Friday, 28 December 2007

TUC head targets 'soar-away rich'


A union leader has called for greater equality in society, saying the "soar-away super-rich" are becoming cut off from the rest.

Low pay for public sector workers could also cause "simmering resentment", TUC general secretary Brendan Barber warned in his New Year message.

He urged more help for workers "at the bottom", faster progress on ending child poverty and fairer workplaces.

Mr Barber said tax loopholes should be closed so the rich pay a "fair share".

He said the "super-rich" took advantage of tax loopholes, and their lives were "cut off from the rest of us".

"This is not just bad for social cohesion, but distorts the economy.

"If the super-rich and big companies are not paying their fair share it means that the rest of us - including small and medium sized businesses are paying too much, that public services are not getting the growth they need and that we do not have the resources to end child poverty," he added.

"No-one particularly enjoys paying tax but it is the price tag for a civilised society, and it's about time that we had a proper debate about whether those who can afford it are paying their fair share."

He also criticised government plans to limit public sector pay rises to 2% per year over the next three years.

"It does not just threaten the recruitment, retention and morale of public servants but will damage an industrial relations system that has minimised conflict in the public sector."

In a gloomy outlook of the labour market for next year, the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development said 2008 "would be the worst year for jobs this decade and easily the worst since the Labour Government came to power in 1997".

Report author, chief CIPD economist John Philpott, said reduced hiring in the private sector and job reductions in the public sector were predicted to cause "a net rise in total UK employment of 75, 000 (0.25%) in the year to December 2008, only a third of the rise recorded in both 2006 and 2007".

Add to del.icio.usAdd to Technorati Faves♦ ♦Stumble ThisRedditSlashdot it

From Farooq Tariq, Labour Party of Pakistan Spokesperson

"I was going to Karachi and postponed all activities planned in connection with boycott of election.

Here a short statement we issued just now

Labour Party Pakistan demands immediate resignation of Musharaf dictatorship. The dictatorship is directly responsible for the killing of Benazir Bhutto. It failed to provide security to PPP leader.

Labour Party Pakistan spokesperson Farooq Tariq and general secretary Nisar Shah in a joint statement call for a three days general strike nationwide to protest the killings and to demand the dictatorship must resign now.

Farooq Tariq"

Add to del.icio.usAdd to Technorati Faves♦ ♦Stumble ThisRedditSlashdot it

Monday, 24 December 2007

Revolution at the North Pole...

Add to del.icio.usAdd to Technorati Faves♦ ♦Stumble ThisRedditSlashdot it

Sunday, 16 December 2007


The SSP (Scottish Socialist Party) notes the arrest today of former member Tommy Sheridan.
The Scottish Socialist Party is far more interested in campaigning to improve the lives of working people in Scotland, to end the hated council tax, promote public ownership of our public services, rid this country of nuclear weapons, end the war in Iraq, achieve independence for Scotland and support workers involved in industrial action to defend their jobs, pay and conditions.
Fighting for justice for working people remains our priority.

For us, today that struggle continues.

Add to del.icio.usAdd to Technorati Faves♦ ♦Stumble ThisRedditSlashdot it

Saturday, 15 December 2007

Klaatu's final report from Bali


"We will go forward and join consensus", announced US delegate Paula Dabrinsky.
And so, the Climate Change talks have ended with agreement after the US finally conceded to the wording of the document after pleas from other nations.

At least, that's how the mainstream media is reporting it!

The TRUE breakthrough, as witnessed by me, happened a few hours earlier when China and India confronted Conference organisers with threats that they were going to walk out of the talks.
They had just discovered that their Indonesian hosts were rushing through the final 'decision-making' meeting while closed-door talks were still going on with developing nations at another venue!
China and India angrily accused the organisers of manipulating the conference processes and demanded that the plenary (decision-making) session be delayed until talks with the developing nations were completed.
When this news was revealed several shocked delegates rushed out of the meeting, presumably to find out why they were being asked to make a final decision while crucial talks were still in session elsewhere.

The most important sections of the final document are: that UN scientific advice WILL be included in the agreement, that developed countries must cut emissions by the year 2020 and that clean energy technology will be freely shared with the developing world.

Where to now?
This final agreement heralds the start of two years of discussions leading to a worldwide pact addressing the problem of global warming.
The Treaty, at the end of these 2 years of negotiations, will take effect in 2012 and will replace the Kyoto Protocol.

At last, we are witnessing the birth of a Global Warming Treaty for Earth.
It's going to be a long and painful process but all the birthing instruments are in place and we are now ready to proceed with the delivery.
Vigilance and resolve will be needed over the next few years to ensure we end up with a Treaty that will save our planet.

But history will record that it was the last-minute intervention by the 2 largest developing nations that may have saved the human race!

- Klaatu out.

Add to del.icio.usAdd to Technorati Faves♦ ♦Stumble ThisRedditSlashdot it

Klaatu's second on the spot report from the Bali Climate conference...


As the Bali Climate Change talks drag into another (and probably final) day there is an air of sadness here that so much still remains to be done.

After 2 weeks and almost 1000 meetings between delegates from 187 countries there is a sense of disbelief that they could not reach consensus on the wording of a 3-page document to frame the terms of negotiations for a climate change deal after 2012 (when the Kyoto Protocol expires).
Yes, that's exactly what these talks were all about - simply to put together a 3-page Declaration outlining what should be done after the Kyoto Protocol.

So where does the blame lie?
Mostly, on the developed economies of the world (led by the US). For example - even now, in these dying hours of the talks, the US is fighting hard to stop the Declaration referring to the United Nations scientific advice. That advice states that "developed countries MUST cut emissions by 25pct - 40pct by the year 2020 to avoid global temperature rises that will cause severe climate change."
This advice is verified by climatologists worldwide, yet is only disputed by the US delegates at this conference.

Scientists have also warned that without deep cuts to emissions the world faced, WITHIN THE NEXT 50 YEARS, the possible loss of 30pct of animal and plant species, there could be as many as 50million climate refugees and 16 of the world 19 largest cities (including Jakarta and Shanghai) could be threatened by sea level rises.
Even if these numbers were halved - they are horrific figures!

The EU, for its part, has been equally inflexible from the other direction. They are insisting that ALL the scientific data be included in the final document.

Australia has been heavily criticised too, for its failure to stand with the EU and developing nations. Choosing a 'wait and see' approach while it awaits final advice from its own environmental experts (due mid-2008) before taking sides!

So, in these final hours, where do the major players stand:

AUSTRALIA: Agrees to reducing emissions by 60pct (based on year 2000 levels) by 2050. But they will not commit to 2020 targets until after their own scientific reports are concluded mid-2008.
They also will not sign the agreement on the 2020 figures for fears US and CANADA will walk away from the talks.

CHINA: Supports deep cuts by 2020 for developed nations while investing in solar energy reafforestation inside China. However, as a developING nation they are not bound by these agreements.

EUROPEAN UNION: Still arguing for binding 25pct-40pct emissions cuts by 2020 and transfer of clean technology to the developing world.

INDONESIA: Calls on developed countries to do more, will work to preserve its own rainforests, aims to reduce fossil fuels consumption from 52pct to 20pct by 2025.

UNITED STATES (with qualified support from CANADA and JAPAN): Will not support binding targets just for developed countries, insisting these commitments must be agreed by ALL countries. Does not condone the free transfer of technology to help developing countries control their carbon emissions.
(However, California has already set its own target of 80pct emission cuts by 2050!).

As one British delegate put it: "America is acting like business class passengers in a plane plummeting to the ground. What they don't realise is, we're all going to crash together."

My final (and MUCH shorter!) report before I fly out of Bali - in about 5 hours.

- Klaatu :))

Add to del.icio.usAdd to Technorati Faves♦ ♦Stumble ThisRedditSlashdot it

SLLU member Klaatu reports direct from Bali climate change conference - plus - sign the online petition now!

Click the picture below to sign the urgent online petition to break the US/Canada/Japan deadlock on the Bali climate change talks.

Please show your support!

Now read the article from SLLU member Klaatu Congrejo who has sent this report from direct Bali:

Latest from the Climate change Conference.
Its past midnight here in Bali and the conference is continuing into the night to try and find some consensus on deadlines for carbon imission limits. The USA is, once again, proving to be the main stumbling block on the road to consensus for global emission targets - with some qualified support from Canada and Japan.

From your reporter on the ground - what is REALLY going on here in Bali?

The media is deperately trying to find a win/lose story at the moment, but the reality is that there won't be one (unless it all collapses in a big heap at the end of the day).

At this very moment (almost 1am, 15th December) talks are continuing into the night to try and achieve some kind of consensus at these talks and in all probability it looks like there will be some kind of 'draw' declared with no solid agreement on the table but with everyone still 'committed' to the process - which is quite a desperate scenario considering the urgency of the situation!

So, before I leave Bali and return home to Australia tomorrow, the talk in the corridors here is as follows.....

1. Everyone is committed to doing a deal but there are still major differences.

2. Some of the larger developing countries will talk about what contribution they can make in reducing carbon emissions, but they want meaningful talks on technology tranfers from rich countries in return. This is opposed by the US, EU, CANADA and JAPAN.

3. The US is trying to get support for its own climate talks process, outside of the UN, which involves voluntary actions by what it calls 'the big emitters'.

4. Australia appears to be weak in these discussions, despite the resolve of the new Labor administration, because it hasn't had time to communicate its new strategy. This has resulted in Australia being either silent in the discussions or moderately obstructive.

5. The Saudis are trying to insert language into the text that will allow for 'compensation' for lost oil revenue.

6. Even though the EU is taking a progressive role in the talks its feared that they will be outplayed by the US in these final hours.

7. Small (mainly Pacific) island States are demanding and begging for radical and urgent action - but it appears their pleas are falling on deaf ears!

With a little over 12 hours before my flight leaves Bali I will file another report just before take-off when I hope I will be able to relay some better news.

-Klaatu Congrejo.

please sign the Climate Change petition if you haven't already done so - only requires 2 minutes of your time! and pass on the link to anyone you know who might be interested:

Add to del.icio.usAdd to Technorati Faves♦ ♦Stumble ThisRedditSlashdot it

Tuesday, 4 December 2007

Movie review

by Danielle niDhighe Danielle Ni Dhighe ( ) reviews....


The past (an Old English heroic epic poem) meets thefuture (digital animation) in an entertaining fantasy film.Denmark in the sixth century: King Hrothgar (Anthony Hopkins) iscelebrating the construction of his new mead hall when it's suddenlyattacked by the monstrous giant Grendel (Crispin Glover), who killsmany of Hrothgar's subjects. Hrothgar offers half of his gold to anyhero who can slay Grendel. Every man who takes up the challenge dies.Enter Beowulf (Ray Winstone), a boastful warrior who vows to slayGrendel and bring peace to the kingdom once more. To achieve hisgoals, he must contend not only with Grendel, but also with Grendel'sdemonic mother (Angelina Jolie).The classic poem is reinterpreted for the 21st century byscreenwriters Neil Gaiman ("Neverwhere", "MirrorMask") and Roger Avary("Pulp Fiction", "The Rules of Attraction"). The film covers thethree major events in the life of the titular hero--the slaying ofGrendel, the encounter with Grendel's mother, and the slaying of adragon--while cleverly expanding on the source material to transformit into a more complete and emotionally involving story whilemaintaining its heroic epic qualities. In the poem, Beowulf is a onedimensional archetypal hero, but here he becomes a more interestingcharacter with emotional conflicts and better definition as anindividual. There's also a fine sense of humor that keeps it frombecoming too grim.The film's weakness is the choice made by director Robert Zemeckis(best known for "Back to the Future" and "Forrest Gump") to use motioncapture and digital animation by Sony Pictures Imageworks to bring thestory to life, just as he did for 2004's "The Polar Express". Itlooks like a fancy video game rather than an epic film, and you maywell wonder where your game controller is at times. There are otherways to do a film like this. For example, using live actors and realsets enhanced by visual effects ("Lord of the Rings"), or using liveactors and digital backgrounds ("300").Call me old fashioned, but when I plunk myself down in a cinema seat,I want to see something that looks like a film instead of an oversizedvideo game. As good as the animation may be, the motion capturesimply can't quite fully render facial expressions and complex motionswithout looking fake. However, Gaiman and Avary's screenplay isstrong enough to mostly overcome the problems with the animation andsuck the audience into the story. It must also be noted that thisfilm would have been pushing an R rating if it had been filmed liveaction, and the unreality of the animation may have allowed it to getby with a PG-13 rating instead.Production designer Doug Chiang ("The Polar Express") and costumedesigner Gabriella Pescucci ("Charlie and the Chocolate Factory", "TheBrothers Grimm") provide the film with a strong visual sensibilitythat looks at once historical and fantastical. Longtime Zemeckiscollaborator Alan Silvestri contributes an epic sounding score, alongwith some songs co-written by Glen Ballard that are hauntingly beautiful.Because of the motion capture and animation, it's difficult to judgethe actors on anything except their voice work, which is of topquality. Hopkins' rich voice is perfectly suited to Hrothgar,Winstone is appropriately heroic while bringing some depth to the roleof Beowulf, Glover is strangely sympathetic as Grendel, and Jolie isperfectly cast as a seductive demoness who can make a man lose hispowers of reason. The rest of the talented cast includes JohnMalkovich as Hrothgar's sharp-tongued advisor Unferth, Brendan Gleesonas Beowulf's friend and sidekick, Robin Wright Penn as Hrothgar'squeen, and Alison Lohman as Beowulf's mistress.Literary purists might not approve of some of the changes wrought bythe screenwriters, but "Beowulf" the film is a good epic fantasy witha conflicted hero, a sense of humor, and a wonderfully ambiguousending. Those qualities allow it to transcend the limitations ofmotion capture and digital animation, and by the end the story willwin you over and you'll forget that it looks like a video game.[4 out of 5 stars]

Add to del.icio.usAdd to Technorati Faves♦ ♦Stumble ThisRedditSlashdot it

Saturday, 1 December 2007

Response to "Revolutionary Communist" polemic attacking my proposal to Call Off Electoral Boycott:

Those who advocate against voting, as a general "revolutionary" line, are either fools or swine.

That is to say, they are either dupes, or outright agents-provocateur for COINTELPRO, engaging in counter-revolutionary sabotage of the movement and our society.

My purpose here is not to defend or support the Democratic Party, which has fallen on it's face too many times, in too many ways, to be considered to have any revolutionary potential, in and of itself, at this time.

My purpose here is to point out that it is necessary to tactically engage the enemy in all arenas, including the electoral, and that the first priority of any revolutionary struggle must be to defend the People, by preventing the worst fascists from seizing or maintaining the power of life and death over the People, to the greatest extent that we possibly can.

When it comes to a choice between a whole lot more death and destruction, and even a somewhat lesser relative degree of death and destruction, as we are presented in the choice between Republicans and Democrats, even a Blue Dog is "better" than a Republican pig, in most instances. And many Democrats are substantially more progressive than Blue Dogs, even if they may not be absolutely politically correct in every regard.

Even just a little bit more health care, housing, education, meaningful employment, and more equitable taxes are "better" than a whole lot less of everything, in terms of how many people are going to horribly suffer and die in the downward social and economic spiral that capitalism imposes on the general population.

Even a little bit less racism, sexism, war, eco-rape, and corporate rip off here and abroad, is "better" than a whole lot more of the same, for all Peoples, everywhere.

Is this good "enough"? Not to a revolutionary. But revolutionaries must take what they can get, in the course of the struggle for justice and peace, and must never abandon the best interests of the People, "on principle", by merely seeking some ridiculous nebulous and ephemeral supposed hegemony over the revolutionary movement with mere rhetorical posturing.

A true revolutionary has no room in their heart, nor in their analysis, for the kind of opportunism that would sacrifice the best interests of the People for some whack, formulaic,100 year old catechism of tortuously contrived "political correctness".

The People need to be able to live, on a day to day basis, in order to be able to make revolution. It's a process, and it's long term. And it's not going to happen over night, or be defeated overnight, based on whether some liberal bourgeois politician "wins" or "loses" a corrupt commercial "election".

But meanwhile, the lives of millions of people all over the world hang in the balance between whether there will be substantially more evil, or, relatively speaking, somewhat lesser evil brought down upon their heads as a result of that election.

Do you really want their blood on your hands, because you were too "principled" to vote for some grossly inadequate liberal bourgeois politician, and thus boycotted the vote, and called on others to boycott the vote (or throw away the vote in a futile gesture of protest and defiance, for a hopeless 3rd party candidate) and thus ushered into power the worst possible fascists available, by default?!

Hear me brothers and sisters! That's how Bush (and Hitler) seized power...refusal of the Left to unite, even tactically, behind the liberal bourgeoisie, to deny the fascists power. Limited, qualified, principled, selective tactical support of the most progressive available likely contenders in the bourgeois elections is only a small tactical element of a much more comprehensive and protracted revolutionary strategy.

Surrendering the power, by default, to the worst fascists, is counter-revolutionary treason against all of the Peoples (and other species) of earth.

Death to Fascism!

Engage the enemy in all arenas, including the electoral.

The Struggle will Continue, nevertheless...

The Democrats are obviously not the solution we seek...we will still have to put fire to their ass, if they "win", but.,.

Press the contradictions!

Call Off the Electoral Boycott!

Democracy is the most fundamental revolutionary concept.

All Power to the People!

Submitted by Ernest Newman


Previous proposal, titled: Call Off Electoral Boycott

"Revolutionary Communist" response polemic, titled: Bosses Elections are Mystifications

Add to del.icio.usAdd to Technorati Faves♦ ♦Stumble ThisRedditSlashdot it

Bombs Away?

Bombs Away?

By Curt Guyette and W. Kim Heron

Arms expert Scott Ritter says the U.S. plans to attack Iran.


The Iran Threat?

By: Soraya Sepahpour-Ulrich

America and Israel have accused Iran of intending to diversify its program - they allege that Iran is using its civilian program as a cover to build nuclear bombs. This supposition begs the question why Iran would place itself in the spotlight instead of renouncing the energy program for history has shown that having an operating nuclear power reactor is no longer a prerequisite or even a necessary condition of obtaining fissile material which can be used for the development of nuclear materials.

Add to del.icio.usAdd to Technorati Faves♦ ♦Stumble ThisRedditSlashdot it

Free land to make your point!

Set up your own peace camp - free at the lovely Isla Montevideo.

Click the sign at the landing point to receive your free tents. Then create a display of your choosing (max 25 prims) on the theme of peace. Please be respectful of the sim and other contributors.

Add to del.icio.usAdd to Technorati Faves♦ ♦Stumble ThisRedditSlashdot it