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October 2006   

Interview: Cowboys and Indians
Finance Sector Union national secretary Paul Schroder is standing between the big banks and a bucket of money.

Industrial: Seven Deadly Sins
Chris Christodoulou gives seven reasons why WorkChoices is bad for business

Unions: The IT Factor
The future of Australian IT looks grim as big companies lead the rush to India and China, writes Jackie Woods.

Politics: Bargain Basement
Simple principles of democracy underpin the ACTU's collective bargaining proposal, insists ACTU Secrteary Greg Combet.

Environment: An Inconvenient Hoax
Al Gore may be warning of climate breakdown, but what hope the truth when he's up against such a well-oiled machine? asks Paul Sheridan

Corporate: Two Sides
Bilateral trade agreements are a good idea � just ask the US multinationals. The rest of us should strongly disagree says Pat Ranald

International: Unfair Dismissals
Nearly 10,000 workers were fired for their trade union activities in 2005, an annual trade union survey shows.

History: A Stitch in Time
Neale Towart takes some lessons from female textile workers while considering the case for recognition ballots.

Review: The Wind that Shakes the Barley
A film charting the turmoil of the Irish war for independence against British occupation during the 1920s might seem an odd choice for top honours at the Cannes Film Festival in 2006.


The Westie Wing
Ian West takes a walk around the backyard with the Prime Minister�

The Soapbox
Rise Up
Hugo Chavez's explosive address to the United Nations

The Fear Factor
A new analysis of the history of fear takes us from the war on terror all the way to the modern workplace.


The Road to Bangalore
A funny thing is happening as the major corporations plan their latest heist on the Australian public � the off shoring of an estimated two million white collar jobs to low cost countries like India.


 OWS Blesses Tassie Plunder

 Feds Knew About Wage Slashing

 Data Farmers' Bitter Harvest

 Umpire Delivers to Posties

 It's a Goal - Compass Out-Pointed

 Childcare Giant Goes Union

 Meat Head Jumps The Queue

 AWAs � Thanks a Million

 Vets� Fight On

 TB Threat From FoC Ship

 Hamberger in Cancer Blue

 AMWU Challenges Forced Deportation

 Let�s Dance � Andrews Get Hot

 Legal Centres Under Threat

 Activists Notebook

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The Wind that Shakes the Barley

A film charting the turmoil of the Irish war for independence against British occupation during the 1920s might seem an odd choice for top honours at the Cannes Film Festival in 2006.

Yet against the backdrop of an occupied Iraq sliding inexorably towards civil war, it's not hard to see the modern-day relevance of veteran British filmmaker Ken Loach's latest offering.

Following the First World War and the 1916 Easter uprising in Dublin, the cause for Irish independence is chafing against the full weight of British occupation.

Returned English soldiers, survivors of the killing fields of France, are drafted into the Royal Irish Constabulary to oppose Irish nationalists and combat the nascent IRA and Sinn F�in.

The 'Black and Tans' soon develop a notorious reputation for torture, murder and brutal oppression of the local population.

It is under these bleak circumstances that brothers Damian (Cillian Murphy) and Teddy (Padraic Delaney) join the fight for an Irish republic, conducting guerilla raids against the occupying forces.

The film features graphic scenes of torture conducted by the British soldiers, already dehumanised by their experiences in the Great War.

These depictions sparked a furious response from English reviewers, most accusing English-born Loach of pro-Irish bias with some labeling him a traitor to his own country.

Loach's recent films have never been far from controversy. The director of Kes experienced a resurgence during the 1990s with films such as Riff Raff that documented the experiences of the English working class during the Thatcher years.

While Loach's depiction of the British brutality pulls no punches, perhaps the most harrowing scene occurs when Damian executes on of his own who betrayed the group; a poor farm boy who is barely 16.

As the Irish Free State is established in 1921 (in the process partitioning Ireland into the 26 county south and six county north), so too are the brothers divided along political lines.

In a metaphor for the bloodshed that is to follow over the next 80 years, close personal relationships - which are at the heart of this film - are torn apart.

While the arid dunes of the middle-east are a world away from the green countryside of Ireland in the 1920s; the individual costs of resistance, idealism and compromise are ultimately paid in the same currency.

The Wind that shakes the Barley is currently screening nationally. For more information visit


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