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October 2002   

Interview: The Wet One
NSW Opposition industrial relations spokesman Michael Gallacher stakes out his relationship with the union movement.

Bad Boss: Like A Bastard
Virgin Mobile is sexy and funky, right? Well, only if those terms have become synonyms for dictatorial or downright mean.

Unions: Demolition Derby
Tony Abbott likens industrial relations to warfare and, like a good general should, he is about to shift his point of attack � from building sites to car plants, reports Jim Marr.

Corporate: The Bush Doctrine
For the powerful, consumerism equals freedom, and is all the freedom we need, writes James Goodman

Politics: American Jihad
Let�s get real. The origins of modern Islamic terrorist groups are in Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and Langley, Virginia not Baghdad, argues Noel Hester.

Health: Secret Country
Oral history recordings are an inadequate tool in trying to find out what happened to Aboriginal stockmen and their communities on cattle stations in Northern Australia, writes Neale Towart

Review: Walking On Water
On the 20th anniversary of the first AIDS-related death, Tara de Boehmler witnesses the aftermath of losing a loved one to the illness in Walking On Water.

Culture: TCF
Novelist Anthony Macris captures life on the shop floor in this extract from his upcoming novel, Capital Volume II

Poetry: The UQ Stonewall
The University of Queensland has sought to join the ranks of union-busting companies like Rio Tinto in trying to sack the president of the local union - and made the mistake of thinking they were dealing with an array of acquiescent academics.


The Soapbox
I Walk The Line
American civil rights leader Jesse Jackson has weighed into the Hilton Hotel dispute with this special message to the workforce.

Mekong Daze
Union Aid Abroad's Phil Hazelton fires off a missive from Laos where he is spending a year working with the community.

Month In Review
Bush Whackers
It was a month where the world teetered on the brink of peace, no thanks to the leader of the free world, writes Jim Marr

The Locker Room
The Laws Of Gravity
Phil Doyle goes looking for the fine line that separates sport from an exercise in time-wasting

Snouts in the Trough
It�s AGM season in the corporate world, and deal after shady deal is being exposed as highfliers treat company accounts like the proverbial honey-pot.

Songs of Solidarity
There has been a proud history of pro-worker tunes dating back to the early days of the 20th century, which will be continued in a new CD, writes Dan Buhagiar.


The Legacy of 11/9
From the orgy of righteous indignation that has enveloped the �Free World� this week a more chilling truth is emerging: if the suicide bombers were attacking Liberal-Democracy they have succeeded beyond their wildest dreams.


 �Robbed Generation� Seeks Stolen Wages

 One Year On: Ansett Crash Still Hurts

 Cole Exposed By Immigration Scam

 Car Workers on Howard Hit List

 Mystery Windfall for Hilton Workers

 Shock: Abbott Backs Workers

 Union Billboards Censored

 Track Grab Ignores Lessons of Glenbrook

 Casual Approach to Air Safety

 Bosses Say No Living Wage For NSW Childcarers

 Pastry Workers Tell Boss To Get Puffed

 Injury Toll Mushrooms

 Victorian Zookeepers Down Buckets

 Pride and Safety for Workers Out!

 Activists Notebook

 The CFMEU Race Debate #1
 The CFMEU Race Debate #2
 Keeping it Clean
 Sue the Leaders?

Wrong Way, Go Back
The weekend machinations over the structure of the ALP are in danger of missing the fundamental point: Labor�s current malaise is caused not be an excess of core values but through a deficit.


 Corrigan Fires Shot in Rail Showdown

 Fight Begins For Long Weekends

 Experts to Arrest Drug Test Outbreak

 Jobs Auction Hitting Bank Workers

 Libs Pledge Moderate IR line

 Workers Kick Grand Final Goal

 NSW Screws Down Lid on Funeral Scams

 Hilton Strike Break Plans in Tatters

 Detention Centre Workers Demand Safety Search

 Religious Teachers Win Legal Coverage

 Pressure Builds on Parking Sting

 US Docks Lockout Hits Sea Trade

 Activists Notebook

 Jacks and Jills
 Shame on Murray
 Use or Abuse of Long Term Casuals
 Speaking in Tongues
 Casual Days
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Songs of Solidarity

There has been a proud history of pro-worker tunes dating back to the early days of the 20th century, which will be continued in a new CD, writes Dan Buhagiar.


In 1915 Ralph Chaplin wrote Solidarity Forever, an anthem for the Industrial Workers of the World that's still widely used today. The 1930's saw Woodie Guthrie rise to prominence with songs including This Land Is Your Land and Union Maid, while the social movements of the 60's brought with them a plethora of political folk-pop songs like Bob Dylan's Subterranean Homesick Blues. Even the self-indulgent 80's were able to breed urban poet Billy Bragg who assured us that There Is Power In A Union, while Oz rocker Jimmy Barnes gave a shout out to the Working Class Man.

Fast forward to the year 2000 and beyond, and there seems to be a shortage of bands and solo artists ready to take on the challenge to write about the issues faced by working people.

That's why, at the beginning of 2002, the NSW Labor Council ran a Worker's Song Competition through the Australian music website Wobbly Radio. We weren't sure what to expect when we called for submissions - but we were more than pleasantly surprised when we received over 100 submissions straddling a broad range of music genres.

In fact the diversity and quality of entries was so good that after the $5000 prize money was awarded, it was decided that we couldn't now let all these great entries disappear.

So the decision was made to put together MayDay MayDay - Songs Of Solidarity, a compilation CD showcasing 17 great pro-worker tunes from artists in NSW, Victoria, Canberra, Western Australia and Tasmania.

In recent decades hip-hop has been the musical voice of many social movements, so it's fitting that the competition winner (and album opener) comes from Sydney based MC Swarmy G. Mayday is a driving tune with an open call for solidarity. More hip-hop beats can be heard courtesy of Perth's Optamus, while the Bidston Moss Duo explore the crossover between hip-hop, rock and blues with their contribution.

If guitars are more your thing, there are plenty of places to find them on the compilation. The Long Weekend offer a song-along guitar pop tune, closely followed by the fun harmonies of Melbourne's Dogbite. Things get a bit more rockin' with longtime musical activists the Urban Guerillas, and then there's a couple of retro styled pop tunes from Mahuia Cooper and Loaf.

At the more folk flavoured end of the spectrum Peter Hicks teams up with the Hobart Grass Roots Union Choir to capture the true spirit of 60's protest songs. Craig Pinkney offers a beautiful acoustic balled, countered by John Hospodaryk's dark, angry delivery of a historically based government critique. And Ginger Tom blend slide and acoustic guitars with plaintive vocals.

Finally there are the electronic contributions. Up near the front is Beam Up's funky ode to Melbourne's now defunct tram conductors, while further down the list you'll find the quirky industrial electronica of EYE, and the harsh beat driven track produced by Adam Lincoln and Karl Learmont.

The album ends with the rousing epic We'll Take No Shit From You by Zoltan's Brother, a timely warning to the companies and governments who choose to ignore the rights of working people.

May Day, May Day - Songs of Solidarity will be launched in the Roma Room, at the Metro Theatre, George Street, Sydney - Wednesday October 30 - 7.30pm till late - performances from Bernie Hayes, Urban Guerillas, Swarmy G, The Long Weekend and Ginger Tom


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