It's easy for the Australian and New Zealand left to call for troops out of Iraq. Scott Hamilton says we should be looking a little closer to home.

It is strategically located, rich in oil and gas, with a long and tragic history of invasion and colonisation. The latest chapter in that history began this decade, when the United States and some of its allies organised an invasion. George Bush and his deputy sheriff John Howard argued that the country had become a failed state, a magnet for terrorists and a threat to its neighbours.


Socialists must take a more active approach if it wants to push the NSW ALP out of its managerial rut, writes Marcus Strom

It's no wonder that the good burghers of New South Wales are underwhelmed by the impending state election. What is on offer is more of the same bland managerial capitalism from Morris Iemma's ALP. It seems to have seeped through to most of the populace that Peter Debnam's NSW Liberals have been over-run by an extremist rightwing agenda. Budgie smugglers or not, we ain't buying it. It seems that NSW is destined to have four more years of the Labor machine.


Dave Walters reports from San Francisco on the US midterm elections.

The US electorate - usually a minority of the American people, since less than 50 per cent of the citizens here ever vote - has set up what at least can be considered a massive opinion poll consultation: Americans want the US out of Iraq. They also tend not to like the ‘in party’, the Republicans, for various reasons - corruption, sexual scandal (this, by US standards, can mean almost anything, such as cheating on one’s spouse) and numerous other political peccadilloes.


Organised labour must be prepared to use every tactic against WorkChoices, writes Tristan Ewins.

It was with an air of anticipation that I boarded the bus for the Melbourne Cricket Ground on November 30. The determination to "Fill the G" was almost overwhelming in its scope. The redeveloped MCG - capable of holding anywhere near 100,000 people - would be a challenge to fill, but judging from previous attendances at ACTU rallies the prospect did seem within the realm of possibility. A protest of such magnitude would renew the labour movement’s mandate to take the fight to the conservatives and to engage in whatever kind of action that was necessary to repeal John Howard’s extreme industrial relations laws.


Tristan Ewins calls for a democratisation of ALP factions

Where to Next for Labor? Coming to the Party, Barry Jones (ed), Melbourne University Press, 2006, $24.95

In a timely contribution to debate surrounding the future of the Australian Labor Party, Where to next for Labor? Coming to the Party, edited by former federal minister and ALP president Barry Jones, is a welcome collection of views on what strategies are necessary to revitalise the ALP and, ultimately, win government. Issues considered range from the impact of factionalism to the decline of Labor’s traditional blue-collar working-class constituency, as well as the necessary work of building mass movements and reviving structures for rank-and-file participation and influence in the ALP.


Geoff Drechsler wonders if reform is simply a case of just-add-policy. He calls for an end to the mantra of neoliberalism and a fight for the democratic-socialist heart of the labour movement.

It is reassuring for the future of the Labor Party to see plenty of rank-and file-activity around the issue of party reform. This ranges from the Labor First website to initiatives sponsored by individual branches, such as those of the Camperdown and Ararat branches and is nationwide in scope.


Liam Mitchell of Sydney activist network Worker Solidarity shows how community pickets can help workers in struggle.

Workers, unions and community activists have had a victory at Thompson's Roller Shutters yesterday [November 15]. The Australian Manufacturing Workers' Union signed an enterprise agreement with the company, which included a wage rise, increased redundancy entitlements, entitlements back paid to July 31 and a written agreement from the company that no striker would be victimised. The workers agreed to sign and are returning to work this morning. The unlawful dismissal case taken by the union for the worker sacked after complaining about racial discrimination is still to be resolved.


Tristan Ewins calls on socialists to join the Fabian Society to prevent its statement of purpose being stripped of its socialist objective.

Editorial note:

"Labor Tribune welcomes Tristan Ewins call to fight for socialism throughout the movement and for the unity of socialists. However, the Fabian tradition was always about trying to marry the impossible: socialism for the working class with a reliance on the capitalist state. We believe a radical rebirth of the democratic core of Marxism - and the radical transcendence of the state from below - is required to overcome the liberal and anti-working class traditions in our movement."

From early September this year members of the Australian Fabians will have received a mail-out from the national executive announcing its intent to alter the constitution, in particular the statement of purposes, with the aim of removing all reference to socialism, classes, social and democratic ownership of any sort. The aim of this move appeared to be one of eliminating the traditional role of the Australian Fabians as a reformist socialist think-tank of the left, and of reducing it to a broad liberal forum devoid of traditional leftist aims or identity.

Daleks essential to Beazley going forward

We are carrying this link to an article by Rodney Cavalier (NSW Education Minister 1984-88) for the spotlight it shines on the deteriation of the ALP's faction system, in particular since the end of the Cold War.

Readers might feel that Cavalier's positive comments on the factional stitch-ups that produced the Hawke ministry in 1983 and the Wran government are a touch self-serving - he was after all a minister in the latter. Labor movement activists might also question his positive analysis of the Hawke government, particularly those fighting the Liberal's Workchoices legislation, a piece of legislation that has the Accord as an antecedent.


Mark Kelly reviews the relationship between Australian Capital, imperialism and the labour movement.

Over thirty years ago, in 1975, Australia made Papua New Guinea independent. Following the withdrawal of Australia from Vietnam in 1973 and the granting of human rights to Aborigines in the 1960s, this represented the completion of a shift, of which the Whitlam administration was clearly chronologically the expression and not the cause, away from the racist colonialism which had been a clear part of the Australian essence since the notion of Australianness had been invented in the nineteenth century...

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