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  Issue No 105 Official Organ of LaborNet 03 August 2001  




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Political Prisoner

Greenpeace campaigner Nic Clyde, facing up to six years gaol in the United States for taking part in a non-violent protest, speaks exclusively with workers Online.


Nic Clyde

Nic was arrested with 15 other protestors including fellow Australian Stuart Lennox from Tasmania during the test phase of the Star Wars missile system late last month.

Nic spoke to the Australian Services Union's Greg Turner about his treatment inside a maximum security prison and the support of his family and union.

What's the latest situation ?

I 've been released from gaol on $20,000 bail, my passport has been confiscated and a hearing has been scheduled for 13 August. A military prosecutor appealed against the decision to release us. It's hard to know what to expect now.

We understand you've been held in a maximum security gaol.

I spent six days in a cell with other maximum security prisoners that measured four metres by six metres. You get let out of your cell into an exercise yard twice a week. In court I was shackled in leg irons with chains around my waist. We were treated as any common criminal facing the same number of years

You are among 15 protestors and two journalists charged with conspiracy to violate a safety zone. - what's going through your mind as you face the prospect of a six year jail term ?

I'm just blown away by this major felony charge. I can't describe how dismayed I am to come to this country and be treated like this. I think we're being singled out because we're shining a light on a dangerous problem.

What support are you getting from Australia ?

My family have been great. Mum's even been on the radio. I'm absolutely 'stoked' the union is supporting me and trying to get the charges dropped. I joined the union because I believe if we stick together we can win things.

What support are you getting from the Australian Government ?

It's embarassing being an Australian. There's a lot more diplomatic activity going on to help those ( arrested campaigners) from other counties.

The circumstances of your arrest are confusing. Its understood you were not arrested at the missile test site but at san louis pier, sixteen nautical miles away, several hours later, by FBI agents.

I've been given legal advice not to comment on the circumstances. It is alleged we were technically 'on the water' . We are actually alleged to have 'conspired' to violate a safety zone and failing to adhere to a commander's instructions. The thing that really pisses me off is that we Australians just don't have the money to lobby Washington and our only tool is peaceful protest. This is a direct threat to all Australian unionists.

What's the problem with Bush's National Missile Defence System?

The problem is build a bigger shield and someone will build a bigger sword. This system could spark and new nuclear arms race or even a new chemical or biological arms race. In a world where we have pressing problems, the United States is spending US$300 billion dollars on this Star Wars program.

You are employed by Greenpeace Australia, can you tell us about your job ?

I'm a campaigner for Greenpeace Australia (Pacific). Recently I've started to campaign against the nuclear weapons threat. I'm also involved in local campaigns, such as Lucas Heights. That's half my job, I also organise training for staff and volunteers.

We often hear about tensions between the environmental and union movements on forestry issues. As a trade unionist & environmentalist, do you think there is much room for us to come together ?

Yes. Absolutely. I truly believe the environmental movement is not a threat to jobs or a threat to the labour movement. The energy industry is a good example. The number of jobs in renewable energy far outweighs the number of jobs in building new power plants. I think those trade unions who don't understand the green movement should get together with us and talk.

During the last 20 years the union movement throughout the western world has experienced substantial membership decline, while environmental organisations such as Greenpeace have attracted large numbers of new recruits, especially among young people. What can those unions looking to rebuild strength learn from the environmental movement ?

I'd be hesitant to answer that question given the great support you guys are giving me! But what comes up in Greenpeace market research, time and again, is that in a world full of words and savvy company marketing, people are becoming cynical of companies who 'claim' to support the environment. They perceive that Greenpeace gets out there and 'does' stuff. People like action.


*    Visit the ASU Services

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*   Issue 105 contents

In this issue
*  Interview: Whose Advocate?
Employment Advocate Jonathon Hamberger argues the case for his organisation's survival and reveals his secret union past.
*  Politics: CHOGM: What Should Unions Do?
Activists Peter Murphy and Vince Caughley kick off the debate about what is the appropriate action ot take when CHOGM leaders meet in Brisbane
*  E-Change: 2.1 - The Changing Corporate Landscape
In the second part of their series on the impact of new technology, Peter Lewis and Michael Gadiel try to understand the new corporate playing field.
*  Unions: Hamburgled
Jim Marr reports that the Employment Advocate has been handed a chance to salvage some credibility by cleaning up anti-union practices in the call centre industry.
*  Economics: Privatisation: The Dangerous Road
Frank Stilwell argues that the corporate collapses of HIH and One Tel are potent reminders of the downside of ‘people’s capitalism’.
*  History: Hard-Earned Lessons
Art Shostack looks at the legacy of the landmark strike by PATCO air traffic controllers 20 years ago.
*  International: Political Prisoner
Greenpeace campaigner Nic Clyde, facing up to six years gaol in the United States for taking part in a non-violent protest, speaks exclusively with workers Online.
*  Review: Seven Pubs and Seven Nights
Labor Council's newest recruit, Susan Sheather, shows she respects tradition by going in search of the perfect bar
*  Satire: Obituary: Mr Rob Cartwright - Captain of Industry
In all fields of endeavour, there are those who command our respect through their sheer commitment to excellence. One such titan was Rob Cartwright, whose chosen field, the obscure HR discipline of "moving people onto individual contracts" lost its greatest practitioner and champion late last night, following a tragic self-inflicted accident.

»  Paradise Lost – Insurers Kill Workers' Camp
»  Entitlements Betrayal at Centre of Car Crisis
»  Piggins Pledges Support for Building Workers
»  Legal Win for Wharfie Widows
»  Unions Call for Dropping of Greenpeace Charges
»  Jubilee Marches On Despite G8 Debt Fatigue
»  Cleaner Sacked For Visiting Aging Parents Overseas
»  Bracks Plans Curbs on Assembly Rights
»  Big Gain for Weight Loss Workers
»  Qld Wage Increases Welcomed
»  Protecting Children, Protecting Jobs
»  Child Labour Fine on McDonald's
»  Call for Colombian Inquiry Into Murders
»  Activist Notebook

»  The Soapbox
»  The Locker Room
»  Trades Hall
»  Tool Shed

Letters to the editor
»  War of Words: Crosby Goes Botsman
»  Tri-Star - Just In Time to Blame
»  Just a Tip
»  Concerns About Members Equity

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