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Issue No. 208 13 February 2004  

All The Way With FTA?
Question marks over the bi-lateral Free Trade Agreement with the USA have only begun to scratch the surface.


Interview: Trading in Principle
AMWU national secretary, Doug Cameron, a key figure in the Labor movement, discusses the big issues - from Mark Latham to Pavlov�s Dogs.

Unions: While We Were Away
While Workers Online was washing sand from between its toes and enjoying an Indian summer at the cricket, there was a reality show chugging relentlessly away in the background, Jim Marr reports.

Politics: Follow the Leader
Worker�s Online tool man, Phil Doyle, dives into the ALP�s Darling Harbour love-in and nearly drowns in treacle.

Bad Boss: Safety Recidivist Fingered
The CFMEU has come up with a killer nomination to kick off our 2004 hunt for Australia�s worst employer.

Economics: Casualisation Shrouded In Myths
British academic, Kevin Doogan, sets the record straight on casualisation and warns unionists about the dangers of scoring an own goal

History: Worker Control Harco Style
Drew Cottle and Angela Keys ask if it's worth rememberinng the 1971 Harco work-in.

Review: Other Side Of The Harbour
The 1998 maritime dispute threatened to tear many a family apart but Katherine Thomson's Harbour tells the tale of at least one that it brought back together - albeit reluctantly, writes Tara de Boehmler.


 Rail Safety Back On Track

 Commuter Headaches Continue

 Ban "Ruthless" Operators - Judge

 Telstra Provokes Jobs Fight

 Taskforce Ignores Million Dollar Rorts

 Musos Tune-Up for Election Rock

 Chubby Fingers in Timorese Pockets

 Postal Workers Wrap Boss

 Aussie Sites Doing the Business

 Feds Abandon Aged

 TAFE Stands Over Poor Students

 Round the World on Aid

 Activists Notebook


The Soapbox
Dog Whistlers, Spin Doctor and Us
John Menadue argues the "better angels" of the Australian character are having their wings ripped off by an ever-expanding group dedicating to keeping the public at arms length from our decision-makers.

Something Fishy In Laos
Phillip Hazelton fishes around in Vientiane, Laos, and looks at the impact of Bird Flu on those relying on feathered friends for survival.

Magic Realism
Phil Doyle discovers that literature and sport may have more in common than you would think

The Westie Wing
Trickle, flood or drought? Workers friend Ian West, MLC, is wet, wet, wet on the issue of bilateral Free Trade.

 Reality TV
 TAFE Support
 State Of Confusion
 History Lesson
 Generation Angst
 Give Them A Medal
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Musos Tune-Up for Election Rock

American rockers are defying threats and sanctions to join the campaign to roll George W. Bush at this year�s US presidential election.

Undaunted by costly retaliation against outfits like Jethro Tull and the Dixie Chicks, dozens of acts are adding their voices to the anti-Bush campaign.

The rock against Bush movement spans the musical spectrum, from New York 70s icon Lou Reed and contemporaries like Bruce Springsteen, Don Henley, James Taylor, Dave Matthews and John Mellencamp; through Pearl Jam's Eddie Vedder and reformed hellraiser, Steve Earle; to modern stars Moby, Green Day, the Dixie Chicks and NOFX.

Jay-Z is one of dozens of hip-hop artists linked in the Russell Simmons' Hip-Hop Summit, a project commited to registering four million new voters in time for the presidential ballot.

Mainstream country is represented by two of the genre's biggest names, Willie Nelson and Merle Haggard.

Leading US music mag, Rolling Stone, recently interviewed 30 artists for a feature on the phenomenon. It cited Iraq, the environment, the Patriot Act and the economy as reasons given by rock stars for committing themselves to ousting the president.

Two quotes from the article summed up the tenor of the interviews.

"We must all unite and work for whomever opposes Bush, regardless of whatever differences we may have. Our motto - Anything but Bush," Lou Reed.

"The America we believe in can't survive another four years of George Bush," Moby.

Musicians aren't just talking and singing, increasingly they are getting active in organising and campaigning.

Alongside the Hip-Hop registration drive, 100 bands including Green Day, Offspring and NOFX have lent their support to from where registration drives, a political action committee and a Rock Against Bush tour have sprung.

Mellencamp has posted an open letter on his own site, arguing Americans have been "lied to and terrorised" by their government, and declaring "it is time to take action".

Moby and Vedder put their heads together to organise a television advertising campaign to counter Bush's State of the Union address, last month.

Taking a stance can be costly as longtime rockers, Jethro Tull, found when a leading New Jersey radio station banned their material in retaliation to lead singer, Ian Anderson, saying "it's easy to confuse patriotism with nationalism. Flag waving ain't gonna do it".

Eight months earlier, more than 50 radio stations had refused to play the Dixie Chicks in response to lead singer, Natalie Maines' London admission that the group was "ashamed" the US president also came from Texas.

Two months, and much soul-searching later, the Chicks donated $100,000 to the anti-Bush Rock The Vote organisation.

Merle Haggard who recorded his own anti-war song, That's The News, last year, told Rolling Stone of his dismay at the commercial reaction against the Dixie Chicks.

The magazine quoted Haggard as likening the attacks on Maines, and her group, to things he had read about Berlin in 1938. "It pissed me off," Haggard said.


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