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Issue No. 199 10 October 2003  
E D I T O R I A L

Bush-Whacking
Those of us preparing to protest US President George W Bush’s visit to Australia must tread a fine line – between condemning the policies of an illegitimate president with a dangerous agenda and damning an entire nation.

F E A T U R E S

Interview: No Ifs, No Butts
Rugby League Professionals Association president Tony Butterfield on his battle to deliver a collective agreement for NRL players.

Unions: National Focus
In this month’s national wrap: Noel Hester meets a heavy hitter talking up open source unionism, truckies front the suits at Boral’s AGM, tales of corporate bastardry and Medicare birthday revelry.

Industrial: Fools Gold
Unions have thrashed out a string of protocols with the NSW Labor Government. Some, now, are questioning whether they are worth the cheap, imported paper they are written on, reports Jim Marr.

Bad Boss: Bones of Contention
Byron Bay chicken boners have nominated thier boss for a Tony after seeing their entitlements plucked.

History: The Gong Show
In late September the South Coast Labour Council (SCLC) celebrated 75 unbroken years championing the rights of workers in the coastal Illawarra region 80 kilometres south of Sydney, writes Rowan Cahill.

Politics: The Hawke Legacy
The election of the Hawke Labor government twenty years ago holds some salient lessons for today’s Labor Party, writes Troy Bramston.

International: Sick Nation
As Australia celebrates 20 years of Medicare’s universal health coverage the crisis facing American workers in need of medical care is a useful reminder of what we’ve got – and what we stand, writes Andrew Casey.

Economics: Closed Minds
Philip Mendes looks at the political influence of right-wing think tanks, their financial backing and asks why the left hasn’t been able to get its ideas out there.

Review: Mixing Pop and Politics
He's had relations, with girls from many nations... but Billy Bragg seems to like us Aussies as much or even more than any of the others, writes Pádraig Collins.

Poetry: One Size Fits All
There once was a man from the Lodge - Who tried hard, our poems, to dodge... Resident bard David Peetz is back!

N E W S

 Rail Whistleblower Attacked - Again

 Royal Con on Tape

 Call Centre Stumps Umpire

 Breakthrough for Email Privacy

 Harbour Sell Off Sparks Occupation

 Harvey World Travel Locks Up Tour

 STOP PRESS: Telstra Drops Out

 Workers Voice Gets Hard Edge

 Employees Disable Hard-Ball Bosses

 Canberra Eyes Crash Windfall

 Bush Whacker - Dubya Fingered

 Assault Costs Education Department

 Uni Workers Stand Up To Feds

 Thousands Say No to Cole

 The Town that Struck

 Activists Notebook

C O L U M N S

Postcard
North By Northwest
Phil Doyle returns from up north, where he survived on nothing but goodwill, good people and a great big orange bus.

The Soapbox
The $140 Million Patriot
It would be hard to imagine a steeper slide from hero to zero than the experience of Richard Grasso, the now-deposed head of the New York Stock Exchange. writes Jim Stanford.

Media
Bush's Bad News Blues
The Bush Administration is cooking up a new campaign 'to shine light on progress made in Iraq', writes Bill Berkowitz.

The Locker Room
A Tale Of One City
Phil Doyle gazes into the crystal ball for signs of life, and finds that somewhere the horses are running in the wrong direction.

Culture
With Banners Furled
There is no better account of the glory that was the annual Labour Day marches than that given by Kylie Tennant in Foveaux, her fictional account of life in inner Sydney in 1912, the year she was born.

Politics
The Westie Wing
Our favourite Macquarie Street MP, Ian West MLC, reports on the world of NSW politics.

Postcard
The Cancun Wash-Up
The dramatic collapse of the World Trade Organisation Ministerial Meeting in Cancun, Mexico, last month has been followed by a deafening quiet from Geneva, Brussels and Washington, writes Peter Murphy.

L E T T E R S
 On The Waterfront
 An Honest Job
 Letter From America
WHAT YOU CAN DO
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Editorial

Bush-Whacking


Those of us preparing to protest US President George W Bush’s visit to Australia must tread a fine line – between condemning the policies of an illegitimate president with a dangerous agenda and damning an entire nation.

Those mobilising the Weapons of Mass Derision rally next Sunday have the right idea - turning the President who never won an election, with a cartoon view of the world and childish notions of good versus evil, into a joke is the only constructive response.

And in making a joke of our own Prime Minister's genuflection, we are calling for an Australian leadership with the strength to represent our national interests rather than blindly following its dominant ally.

That said, we would be foolish if we turned our protests into a round of yank bashing, because in doing so we would be attacking many of the principles of freedom, democracy and individual liberty that we also take for granted.

Anti-American protests only detract from the anti-Bush message - and that is, his policies are the very antithesis of this American ideal.

In taking to the streets against the US President, we are protesting Bush's policies of pre-emption and unilateralism; as they manifest in military action, trade negotiations, environmental and in terms of cultural imperialism.

And in doing so we join an increasing number of Americans who are rejecting Bush and the values he represents.

Americans like Michael Moore who famously wrote to Bush: "Instead of having to earn it, you have been handed the presidency the same way you've come by everything else in your life. Money and name alone have opened every door for you. Without effort or hard work or intelligence or ingenuity, you have been bequeathed a life of privilege."

American's like the Dixie Chicks who were pilloried by the Right for stating they were embarrassed to share a home state with the President, yet rewarded by fans with huge increases in sales.

And Americans like General Wesley Clark, the former NATO commander who knows more about war than Bush ever will and knows that pre-emption is dangerous and short-sighted and only this week stated:

"We are in a crisis in our relations with the rest of the world. Today, at a time when we need friends and allies more than ever, resentment of America has never been higher, and that makes every American less safe at home and abroad."

If the anti-Bush protests make Australians - and the world - laugh at Bush's ignorance, they will play a small part in strengthening the hands of the only people who can remove him from power - the American people.

But if they become an attack on America they will only add to the siege mentality that began on September 11 and continues to provide Bush with the cover he needs to promote all manner of madness and ignorance.

Peter Lewis

Editor

PS. There will be no Workers Online next week as we prepare for our 200th edition. See the news pages to join the celebrations.


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