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Michael Moore’s contribution

By David Walsh, 30 June 2004

This review is available as a PDF leaflet to download and distribute

Ireland: election results record decay of Fianna Fail

By Steve James, 30 June 2004

The European and local election results in the Republic of Ireland have further exposed the advanced stage of decay of the main Irish business party, Fianna Fail. Expressing widespread political alienation with the government, Fianna Fail lost over 20 percent of their local constituency seats, and a European seat.

Belgium: right-wing Vlaams Blok benefits from hostility to government

By Paul Bond, 30 June 2004

Regional and European elections on June 13 have dealt a serious blow to Belgian Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt.

Sri Lankan health unions call off two-day strike

By Ajitha Gunaratna, 30 June 2004

At the last minute, Sri Lankan health unions belonging to the Health Services Trade Union Alliance (HSTUA) postponed a two-day strike scheduled to start yesterday after Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapakse promised to take action over their demands within two weeks. Union leaders took the decision despite demonstrations by health workers indicating their willingness to defy threats by the United Peoples Freedom Alliance (UPFA) government.

US government’s unofficial defense of torture

By Joseph Kay, 30 June 2004

The lead article in Sunday’s New York Times is a backhanded defense of torture given by officials within the Bush administration. Consisting largely of citations from unnamed “current and former government officials,” the article—“Aides Say Memo Backed Coercion for Qaeda Cases,” by David Johnston and James Risen—implicitly presents a justification for torture as a necessary tool in the so-called “war on terrorism.”

US: SEP files for Colorado ballot status

By Tim Tower, 30 June 2004

On Monday, June 21, supporters of the Socialist Equality Party filed the required affidavits and signatures to place its candidates for president and vice president of the United States on the ballot in Colorado. Well in advance of the July 2 deadline, the filing included nine electors and four alternates to ensure that Bill Van Auken and Jim Lawrence will appear on the state’s ballot. A drawing will be held during the first two weeks of July to determine the order in which the names of candidates will appear, and the completed ballot will be certified September 8.

China cracks down on Internet cafes and “cyber dissidents”

By John Chan, 30 June 2004

A new campaign is underway in China aimed at bringing the use of the Internet under strict state supervision. While the official pretext is the need to control the Internet’s “harmful effects”, particularly among young people, the overriding preoccupation of the Stalinist regime is to clamp down on political dissidents and prevent access to web sites critical of Beijing.

Canadian Liberals cling to power, but results attest to mass popular disaffection

By Keith Jones, 30 June 2004

The Liberals, Canada’s traditional ruling party and its government since 1993, have clung to power. But Monday’s general election has left them 20 seats short of a parliamentary majority, meaning that the Liberals will have to manoeuvre to obtain support from among the three opposition parties—the Conservatives, the pro-independence Bloc Québécois (BQ) and the social-democratic New Democratic Party (NDP).

US: jury acquits Idaho webmaster of terrorism charges

By Jamie Chapman, 30 June 2004

In a sharp setback to the US Justice Department, a federal jury on June 10 found the University of Idaho doctoral student Sami Omar al-Hussayen not guilty of all three charges of promoting terrorism that prosecutors had brought against him under the USA Patriot Act. He remains in prison under a deportation order.

US Supreme Court overturns Pledge of Allegiance ruling on technical grounds

By Don Knowland, 30 June 2004

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US Supreme Court declines to order release of Cheney energy taskforce papers

By John Andrews, 29 June 2004

In a decision that bolsters the Bush administration’s assertion of sweeping executive powers and frustrates the people’s “right to know” about the operations of the government, the Supreme Court on June 24 voted 7-2 to order further review of Vice President Dick Cheney’s refusal to comply with a lower court order that he provide information about the participation of energy industry executives and lobbyists in the Bush administration’s energy task force.

Michael Moore’s Fahrenheit 9/11 sets box-office records

By David Walsh, 29 June 2004

The WSWS will post a review of Fahrenheit 9/11 by David Walsh tomorrow.

Is the US military preparing another massacre in Fallujah?

By James Conachy, 29 June 2004

There are indications that the US military is preparing another massacre in Fallujah, where over 1,000 Iraqis were killed during the American siege of the city in April. The number of US troops in the surrounding province of al-Anbar is being increased and a campaign is underway in the US and international media to demonize Fallujah as the headquarters of Abu Musaab al-Zarqawi—the Jordanian Islamic extremist in whose name a series of provocative killings have been carried out in Iraq, including last week’s bombings across the country and the murders of Nick Berg and Korean national Kim Sun-il.

Union orders Broadway actors to stay on job despite contract expiration

By Alan Whyte, 29 June 2004

Despite failing to reach a contractual agreement with the League of American Theaters and Producers by Sunday midnight, the Actors Equity Association has not called its members out on strike. The union issued a statement on its web site stating that negotiations broke down when the representatives for the producers walked out of the negotiations at 10:45 p.m.

Workers Struggles: The Americas

By , 29 June 2004

Latin America

Bush’s European visit: opposition from the people and prostration by their leaders

By Chris Marsden, 29 June 2004

From the moment President George W. Bush’s entourage touched down at Shannon Airport on June 25 to attend a United States-European Union summit, the Irish government was forced to impose virtual martial law conditions.

Insurgency forces speedup of Iraqi “handover”

By Bill Van Auken, 29 June 2004

Confronting the threat of massive attacks by the Iraqi resistance, the Bush administration pushed ahead by 48 hours a ceremony it billed as the formal “transfer of sovereignty” to an unelected interim government dominated by former Iraqi exiles and agents of Washington.

Australian Labor’s u-turn on pharmaceutical benefits

By Mike Head, 29 June 2004

Australian Prime Minister John Howard is looking to call a federal election within weeks, following another major policy backflip by the Labor opposition. Last Friday, the government succeeded in pushing through parliament drastic hikes in the price of essential medicines. After blocking the increases for two years, Labor declared it wanted the extra $1.1 billion each year to fulfill its own election promises and passed the legislation.

Letters on Kill Bill, Vol. 2, directed by Quentin Tarantino

By , 29 June 2004

Dear Mr. Walsh, I enjoyed your review of the film Kill Bill, Vol. 2 at [“A culture at the end of its rope”] I find the line, “Indeed he makes a virtue of ... his addiction to kitsch and the B film, as well as his anti-intellectualism,” particularly telling, since it seems to reflect a growing trend within the “hip” middle class youth of Western society. It is not quite yet a mainstream trend, as say, the hip-hop or techno “cultures” are, but there seems to be a growing number of young people who view themselves as somewhat on the sides of establishment (!), while basking in the glory of ironic cultural phenomena, such as Tarantino and his somewhat quirky-“cool” style. That’s not to say that everyone who likes B films and underground music is automatically part of this culture, but an overwhelming number of such people do seem to fit into this classification. Anyway, great review. It is articles such as these which set WSWS apart from the rest, even from most printed publications.

Australia: Workers First union leader plea bargains for suspended sentence

By Laura Tiernan and Terry Cook, 28 June 2004

Last month, former Australian Manufacturing Workers Union (AMWU) Victorian state secretary Craig Johnston pleaded guilty in the Melbourne County Court to charges of affray, criminal damage and verbal assault. A much more serious charge of “threat to kill” was eventually dropped after the former union leader literally threw himself at the mercy of the court and entered a behind-the-scenes plea-bargaining deal. Johnston received a one-year suspended sentence and was fined more than $50,000. If he re-offends during the next three years he can be sent immediately to jail.

Election Alternative meets in Berlin Another safety valve for German social democracy

By our correspondent, 28 June 2004

The first national conference of “Election Alternative: Jobs and Social Justice” held June 20 in Berlin clearly exposed the political character and purpose of this grouping. Rather than a vehicle for growing social opposition to the government of German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder, it constitutes a bureaucratic mechanism to divert this opposition and to protect the ruling Social Democratic Party (SPD).

Green Party convention rejects Nader-Camejo ticket

By Patrick Martin, 28 June 2004

The World Socialist Web Site has sent a reporting team to cover the Green Party convention in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The first on-the-spot report appeared on Saturday, June 26. Further reporting on the convention will appear in subsequent days.

US backflip over North Korean nuclear programs

By Peter Symonds, 28 June 2004

The latest round of six-nation talks on North Korea’s nuclear programs in Beijing last week produced what amounts to a diplomatic about-face by the Bush administration. After adamantly declaring for more than a year that it would not negotiate with Pyongyang or bow to “blackmail”, Washington put a series of proposals on the table offering North Korea economic and political incentives to dismantle its nuclear capability.

Western Sahara: Resignation of UN envoy James Baker puts referendum in doubt

By Brian Smith, 28 June 2004

The resignation of James Baker, the United Nations Secretary General’s personal envoy to Western Sahara, has thrown the referendum on the future of the disputed African territory into question.

Workers Struggles: Asia, Australia and the Pacific

By , 26 June 2004

Indonesian plywood workers strike over unpaid wages

Beheading of Kim Sun-il fuels South Korean protests over troop deployment

By John Chan, 26 June 2004

The brutal beheading of 33-year-old South Korean translator, Kim Sun-il, in Iraq on Wednesday has polarised public opinion and deepened the crisis surrounding the administration of President Roh Moo-hyun. While right-wing groups have seized on the murder to promote anti-Arab and anti-Muslim sentiment, public outrage has also been directed at the government’s plans to dispatch another 3,000 South Korean troops to bolster the US-led occupation of Iraq.

Scores of deaths in British barracks unaccounted for

By Julie Hyland, 26 June 2004

The death of a young trainee soldier at Catterick Garrison, north Yorkshire, has reopened concerns about Britain’s army camps.

NDP conceals right-wing program with activist rhetoric

By David Adelaide and Keith Jones, 26 June 2004

Canada’s New Democratic Party (NDP), till recently on its deathbed, has experienced something of a revival during the current election campaign. According to the opinion polls, the trade union-supported NDP will win the support of about 20 percent of the electorate, equal to its best ever showing in a federal election.

Torture scandal becomes focus of political warfare within US government circles

By Joseph Kay and Barry Grey, 26 June 2004

The mounting evidence of Bush administration complicity in the torture of prisoners in Iraq, Afghanistan and Guantanamo has become a focal point for intensifying conflicts within the American political establishment and state apparatus. The background to the administration’s decision to release internal documents concerning interrogation methods against foreign prisoners is a level of political warfare between and within the military, the civilian leadership of the Defense Department, the Central Intelligence Agency, the State Department and Bush’s inner circle itself that has no modern precedent, with the possible exception of the super-charged period of the Nixon Watergate crisis.

On eve of Milwaukee convention: Green Party divided over Nader campaign

By Patrick Martin, 26 June 2004

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Poland and the European elections

By Marius Heuser, 26 June 2004

Even against the background of extreme political polarisation throughout eastern Europe, Poland stands out when it comes to the alienation between the broad masses of people and the governing elite. This found clear expression in the European elections of June 13th. In no other country were voter participation so low and the decline in support for the European Union so pronounced.

On eve of Milwaukee convention: Green Party divided over Nader campaign

By Patrick Martin, 26 June 2004

The World Socialist Web Site has sent a reporting team to Milwaukee to cover the Green Party’s presidential nominating convention, which opened June 23. Further reports will appear on the WSWS.

Britain: Teenagers driven to depression and suicide by exam pressures

By Liz Smith, 25 June 2004

In the past month there have been a number of reports of how the pressure of school exams is having a terrible impact on the mental well-being of teenagers, with GPs prescribing anti-depressants such as Prozac and Seroxat to help young people deal with stress.

By , 25 June 2004

The Globe and Mail, Canada’s premier business daily, is calling for the re-election of the Liberals, who have formed the country’s government since 1993. Owned by telecommunications giant Bell Canada Enterprises, the Globe has long been considered the authoritative voice of Canada’s Toronto-based banking and financial establishment.

Australian Labor leader backs down on Iraq troop withdrawal

By Terry Cook, 25 June 2004

Remarkably, Australian Prime Minister John Howard last week told government MPs that he believed that the US-led occupation of Iraq was “becoming less of an electoral negative” for the Liberal-National Party Coalition. With an election due within months, his comments signal that the government is preparing to focus its re-election campaign on the “war on terror” and Howard’s unconditional support for Washington.

Workers Struggles: Europe, Middle East & Africa

By , 25 June 2004


A culture at the end of its rope

By David Walsh, 25 June 2004

Kill Bill, Vol. 2, written and directed by Quentin Tarantino

The Bloc Québécois a political instrument of the québécois elite

By Guy Charron, 25 June 2004

The fraudulent character of the 2004 Canadian elections—in which the establishment parties accuse one another of having a hidden agenda while each prepares, behind the backs of the population, to intensify the assault of big business on the social conditions of workers—has not spared Quebec. The party that leads the opinion polls in Quebec, the Bloc Québécois (BQ), is an indépendantiste party that articulates the interests of an important section of the province’s elite by pressing for a reconfiguration of the nation-state system in North America to the advantage of the Quebec bourgeoisie. But in an assiduous campaign, mounted in concert with the mass media and the trade union bureaucracy, the BQ has attempted to pass itself off as a “progressive” party that represents “all Québécois.”

Washington renews war crimes immunity in “sovereign” Iraq

By Bill Van Auken, 25 June 2004

With just a week to go before the supposed “transfer of power” in Iraq, Washington has decided to unilaterally renew a decree granting its troops, as well as private American contractors, complete immunity from prosecution under Iraqi law.

Chinese military exercise raises tensions with Taiwan

By John Chan, 25 June 2004

China is about to stage a major military exercise near the Taiwan Strait that is certain to heighten already sharp tensions with Taiwan following the island’s recent presidential election. While an exact date is yet to be announced, the Chinese foreign ministry confirmed on June 1 that the exercise would take place in late June or early July at Dongshan Island in Fujian province—just 277 kilometres from Taiwan’s Penghu Islands.

Sectarian violence in Pakistan’s commercial capital

By Vilani Peiris, 24 June 2004

Karachi—Pakistan’s main commercial and industrial hub—has been rocked by a wave of sectarian violence in May and early June. More than 60 people have been killed and hundreds wounded. While the city has been hit by bloodletting between Shiite- and Sunni-based groups before, the latest round is the worst in recent years.

Recent bomb attack in Cologne’s Turkish district—“ no political background?”

By Andreas Kunstmann and Dietmar Henning, 24 June 2004

On Monday, June 9, a bomb detonated in front of a hairdressing salon and general store in the German city of Cologne, injuring 22 people, 4 of them seriously. All but one of the victims were either Turkish or of Turkish origin. The day after the attack, before all the evidence had been gathered, federal Interior Minister Otto Schily (Social Democratic Party, SPD) declared that there was no proof of a terrorist or racist motivation behind the bombing.

Iran: escalating tensions behind capture of British sailors

By Chris Marsden, 24 June 2004

Though it appears that they will be released shortly, the capture and detention of eight British sailors in the southern Shatt al-Arab waterway border with Iraq has focused attention on the sharp tensions that have developed between Iran, the United Kingdom, Europe and the United States.

Former US soldier speaks on near-deadly beating at Guantanamo

By Walter Gilberti, 24 June 2004

On Wednesday, ABC News interviewed Sean Baker, a former US Army Specialist First Class, who was nearly killed by his fellow soldiers during a training exercise at the Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, prison camp. The interview conducted by Brian Ross presented a chilling real-time counterpoint to Bush administration denials that it routinely ordered the torturing of prisoners. It revealed instead a compelling picture of training in the kinds of systematic violence and abuse being meted out to prisoners both at Guantanamo and at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq.

Australian government dismisses damning report on child detention

By Karen Holland, 24 June 2004

The Howard government has dismissed a report by its own Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission (HREOC), which condemned the mandatory detention of refugee children as “cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment”. By rejecting the report’s call for the release of all 90 children still incarcerated, the government has underscored its determination to keep innocent children locked up in appalling conditions, purely for base political reasons.

Michael Moore loses appeal against R rating for Fahrenheit 9/11

By Joanne Laurier, 24 June 2004

US filmmaker Michael Moore and the distributors of his film, Fahrenheit 9/11, have lost an appeal to overturn its “R” rating, which restricts young moviegoers’ ability to see the film.

White House torture documents portray an outlaw regime

By Bill Van Auken, 24 June 2004

In an effort to shield itself from the deepening crisis over US torture and murder of prisoners captured in Bush’s global “war on terrorism,” the Bush administration released a limited selection of White House, Pentagon and Justice Department documents Tuesday.

The beheadings of Paul Johnson and Kim Sun-il

By Barry Grey, 23 June 2004

The beheadings of two hostages by Islamic jihadist terrorists within the space of five days are depraved actions that underscore the deeply reactionary nature of all those groups that associate themselves with Al Qaeda. The brutal and inhuman methods of these organizations bespeak not liberation, but provocation.

Detroit school workers organize wildcat strike against job cuts

By Larry Porter, 23 June 2004

On June 21 and 22, workers from the Detroit Public Schools organized a series of wildcat pickets against the school board’s decision to eliminate the jobs of 3,200 teachers, custodians, engineers, bus drivers, repairmen and other employees. The strike was organized in defiance of both the school board and the unions representing the workers, which in the case of the Teamsters union representing school bus drivers, openly collaborated with management in a failed attempt to get drivers to cross the protesters’ picket line.

82 million Americans lacked health insurance in 2002-2003

By Joanne Laurier, 23 June 2004

In yet another sign of the social misery endured by growing sections of the US population, a new study reports that one in three Americans under the age of retirement lacked medical health insurance coverage at some point during the last two years.

Russian liberal intelligentsia’s view of the Kremlin under Yeltsin and Putin

By Vladimir Volkov, 23 June 2004

The political journalism of post-Soviet Russia has given rise to dozens of books. The majority of them are written in a boring, turgid style. Some are fixated on the latest scandals. Others concentrate on matters known only to a narrow circle of people, with the authors striving not so much to provide a general picture and analysis of events as to successfully “sell” their “insider” information to the public and make the strongest possible impression.

US actors vote overwhelmingly for strike authorization

By Alan Whyte, 23 June 2004

Actors voted last week by a 98 percent majority to strike if there is no settlement with the League of American Theaters and Producers by June 27, when the current contract expires. The strike authorization was voted by the Actors’ Equity Association. A spokeswoman for the union said the vote is “a standard procedural step and does not mean that there will be a strike.” The union’s governing council will make the final decision on whether to walk out or not.

Fury in Fallujah after US air strikes

By James Conachy, 23 June 2004

The US military carried out its second air strike in four days on residential areas in south central Fallujah yesterday. According to witnesses interviewed by Agence France Presse and other agencies, missiles fired from jet fighters slammed into a mechanics’ garage at 10:30 p.m. The mechanic, Abu Fares, was killed, as were his two sons. The Fallujah hospital informed the press that at least 10 other people were injured.

Iraqi prime minister raises martial law option

By Peter Symonds, 23 June 2004

Without intending it, the new Iraqi prime minister, Iyad Allawi, has effectively punctured Washington’s rhetoric about building democracy in the country. At his first press conference on Sunday, he broached plans to impose martial law following the formal handover of “sovereignty” to his government on June 30.

SEP submits petitions to qualify for Illinois State House campaign

By Joe Parks, 23 June 2004

On Monday, June 21, Socialist Equality Party candidate Thomas Mackaman turned in signatures to obtain ballot status for state house in Illinois’ 103rd representative district, which includes the cities of Champaign and Urbana and is home to the University of Illinois. In order to ensure the candidacy against potential Democratic or Republican challenges, SEP supporters collected over 2,000 signatures—far more than the 1,344 required. According to the Illinois State Board of Elections, any challenge to the petition must be submitted within five days of the petition filing.

What is the United Kingdom Independence Party?

By Julie Hyland and Chris Marsden, 23 June 2004

The rise of the UK Independence Party (UKIP) in the recent European elections in Britain must serve as a serious warning.

Workers Struggles: The Americas

By , 22 June 2004

Latin America

Britain: families depend on credit to survive

By Jean Shaoul, 22 June 2004

According to the Bank of England, personal debt, including home loans and consumer credit, has hit the staggering level of £980 billion—double that of 10 years ago and up 14.1 percent in just the last 12 months.

Caught by 9/11 panel in lie over Iraq-Al Qaeda ties, White House responds with more lies

By Patrick Martin, 22 June 2004

The Bush administration has responded with a mix of rage and brazen lying to the staff report from the 9/11 commission dismissing its claims that Saddam Hussein and Al Qaeda were close allies. The report, released last week, undermines the last remaining pretext for the US invasion of Iraq—Bush’s claim that the war in Iraq is an integral part of the global “war on terror.”

European elections: debacle for the German SPD

By Peter Schwarz, 22 June 2004

Terms like “dramatic losses” and “devastating defeat” are now prevalent in commentaries describing election results for the German Social Democratic Party (SPD). Since it entered the federal government six years ago in alliance with the Greens, the party has lost one state election after another, as well as numerous local elections.

Jakarta expels foreign critics: a new attack on democratic rights

By John Roberts, 22 June 2004

Earlier this month the Indonesian government expelled the staff of the International Crisis Group (ICG), a Brussels-based thinktank that has been critical of the repressive activities of the Indonesian armed forces (TNI), in Papua and Aceh in particular. This anti-democratic move was aimed not just at the ICG but at intimidating critics as the election campaign for the Indonesian presidency commenced.

US balance of payments gap widens again

By Nick Beams, 22 June 2004

The US balance of payments deficit expanded to $144.9 billion in the first quarter of this year—a record in dollar terms—and a big jump from the deficit of $127 billion in the last quarter of 2003. As a percentage of gross domestic product, the deficit rose sharply from 4.6 percent to 5.1 percent. At this level, the US needs to attract more than $1.5 billion per day in foreign investment to cover the payments shortfall.

Merrill-Lynch report: concentration of wealth at the top resumed upward spiral in 2003

By Jamie Chapman, 22 June 2004

As hundreds of millions around the globe struggle to survive on a dollar or two a day, the ranks of the rich and the ultra-rich continue to grow.

Letters from our readers

By , 22 June 2004

Below we post a selection of recent letters to the World Socialist Web Site.

New prime minister installed in Nepal

By W.A. Sunil, 21 June 2004

Nepal’s new Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba, appointed on June 2, announced last week that the king had finally returned full executive power to him. Less than two years ago, King Gyanendra sacked Deuba in October 2002 for “incompetence” amid a deep political crisis provoked by the ongoing civil war against Maoist insurgents—itself the product of the country’s economic backwardness and poverty.

Divisions predominate despite agreement on European constitution

By Chris Marsden, 21 June 2004

The adoption of a constitution for the European Union is meant to herald a new stage in the efforts of the major European powers to unify the continent, both economically and politically. Instead, a two- day summit of 25 heads of state in Brussels last week could only produce a compromise that serves to demonstrate how acute divisions between the European powers have become and how Europe’s governments and the EU project itself lack any popular support or democratic legitimacy.

French riot police dispatched to Tahiti following election upset

By John Braddock, 21 June 2004

Early this month, the French government sent 300 riot police from mobile gendarme units to the Pacific island of Tahiti following a major upset in the May 23 French Polynesian territorial elections. In a reversal of 20 years of Gaullist political rule, President Gaston Flosse’s incumbent Tahoeraa Huiraatira Party (Popular Union, THP) lost its majority, winning only 28 seats in an expanded 57-seat assembly. The French government justified the police deployment on the grounds that it was necessary to maintain “law and order” and for the electoral process to proceed in a “serene” climate.

India: victims seek prosecution of Union Carbide officials over Bhopal disaster

By Neil Hodge, 21 June 2004

By the end of the month, the Chief Judicial Magistrate’s court in Bhopal, India, will decide whether it will force Dow Chemical to send former Union Carbide officials to India to stand trial for the 1984 gas leak that has killed and injured over 60,000 people.

Michael Moore’s Fahrenheit 9/11 comes under right-wing attack

By David Walsh, 21 June 2004

US filmmaker Michael Moore’s new documentary Fahrenheit 9/11, scheduled to open in more than 500 theaters on June 25, has come under fierce attack from right-wing Republican elements. The campaign against the film, which harshly criticizes the Bush administration’s response to the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, is an indication of the sensitivity of the cabal in the White House to any light being shed on its activities.

Germany: report shows Berlin sinking deeper into poverty

By Lucas Adler, 19 June 2004

On April 23, the minister for social policy in the Berlin state government, Heidi Knake-Werner (Party of Democratic Socialism—PDS), presented a 350-page study on the social situation in the German capital. This so-called “social atlas” reveals, above all else, that the population of Berlin is sinking increasingly into poverty.

Ireland votes to curtail citizenship rights

By Steve James, 19 June 2004

The Irish Fianna Fail government of Bertie Ahern, currently holding the presidency of the European Union, has won a referendum vote to remove Irish citizenship from the children of immigrants.

Workers Struggles: Asia, Australia and the Pacific

By , 19 June 2004

Indonesian teachers strike over assault on principal

Election alternative: Jobs and Social Justice—a new reformist trap for German workers

By Ute Reissner, 19 June 2004

A new political formation calling itself “Election Alternative: Jobs and Social Justice” will hold a national congress in Berlin on June 20. This project is a dishonest manoeuvre by longstanding social democratic functionaries and some of their left advisers. Its purpose is to strangle growing popular opposition to the SPD (Social Democratic Party) and its leader, German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder.

Sri Lankan president resorts to another extra-constitutional measure

By K. Ratnayake, 19 June 2004

Under Sri Lanka’s constitution, the country’s president is expected to deliver a policy statement in parliament at the beginning of each six-year term and subsequently every year at the start of the parliamentary session. The speech, which is regarded as the blueprint for the government’s program, is debated and a vote is taken to approve or reject it.

Warrior and anti-warrior

By David Walsh, 19 June 2004

Troy, directed by Wolfgang Petersen, screenplay by David Benioff

Rumsfeld, Rice tied to torture in Iraq

By Bill Van Auken, 19 June 2004

An unrelenting series of leaks, charges and reports have removed any doubt that top officials in the Bush administration bear direct responsibility for the criminal torture inflicted upon prisoners held by the US military in Iraq as well as other blatant violations of the Geneva Conventions.

US killed hundreds of Iraqi civilians in “precision” strikes

By James Conachy, 18 June 2004

Fifty so-called “precision” strikes were carried out by the US military in Iraq between March 19 and April 18, 2003, in attempts to kill Saddam Hussein and 12 other high-ranking Iraqi leaders. The cruise missiles and laser-guided bombs used in the attacks destroyed dozens of homes and other civilian buildings, and killed and wounded hundreds, if not thousands, of Iraqi civilians.

London meeting: European elections “a sea change in political life”

By Paul Mitchell, 18 June 2004

The International Committee of the Fourth International’s intervention into the European elections, which focused on the standing of a slate of candidates by the Partei fur Soziale Gleichheit (PSG) in Germany, concluded with a public meeting in London on June 13.

Paris meeting advances socialist platform for European workers

By Antoine Lerougetel, 18 June 2004

The International Committee of the Fourth International (ICFI) presented its programme at a public meeting in Paris on June 8. The main speakers were Ulrich Rippert, heading the list of candidates of the German Partei für Soziale Gleichheit (PSG) in the European elections, and Peter Schwarz, secretary of the ICFI. Greetings were sent from Bill Van Auken, the SEP’s presidential candidate in the US elections.

No evidence of Iraq-Al Qaeda ties: 9/11 commission undermines another Bush war lie

By Patrick Martin, 18 June 2004

The staff report of the 9/11 commission released June 16 further discredits one of the main lies employed by the Bush administration to justify its invasion and conquest of Iraq. It confirms that there was no Iraqi role in the September 11 terrorist attacks in New York and Washington and no “collaborative relationship” between Al Qaeda and former Iraqi president Saddam Hussein.

Canadian elections: candidates’ debates filled with by posturing and lies

By Keith Jones, 18 June 2004

The leaders’ debates in Canadian elections are more bad theatre than serious exchange of political views. The leaders posture, delivering lines largely scripted in advance, while the corporate media sets itself up as the judge of who “won” the debate. Monday evening’s French-language and Tuesday’s English debate were true to form. Based on polling data and the advice of spin-doctors, Liberal Prime Minister Paul Martin, Conservative leader Stephen Harper, Jack Layton of the social-democratic New Democratic Party (NDP), and Gilles Duceppe, head of the indépendantiste Bloc Québécois (BQ), made their pitches to the voters and press gallery, while resorting to various evasions, half-truths and outright lies to hide their true intentions and the interests that they serve.

Australian government aids and abets US torture

By Socialist Equality Party (Australia), 18 June 2004

After more than two and a half years of detention, during which he has been tortured and deprived of every basic legal and democratic right, Australian citizen David Hicks was finally charged by the US military last week. The weak and self-contradictory nature of the charges only underscores the illegal character of his detention and that of the hundreds of other inmates held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba following the American-led invasion of Afghanistan in October 2001.

Workers Struggles: Europe & Africa

By , 18 June 2004


Washington Post publishes memo implicating White House in torture of prisoners

By Joseph Kay, 17 June 2004

A Justice Department memo from August of 2002 leaked to the Washington Post and published by that newspaper on June 13 constitutes prima facie evidence that the US government adopted a policy of torture in connection with its so-called “war on terrorism” and its operations in Afghanistan and Iraq.

The Greens, the Socialist Alliance and John Pilger

By Nick Beams, 17 June 2004

Below we are publishing a letter sent to the WSWS in response to comments made by Nick Beams in his address to a WSWS-SEP public meeting in Sydney last month, and the reply by Nick Beams. A report of the meeting on “The Iraq war and the international working class” can be found at Beams’ report can be found at

Four British soldiers face court martial over Iraq abuses

By Julie Hyland, 17 June 2004

In a written statement to parliament, Attorney General Lord Goldsmith confirmed that charges would be brought on June 14 against four British soldiers over abuses against Iraqis. The charges relate to photographs apparently taken by soldiers in Iraq, which were brought in for development to a British photo-processing shop.

Industrial nations tie foreign aid to support for “war on terror”

By Barry Mason, 17 June 2004

Christian Aid, the British development charity, recently issued a report entitled “The Politics of Poverty Aid in the New Cold War.” It states: “Aid is viewed increasingly as a means of promoting and safeguarding the donors’ own interests, particularly their security, rather than addressing the real needs of poor people. Aid, in other words, is being co-opted to serve in the global ‘War on Terror.’ ”

SEP to hold Toronto meeting on Canadian, US elections

By , 17 June 2004

The Socialist Equality Party and the University of Toronto Students for Social Equality will hold a public meeting in Toronto, Sunday, June 27, under the theme “The Canadian and US elections and the tasks of the working class.” The meeting will discuss pivotal issues that have either been excluded or distorted in the official election debate, including:

Iraq’s new prime minister, the CIA and their record of terrorist bombings

By Peter Symonds, 17 June 2004

An article in the New York Times last week about Iraq’s new prime minister, Ayad Allawi, has once again highlighted the hypocrisy of the Bush administration’s “war on terrorism” and its claims to be bringing democracy to Iraq.

Dengue outbreak in Sri Lanka highlights deteriorating public health services

By Ajitha Gunaratna, 16 June 2004

An island-wide outbreak of dengue fever in Sri Lanka in recent months has underlined the steady deterioration of public health care and preventative measures to contain the disease.

The growing irrelevance of the G8 summit

By Nick Beams, 16 June 2004

The inaugural summit of the major capitalist powers—the grouping now known as the G8 and including Russia—was held in France in 1975. It was convened to develop a global response to the oil price shock of 1973-74 and the development of the deepest global recession, to that point, since the 1930s Depression.

Spain: Zapatero willing to send troops to Haiti

By Keith Lee, 16 June 2004

Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Zapatero said last week that he is willing to send troops to Haiti, as part of a United Nations mission. Zapatero made his remarks at the third European, Latin America and Caribbean Summit in Mexico.

European elections: Socialist Equality Party of Germany receives nearly 26,000 votes

By Ludwig Niethammer, 16 June 2004

The German Socialist Equality Party (Partei für Soziale Gleichheit—PSG) recorded its best ever result in European elections held on June 13th. Its joint list of candidates for all 16 German states received a total of 25,824 votes.

Remembering Ray: a tribute

By , 16 June 2004

I did not know Ray Charles. But I remember 1954, and the first time I heard a recording of Ray singing “I Got A Woman” on the radio! The experience was shattering. Suddenly, all the parameters of 1950s pop music disintegrated, and a new kind of beast prowled the airwaves.

Smug and rather pointless

By Joanne Laurier, 16 June 2004

Coffee and Cigarettes, written and directed by Jim Jarmusch

SEP congressional candidate launches lawsuit against early filing date in Ohio

By Jerry White, 16 June 2004

Attorneys for David Lawrence, the Socialist Equality Party candidate for US representative in Ohio’s First Congressional District (Cincinnati), filed a lawsuit in federal court on June 14 challenging the state’s unfair filing deadline for independent candidates for US Congress.

Vanunu affair lays bare the vindictive and undemocratic nature of the Israeli state

By Brian Smith, 16 June 2004

Mordechai Vanunu continues to be subject to “state supervision” (i.e. repressive restrictions on his movements), even after his release on April 21 from 18 years in prison.

Press statement of Ohio SEP candidate David Lawrence

By David Lawrence, 16 June 2004

The following press statement was issued by David Lawrence, Socialist Equality Party candidate for US Congress in Ohio’s First Congressional District (Cincinnati). Lawrence released the statement on June 14, after attorneys filed a federal lawsuit on his behalf to overturn the state’s prohibitively early filing deadline for independent candidates seeking ballot status.

Quality higher education: members of the working class need not apply?

By Charles Bogel, 15 June 2004

Recently published articles in the New York Times and the Chronicle of Higher Education announce what students and educators have known for some time: sons and daughters of the upper-middle and upper classes—those earning $100,000 and more per year—are disproportionately represented on the better college campuses, while fewer children of the middle and working classes can afford to attend the more selective colleges at all.

Enron tapes expose blatant criminality of corporate America

By Rafael Azul, 15 June 2004

The recent release of transcripts of taped conversations among Enron electricity traders in the summer of 2001 reveals that company insiders not only knew they were stealing from California and other states, but gloated about it. The partial release of thousands of hours of tapes is a powerful indictment of the energy companies that looted California and Washington of close to $11 billion, with the support and assistance of government officials.