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Israeli military lays siege to Arafat’s headquarters

By WSWS Editorial Board, 30 March 2002

The editorial board of the World Socialist Web Site condemns the brutal attack by the Israeli government against the Palestinian people and their political leadership. The full responsibility for the continued bloodshed in the Middle East rests with the regime headed by Ariel Sharon and its backers in the Bush administration.

Indian ruling coalition in disarray over communal campaign

By K. Ratnayake, 30 March 2002

The ongoing campaign by the communalist Vishva Hindu Parshad (VHP) to build a temple to the Hindu god Ram in Ayodhya has thrown India’s ruling National Democratic Alliance (NDA) into disarray. While Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee secured a deal at a crisis meeting of coalition members on March 22, the future of his fragile government is by no means certain.

Zimbabwe election used to pressure African leaders

By Chris Talbot, 30 March 2002

Britain and the United States have demanded the leaders of African countries condemn the recent presidential elections in Zimbabwe or lose financial aid. Meeting in Abuja, Nigeria this week, leaders from 21 African states are discussing the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD), an attempt to win Western investment that will be taken to the G8 economic summit in June.

The view from the oasis

By Joanne Laurier, 30 March 2002

Monsoon Wedding , directed by Mira Nair, written by Sabrina Dhawan

Workers Struggles: Asia, Australia and the Pacific

By , 30 March 2002

Korean power workers face mass dismissals in April

Ontario Tories open door to 60-hour workweek

By a correspondent, 30 March 2002

Recent changes to Ontario’s labour standards have emboldened employers to press for a lengthening of the workweek, giving rising to a series of strike struggles.

Why the epidemic of sexual abuse in the Catholic Church?

By David Walsh, 29 March 2002

Reports and accusations of sexual abuses carried out by Roman Catholic priests against children and teenagers, mostly male, continue to flood the American media. On March 20 a former professional baseball player, Tom Paciorek, and three of his brothers charged a Detroit-area priest with systematically abusing them in the 1960s when they were adolescents. No charges can be laid because the statute of limitations on such crimes expired years ago, but the priest in question, now 63, was immediately removed from his position by Church officials.

Bush expands "voluntary interviews" of Middle Eastern immigrants

By Kate Randall, 29 March 2002

On March 20, US Attorney General John Ashcroft announced that the Justice Department is expanding its “voluntary interview” program, with plans to question 3,000 more mainly Muslim and Arab immigrants. The interviews will target men ages 18 to 33 who have entered the country since September 11 and hold passports from or have visited countries where the Bush administration says there is a significant Al Qaeda presence. Civil liberties and Arab-American groups have denounced the plan as a form of racial profiling and an attack on democratic rights.

Washington presides over a political and social disaster in Afghanistan

By Peter Symonds, 29 March 2002

An event that failed to take place in Kabul this week reveals a good deal about the chaotic state of affairs in Afghanistan, as well as who is pulling the political strings in the country.

Letters to the WSWS

By , 29 March 2002

Below we post a selection of recent letters to the WSWS.

The expulsion of the Palestinians and the origins of Land Day

By , 29 March 2002

The following article was submitted by World Socialist Web Site correspondent David Merhav

A letter from a Chinese reader on workers’ protests

By , 29 March 2002

Below we reprint a letter on “Working class demonstrations spread in northern China”

US Mideast initiative faces collapse as Israel prepares offensive

By Chris Marsden, 29 March 2002

The death of 20 people celebrating the start of Passover on March 27 at the hands of a Hamas suicide bomber will inevitably meet with brutal Israeli retaliation. The Israeli cabinet was meeting Thursday night to discuss its response, amidst appeals by the major powers for restraint.

Bush’s recipe for Latin America: austerity, repression and more US militarism

By Bill Vann and Tomas Rodriguez, 28 March 2002

In his four-day, three-nation tour of Latin America, George W. Bush reprised all of the familiar homilies about hemispheric “partnership” and mutual progress that have been the stock-in-trade of every US president for 50 years. In the wake of September 11, Washington has refurbished the rhetoric slightly. It has replaced the old invocations of an alliance against “communist subversion” used to justify the military interventions, CIA-organized coups and US-backed dictatorships that characterized the region for most of the twentieth century with a new slogan—the “war on terrorism.”

Sentences announced in Britain's "Donnygate" Labour Party corruption case

By Harvey Thompson, 28 March 2002

Prison sentences were announced this month, in what has been described as the worst local government corruption case since the 1970s. One of the most comprehensive police investigations into council fraud ever carried out has resulted in two senior Labour Party councillors in Doncaster, South Yorkshire and a property developer being sentenced to a total of 11 years in jail.

Campaign finance reform: A liberal fig leaf for the decay of American democracy

By Patrick Martin, 28 March 2002

The passage of legislation banning large “soft-money” contributions to US political campaigns has been hailed in certain quarters as a political new Jerusalem. After the 60-40 Senate vote March 19 that sent the legislation on to President Bush, the New York Times gushed that advocates of campaign finance reform had won “an extraordinary victory.”

Workers Struggles: Europe, the Middle East and Africa

By , 28 March 2002

Transport workers strike in Lyon, France

Official report into boy’s death in rural Australia covers up underlying causes

By Terry Cook, 28 March 2002

An Australian Communications Authority (ACA) report into the February 6 death of 10-year-old Sam Boulding has proved to be an exercise in damage control aimed at taking the tragic incident out of the public spotlight. Communications Minister Richard Alston ordered the ACA investigation on February 14, but only after coverage of the child’s death persisted in the media.

High-level US delegation issues veiled threat to Sri Lankan separatists

By Nanda Wickremasinghe, 28 March 2002

A high-powered team of US officials, led by Assistant Secretary for South Asian Affairs Christina Rocca, flew to Sri Lanka in mid-March for discussions with government ministers and the military over planned peace talks with the separatist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). A formal ceasefire was signed last month between Colombo and the LTTE as the prelude to discussions over a settlement in May.

Letters on US militarism

By , 27 March 2002

Below we post a selection of recent letters to the WSWS on US militarism.

Correspondence on the trial of Slobodan Milosevic

By , 27 March 2002

The following correspondence was sent in response to the three part series, “The Hague Tribunal: Milosevic charges NATO with war crimes”, the first part of which was published on February 28. It includes two replies by Chris Marsden to criticisms made.

The Milosevic trial: Damning admissions by former British Liberal Party leader Lord Ashdown

By Paul Mitchell, 27 March 2002

Lord Paddy Ashdown was the first Western leader to appear as a prosecution witness in the trial of former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic. He will in all probability be the only one to do so.

Defense reveals government conspiracy to deny John Walker Lindh access to counsel

By John Andrews, 27 March 2002

Attorneys for John Walker Lindh filed papers last week in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia documenting the US government’s illegal interference with their client’s constitutional right to legal counsel. The young man from northern California was captured last November with a group of Taliban fighters in Afghanistan. He faces charges of conspiracy to commit murder and aiding terrorist organizations. His defense team’s submission detailed the government’s role in preventing him from consulting the lawyer his parents had hired to represent him.

US economic recovery predicted but "imbalances" worsen

By Nick Beams, 27 March 2002

The International Monetary Fund is predicting the lightest US recession on record and a significant pick up in the world economy by the end of this year, according to the draft of its World Economic Outlook leaked last week.

War danger grows on Korean peninsula

By James Conachy, 27 March 2002

Tensions between the US and North Korea are at their worst since 1994, when the Clinton administration threatened military strikes if Pyongyang did not shut down its nuclear power plants. On January 29, Bush included North Korea in his “axis of evil” and made further accusations during his February East Asia visit that it possessed “weapons of mass destruction”. This month, in response to the leaked Pentagon report proposing the use of nuclear weapons in a war on the Korean peninsula, North Korea issued threats of its own.

Workers Struggles: the Americas

By , 26 March 2002

Protests against new Brazilian labor law

Britain: Shock for millions of workers who rely on private pensions

By Jean Shaoul, 26 March 2002

A staggering 50 percent of workers that depend on a secure occupational pension to bolster the meagre state pension have seen the safety net pulled from under them. Recent developments have removed the central prop of successive British governments’ pension policy—reliance on private pension plans—and threaten a social catastrophe. As a result millions of workers face destitution in the last years of their lives.

Muslim cleric the target of Bush "anti-terror" dragnet

By Lawrence Porter, 26 March 2002

The arrest and treatment of Rabih Haddad are emblematic of the anti-democratic and racist nature of the “anti-terror” campaign of the Bush administration. Haddad, a prominent Muslim cleric living in Ann Arbor, Michigan, was arrested at his home last December 14 on purported minor visa violations. The same day, the charity he co-founded, Global Relief Foundation (GRF), had its assets frozen and the Federal Bureau of Investigation and US Treasury Department raided its Chicago offices.

Amnesty International report condemns US treatment of immigrant detainees

By Roberta Hanover, 26 March 2002

On March 14, Amnesty International (AI) issued a comprehensive and chilling report exposing the treatment of people detained in the US as a result of the anti-immigrant sweeps initiated following the events of September 11.

Millions demonstrate in Rome against Berlusconi

By Peter Schwarz, 26 March 2002

Between two and three million people converged on Rome March 23 to protest the policies of the Berlusconi government in the biggest demonstration in the history of post-war Italy.

The 74th Academy Awards: of race, war and a lack of backbone

By David Walsh, 26 March 2002

There are features common to each year’s Academy Awards ceremony: garishness, tastelessness, self-aggrandizement and, of course, the rewarding of much mediocre or even worse filmmaking. This year’s ceremony was not lacking in any of these qualities. The interminable and bloated broadcast, at more than four and a quarter hours, was for the most part forgettable.

Jakarta corruption trial aimed at reassuring foreign investors

By John Roberts, 26 March 2002

One of Indonesia’s most prominent political figures, Akbar Tandjung, speaker of the House of Representatives (DPR) and chairman of the Golkar party, went on trial yesterday in Jakarta on corruption charges. Politically a lot is riding on this prosecution for the administration of President Megawati Sukarnoputri.

Canada: Workers and unemployed protest outside Tory conference

By Lee Parsons, 26 March 2002

Several thousand trade unionists, unemployed workers, students and welfare rights activists participated in a series of protests last weekend against seven years of Tory rule in Ontario, Canada’s most populous province. Elected in 1995, Ontario’s Tory government has spearheaded corporate Canada’s assault against the working class, making massive cuts to public services, slashing welfare benefits and otherwise victimizing the poor, lengthening the legal work-week to 60 hours, and attacking trade union rights.

EU summit in Barcelona: silence over US war plans against Iraq

By Peter Schwarz, 25 March 2002

The semi-annual summits of European government heads are considered milestones in determining the development of the European Union (EU). Despite the numerous institutions and the enormous apparatus that the EU possesses, real decision-making lies with the governments of the 15 member states. Only these summits are able to make pioneering political decisions.

South Korean president threatens to sack striking power workers

By Terry Cook, 25 March 2002

Striking power workers in South Korea last weekend rejected a government ultimatum directing them to return to work by 9am today or face dismissal. The return-to-work order is part of further harsh measures announced by President Kim Dae-jung at a cabinet meeting last Tuesday aimed at crushing the protracted strike by more than 5,000 workers.

Victim of anti-Clinton witch-hunt denounces independent counsel’s report on Lewinsky affair

By , 25 March 2002

Earlier this month Independent Counsel Robert Ray released his office’s final report on its investigation of former President Clinton’s relationship with White House intern Monica Lewinsky. Predictably, Ray—who resigned his position six days later to announce his intention to run as the Republican candidate for US Senate in New Jersey—upheld the charges by former Independent Counsel Kenneth Starr, which provided the legal pretext for the right-wing campaign to impeach Clinton in 1998-99.

Leaked spy intercepts prove Australian complicity in Timor massacre

By Mike Head, 25 March 2002

Documents leaked from one of Australia’s premier military intelligence agencies have further exposed the dirty lie behind the Howard government’s ongoing armed intervention in East Timor. They demonstrate that throughout 1999 Prime Minister John Howard’s cabinet knew that Indonesian cabinet ministers and senior generals were orchestrating militia killings across East Timor, but kept this information from the Timorese and Australian people.

Shock therapy for Argentina: 75,000 jobs disappear in one month

By Rafael Azul, 25 March 2002

Argentina faces a social crisis of unprecedented proportions. Seventy-five thousand jobs disappeared during the month of February alone. The nation moved toward the 25 percent unemployment mark, while government officials begged for assistance from the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

Question mark over the future of Australian prime minister

By Linda Tenenbaum, 23 March 2002

Australian Prime Minister John Howard has been implicated in a third grubby scandal in a matter of weeks, prompting speculation about his political future. Pointed suggestions are being aired that heir apparent, Treasurer Peter Costello, should start counting the numbers for a leadership challenge. Behind the deepening crisis lies a factional war within Australian ruling circles.

Hollywood’s ideological war

By Joseph Kay, 23 March 2002

For the past several months, the American and world population has been subject to a stream of war films coming out of Hollywood. For the most part, these are not so much works of art as propaganda whose essential purpose is, in one form or another, to legitimize or glorify American militarism.

Working class demonstrations spread in northern China

By James Conachy, 23 March 2002

Tens of thousands of laid-off workers in China’s northern provinces have participated in mass demonstrations this month, spurred on by the social inequality and deprivation caused by the regime’s free market economic policies.

Correspondence on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict

By , 23 March 2002

Below we post a selection of recent letters on our coverage of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict together with Chris Marsden’s replies.

UK police mount political campaign against government reforms

By Mike Ingram, 23 March 2002

A rally of 10,000 off-duty police officers outside parliament Wednesday March 13 was the public face of an unprecedented political campaign against police reform. Largely reported as a dispute over pay, the demonstration was only the latest action by a police force opposed to any encroachment upon its privileged status.

Workers Struggles: Asia, Australia and the Pacific

By , 23 March 2002

Chinese textile workers strike over layoffs

Organization of American States human rights panel opposes Bush policy on POWs

By Kate Randall, 22 March 2002

In the last week, new protests have been lodged over Bush administration policy toward both Afghan War POWs in Cuba and detainees held in the US since September 11. On March 13, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights of the Organization of American States (OAS) declared that the more than 300 prisoners being held at Guantanamo Bay should be brought before a formal tribunal to determine their status. The Bush administration has refused to take such action, even though it is called for in the Geneva Conventions on prisoners of war.

The makings of a protracted colonial war in Afghanistan

By Peter Symonds, 22 March 2002

A strange war is taking place in eastern Afghanistan—at least, if one accepts at face value the statements made by the US administration and the military. Victories are being won, successes are being registered, the remnants of Al Qaeda and Taliban are being mopped up. Yet, according to President Bush, the US has “a lot more fighting to do in Afghanistan” and at least 1,700 more British troops are required.

Pan Am 103/Lockerbie: Appeal against guilty verdict thrown out

By Steve James, 22 March 2002

Five senior Scottish judges at Camp Zeist, the Netherlands, have thrown out the appeal by Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al-Megrahi against his conviction, January 2001 for the mass murder of 270 people killed at Lockerbie on December 21, 1988. Al-Megrahi has now been transported to Glasgow’s notorious BarLinnie prison, where a special wing has been built for him to serve his 20-year sentence.

An unwelcome trend in British filmmaking

By David Walsh, 22 March 2002

Last Orders, written and directed by Fred Schepisi, based on the novel by Graham Swift

Yugoslavia: Serbian Assembly restores partial autonomy to Vojvodina

By Paul Mitchell, 22 March 2002

In February, the Serbian Assembly narrowly voted for an “omnibus law” restoring partial autonomy to the province of Vojvodina. Vojvodina and Kosovo are provinces in the Republic of Serbia that together with the Republic of Montenegro comprise the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (FRY).

World Socialist Web Site Review: April issue out now

By , 22 March 2002

WSWS : Mehring Books

The Wall Street Journal and the Pickering nomination: Is the Republican right preparing for violence?

By Patrick Martin, 22 March 2002

The clamor over the March 15 vote by the Senate Judiciary Committee to block the nomination of Charles Pickering to the Circuit Court of Appeals has underscored the increasingly hysterical anti-democratic trajectory of the Republican right allies of the Bush administration.

Bush administration bases case against John Walker Lindh on coerced statements

By John Andrews, 21 March 2002

According to legal papers filed March 15 in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, the Bush administration is basing its prosecution of John Walker Lindh almost entirely on statements Lindh made while in extreme physical and mental duress and after he was denied access to his lawyer.

Letters on "German press turns anti-American"

By , 21 March 2002

Below we post a selection of recent letters on “German press turns anti-American“ (editorial of Gleichheit, published by the Socialist Equality Party of Germany).

The Pickering nomination: political warfare flares in Washington

By Patrick Martin, 21 March 2002

The Senate Judiciary Committee voted March 15 to kill the nomination of Judge Charles Pickering to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. By straight party-line votes of ten-to-nine, the panel rejected Pickering’s nomination and then barred the nomination from going to the full Senate for a vote.

Tolkien and the flight from modern life

By Margaret Rees, 21 March 2002

The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring is the first part of the trilogy adapted from J.R.R. Tolkien’s fantasy epic. It concerns an imaginary world in which unlikely heroes undertake a quest against the powers of Sauron, the personification of evil and darkness, by destroying the ring which he first created and then lost in the mists of time.

Letters on the Andrea Yates case

By , 21 March 2002

Below we post a selection of recent letters on the Andrea Yates case.

Workers Struggles: Europe, the Middle East and Africa

By , 21 March 2002

Teachers hold day of action in London to demand increase in cost of living allowance

Milosevic trial characterised by ineptitude and evasions

By Tony Robson, 21 March 2002

After receiving the full glare of the media spotlight, the trial of former Yugoslavian president, Slobodan Milosevic at The Hague virtually drifted off the radar screen for several days. The Chief Prosecutor’s opening statement to the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) was given wide publicity. Bite size sections of Carla Del Ponte case for the prosecution, particularly those formulations such as the one accusing Milosevic of “medieval savagery,” were given the banner headline treatment.

Behind the making of The Lord of the Rings

By John Braddock, 21 March 2002

When the Hollywood publicity machine moves into overdrive with the Academy Awards in March each year, its prime concern is not reward for artistic endeavour but the promise of massive profits for those movies acclaimed by the power brokers in the industry. One of this year’s leading contenders is New Zealand director Peter Jackson’s Fellowship of the Ring, the first in his The Lord of the Rings trilogy.

US oversees abduction, torture, execution of alleged terrorists

By Barry Grey, 20 March 2002

The US government is engaged in an illegal, covert drive to kidnap people it suspects of terrorist links and ship them to allied countries, where the targeted individuals are imprisoned, interrogated under torture and, in some cases, summarily executed.

A revealing decision by the European Union economic summit

By Nick Beams, 20 March 2002

Every so often an event takes place which sends a beam of light through the fog of “free market” ideology that surrounds the operations of the profit system. Such an occurrence was the European Union’s economic summit meeting decision in Barcelona last week to increase the European retirement age from 58 to 65.

Former Black Panther Jamil Al-Amin sentenced to life in prison

By Peter Daniels, 20 March 2002

Jamil Abdullah Al-Amin, the Muslim minister who, as H. Rap Brown, was a leader of the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee in the 1960s and later a leader of the Black Panther Party, was sentenced last week to life in prison. Al-Amin was convicted earlier this month in connection with the death of a sheriff’s deputy in Atlanta two years ago. The jury, after deliberating for five hours, rejected prosecution demands for the death penalty, but took the option of a life sentence without parole.

Europe on rations: the Afghan war and the dilemma of European capitalism

By Peter Schwarz, 20 March 2002

Below we are publishing the second and concluding part of a lecture given January 17, 2002 by Peter Schwarz, a member of the International Editorial Board of the World Socialist Web Site . The lecture was delivered at an international school held in Sydney by the Socialist Equality Party of Australia. The first part was published on March 19.

Britain agrees to send marines to Afghanistan

By Julie Hyland, 20 March 2002

Britain is sending 1,700 Royal Marine Commandos to Afghanistan—its largest combat force overseas since the 1991 Persian Gulf War. The surprise deployment takes the total number of British forces deployed for the Afghanistan war to 6,400.

PBS documentary probes initial public offering swindles of 1990s

By James Brookfield, 20 March 2002

Following the Enron bankruptcy and Congressional inquiries into the fraudulent practices of its executives, increasing public attention is being paid to the financial maneuvers that fostered the rise and eventual collapse of the US stock bubble, particularly in the financial and high-tech sectors. A documentary that aired on US public television in January shed greater light on the collapse of the “tech stocks” by revealing that many of their initial public offerings (IPOs) were manipulated by venture capitalist firms, investment banks and big investors to pocket billions of dollars at the expense of smaller investors.

Amnesty International criticises Australia’s human rights record on refugees

By Jake Skeers, 20 March 2002

A high profile visit to Australia by Amnesty International’s Secretary General Irene Khan in early March has underscored the abuse of basic democratic rights involved in the country’s mandatory detention of asylum seekers—a policy backed by both the Howard government and the Labor opposition.

Europe on rations: the Afghan war and the dilemma of European capitalism

By Peter Schwarz, 19 March 2002

Below is the complete lecture given January 17, 2002 by Peter Schwarz, a member of the International Editorial Board of the World Socialist Web Site . The lecture was delivered at an international school held in Sydney by the Socialist Equality Party of Australia and published in two parts. The first part was published on March 19 and the second and concluding part was published on March 20.

Europe on rations: the Afghan war and the dilemma of European capitalism

By Peter Schwarz, 19 March 2002

Below we are publishing the first part of a lecture given January 17, 2002 by Peter Schwarz, a member of the International Editorial Board of the World Socialist Web Site . The lecture was delivered at an international school held in Sydney by the Socialist Equality Party of Australia. The second and concluding part was published on March 20.

British Columbia government pressing forward with class war agenda

By Guy Charron, 19 March 2002

British Columbia’s Liberal government has emerged as the spearhead of corporate Canada’s assault on the working class. Since the beginning of 2002, it has:

Machinery and the origins of surplus value

By Nick Beams, 19 March 2002

The fact that he did so indicates the extent to which US corporations had become involved in and dependent upon the escalating stock market. This dependence in turn is an expression of the fact that, rather than resolving the contradictions of the capitalist economy, the increase in labour productivity, flowing from the vast technological innovations of the past 20 years, has tended to exacerbate them.

Bush sacks immigration officials: Who is accountable, and who is not

By Patrick Martin, 19 March 2002

Letters from the US Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS), reporting visa approvals for two of the September 11 hijackers, arrived at a Florida flight school on March 11, six months after the destruction of the World Trade Center. The visas were for Mohammed Atta and Marwan Al-Shehhi, believed to be on board the two airliners that crashed into the twin towers in New York City.

Europe on rations: the Afghan war and the dilemma of European capitalism

By Peter Schwarz, 19 March 2002

Below is the complete lecture given January 17, 2002 by Peter Schwarz, a member of the International Editorial Board of the World Socialist Web Site . The lecture was delivered at an international school held in Sydney by the Socialist Equality Party of Australia and published in two parts. The first part was published on March 19 and the second and concluding part was published on March 20.

Massive protest against European Union summit in Barcelona

By Chris Marsden, 19 March 2002

Organisers claim that between 300,000 and 500,000 people joined the weekend protests outside the European Union (EU) summit in the Spanish city of Barcelona. Even the official estimates are as high as a quarter of a million, far in excess of the 50-60,000 that had been anticipated.

Socialist Equality Party campaign frees two Tamil detainees in Sri Lanka

By Vilani Peiris, 19 March 2002

Two Tamil detainees, Ponniah Saravanakumar and Arunachalam Yogeswaran, were finally freed on March 7, after being held for three years and eight months without trial under Sri Lanka’s draconian Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA). Their release follows a lengthy campaign by the Socialist Equality Party (SEP) on behalf of six young Tamils from Hatton in the country’s central hill estate area, who were arrested on bogus charges in 1998. The four others were freed last July.

33,000 public sector workers strike in Ontario

By Lee Parsons, 19 March 2002

More than 30,000 Ontario provincial workers walked off the job March 12 in one of the largest strikes of its kind in Canadian history. Although the Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU) has over 45, 000 members, a large portion of its workers, including ambulance dispatchers, lab technicians and water treatment workers, are prohibited from striking because they are deemed to be in essential services.

Workers Struggles: The Americas

By , 19 March 2002

Teachers strike in Argentina, Bolivia and Venezuela

Leading Australian documentary filmmaker dies

By Richard Phillips, 18 March 2002

Robin Anderson, rightly regarded as one of Australia’s best documentary filmmakers, died on March 8, aged 51, after a nine-month struggle with cancer. Anderson was diagnosed with a rare form of the disease in June last year, the day before her last movie— Facing the Music —premiered at the Sydney Film Festival. A reluctant publicist of her own work, the quietly-spoken Anderson co-directed with Bob Connolly, her husband and filmmaking partner, five feature-length documentaries between 1983 and 2001 that have left an ineradicable mark on the genre.

British threats follow Mugabe’s re-election in Zimbabwe

By Ann Talbot, 18 March 2002

Zimbabwe faces the threat of further punishment from the British government after Robert Mugabe won a third term in the presidential elections that took place on 9-11 March.

Bush’s press conference: the questions not asked, the answers not given

By Patrick Martin, 18 March 2002

Ignorance and indifference were the hallmarks of President Bush’s March 13 press conference. The president’s own careless attitude to the proceedings seemed matched by the perfunctory approach of his questioners.

Official figures show: Japan in worst postwar recession

By Joe Lopez, 18 March 2002

International Monetary Fund (IMF) managing director Horst Koehler last week gave an upbeat assessment of the world economy claiming recession had been avoided and recovery was on its way. Much still rested on the performance of the US, where there were mixed signals, but overall picture was one of recovery.

60,000 German soldiers engaged in military interventions world-wide

By Ludwig Niethammer, 18 March 2002

Last weekend the coffins of two German soldiers killed in Kabul landed in Germany to full military honours. In front of the coffins lying in state at Cologne airport, German Defence Minister Rudolf Scharping (SPD—German Social Democratic Party) spoke of a tragic accident and emphasised the two soldiers had not died in military fighting.

Letters on "US plans widespread use of nuclear weapons in war: Bush orders Pentagon to target seven nations for attack"

By , 16 March 2002

Below we post a selection of letters on Patrick Martin’s March 11 article US plans widespread use of nuclear weapons in war: Bush orders Pentagon to target seven nations for attack.

The murder conviction of Andrea Yates: a tragic case, a barbaric verdict

By David Walsh, 16 March 2002

The conviction of Andrea Yates on capital murder charges for the bathtub drowning of her five children is a terrible miscarriage of justice. While the Houston jury’s decision was deplorable, the central responsibility lies with the reactionary social atmosphere cultivated by the American ruling elite over the past two decades. The promotion of law-and-order hysteria and religious fanaticism has had particularly tragic consequences in Texas, not coincidentally the home state of the former governor and current US president, George W. Bush.

A letter on the detention of refugees in Australia

By , 16 March 2002

The following letter was sent to the WSWS in response to the article “A first-hand account: Life inside an Australian refugee detention centre”, published on February 7, 2002.

The World Economic Crisis: 1991-2001

By Nick Beams, 16 March 2002

Below we are publishing the final part of a lecture given on January 16, 2002 by Nick Beams, national secretary of the Socialist Equality Party (Australia) and a member of the International Editorial Board of the World Socialist Web Site . The lecture was delivered at an international school held in Sydney by the Socialist Equality Party of Australia. The first part was published on March 14 and the second part on March 15.

Stalin’s persecution of German communists

By Alexander Boulerian, 16 March 2002

Menschenfalle Moskau: Exil und Stalinistische Verfolgung (Trapped in Moscow: Exile and Stalinist Persecution), by Reinhard Müller, Hamburg 2001

Israel: US seeks to curb Sharon to further war drive against Iraq

By Chris Marsden, 16 March 2002

The partial withdrawal of Israeli troops from the Palestinian towns of Ramallah and other West Bank areas is a temporary manoeuvre that has been forced on Prime Minister Ariel Sharon by the exigencies of US foreign policy.

Workers Struggles: Asia, Australia and the Pacific

By , 16 March 2002

Oil workers continue protests in China

Bush welfare plan: a draconian attack on the poor

By Paul Sherman, 15 March 2002

The Bush administration’s welfare plan, announced last month, is a vicious attack against the poorest sections of society and promotes the “family values” agenda of the right wing. Its aim is to further destroy what little remains of the social safety net and compel millions more people to work as cheap labor. At the same time it threatens low-wage workers with destitution if they lose their jobs.

White House defends nuclear war plans with sophistries and saber-rattling

By Patrick Martin, 15 March 2002

In the week since the press first reported that the US government is laying plans for a greatly expanded nuclear capability—increasing both the number of countries targeted and the circumstances under which the use of nuclear weapons could be authorized—the Bush administration has publicly sought to downplay the revelation.

Scotland: Gas monopoly faces killing charge over death of family

By Neil Hodge, 15 March 2002

Transco, the pipeline division of Lattice, the UK gas transportation and distribution group, faces the first ever prosecution for culpable homicide over the deaths of four members of the same family in a gas explosion at their home in Scotland in 1999.

"Carlucci" bleeped from HBO version of Lumumba

By Joanne Laurier, 15 March 2002

Home Box Office (HBO), the US cable television network, is currently broadcasting a censored version of Lumumba, the award-winning film about Patrice Lumumba, the first prime minister of independent Congo, assassinated by imperialist agents in January 1961.

US "training exercise' in the Philippines sets stage for broader military operations

By John Roberts, 15 March 2002

According to the US and Filipino governments, the 660 American troops that began to arrive in the Philippines in January, are involved in a six-month “training exercise”. Two months on, however, a different picture has begun to emerge with the US military playing a leading operational role in search and destroy missions, directed, initially at least, against Abu Sayyaf rebels on the southern island of Basilan.

The World Economic Crisis: 1991-2001

By Nick Beams, 15 March 2002

Below we are publishing the second part of a lecture given on January 16, 2002 by Nick Beams, national secretary of the Socialist Equality Party (Australia) and a member of the International Editorial Board of the World Socialist Web Site . The lecture was delivered at an international school held in Sydney by the Socialist Equality Party of Australia. The first part was published on March 14 and the conclusion was published on March 16.

US right wing discusses "nuking Mecca"

By Patrick Martin, 15 March 2002

The Bush administration tells the public that its nuclear weapons policy is aimed at promoting peace and deterring terrorism. But within the ultra-right circles that play a decisive role in the formulation of US government policy, the use of nuclear weapons is seen not as an unthinkable last resort, but rather as a desirable option.

British citizen executed in US despite international protests

By Kate Randall, 14 March 2002

Despite pleas for clemency from Britain and the European Union, British citizen Tracy Housel was executed Tuesday night at the Georgia Diagnostics and Classification Prison in Jackson, Georgia. He was the twenty-ninth prisoner put to death in Georgia since the US Supreme Court reinstated the death penalty in 1976, and the second to be executed in the state this year.

US Vice President Cheney’s tour gets off to rocky start

By Chris Marsden, 14 March 2002

Vice President Dick Cheney began his ongoing diplomatic tour by promising to “solicit the views of important friends and allies”, but his role is more akin to that of a mafia enforcer. The purpose of his visit to nine Arab regimes, plus Turkey and Israel, is to whip them into line behind America’s planned war against Iraq.

The World Economic Crisis: 1991-2001

By Nick Beams, 14 March 2002

Below we are publishing the first part of a lecture given January 16, 2002 by Nick Beams, national secretary of the Socialist Equality Party (Australia) and a member of the International Editorial Board of the World Socialist Web Site . The lecture was delivered at an international school held in Sydney by the Socialist Equality Party of Australia. The second part was published on March 15 and the conclusion on March 16.

New government hangs by a thread in South Australia

By Laura Tiernan and John Ward, 14 March 2002

Public disaffection with both major parties—Labor and Liberal—has left official politics in South Australia in a somewhat precarious state. Neither the ruling Liberal government nor the Labor opposition were able to garner enough votes in the state election, held on February 9, to form government in their own right. After four weeks of bickering and manoeuvres Labor managed to cement a deal with two right-wing Independents. But it was not until a vote on the floor of parliament on March 5 that the Liberals finally accepted defeat.

Famine in Malawi as IMF policies bite

By David Rowan, 14 March 2002

The government of Malawi recently announced that a major famine was affecting the country. President Bakili Muluzi made an urgent appeal for food and declared that Malawi is facing a national disaster. Government officials have warned that food shortages are affecting up to seven million people out of a population of 10 million. The government says it needs $21.6 million in aid to stave off starvation in the country, but so far has only received $1.6 million.