#360: SHOW YOUR SOLIDARITY WITH SKYCITY WORKERS ON NEW YEAR’S DAY

GLOBAL PEACE AND JUSTICE AUCKLAND NEWSLETTER No. 360, DECEMBER 30, 2010

NEW ANNOUNCEMENTS

COME AND SHOW YOUR SOLIDARITY WITH SKYCITY WORKERS NEW YEAR’S DAY
Meetings under SkyCity Tower 00.30am, 04.30am, 08.30am, 12.30pm

Union fireworks at SkyCity on New Year’s Day
SkyCity Casino in Auckland will be the scene of union organized action on January 1 starting immediately after the traditional fireworks display.
Unite and the Service and Food Workers Union are organizing a series of joint stop work meetings starting at 12.30am on New Year’s Day. The meetings will be voting on a resolution from the union negotiating team rejecting the company’s offer in the Collective Agreement negotiations and empowering the unions to organize continuing industrial action until a suitable offer is received.
This stop work meeting will the world’s first industrial action in 2011”, said Unite National Director and lead union negotiator Mike Treen. We are holding the meetings on New Year’s Day because by then the Collective Agreement will have expired and yet the company refused to allow the unions to consult their members on the company offer before that date.
We had an agreement that the unions could hold meetings on December 29. The company reneged on that agreement when at the last minute they insisted that the meetings would only be allowed if we recommended the company offer. This was a blatant attempt to blackmail the union negotiating team who had unanimously rejected the offer from the company.
The company offer is 3% a year for 3 years – take it or leave it. The company refused to discuss any other changes to the Collective Agreement. Major areas of disagreement couldn’t be addressed in the negotiations. The areas included the fact that starting rates for many jobs are barely above the minimum wage, that frontline salaried staff are excluded from Collective Agreement coverage, that part time workers have no guarantee of regular hours or shifts, or the need to raise minimum wage to $15. The company wouldn’t even agree to add clauses to the agreement reflecting changes in the law like the new flexible working hours law. They are one of the only casinos in the world that doesn’t provide free meals and parking to staff yet won’t agree to freeze these charges for the duration of the agreement.
This is part of long standing campaign by the company to marginalise the union since the new management team took over a few years ago. This attitude was typified by the response of Grainne Troute the General Manager of Human Resources for SkyCity when asked if she considered unions a ‘necessary evil’. She responded that the only word she disagreed with was ‘necessary’!
The company is now trying to bully staff into accepting the agreement or leaving the unions with completely false claims that the meetings are ‘illegal’ and any action will mean union members won’t get any back pay on a settlement.
These tactics will fail. The unions represent 1100 member – a majority of frontline staff. They are determined to get a better deal. This is a hugely profitable company with a virtual license to print money and yet pays new staff as little as $12.81 an hour – six cents above the minimum wage. It is a disgrace and should end.”
Mike Treen
National Director, Unite Union
6a Western Springs Rd, Kingsland 1021, Auckland
DD: 09 974 1735; Mob: 029 525 4744; Fax 09 846 9509
http://www.unite.org.nz

MESSAGE FROM THE ACC COALITION
The Government’s response to the ACC Stocktake has been announced. It consists of:
– an ‘in principle’ decision to privatise the work account by opening it up to ‘competition’, with more work to be done on how that could happen
– in the interim giving more employers the chance to participate in the accredited employers programme (AEP)
– agreeing to develop a proposal to move Disputes Resolution Services Ltd out from the Corporation’s ownership
We are working on a press release now attacking the first point, raising concerns about the 2nd and (for now) saying nothing about the future of DRSL (which might be OK).
We need you to
1. tell your members to register their opposition to privatisation by signing up to the ACC Futures Website. The page for support is http://issues.co.nz/accfutures/Support+Us
2. telling them to go to our Facebook page on http://www.facebook.com/pages/ACC-Futures-Coalition/138653329522341 and spread the word about it. This also has a link to the website
The press release is here http://www.beehive.govt.nz/release/next-steps-acc-announced
All the documents can be found here http://www.dol.govt.nz/initiatives/workplace/acc/stocktake/index.asp
Regards, Glenn Barclay, Convenor, ACC Futures Coalition

STATEMENT OF SOVEREIGNTY
We the undersigned citizens and permanent residents of New Zealand call upon the Government of New Zealand
to cease negotiations on the Transpacific Partnership agreement; and
to not sign this agreement; and
to cease work on any other in-progress or proposed international trade and investment treaties containing clauses which limit or abrogate New Zealand’s sovereign and democratic right to make and enforce laws and regulations and provide services which differ from those of other states or transnational organisations.
The closing date for signatures is 4 July 2011.
To sign the Statement of Sovereignty online, click on http://www.gopetition.com/petitions/new-zealand-not-for-sale.html
For more information about the Trans Pacific Partnership and the New Zealand Not For Sale Campaign, visit our Website (address below).
Murray Horton, Convenor, New Zealand Not For Sale Campaign
Box 2258, Christchurch, New Zealand
nznot4sale@gmail.com
www.nznotforsale.org

PEACE MEOVEMENT AOTEAROA
Season’s greetings, child rights review, highlights, new initiatives, Peace Scholarships, holiday arrangements, and thank you…
This message is to wish you a very happy Solstice, Christmas and New Year. It includes information about our forthcoming backgrounder on the review of NZ’s compliance with the Convention on the Rights of the Child, a brief outline of some of the highlights of 2010 and new initiatives planned for 2011, a reminder about the White Poppy Peace Scholarships, our thanks for your support during this year, and details of Peace Movement Aotearoa’s office and other arrangements during December and January. This information is available online at http://www.converge.org.nz/pma/pmadec10.pdf

WAIHOPAI PROTEST PROGRAMME JANUARY 21-23 2011 – THEME: WAIHOPAI IS NZ’S BIGGEST CONTRIBUTION TO US WARS
The war in Afghanistan is now America’s longest since WW2, and there is no end in sight. Hundreds of thousands of troops from the US, NATO and other countries, in-cluding New Zealand, are fighting in, and occupying, that country. Not only does NZ have the Special Air Service and other troops in action there but also operatives of NZ’s intelligence agencies, including the GCSB (which operates Waihopai) have been revealed to have been working with the Americans there. Also, let’s not forget the American war in Iraq. Despite having officially ended its combat role, the US military is still entrenched in that country, one which it invaded eight years ago.
So our theme is once again anti-war. Wikileaks revealed that full intelligence ties between NZ and the US were secretly fully reactivated in August 2009. We will be emphasising the critical role that Waihopai plays in this global killing machine by using our usual props such as coffins, crosses and masks. Waihopai is NZ’s key contribution to all of America’s wars, whether in Afghanistan, Iraq or anywhere else. It is basically a US spybase operating on NZ soil, a vital outpost of the American Empire. ABC will bring a limited number of placards and banners. Please bring your own, relevant to the anti-war theme, linking Waihopai to the US wars on Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere.
TRANSPORT
If you want transport from or to the Picton ferry terminal or Blenheim Airport, contact Steffan Browning, in Blenheim. 021 725655; greeny25@xtra.co.nz Give him plenty of notice.
FRIDAY 21
Afternoon. Arrive at campsite; set up camp; general housekeeping and settling in. A light dinner will be provided. How to find our camp at Whites Bay: turn off SH1 at Tuamarina (9km north of Blenheim or 20 km south of Picton) and drive to Rarangi on the coast. Continue on the steep Port Underwood Road which climbs over the hilltop before descending to the Whites Bay turnoff. There is a Department of Conservation public camp at the bay with basic facilities (toilets, cold water showers, but no elec-tricity). ABC has to pay a fixed charge per person.
Be prepared for a weekend of roughing it. We’ve hired a barbecue and will provide the food. We are bringing one reasonable sized tent for people without their own. Please note – we cater for vegetarians, but vegans will have to bring their own food. Bring sleeping bag, groundsheet, air mattress, a tent, torch, water bottle, eating utensils, clothing for all weather, placards and banners. Absolutely no open fires or smoking at the campsite.
Please register in advance. You can pay in advance or once you arrive, but in ad-vance is better so that we know numbers for catering purposes and have the money to pay DOC’s per person per night campsite fee. The registration cost is $40 waged or $20 unwaged. If you haven’t registered, please bring your own food.
There is a 9 p.m. summer curfew at White’s Bay camp (the gate is locked at that time, until 7 a.m. the next morning). After that time, vehicles can’t get into the camp – access on foot only, and you’ll have to carry your gear. There is no organised activity on the Friday night.
SATURDAY 22
Morning. Breakfast; introductions; discussion of the weekend’s programme, etc. 10 a.m. – travel to Blenheim. 11 am – assemble at Seymour Square, Blenheim. We will then march through central Blenheim to The Forum where our speakers will speak from the band rotunda.
The speakers are: Murray Horton (ABC); Keith Locke (Green MP); and John Minto (Global Peace and Justice Auckland). After the speeches we will carry on marching through Blenheim back to Seymour Square. Distribute leaflets en route. Our props – coffins, crosses, masks, etc – will be used on the march and carried by marchers.
12 noon – Lunch is a public sausage sizzle in Seymour Square (we will charge members of the public $1). 1.30 pm – depart Blenheim for Waihopai. 2 pm – peaceful protest at the base. We are not expecting to be allowed onto the base land and up to the inner gate. Ever since the Waihopai Ploughshares activists deflated one dome in 2008, the base has refused access to everyone, including media. So our activities will be at the main road gate. We are not planning to force the issue of access to the base land, nor do we plan any arrestable actions. Our props (see above) will be used at the base rally. 3 pm – Back to camp, dinner. Saturday night is free time.
SUNDAY 23
Morning – breakfast, feedback on weekend, strategise future actions. Break camp, and head for home no later than noon.
ABC can be contacted on ph/fax (03) 3663988 (Murray Horton) until 9 a.m on Friday 21. After that it’s mobiles: 0274 307742 (Murray Horton) and/or 021 02284787 (Bob Leonard) and/or 021 0367548 (Robyn Dann) and/or 0274 797789 (Lynda Boyd).

MURRAY HORTON SPEAKING TOUR APRIL 2011
CAFCA is sending Murray Horton on an election year national speaking tour (something he last did in the 2002 election year). The title is New Zealand Not For Sale, providing an overview of foreign control (a hot topic at present, specifically the perennial issue of land sales); free trade deals, specifically the one with the US being negotiated now via the Trans Pacific Partnership; and what people can do about it. The aim is to raise grassroots awareness of these issues and CAFCA’s work in election year. The plan is for it to take place over two to three weeks in April, starting at the Roger Award event in Auckland at the beginning of that month, then heading south, getting home to Christchurch in Easter week.
Thus far, he has confirmed invitations for: Auckland, Whangarei, Hamilton, Thames, Whakatane, Napier, Whanganui, Palmerston North, Wellington, Blenheim, Nelson, Golden Bay and Dunedin. There are one or two other possibilities still being explored. Some venues may have to be done as separate one-off trips; just because they can’t be fitted into that time frame and they involve a long journey to get there (this is what Murray did during his 02 tour). It looks like a busy itinerary, so it may need to be done in more than one bite. If you would like to organise a meeting for Murray in your city or town or be otherwise involved with the tour, please contact CAFCA ASAP, by e-mail to cafca@chch.planet.org.nz The itinerary will be worked out early in 2011 and publicity started shortly thereafter.

QUOTES OF THE WEEK
“Must the citizen ever for a moment, or in the least degree, resign his conscience to the legislator? Why has every man a conscience then? I think that we should be men first, and subjects afterward.” – Henry David Thoreau

BEST ON THE WEB

NEW ZEALAND
Annette Sykes Bruce Jesson Lecture concerning ‘The Politics of the Brown Table
http://img.scoop.co.nz/media/pdfs/1011/Annette_Sykes_Lecture_2010.pdf
Protest planned for Brisbane bound Peer http://tvnz.co.nz/national-news/protests-planned-asb-classic-3979732?ref=rss
John Minto’s Eulogy For Tom Newnham http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/HL1012/S00196/john-mintos-eulogy-for-tom-newnham.htm
Clark bowed to sending Iraq troops http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/4475134/Clark-bowed-to-sending-Iraq-troops
The Trans Pacific Partnership: Death to Democracy Photos by Nick Brown for Scoop http://tinyurl.com/2693nmq
Matt McCarten: Awards for masterstrokes and meltdowns http://www.nzherald.co.nz/politics/news/article.cfm?c_id=280&objectid=10696531
NZ spied on Fiji military, WikiLeaks cables show http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/4463398/NZ-spied-on-Fiji-military-WikiLeaks-cables-show
Govt awards first private prison contract http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/crime/4455745/Govt-awards-first-private-prison-contract
The ACC files: Degeneration used as easy way out, says judge http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10694116
Leniency urged on island overstayers http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10694135
Private prison contract goes to nuclear weapons company http://tinyurl.com/25ytd63
CAFCA: 2010 Roger Award Finalists Named http://www.voxy.co.nz/national/2010-roger-award-finalists-named/5/75329
On faster (pricier) broadband, and our ongoing Afghan delusions http://gordoncampbell.scoop.co.nz/2010/12/14/on-faster-pricier-broadband-and-nzs-afghan-delusions/
Divine intervention and the Key welfare agenda by Sue Bradford http://pundit.co.nz/content/divine-intervention-and-the-key-welfare-agenda
Mental health patients disproportionately targeted by tasers http://tinyurl.com/366n6mp
The Quest to Punish the Waihopai Three – The legal battle now shifts to civil court by Gordon Campbell http://werewolf.co.nz/2010/11/the-quest-to-punish-the-waihopai-three/
Profiteering from Prisons: On the global evidence, private prisons are no more efficient, and are no less expensive for the taxpayer http://werewolf.co.nz/2010/10/profiteering-from-prisons/
Protest at art deco demolition http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/4465040/Protest-at-art-deco-demolition
On the tenth day of Christmas, let people have a say on welfare reform http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PA1012/S00335/10th-day-of-xmas-let-people-have-a-say-on-welfare-reform.htm
End Of Year Report Marks National Standards “well Below” http://www.voxy.co.nz/national/end-year-report-marks-national-standards-quotwell-belowquot/5/76291
Socialist Review – Issue 33 http://iso.org.nz/socialist-review.html
Fresh petition for pardon in abuse case http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10696809

NZ WORK RIGHTS
NDU: Redundancies announced as economic outlook worsens http://tinyurl.com/2f7qc6n
PSA: Union to prioritise health & safety of members at privately run prison http://tinyurl.com/25bl8vd
Greens: Let’s have some fairness for fired workers on the seventh day of Christmas http://www.greens.org.nz/press-releases/lets-have-some-fairness-fired-workers-seventh-day-christmas
Rail Union: No confidence in NZ rail industry and workforce http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/BU1012/S00455/no-confidence-in-nz-rail-industry-and-workforce.htm
CTU: Government loses plot on supporting Kiwi jobs http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PO1012/S00159/government-loses-plot-on-supporting-kiwi-jobs.htm
Too many workers losing lives in maritime disasters: Maritime Union http://www.munz.org.nz/2010/12/14/too-many-workers-losing-lives-in-maritime-disasters/
More wood redundancies confirm an industry now in crisis http://www.ndu.org.nz/more_wood_redundancies_confirm_industry_now_crisis
IRD strikes another blow to rural economies http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/AK1012/S00526/ird-strikes-another-blow-to-rural-economies.htm
Backdated pay rise for MPs highlights double standards of SSC http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PO1012/S00238/pay-rise-for-mps-highlights-double-standards-of-ssc.htm
Government’s zeal to privatise undermines ACC http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PO1012/S00220/governments-zeal-to-privatise-undermines-acc.htm
ACC set to be handed over to private insurers http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PO1012/S00221/acc-set-to-be-handed-over-to-private-insurers.htm
ACC privatisation Christmas present to Aussie insurance companies http://tinyurl.com/2c8xwej
Spare a thought for those at work over the holidays http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PO1012/S00243/spare-a-thought-for-those-at-work-over-the-holidays.htm

PIKE RIVER
Miners’ families unite for inquiries http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/pike-river-mine-disaster/4454618/Miners-families-unite-for-inquiries
If Blood Be The Price of Your Cursed Wealth, Good God We Have Bought it Fair” http://byronclark.instablogs.com/entry/if-blood-be-the-price-of-your-cursed-wealth-good-god-we-have-bought-it-fair/#ixzz1896pdAqA
Pike River redundancies announced http://www.stuff.co.nz/business/industries/4455383/Pike-River-mine-meeting-anger

NZ ECONOMY
Critic Calls for Honesty after Wikileaks Exposes Government Duplicity on TPP http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PO1012/S00212/wikileaks-exposes-government-duplicity-on-tpp.htm
The new economy: tax & redistribution http://thestandard.org.nz/the-new-economy-tax-redistribution/
Tight Budget in 2011, but not the right time http://union.org.nz/news/2010/tight-budget-2011-not-right-time
TPPA Negotiators Face Concerted International Campaign to Release the Draft Texts http://business.scoop.co.nz/2010/12/10/tppa-negotiators-face-campaign-to-release-draft/
Bernard Hickey :Why Australian banks are crucial if NZ goes bankrupt http://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/news/article.cfm?c_id=3&objectid=10694427
US free-trade deal suspect NICKY HAGER – Sunday Star Times http://www.stuff.co.nz/sunday-star-times/news/4473939/US-free-trade-deal-suspect
WikiLeaks cable: No quick fix for pharmaceutical market http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10695113
Drug companies tried to get rid of Helen Clark when she was health minister,
leaked US Embassy cables claim. http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10695239
Failed prescription no medicine for savings ills: The Savings Working Group lumps too much blame on New Zealand households without addressing other causes of low savings, said CTU Economist Bill Rosenberg in response to the Group’s interim report published today. http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PO1012/S00196/failed-prescription-no-medicine-for-savings-ills.htm
GDP falls 0.2% for Quarter http://www.interest.co.nz/news/gdp-falls-02-sept-qtr-vs-expected-02-rise-due-falls-primary-goods-producing-industries-nz-drops-unde
Brian Fallow: $162b in debt – time to cut up the cards http://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/news/article.cfm?c_id=3&objectid=10696064
CAFCA: Refusal Of Natural Dairy Bid For Crafar Farms Sets Precedent For Overseas Investment Office http://www.infonews.co.nz/news.cfm?id=62460
GDP falls – Government needs to rethink http://www.voxy.co.nz/business/gdp-falls-government-needs-rethink/5/76993
Banks still big overseas borrowers, government still has net overseas assets http://union.org.nz/news/2010/banks-still-big-overseas-borrowers-government-still-has-net-overseas-assets
Māori employment suffering from timber job losses http://tinyurl.com/23wsq39
Speculation in food prices is the real crime http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PO1012/S00202/speculation-in-food-prices-is-the-real-crime.htm
Transnationals’ Profits Down, So Money Actually Stays in NZ http://tinyurl.com/24k5ldm

CULTURAL DISSENT
World literature and languages by Tariq Ali http://www.europe-solidaire.org/spip.php?article19478
Books: Tariq Ali on Mao’s contradictions http://www.newleftreview.org/?page=article&view=2874
Music: American Left-Wing Music http://theredphoenixapl.org/2010/12/13/american-left-wing-music/
Music: Musical interlude: `MaStreets’, by Comrade Fatso (Zimbabwe) & Chabvondoka, featuring Outspoken http://links.org.au/node/2046
Books: For The Win by Cory Doctorow http://byronclark.instablogs.com/entry/book-review-for-the-win-by-cory-doctorow/#ixzz1896Vnc9D
Books: The Spirit Level versus the ‘investment state’ http://www.policyprogress.org.nz/2010/11/spirit-level-v-investment-state/
Captain Ska’s ‘Liar Liar’ for Xmas number one – available now! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BQFwxw57NBI&feature=player_embedded
This song is our song: Alexander Billet tells the story of one of Woody Guthrie’s most famous songs. http://socialistworker.org/2010/12/16/this-song-is-our-song
Everyday utopias by Michael Sayeau: Verso has done the world, and especially British literature, a great service in republishing two of John Berger’s early novels. http://www.newstatesman.com/books/2010/12/corker-freedom-berger-painter
Hieronymus Bosch and the art of the death agony of feudalism http://www.marxist.com/bosch-art-of-death-agony-of-feudalism.htm
Hip-Hop Hopkins and Rhythms of Transformation http://axisoflogic.com/artman/publish/Article_61852.shtml
Between the Wars By Billy Bragg http://axisoflogic.com/artman/publish/Article_61847.shtml
Disney’s Racist Stereotyping and Gender Roles Remain Un-Tangled http://www.europe-solidaire.org/spip.php?article19582
Reality TV and Revolution: Suzanne Collins, The Hunger Games (Scholastic 2008), 374pp, Catching Fire (Scholastic 2009), 472pp, Mockingjay (Scholastic 2010), 455pp. http://tinyurl.com/2a4gnpv
Music: “Who then, who will lead the van?” http://rustbeltradical.wordpress.com/2010/11/11/who-then-who-will-lead-the-van/

LAND, LABOUR AND THE ENVIRONMENT
Why Bolivia stood alone in opposing the Cancún climate agreementby Pablo Solon
http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/cif-green/2010/dec/21/bolivia-oppose-cancun-climate-agreement?CMP=twt_gu
Cancun climate agreement stripped bare by Bolivia’s dissent http://links.org.au/node/2052
Evo Morales’ speech at COP-16 – For me Copenhagen was not a failure. It may have been for the powers of the world, but not for the peoples of the world who became conscious …. Hope for the peoples of the world is cooling the world, lowering the temperature. http://boliviarising.blogspot.com/2010/12/evo-morales-speech-at-cop-16.html
Indigenous activists slam Cancun betrayal; mass movements are our only hope: Statement by the Indigenous Environmental Network: “Mass-based movement building is our only hope to overturn the climate apartheid we now face.” http://climateandcapitalism.com/?p=3620
In Cancún, Evo Morales led the fight for mother earth: “We came to Cancún to save nature, forests, planet Earth. We are not here to convert nature into a commodity. We have not come here to revitalise capitalism with carbon markets.” http://climateandcapitalism.com/?p=3625
Michael Löwy on ecosocialism: Audio: Two talks at the Havens Center for the Study of Social Structure and Social Change, at the University of Wisconsin-Madison
http://climateandcapitalism.com/?p=3628
Friends of the Earth: Cancun deal merely prevents collapse; leaves Kyoto on life support –
http://climateandcapitalism.com/?p=3622
Extreme Cold In The UK Really Could Be A Result Of Global Warming By George Monbiot
http://www.countercurrents.org/monbiot211210.htm

FEATURES
The rise of the killer machines By Tony Iltis – One of the features of advances in military technology is that an increasing proportion of those killed in wars are civilians, not combatants. http://www.greenleft.org.au/node/46341
U.S. Prepares For New Decade Of War In Asia http://axisoflogic.com/artman/publish/Article_61832.shtml

WORLD ECONOMIC CRISIS
Goldman Officers to Reap $111 Million Payout From 2007, 2009 http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2010-12-15/goldman-s-bankfein-deputies-to-collect-111-3-million-in-stock-bonuses.html
ALBA and the Promise of Cooperative Development http://monthlyreview.org/101201hart-landsberg.php
The banker robbers: Lee Sustar says the Securities and Exchange Commission’s lawsuit against Goldman Sachs should spur demands to make the bankers pay for wrecking the economy. http://socialistworker.org/2010/04/20/the-banker-robbers
Special Report: Is America the sick man of the globe? http://www.reuters.com/article/idCATRE6BF28720101216

AFGHANISTAN
Ask Afghans what would help them, don’t ask Karzai’ by John Riddell http://www.socialistvoice.ca/?p=1405
Failure, Not Progress, in Afghanistan http://axisoflogic.com/artman/publish/Article_61835.shtml
Why are U.S. troops still stuck in Afghanistan? Rory Fanning, a former U.S. Ranger, describes the day-to-day realities of the U.S. war on Afghanistan–and the larger context that frames the occupation. http://socialistworker.org/2010/12/17/still-stuck-in-afghanistan
Afghanistan – The People’s December Review http://www.truth-out.org/afghanistan-the-peoples-december-review66316
Obama’s Afghanistan Review: A Whitewash of a Disastrous Occupation http://www.alternet.org/story/149321/obama%E2%80%99s_afghanistan_review%3A_a_whitewash_of_a_disastrous_occupation_
Tallying the costs of Obama’s war in Afghanistan By Amy Goodman http://rabble.ca/columnists/2010/12/tallying-costs-obamas-war-afghanistan

AUSTRALIA
Asylum seekers treated ‘worse than animals’: former refugee http://tinyurl.com/2dyt4dt
Gov. to blame for refugee deaths http://www.greenleft.org.au/node/46401
Housing Bubble: Australia is Different (roboanimation) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CroTAVVcr9k&feature=player_embedded
Sri Lanka: Deported asylum seekers face torture, jail http://www.greenleft.org.au/node/46304
Free trade is costing millions: report http://www.theage.com.au/national/free-trade-is-costing-millions-report-20101213-18vj6.html
Swan Island 9 charges dismissed http://www.greenleft.org.au/node/46324

BANGLADESH
At least 28 more garment workers die in Bangladeshi factory fire http://www.cleanclothes.org/news/2010-12-14-bangladeshi-factory-fire

BOLIVIA
The Bolivian Road to Socialism by Mike Geddes http://www.redpepper.org.uk/the-bolivian-road-to-socialism/
Bolivian land reform: a country strives to sustain an ‘agrarian revolution’ http://boliviarising.blogspot.com/2010/12/bolivian-land-reform-country-strives-to.html

CANADA
Ask Afghans what would help them, don’t ask Karzai’ by John Riddell – Mike Skinner, co-founder of the Afghanistan-Canadian Research Group and a researcher at the York Centre for International and Security Studies in Toronto, believes a simple question is being left out the debate about Canada’s continued military involvement in Afghanistan. ”Why are we there?”
http://www.socialistvoice.ca/?p=1405

CHINA
Class war in the new China – As the gap between rich and poor increases, a new generation of wealthy Chinese may be getting away with murder. http://english.aljazeera.net/indepth/features/2010/12/20101213115018746714.html

CUBA
Raúl Castro: Speech at The National Assembly http://tinyurl.com/28zgq7q
Cuba’s Crossroads by Michelle Chase https://nacla.org/node/6804
Rafters: The return trip http://tinyurl.com/29tuvxz
Cuban medics in Haiti put the world to shame – Castro’s doctors and nurses are the backbone of the fight against cholera http://tinyurl.com/2fbjsxc
Washington’s war of terror against Cuba http://links.org.au/node/2066
Cuba Modernizes its Economic Model http://www.walterlippmann.com/docs3142.html
Obama’s Cuba Policy by Keith Bolender http://mrzine.monthlyreview.org/2010/bolender281210.html

FRANCE
Stunning photos of recent French demonstrations http://www.boston.com/bigpicture/2010/10/france_on_strike.html

GREECE
Greek unions vow to step up protests over stringent austerity measures http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/dec/23/greek-unions-will-step-up-cuts-protest

HAITI
Michel Martelly, Stealth Duvalierist http://www.haiti-liberte.com/archives/volume4-22/MichelMartelly_Stealth_Duvalierist.asp
WikiLeaks’ lesson on Haiti: What the US embassy cables reveal about Washington’s malign influence should make Latin American nations quit the UN force http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/cifamerica/2010/dec/17/haiti-wikileaks
Searing Indictment of Haiti Occupation by OAS Diplomat http://www.canadahaitiaction.ca/content/searing-indictment-haiti-occupation-oas-diplomat

INDIA
Editorials, statements and protest after Binayak Sen’s sentencing http://www.europe-solidaire.org/spip.php?article19593
Muslim women face multiple discrimination: AIDWA http://www.europe-solidaire.org/spip.php?article19590
Insurgency Movements in India. Failure of the Indian Government to address the root causes could lead to a Domino’s effect in South Asia http://axisoflogic.com/artman/publish/Article_61885.shtml

IRELAND
Is Ireland Set to Follow the Asian Tigers Over the Cliff of Globalized Capitalism?http://tinyurl.com/2bobm6b

KOREA
“Just the first round” of struggle – Chris Kim reports on strikes and factory occupations at Hyundai Motors in South Korea, which is building solidarity among regular and irregular workers, and among workers internationally. http://socialistworker.org/2010/12/16/this-is-just-the-first-round

PAKISTAN
Blood on the Path of Love: The Striking Workers of Faisalabad, Pakistan http://monthlyreview.org/101201memon.php
Nixon adopted this tactic in Vietnam. It won’t work any better now than it did then By Patrick Cockburn – Could US Special Forces make a lunge across the Pakistan border in pursuit of the Taliban just as American and South Vietnamese troops briefly invaded Cambodia in pursuit of the Vietcong and North Vietnamese forces in 1970?
http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article27122.htm

PACIFIC
Leaks show Indonesia military abuse: Memos revealed by WikiLeaks show US diplomats aware of extensive corruption and rights violations in West Papua. http://english.aljazeera.net/news/asia-pacific/2010/12/2010122394112179356.html

PALESTINE
Peace process’ stuck without justice for Palestine http://tinyurl.com/26o22hz
The delusions of the peace process by Richard Falk http://www.tni.org/article/delusions-peace-process
The Drums of War Are Heard Again In Israel By Ilan Pappe http://www.countercurrents.org/pappe271210.htm
Israeli authorities deny Palestinian prisoners access to lawyers http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/dec/28/israel-denies-lawyers-palestinian-prisoners

PHILIPPINES
Morong 43’ raring to resume work after holidays http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/breakingnews/nation/view/20101218-309735/Morong

SOUTH AFRICA
`COSATU has waged titanic battles’ — The following speeches, by COSATU’s president and general secretary, were delivered at a ceremony in Johannesburg on December 3, 2010, to celebrate the Congress of South African Trade Unions’ 25th anniversary. http://links.org.au/node/2047
A challenge to the ANC? http://socialistworker.org/2010/12/10/challenge-to-the-anc

TUNISIA
Protests continue in Tunisia http://www.europe-solidaire.org/spip.php?article19600

UK
UK Unions, get set for battle: We must join students in a broad strike movement to combat attempts to strangle the welfare state http://tinyurl.com/39dx69v
15 year old Tells Establishment to Stick-it. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-U_gHUiL4P8
Video: Disabled man dragged from wheelchair – BBC Jody McIntyre interview http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tXNJ3MZ-AUo
Jody McIntyre : Who’s apathetic now? http://blogs.independent.co.uk/2010/12/15/jody-mcintyre-who%E2%80%99s-apathetic-now/
Boy of 12 hauled out of class by police over David Cameron Facebook protest http://tinyurl.com/2uxulv9
Student Protest: Evidence of Police violence continues to emerge http://tinyurl.com/26j6fdu
Bob Crow: ‘I couldn’t care less if we had a million strikes’ http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2010/dec/13/bob-crow-strikes-rmt-union
Out with the old politics: Ed Miliband’s pitiful offer of 1p membership won’t tempt the young back to parliamentary politics http://tinyurl.com/3235kca
Student demonstrators can’t do it on their own: Laurie Penny has written superbly on the protests. But she has swallowed one of the classic delusions of a new movement http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2010/dec/26/student-protests-laurie-penny
In this Dickensian season, a Victorian clique still rules – Austerity, deference and a little charity to the poor: the nation is being recast according to the ancient mores of the upper class http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2010/dec/21/con-dem-coalition-social-elite
Jayaben Desai obituary: Inspirational leader of the Grunwick strike, she fought for respect for immigrant workers http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2010/dec/28/jayaben-desai-obituary

USA
The few, the proud, the filthy rich: The holidays will be tough times for millions and millions of people suffering the effects of the Great Recession–but as Alan Maass reports, Wall Street has a lot to celebrate. http://socialistworker.org/2010/12/10/the-few-the-proud-the-rich
The Golden State adrift http://www.newleftreview.org/?page=article&view=2868
Mounting Debts by States Stoke Fears of Crisis http://www.nytimes.com/2010/12/05/us/politics/05states.html?_r=1&ref=homepage&src=me&pagewanted=print
The god that failed – Feature by Gary Younge: Last month’s midterm elections in the US saw a surge in support for the Republicans, fuelled by the growth of the right wing Tea Party movement. Gary Younge examines the US after two years of unfulfilled expectations. http://www.socialistreview.org.uk/article.php?articlenumber=11476
Taking on the Teamsters’ old guard http://socialistworker.org/2010/12/15/taking-on-the-old-guard
Prisoners on strike in Georgia http://socialistworker.org/2010/12/13/prisoners-strike-in-georgia
“Despite a surge this year in short-term hiring, many American businesses are still skittish about making those jobs permanent raising concerns among workers and some labor experts that temporary employees will become a larger, more entrenched part of the work
force.” http://www.nytimes.com/2010/12/20/business/economy/20temp.html?hp=&pagewanted=all
Richard Holbrooke Represented the Worst of the Foreign Policy Establishment http://tinyurl.com/23n4k52
Winter Soldiers Confront the White House: Mass Arrests as They Put Their Bodies on the Line for Peace http://www.truth-out.org/winter-soldiers-confront-white-house-mass-arrests-they-put-their-bodies-line-peace66222
A Solitary Jailhouse Lawyer Argues His Way Out of Prison http://news.mywebpal.com/news_tool_v2.cfm?show=localnews&pnpID=348&NewsID=992537&CategoryID=20366&on=1
The President and the Climate: Reflections on Progressive Obama Delusion and a Curious Line in Bill McKibben’s Eaarth http://mrzine.monthlyreview.org/2010/street231210.html
Obama’s Liberty Problem: Why Indefinite Detention by Executive Order Should Scare the Hell Out of People http://www.commondreams.org/view/2010/12/23-5
Hispanics Leaving Connecticut Town, Citing Racial Abuse By Police http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/12/26/east-haven-police-racial-profiling_n_801373.html
Wounded Knee and the bloody birth of empire http://rustbeltradical.wordpress.com/2010/12/29/wounded-knee-and-the-birth-of-empire/

VENEZUELA
Venezuelan National Assembly Passes People’s Power “Law of Communes” http://venezuelanalysis.com/news/5858
Television in Venezuela: Who Dominates the Media? http://www.cepr.net/index.php/publications/reports/who-dominates-the-media-in-venezuela
Food Sovereignty Venezuela — Jose, a campesina leader from one of Venezuela’s most prominent campesina organisations, the Ezequiel Zamora National Campesino Front (FNCEZ) tells of his work with campesinos in Portegeusa State. He describes life and land ownership possibilities before and after the revolution and the some of the surprises that are revealed in his ongoing quest of helping the poor reclaim their land. Special thanks to the great translations of Venezuelan activist Yasmin Tovar and the stunning background music of Ali Primera, renowned Venezuelan singer of revolutionary tales. http://links.org.au/node/2061

OLDER ANNOUNCEMENTS
JOIN THE MAY DAY 2011 SOLIDARITY BRIGADE TO VENEZUELA! APRIL 25TH – MAY 4TH, 2011
The Australia-Venezuela Solidarity Network invites you to observe first-hand the inspiring Bolivarian revolution in Venezuela. The sweeping social changes being carried out by Venezuela’s “people’s power” movements are radically transforming life for the majority in that country – workers, women, Indigenous people, young people and all those who have suffered the injustices of poverty, exploitation and exclusion that accompany corporate globalisation. Along the way, this remarkable revolution is showing the rest of the world that a more rational, socially just and sustainable future is possible.
A special feature of the 2011 May Day brigade will be the opportunity it offers to observe the developing workers’ participation and workers’ control that is a vital part of the Venezuelan revolution, with visits to worker-run factories and cooperatives, and meetings with trade union and community management representatives in a variety of sectors and regions. The brigadistas will also observe Venezuela’s grassroots democracy in action, with visits to the social missions, communal councils and communes. They will meet and speak with grassroots activists in the free, high-quality public health and education services; sustainable development projects; community controlled media; and women’s and Indigenous organisations. Joining the huge May Day rally in Caracas on May 1st will be a another highlight.
This brigade is the 12th solidarity and study tour organised by the AVSN. Participants’ reports and photos from previous brigades are available at http://www.venezuelasolidarity.org
Registration and costs: The deadline for registering for the 2011 May Day solidarity brigade is February 28, 2011. Participants will need to book their own international airfares, but the AVSN can help with advice (please do not book without contacting us to confirm the dates). The AVSN will organise all accommodation, transport and English-Spanish translation for the brigade. People joining from Australia will need to budget for a total cost of $3500-4000, which will cover international return airfares (between $2200-2600 from Australia); all food, transport and accommodation (on a shared basis) during the brigade; and the brigade registration fee ($500 for workers or $300 for full-time students, unemployed and pensioners).
For more information about this or future brigades, please email brigades@venezuelasolidarity.org or phone Lisa Macdonald +61 413 031 108, Roberto Jorquera +61 425 182 994 or John Cleary +61 407 500 839.

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