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Issue No. 270 01 July 2005  

After the Action
After a National Week of Action that has had everything from mass rallies in all capital cities to IR chat rooms opening on the Vogue Magazine website it�s fair to say that the first objective of this campaign � to raise public awareness � has been achieved.


Interview: Battle Stations
Opposition leader Kim Beazley says he's ready to fight for workers right. But come July 1, he'll have to be fighting by different rules.

Unions: The Workers, United
It was a group of rank and filers who took centre stage when workers rallied in Sydney's Town Hall, writes Jim Marr.

Politics: The Lost Weekend
The ALP had a hot date, they had arranged to meet on the Town Hall steps, and Phil Doyle was there.

Industrial: Truth or Dare
Seventeen ivory towered academics upset those who know what is best for us last week.

History: A Class Act
After reading a new book on class in Australia, Neale Towart is left wondering if it is possible to tie the term down.

Economics: The Numbers Game
Political economist Frank Stilwell offers a beginners guide to understanding budgets

International: Blonde Ambition
Sweden can be an inspiration to labour movements the world over, as it has had community unionism for over 100 years, creating a vibrant caring society, rather than a "productive" lean economy.

Training: The Trade Off
Next time you go looking for a skilled tradesman and can�t find one, blame an economist, writes John Sutton.

Review: Bore of the Worlds
An invincible enemy has people turning against one another as they fight for survival � its not just an eerie view of John Howard�s ideal workplace, writes Nathan Brown.

Poetry: The Beaters Medley
In solidarity with the workers of Australia, Sir Paul McCartney (with inspiration from his old friend John Lennon) has joined the Workers Online resident bard David Peetz to pen some hits about the government's proposed industrial relations revolution.


 Don't Get Angry, Get Organised

 Feds Threaten Hardie Battlers

 Beasts of Bourbon Play Dog

 Churches on Workplace Mission

 Unions Are The New Black

 Muster Has Bosses in Fluster

 Workers Flood to Protests

 Official: Libs Don�t Know Own Laws

 Schools Out For Uni Bosses

 IR Campaign Taxing Andrews

 Air Safety at Risk

 Carr Runs Over Lib Laws

 Aga Khan Workers Gaoled

 Activists Whats On!


The Soapbox
State of the Union
Unions NSW secretary John Robertson lifts the lid on �The Nine Myths of Modern Unionism�

The Locker Room
Wrist Action
Phil Doyle trawls the murky depths of tawdry sleaze, and discovers Rugby is behind it all.

To Hew The Coal That Lies Below
Phil Doyle reviews Australia's first coal mining novel, Black Diamonds and Dust.

The Westie Wing
Our favourite State MP, Ian West, reports from Macquarie Street that the Premier is all the way with a State Commission.

 Workers Give In FNQ
 Power and the Passion
 Mao and Then
 The Third Way Hits A Dead End
 Unfair For All
 What Is To Be Done?
 Black Hawk Up
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Letters to the Editor

Don't Get Angry, Get Organised

Derek, I agree with you wholeheartedly, particualry your view that a strike is a tactic in any struggle. I guess that is the point. The overall strategy is, as you correctly pointed out, not a 'soft option', but one designed to raise education and awareness. This is even more important, given that it appears Howard and his cronies are preparing to spend $20 million dollars of taxpayers money to 'reassure' voters that the attacks on their rights at work 'won't hurt a bit'!

The issue about industrial action, including strikes, is however a tactical one. In my view, the issue always is, what purpose does any proposed strike serve? Is to raise awareness, to allow angry workers to 'vent' their understandable rage at this attack, or to achieve leverage over our oppponents, including employers? I think once we have answered the question as to the purpose of any proposed industrial action, its usefulness or otherwise becomes clearer. I agree with you that no action should be ruled out in this camapign (other than actions that endanger the life or limb of another human being)however, the issue of which actions are appropriate need to be answered in in relation to their goals and purpose.

I for one, would love nothing more than a general stoppage which would bring production in the country to a halt! However just writing this makes me realise how futile at the moment this desire is. It is futile, not because workers can't stop work, but because the only workers at the moment who would conceivably do it, are those already organised. I don't think that point needs labouring here. However, we could think a bit more about how we turn the community camapign to a number of 'actions' that involve workers doing something in solidarity with each other, starting with small things and developing into something bigger. One thing I think we should all keep in mind. In France and Italy with unionisation rates at or below those in Australia, broad social movements manage to bring those countries to a standstill from time to time over issues that mobilise large numbers of people. It is not that the trade union movements in those countries have big numbers as such. But they a!

re able to mobilise and lead large numbers of peole, far beyond the numbers of people who actually belong to them. Could we think about this kind of approach and try and work through how we might build to a similar position?

Yours in solidarity,

Linda Carruthers


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