Showing the way forward:Australian union disaffiliates from Labor Party

October 5, 2010

The Spark October 2010
Philip Ferguson

In July this year, the Victorian branch of the Electrical Trades Union (ETU) took an important step forward and disaffiliated from the Australian Labor Party (ALP). Over 85% of those who took part in the vote voted to disaffiliate. Dean Mighell, the secretary of the Victorian union, told the paper Green Left Weekly, “Our members have watched over a long period of time as the ALP has attacked their union. . . They like the idea of their union being politically independent and putting their interest first and not the interests of any one party. We didn’t get any sense that members don’t want us campaigning on political issues that affect them. But they don’t see themselves as wedded naturally to the Labor Party.”

Affiliation hinders workers

Mighell noted the affect that being affiliated to the ALP has on unions campaigning for their members, saying, “What I’m bitterly disappointed about is that the union movement only seriously campaigns when the conservatives are in power. In reality, we’ve got conservatives in power now.” The union “looked at how we achieve political change for our members and what the most effective way was to do it”. They decided that they would be much more effective politically by ending their affiliation to Labor. Read the rest of this entry »


Free Ahmad Sa’adat

October 1, 2010

“Ahmad Sa’adat is the General Secretary of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine and a member of the Palestinian Legislative Council. One of nearly 10,000 Palestinian political prisoners, he has been sentenced to thirty years in Israeli prisons for a range of “security-related” political offenses. These charges include membership in a prohibited organization (the PFLP, of which Sa’adat is General Secretary), holding a post in a prohibited organization, and incitement, for a speech Sa’adat made following the Israeli assassination of his predecessor, Abu Ali Mustafa, in August 2001.

Ahmed Saadat being taken to a military court 2006

Sa’adat is a prisoner of conscience, targeted for imprisonment because of his political activity and in his capacity as a Palestinian leader. The systematic assassination, imprisonment and detention of Palestinian political leaders has long been a policy of the Israeli state, as reflected in the imprisonment of Sa’adat and over 20 other members of the Palestinian Legislative Council, including Marwan Barghouthi, as well as the nearly 10,000 Palestinian political prisoners, targeted for their involvement in and commitment to the struggle for the liberation of their land and people. “http://www.freeahmadsaadat.org/bg.html

PFLP stall Auckland University

There is an international campaign to Free Ahmad Sa’adat, with actions timed to coincide with court appearances schedule October 5-15.

In New Zealand supporters of the campaign are holding stalls, protests and film showings in New Zealand. We’ll be posting dates for these events shortly.


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