Workers Online
Workers Online
Workers Online
  Issue No 58 Official Organ of LaborNet 16 June 2000  




.  LaborNET

.  Ask Neale

.  Tool of the Week

*  Interview: After the Gold Rush
NSW building union leader Andrew Ferguson on life after the Olympics and why Che Guevara is his political hero.
*  Unions: MUA Women's Policy Back on Course
A hard hitting report by the Maritime Union's women's delegate Sue Gajdos prompts the union to, once again, promote its female members.
*  Politics: Raising the Rafters
Opposition leader Kim Beazley delivered a stirring address to last weekend's NSW ALP State Conference. Here's every word of it.
*  History: Time and Tide
Greg Patmore surveys the themes of Working Lives in Regional Australia in this introduction to the latest issue of 'Labour History'
*  International: Fair in the Land of the Free
More than 20,000 immigrant workers, union members and community and religious leaders packed a Los Angeles Sports Arena on June 10 in support of immigrant workers' rights.
*  Environment: Life's a Beach
Workers are invited to join an environmental campaign to protect the coastal communities and coastline from exploitation by multinationals.
*  Satire: More Pacific Coups Forecast
The popular holiday resort of Great Keppel Island is bracing itself for a bloody coup, following the rash of rebel uprisings in other parts of the Pacific.
*  Review: At the Barricades
Denis Evans' photo essay on the Patrick dispute captures the camaraderie on the Melbourne picket lines - solidarity that, like solder, welded workers and their communities together into a human barricade.

Urban Guerilla - Andrew Ferguson

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On Our Own Terms

As the deadlock in Fiji escalates with today's detention of the union leader Felix Anthony the importance of internet communications across the international labour movement has again been highlighted.

Workers Online readers would be familiar with the work of LHMU national media officer Andrew Casey during the crisis, with his regular, sometimes hourly updates of the situation on the ground.

Casey has been putting his reports together through a mixture off mobile phone calls, email messages, web-pages and faxes to key players in the Fijian labour movement.

At times the immediacy has been disarming - at one point he called Anthony on his mobile to discover he was about to walk into a meeting with the new dictator.

The flow-on effect of Andrew's stories on the LaborNet newsfeed throughout the crisis have been fascinating to observe.

Linked into Eric Lee's international Labourstart service, they have become the labour movement's primary source of news in and out of Fiji.

He's also become a flashpoint for employer anger - Australian textile companies running the line about how their poor workers are being stood down; ignoring the fact they went to Fiji to exploit the cheap labour in the first place.

And in countries where Fiji may not have the impact on mainstream news pages, LaborNet has become the sole source of Fiji news for many people - Andrew's been receiving follow-up emails from as far away as South Korea, South Africa, USA, Europe and Israel.

Add to this the fact that Casey has been getting better access to key players than many of the reporters on the ground in Suva and you have a telling testimony to the importance of the union movement controlling its own news domain.

Geography has become largely irrelevant - it's the relationship that matters.

These results serve to vindicate LaborNet's open model embodied in the Live News Feed, where we build the infrastructure, maximize the exposure but leave the content to activists rather than trying to control the flow.

If the Fiji crisis is anything to go by, we now have in our hands a valuable asset for the future.

Peter Lewis


Soapbox Lockerroom From Trades Hall Toolshed
Soapbox lockerroom trades hall Toolshed
John Ducker Looks Forward Buster Punter on Colourful Sydney Racing Identities Neale Towart's Labour Review Richard Alston: Economic Saboteur


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