||Issue No. 173||04 April 2003|
The Fog of War
Interview: Picking Up The Peaces
Unions: The Royal Con
National Focus: Around the Grounds
Economics: The Secret War on Trade
International: United Front
History: Confessions of a Badge Collector
Politics: Stalin�s Legacy
Review: Such Was Not Ned�s Life
Poetry: Osama's Top Recruiter
Satire: Woolworths CEO Denied Bonus After Company Posts Profit
The Locker Room
Trots Bomb Back
The Fog of War
Instead, we see a government attempting to slip through legislative nasties under the cloak of combat, while using the war as an excuse to stall any semblance of a progressive social agenda.
At least that's how Tony Abbott plays the war game. There he was this week, slipping through changes to outlaw bargaining fees, twisting the arms of Democrat Senators who realise a federal election is the necessary next step on their journey to extinction.
He's also been flexing his muscles as he cashes in his $60 million investment in union-bashing (otherwise known as the Cole Royal Commission), to threaten essential state services if they don't embrace his neo-con industrial agenda.
But that's not all; the commitment to the war means there's no longer any money for the Prime Minister's much anticipated work and family package; meaning the bullets raining on Iraqi families are coming directly from the pockets of our working mums.
And then there is the final salvo, employers this week claiming that the economic uncertainty caused by the war meant that a wage rise for our lowest paid was out of the question. No prizes for guessing where this bright idea came from!
This is what happens when a nation's attention is diverted. The demand for good government disintegrates in the face of the 'crisis' abroad; administrations that have run out of ideas bask in the actions of their military.
All of which makes the efforts of the peace movement in mobilising mainstream opposition to the war all the more vital; with the upcoming Palm Sunday rally a key test of the campaign's longevity.
Unlike most political struggles, the anti-war movement began with a critical mass. Our challenge is not to build support for our cause but to hold it. The leadership of the various religious groups has been conspicuous. Palm Sunday is their day.
That the movement has had disagreements over the past week has been disruptive, but should not detract attention form the main game: keeping pressure on John Howard to bring our troops home and ensure the UN has control of any post-war reconstruction.
At the end of the day, it is our effectiveness in maintaining pressure on the Howard Government that will determine whether the substantial effort of all involved in the peace movement has been expended in an effective way.
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