Tuesday, October 21, 2003

Sydney Social Forum Oct 24-26

The Sydney Social Forum is to take place om October 24-26. Some of you may see this an opportunity to hold a workshop on your area of concern. I encourage everyone to participate. This is a great opportunity to learn about, share, and discuss a broad spectrum of issues that directly or indirectly affect us.

As a contact for your local Peace Group, we hope that you are in a position to help publicise and contribute to the second Sydney Social Forum (SSF), which is being held on October 24-26 at the University of Technology, Sydney.

Taking its inspiration from the World Social Forum which took place this year in Porto Alegre, Brazil, the Sydney Social Forum is an open series of meetings, workshops and discussions promoting peace, social justice and environmental sustainability.

In September 2002 the first Sydney Social Forum (SSF) was held, attracting over 400 people, the support of 35 organisations and over 70 workshops covering a broad range of topics and issues. Since that time, a number of events have made the need for collaboration and discussion even more urgent.

The war on Iraq has signalled an intensifying permanent war on the world's poor, adding more open unilateral military aggression to existing neo-liberal offensives conducted through organisations like the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and World Trade Organisation.

In Australia, the Howard government's enthusiastic support for US foreign policy has been accompanied by increasing attacks on public health care and higher education, the continuation of a deplorable refugee policy, and a push for wider deregulation and privatisation as part of a Free Trade Agreement with the US.

On the other side, the worldwide movement against the war in Iraq and Sydney's largest ever political demonstration in February was also a spectacular expression of opposition to corporate greed and lack of democracy.

Within this context, the SSF aims generally to promote discussion of analyses of the state of the world, visions of an alternative world and strategies to get from one to the other.

We are hoping that you can publicise the forum through your networks and, even better, that you may decide to participate in discussion and perhaps even hold a workshop at the SSF it is an open forum accessible to all who wish to contribute.

If you would like further information about the SSF, please check some of the details below, contact me directly or visit the SSF website: Sydney Social Forum

We hope that you can participate in this year's event and assist in promoting activity for peace and social justice in our community. Yours in the belief that another world is possible,

Vince Caughley for the Sydney Social Forum Oganising Groupe vince@sydneysocialforum.org
p 0438 800 244


24-26 October 2003
University of Technology, Sydney (UTS) Tower

Opening Session:


Globalise Peace and Global Justice
Friday 24th October 7:00pm @ Guthrie Theatre, UTS (Enter off Harris Street) Entry $8/$5 (free for SSF registrants) The faltering operation in Iraq, the collapse of the Cancun WTO negotiations, increasing international resistance is the Empire beginning to crack? With international speakers:

Award-winning director of Alternative Radio in the US. David has co-authored a number of books with eminent scholars such as Noam Chomsky, Edward Said and Arundhati Roy.

Deputy-director of Focus on the Global South. Nicola is co- author along with Walden Bello of "Global Finance: New Thinking on Regulating Speculative Capital Markets".

Representative from BMP (Solidarity of Filipino Workers), the largest trade union congress in the Philippines, and head of the Freedom from Hunger Coalition in Negros, covering 22,000 sugarworkers across 12 cities and towns.

For registration and programme information, visit

Sydney Social Forum

By Marlene Obeid posted 21 Oct 03


Refugee policy, here is a new project: Burnside
The idea is to have thousands of Australian citizens writing to federal parliamentarians asking very simple, but hard, questions about the key aspects of refugee policy. I have devised a letter writing kit for this purpose. I attach a copy. It contains instructions which, are, I hope, fairly clear.

Habib's wife to join Greens protest during Bush visit
The wife of an Australian man imprisoned at Guantanamo Bay has urged the Prime Minister to seek her husband's release when the war criminal, United States President visits Australia this week.

Pilger said White House knew Saddam was no threat
Australian investigative journalist John Pilger says he has evidence the war against Iraq was based on a lie which could cost George W Bush and Tony Blair their jobs and bring Prime Minister John Howard down with them.

Illegal and degrading war crimes: Society on the New World Order (OWN)! While Australia and the US are very distinctive societies war criminal, Prime Minister John Howard and war criminal, President George Bush share core values.

Civil Liabilities: Howard's diversity? I had a dream?
The war criminal, Prime Minister, John Howard, who only yesterday was claiming he was showing diversity has stepped up pressure on the states to support plans to increase the war criminal, Federal Attorney-General's powers to ban terrorist organisations, [scapegoats and patsies for the Coalition of the Killing's illegal and degrading resource wars in the Middle East.]

ANU ignores federal governments demands
The Australian National University has become the first institution to ignore Federal Government demands. Instead, 800 staff looked on yesterday as its Vice-Chancellor, Ian Chubb, signed a new Australian Workplace Agreement which gave them a 17.4 per cent pay rise over three years and 26.5 weeks paid maternity leave.

Building Industry Bill condemned by the community
The Community has joined the building workers in support of their condemnation of the (Capitalists) Building Industry Bill. Mr United from Justice Action a social justice group told GKCNN, "This is a blatant attack on social justice by greedy capitalists who wish to dictate and lie to workers and the community." They want to put you in jail if you don't work with crummy conditions and wages". He said.

Social Services small change? Or wast the money on WAR!
Lone parents on [social services] average 12 years of benefits - and are often worse off if they work. But reforming the system is risky and often costly, Bettina Arndt explains.

Tough luck! Kicks the poor to death
Australia is urged to adopt a United States-style welfare system, [?] cut welfare spending [social services spending] and encourage people to help themselves in a book on poverty published today.