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Issue No. 124 15 February 2002  
E D I T O R I A L

Chickens Come Home
For anyone who believes in karma, the events of the summer show how bad Australia's is right now.

F E A T U R E S

Unions: Winning the Heartland
John Robertson unveils new research on attitudes to refugees and argues it's time for unions to mount their own propaganda war.

Interview: Swan's Song
Federal ALP front-bencher Wayne Swan expands on his ideas for rebuilding the Party in the wake of the Tampa election.

Corporate: Lessons from Enron
Jim Marr looks at the shock-waves the collapse of a US corporate heavy-weight are having around the globe.

Politics: What We Did Last Summer
We look back over a summer when it all went pear-shaped. Some events, at home and abroad, look set to have ongoing ramifications.

History: Solidarity in Song
Mark Gregory looks back on the annals of labour songs and offers some hints for those planning a tilt at the Labor Council's worker anthem comp.

International: A Tale of Two Cities
New York and Port Alegre are poles apart – but they both played host to important conferences on the future of globalisation over the summer.

Poetry: Nobody Told Me
Labour academic David Peetz commits the Prime Minister's current woes to verse.

Review: Labor and the Rings
Tolkien’s epic tale provides a timely reminder that that there are forces of good and evil in the world – and that they are not necessarily where we expect to find them, writes Michael Gadiel.

Satire: Rafter Named Bermudan Of The Year For Tax Purposes
Australian of the Year Pat Rafter was last night also named Bermudan of the Year, in a simple ceremony held in Bermuda's Parliament.

N E W S

 Unions' Commit to Battle for Hearts

 Carr on Notice - Expectations Up

 Mad Monk Sides With Angels … Briefly

 Maritime Union Acts on Spy Scandal

 May Day Play-Off for Workers' Anthem

 Burmese Links Shroud Winter Olympics

 New Phone Venture One.Tel In Drag

 Two Million Face Rights Downgrade

 Enron Collapse Hits Share-Owner Agenda

 Corrrigan Snaps Up Rail Bargain

 Kinko Clowns With Workers' Rights

 MPs Face Security Checks

 Telstra's Tragic Delays Of Its Own Making

 Burrow Puts Case to World Economic Forum

 Shangri La Protests Hit Melbourne

 Activists Notebook

C O L U M N S

The Soapbox
Chinks in the Armour
The ACTU's Michael Crosby argues that Mark Latham's attack on the Labor for Refugees movement is the betrayal of Party values.

The Locker Room
Off-side in Korea?
With the World Cup set to kick off in a matter of months, South Korea's treatment of unions is under the microscope.

Week in Review
Cloak and Dagger
In the first of what will be a regular column, we place the week's labour news into a nutshell.

L E T T E R S
 In Whose Interests?
 'International Labour's Year in Review' - A Re-View
 Belly's Broad-Side
 Collins Gets Cryptic
WHAT YOU CAN DO
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Letters to the Editor

Collins Gets Cryptic


Dear Sir,

Once again, while not in complete harmony with, but greatly impressed by , your consistently relevant, honest and sometime confrontational editorial content, which is in stark contrast to other blatantly biased publications. I was particularly impressed by your latest article "The Unmaking of History "December 21, 2001, and specifically, your almost textbook emulation of a socialist John the Baptist, in your painful and plaintiff cry of angst to the intellectual wilderness of socialist politics ,pleading for some semblance of Trade Union/Labour Party Solidarity. Let us entreat, that unlike John the "B", you get ahead and not lose a head?

Your persuasive call for self examination, is something which I have always embraced on a personal basis, as a consequence of many reasons, the least, not being the loss of a myriad of relationships because of my continued scribbles which advocate, in copious measures, the need for self discipline and the harsh pruning of our "Tree of Liberty" the Union movement. Scribbles which your publication regularly publishes ,even ,when they are in conflict with official Union and A.L.P. policies, and a pruning which is necessary, to excise the deliberately oblique ambitions, of those personal empire builders in the parliamentary and Trade Union spheres, who, like aphids suck on its sap and return nothing except their own enhanced reflection, in which we the plebs are permitted to bask ,as the life slowly drains from and emaciates us, until we resemble shrivelled prunes both mentally and physically.

I can assure those "Comrades" who have been swift to cast stones, at me, that while my paper scratching continues to create this spiteful emotion from them; then I will continue to exercise my right of "freedom of expression" as I am reassured by this aggressive response, that life in the Union Movement, no matter how Proterozoic is not yet extinct, and the next step in the process of renewal will be to replace the retarded but already predisposed gene pool with something more complex than the single cell amoeba pond life which is and has been the ascendant influence for quite some time..

Also the self evident truth in your editorial comment:-

"It's an adage that is sometimes sadly dismissed as a cliché: those who choose to ignore their history are doomed to repeat it."

This is not just some flippant homily, it is a reality, but it is also a comfort zone which is used by those cowards who choose to roll over rather that fight for their rights, those who would rather trade off their own warriors than risk the need for them to battle, and who will only demand what they want from those they perceive to be weaker and vulnerable, and then they spin a story to suit and excuse their abhorrent behaviour.

At the risk of alienation , I must disagree philosophically with your statement :- "And most bizarrely of all, the Labour Party, licking its wounds from losing an election that appeared 'unlosable' dealing with its hurt by turning on its only true ally - the union movement. "

I do not believe, that this was an unlosable election, or in defeat a turning on its "only true ally", but an honest acceptance of the pre-ordainment of this loss and the forced reassessment as to the dramatic change in societal acceptance of the culture of "Individualism" over "Pseudo Collectivism".

While the somewhat sullied Branch Structure, in some electorates, is being utilised in a manner similar to the method in which control over the French Assembly in 1787 was corruptly gained. A basic mathematical formula was used, where the numbers were calculated and then divided into committees to enable 44 to be a majority of 140 by dividing them into 7 separate committees consisting of 22 members, every question to be decided not by a majority of persons but a majority of committees thereby 11 votes would be a majority in a committee and four committees a majority of seven, control could be claimed as democratic, but absolute.

This is sustained by the ideological perversions nurtured by some in the Trade Union movement during its shameful years of "False Consensus", in which we "The Boofheads", were all compelled to do what our betters commanded, and has, like the proverbial chickens, now come home to roost. This catastrophic awakening , could have been avoided , if only the sudden appearance of "The Silence "by the rank and file in both Unions and the Party , had not been ignored and erroneously ,but deliberately for the purposes of expediency whispered as , and promoted to, this self styled parasitical aristocracy ,temporarily ensconced in their ivory towers , as a sign of mob satisfaction.

How long will this assumption of superiority by moronic political toadies and their denials of reality persist? , and at the risk of a further branding as a heretic ,I would quote , Adam Smith (1723-1790) the great Scottish philosopher and economist best known for "The Wealth of Nations", his pioneering book on free trade and market economics.

"It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer, or the baker that we expect our dinner but from their regard to their own interest."

Human nature has not changed and still revolves on the axis of self importance, so, surely the "History" lesson to be learned here is; how that epitome of Toryism, Maggie Thatcher, drew her strength from her enemies, by not only subterfuge but a massaging of the ego and an appeal to self interest.

As a grocer's daughter, I am sure she used to ponder on the picture of Samson and the Lion on the Tate & Lyle Golden Syrup can, depicting the riddle posed by Samson to the Philistines:

Out of the eater came forth food,

and out of the strong came forth sweetness."

Samson's question was itself the answer.

Sweetness does come from strength, but it is an inner strength of faith, of belief in one's own rights and justice, from a belief in our destiny and an understanding and appreciation of our past. Only in our strength of will and of character can achieve any level of sweetness for us in these difficult times.

The wishful thinking and feel good words from and to the fraudsters, tricksters' show-ponies, spin doctors and confidence men, plus the pandering to the many special interest groups and their dubious and corrupted political correctness is not strength.

In this case, the dead Lion is not the source of sweetness, but false idealisms of a putrid and corrupt carcass and the pursuit of personal gain and filthy lucre tainted with the same blood of betrayal, as the thirty pieces of silver.

The true strength of the Union Movement, was held in the acceptance and understanding as to the rectitude of our rights to economic and social justice.

Having commented on this excellent editorial "The Unmaking of History "and shared my loss of acquaintance through the expression of my beliefs, I would also like to share my feelings about these fair weather friends, and the emotion of pride I have at offending these cowardly camp followers, my feelings being personified by two old Irish sayings which I learned from my Grandfather, a saddler from County Wexford in Ireland:

"I couldn't give a tinkers curse"

"Don't feed strawberries to pigs"

Furthermore, as one who has regularly attended the Kirk, and has on many occasions, with public shame stood on the stool of repentance, I can also relate to this appropriate and descriptive poetry by the Scottish Bard, Rabbie Burns, who was not only a wee bit touched, but a contemporary social commentator through his writings, and through his attitudes a vanguard reformer. So in summation, and appreciation to those who have so malevolently defamed me, through participation and /or omission I offer the words of the Bard:

To A Louse

On Seeing One on a Lady's Bonnet, At the Kirk in 1786

Ha! whaur ye gaun, ye crowlin ferlie?

Your impudence protects you sairly;

I canna say but ye strunt rarely,

Owre gauze and lace;

Tho', faith! I fear ye dine but sparely

On sic a place.

Ye ugly, creepin, blastit wonner,

Detested, shunn'd by saunt an' sinner,

How daur ye set your fit upon her-

Sae fine a lady?

Gae somewhere else and seek your dinner

On some poor body.

Swith! in some beggar's haffet squattle;

There ye may creep, and sprawl, and sprattle,

Wi' ither kindred, jumping cattle,

In shoals and nations;

Whaur horn nor bane ne'er daur unsettle

Your thick plantations.

Now haud you there, ye're out o' sight,

Below the fatt'rels, snug and tight;

Na, faith ye yet! ye'll no be right,

Till ye've got on it-

The verra tapmost, tow'rin height O' Miss' bonnet.

My sooth! right bauld ye set your nose out,

As plump an' grey as ony groset:

O for some rank, mercurial rozet,

Or fell, red smeddum,

I'd gie you sic a hearty dose o't,

Wad dress your droddum.

I wad na been surpris'd to spy

You on an auld wife's flainen toy;

Or aiblins some bit dubbie boy,

On's wyliecoat;

But Miss' fine Lunardi! fye!

How daur ye do't?

O Jeany, dinna toss your head,

An' set your beauties a' abread!

Ye little ken what cursed speed

The blastie's makin:

Thae winks an' finger-ends, I dread,

Are notice takin.

O wad some Power the giftie gie us

To see oursels as ithers see us!

It wad frae mony a blunder free us,

An' foolish notion:

What airs in dress an' gait wad lea'e us,

An' ev'n devotion!

Robert Burns

Born 25th January 1759,

Died 21st July 1796

Tom Collins


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