Occupy the Workplace: Solidarity with Workers of Vio.Me (Thessaloniki, Greece)

iwwlogo-buttonThe International Solidarity Commission (ISC) of the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) congratulates the workers of Viomichaniki Metaleftiki 

The International Solidarity Commission (ISC) of the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) congratulates the workers of Viomichaniki Metaleftiki (Industrial Mining) who have taken control over their factory and restart production after having occupied it for more than 20 months.

After fighting for the payment of their stolen wages since May 2011, the workers have now decided in a direct-democratic assembly to collectively organize production without bosses. They have brought the factory back into operation, shifting to the production of building materials that are not toxic or damaging for the environment. The IWW International Solidarity Commission is in full support of this move.

As the world plunges deeper into economic and ecological crisis, the workers at Vio.Me have shown us the way forward. Instead of waiting for the state to decrease unemployment, instead of leaving their fate in the hands of the capitalist legal system or state bureaucrats, the workers of Vio.Me decided to take the factory into their own hands and to operate it themselves. The Vio.ME workers have given us all a living example of workers’ power and have lit the way for all of us in the struggle against capitalism throughout the world. It is now up to all of us to spread it. Let this be one of millions of workplace takeovers to come across Greece and the world.

The IWW is committed to a grassroots, global resistance to the employing class. We aim to work with others to build a movement that can defeat the capitalists and construct a new world based workers control of the means of production and a radically democratic economy. We salute the seizure of the Vio.Me factory as a step in the right direction, and pledge our solidarity and our commitment to stand at the side of all workers in the struggle for the emancipation of the working class, for the creation of a world without bosses!

IFA statement on the situation in Egypt.

Egypte IFAbanner

STOP THE REPRESSION IN EGYPT!
SOLIDARITY WITH THE LIBERTARIAN SOCIALIST MOVEMENT!
SUPPORT THE EGYPTIAN PEOPLE!

Last Sunday, January 21, several political activists were arrested after the riots provoked by the police in front of Alexandria court of justice. Among them are four members of the Libertarian Socialist Movement, a member of the Revolutionary Socialist organization (Trotskyist) and 16 other unaffiliated. All are activists who fight against the reactionary regime of the Muslim Brotherhood.
After January 21, the defendants were wrongfully imprisoned for twenty days. Today, they are released on bail, except the Trotskyist militant, and they all still waiting for their trial.

This sentence is not a coincidence: these activists are deeply involved in union and neighborhood mobilization, and they are fierce opponents of the Muslim Brotherhood. This happens in a context in which the police have shown, for the last few months, great brutality against the protesters and demonstrators. Besides, all the political activists are followed, receive anonymous threats and are harassed. Proof of this is the raid against political activists who distributed leaflets in the streets of Alexandria a few days after the events of January 21.

The accession to power of the Muslim Brotherhood, after the fall of Mubarak, does not bring the winds of change, as would have thought those who believed that after Mubarak everything would be fine. The Islamist government demonstrated a paranoid absolutism, under the watchful eye of the military. Their political project is the liquidation of political opposition, starting with the most radical elements, especially as this objective is facilitated by the silence of the associations defending human rights and that of the opposition parties.

Given the explosive social context and the protest mouvement that is strengthening and radicalizing within the population, the government of the Muslim Brotherhood does its best for the repression and the abuses that follow be dealt with in the shade, so that the great powers of the European Union do not marginalize it even more.

President Morsi leads a tyrannical and dictatorial policy and claims to be legitimately acting this way, although hardly more than 25% of the Egyptians voted for him in the Egyptian presidential election marked by nearly 50% abstention. Therefore, we support the Egyptian youth and workers who rise up every day more numerous against this obscurantist, reactionary regime, which serves the interests of the Egyptian bourgeoisie.

We condemn the arrests and torture which the opponents to Morsi’s regime are submitted to. We demand the immediate and unconditional release of the 21 accused of Alexandria, as well as of all political prisoners held in Egyptian gaols. For the immediate release and for the immediate cessation of proceedings against all the political prisoners in Egypt!

Help Take The Smile Off George Ferguson’s Face

Bristol’s Budget Day – Tuesday 26th February – an appeal from Bristol And District Anti Cuts Alliance (BADACA)

Please support and publicise these events via any networks you have available. We need you and all your friends there.

Bristol George Ferguson

Tuesday 26th February – From 1pm – Lobby Bristol City Council

This is the full meeting of Bristol City Council where a vote will be taken on George Ferguson’s budget – £35 million of cuts and 330 jobs lost. Despite the inconvenient timing we need to get as many people as possible to a lobby from 1pm outside the Council House and as many people as possible in the public gallery for the meeting. We have written to all councillors calling on them to speak out against the budget. A large and vocal lobby and a packed gallery may encourage them to do this. Please come if you can an publicise among others – even if you can only get there for a short time in your lunch hour it will help. Bring banners, flags, placards etc. Facebook event.

Tuesday 26th February – from 5.30pm – Lobby the Institute Of Directors

In previous years the council’s budget meeting has gone long into the evening. This year, George Ferguson is attending an IOD event at 6pm – meeting his big-business friends. This means that either the council meeting will be guillotined or will continue without him – meaning he won’t have to hear what councillors think of his budget. BADACA is organising aprotest outside the M Shed Museum where the IOD event is taking place. Please join us there from 5.30pm. Bring banners, flags, placards etc. A flyer/poster for this can be downloaded from our website.

Physical Resistance: A Hundred Years of Anti-Fascism by Dave Hann

Large-scale confrontations, disruption of meetings, sabotage and street fighting have been part of the practice of anti-fascism from the early twentieth century until the twenty-first.

Rarely endorsed by any political party, the use of collective bodily strength remains a strategy of activists working in alliances and coalitions against fascism.

In Physical Resistance famous battles against fascists, from the Olympia arena, Earls Court in 1934 and Cable Street in 1936 to Southall in 1978 and Bradford 2010, are told through the voices of participants. Anarchists, communists and socialists who belonged to a shifting series of anti-fascist organizations relate well-known events alongside many forgotten but significant episodes.

Studies of anti-fascism in Britain have tended to be either academic texts or partisan political histories. Physical Resistance is niether; it is an inclusive history, broader in scope than any other work so far. It covers the whole period of anti-fascist activism but importantly, it redefines political practice according to the act of participation rather than the adherence to precisely defined ideological standpoints and offers an alternative interpretation of political action, which includes physical resistance as part of an everyday pattern of opposition. This wider and longer historical perspective is pieced together through the everyday experiences of activists themselves.

The importance of any book about anti-fascism depends upon how it is used. As well as the history of anti-fascism, our discussion will address the re-emergence of an anti-fascist movement over the last year.

For publishers details see:
http://www.zero-books.net/books/physical-resistance

or contact physicalresistance@riseup.net

Vio.Me factory under workers’ control; experiment in industrial self-management in Greece.

The machines of self-management have been switched on!

After 3 days of intense mobilization, the factory of Vio.Me. has started production under workers’ control earlier today! It is the first experiment in industrial self-management in crisis-striken Greece, and the workers of Vio.Me. are confident this is going to be only the first in a series of such endeavors.
The march was massive and vibrant.

The mobilization kicked off with a big assembly of the workers and solidary organizations and individuals in a central downtown theater on Sunday evening. Here the course of action of the solidarity movement was discussed, and everyone had the chance to take the microphone and to express their opinion on the workers’ struggle.

Really talented artists played in support of the Vio.Me struggle.

On Monday evening there was a march in the city center followed by a huge benefit concert with several well known folk bands and singers. Among them Thanassis Papakonstantinou, one of the most important contemporary Greek songwriters who is in a sense “part of the movement” since he always supports with word and deed the efforts of society for self-determination. The attendance exceeded everyone’s expectations. Unfortunately about a thousand people didn’t manage to get in, as the stadium was packed. The stellar moment of the night was when the workers took the microphone and explained their vision of another society, based on social justice, solidarity and self-management. Five thousand people were applauding, shouting and chanting songs of support. It was then that everyone realized that this endeavor is bound to succeed!

One of the Vio.Me. workers addresses the people.

Early next morning the mobilization went on with a vibrant march towards the factory. The workers were already in their positions and the production was triumphantly kick-started in front of the cameras of national, local and alternative media. The workers organized a guided tour of the factory and explained all the details of the production process to journalists and participants in the solidarity movement.

 The first batch of products produced under worker’s control!

There is still a long road ahead: The costs of production are high, access to credit is impossible and getting a part of the market in times of recession is uncertain. The workers are however optimistic: The proceeds from the benefit gig and the donations of supportive groups and individuals collected through viome.org should be enough to keep the company afloat in the first few months. And the support of the social movements means many of the products will be distributed through the existing structures of social and solidary economy. The workers of Vio.Me. are already researching new cleaning products, based on non-toxic ecological ingredients, apt for home use. The factory makes quality building materials (mortars, plasters, tile adhesive paste and jointing materials, waterproof grouts, etc.) and the workers know very well how to improve the quality even more while lowering the production costs and hence the price. The challenge is now to find a market for these materials, either within Greece or in the surrounding Balkan countries. Some products can be shipped even further, so they could be distributed through the international solidarity movement as well.

The 40 workers of Vio.Me. and hundreds of participants in the solidarity movement have for three days lived an unforgettable experience, which however is only the start of a long and difficult road. Now more than ever we need to be united and strong, determined to build a new world based on solidarity, justice and self-management!

A Letter From Jock Palfreeman – Anti-fascist Prisoner On Hunger Strike

Australian Anti-fascist prisoner Jock Palfreeman, serving 20 years in Sofia/Bulgaria for defending two Roma boys from a racist mob, is on hunger strike from 13th January 2013 because the Director of the Central Sofia Prison has ordered another punishment measure because of Jock´s activist work as chairman of the Bulgarian Prisoners´ Association.

Due to this punishment Jock is now not allowed to finish his studies which are very important to him. Jock’s health is rapidly worsening as he continues his hunger strike and he is not even allowed to see a doctor as yet another repressive measure by the prison authorities. He asks for solidarity from all of you by sending a letter to the Bulgarian Ministry of Justice. Please  start putting pressure now before it’s too late. Jock needs our support!

Website of Bulgarian Prisoners’ Association

21st January 2013

G-day guys! All at ABC,

Well, first of all, the Director stopped me from my Uni degree! See I’ve been helping other prisoners, obviously part of the union and solidarity with fellow convicts. So to punish me, for my solidarity ie legal advice! the Director of the prison cut me off from the computers where I write my essays. It happened several days ago after 10 guards badly beat a prisoner with batons. I helped the prisoner get legal advice and explained to him the procedure for how to instigate a criminal investigation into their attack. For that I’m being punished in that they are stopping me from my studies.

So on the 13/1/13 I started a hunger strike, I have not eaten since then, I am only drinking water drinks eg mint tea (without sugar) and normal water. I have lost a lot of weight in 9 days but I don’t know how much as the prison refuses to send a doctor to me. I don’t plan on stopping until I am returned to my studies, but I don’t think this director will allow me, so prospects look dim! To help me, please send letters of complaint to:

Ministry of Justice
Diana Kovacheva
No. 1, Slavanska Street
Sofia 1040
Bulgaria

I recommend writing as individuals.

22nd January 2013

Hunger strike…. not happy, the worst is that I’m getting bad heart burn from my stomach acids!

Be good guys!
Solidarity
Comrade Jock Palfreeman

Please sent letters of support & solidarity to:

Jock Palfreeman
Sofia Central Prison
21 General Stoletov Boulevard
Sofia 1309
Bulgaria

Autonomy film show in Bridport, Saturday 16th February 2013.

Click to enlarge

7.00pm for 7.30pm, Saturday 16th February 2013. W.I. Hall, North Street, Bridport

£3 Entry (less if you can’t afford it) + Vegetarian soup on sale from 6.30pm

Forthcoming local events organised by other groups.
Stop the Valentine’s Day Budget Massacre! March to Defend Jobs and Services!
Saturday 9th February 2013, 10:00am Assemble The Great Field, Poundbury, DT1 2FD
Destination – West Dorset District Council Offices. Bring placards and banners and strong voices.

Schooling the World: A Community Cafe film show
Thursday 14th February 19:30 hrs
At the Boston Tea Party Cafe in Honiton High Street.

Inside Job: A Monkton Movies film show
Thursday 21 February, 19:30 – 22:00 hrs
At Monkton Wyld Court, Monkton Wyld, Lyme Regis. map

Humanist Chaplains in Prison: A talk by Amy Waldon on non-religious pastoral support for prisoners.
Wednesday February 27th, 19.30 hrs
At Wessex Royale Hotel, 32 High Street West, Dorchester, DT1 1UP

If you want us to announce an event please email autofilm1@gmail.com at least 6 weeks in advance.

Prospects for Eastleigh by-election? – Ian Bone

Re-blogged from Left Unity February 4, 2013

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Bone-By Ian Bone

Former Energy Secretary, Chris Huhne, currently Liberal Democrat MP for Eastleigh in Hampshire, will be standing down after pleading guilty to perverting the cause of justice. Ian Bone looks at the possibilities for the right wing party UKIP in the forthcoming by-election.

The Eastleigh by-election will give UKIP the long awaited opportunity to win a parliamentary seat. The Tories and Lib Dems have been neck and neck for years with Labour nowhere. The Lib Dem vote will colllapse and give UKIP their opportunity – they have been working hard on the seat for months. Much will depend on whether Falange can resist the temptation to displace the UKIP candidate and stand himself.

Though parts of the constituency are villages like Hamble full of yachting types Eastleigh itself has had a solid working class base round its railway industries. My dad was for years chairman of the Labour Party in the adjoining Petersfield constituency and used to think a night drinking in one of Eastleigh’s working men’s clubs was Labour heaven compared to Petersfield.

I doubt those Old Labour stalwarts will vote Miliband this time. Indeed in the absence of any Left alternative I expect some…maybe many…will vote UKIP out of exasperation with everything else. Can we offer anything better?

UKBA raid disrupted by Anti Raids Network

February 2nd: UKBA raid West African Restaurant, Old Kent Road, near Elephant and Castle.

On Saturday night, approximately 6-7 UKBA officers and around 4 police officers rushed into a West African restaurant at 8.55pm. The raiding party arrived in one white van and one silver van, licence plate BP55DCU. But this time the operation wasn’t going to take place in silence.

About 20 people from the Anti Raids network entered the restaurant hot on their heels and informed everyone present of their rights in the face of immigration checks: you do not have to answer any questions, and you are free to leave at any time. Many people immediately got up and left – presumably not wanting to spend their night out being interrogated by UKBA thugs.

Raid in the Elephant & Castle area in the autumn

Raid in the Elephant & Castle area in the autumn

Unfortunately, UKBA had managed to surround three people before supporters could get to them. One group of immigration officers questioned the three women, while others physically blocked supporters from getting near them to inform them of their legal rights. Some police officers assisting the operation refused to show their badge numbers and tried to intimidate supporters into turning off their cameras. UKBA officers held their victims in the restaurant for approximately half an hour before leaving, supported by extra police back-up.

Sadly, they managed to arrest one Nigerian woman and took her with them to their base at Beckett House, near London Bridge (60-68 St Thomas Street London SE1 3QU). Arrested people are often imprisoned at the “short term holding facility” at Beckett House before being moved on to detention centres. Still, they had probably expected a much bigger catch. People from Anti Raids were there to show solidarity with the restaurant workers, customers, and the many people who are regularly subject to these racist immigration controls in London. While the UKBA were still in the restaurant, they also went to visit other restaurants and businesses on the street to inform everyone of what was happening.

Raid in Elephant & Castle last autumn

Footage of the raid will follow shortly.

This raid was not in isolation

Racist migration raids take place every day in London, but are rarely reported on. At 2am on the same night, UKBA also attacked a house in the Peckham/Dulwich area, arresting 4 people from Bolivia and 2 from Pakistan. They were held in Beckett House for the night and have now been moved to detention centres in Dover and Bedford. Raids were also reported in the Elephant and Castle area every day last week. In one operation UKBA blocked off the entrances and exits to the main shopping centre, catching people as they left. Several people were detained and one person has already been deported.

Building the resistance

Following the wave of UKBA activity over the past couple of weeks, members of the Latin American Workers Association (LAWAS), Precarious Workers Brigade, No Borders London, and other individuals working together under the banner of the Anti Raids network have been active in the Elephant and Castle area. On Saturday afternoon, a few hours before the raid, about 40 people held a demonstration on Old Kent Road to show solidarity with communities being attacked and harassed on a daily basis. We spoke to local shop keepers and passers-by about our rights in the face of a raid or a stop, and distributed hundreds of ‘Know your rights’ cards in Spanish, Arabic, English and other languages.

By creating networks of resistance and mutual aid, we can fight racist controls and checks. Solidarity with all migrant communities. No one is illegal.

If you are interested in getting involved in Anti Raids, send us an email at antiraids [at/] riseup.net (replace the [at/] with @),

Anti Raids Website

Urgent call out from Latin American Workers Association.

URGENTE REDADAS DE MIGRACION
Compañeras y compañeros

el rumor ampliamente diseminado de que el UKBA (autoridades de inmigracion) tiene planeado realizar una redada en ‘Old Kent Road’ el dia sabado 2 de Feb. Algunos negocios estan alertando a sus clientes sobre esto. Convocamos a un piquete urgente para protestar contra este acoso por parte de las autoridades de inmigracion. Sabado 2 de Feb 2pm en Old Kent Road a la entrada de Tesco

(La semana pasada UKBA realizo una redada en Elephant and Castle, UKBA utilizaron 3 camionetas, donde varios Latinoamericanos fueren detenidos y una persona fue deportada.)

En solidaridad

LAWAS

Dear brothers and sisters

there is a rumor that UKBA is planning to have an immigration raid in South London, Old Kent road. The business owners on the area are alerting their customers. We therefore urge you to come to our picket: Saturday 2 Feb, at 2pm Outside Tesco in Old Kent Road.

(Last week UKBA raided Elephant and Castle and used three vehicles to transport detainees and at least one person was deported).

In solidarity

LAWAS Latin American Workers Association info@lawas.org.uk