Daily Archives: July 4, 2015

MUA, here to stay!


The Maritime Union of Australia has had two upset results in its state branch elections, with revolutionary socialist Bob Carnegie taking the Qld top spot and long-term incumbent Vic branch secretary Kevin Bracken being overthrown by a “ticket for change” group.

In Qld, long-time union activist Carnegie defeated three other candidates for the branch secretary role, including deputy secretary Trevor Munday, after incumbent Mark Carr decided not to run. Munday has been in the position for 15 years.

Carnegie had lost the branch secretary vote in 2011 by two votes.
He told Workforce Daily his victory was “certainly” a surprise to the union hierarchy but wouldn’t have been a surprise to workers on the ground, where he was understood to be a popular candidate.
He said he ran his campaign “pretty light on the ground with finances”. “I won on the strength of my reputation,” he said.

The long-time activist is known for a lifetime of defending the rights of injured workers as well as union members. In 2012, he helped hold together a 63-day dispute of 600 construction workers at Qld Children’s Hospital in Brisbane (WF 22/8/13).

Carnegie told Workforce he came from a “lost time of union working class militancy”.

“I come from a very solid revolutionary socialist background which I’m very proud of. I’ve very proud of the fact that I believe society should be based on human need not human greed.”

“That doesn’t mean that there’s going to be an outbreak of class war immediately on the Australian waterfront or anywhere else,” he said.

However, he wanted workers to feel that “their union is them, not something foreign but something that they can feel is part of their everyday life”.

He insisted he was not the “product of the ALP” but said the branch’s affiliation with the ALP Left would continue and that he had a “very pragmatic” approach in dealing with the party. He said would not exceed two four-year terms to avoid “careerism” and support “rotational leadership”.

Carnegie said issues for the union including fighting outsourcing and casualisation in the industry as well as battling to have 100% Australian crews on Rio Tinto ships transporting bauxite to Gladstone. He said currently the company required only 54%.

Source: WorkForce Express.


Anti-war activists threw blood on Vietnam Vets!?

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One of the most resilient images of the Vietnam era is that of the anti-war protester — often a woman — spitting on the uniformed veteran just off the plane. The lingering potency of this icon was evident during the Gulf War, when war supporters invoked it to discredit their opposition.

In this startling book, Jerry Lembcke demonstrates that not a single incident of this sort has been convincingly documented. Rather, the anti-war Left saw in veterans a natural ally, and the relationship between anti-war forces and most veterans was defined by mutual support. Indeed one soldier wrote angrily to Vice President Spiro Agnew that the only Americans who seemed concerned about the soldier’s welfare were the anti-war activists.

While the veterans were sometimes made to feel uncomfortable about their service, this sense of unease was, Lembcke argues, more often rooted in the political practices of the Right. Tracing a range of conflicts in the twentieth century, the book illustrates how regimes engaged in unpopular conflicts often vilify their domestic opponents for “stabbing the boys in the back.”

Concluding with an account of the powerful role played by Hollywood in cementing the myth of the betrayed veteran through such films as Coming Home, Taxi Driver, and Rambo, Jerry Lembcke’s book stands as one of the most important, original, and controversial works of cultural history in recent years. Continue reading