Thursday May 17, The Esplanade Hotel, St Kilda, Melbourne

Public Enemy are not your usual hip hop outfit. Their career has spanned 25 years during which they have become one of the most famous and influential groups on the planet. Not only has their music often broken new ground but they are also rightly known as the pioneers of political hip hop.

Prior to Public Enemy most political artists were known for having one or two political songs. Public Enemy, and in particular their front man Chuck D, helped create the idea of an entirely political hip hop outfit. Public Enemy has become well known for its social commentary on issues ranging from racism, poverty, the media, corporate greed and national liberation.

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Bob Brown, the leader of the Australian Greens, announced that he was resigning from the leadership of the party earlier this month. He will also resign from the Senate. Brown has been a senator for 16 years and leader of the party since it was formed in 1992.

Christine Milne has been elected as the new leader of the Greens and Adam Bandt has been elected deputy leader.

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Allyson Hose from Socialist Alternative has written a new pamphlet called ‘The Baiada poultry workers’ strike – How class struggle unionism can win’. It is an attempt to give an overview of the Baiada strike which took place in the western suburbs of Melbourne in late 2011.

The introduction of the pamphlet claims that its goal is to highlight “important lessons that workers, rank and file unionists, socialists and activists need to learn from the Baiada workers’ victory in order to build back strong, combative unions that can challenge the priorities of Australian capitalism and win.”

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The nine month dispute between nurses and midwifes in Victorian public hospitals and the Baillieu State government has come to an end. The Australian Nurses Federation (ANF) announced in mid March that a settlement had been reached and that all industrial action could be called off.

Throughout this dispute nurses enjoyed high levels of public support. This was a testament to the hard work that they do and the fact that the majority of ordinary people want to see the public health system maintained and expanded.

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The Socialist Party held its annual National Conference in Melbourne on March 30, 31 and April 1. The event played an important role in analysing the current political climate so that the party can prepare for the period ahead.

Vincent Kolo from Socialist Action in Hong Kong spoke at the first session titled, ‘China on the brink of social explosion’. Vincent outlined the political, economic and social crisis gripping that country and explained that Australia would not be immune from the convulsions in the years to come.

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The Treasurer, Wayne Swan, penned an essay for The Monthly in early March which set off a national debate about wealth inequality. The essay was followed by a speech to the National Press Club where he took aim at the super-rich mining bosses. He labelled these people the 0.01%.

This debate is welcomed by socialists. We have been campaigning against the widening gap between rich and poor for many years. However, while engaging in this debate we are obliged to also highlight the real motives behind Swan’s remarks.

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Behind the ALP leadership crisis

Posted: February 24, 2012 in General
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The ALP leadership crisis has dominated news headlines for weeks on end. While Julia Gillard was able to fend off a challenge from Kevin Rudd yesterday, the underlying issues that led to the tensions remain.

Many commentators in the capitalist press have tried to portray the Gillard/Rudd battle as one of competing personalities. While inevitably there were aspects of personality involved, the real underlying issues are political.

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