously meaning that the Church is            world has so much darkness” is a           of science. Rather faith is described
and in our human future. Rich              conclusions by connected thought”.        “rich in scientific progress” and that      continuation of this.                      by the religious as being above or
in humanity, rich in scientific                 The Dictionary of Philosophy,        “faith and reason are great partners”.          One suspects that Kevin Rudd’s         beyond science.
progress…”                                 a Communist publication, says of               The previous Pope attempted            reference to “darkness” refers to the          There was one daily midst all
     The fact is that faith (meaning       faith that it is the “recognition of      to find a way to bring faith and sci-       advance of science and the world-          the media hype, the Australian
a belief in a supernatural creator) is     something as true without proof …         ence together when he invited to the        wide decline of religious “faith”, the     Financial Review (July 17), that took
inimical to science.                       Blind faith in the supernatural (God,     Vatican a group of scientists includ-       upsurge of people’s movements for          a more sobre approach. Its readers
     The Oxford Dictionary describes       angels, devils, satan, etc) is part of    ing Stephen Hawkings.                       social change and the advance of           worship market forces. Their prayers
faith as, among other things, “divine      any religion”.                                 There are many examples                socialist ideas which are based on         were not heard, as can be seen from
truth apart from proof”. The authors            Science, on the other hand,          of how blind faith works out in             the scientific investigation of society    the headline of the paper’s coverage
of the dictionary may have had the         is “the field of research directed        worldly practice. For centuries the         and an understanding of the changes        (on page 3!) which ran: “Pilgrims
Catholic Church in mind when it            towards obtaining further knowledge       Churches, hand in hand with the             taking place.                              bring their faith but no spending
said: “belief founded on authority”.       of nature, society and thought. It        colonial powers, have been fighting             In the wall-to-wall media              money”. 
                                                                                                                                                                            Melbounre
Pete’s Corner

                                                                                                                                                                            HIROSHIMA DAY
                                                                                                                                                                            Saturday 9th August 1pm
                                                                                                                                                                            at State Library
                                                                                                                                                                            NO nuclear waste dump!
                                                                                                                                                                            NO war!
                                                                                                                                                                            NO nuclear weapons!
                                                                                                                                                                            NO uranium mining
                                                                                                                                                                            Organised by Nuclear Free Australia
                                                                                                                                                                            Go to www.nukefreeaus.org

                                                                                                                                                                            Followed by
                                                                                                                                                                            Peace Festival
                                                                                                                                                                            Organised by Japanese for Peace
                                                                                                                                                                            3-5pm at Melbourne Town Hall
                                                                                                                                                                            with acoustic music and dance
4                                                                                                                                                                                                 The Guardian
                                                                                                                                                                                                      July 23   2008




Noel Washington –
litmus test of
Rudd’s IR credibility
Bob Briton                                 Labor chose to go “small target”           parliamentary Labor Party as well.
                                           over the issue and to rehash the Libs’     Doug Cameron, newly elected senator
Noel Washington, a Victorian offi-         rhetoric about “lawlessness” in the        and former national secretary of the
cial of the CFMEU’s Construction           industry and the need to have a “tough     AMWU, is reported to have flagged
Division, will front a Geelong court       cop on the beat”. Rudd was swept           the issue of the ABCC for discussion
on August 8 facing the prospect of a       into office on a wave of opposition        when parliament resumes late next
six month jail sentence for refusing       to Howard’s WorkChoices industrial         month. “There is genuine concern
to attend an interrogation ordered         relations regime but he has not used       among a number of MPs about the
by the Australian Building and             the clear mandate on IR to take the axe    operations of the ABCC and the most
Construction Commission (ABCC).            to the anti-union commission. Over         basic fundamental human rights.
The case has brought to a head             70 percent of Australians polled by        That’s an issue the federal Labor Party
major disagreements between the            the CFMEU agree with the statement         needs to address,” former ACTU pres-
trade union movement and the               “workers in the construction industry      ident and current member for Throsby,
Rudd Labor government over the             shouldn’t be treated any differently       Jennie George, said recently.
Howard-era building site Gestapo.          from workers in any other industry.”            The debate will be sharp and the
The ACTU’s executive voted                      In spite of this desire for change,   job of turning attitudes around will
unanimously last week to support           Rudd and Workplace Relations               not be easy. As recently as May of this
a campaign against the commission          Minister Julia Gillard are sticking to     year Gillard was saying “it is the inten-
to be spearheaded by the CFMEU             their drawn out timeline for phasing       tion of the Rudd Labor government
and other building unions.                 out the ABCC. Former Federal Court         to always have a tough cop on the
     The ACTU-backed campaign              judge Murray Wilcox is to report           beat in the building and construction
will tackle the misinformation             early next year on the transition from     industry.” The government is reported
being spread by the Master Builders        the winding up of the AABC in 2010         to be deep in discussion with big
Association (MBA) that scrapping           to the establishment of a new work-        business circles about the next round
the ABCC would put the construc-           place “cop” agency within Fair Work        of industrial relations legislation.
tion of better roads, schools and          Australia. Unless there is an effective    The corporate sector is very clearly
medical facilities for the community       challenge, the offensive anti-union        putting it to the government that the
in jeopardy.                               and anti-worker assumptions, legal         ABCC or its re-badged successor is




                                                                                                                                                                                                                       Photo: Steven Pam
     The truth is that frustrating the     underpinnings and activities of the        non-negotiable.
right of unions to access and organ-       ABCC could be dragged on in another             The challenge is before the work-
ise their members, which has been          guise into another decade.                 ers of Australia to get rid of the ABCC.
enforced by the ABCC, has given                 Meanwhile, there is the case of       It is not just an issue for workers in
construction companies a bit of a          Noel Washington as a glaring exam-         building and construction. The body
breather from essential oversight of       ple of what is at stake. The veteran       is an example of what can happen            Noel Washington.
pay, conditions and safety on many         union official refused to attend an        to any union that seeks to overcome
jobs. “The commission has deliv-           ABCC interrogation about union             obstacles to organise its members
ered a golden era for the Australian       meetings held at Bovis Lend Lease in       effectively. The $500,000 commitment
construction industry,” as MBA             2007. “You are actually going to have      from the ACTU for a Your Rights at
Victorian executive director Brian         a union official brought before the        Work-style campaign is a great start.
Welch put it.
     Noel’s case is a timely reminder to
workers across the country that Rudd
                                           courts, for what crime, for refusing
                                           to dob in his mates,” ACTU presi-
                                           dent Sharan Burrow told the media
                                                                                      The rally to take place in Melbourne
                                                                                      on July 30 promises to be show of the
                                                                                      depth of opposition among workers to
                                                                                                                                  Telstra’s secret
                                                                                                                                  IR strategy
did not promise to scrap the ABCC in       last week.                                 the objectionable, secretive workplace
the lead-up to the federal elections.           Outrage is being felt in the          policing agency. 


                                                                                                                                  Official company documents                as the psychological profiling of
Zoo keepers celebrate pay deal                                                                                                    revealed last week show a secret
                                                                                                                                  strategy used by Telstra manage-
                                                                                                                                  ment to get 15,000 employees onto
                                                                                                                                                                            employees’ vulnerabilities are unethi-
                                                                                                                                                                            cal and are not the Australian way of
                                                                                                                                                                            treating staff.
Zoo keepers, horticulturalists and         receiving a pay rise since December        Union, paid tribute to the courage          Australian Workplace Agreements                “The documents also show that
maintenance staff have reached             2006.                                      and unity of Zoo staff.                     ahead of a ban on them which came         Telstra management knew it was oper-
an in principle agreement to set-              Zoo staff will also receive                 “Congratulations must go to            into force in March.                      ating on slippery ground and provided
tle their pay dispute, following           increases to allowances, including         these Zoo staff. They stuck together            The secret training kit obtained      managers with tips on how to avoid
successful conciliation talks in the       significant increases to the “home         and were determined to fight for fair       by a newspaper lays out a plan used       allegations of coercion or duress dur-
Industrial Relations Commission.           treatment of animals” allowance.           wages and conditions.                       by human resources managers to            ing the drive to increase AWAs.”
     The deal means industrial action      Zoos Victoria withdrew its demand               “This deal means that these            induce Telstra employees to transfer           A report by the Workplace
at Victoria’s three Zoos is likely to      that staff access to the Zoo laundry       dedicated, highly-skilled workers           onto WorkChoices AWAs which               Ombudsman has found a prima facie
be averted.                                service be restricted.                     should now be able to stay in the           reduced their rights in the last days     case against a Telstra manager who
     Zoo union delegates say the deal          The deal follows protests by           jobs they love and not be forced to         before being banned by the Rudd           allegedly sought to illegitimately
is a great win for Zoo staff and their     Zoo workers outside Melbourne Zoo          look for better-paid work elsewhere.        government.                               influence three employees to accept
campaign against below-CPI pay             condemning Zoos Victoria’s initial              “Their focus can now return to             The tricks used by Telstra man-       AWAs.
increases offered by Zoos Victoria.        offer as “peanuts”. Annual salaries        the things that matter most to them:        agers included profiling of workers’           “The current laws are not strong
     The pay deal provides for             among these staff average around           the welfare of animals and educating        vulnerable pressure points to sign an     enough to protect workers from this
annual pay increases of above the          $41,000, or 30 percent below the           children about the natural world.”          AWA, a bonus system for managers          sort of underhanded behaviour by
current inflation rate of 4.2 percent.     average weekly wage.                            The deal will be put to a vote of      to sign their staff up to AWAs, and       managers and show that the rest of
The deal also includes back-pay                Jess Walsh, state secretary of         staff in the coming weeks.                 guidelines for scripts about how to       WorkChoices needs to be gotten rid
of $1,000 to compensate staff not          the LHMU Hospitality and Tourism                                                       convince workers to sign.                 of,” Mr Lawrence said.
                                                                                                                                      The secret strategy has come               “Telstra management is clinging
                                                                                                                                  to light as Telstra management has        to the WorkChoices laws that have
                                                                                                                                  turned its back on union approaches       been rejected by Australian voters.
Dive safety in Qld under the spotlight                                                                                            to discuss a new co-operative and
                                                                                                                                  constructive relationship with its
                                                                                                                                                                            Telstra workers are sick and tired of
                                                                                                                                                                            this combative and hostile approach
                                                                                                                                  workforce.                                by management.
Australia’s dive industry is boom-         Workers’ Union, Paul Howes, met            our waters - we need unified standards          Unions have called on Telstra              “We saw it again last week when
ing but lacks critical unified             with workers, industry and political       and training to ensure the safety of        management to reconsider its stance       Telstra’s HR department unilaterally
safety standards and professional          leaders.                                   our divers is not compromised,” said        and resume talks on a new collective      broke off talks over a new enterprise
training said the Maritime Union                “We must ensure that we put in        Mr Howes.                                   agreement to cover the whole of the       agreement and transition arrangements
of Australia in Cairns earlier this        measures that safeguard workers,                “Both our unions have already          company’s 32,000 staff.                   for staff on AWAs, putting the security
month.                                     divers and protect the ongoing sus-        played important roles in defending             “These secret documents blow          of their pay and conditions at risk.
    Union leaders headed to far north      tainability of the industry,” said Mr      the interests of working families in        Telstra management’s game plan                 “Unions are ready to resume talks
Queensland to put the spotlight on         Crumlin.                                   Queensland and Western Australia in         wide open,” says ACTU secretary Jeff      with Telstra to negotiate renewal of the
safety, training and workplace condi-           Currently there are no unified        off-shore industries such as diving,        Lawrence.                                 collective agreement and an orderly
tions in the fast growing but unregu-      safety standards or regulation in the      and the huge gas and oil off-shore              “They lift the lid on the com-        transition for workers wishing to
lated diving industry.                     diving industry.                           fields, now we have combined forces         pany’s dirty tricks plan to sign 15,000   opt out of AWAs. But we want the
    The national secretary of the               “Australia is renowned for its        so we can have even greater effect,”        employees onto AWAs in the last days      company to lift its game and treat its
Maritime Union, Paddy Crumlin, and         world class diving, with tourists trav-    he continued.                              before a Rudd government ban.             workers with more respect.” 
national secretary of the Australian       elling across the world just to dive in                                                    “Tactics the company used such
The Guardian
July 23   2008                                                                                                                                                                      Australia              5


 Film review by Jules Andrews



My Brother
is an Only Child
“Revolution begins at home”
How do you “cleanse” your young-           the children” and in the physical space      adolescence from the age 13 to
er brother of his fascist ideals?          he once occupied.                            early adulthood an obvious need for a
Holding his head down in a basin                His parents seemed to have grown        change of actors during the film arises.
of water might temporarily allevi-         accustomed to the now peaceful               Actor Vittoria Emanuele Propizio
ate the some of your own anger             household, while his elder brother and       offers an astounding acting debut as
and frustration, but only through          sister are members of the Communist          the young Accio. The character is
education – both ideological and           Party and his presence is an interfer-       then quite seamlessly taken up by the       Ardent fascist Accio Benassi (Elio Germano) with his communist elder
via the school of hard knocks – will       ence in their political work.                more experienced (27-year-old) Elio
                                                                                                                                    brother Manrico (Riccardo Scamarcio).
he eventually come to his senses.               At a loss, Accio comes under the        Germano.
     My Brother is an Only Child (Mio      sway of a stallholder in the town mar-            Italian heartthrob Riccardo
Fratello è Figlio Unico) maps the          ket, a man who talks of the glory days       Scamarcio plays Manrico.
upheavals of the 1960s in Italy through    of Italy and empire under Mussolini               My Brother is an Only Child was
both the sibling rivalry in the Benassi    and the great shame the country now          nominated for and won a swag of
family and the growing instability and     endured living in the shadow of the          David di Donatello Awards (Italy’s
havoc being wreaked on the small           Americans. He is quickly enthused by         version of the American Academy
town in which they live.                   these reminiscences, and being half-         Awards) for the acting and just about
     It was a decade during which          drowned by his elder brother Manrico         all other categories.
the Catholic Church found itself           in the backyard wash-tub only further             However, the film was by and
fast losing its grip on the formally       spurs him to take “action” against the       large bypassed by festivals outside of
blindly faithful hearts and minds of       growing communist threat.                    Italy, and its exclusion from the main
the people.                                     He comes under the sway of the          competition at the Cannes festival
     Conversely, the Italian Communist     fascists, but unfortunately for Accio,       caused a national uproar.
                                                                                                                                     Kevin Rudd’s announcement of a new Asia-Pacific Community
Party was quickly rising in both mem-      action is not enough – he also ques-              The deeper currents in this film, or
bership and political influence. (It       tions: Why are we doing this? What           a correct interpretation of the events       earlier this year was essentially a continuation of the old
reached its zenith in the 1976 general     is fascism? Can I meet the leaders of        will probably be lost on people who          Howard government’s US deputy sheriff in the region. Rudd’s
elections with 34 percent of the popu-     the organisation?                            do not have at least a basic level of        proposal will, of course, include the US as the major play-
lar vote).                                      Manrico, on the other hand, does        knowledge in Marxist-Leninist theory.        er in policing “rogue” and “failed” states in the region. Defence
     Fascism – after several humiliat-     not feel the need to question his own        It would therefore be viewed as an           Minister Joel Fitzgibbon said last week that the “key to any
ing decades hiding in the shadows –        party and the new trends emerging            entertaining “family drama”, while           regional partnership or grouping is a continued strong US region-
was once again rearing its ugly head.      within it during the late ’60s.              the political events in the background       al presence.” The Asia-Pacific Community concept would deal
     Teenager Accio Benassi provides            This situation is brought to a          depict “the failures of fascism and
the vehicle by which all three aspects     head during the student uprisings of         communism”.                                  with “security and economic challenges” said Fitzgibbon. He
are examined.                              1968, when in a bizarre scene the                 With a certain level of ideological     told representatives of the US administration in Washington
     At the edge of their desperation      students “occupy” the university and         knowledge this film – while maintain-        that the economic growth and military power of China and
Accio’s parents send the aggravating       the orchestra performs Beethoven’s           ing the overall dramatic nature – it will    India in coming years will “shape future security needs”.
and aggressive 13-year-old boy to a        Ninth Symphony. The “bourgeois”              be noted that it examines “the nature
Catholic seminary. Very quickly it is      lyrics of Schiller’s Ode to Joy in the       of fascism and the failure of commu-         The Australian Building and Construction Commission, set up by
discerned he is not a suitable candidate   last movement have been done away            nist deviations”.                            the Howard government to police building workers, is now the
for the priesthood and he is packed        with and replaced by the student’s new            Take a friend to see it, but ensure     target of a concerted union campaign to abolish it. The ACTU
off home again. The youngest of            revolutionary text.                          you’ve planned to have a meal or at
three children in the Benassi family,           Certainly one of this film’s great-     least go for a coffee afterwards so you      said that the case of Victorian union official Noel Washington, a
he finds upon his return he has been       est strengths is its cast.                   can discuss the questions that will no       member of the Construction Division of the CFMEU, who is fac-
displaced –both in his role as “one of          As the film follows Accio’s             doubt arise.                                ing jail for not cooperating with the Commission, had “brought
                                                                                                                                     matters to a head”. “You are going to have a union official
                                                                                                                                     brought before the courts, for what crime, for refusing to dob in
                                                                                           Sydney Film Screening
                                                                                                                                     his mates,” said ACTU president Sharan Burrow. Mr Washington

                                                                                       Rabbit-Proof                                  is set to appear in court next month for refusing to give evidence
                                                                                                                                     to the Commission. The Rudd government’s position is that
                                                                                                                                     it will maintain the Commission until 2010, but even then it will
                                                                                         Fence                                       not completely do away with it. Instead it will be retained as a
                                                                                                                                     specialist division of the government’s new Fair Work Australia.
                                                                             “1500 Miles is a long way home”
                                                                                                                                     Meanwhile, in a clear warning that the public is losing patience
                                                                                     6pm Friday 25 July                              with the demands of the business lobby groups who want to
                                                                                                                                     keep major aspects of the Howard government’s reactionary
                                                                                         CPA office                                  WorkChoices legislation, a new national poll shows Australians
                                                                                74 Buckingham St, Surry Hills                        want to get rid of WorkChoices as soon as possible. The Galaxy
                                                                                                                                     Poll of 1,009 respondents shows the public strongly rejects big
                                                                                Rabbit-Proof fence is based on a true                business proposals to delay restoring workers’ protection from
                                                                               story of three girls who were stolen from             unfair dismissal and collective bargaining rights. An example of
                                                                              their family in 1931 by the West Australian            the arrogance of big business is the Harvey Norman retail chain
                                                                             Government to be detained in a camp while               which is trying to impose AWA individual contracts on its employ-
                                                                               being trained as domestic servants. With              ees even though the government has banned the introduction of
                                                                             spectacular determination Molly Craig leads             AWAs where workers were not previously covered by them. The
                                                                                                                                     Harvey Norman AWAs cut workers’ take home pay by up to $146
                                                                              her younger sister and cousin on a daring
                                                                                                                                     a week. Among other things, the poll shows that almost three-
                                                                              escape and then on a journey to find their
                                                                                                                                     quarters of voters believe there should be no delay in improving
                                                                                         family 2400kms away.
                                                                                                                                     protection of workers’ rights, and nearly seven in ten voters oppose
                                                                                 Doris Pilkington Garimara was the author            a delay in restoring the right of workers to bargain collectively.
                                                                                    of the original book, one in a series
                                                                               documenting her family history. Directed and          CAPITALIST HOG OF THE WEEK: is the chairman of shop-
                                                                                Produced by Philip Noyce (Dead Calm, The             ping centre group Westfield Holdings, Frank Lowy. Last week
                                                                                     Cowra Breakout, The Dismissal).                 Lowy announced that the Tax Officer had begun a “detailed
                                                                                               Donation to                           and thorough audit “a year ago after obtaining documents origi-
                                                                                      CPA Central Branch appreciated:                nally stolen from the LGT bank in Liechtenstein. LGT has been
                                                                                                                                     the subject of international investigations by authorities into
                                                                                          $8 full, $6 concession
                                                                                                                                     tax avoidance and evasion. Lowy has denied any wrongdoing.
6           Magazine                                                                                                                                                                                  The Guardian
                                                                                                                                                                                                           July 23   2008




Chile – still shaking off
the legacy of Pinochet
Bob Briton                                                                                                           We have very hard work to deal with
                                                                                                                within the country and there is much debate of a
Victor Hugo Tiznado is a member of the Central Committee of the                                                 political and ideological nature. Happily, there’s
                                                                                                                constant change within the Party. The last big
Communist Party of Chile and its trade union commission. He was a
                                                                                                                debate arose when we decided to support [current
long-time activist in the coal mining union and now serves on the city                                          president] Michelle Bachelet in the second round
council of the former coal mining centre of Lota. He recently visited                                           [of elections in 2005].
Australia to strengthen contact with the Chilean community in several                                                However, this was done with conditions –
Australian capitals as they prepared to commemorate the centenary of                                            it wasn’t given away for free. We put forward
                                                                                                                five points in the interest of the people.** There
the birth of the late President Salvador Allende . In Adelaide, he took
                                                                                                                was a great debate, a tough fight leading up to a
time out of his schedule for the following interview with Bob Briton from                                       major mobilisation of workers last year with a
The Guardian.                                                                                                   nationwide strike on August 29.
                                                                                                                     BB: What is the situation now of the strug-
      BB: How would you describe the political           which brought us some problems in our work             gle of the Indigenous people of Chile?
and economic situation in Chile? Are the people          but which were eventually overcome. We are                  VT: The Communist Party of Chile sup-
feeling the effects of the progressive changes           working within Juntos Podemos Más towards              ports all the forms of struggle of the Mapuche.
taking place in Latin America or is the neo-             the next municipal elections and the national          It respects its position as an autonomous people
liberal agenda still firmly in place?                    parliamentary elections and presidential elec-         with its own language and identity within the
      Victor Tiznado: At our 23rd Congress, we           tion in 2009.                                          Chilean nation. We have stood with the Mapuche
as a Party set down the position that Chile is                We in the Communist Party believe that work       people in these times of brutal repression. A
not a real democracy. There a very few spaces            within Juntos Podemos Más is very important but        major undertaking of the neo-liberal system
for democratic debate and the people are only            realise that it is not a coalition only of people of   and those who govern for it has been to end the
consulted when there is the occasion to elect the        the left or the revolutionary left. We believe it is   association of the Mapuche with their lands and
authorities – but as far as opportunities for par-       a grouping of those who wish to break with the         the riches that are to be found on and within
ticipation on important matters, there are no real       neo-liberal system. For us to achieve people’s         that land.
openings. We believe the neo-liberal model is            power took us four presidential elections from              Happily, the Mapuche people have resisted.
still intrinsically woven into the Chilean system        1952 to 1970. It took the overcoming of many           There have been moves to criminalise this
of government, that there are still major obstacles      problems to achieve the cooperation of revolu-         struggle of the Mapuche but now there is broad
to democratic participation.                             tionary and other popular forces and bring about       solidarity in Chilean society with the demands
      There is a very severe, economic, social           the Unidad Popular [Popoular Unity] govern-            of the Mapuche. There was a hunger strike by a
and cultural crisis in our society. The 23rd also        ment which had such an important role in the           Mapuche community at the beginning of January.
set down as a central political objective for            destiny of our country.                                One of the elders of that community had been          Victor Hugo Tiznado.
Communists in Chile the defeat of the neo-liberal             Today with Juntos Podemos Más the                 accused of setting fire to a number of trucks used
system and the achievement of a democratic               challenge is to bring about the broadest unity         in the forestry industry. All this was an effort on   company, workers in the “third category”, started
government with social justice. Right now in             possible of forces that are not necessarily of         the part of the apparatus to marginalise these        a very strong campaign to be recognised in the
our country the social movements and the trade           the left, including those of the centre and even       people. The Party sent whatever assistance it         same way as other workers in Codelco and
unions are making significant advances strug-            slightly of the right to achieve this model we         was able – lawyers, organisations for human           escape the super-exploitation of their subcontac-
gling for openings in the struggle against the           need to build. It has happened in Ecuador with         rights, etc.                                          tor status. It was a celebrated struggle in which
neo-liberal system. Recently the teachers have           Rafael Correa, in Bolivia with Evo Morales, in              In Chile there was an outpouring of sym-         a militant of our Party, Cristian Cuevas took a
participated in a series of protests to defeat a law     Paraguay with Fernando Lugo, in Uruguay with           pathy with the Mapuche people. This attempt           leading role along with other leaders from our
put in place under Pinochet called LOCE – the            Tabaré Vazquez.                                        to punish the struggle of the Mapuche failed. It      Party and the left.
constitution law on education.                                In reality we cannot afford to exclude any-       was a clear advance in the struggle to defend the          In the field of education, Pinochet left a
      There is an overall awakening of the               one who comes to us with the motivation of             interests of the Mapuche people. They will keep       law called LOCE (the Constitutional Law of
consciousness of workers which had until                 fighting against the neo-liberal system, who is        up this struggle and the question of their rights     Education). This permitted the formation of
recently been firmly held back. In that sense,           against social exclusion, against the slavery of       to their land will be taken up by a more progres-     private schools on a commercial basis set up on
we Communists along with a large part of the             the markets and mechanisms like the binominal          sive government in future as will the question        the neo-liberal model. Teachers from the teachers
population and its progressive forces are draw-          system [which favours the two large pro-system         of an apology for the years of persecution, not       college initiated a series of nationwide protests
ing inspiration from what is taking place in the         electoral blocs]. They oppose the labour laws and      only in the era of Spanish colonialism but also       together with the university students and second-
region. We have the example of revolutionary                                                                                                                          ary students, the “penguins” [after their black and
Cuba and now Venezuela, Bolivia, Paraguay,                                                                                                                            white uniforms]. It was a very strong manifesta-

                                                                       Pinochet died
Ecuador, Nicaragua. Precisely that which we saw                                                                                                                       tion in favour of public education.
taking place under the government of Allende we                                                                                                                            Last week, they resolved to legislate over
now see taking place elsewhere.                                                                                                                                       the general law of education after a national
      There is a great call for international solidar-                                                                                                                strike involving 96 percent of the sector. From
ity. There is much concern about the situation
with Evo Morales [the popular leftist president
of Bolivia], with [President] Rafael Correa in
Ecuador and with [Sandinista President] Daniel
                                                                    robbing the people,                                                                               Valparaíso, 100 buses arrived in the capital. More
                                                                                                                                                                      than 20,000 people protested in the city.
                                                                                                                                                                           In August, there will be elections for a new
                                                                                                                                                                      leadership in the CUT [peak union council]. We
Ortega in Nicaragua there is network of solidarity
in place to protect the democratic advances that
have been made. The Party has also discussed
                                                               while Allende died struggling                                                                          will have candidates standing as Communists or
                                                                                                                                                                      for a progressive alliance of the left. An impor-
                                                                                                                                                                      tant develoment taking place at the instigation of


                                                                    and not for himself.
the new process starting up in Paraguay under                                                                                                                         the CUT at the moment is formation of a broad
President Fernando Lugo and how to support                                                                                                                            social and political spectrum who have become
it.                                                                                                                                                                   involved in the “social and political parliament”
      BB: What has the experience of the                                                                                                                              which looks to the political transformation of
Communist Party of Chile been in the Juntos                                                                                                                           the country. For example, there is the call for the
Podemos Más* (Together We Can Do More)                   want to bring under social ownership the basic         at the hands of the Chilean people. It will give      scrapping of the political inheritance from the
electoral alliance been like? Has it strengthened        resources of the country – copper, oil, coal, etc.     the question of autonomy for the Mapuche the          Pinochet era, for a constitutional assembly and
the position of the workers and other oppressed          In other words, I am speaking of all those in          priority it deserves.                                 democratic elections from the Chilean authori-
people? What has been the effect on the Party            favour of measures to improve the lives of the              BB: Has the trade union movement in Chile        ties. Workers struggling for better wages and
itself?                                                  country’s workers.                                     become stronger or weaker in recent times?            conditions need support in the political arena.
      VT: Juntos Podemos Más is an alternative               BB: Has the Party been able to link its work            VT: The Party is very concerned to make it            BB: What is the atmosphere like in Chile
coalition to the two main coalitions in Chile,           with the left forces achieving breakthroughs in        understood that the people most necessary to the      regarding the Allende centenary? How is he
the Concertación, which is currently in power            Latin America? How much priority is given to           political life of the country are the people who      remembered by workers?
and the Alliance for Chile on the right. The cur-        international solidarity work?                         produce its wealth, the workers. That is a crucial         VT: We Communists regard the contribution
rent government is located on the right in terms             VT: The Communist Party in Chile has               political message. With this understanding in the     of Allende very highly. We will never renounce
of the economy, the legal system and various             been very busy in building links with the other        years as we emerged from the dictatorship, we         the belief that he was the born leader of the
areas of production. We linked up with various           progressive forces in Latin America and has            struggled to establish a strong central trade union   country. At the time of the centenary of his birth,
political forces like the MIR [Movement of the           very good relations with Fidel, Evo Morales,           organisation. In recent times, in various sectors     here in Australia the Party is doing what it can
Revolutionary Left], the Humanist Party, eco-            Hugo Chávez. As a Communist Party we have              including forestry, there have been campaigns         to put before the public the many achievements
logical movements and others to put together             expressed our solidarity with the armed struggle       that attained international recognition. There        of Allende. Tomorrow in Melbourne there will
a proposal for governing the country in 2005             in Colombia, with those who are recognised as          was the one centred on the region of Arauco           be an event in homage to Allende.
with Humanist Party candidate for President,             forces for liberation in the political life of the     where the workers were campaigning for better              The three years of the government of
Tomás Hirsch.                                            Colombian people. In regard to Ecuador and             conditions and wages during which a subcon-           Salvador Allende were three years of hope for the
      We achieved a significant vote not only in         Venezuela, there is a broad network of solidarity.     tracted forestry worker Rodrigo Cisternas was         workers. We called Allende “compañero presi-
the national parliament but also in the municipal        There is solidarity not only towards the struggles     assassinated. A leading role in the struggle was      dente” [“comrade president”]. From that time till
elections. We’ve had a number of advances                in Latin America but also with the Palestinian         played by a trade union activist and member of        now, ordinary people recognise that the measures
and setbacks. There were some divisions                  people, for example. In that sense the Party has       the Central Committee of the Communist Party,         he took were the most significant ever in the
about the decision with regard to the second             been exerting its maximum efforts in the area of       Jorge González.                                       interests of the workers. The “forty measures”
round [of voting in the Presidential elections]          international solidarity.                                   Subcontractors working for a copper              taken by the Popular Unity government included
The Guardian
July 23   2008                                                                                                                                                                        Magazine                 7



                                                        The truth about
                                                        Ingrid Betancourt and
                                                        the US mercenaries
                                                        To be able to understand “Operation
                                                        Redemption” to free Ingrid Betancourt and
                                                        the mercenaries of the company Northrop
                                                        Grumman Corporation who were released
                                                        together with her, it is necessary to connect
                                                        the pieces published in the media and their
                                                        meaning, to filter the content, and from there
                                                        to form a true understanding of the facts
                                                        of what happened. They had been held by
                                                        liberation organisation FARC in Colombia.
                                                             1. On June 3, Colombian Senator Piedad
                                                        Cordoba disclosed that he had information
                                                        that the government of Colombia was nego-
                                                        tiating an agreement with FARC to exchange
                                                        money for the freedom of Betancourt and the
                                                        mercenaries. The official politics of the two
                                                        countries, Colombia and the United States, is
                                                        that they “do not negotiate with terrorists”. As
                                                        for the real terrorists, several leaders of Latin
                                                        American countries accuse President Uribe of
                                                        supporting the death squads of the paramili-
                                                        taries and accuse the United States of promot-
                                                        ing, supporting and guaranteeing the security
                                                        of known terrorists, such as Orlando Bosch
                                                        and Luis Posada Carriles.
                                                             2. Attentive observers began to question
                                                        the strange circumstances that surrounded
                                    Photo: Bob Briton   the event of the “dramatic rescue” of Ingrid
                                                        Betancourt. Some men wearing Che Guevara
free milk for the children, free education, respect     t-shirts simply had appeared and placed the
for the needs of pensioners and retired people,         hostages on board a helicopter. If it was so
the nationalisation of the basic resources of           easy, why had it not been done years ago?
the country – copper, iron, coal, oil and so on         The French media also found odd the fact that
– and reform in the area of agriculture. They           Betancourt did not have the distressed or hun-
transformed the lives of poor Chileans. Three           gry appearance in the images that were dis-
million books were published and distributed            tributed before when she was still in captivity
among the people.                                       – she had a healthy appearance and appeared
     Institutions were set up where workers             to have been fed well, as she was being pre-
could get professional qualifications. The figure       pared to be freed.
of Allende resides in the heart of every poor                3. The capitalist media used the opportu-
Chilean. The way Allende faced Fascism was              nity to edit out parts of the press conference
in keeping with his revolutionary commitment.           given by Betancourt, keeping only the parts
When we compare him to the dictator we see a            that glorify Uribe and the United States. They
comparison between a revolutionary Marxist and          cut the sections in which she speaks of Hugo         Ingrid Betancourt
a Fascist traitor. You could see Pinochet who died      Chávez of Venezuela and Rafael Correa of
robbing the people, while Allende died strug-           Ecuador and their important efforts to find a
gling and not for himself. In one of his speeches       diplomatic and peaceful solution to the crisis.      quickly circulated in all the corporate media       has benefited from the generalised reminis-
Allende said that he was elected by the people               The full text of the press conference was       while they fought to try to distort the infor-      cences done by the corporate press in the
and that he would give his life for the people.         transmitted by Latin American media, such as         mation. The confusion caused by this bizarre        last days, is routinely condemned as having
     In politics today it is important to recall the    Telesur, but only small heavily edited pieces        operation makes much more sense when it is          one of the worst human rights records of any
significance of the achievements of Allende and         were transmitted by CNN, Fox News and other          seen as an action pre-organised, to exchange        country in the world. More than 60 members
not only for Chile but for Latin America and the        media of the northern hemisphere. For exam-          prisoners for money. The true face of the Latin     of the congressional coalition of President
world. Allende and Popular Unity were very con-         ple, one of the things cut in the edited version     American extreme right was again exposed.           Uribe are under investigation for electoral
cerned to achieve the sustainable development           were the comments of Betancourt that she felt             9. It is worthwhile to repeat that together    fraud or collaborating with right-wing groups
of the country. Today we see progressive forces         used by the whole situation and that the opera-      with Betancourt, soldiers of the United States      classified as “terrorist organisations” by the
struggling to achieve these very same things            tion had put the life of the prisoners at risk       were also set free. They were working on pri-       United States.
against the forces of capitalism and prevent the        while a diplomatic solution, such as the ones        vate contracts. They had been captured when              Colombia is the most dangerous country in
destruction of the planet.                              carried out by President Chavez, guaranteed          the aircraft that was doing observation flights     the world for trade union organisers, with the
     The legacy of Salvador Allende, the project        the security of the prisoners.                       came down inside territory controlled by            highest toll in the whole world of murders and
initiated by Popular Unity was for development               4. The capitalist media, without any            FARC during an operation of the US strategic        extrajudicial executions of trade unionists.
guided by the workers, protection for the chil-         shame, immediately started to use the situa-         Plan Colombia.                                           Since Plan Colombia started, the United
dren, respect for the rights of women, respect          tion to promote their political objectives: in all        Northrop Grumman, a company that               States sent about US$4.7 billion for the gov-
for the original inhabitants, the nationalisation of    areas of the corporate media, Uribe was being        manufactures aircraft and armaments, received       ernment of Colombia, described by Senator
the basic resources of the country. Things have         portrayed as a hero, the days are counted for        a contract worth US$60 million to provide           Cordoba as a “democracy that governs through
changed since those times but something the             FARC (to disintegrate) and nothing is men-           logistical support for the military operations of   the use of fear and of terror” to fight the so-
progressive forces, whether in Latin America or         tioned of the peaceful and diplomatic deeds          the United States and of Colombia in the war        called “war on drugs”. Senator Cordoba herself
Europe or elsewhere, are still trying to achieve        and actions by Chávez that freed several pris-       regions. Between the years 1990 and 2002,           was kidnapped by 12 armed terrorists affiliated
is to bring under social ownership the basic            oners kept by FARC.                                  Northrop Grumman contributed US$8.5 mil-            with the government.
resources of the country. Standing in the way of             5. Later, information started to come           lion for federal campaigns. Coincidently, at             “Also it is used to silence those, who like
these efforts are forces aligned chiefly with the       to the surface that in fact, the government          least “seven officials, consultants or sharehold-   us, speak publicly against the government,”
United States.                                          of Colombia secretly paid US$20 million              ers of Northrop Grumman” had posts inside           she stated. “They try to silence us through sei-
* Juntos Podemos Más – a coalition                      to FARC in exchange for the liberation of            the administration of President Bush.               zures, disappearances and even through killing
of more than 50 left and progressive                    Betancourt and the North American mercenar-               Plan Colombia has been repeatedly criti-       many of us.
parties and organisations, including the                ies, confirming what Senator Cordoba had             cised by international human rights organisa-            “Unlike many Latin American countries,
Communist Party of Chile, the Humanist                  said a month ago. This history was published         tions, including Amnesty International and the      that have torn down the brutal dictatorships
Party (PH), Izquierda Cristiana (Christian              by the French media, MediaPart and by radio          United Nations, for keeping close relations         supported by the US that governed the con-
Left), MIR, the MPMR (Movimiento                        Suisse Romande of Switzerland. MediaPart             with death squads of the extreme right, pro-        tinent during greater part of the 20th century,
Patriótico Manuel Rodríguez), and others.               also divulged that France and Colombia would         viding assistance to illegal terrorist organisa-    Colombia is an active remembrance of how
** The five points agreed for the                       guarantee safe asylum for some members of            tions of the extreme right and their direct         life used to be for all of South America – fero-
cooperation of Juntos Podemos Más in                    FARC as part of the agreement.                       or indirect participation in slaughters and         cious and repressive dictators that terrified the
support for Bachelet in 2005 were: an                        6. Dominique Moisi, one of the most             atrocities. Most of the terrorists of the extreme   population with money and weapons supplied
end to the binominal electoral system, a                prominent specialists in French foreign              right in Colombia are former members of the         by the United States in exchange for support to
new labour law, protection for the natural              policy, said that it was “possible” that FARC        Colombian army who support the operations           its politics.”
environment, reform of the pensions                     had received money in exchange for the               done under the Plan Colombia.                       Translated from Portugese
system, respect for human rights and the                prisoners….                                               10. Finally, it must be pointed out that the   and published in Pravda.
rights of Indigenous peoples.                               8. The news that US$20 million was paid,        government of Colombia under Uribe, which           Abridged for reasons of space. 
8          International                                                                                                                                                                       The Guardian
                                                                                                                                                                                                    July 23   2008




No vote gives government
of Ireland a strong mandate
Seán Mac Brádaigh                                Mary Lou McDonald said that,
                                            throughout this referendum campaign,
Voters in the 26 Counties have              a number of specific issues came up
rejected the Lisbon Treaty by a             over and over again – Ireland’s loss
decisive margin. The result is a            of power in Europe including the
major victory for those, including          loss of a permanent Commissioner,
Sinn Féin, who campaigned for a             Ireland’s neutrality, the race to the
“No” vote. The treaty was defeated          bottom in wages and conditions and
by a margin of 53.4 per cent to 46.6        the opening of key public services to
per cent, with 752,451 people voting        competition.
“Yes” and 862,415 voting “No”.                   She explained that many of these
     Taoiseach [Prime Minister] Brian       same concerns were raised by the
Cowen said he respects the result           people of France and the Netherlands
but described it as “a source of            when they rejected an almost identical
disappointment” to himself and the          package in 2005. And they have been
government.                                 raised by many political voices across
     Labour Party leader Eamon              the EU over the last 12 months.
Gilmore, who had campaigned for a                Emphasising that “now is the time
“Yes” vote, said the Lisbon Treaty is       for calm voices”, the Sinn Féin MEP
now “dead”. “I do not think there is        insisted: “Ireland’s place in the EU
any question of the treaty being put        is secure. Suggestions from a small
a second time to the people”, he said.      number of EU leaders that they can
     But European Commission                blindly continue on with the Lisbon
President José Manuel Barroso               Treaty are not just undemocratic but
insisted that the treaty is still alive     also untrue. The Lisbon Treaty needs
and urged other EU states to continue       the support of all member states to
to ratify it despite the Irish “No” vote.   come into effect.
He said Brian Cowen had told him in              “The people have been asked on        Part of the successful “Vote No!” referendum campaign.
a telephone call that the treaty is not     three occasions their views on the con-
yet dead.                                   tent of this treaty and on three occa-     • The retention of a permanent            • Opt-outs from expenditure on nucle-     • Active promotion of fair trade over
     Barroso said he also believes the      sions it has been rejected. European         Commissioner                              ar power and military capabilities.       free trade
treaty “is alive and we should now          leaders now have an opportunity to         • The retention of existing voting        • Inclusion of a social progress clause   • Strengthening of the role of
try to find a solution”, saying that        listen and to address these genuine          strength at Council                       and greater protections for workers’      member state parliaments and of
18 of the 27 EU member states had           concerns.                                  • Retention and strengthening of key        rights                                    citizens 
ratified it.                                     “There is also a responsibility on      strategic vetoes on tax, public serv-
     Speaking following the official        all of us who believe that a better deal     ices and international trade

                                                                                                                                 Gazprom expansion
announcement that the Lisbon Treaty         is possible, to support and assist the     • Maintenance of the absolute right
had been resoundingly rejected by           government in their task. Sinn Féin          of Irish citizens to have the final
voters, Sinn Féin Member of the             wants to be constructive.                    say in any significant changes to the

                                                                                                                                 moves to Africa
European Parliament (MEP) Mary                   “Sinn Féin is seeking a meeting         EU treaties
Lou McDonald said Sinn Féin was             with the Taoiseach in the coming           • A specific article protecting our
seeking a meeting with Brian Cowen.         days to discuss with him the issues          neutrality
The Dublin MEP said: “The Irish             which we believe can be addressed in       • A specific protocol explicitly
people gave the government a clear
and strong mandate to renegotiate the
                                            a renegotiated treaty. Among the very
                                            practical and reasonable issues which
                                                                                         exempting vital public services from
                                                                                         rules of competition and state aid      and Iran
Lisbon Treaty.”                             we believe can be delivered are:                                                     Russian natural gas monopoly              especially for countries where
                                                                                                                                 Gazprom will develop oil and              there is no gas like India or China.
                                                                                                                                 gas together with Iran’s state oil        “Iranian gas will serve everybody.”
                                                                                                                                 company. The decision came after               Experts say this strategy of

US government bails out                                                                                                          Gazprom‘s recent offer to buy all
                                                                                                                                 of Libya’s spare exportable gas
                                                                                                                                 volumes.
                                                                                                                                                                           extending the company’s geographi-
                                                                                                                                                                           cal reach is only the beginning.
                                                                                                                                                                           Biggest gas field
mortgage giants
                                                                                                                                      Elsewhere on Africa, it is look-
                                                                                                                                 ing at exploration licenses in Nigeria         Not long ago Gazprom was
                                                                                                                                 and possibly to build a pipeline from     included in the development of one
                                                                                                                                 Nigeria to Algeria in the north. A        of the biggest gas fields in the world
The US federal government                   debts if it chose to seize control of      88 percent since their high in 2006,      Gazprom spokesman explained: “We          – the South Pars gas project situated
unveiled a broad program to                 either firm.                               and Fannie Mae’s stock is down 85         are interested not only in the Middle     in the Persian Gulf. It is expected to
bolster troubled mortgage giants                “Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac            percent since its most recent peak last   East and Africa, but also in expand-      produce more than 750 million cubic
Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac,                 play a central role in our housing         year. Separately, the Securities and      ing our strategy beyond them. The         meters of natural gas a day when
extending unprecedented support             finance system and must continue           Exchange Commission announced             target is to create full production       completed by 2014.
to the companies and proposing              to do so in their current form as          yesterday that it and other regulators    cycles located in Russia and in other          The visit of Gazprom executives
new authority to lend them money            shareholder-owned companies. [It] is       will immediately begin to examine         regions of the world.”                    to Iran last week comes days after
and even buy their stock.                   important to maintaining confidence        whether securities prices have been            “We are interested not only in       French energy company Total post-
     Officials are also seeking permis-     and stability in our financial system      manipulated by the intentional spread     the Middle East and Africa, but also      poned plans to invest in the project.
sion from Congress to temporarily           and our financial markets,” said           of false information. This action was     in expanding our strategy beyond               Gennady Shmal, the President
increase the amount the companies can       Treasury Secretary Henry Poulson.          timed in part to coincide with the        them. The target is to create full pro-   of the Oil and Gas Producers’
borrow from the Treasury and enable                                                    government’s announcement on aid to       duction cycles located in Russia and      Union says that Iranian gas will
the government to invest directly in        Using                                      Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.               in other regions of the world.”           serve everyone. “I don’t think the
the firms if conditions worsen. The two                                                     The Californian based bank                Gazprom‘s Middle East bid puts       Russian Iranian joint venture will be
firms, which dominate the market for        taxpayers’ money                           IndyMac also faced a run by deposit       further pressure on any US attempt        appreciated by the West, but there is
US mortgages, have been reeling amid             The Treasury secretary will also      holders last week but was also bailed     to weaken Russia’s influence over         no basis for blocking Gazprom’s or
investor concern that the companies         have the authority to invest govern-       out by the US government. A number        Europe’s energy supplies.                 Russia’s actions.
might not have enough capital to han-       ment money in the firms by buying          of other smaller US banks are said to          The joint [Iran-Russia] venture           Experts say this strategy of
dle their losses due to the rising number   their stock, a step that would only be     be running into difficulties as well.     will improve the situation in the         extending the company’s geographi-
of bad home loans. Both firms’ stocks       taken if the firms don’t have enough            The action by the US government      gas sector for the whole world,           cal reach is only the beginning.
plummeted by almost half last week.         capital and are unable to raise it on      shows yet again that the government
     The Federal Reserve announced          private markets. “Use of either the        and the Treasury are there to protect      Fremantle
that it would allow Fannie Mae and          line of credit or the equity investment    and finance capitalist enterprises         Australia Cuba Friendship Society presents
Freddie Mac to borrow money on an           would carry terms and conditions           whenever they get into trouble. They
emergency basis. The firms, should
they experience a cash crunch, will
                                            necessary to protect the taxpayer,”
                                            Paulson claimed.
                                                                                       have no qualms about using billions
                                                                                       of taxpayers’ money to shore up the
                                                                                                                                  Latin Band: Rumba & Café and
be able to exchange certain assets for
cash at the Fed’s discount window, a
                                                 The government’s actions are
                                            the most extensive intervention into
                                                                                       capitalist corporate system. How many
                                                                                       bail-outs will the government come up
                                                                                                                                  Liliana Sputore (dance instructor)
privilege long enjoyed by commercial        the financial world since the US           with before the whole system comes         Latin food, music and dance
banks and extended in March to strug-       Fed rescued Wall Street investment         cashing down? There is no talk of
gling investment banks.                     bank Bear Stearns from bankruptcy          putting these enterprises under pub-       7.30 pm ‘til late Saturday 26 July
     If Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac col-      in March. The present measures are         lic ownership, only of continuing to       at Kulcha, South Tce, Fremantle (above Dome Cafe)
lapsed, it could cripple the US housing     designed to allow the companies to         maintain that private enterprise is the
market, dealing a staggering blow to        continue their roles making funding        best and only economic system in the       Tickets$22/$25
the wider economy, and would saddle         available for Americans to buy homes.      world.                                    www.kulcha.com.au 0419812872                 acfsperth@gmail.com
the federal government with massive         Freddie Mac’s shares have tumbled
The Guardian
July 23   2008                                                                                                                                                          International              9



Palestinians
hit by food
and water crisis
Three United Nations agencies have        reported in 2002 that 19 percent of            Some 20 percent of Palestinians
warned of a decline in Palestinian        Palestinians in Gaza suffered from        in the West Bank are not connected
living standards, with a new report       anaemia. The agency now estimates         to a water network. Even for those
showing that high food prices and         that figure at 77.5 percent.              that are, water supply is irregular and
falling incomes are forcing families           The report says closed areas of      sometimes may be disconnected for
to manage with less and lower             the West Bank are equally affected        days or weeks. Communities report
quality food.                             due to “high unemployment rates,          that the Israeli company discriminates
     The main driver of Palestinian       wage depreciation, declining business     against them, reducing water supply
food insecurity is political, the agen-   opportunities and increased restric-      to Palestinian residents to enable it
cies say, “rooted in the military and     tions on movement and access”.            to meet the increased demand in the
administrative measures imposed by             A third of Palestinians have         Israeli settlements.
the Israeli occupation” – including       reported a fall in income this year,           Many Palestinians have to buy
road closings, punitive permit regula-    and the poor suffered most heavily        water on the private market. Last year
tions and destruction of homes and        with a 40 percent drop. Thirty-seven      water prices were three to six times
farmlands, as well as the expansion of    percent of breadwinners in Gaza are       higher than Israelis pay, and they are    Many Palestinians have to buy water on the private market.
settlements and related infrastructure,   now unemployed and 27 percent in          expected to be even higher this year.
cutting off access to land and water.     the West Bank.                            High unemployment and poverty rates
     Global food prices, combined              Meanwhile, the Israeli human         in the West Bank have made water
with Israeli government actions in        rights group B’Tselem is warning of       purchases an economic burden for a


                                                                                                                                                    Global Briefs
the occupied territories, are making      grave water shortage in the West Bank     substantial portion of the population,
Palestinians more dependent on relief     this summer.                              B’Tselem says.
aid. At the same time, rising food             The chronic water shortage in the         According to the World Health
and fuel prices make it increasingly      West Bank, resulting from an unfair       Organisation, the per capita mini-
expensive to deliver that aid, the UN     distribution of water resources shared    mal amount of water needed for
agencies say.                             by the Palestinians and Israel, will be   household and urban needs is 100
     The report, giving findings of       much graver this summer because of        litres a day. Due to the chronic water
a food security survey conducted          this year’s drought, the group says. In   shortage, average per capita water         PERU: The General Confederation of Peruvian Workers pro-
by the United Nations Food and            the northern West Bank, water con-        consumption throughout the West            tested against Peru’s free trade treaty with the US as well as
Agriculture Organisation, World           sumption has fallen to one-third of the   Bank is 66 litres, two-thirds of the       low wages and rising costs by taking a nationwide general strike
Food Program, and Relief and Works        minimal amount needed.                    minimal amount needed. Average             on July 10. Two peasant groups organised the participation of
Agency (UNRWA), shows soaring                  Israel holds complete control        daily water consumption in Israel is
                                                                                                                               small farmers, many irate over legislation subjecting land ten-
prices, falling incomes and grow-         of the water sources and prohibits        over 200 litres.
ing unemployment have brought             Palestinian drilling of wells without          The Israeli group points out that,    ure to mine owner needs. The strike’s main impact was in rural
Palestinian purchasing power to an all-   a permit. At the same time, Israel        under the International Covenant on        areas, especially in the poverty-stricken south. In Ayacucho, pro-
time low this year, jeopardising family   draws water from the West Bank            Economic, Social and Cultural Rights,      testors defending national sovereignty demanded that 200 US
livelihoods and leading to heavy debt.    but allocates to Palestinians only a      which Israel ratified, it is obligated     troops in the area, supposedly on humanitarian missions, leave.
All Palestinians surveyed had reduced     fraction of that water, and prevents      as the occupying power to ensure
their consumption of fresh fruit, veg-    the Palestinian Water Authority from      access to clean drinking water without     SOMALIA: Osman Ali Ahmed, UN development head in Somalia,
etables and meat.                         developing additional water.              discrimination.                            was killed in Mogadishu on July 6. Within two days, 40 more civil-
     The UN agencies say the situation         This year’s drought, the most             B’Tselem has called on Israel to      ians were killed. The 18-month-long war between Ethiopia’s army
is especially desperate for the popula-   serious in the area in the past dec-      “ensure, immediately and without
                                                                                                                               and guerrillas allied to the Islamic Courts Union – the short-lived
tion of the Gaza Strip who have been      ade, aggravates the situation. The        discrimination, adequate, regular
heavily affected by Israel’s economic     Palestinian Water Authority has asked     water supply to all residents of the       former government – has triggered Africa’s worst humanitarian
blockade.                                 Mekorot – the Israel Water Company        West Bank”.                                disaster. Famine looms for 2.6 million Somalis. Over one million are
     As one indication, UNRWA             – for an emergency supply.                People’s Weekly World                     displaced. Mogadishu is largely rubble. Under Bush administration
                                                                                                                               pressure, the UN Security Council authorised the Ethiopian interven-
                                                                                                                               tion in late 2006 as a counter terrorism measure. Deep water ports

Three million armed tribesmen
                                                                                                                               and sites for military bases serve as enticements for Washington.

                                                                                                                               SAUDI ARABIA: Human Rights Watch issued a report on July

to confront NATO
                                                                                                                               9, based on in-country research and interviews, testifying to grief
                                                                                                                               suffered by domestic employees in Saudi households. They total
                                                                                                                               1.5 million and come from the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Nepal and
The elders of the North Waziristan        5 kms of the Pakistan border but          the Pakistani security agencies could      Indonesia. Many work 18 hours per day, receive little or no pay,
tribes in northern Pakistan have          have not, so far, crossed the border.     be helping the insurgents operate          have no day off, and are subjected to forced confinement and sex-
warned the American and North                                                       from their bases in the border region.     ual and physical abuse. Saudi labour law does not cover domestic
Atlantic Treaty Organisation              Preparing attack                               An influential Pakistani army         workers except to grant employers control over their visas, there-
(NATO) forces against attacks on              Locals say that they have seen        official said that any unilateral          by preventing many from changing jobs or leaving the country.
the tribal areas of Pakistan in pur-      tanks, armoured personnel carriers,       American military action could have
suit of their war in Afghanistan.         and heavy artillery moving towards        serious repercussions and create           Commissions for those recruiting domestic workers for Saudi
     “We will resist any bid to attack    the border areas.                         difficulties for Pakistani counter-        Arabia far exceed those earned by recruiters for other countries.
our tribal areas with unity and               US Admiral Michael Mullen,            terrorism efforts.
force,” the elders told a press confer-   the chairman of the Joint Chiefs               Any attack on Pakistani territory     BRITAIN: Britain’s largest public sector union UNISON, meeting
ence last week.                           of Staff, made a visit to Islamabad       could spread the war in Afghanistan        in late June, reaffirmed previous resolutions calling for boycotts
     They were reacting to the fresh      recently. He warned Pakistan that         and drag in the Pakistan Army giv-         of Israeli imports produced in occupied Palestinian territories
deployment of US and NATO forces          the US could take unilateral military     ing the war a new and dangerous            and divestment from companies building the Israeli wall ringing
to the Pakistan-Afghan border and         action if the cross-border attacks in     dimension.                                 Palestinian settlements. The resolutions parallel those passed ear-
several bombings of Pakistan terri-       Afghanistan were not stopped and          From The Times and The News
                                                                                                                               lier this year by IMPACT, Ireland’s largest public sector union, and
tory in which Pakistanis, including       claimed that some elements within         (Pakistan) 
Pakistan military men, have been                                                                                               NIPSA, its counterpart in Northern Ireland. They too called for boy-
killed.                                                                                                                        cott and divestment with IMPACT demanding Irish independence
     The tribesmen vowed to render
                                                                                                Join the 26th                  from EU positions denying Palestinian rights. The Irish Congress
“any sacrifice for defence of the                                                               Southern Cross                 of Trade Unions, having passed similar resolutions last year,
country” and claimed that “Three                                                                                               issued a statement backing IMPACT: “Israeli terror and violence ...
million armed tribesmen are ready                                                               Work/Study Tour                is right in front of our eyes”. We risk “being brutalised ourselves”.
to give a tit-for-tat response to the
US-led NATO forces if they intrude                                                              and support
                                                                                                                               PANAMA: Panama’s Supreme Court ruled unanimously on June 30
into the tribal areas of Pakistan”.                                                             Cuba.                          that outgoing President Mireya Moscoso’s pardon of Luis Posada
They said that they would fight shoul-
der-to-shoulder with the Pakistan                                                                                              and three others jailed in connection with an assassination attempt
Army against the aggressors.”                                                                                                  against Fidel Castro in 2000 was unconstitutional. Posada then
     They also demanded that the                                                                bobbrit@planetmail.com         entered the United States illegally and lives freely in Miami. Posada
Pakistan Army provide them with                                                                 0418894366                     does not deny that while living in Venezuela, engineered the
the latest weapons to guard the coun-                                                                                          bombing of a Cuban airliner in 1976 killing 73 people. Venezuela,
try’s frontiers.                                                                                www.cubabrigade.org.au
                                                                                                                               through its US lawyer Jose Pertierra, has requested his extradition.
     NATO troops are reported within
10                                                                                                                                                                                                 The Guardian
                                                                                                                                                                                                        July 23   2008




                                            time called Rhodesia) was a British       life more interesting and rewarding        that the passive smoking story is noth-          Many good people support actions
                                            colony. Communal land tenure would        by achieving exciting and challeng-        ing less than a big lie.                    to ban smoking of course and I cer-
     Letters to the Editor                  be turned into “individual title” just    ing goals.                                      So why is this “big lie” so mas-       tainly would not dissuade anyone from
                                            as Mal Brough and Noel Pearson                 The picture of all those bishops      sively promoted? A huge amount of           giving up the habit, even though it is
     The Guardian                           would like to do to the communal          in red cloaks against the beautiful        money of course is being made by            beneficial for a number of diseases,
     74 Buckingham Street                   land held by the Indigenous people        background of the harbour, the sun         the makers of nicotine skin patches         such as schizophrenia, Alzheimer’s
     Surry Hills NSW 2010                   in Australia.                             and light of Sydney looked so much         and no doubt the dealers in opium           disease, ulcerative colitis and some
                                                A glance at the map shows that        out of place.                              and “speed” are happy to support the        others, but good people are often
               email: guardian@cpa.org.au   Zimbabwe lies in the centre of south-                          Dianne Falcoln        campaign.                                   vociferously anti-smoking simply
                                            ern Africa and if controlled by western                          Sydney, NSW              The most generous interpretation       because they have been elaborately
                                            colonialists once again, would be a                                                  is that if you can’t persuade tobacco       and expensively deceived.
                                            centre from which to interfere in the                                                smokers to break their addiction                 There is much more to be said on
Sounds familiar                             independence, the economies and           One big lie                                with the argument that they will be         this topic but I have probably been
                                            political life of neighbouring African    From time to time The Guardian             healthier and live longer, then perhaps     provocative enough.
So what does Morgan Tsvangirai the          countries. This may be one of the         publishes articles applauding              you can persuade them to give up so              Let me add just a few thoughts on
leader of Zimbabwe’s Movement               reasons why most African nations are      various actions directed against           that they will not harm others.             what should be done.
for Democratic Change stand for?            reluctant to go along with the western    the smoking of tobacco. As a physi-             This does seem to work so well              Firstly, the radioactivity of tobac-
He’s often on the local TV making           campaign.                                 cian experienced in many fields of         that in the last couple of decades I        co should be shown on all packets of
statements about democracy and                                     Bruce Gillman      medicine, including a decade or so         have seen a massive change in behav-        cigarettes and tobacco.
freedom while Mugabe is demon-                                      Sydney, NSW       engaged in cancer research in lead-        iour, particularly in the workplace.             It now appears to be almost certain
ised. Tsvangirai is obviously the                                                     ing world centres I am well aware               At the time of the introduction        that the main cancer-causing agent in
West’s favoured son.                                                                  that smoking tobacco increases the         of the “passive smoking” strategy I         tobacco is very short range particles
     I found an answer to the ques-         Youth crusade                             risk of adenocarcinoma of the lung.        was the Deputy Director of the Red          emitted by radioactive substances,
tion in a copy of The Economist             I felt that I had to watch a bit of       The stories put out by the anti-           Cross Blood Transfusion Service (now        particularly polonium 210, added in
(12/5/2008) which had asked the same        the Pope’s address to the young           smoking lobbies however are on a           Blood Donor Service).                       vast quantities in cheap phosphate
question. Here is what The Economist        and not so young Catholics who            different track and seemingly often             The transformation was aston-          fertiliser extracted from the mineral
said:                                       are presently having a great time in      have aims other than improving             ishing. Tea-break or “smoko” was a          apatite, especially in the US.
     “The MDC says its first job            Sydney. I can’t say I was impressed       public health.                             convivial affair with lively conversa-           Short-range particles (alpha par-
would be to rescue the economy,             with the sentiments expressed or               The most vociferous anti-smoking      tion and changing groups of people          ticles) are exceptionally dangerous
stop printing money, stabilise the          any new thoughts coming from the          campaigners in fact are often oppo-        chatting about all sorts of things, often   when inhaled into the lung in insoluble
currency, slash public spending, call       Pope. I found the whole thing a bit       nents of spending public money on          highly technical aspects of their work      form.
in the IMF and bring market forces          uninspiring. Nevertheless, visitors       hospitals, better food, safer environ-     and how they could help blood donors             That, incidentally, is why so-called
back into business, while favouring         to Sydney seem to have a good time        ment etc.                                  and patients etc.                           “depleted” uranium (U-238) as used to
some state intervention to protect the      and good luck to them.                         And this leads to the “passive             Within a week of the new admin-        tip US missiles has such devastating
poorest. It would scrap controls on              I also checked overseas publica-     smoking” or “environmental tobacco         istrative arrangements and the intro-       long-term health effects.
prices and foreign exchange, which          tions to see what sort of coverage the    smoke” story.                              duction of the smoking ban the whole             Depleted uranium dust drifts in
have fed a thriving black market. The       event was getting. Not much, to tell           Many millions of dollars have         workforce became isolated – except          the air over thousands of kilometres
MDC says it would not give back             you the truth. The highlights were        been given to research groups offer-       for a small group of smokers who set        after impact and is almost certainly
all confiscated land to white farmers       the Pope’s approval of saying sorry       ing to “prove” that passive smoking        up a few boxes and an old table in the      now adding to the radioactivity of
but would immediately start drawing         to Indigenous people by the present       is dangerous to health and these           underground car park.                       tobacco grown in the Middle East. So
up a land audit. It talks of leaseholds     government. The Pope was also called      groups have had no trouble getting              Most of the workforce gradually        a lot could be done to make tobacco
and decent compensation for farmers         a “green Pope” for expressing his con-    their findings published in leading        gravitated to a set routine, sitting at     less dangerous.
whose land has been grabbed. It also        cern about the environment.               scientific journals, often with a head-    the same tea table every day and,                Let me conclude by just asking the
wants to “harmonise” the land-tenure             What I found interesting as          ing suggesting they have found some        most interestingly, hardly talking to       question: is it progressive and helpful
system so that peasants on communal         well was the advertisements for           serious effect.                            anyone.                                     to working people to encourage well-
lands have individual title.”               Catholic schools (on commercial TV             When you look at these papers              They just sat and so it is to this     funded campaigns that fragment and
     It all sounds very familiar – pri-     stations).                                carefully though the answer is almost      day. I believe the same kind of change      induce obedience and compliance by
vatisation, market forces, the IMF,              With the numbers of practising       always a lemon.                            has occurred throughout Australia and       the use of massive deception cloaked
abolition of price controls and controls    Catholics falling it is understandable         No convincing evidence or, at         many other countries.                       with an image of concern for public
on foreign capital and, of course,          that the church would want to enlist      worst, an effect so tiny it is swamped          And I believe the achievement of       health?
handing back the land to “some”             more members. It is so sad that young     by the detrimental effect of a poor diet   this destruction of camaraderie and                 Max Whisson, MB, BS, FRC
white farmers which had been thieved        people spend time on backward,            or too much sun-bathing.                   solidarity is the major objective of the                                       Perth
by them when Zimbabwe (at the               medieval practices instead of making           It is not too much in fact to say     “passive smoking” lie.                                                 Subiaco, WA



                                            will ultimately concentrate corporate


Culture
                                            power, drive up costs, inhibit inde-




             &
                                            pendent research, and further under-
                                            mine the rights of farmers to save and
                                            exchange seeds.



      Life
                                                 The Gene Giants are staking
                                            sweeping patent claims on genes
by                                          related to environmental stresses – not
 The ETC Group                              just those in a single engineered plant
                                            species – but also to a substantially
                                            similar genetic sequence in virtually
Patenting the                               all engineered food crops. Beyond the
                                            US and Europe, patent offices in major
“Climate Genes”…                            food producing countries such as
                                            Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada,
And Capturing the                           China, Mexico and South Africa are
Climate Agenda                              also swamped with patent filings.
                                                 Monsanto (the world’s largest
The world’s largest seed and                seed company) and BASF (the world’s
agrochemical corporations are               largest chemical firm) have forged a
stockpiling hundreds of monopoly            colossal US$1.5 billion partnership
patents on genes in plants that the         to engineer stress tolerance in plants.
companies will market as crops              Together, the two companies account
genetically engineered to withstand         for 27 of the 55 patent families (49%)
environmental stresses such as              of those identified by ETC Group*.
drought, heat, cold, floods, saline              Farming communities in the           In the face of climate chaos and a deepening world food crisis, the Gene Giants are gearing up for a PR
soils, and more.                            global South – those who have con-        offensive to re-brand themselves as climate saviours.
     BASF, Monsanto, Bayer,                 tributed least to global greenhouse
Syngenta, Dupont and biotech part-          emissions – are among the most                 As climate crisis deepens, there is   identify and eliminate policies such        cultural and ecological diversity
ners have filed 532 patent documents        threatened by climate chaos created by    a danger that governments will require     as restrictive seed laws, intellectual      and human rights. To this end,
(a total of 55 patent families) on so-      the world’s richest countries.            farmers to adopt prescribed biotech        property regimes, contracts and trade       the ETC Group supports socially
called “climate ready” genes at patent           The South is already being tram-     traits that are deemed essential adap-     agreements that are barriers to farmer      responsible developments
offices around the world.                   pled by the North’s super-size carbon     tation measures. Will governments be       plant breeding, seed-saving and             of technologies useful to the
     In the face of climate chaos and       footprint. Will farming communities       pressured to give biotech companies        exchange.                                   poor and marginalised and
a deepening world food crisis, the          now be stampeded by climate change        carte blanche to use genetic engineer-         Restrictions on access to germ-         it addresses international
Gene Giants are gearing up for a PR         profiteering? The patent grab on so-      ing – and sidestep biosafety rules – as    plasm are the last thing that farmers       governance issues and
offensive to re-brand themselves as         called climate-ready traits is sucking    the last resort for tackling extreme       need in their struggle to adapt to          corporate power. ETC Group’s
climate saviours.                           up money and resources that could         climate?                                   rapidly changing climatic conditions.       strength is in the research
     The focus on so-called climate-        be spent on affordable, farmer-based           Governments and the UN bod-           Farmer-led strategies for climate           and analysis of technological
ready genes is a golden opportunity         strategies for climate change survival    ies must suspend the granting of all       change survival and adaptation must         information (particularly but
to push genetically engineered crops        and adaptation.                           patents on climate change-related          be recognized, strengthened and             not exclusively plant genetic
as a silver bullet solution to climate           After decades of seed industry       genes and traits. There must be a full     protected.                                  resources, biotechnologies, and
change. But patented techno-fix seeds       mergers and acquisitions, accompa-        investigation, including the social and    * The ETC Group – the Action                [in general] biological diversity),
will not provide the adaptation strate-     nied by a steady decline in public        environmental impacts of these new,        Group on Erosion, Technology                and in the development of
gies that small farmers need to cope        sector plant breeding, the top 10 seed    un-tested varieties. Given the global      and Concentration – is dedicated            strategic options related to the
with climate change.                        companies control 57 percent of the       state of emergency, ETC Group              to the conservation and                     socioeconomic ramifications of
     These proprietary technologies         global seed market.                       urges inter-governmental bodies to         sustainable advancement of                  new technologies. 
The Guardian
July 23   2008                                                                                                                                                                Worth Watching                    11


                                              T     he first five short seasons
                                                    of Foyle’s War, Anthony
                                          Horowitz’ outstanding series about
           Rob Gowland                    police work on the south coast
                                          of England during WW2, ended
          previews                        abruptly – in mid-war, you might
                                          say – with the sudden resignation of
                                          the central character, Detective Chief
          ABC      &   SBS                Inspector Christopher Foyle (Michael
           Public Television              Kitchen).
                                               Somewhat surprisingly for a series
                                          of this quality, it was made by ITV,
                                          the British commercial network. It
                                          was axed by ITV’s head of television,
                                          Simon Shaps, one supects because it
            Sun 27 July –                 was too much the sort of thing the
             Sat 2 Aug                    BBC would be expected to make (ie,
                                          not “commercial” enough).

    A     mong the most popular
          creatures created for Doctor
Who in the ‘70s were the Sontarans:
                                               Shaps has now left ITV, and
                                          been replaced by BBC alumni Peter
                                          Fincham. Presumably, calls by fans
                                                                                             Donna,
                                                                                       Martha, Skorr
thickset, almost neck-less militarists    and critics alike for more Foyle’s War      and the Doctor
whose only vulnerable spot was a          now fell on more receptive ears, hence       – Doctor Who:
small socket on the back of their very    this present three-episode series, alleg-     The Sontaran
short necks.                              edly the last outing for Foyle, Milner           Stratagem
    They were formidable, humour-         and Sam.                                    (ABC1 Sunday
less and definitely evil. They were an         The writing in this week’s episode           7.30 pm)
original creation by the series’ most     (ABC1 Sunday 8.35 pm) is as intel-
celebrated writer, Robert Holmes.         ligent – and as multi-layered – as ever,
A master of dialogue and story            involving a refugee Jewish doctor
characteristics, Holmes’ entertaining     wracked by guilt over the fate of his            Olympic Journey: The Road to          Kong Open, culminating in a 2004            of manufacturing. Like many areas
scripts mingled sci-fi with gothic        family, a teenage evacuee who saw           Beijing (SBS Tuesday 7.30 pm), a           Olympic Gold. The 2008 Beijing              of China’s economic development
horror. Nevertheless, the Sontarans,      his mother blown up by a V1 “buzz           documentary following the story of         Games are next on her list.                 that is being carried out in such an
like all the Doctor’s opponents in his
scripts, were portrayed as creatures
not monsters.
                                          bomb”, a returning British POW
                                          whose wife befriended a German
                                          POW working on their farm, and a
                                                                                      Zhang Ning, a veteran badminton
                                                                                      player for China, is described in SBS’
                                                                                      own publicity as “an insight into the
                                                                                                                                     T    he makers of The Cars That
                                                                                                                                          Ate China (ABC1 Tuesday
                                                                                                                                 8.30 pm) have gone out of their way
                                                                                                                                                                             urgent rush, it will be lop-sided and
                                                                                                                                                                             have many flaws that will have to be
                                                                                                                                                                             redessed in the future, but in a hostile
    First seen in The Time Warrior,       hospital for traumatised British airmen     intense world of Chinese sport at the      to present a very lop-sided view of         capitalist world China cannot afford
an episode of the show in 1973, when      which harbours a blackmailer.               highest level, and its impact on rela-     China’s present development. Less           to wait.
Jon Pertwee played the Doctor, the
Sontarans returned several times (I
remember Leila bringing one down
                                               The various characters and plot
                                          elements mesh together surprisingly
                                          well, tying up the loose ends neatly
                                                                                      tionships and families”.
                                                                                           Hang on, isn’t the world of sport
                                                                                      at the Olympic level in any country an
                                                                                                                                 than two percent of Chinese even
                                                                                                                                 have a car, yet the program concen-
                                                                                                                                 trates on young hoons aping Western
                                                                                                                                                                                 T    he new series of Wild At
                                                                                                                                                                                      Heart starts this week (ABC1
                                                                                                                                                                             Saturday 7.30 pm). The cast remain
with a well-thrown knife in a later       while avoiding any suggestion of            intense one? Of course it is.              car culture, as well as: a newly rich       the same: Stephen Tompkinson and
series). In this week’s episode, Doctor   glibness, and allowing questions of              Zhang Ning left home at the age       small businessman who drives his first      Amanda Holden play Danny and
Who: The Sontaran Stratagem               guilt, responsibility and hatred to arise   of 12 to train full-time as a badminton    new car back to his rural village to        Sarah Trevanion, an English couple
(ABC1 Sunday 7.30 pm), they have          naturally out of the material.              player. She has managed to fight off       proudly show his 75-year-old-father;        who have sunk all their money into
established a covert base on Earth,
from which as usual they are up to
no good.
                                              C     hina bashing has reached such
                                                    a crescendo in the lead-up
                                          to the 2008 Olympics, that even the
                                                                                      the challenges of the younger set to
                                                                                      remain on the national team in one of
                                                                                      the most popular sports in China.
                                                                                                                                 an American ad man who creates TV
                                                                                                                                 commercials to sell cars as status sym-
                                                                                                                                 bols to Chinese men; a migrant family
                                                                                                                                                                             a run-down game park in southern
                                                                                                                                                                             Africa, with Deon Stewardson as their
                                                                                                                                                                             South African partner Du Plessis.
    The episode also sees the return      most innocuous of programs is given              Zhang Ning has won the World          that has come to Beijing to start a car          Lucy-Jo Hudson returns as
of Martha Jones (Freema Agyeman)          an anti-China/anti-Communist spin if        Championship as well as the Swiss          wash business; a millionaire real estate    Danny’s daughter Rosie, who has
from the third series.                    at all possible.                            Open, Singapore Open and the Hong          developer who drives a Bentley; and a       quit university in England to return
                                                                                                                                 female worker who says she is a small       to Africa (she couldn’t wait to get out
                                                                                                                                 screw in the big car called China.          of it when they first moved there).
                                              The Brisbane Line – A reappraisal                                                       To “balance” the picture, there        Gary Lawson also retruns as Tate,
                                                                                                                                 is also a young activist attempting         the smooth owner of the posh resort
                                              by Drew Cottle                                                                     to prevent Beijing’s historic neigh-        nearby.
                                                                                                                                 bourhoods from being destroyed by                The show remains packed with an
                                              $25(p&p $2.50)                                                                     road construction and high rises;           unlikely amount of adventure, excite-
                                              In late 1941 and early 1942 a Japanese invasion of                                 and an English writer and Beijing           ment and crisis and it simply oozes
                                                                                                                                 resident who foresees environmental         warmth, but when it works it’s very
                                              Australia seemed imminent. One potential solution to this                          Armageddon.                                 appealing.
                                              threat was the establishment of a military line accross                                 If you pay close attention you can          The first episode of the new series
                                              Australia from Brisbane to Adelaide. Territory south of this                       pick up the important information that      features a death, invasion by lions, a
                                              line would be defended – the rest of the country would be                          the filmmakers gloss over, such as the      near-disastrous wedding and Danny’s
                                              abandoned. Although never implemented the Brisbane line                            reason why China is really so keen          freely-available vetinary skill being
                                              remains to this day a controversial and sensitive topic,                           to develop an automobile industry:          its own reward. The whites may own
                                                                                                                                 because that industry is central to         the resort, but it’s the locals who save
                                              with any suggestion of treachery vehemently refuted.
                                                                                                                                 developing so many other sectors            the day. 
                                              Cottle’s book is the result of patient historical detective




                                                                                                                                 POLITICS
                                                                                                                                 Sydney
                                              work. Apart from drawing on a huge body of secondary
                                              material, he has deeply immersed himself in the murky
                                              world of Australian security and intelligence records,
                                              interviewed key players, trawled private papers where
                                              available, along with the records of business and private
                                              organisations.
                                                                                                                                    in the pub
                                                                                                                                  25 July
One of the many books available at                         74 Buckingham Street, Surry Hills, NSW 2010 Ph 02 9699 8844            Burma – Is There a Way Out of Brutality?

                       SPA Books                           Payment by Cheque, Money Order or Credit Card (include                 Maung Maung Than, Australian Coalition for Democracy in Burma
                                                           card type, name on card, card number and expiry date).                 Myint Cho,Burma Office, Sydney
                                                                                                                                  1 August
                                                                                                                                  Humanitarian Intervention –
  Special offer subscription to           The Guardian                                                                            Does it Create More Problems than it Solves?

                                                                                         The Guardian
  □  issues: $10 □  MONTHS: $88 ($80 conc.) □  months: $45 ($40)                                                                  Stuart Rees, Prof, Director of the Sydney Peace Foundation
   10             12                         6
                                                                                                                                  Bob Howard, Research Associate, Department of Government and
  NAME:          ___________________________________________________                                                              International Relations, Sydney University
                                                                                                   Editorial Office
                                                                                         74 Buckingham St, Surry Hills, 2010      8 August
  ADDRESS:       ___________________________________________________                     Ph: 02 9699 8844 Fax: 02 9699 9833       No Meeting.
                                                                                             Email:guardian@cpa.org.au
  _______________________________________POSTCODE:____________                                                                    Cancelled due to a sporting event in Beijing.
                                                                                                   Published by
  Pay by □   Cheque □  Money order                                                            Guardian Publications               15 August
       to: Guardian Subscriptions                                                                  Australia Ltd                  Salvaging Media Independence
                                                                                         74 Buckingham St, Surry Hills, 2010      David Salter, journalist, author and TV producer,
           74 Buckingham St, Surry Hills, NSW 2010, Australia                                                                     co-founder of ABC’s Media Watch
                                                                                               Printed by Spotpress
                      Bankcard □ 
  or by credit card: □            Mastercard □ Visa                                           24-26 Lilian Fowler Place           Michael Carey, former presenter and producer of Dateline
                                                                                                                                  Peter Manning, Adjunct Professor of Journalism at UTS
            ____ ____ ____ ____
                                                                                                  Marrickville 2204
  Card #
                                                                                          Responsibility for electoral comment
                                                                                               is taken by T Pearson,
                                                                                                                                     Every Friday 6pm ’til 7.45                         Pat Toms 02 9358 4834
  Amount: ________ Expiry Date: ____/____ Date: ________                                                                                                                                pbtoms@bigpond.com

  Signature:________________________________________
                                                                                         74 Buckingham St, Surry Hills, 2010
                                                                                                                                               Gaelic Club                            www.politicsinthepub.org
                                                                                                                                          64 Devonshire Street Surry Hills
12                                                                                                                                                                                                  The Guardian
                                                                                                                                                                                                         July 23   2008




World Food Summit
Small voice, strong message
Anna Pha                                              with limited land, poor soils and limited diversity
                                                      of crops.
“In large events such as this, small islands               He told an all too familiar story: “Our own
often feel overwhelmed and even over-                 local food production has been declining as they
looked”, said Masao Nakayama. Nakayama                are no longer competitive to the cheaper food
was addressing the United Nations confer-             imports that we have become so dependent on
ence on Food Security, Challenges of Climate          within the last decade. Some of these imported
Change and Bioenergy in Rome last month               foods, particularly rice, flour and sugar have
as a representative of the Federated States           become our new staple foods.”
of Micronesia.                                             “The impacts of climate change in our low
     “On most of our larger islands visitors are      lying country is already happening and is affect-
greeted by the cascade of greenery, the splash        ing our traditional agriculture where over 60%
of diverse traditional food crops and the rela-       of our population in rural communities and outer
tive plumpness and happiness of our younger           islands depend for their food security. Each year
people. However, that image is misleading for         we lose many coconut trees on our shore lines
beneath the waving palm trees our people feel         because of tidal erosion from sea level rise.
the harsh pinch of rising food prices and they             “Our back yard food gardens in low lying
have growing concerns about how they will eat         grounds are becoming more commonly inun-
in the future.                                        dated during particular high tides of the year …”
     “For Micronesia, the food security problem       There has been a slow increase in the frequency
is not just about the current increase in basic       of tropical cyclones, warming seas are bleach-
food prices. It is also about the chronic, long-      ing the coral and affecting food from marine
term crisis of structural food insecurity and         sources.
about increasing unhealthiness of our people due           The government has been working on
largely to the flood of imports of more conven-       renewable energy for ten years but to take it
ient, cheaper foods with low nutritional value”,      further needs further technical and financial         In two years time, Madagascar will become a net exporter of rice, and they hope to build
the Micronesian representative said.                  assistance.                                           reserves for the most vulnerable. This would in effect give the government some control
     “This food security problem has been brew-            Itaia Lausaveve summed up the sentiments         over the impact of price rises.
ing over the past 120 years since the modern          of many of the poorer countries when he pointed
colonial era. In that time colonial values and        out that it is the industrialised countries have      Abdoulaye Wade, the President of the Republic          alongside the Green Wall. “The process consists
economic interests, modern-lifestyles, promo-         made the major contribution towards climate           of Senegal, told the conference.                       in collecting rain water during the rainy season at
tion of trade in non-food crops, and the lower        change, not Tuvalu and other island countries in           “Food assistance, generates a dependency          the lowest point of each village by compacting
relative cost of imported food items, have led        the Pacific. They have also played the major role     link that always increases the need of assistance      the ground as a basin.
to significant social and production changes in       in the rise in food prices.                           without providing a durable and trustworthy                 “Every year during the rainy season we
our society….                                              Therefore the industrialised countries           response to fundamental problems.                      loose important quantities of water by evapora-
     “As a result, traditional systems and cultural   “should share in resolving these problems by               “The sustainable solution to this current         tion, infiltration underground or running off to
values of sustainable food cultivation, storage,      increasing their financial and technical assistance   crisis lays rather in food self-sufficiency by a       the ocean.
and preparation have been lost. To revive and         to the impacted and vulnerable developing coun-       return to the land. Therefore we must encour-               “With water capture basins these resources
extend these systems will required time and           tries in their food security programs that they       age long term actions based on assistance to           are valorised to enable farmers in rural areas to
resources, access to improved planting materials,     have identified regionally and nationally.”           agriculture.”                                          grow food all year long, develop fish farming and
and education of consumers.”                                                                                     The government has launched a plan called         satisfy their nutritional needs and even export
                                                      Priorities shift to rural sector                      the Great Agricultural Offensive for Food and          market garden produces”, Wade said.
Climate change                                             Twenty-five years ago, Africa still had a        Abundance with the aim of producing large                   His government believes that Africa “with
     As for the options facing Micronesia, “we        surplus in food production, including cereals         quantities of diverse varieties of staple food         its unexploited huge land resources … can at
propose that our future be informed and guided        and rice, which it could export. “In the ’60s         and other crops as well as the modernisation of        the same time be a bread basket and a reservoir
by our past. Our ancestors had to be self-sus-        Madagascar was a rice exporting country.              livestock.                                             for biofuel.” Plants like Jartropha which can be
taining within isolated and fragile ecosystems.       This is not the case today”, said Marc S E                 The Great Agricultural Offensive includes an      used for biofuel grow wild in Senegal.
That was the only way that they could survive         Ravalomanana, President of the Republic of            irrigation program for 240,000 hectares to cover            The success or failure of many of these
in the days before modern transportation. Their       Madagascar. Africa now imports more food              their needs in rice, which presently cost US$350       programs rests on the political will of the higher
traditional agriculture methods were developed        from Europe and north America than it exports         million a year to import.                              income nations, to what extent they are willing
in ways that were environmentally sound, while        to them.                                                   “It is about a new type of partnership through    to give the assistance, financial and technical,
food distribution and preparation practices were           The government is now placing emphasis           which equipment and other agricultural inputs          that is needed to develop food security and self-
communally responsible….                              on developing the rural sector, with the aim of       like fertilisers, irrigation equipment, drilled        sufficiency. If Western nations continue to focus
     “The Micronesian leadership is strongly          building the economy from the ground up by            water, power generators, seeds and the neces-          on food aid and the profit-making activity of
committed to restore traditional food crops and       processing (adding value to) its raw products. It     sary technical assistance are provided to young        corporations out of aid, then the struggle for the
production systems to their vitality and role in      talks in terms of a Green Revolution.                 people in villages.”                                   fundamental human right of food security will
preserving the health and security of the commu-           The government liberalised the price of                                                                 take much longer.
nity. … We ask that outside nations and interna-      rice, as an incentive to peasants, along with a       Great Green Wall                                       * The 37th Summit of the Organisation
tional institutions help us in that process.          program for micro-credit and improvements in               The sahelo-saharan states have launched
                                                                                                                                                                   for African Unity in July 2001 formally
     “… for our small coral atolls the food secu-     rural infrastructure.                                 the Great Green Wall project within the
                                                                                                                                                                   adopted the strategic framework
rity issue is part of the very literal drowning of         In two years time, Madagascar will become        framework of the New Partnership for Africa’s
                                                                                                                                                                   document for NEPAD which provides
some of our islands.                                  a net exporter of rice, and they hope to build        Development* (NEPAD). The project involves
                                                                                                                                                                   the basis for integrated socio-economic
     “The rising sea-levels have caused two gar-      reserves for the most vulnerable. This would in       planting a five kilometre wide strip of trees over
                                                                                                                                                                   development for Africa. The five initiating
dens to be flooded and destroyed beyond rehabil-      effect give the government some control over the      a distance of 7,000 km from Dakar to Djibouti,
                                                                                                                                                                   states were Algeria, Egypt, Nigeria,
itation, washed away or permanently inundated         impact of price rises.                                across the desert, to prevent further desertifica-
                                                                                                                                                                   Senegal and South Africa. The eight
scarce land, and have stunted and undermined the           The government is also setting up an insti-      tion. Dakar to Djibouti stretches from the Gulf
                                                                                                                                                                   priority areas of NEPAD are: political,
coconut trees that have for generations anchored      tute for peasants with information centres in         of Aden on the east coast of Africa right across
                                                                                                                                                                   economic and corporate governance;
the island sands on top of the ocean and nour-        all 22 regions of the country. It is also working     the sahelo-saharan states to Senegal on the
                                                                                                                                                                   agriculture; infrastructure; education;
ished and sheltered the atoll people.                 on the improvement of irrigation, and other           west coast.
                                                                                                                                                                   health; science and technology; market
     “Elsewhere in the Pacific, some atoll            infrastructure.                                             “With the regeneration of biodiversity,
                                                                                                                                                                   access and tourism; and the environment.
islands are already being evacuated because                Madagascar rejects the replacement of food       we plan to give our planet a new “green lung”
they no longer produce sufficient food to sup-        crops by plants to be used for the production of      and contribute thus to the fight against climatic      ** The Community of Sahelo-Saharan
port their inhabitants due to crop damage from        bio-energy. They are growing Jatropha on land         changes”, the Senegal representative said.             States (CEN-SAD) is an African inter-
seawater.”                                            which is not used for food.                                The tree varieties have already been selected,    governmental organisation covering 16
     This issue was also raised by Tuvalu’s                                                                 in accordance with the climatic zones and each         African countries. The treaty establishing
Director of Agriculture, Itaia Lausaveve. Tuvalu      Agricultural assistance                               country is responsible for the Green Wall within       CEN-SAD stresses the importance of
is extremely vulnerable to climate change, its            “No people can assume its destiny without         its own borders.                                       investment in education, culture and the
atoll of small island states are low lying islands    freeing itself from food assistance,” Maitre               There are plans to build water capture basins     environment. 


             Communist Party of Australia                                              Website: www.cpa.org.au                      The Guardian                  Website: www.cpa.org.au/guardian/guardian.html
                                                                                       Email: cpa@cpa.org.au                                                      Email: guardian@cpa.org.au
                  Central Committee:                               Newcastle Branch:                                Riverina Branch:                                 West Australian Branch: Vic Williams
                  General Secretary: Peter Symon                   303 Hunter St                                    Allan Hamilton                                   5B Jemerson St Willagee Perth 6156
                  President: Hannah Middleton                      Newcastle NSW 2300                               2/57 Cooper St Cootamundra 2590                  Ph: 08 9337 1074
                  74 Buckingham St, Surry Hills, 2010              Ph: ah 02 4926 1752                              Ph: 02 6942 6728                                 Brisbane Branch: David Matters
                  Ph: 02 9699 8844 Fax: 02 9699 9833               South Coast Branch:                              Melbourne Branch:                                PO Box 33, Camp Hill, Qld 4152
                  Sydney District Committee:                       Janice Hamilton                                  Andrew Irving                                    Ph: 0419 769 129
                  Jules Andrews                                    16/26-30 Hutton Ave                              PO Box 3 Room 0 Trades Hall                      South Australian State Committee:
                  74 Buckingham St, Surry Hills, 2010              Bulli NSW 2516                                   Lygon St Carlton Sth 3053                        Bob Briton, Rm 5, Lvl 1, 149 Flinders St,
                  Ph: 02 9699 8844 Fax: 02 9699 9833               Ph: 02 4283 6130                                 Ph: 03 9639 1550 Fax: 03 9639 4199               Adelaide 5000 Ph: 08 8232 8200

								
To top