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Howard and Latham united on Iraq war cover-up

By Nick Beams (SEP candidate for Senate in NSW), 30 September 2004

Prime Minister John Howard and Labor leader Mark Latham have their differences. But on one key issue they are united: the Iraq war and the lies and falsifications on which it was based are to be kept off the agenda in this Australian election campaign.

CBS cancels broadcast on Bush’s use of forged Iraqi WMD documents

By Patrick Martin, 30 September 2004

In a development that highlights the cowardice and subservience of the US media—and suggests there is far more to the so-called “memogate” affair at CBS News than has so far been made public—the network confirmed September 27 that it had cancelled a planned “60 Minutes” broadcast exposing the use of forged documents by the Bush administration in the run-up to the Iraq war.

Britain: Blair’s defence of his record on Iraq given standing ovation

By Chris Marsden and Julie Hyland, 30 September 2004

Following Prime Minister Tony Blair’s speech to the Labour Party conference, the press posed the question: Had he done enough to unite the party and heal the divisions within it over the Iraq war?

Ohio appeals court hears Socialist Equality Party ballot access case

By Jerry White, 30 September 2004

An attorney representing Socialist Equality Party presidential and vice-presidential candidates Bill Van Auken and Jim Lawrence presented a powerful case Wednesday before the 10th District Court of Appeals in Ohio arguing that the court should overrule the secretary of state and place the SEP candidates on the November 2 ballot.

Australia: SEP candidate James Cogan speaks at Kingsford Smith community forums

By our reporters, 30 September 2004

In the past week, the Socialist Equality Party candidate for the eastern Sydney seat of Kingsford Smith, James Cogan, has addressed two election campaign forums organised by local community groups. The first was held on September 23, in the suburb of Malabar, and the second in Kingsford on September 27. Approximately 60 people attended each event.

The release of Yaser Hamdi: legal manipulation of “enemy combatant” cases

By John Andrews, 30 September 2004

After spending almost three years imprisoned incommunicado by the United States military following his November 2001 capture in Afghanistan, Yaser Esam Hamdi is being taken by US military aircraft to Saudi Arabia, where he will be reunited with his family. In exchange for his release, he has agreed to renounce his US citizenship and restrict his travel.

West Bengal carries out first hanging in India in a decade

By Sarath Kumara, 30 September 2004

Last month the Indian state of West Bengal carried out the country’s first hanging since 1995. The state execution was particularly significant because it was carried out, not by an openly right-wing party, but by a “left” coalition led by the Stalinist Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M).

Citizen of the world: a brief survey of the life and times of Thomas Paine (1737-1809)

By Ann Talbot, 30 September 2004

The lecture below by World Socialist Web Site correspondent Ann Talbot was presented on September 24 to a meeting in Britain organised by the Rotherham Metropolitan District Local History Council, as part of the Rotherham Arts Festival.

The Balkans continues to fracture

By Paul Mitchell, 29 September 2004

This is the first of a two-part series analysing growing instability and tensions in the Balkans.

Oregon Supreme Court denies Nader ballot access

By Hector Cordon, 29 September 2004

In a unanimous decision the Oregon Supreme Court voted September 22 to require a lower court to remove Ralph Nader from the Oregon ballot.

Australia: asbestos poisoning victims sacrificed to corporate profit

By Terry Cook (SEP candidate for the Senate in NSW), 29 September 2004

The scandal that has erupted around giant building materials company James Hardie Industries (JHIL) reveals how—with the support of governments and unions—the health and welfare of ordinary working people is constantly sacrificed to corporate profit.

The problem of producing great works ... and today’s best works

By David Walsh, 29 September 2004

This is the second of a series of articles devoted to the recent Toronto film festival.

Interview with Jia Zhang-ke, director of The World

By David Walsh, 29 September 2004

David Walsh spoke to Chinese filmmaker Jia Zhang-ke in Toronto through an interpreter.

Historic showing of Viola Liuzzo documentary in Detroit

By Joanne Laurier, 29 September 2004

Home of the Brave, the documentary film about murdered civil rights activist Viola Liuzzo, will be screened at the Detroit Institute of Arts’ Detroit Film Theatre on September 30, October 2 and 3. The September 30 showing will be followed by a panel discussion, with members of the Liuzzo family and the filmmakers.

Another round of US airstrikes on Fallujah

By Peter Symonds, 29 September 2004

American warplanes once again mounted heavy strikes on the Iraqi city of Fallujah on Saturday in what has become a daily exercise aimed at terrorising the rebel stronghold and its population of some 300,000 people into submission.

Democrats back fourth Bush tax cut for wealthy, business

By Patrick Martin, 28 September 2004

In an action that exemplifies the prostration of the Democratic Party before the Bush administration and corporate wealth, the vast majority of Democratic senators and congressmen voted with the Republicans to approve a $146 billion tax cut bill proposed by the White House. The legislation passed the Senate September 23 by a near-unanimous vote of 92-3, while the House approved the bill on the same day, by a margin of 339-65.

The Caucasus powder keg: Russia threatens military interventions

By Peter Schwarz, 28 September 2004

The reaction of the Russian government to the Beslan hostage crisis increasingly recalls that of the American government to the attacks of September 11, 2001. The horrifying events in Beslan, which shocked and angered millions of people all over the world, are being used by the regime of President Vladimir Putin as a pretext for a domestic offensive against basic democratic rights and the implementation of a foreign policy agenda that will inevitably lead to new wars.

Britain: anti-asylum measures lead to suicides and self-harm

By Niall Green, 28 September 2004

Recent suicides at two of Britain’s immigration removal centres have underlined the tragic human cost of the Labour government’s anti-asylum-seeker policies.

SEP candidate addresses University of Maine meeting on “Marxism, Militarism and War”

By our reporter, 28 September 2004

Socialist candidate Carl Cooley, running in Maine’s 2nd Congressional district, addressed a meeting at the University of Maine campus in Orono on September 16 on the topic of “Marxism, Militarism and War.” The meeting was part of a Marxist and Socialist luncheon discussion series organized by some university faculty. The attendance of about 35 included students, faculty and others.

Ex-general wins Indonesian presidential election

By John Roberts and Peter Symonds, 28 September 2004

Retired general Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono won the second round of the Indonesian presidential election in September, defeating incumbent President Megawati Sukarnoputri in a landslide. While the official result will not be declared until October 5, Yudhoyono, also known as “SYB”, had received 60.9 percent of the more than 109 million votes counted as of last weekend, as against 39.1 percent for Megawati.

Australian election: the “save Medicare” sham

By Mike Head (SEP candidate for Werriwa), 28 September 2004

One of the greatest frauds of the campaign for the October 9 election is the claim by both major parties—Labor and the Liberal-National Coalition—that they are committed to saving Medicare, the government-funded medical insurance scheme.

An open letter to Michael Moore

By , 28 September 2004

Film-maker and writer Michael Moore, whose anti-war and anti-Bush film Fahrenheit 9/11 has been seen by more than 20 million Americans, is conducting a national tour of campuses to encourage young people to vote for Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry in the November election. He is currently making appearances in Michigan. The following open letter to Moore was written by Jerome White, the candidate of the Socialist Equality Party for the US House of Representatives from Michigan's 15th Congressional District, which includes Ann Arbor, the home of the University of Michigan. The letter is also available in PDF format.

Australia at the forefront of housing bubble

By Nick Beams (SEP candidate for the Senate in NSW), 27 September 2004

Further evidence that the much-vaunted growth of the Australian economy is bound up with an international housing market bubble is contained in an International Monetary Fund (IMF) report released this week.

Sri Lankan fishermen protest against LTTE attack

By M. Vasanthan, 27 September 2004

Thousands of fishermen and their supporters at Gurunagar near Jaffna town in northern Sri Lanka protested at the beginning of the month against the actions of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) in firing on their boats and making several arrests.

Forbes 400 list of richest Americans: snapshot of a financial oligarchy

By Joseph Kay, 27 September 2004

The current issue of Forbes Magazine contains the publication’s annual list of the wealthiest Americans, ranked by net worth. While one’s first instinct might be to turn away in disgust from such a flaunting of individual wealth and greed, it is instructive to consider the figures, for they provide an important indication of the nature of American society.

Dutch government uses terrorist threat to justify greater police powers

By Paul Bond, 27 September 2004

The Dutch government of Jan Peter Balkenende is seeking to extend further the powers of the police and state. To this end it has now released details of five arrests made earlier in the summer. Those arrested are suspected of plotting bomb attacks on parliament, Schipol Airport, the Borssele nuclear plant and the Leidschendam headquarters of the security services (AIVD).

Northern Ireland: British government announces inquiry into Pat Finucane’s assassination

By Steve James, 27 September 2004

After 15 years, the British government has announced that it intends to hold an inquiry into the assassination of Northern Ireland civil rights lawyer Pat Finucane. The announcement was made by Northern Ireland Secretary Paul Murphy, a week after the loyalist killer, Ken Barrett, pled guilty to his part in Finucane’s murder at Belfast Crown Court.

Canada: two “good news” studies conceal growing economic hardship

By David Adelaide, 25 September 2004

Two studies recently released by Statistics Canada (StatsCan) have been touted as evidence that the lot of working people is improving. Such a claim is entirely unwarranted.

Washington turns its back on Haitian catastrophe

By Bill Van Auken, 25 September 2004

Nature has dealt a cruel blow to the people of Haiti, deepening the intense suffering and oppression that centuries of imperialist domination have inflicted upon the Caribbean nation’s impoverished population.

Nader at the University of Michigan: independent candidate courts the Democratic Party

By David Rodriguez, 25 September 2004

As a part of a nationwide campaign leading up to the November 2 election, presidential candidate Ralph Nader gave a speech at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor on September 13.

Bush administration escalates confrontation with Iran

By Peter Symonds, 25 September 2004

Last week’s meeting of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in Vienna was one more sign that the US is intent on intensifying the confrontation with Iran over its nuclear program and laying the ground for another military adventure.

A certain polarization

By David Walsh, 25 September 2004

This is the first of a series of articles devoted to the recent Toronto film festival.

The fate of Ken Bigley and the struggle against the occupation of Iraq

By by Socialist Equality Party of Britain, 25 September 2004

The fate of British hostage Kenneth Bigley has come to encapsulate the unbridgeable division between the political establishment and the democratic hopes and concerns of working people.

Another Guantanamo “spying” frame-up collapses

By Patrick Martin, 25 September 2004

The second major case of alleged spying by a Muslim US soldier at the Guantanamo Bay prison camp has collapsed ignominiously. Senior Airman Ahmad Al-Halabi agreed September 22 to plead guilty to four lesser charges involving the mishandling of information, in return for the Pentagon dropping espionage charges against him.

Workers Struggles: Asia, Australia and the Pacific

By , 25 September 2004

Workers blockade Chinese cotton plant

CBS admits being duped over Bush National Guard memos

By Patrick Martin, 24 September 2004

The so-called “memo-gate” affair—the use of apparently fabricated documents as part of a CBS News report on President Bush’s National Guard service during the Vietnam War—has been the occasion for much media hand-wringing, as well as harangues from the right wing about alleged liberal bias on the part of CBS and anchorman Dan Rather.

The deportation of Yusuf Islam (Cat Stevens)

By Barry Grey, 24 September 2004

Once again, the Department of Homeland Security has combined tragedy and farce in an exhibition of the police-state implications of the so-called “war on terrorism.”

Workers Struggles: Europe & Africa

By , 24 September 2004

Workers demonstrate against budget cuts in the Netherlands

US Congress hails Washington’s Iraqi stooge

By Bill Van Auken, 24 September 2004

The degradation of the US political process found grotesque expression Thursday in the joint session of Congress convened to pay homage to Ayad Allawi.

Bush administration sabotages attempt to save British hostage in Iraq

By James Cogan, 24 September 2004

If British contractor Kenneth Bigley has been murdered by his kidnappers in Iraq, then the Bush administration bears direct responsibility. Washington has blocked the Iraqi interim government from releasing a prisoner—an action that might have secured Bigley’s freedom—and Blair has publicly backed the US decision.

Australia: Mark Latham and Liverpool Council-what the record shows

By Karen Holland and Mike Head, 24 September 2004

One of the scare campaigns launched by the Howard government for the October 9 election has been that a Labor government led by Mark Latham could not be “trusted” with the management of the economy. Apart from claiming that housing and other interest rates would soar under Labor, Prime Minister John Howard and senior coalition ministers have accused Latham of ruining the finances of Liverpool Council, in suburban Sydney, when he was mayor of the municipality between 1991 and 1994.

SEP takes ballot access fight to Ohio appeals court

By Jerry White, 24 September 2004

The Socialist Equality Party has filed suit in the 10th District Court of Appeals in Franklin County, Ohio, to overturn the decision by Secretary of State Kenneth Blackwell to bar its presidential and vice-presidential candidates, Bill Van Auken and Jim Lawrence, from the November 2 ballot.

Sri Lankan SEP meeting warns of the danger of renewed civil war

By our reporters, 24 September 2004

The Socialist Equality Party (SEP) in Sri Lanka held a public lecture on September 17 in Colombo to warn of the dangers of a return to open civil war and to indict the entire political establishment for its failure to bring genuine peace to the island.

Britain: Iraq debacle deepens crisis of Blair government

By Chris Marsden, 24 September 2004

The deteriorating situation in Iraq has deepened public opposition to Prime Minister Tony Blair’s alliance with Washington during the war and towards Britain’s continued participation in the occupation.

German state elections: far-right NPD enters parliament in Saxony

By Ulrich Rippert and Peter Schwarz, 23 September 2004

Fifteen years after the collapse of Stalinist East Germany, the neo-fascist NPD (German National Party) has entered the state parliament in Saxony, with a total of twelve deputies. This is the alarming result of state elections held in Germany September 19.

Nick Beams addresses Australian election meetings in Kingsford Smith and Batman

By Nick Beams (SEP candidate for the Seante in NSW), 23 September 2004

In our election campaign, the SEP has insisted that the war on Iraq represents a turning point in world politics of historic significance. That is to say, it contains issues of such importance that they will shape the future of the world for decades to come.

Britain: dramatic increase in self-harm by children

By Liz Smith, 23 September 2004

A new report shows the rate of self-harm in Britain has increased over the past decade and is among the highest in Europe.

Australia: SEP holds election campaign public meetings

By Rick Kelly, 23 September 2004

The Socialist Equality Party (Australia) held two public meetings in Melbourne and Sydney this week, the first in the electorates where the SEP is fielding candidates in the October 9 federal election. Both meetings focused on the historical and political significance of the Iraq war, and explained the necessity for the working class to adopt a socialist and internationalist perspective to fight for its independent class interests.

CWC joins an unstable Sri Lankan government

By Vilani Peiris, 23 September 2004

After five months of behind-the-scene negotiations, Sri Lankan President Chandrika Kumaratunga has finally induced the Ceylon Workers Congress (CWC), a political party/trade union based among Tamil-speaking plantation workers, to join her coalition government. While the ruling United Peoples Freedom Alliance (UPFA) now has a formal parliamentary majority for the first time, the inclusion of the CWC will only further destabilise an already shaky coalition.

Failing Eisenstein: The Pet Shop Boys’ new score for Battleship Potemkin in Trafalgar Square

By Paul Bond, 23 September 2004

Sergei Eisenstein’s Battleship Potemkin (1925) remains one of the greatest achievements in cinematic history. Initially intended as one of many sequences within a broader film to mark the anniversary of the 1905 Russian Revolution, the tale of the sailors’ mutiny against their atrocious conditions, the enthusiastic support it received from the working class of Odessa, and the vicious reprisals of the Cossacks came to embody the entire experience of that defeated revolution.

Chinese authors charged with libel for exposing rural crisis

By John Chan, 22 September 2004

Chen Guidi and Wu Chuntao, authors of the best-selling An Investigation of China’s Peasantry dealing with the problems of small farmers, were hauled before the Chinese courts last month to face charges of libel.

The politics behind Kerry’s Iraq speech

By David North, 22 September 2004

Two critical factors have finally compelled Senator John Kerry to denounce, after interminable delay, the Bush administration’s conduct of the war in Iraq.

Britain: pro-hunt protest utilised to force through attacks on democratic rights

By Julie Hyland, 22 September 2004

Last week’s invasion of parliament by eight pro-hunting protesters attracted howls of derision from the media over “antiquated” security arrangements at Britain’s seat of government.

Bush defends Iraq war before a hostile UN General Assembly

By Bill Van Auken, 22 September 2004

President Bush’s address to the opening session of the United Nations General Assembly Tuesday, together with a speech by his Democratic challenger in New York City a day earlier, provide a clear warning that the US policy of global military aggression will continue, no matter which of the two big business parties wins the November election.

Australia’s highest court backs anti-democratic election laws

By Mike Head (SEP candidate for Werriwa), 22 September 2004

In what amounts to a deep-going attack on democratic rights, the Australian High Court has unanimously dismissed a challenge to federal legislation denying registration to political parties that do not hand over to the electoral authorities the names and addresses of 500 members. The seven judges announced their decision in May, but only released their reasons this month, just weeks away from the 2004 election.

More letters denounce effort to bar SEP candidates from Ohio ballot

By , 22 September 2004

The following are some of the many letters sent in recent days to the office of Ohio Secretary of State Kenneth Blackwell protesting the efforts of Ohio authorities to bar the SEP’s presidential and vice-presidential candidates from the Ohio ballot. The SEP collected and submitted the signatures of close to 8,000 signatures of Ohio residents who supported the candidacy of Bill Van Auken and Jim Lawrence. However, the Ohio secretary of state’s office disqualified nearly 4,200 signatures on the SEP petitions. A preliminary examination conducted by the SEP over several days showed that at least 1,230 of these disqualified signatures were indeed valid, demonstrating the thoroughly undemocratic and dishonest methods utilized by Ohio election officials in their attempt to disenfranchise voters.

Britain: right-wing think tank opens new school

By Harvey Thompson, 22 September 2004

A new private school opened its doors on September 13 in the Queens Park area of London. The “New Model School” is the brainchild of Civitas, the Institute for the Study of Civil Society, and claims to offer a “no frills” education for less than £3,000 a year.

Official probes of US prisoner abuse document crimes, exonerate arch criminals

By Joseph Kay, 21 September 2004

Two official reports were published at the end of August investigating instances of torture of Iraqi prisoners by American troops. The content of the reports and a recent string of new revelations reveal the extent to which torture has become a regular component of American policy in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere.

Russia: Putin lays siege to social benefits

By Vladimir Volkov and Andrea Peters, 21 September 2004

This summer, the Russian Duma and the Federation Council, the lower and upper houses of parliament, passed an array of measures that effectively liquidate the social benefits of 40 million Russian citizens. The elimination of these entitlements, which were established during the Soviet period, marks the latest stage in the destruction of the living standards of the Russian masses, who have experienced a historically unprecedented social retrogression since the breakup of the USSR and introduction of capitalist market relations in 1991.

Back the SEP election campaign! Donate today—we need your support now!

By , 21 September 2004

The Socialist Equality Party calls on all US readers of the World Socialist Web Site to send generous donations to our election fund to help finance our legal challenge against efforts by the Ohio election authorities to keep Bill Van Auken and Jim Lawrence, our presidential and vice-presidential candidates, off the ballot. [See “Federal judge upholds decision to bar SEP candidates from Ohio ballot”]

University of Illinois restricts use of student e-mails to justify attack on SEP candidate

By our reporter, 21 September 2004

Last week the University of Illinois altered its Campus Administrative Manual to specifically prohibit the use of student e-mail accounts for “political campaign activities.” The change is a transparent attempt to retroactively justify the “ticket” and threat of disciplinary action against Socialist Equality Party state legislative candidate Tom Mackaman and constitutes a grave attack on free speech, not only against Mackaman and the SEP, but against all students, academics and working people.

Mother of slain US soldier arrested at Bush campaign event

By Peter Daniels, 21 September 2004

Secret Service agents and local police handcuffed and arrested the mother of a US soldier killed in Iraq after she interrupted Laura Bush’s speech at a Republican Party campaign event in Hamilton, New Jersey.

Mark Latham’s “vision” for Australian working people

By Jake Skeers, 21 September 2004

At the centre of the Labor Party’s campaign for the October 9 federal election is leader Mark Latham’s slogan of creating a “ladder of opportunity for all Australians”. Latham’s “ladder” is hardly new or original. It merely revives the nineteenth century idea that individuals, not society, must take responsibility for securing their own health, education and welfare. In particular, the unemployed, and everyone else receiving welfare support, must be forced to give up “welfare dependency” and scramble up the social “ladder”.

Australia: former union official Craig Johnston jailed for nine months

By Terry Cook (SEP candidate for the Senate in NSW), 21 September 2004

The decision on August 27 by the Victorian Supreme Court of Appeal to jail former Australian Manufacturing Workers Union (AMWU) Victorian branch secretary, Craig Johnston, is a warning of the kind of industrial relations regime being demanded by powerful corporate interests in Australia.

Workers Struggles: The Americas

By , 21 September 2004

Park ranger strike in the Galapagos Islands

German President Koehler says inequality must be the new norm

By Ulrich Rippert, 21 September 2004

Just a few weeks before official ceremonies marking the fifteenth anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall in the autumn of 1989, German President Horst Koehler has unleashed a controversy. Koehler told Focus magazine that people face “big differences in conditions throughout Germany.” He rejected any attempt to overcome this inequality, arguing that those who want to level the differences would create “the subsidy state,” storing up an “intolerable burden of debt” for the younger generation.

Support the Socialist Equality Party in the 2004 US elections

By , 20 September 2004

The Socialist Equality Party calls upon working people and young people throughout the United States to support the independent socialist campaign in the 2004 elections. The SEP is running Bill Van Auken for president and Jim Lawrence for vice president, as well as candidates for Congress and state legislature, to offer a political alternative for working people and to prepare for the struggles that must ensue after the election.

Sudan: why Powell calls Darfur violence “genocide”

By Chris Talbot, 20 September 2004

The declaration by United States Secretary of State Colin Powell last week that “genocide has been committed in Darfur and that the government of Sudan and the Janjaweed bear responsibility” signals an escalation in American imperialism’s efforts to establish itself as the controlling power in North Africa and throughout the continent.

Britain: behind the factional warfare in Labour’s cabinet

By Julie Hyland, 20 September 2004

Australian Labor’s militarist plans for South-East Asia

By Nick Beams (SEP candidate for the Senate in NSW), 20 September 2004

In the three years since the September 11 terrorist attacks on New York and Washington, the political meaning of the “war on terror” has become increasingly clear. It has nothing to do with protecting ordinary people, but, rather, is a propaganda slogan used by the most powerful capitalist nations to prosecute their interests against their competitors.

Florida court rejects Democratic Party suit to keep Nader off the ballot

By Patrick Martin, 20 September 2004

In a 6-1 ruling handed down September 17, the Florida Supreme Court rejected a lawsuit filed by the Democratic Party and upheld by a lower-court judge to remove independent presidential candidate Ralph Nader from the ballot. The state’s highest court said that it would not entertain any further appeals on the issue, and absentee ballots including Nader were shipped on the weekend to Florida voters living overseas, mainly in the military.

Letters denounce effort to bar SEP candidates from Ohio ballot

By , 18 September 2004

The following are some of the many letters sent to the office of Ohio Secretary of State Kenneth Blackwell protesting the efforts of Ohio authorities to bar the SEP’s presidential and vice-presidential candidates from the Ohio ballot. The SEP collected and submitted the signatures of close to 8,000 signatures of Ohio residents who supported the candidacy of Bill Van Auken and Jim Lawrence. However, the Ohio secretary of state’s office disqualified nearly 4,200 signatures on the SEP petitions. A preliminary examination conducted by the SEP over several days showed that at least 1,230 of these disqualified signatures were indeed valid, demonstrating the thoroughly undemocratic and dishonest methods utilized by Ohio election officials in their attempt to disenfranchise voters.

Putin strengthens his authoritarian regime

By Vladimir Volkov, 18 September 2004

The hostage drama in North Ossetia, which resulted in the deaths of hundreds of schoolchildren, parents and teachers, has revealed the enormous gulf between the interests of the Russian ruling elite and the broad masses of the population. Now Russian president Vladimir Putin is using these events in a thoroughly cynical manner to rein in democratic rights, strengthen the structures of the state, army and intelligence services, and open the road to an increasingly open dictatorial regime. Long discussed plans for a “strengthening of the power verticals” are now to be put into practice.

Sri Lankan union leaders prepare to sell out Bata workers

By W.A.Sunil and Saman Gunadasa, 18 September 2004

Nearly three months after Sri Lankan Bata shoe factory workers launched a bitter fight to defend their jobs, the Commerce and Industry Workers Union (CIWU) is moving to sell out the struggle. Union leaders are seeking to extract from the striking workers their consent for a compensation package that will allow management to carry through its original plan to retrench 146 workers.

Workers Struggles: Asia, Australia and the Pacific

By , 18 September 2004

Indian plantation workers on indefinite strike

Federal judge upholds decision to bar SEP candidates from Ohio ballot

By Jerry White, 18 September 2004

US District Court Judge Gregory Frost Friday morning denied a legal motion filed on behalf of Socialist Equality Party presidential and vice presidential candidates Bill Van Auken and Jim Lawrence for a temporary restraining order against Ohio Secretary of State Kenneth Blackwell. The Secretary of State’s office has ruled that the SEP did not have a sufficient number of signatures to place Van Auken and Lawrence on the ballot in Ohio for the November 2 election. The suit filed by the SEP argued that Blackwell should be ordered to reverse his office’s decision and place the party’s candidates on the ballot.

Sharon threatens to kill Arafat

By Chris Marsden, 18 September 2004

Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon this week made a clear threat to assassinate Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat in an interview to mark the Jewish New Year holiday.

Mounting concern in US, Europe over Iraq debacle

By Patrick Martin, 18 September 2004

A series of negative and critical comments—most notably from UN Secretary General Kofi Annan—has highlighted the growing concern in the political and media establishment that the US occupation of Iraq is turning into a political and military disaster. In both the United States and Europe, representatives of the ruling classes fear that the Bush administration has set into motion a process of political upheaval, not only in the Middle East, but internationally.

SEP candidate speaks at environmental forum in Champaign, Illinois

By Joe Parks, 18 September 2004

Thomas Mackaman, Socialist Equality Party candidate for State Representative in Illinois District 103, participated in a candidates’ forum on September 8 at the Champaign Public Library in Champaign, Illinois. Hosted by the Sierra Club of Champaign-Urbana, the event focused on environmental issues that confront citizens locally and throughout the state and nation. The Sierra Club is a national organization dedicated to protecting the environment and is active in promoting legislation that maintains and advances such protections.

Conrad Black and Hollinger International: a financial oligarchy out of control

By Jean Shaoul, 17 September 2004

This is the conclusion of a two-part review detailing the findings of the “Hollinger Chronicles”. Part one was published on September 16.

Sri Lankan government confronts deepening economic crisis

By K. Ratnayake, 17 September 2004

The Sri Lankan economy is reeling under the impact of high world oil prices, a severe drought and political uncertainty stemming from fears of a return to civil war. The resultant rise in prices, erosion of jobs and pressure for further privatisation and restructuring is fuelling growing social unrest and compounding the political crisis confronting President Chandrika Kumaratunga and her unstable United Peoples Freedom Alliance (UPFA) government.

Workers Struggles: Europe, Middle East & Africa

By , 17 September 2004

Shipbuilders in Spain strike in privatisation protest

Kerry pledges fiscal austerity in speech to business leaders in Detroit

By Barry Grey, 17 September 2004

Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry gave a speech Wednesday to business executives at the Detroit Economic Club that exemplified his attempt to curry favor with the US corporate elite while presenting himself as a spokesman for working Americans. Not surprisingly, this attempt to square the circle involved a large dose of hypocrisy and double-talk.

SEP candidate for Congress addresses forum on disability issues in Maine

By a reporter, 17 September 2004

Carl Cooley, the Socialist Equality Party candidate for Congress in Maine’s 2nd Congressional District, addressed a candidate forum held by the Disability Rights Center of Maine on August 26. The meeting, attended by about 75 people, took place in the auditorium of the Pine Tree Arboretum in the state capital of Augusta. The candidates from Maine’s 1st and 2nd Congressional Districts were invited to address the forum, but Cooley’s Democratic Party opponent, Michael Michaud, did not attend, sending a representative instead. A slightly edited version of Cooley’s remarks to the forum follows.

SEP files challenge to place candidates on Ohio ballot

By Jerry White, 17 September 2004

The Socialist Equality Party on Wednesday responded to the efforts of election authorities in Ohio to bar its presidential and vice-presidential candidates from the ballot by submitting proof to the Secretary of State’s office that at least 1,230 of the nearly 4,200 signatures on nominating petitions disqualified by county officials were those of legally registered voters.

The ideology and politics of the Australian Greens

By Nick Beams (SEP candidate for the Senate in NSW), 17 September 2004

This is the conclusion of a two-part series on the Australian Greens. Part one was published on September 16.

Reaction to the French hostage crisis

By Antoine Lerougetel, 17 September 2004

The reaction of the French population—non-Muslim and Muslim alike—to the abduction of French journalists Georges Malbrunot and Christian Chesnot by an Islamic fundamentalist group in Iraq highlights the deep gulf that exists between the social and democratic aspirations of the masses and the perspective of terrorist groups who, in the name of “defending Islam,” use reactionary means to further their own agenda.

The ideology and politics of the Australian Greens

By Nick Beams (SEP candidate for the Senate in NSW), 16 September 2004

This is the first in a two-part series.

Hong Kong elections reveal a marked political radicalisation

By Peter Symonds, 16 September 2004

While the media has generally construed the outcome of the Hong Kong election on Sunday as a failure for the so-called democrats, the results revealed a marked determination by voters to choose candidates whom they hoped would fight more vigorously against the pro-Beijing administration and its policies.

September 11-the official story and the bottom line

By Bill Van Auken, 16 September 2004

September 11, 2004, the third anniversary of the terrorist attacks that claimed nearly 3,000 lives, was commemorated in official ceremonies in New York City, Washington and elsewhere. The crowds at the World Trade Center site were significantly reduced from the previous year. Families stayed away in some cases because such public displays provide little comfort, and in others because of hostility to government officials whom they hold responsible for the deaths that day.

Canada’s Supreme Court hears case aimed at overturning public health care system

By François Legros, 16 September 2004

Canada’s Supreme Court will soon render judgment on a case that targets the country’s public health insurance system, Medicare. Last June 8, a Quebec-based physician, Dr. Jacques Chaoulli, and his patient, Georges Zeliotis, went before the court to demand that it strike down two provincial laws that bar Quebecers from purchasing private health insurance to cover the cost of medically necessary treatments that are available through the public system and from paying for medical services at a public hospital. Should the court rule in favor of the plaintiffs and find the laws unconstitutional, the door will be open in Quebec, and by legal extrapolation across Canada, for the development of a multi-tier health care system in which the well-to-do have access to the best health care that money can buy, while the majority of the population are forced to rely on a shrunken, cash-starved public system.

Conrad Black and Hollinger International: a financial oligarchy out of control

By Jean Shaoul, 16 September 2004

This is the first of a two-part article detailing the findings of the Hollinger Chronicles.

Leipzig: “industrial beacon” and growing poverty

By Ulrich Rippert and Florian Linden, 16 September 2004

Some of the biggest demonstrations against the German government’s Hartz IV social welfare cuts over the past weeks have taken place in Leipzig, a major east German city in the state of Saxony. In autumn of 1989, the city’s Nikolai Church was the assembly point for weekly protest marches against the East German Stalinist bureaucracy preceding the collapse of the Berlin Wall, and parallels have often been made to the regular Monday demonstrations now taking place.

SEP obtains Minnesota ballot status for presidential candidates

By Eric Anderson, 16 September 2004

Minnesota’s Office of Secretary of State has determined that the Socialist Equality Party has more than met the minimum petition requirement of 2,000 signatures to place our candidates, Bill Van Auken and Jim Lawrence, on the ballot for the November 2 presidential elections. On Monday, September 13, one day before the deadline for submission of petitions, the Elections Division office determined that the 2,404 signatures obtained by SEP petitioners qualified Van Auken and Lawrence to appear on the Minnesota ballot.

India: popular agitation against army atrocities engulfs the northeast state of Manipur

By Kranti Kumara, 15 September 2004

Since the middle of July, the small northeastern Indian state of Manipur has been convulsed by popular protests demanding the repeal of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA), an Indian law that grants extraordinary coercive powers to the armed forces. These powers include unrestricted and essentially unchallengeable authority to arrest and kill people in “carrying out their duties.”

The filthy underside of American “democracy”: how Ohio officials have conspired against the SEP and its supporters

By Patrick Martin, 15 September 2004

The effort by Ohio officials to deny ballot status to the Socialist Equality Party presidential and vice-presidential candidates is an object lesson in the realities of what passes for democracy in America. Republican state officials and Democratic and Republican local officials have joined forces, using undemocratic rules, arbitrary technicalities and outright fraud, in a concerted attempt to prevent the socialist campaign from appearing on the November 2 ballot.

In a highly political decision, Malaysian court frees Anwar Ibriham

By John Roberts, 15 September 2004

In an unexpected ruling on September 2, the Malaysian Federal Court, the nation’s highest judicial body, freed former deputy prime minister Anwar Ibrahim after overturning his conviction on a charge of sodomy. Anwar had already served six years after being convicted on a charge of abuse of power in April 1999. He was about to start serving the nine-year sentence for the sodomy charge, imposed in 2000.

Australia: coroner’s findings whitewash police role in death of TJ Hickey

By Rick Kelly, 15 September 2004

In a provocative ruling issued on August 17, the New South Wales coroner John Abernathy exonerated state police officers over the death of 17 year-old Aboriginal youth, Thomas “TJ” Hickey. Despite overwhelming evidence of lies and cover-up, the court found that the police actions did not “contribute in any way to [TJ’s] death”.

US media covers up American war crimes in Iraq

By Barry Grey, 15 September 2004

Every day, US military forces in Iraq are attacking civilian populations in a calculated effort to drown a growing popular insurgency in blood. But one would hardly know the dimensions or brutality of the atrocities being carried out in the name of the American people from the sparse and sanitized coverage provided by the major press and broadcast outlets that purport to disseminate “the news.”

Kosovo protectorate “on point of near collapse” after March riots

By Paul Mitchell, 15 September 2004

A leaked internal United Nations report says the administration in the UN protectorate of Kosovo was on “the point of near collapse” after riots engulfed the province in March.