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February 2003   

Interview: Agenda 2003
ACTU secretary Greg Combet looks at the year ahead and how a union movement can keep the focus on the workplace at a time of global crisis.

Peace: The Colour Purple
Local communities across Australia are taking stands against war by displaying purple banners. Jim Marr visits one.

Industrial: Long, Hot Summer
As Workers Online took its annual break, the world kept turning � at an increasingly alarming velocity.

Solidarity: Workers Against War
Joann Wypijewski reports on how union locals in the USA are fighting the hounds of war at home.

Security: Howard And The Hoodlums
With all the talk of terror, the Howard Government�s Achilles heel is its tolerance of Flags of Convenience shipping , writes Rowan Cahill

International: Industrial Warfare
Scottish freight train drivers have already acted to disrupt the war effort in the UK with crews of four freight trains carrying war supplies to ports walking off the job, writes Andrew Casey

History: Unions and the Vietnam War
The Vietnam experience steered some unions towards social activism for the first time. Unions are today key players in the anti-war movement, writes Tony Duras.

Review: Eight Miles to Mowtown
Mark Hebblewhites looks at two summer movies that tap into different sounds of American culture - white boy rap and motown blues.

Poetry: Return To Sender
Resident bard Divd Peetz discovers that Elvis has become the latest shock recruit to the peace cause.

Satire: CIA Recruits New Intake of Future Enemies
CIA Director George Tenet announced today that the agency has begun recruiting future enemies for the year 2014.


The Soapbox
Getting On with The Job
Premier Bob Carr chose Trades Hall as the venue to launch Labor's IR policy for the upcoming state election.

Justice in Bogota
Sydney lawyer Ian Latham knows how to pick them. He�s gone straight from the Cole Royal Commission to justice Colombian-style.

The Locker Room
Heart Of Darkness
There is a school of thought that there is, in fact, only one World Cup - and it doesn�t involve cricket, writes Phil Doyle.

Danger Mouse
John Howard's politics have trapped him into supporting an unpopular war. He is in political trouble, Leonie Bronstein argues.


A Call To Arms
Workers Online returns from our summer break to face a world on the brink, the structures of global cooperation being crushed by the iron will of the earth�s last remaining superpower.


 The Cuffe Link � Taxpayers Cough Up

 Carr: Secret Lib Plan to Slash Public Sector

 Abbott Comes Out Swinging

 Thanks a Million: Cole�s Lawyers Clean-up

 Corrigan Dogs On Jobs Promise

 Gnomes Fess Up � Unionism Best For All

 Owens Survives 30-Year Ban

 Ribs and Rumps Something for Government to Chew On

 Badges of Honour

 Guards Rail Against Assaults

 Workers Online Scoops Global Prize

 Currawong Must Pay It�s Way

 Let�s Get Real! 2nd Australasian Organising Conference

 Guard Knocked Out in Villawood Escape

 Activists Notebook

 Bouquets and Brickbats
 War Talk
 A Tale of Two Malls
 Talk Back Tom
 On The Beach
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The Locker Room

Heart Of Darkness

There is a school of thought that there is, in fact, only one World Cup - and it doesn�t involve cricket, writes Phil Doyle.


The current shenanigans on the southern part of the dark continent certainly look like cricket, but once we scratch the surface a grisly marketing exercise emerges. The word fiasco springs to mind.

First we had the remunerative brinkmanship from the sub-continent, then the calls for a boycott from that well known supporter of sporting boycotts, John Howard. It was interesting that the systematic deprivation of basic human rights for the vast majority of a population was seen by the Earlwood Service Station operators son as not worthy of the pariah treatment, but now somehow the Mugabe regime next door is.

No one doubts that Mugabe isn't exactly the best thing that has ever happened to the good folk of the Mashonaland, or the plateau surrounding Harare, but I don't think his policies are essentially racist - after all he is screwing the entire country, black, white, yellow and green.

No doubt the cultural experience of being in a third world country will provide a great education for the Australian Cricketers, given their own deprived backgrounds.

Then there is the issue that the World Cup is hardly the best exposition of the game. Media friendly? Certainly. But the one day game remains a bit of hit and giggle; even, it seems, to the players themselves.

How a game, essentially devised to accommodate the marketing needs of a certain Packer, K., becomes the measure of the best cricketing nation in the world for the next four years is one of those great ineffable mysteries.

Yes, Virginia, there is a marketing executive in charge.

Now this may all be in the realms of "so what" if it wasn't for the fact that this marketing driven corporate sport is shooting itself in the foot. The increasingly aggressive pay television promotions indicate that the take up rate for the more than highlights packages remains as abysmal as ever. With sporting organisations increasingly dependent upon these revenue streams sport itself could be in for a big shake-out once those revenue streams dry up. Someone is cooking the goose that lays the golden egg.

The marketing people have no humour, guile or wit whatsoever. There is a constant theme in the marketing of sport that likens it to war. Eric Blair is probably on the money to surmise that sport is "war minus the shooting", at least in how it is perceived. But any fan of sport knows that sport is more than that.

It's Tommy Raudonikis sitting in the losing changerooms after the 1981 grand final. It's big Bill Hamilton smeared in blood as the Bears sink once again despite his valiant efforts. It's about competing, not winning.

If it was merely the result then the fine print in the columns would lead the sports news, not be jammed up the back behind the, err, write up on the Beach Volleyball.

Is Beach Volleyball a sport? We may never know, as Zimbabwe is a landlocked country.

Still, that didn't stop the Swiss from winning the yachting.

Then again, Yachting isn't a sport - it's a social grace.

Meanwhile, the Australian Cricket team continues up the river, desperately searching for Mistah Kurtz...

Phil Doyle, chipping in to sit nicely beside the pin on the 8th


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