Eighty years ago: Malaga, Jarama and Guadalajara.

The story so far: Madrid has been saved a second time by the Working Class, no thanks to the government which fled to Valencia. Durruti is dead, his column decimated, the remainder face militarisation and dispersal. Prime minister Largo Caballero has devoted his energies to re-establishing the power of the state in the republican zone, and Stalin’s grip tightens on it. The Russians have arrived, and so have thousands of foreign antifascists. The following lines from ‘The Authority of the Bootmaker’ by Mal Content.

The fall of Malaga to Italy on the 8th of February 1937 gave the dictator his excuse to unseat Caballero. Malaga suffered from the same government prejudice as Catalonia, agriculture on the coastal strip was mostly collectivised and the city had been held by Confederal militia, only three-quarters of whom were armed; they had sixteen artillery pieces in total. The government’s military representative was Communist fellow-traveller Colonel Villalba, whose incompetence on the Huesca front had inflicted significant losses on the Durruti Column. Weeks of fascist build-up in the surrounding countryside had been ignored. Mussolini’s Blackshirts, nine mechanised battalions worth, descended from the hills to the North and West in little turretless tanks and armoured cars. They were accompanied by thousands of African legionnaires and Carlist Requetés, supported by a hundred aircraft, three Spanish cruisers and the German battleship Admiral Graf Spee. The city had to be evacuated; some ten thousand prisoners were executed while four thousand refugees died on the hundred and fifty mile march to Almeria, simultaneously bombarded from land, sea and air. A nationalist officer wrote:

“During the first week, when no-one could enter Malaga, four thousand were shot. They were shot down in groups by machine-guns on the Playa del Palo. Later on, courts martial were set up. At dizzying speed, people were tried – if that is the right word – in groups of fifty to seventy. In this fashion, by the third month of Malaga’s liberation (sic) ten thousand people had perished.”

– Antonio Bahamonde y Sanchez de Castro: ‘Un Ano de Queipo: Memorias de un Nacionalista’

The reprisals continued for years, in August 1944 the death toll stood at twenty thousand as reported by the nationalist administration to the British consul. I could speculate that the liberal democracies’ indifference to the systematic extermination of non-combatants may have encouraged the Nazis to press ahead with their own genocide; it certainly did nothing to put them off.

The Communists claimed the defeat was due to treachery, and they may well have been right*. Villalba was arrested but swiftly released; the under-secretary of war, General Asensio, one of the few who had failed to join the party, was variously accused of incompetence and duplicity, and Caballero had defended him. He succumbed to the pressure, but his replacement was a left-wing socialist.

*Was Villalba a ‘fifth columnist’ who regretted getting stuck on the republican side? He was allowed to return to Spain after the war, and claim a Colonel’s pension; had he ever been of any use to the Republic he would undoubtedly have been shot. He seriously undermined the Aragon front from the start, when he prevailed on the anarchists to delay the assault on Zaragoza until it was too late. Did he sacrifice Malaga on Franco’s or Stalin’s orders? Or was he just an arsehole?

The Nationalists then sought to cut the road from Madrid to Valencia, which required skirting the south of the city and crossing the valley of the Jarama River. The action was intended to coincide with an attack on Guadalajara by the Italians but they weren’t ready so Franco went ahead anyway. Beginning on the 5th February the Army of Africa with a German armoured company surprised and overran Republican forces on the West bank. They defended their positions to the death, but by the 8th, the Western heights were in fascist hands. The river crossing on the 11th was led by Moroccan commandos who killed the sentries, immediately followed by cavalry that engaged the XIV International Brigade. Another column crossed the Arganda Bridge, which failed to collapse when its charges were detonated, but was halted by the Garibaldi Battalion of the XII I.B. German and Russian aircraft clashed overhead, the Russians retaining control.

The Eastern side was reinforced by the recently formed XV I.B. of British, Irish, Francophone and Balkan volunteers. The British Battalion went into action here for the first time. Things didn’t get off to an auspicious start; their commander Wilf McCartney was accidentally shot by the Brigade Commissar Peter Kerrigan (the Comintern’s British delegate) before they left their base at Madrigueras. McCartney was invalided out so Tom Wintringham took over. The first deployment of the XV was a cock-up; they were poorly equipped, had no maps and had not been told the enemy had already crossed the river, so they came under fire as soon as they began to descend the valley. The machine-gun company found it had been given the wrong ammunition. The truck carrying the replacement batch broke down, and when it arrived, the cartridges had to be belted by hand. The ridge of land that became known as ‘suicide hill’ was continuously swept with fascist machine gun fire, it was held for hours against terrific odds by one of the three infantry companies, led by I.R.A. veteran Kit Conway, who died there.

“Reaching the crest of the hills overlooking the valley and the river, the three companies of the Battalion met the full force of the Fascist advance. Up the slopes long lines of Moors and Foreign Legionnaires surged forward under cover of artillery and machine gun fire, threatening to sweep all before them. No one in his senses could have conceived that this line of riflemen could hold up that onslaught for more than a few minutes. And behind them? Nothing. A clear field down to Arganda, Morata and the Madrid road.

But men who had come hundreds of miles to fight, sustained by an understanding of the cause for which they are fighting, do not act in the way prescribed by the military textbooks. Rapidly deploying in open formation, the Battalion went into the attack against the advancing Moors. The Fascist troops faltered, then hastily dropped down to cover. Only the sheer audacity of this handful of men could have achieved this. Had the Fascist officers been aware of the true position on our side, they would have overwhelmed the Battalion by sheer superiority of arms and numbers.”

– George Leeson, antifascist: ‘Spain Today, February 1947.

The ridge was eventually abandoned, but as luck would have it, just as the fascists came over the top the machine-gunners managed to get re-supplied and mowed them all down. The following day’s chaotic infantry retreat left the machine-gun company exposed and most were captured. Forty infantrymen then charged the position, of whom six survived. On the third day fascist tanks pushed the line back to the road, it was ‘shit or bust’. Frank Ryan and Jock Cunningham gathered the survivors to counter attack, leading them in a chorus of the ‘Internationale’:

“Some were still straggling down the slopes from what had been up to an hour ago, the front line. And now, there was no line, nothing between the Madrid road and the Fascists but disorganised groups, of weary, war-wrecked men. After three days of terrific struggle, the superior numbers, the superior armament of the Fascists had routed them. All, as they came back, had similar stories to tell: of comrades dead, of conditions that were more than flesh and blood could stand, of weariness they found hard to resist.

I recognised the young Commissar of the Spanish Company. His hand bloody where a bullet had grazed the palm, he was fumbling nevertheless with his automatic, in turn threatening and pleading with his men. I got Manuel to calm him, and to tell him we would rally everyone in a moment. As I walked along the road to see how many men we had, I found myself deciding that we should go back up the line of the road to San Martín de la Vega, and take the Moors on their left flank. Groups were lying about on the roadside, hungrily eating oranges that had been thrown to them by a passing lorry. This was no time to sort them into units. I noted with satisfaction that some had brought down spare rifles. I found my eyes straying always to the hills we had vacated. I hitched a rifle to my shoulder.

They stumbled to their feet. No time for barrack-square drill. One line of four. ‘Fall in behind us.’ A few were still on the grass bank beside the road, adjusting helmets and rifles. ‘Hurry up!’ came the cry from the ranks. Up the road towards the Cook-House I saw Jock Cunningham assembling another crowd. We hurried up, joined forces. Together we two marched at the head. Whatever popular writers may say, neither your Briton nor your Irishman is an exuberant type. Demonstrativeness is not his dominating trait. The crowd behind us was marching silently. The thoughts in their minds could not be inspiring ones. I remembered a trick of the old days when we were holding banned demonstrations. I jerked my head back: Sing up, ye sons o’guns!

– Frank Ryan: ‘The Book of the 15th Brigade’ 1938.

The one hundred and forty volunteers who marched back up the road to suicide hill did not all speak the same language, but everyone knew the tune; to compensate for their lack of numbers they engaged the enemy with a high rate of fire. Evidently the Fascists had not expected to see the routed Brigaders again, and presuming them to be reinforcements, fell back. The breach in the front was filled overnight and did not move for two years. To their right the Dimitrov and Thälmann Battalions held off the frontal assault on their own positions.

There were several costly counter attacks that failed to shift the Nationalist lines significantly, Lister’s fifth regiment advancing across open ground in broad daylight took fifty percent casualties, the North American and Irish Abraham Lincoln Battalion fared no better under similar conditions, their first engagement immortalised in the last words of poet Charlie Donnelly: “Even the olives are bleeding”. Jarama seriously undermined the morale of the International Brigades; they were used as expendable shock troops by inexperienced Communist generals who wanted propaganda victories. A month of bloodshed left both sides entrenched in a stalemate reminiscent of the Western front.

It’s fair to say the republic suffered from a lack of military experience, the Spanish metropolitan army had been little more than a dining club, only those officers who had been to Africa had ever seen combat, or even been on manouvres. Their tactics were from old French textbooks* or gleaned from the First World War, to which they had been spectators. The Russian officers were mostly young and equally untested, as the Red Army was being purged. Their authoritarian culture stifled initiative and they were under strict instructions not to risk capture. The best of the I.B.s were those like the Irish, with recent battle experience, or veterans of the Great War.

*To the extent that Franco believed they were receiving training from the French armed forces.

Flushed with the carnage at Malaga, Mussolini planned a showcase for fascist Italy’s martial prowess; sending his Blackshirts to cut off Madrid to the North East at Guadalajara. Instead they took such a shafting as to acquire a reputation for military incompetence and retreat that outlived his regime. Instrumental in their downfall was the Garibaldi battalion of the 12th I.B., exiled Italian antifascists with a score to settle. On the 8th of March the motorised infantry swarmed into the pass in their fleet of little tankettes. With about five to one numerical superiority they initially made rapid progress but were slowed by bad weather and boggy ground. The vehicles began to get stuck and their air support was grounded whilst the Republican air force benefitted from the concrete runway at Albacete. The 14th division led by the Madrid bricklayer Cipriano Mera counterattacked. The rout at Guadalajara guaranteed Mussolini’s continued support for Franco, to save face, it also led to the latter rescinding Blackshirt military autonomy and caused observers to re-think their strategy regarding mechanised infantry. At the same time, in their capacity as members of the non-intervention committee, Italian and German navies blockaded the Mediterranean coast; the only supply route left to the Republic was across the Pyrenees, and the French were all over that.

RED FLAGS OVER BRIDPORT

UNITE Community’s Cartoon Action Theatre at work in Bucky Doo Square in Bridport on Saturday 13th August. Their play, written in conjunction with local busworkers, shows a driver in a tug of war with the boss of First Bus Group, in a struggle for decent pay and conditions. £253 was collected for the bus drivers cause.

Victory for Wood Street Cleaners! Migrant workers show the way forward.

uvw

After 61 days of strike action by the cleaners at 100 Wood Street, the United Voices of the World Union issued the following statement:

“The dispute at 100 Wood Street between the cleaners, members of United Voices of the World the union, and their employer, Thames Cleaning and Support Services Limited, has now been resolved. As a result we are pleased to announce that all advertised protests have now been cancelled and the picket line at 100 Wood Street has now been lifted.”

UVW are still trying to recover legal costs incurred in defending an injunction application in the High Court, you can contribute to their appeal via Paypal here.

Or by bank transfer:

The Co-operative Bank
Account title: United Voices of the World
Sort code: 08-92-99
Account: 65755617

Byron Hamburgers: “do you want grass with that?”

Staff of the Byron burger chain were called by their employer to 15 non-existent training meetings to lure them into Home Office immigration raids; 50 workers have been summarily detained and at least 20 deported, minus their personal effects.

“It is fucking disgusting. Some of these people worked here for four or five years and they weren’t even given a chance to say goodbye,”

CockroachByron’s, which is owned by the private equity fund and notorious tax avoiders Hutton Collins Partners, will pay dearly for their treachery. Protests have already been conducted by Anti-raids Network, Black Dissidents, Bradford IWW, Global Justice Now, Lesbians and Gays Support the Migrants, London Black Revs, London IWW, London Latinxs, Malcolm X Movement, South London Solfed, United Voices of the World Union, Unite Hotel and Restaurant Workers Branches, and War On Want. Activists have taken to releasing insects into their restaurants.

Byron Burgers sending millions to owners offshore while workers are deported – Corporate Watch

Join us in stuffing it up these two-faced anti-working class parasites! Click on the cockroach to find a Byron’s near you. Here’s a flyer for it: 2 x A5 pdf

This Saturday, Bristol branches will be picketed by AFed and SolFed, Meet 6.45pm Saturday outside Bristol Museum. facebook event, and there will be a communications blockade to coincide with this, call 0117 925 6666 repeatedly. Dialling (141) before the restaurant’s number will hide your own number so they will have to pick it up each time.

Know your rights: Immigration raids, UKBA – 25 languages.

Original article from El Ibérico translated by Marcela of Latinxs:

British immigration police deported dozens of Latin American Byron Hamburgers workers.

Sometimes reality is stranger than fiction. Unimaginable situations in real life, can lead to shattered dreams and broken families, all due to the interests of a few to fatten their pockets. Something like this was experienced last July 4th in the hamburger chain Byron.

One of the workers of this company wanted to tell us what happened with the sole purpose of exposing the occurrence of this type of situations, that usually do not transcend public opinion. Out of respect for his privacy, because today they still work for Byron Hamburgers, the anonymity of the person interviewed will be maintained.

It was 9:30 in the morning, read more.

RADICAL WORKERS’ BLOC AT TOLPUDDLE 2016.

captswing2Radical Workers’ Bloc at Tolpuddle Martyrs Festival and rally: Friday 15th to Sunday 17th July 2016. View map

We’re back again for the sixth year running, with the stall, Freedom Books, the Big Tent and our Wob Kitchen on the campsite catering for our comrades from Friday to Sunday (F.C.F.S). Camp with us, eat with us and march with us on Sunday. We will have a few of our new ‘Friends of Captain Swing’ T shirts made by the Sabcat anarchist workers’ co-op. If you fancy one for a tenner, let us know through the contact form and don’t forget to include your e-mail address and size. We may ask for a small deposit depending on how much we have to front up – we’re rubbish capitalists!

Pro

We’ve also got a limited number of these left in black or red, also by Sabcat, larger sizes only, but they do work best as a billboard!

Freedom Press

revenge of the working class!

Open Letter to BBC South Today from Palestine Solidarity Campaign

Politics eats itself, ever get the feeling you’ve been cheated? – Mal Content.

broken_britain_now_fuckedI doubt any reader of this blog voted out because they were ‘concerned’ about migration, but if you did, you’ve been had, because it isn’t going to make a blind bit of difference. If the net population of this island falls, it will be from petty bourgeois fleeing the crashing economy. We hear the people in the Calais jungle still fancy it though, and they are most welcome.

Whilst the media kept herding the debate back to migration neither campaign presented any plans or targets for reducing it and certainly not for removing existing EU workers. The reason is obvious –  capitalists don’t want to swap young, working taxpayers for retired bent car salesmen, and if they want to take advantage of the free trade area, they will have to accept free movement. Globalisation of capital means globalisation of labour, like it or not. We know that migration is not controlled by politicians but is entirely at the convenience of the bourgeoisie, but the Labour party and the TUC has been unable to say so because they are afraid of upsetting the bosses and being labelled ‘anti-business’. Plus, if you destroy the infrastructure of four countries, their populations are likely to shift, they couldn’t say that either, because most of them support the neoliberal wars. In short, the issue nearly everyone claims was central to the vote was all wind and piss.

You didn’t have to be Nostradamus to see this coming.

No one offered us anything, it was all threats: poverty, higher food prices, fewer rights, more austerity, TTIP, a continent-wide security state. The official ‘remain’ campaign, led by people who’ve been telling us for years we must work or we’re not fit to live, was that in the ‘national interest’ we must compete for work on the bosses’ terms with citizens of 28 countries. The official leave message was just the first bit.

The left case for leave stemmed from the late Tony Benn’s failed ‘possiblist’ strategy of creating a socialist state in a capitalist world through parliamentary democracy. You’ve seen what happened in Greece:

“To suggest that everything is going to change because there’s a new government in Athens is to mistake dreams for reality … There can be no democratic choice against the European treaties.”

 – Jean-Claude Juncker, president of the European Commission

It was never fully elaborated, partly because of the fractured, authoritarian nature of the parties involved, but mainly because their priority was getting their man, Jeremy Corbyn elected with a parliamentary party that was mostly neoliberal. This version of Catch 22 left the field open to the state’s two right wings, with their appeals to fear and xenophobia; the racist media being fully let off the leash for the duration of the campaign.

The left case for remain was even thinner, all those who spoke of reforming the EU from the inside were unable to say how or when, and more to the point, why they had never mentioned it before. The Lisbon agenda was adopted in 2000 and the treaty ratified in 2009. John Major negotiated a full opt-out from the social chapter of the Maastricht Treaty, denying British workers its protection while exposing them to the worst excesses of the single market. Blair demanded a special protocol in the European Charter of Fundamental Rights so that it could not apply to the UK, then opted out of the EU Working Time Directive. Cameron negotiated further opt-outs to deny in-work benefits to new arrivals, thereby creating a two-tier workforce that would further drive down wages.

In radical circles the usual line was that the EU is shit but the alternative would be shitter, and usually concluded with “we’re all fucked either way”. How would you sell that in your factory canteen or union branch?

Successive UK governments have driven the most anti working class legislation in the EU, if I were a striking worker in Belgium, France or Greece, I would cheer to see those bastards dragged away from the table. If the British state ever reformed the EU, it would be for the worse. Now people are getting all emotional and waving EU flags as if they were symbols of freedom and equality. The only thing anyone ever liked about the EU was the conditional free movement of labour, which was always driven by poverty or the threat of violence, the result of EU policies. That is not freedom of movement.

Q. Why didn’t more people vote with their wallets?
A. Because their wallets are empty.

On the positive side, the whole sorry spectacle has put the ineptitude and dishonesty of politicians on display for all to see. It has utterly discredited the idea of voting, majority rule being no better than any other form of dictatorship. This undermines the basis for representative government. Half the voters didn’t get what they wanted, entire regions didn’t get what they wanted, and the other half will wake up in a little while and find out they didn’t get what they wanted either.

The Parliamentary Labour Party is shown up as a bunch of self-serving prima donnas after the choreographed flounce of the Blairites, who represented no-one whatsoever. Almost the last Bennite possiblist in the P.L.P. is Dennis Skinner who sheepishly backed the leave campaign. Corbyn now stands astride a chasm, as a possiblist who advocated something that makes his aims impossible.

bleeding_farageNo one wanted to see Farage gloating, and that probably influenced more remain votes than anything else, I sympathise, here’s a picture of him with his face smashed in:

Boris and Nigel are just a couple of shifty con men. I’d just finished a piece on why Boris wouldn’t be Prime Minister when he jumped. Gove has accepted the poison chalice because, as anyone in the teaching profession will tell you, he is a complete fucking idiot. He will go down in history as the politician who presided over the break up of the United Kingdom, because Scottish independence is going to happen now. The SNP government will not consent to the change, provoking a constitutional crisis. They will be overruled and the resulting fury will carry the day (don’t fuck it up, Nicola!) Britain will lose its last colony in the North of Ireland and the sun will finally set on its empire.

ewip logoMuch has been made of the fact that Porky declined to invoke Article 50 of the Treaty of Lisbon before resigning. That can’t happen until the 1972 European Communities act has been repealed. A bill must be presented to parliament and obtain a majority in both houses, which with their present composition is unlikely. This will get a lot messier, the next election will be fought between two labour parties and two tory parties, plus UKIP (renamed EWIP) and the others, so any trade negotiations will be conducted by a feeble coalition government.

Let’s make the country ungovernable.

Even Cornwall may go, so we could be looking at cantonalism, autonomous regions that aren’t economically self-sufficient so will have to federate, in the absence of any significant political power such federation will have to be mediated by the working class – because we do all the fucking work!

What matters now:

Fascists and racists think they’ve been vindicated, and the right-wing press are simpering about it; they need putting back in their box a bit sharpish. One racist attack is too many, though I believe a narrow remain vote would have provoked a bigger right-wing backlash. We are more than capable of containing this if everyone turns a hand, as shown by the size of pro-migrant demonstrations such as the one in London last weekend. Please contact your local antifascist group or send an e-mail to the Anti Fascist Network, who will put you in touch. The number of fascists willing to actually risk life and limb for their warped idea has been dwindling for some time, and this time it’s the right who are going to let their own side down because none of their deluded followers are going to gain anything from this.

It’s all about class and always was.

The ruling class have scored a massive own goal! We must seize the narrative and replace nationalism with class war, before they come up with plan B.

Working or otherwise, you need to be in a union, we recommend the I.W.W. or similar grass-roots organisations, but if your workplace already has a union presence get involved. The TUC unions are mostly weak and reformist but that is because there aren’t enough members. You can be dual-card and supplement collective bargaining with direct action tactics; get in there and radicalise the fuck out of them.

Let’s replace “take our country back” with Take Our Lives Back.

The air’s full of brickbat, shit and dust! By Mal Content.

Good morning!

EU bombIt wasn’t my little splinter off the anarchist movement that did this. It wasn’t Boris Gove, the far right or the hard left, UKIP, the SWP or the CPGB-ML. It wasn’t racists or bent landlords, the landed gentry or people who want to privatise the NHS and abolish sick pay, there aren’t enough of all those put together.

It was the Working Class, the poor downtrodden, defeated Working Class. The ones who get told how powerless they are, all those people who never vote because there’s never anything to vote for. Don’t tell us we’re thick or gullible because we’re not. We were given a spanner and we threw it.

This was not about immigration or jobs. It was a plebiscite on austerity, precarity, housing, inequality, on the dictatorship of the political class, on getting shafted by global money markets and the irrelevance of 21st century gesture politics.

People don’t need more jobs or even more money; they need food, clothes and a roof over their head. They want free education and healthcare, leisure and a community in which they can participate as a full member.

As anarchists within the workers’ movement, we need to stop telling people what can’t be done and start doing it. Pessimism is counter-revolutionary, defeatism is a form of collective self-harm. Whatever we said yesterday is irrelevant, there’s a new game on a different field. The bourgeoisie won’t take this lying down and they’ll use fascism against us. We must neutralise that first, then fight for every inch of the new terrain.

I would recommend comrades take stock of their local neighbourhood and draw up a list of priorities, assets, strong and weak points. Who, what, where and how? Find out who’s in struggle now and what support they need, organise together. Use the communications technology but be sensible and do the planning face to face. We will support picket lines, we will resist evictions, we will resist deportations, we will defend community spaces.

Everything’s up for grabs now.

Mal C x.

Struggles for autonomy in Kurdistan: New book from Corporate Watch

Cover

Kurdistan is currently divided between four countries: Iraq, Iran, Syria and Turkey. In each of the parts of Kurdistan, Kurdish identities and cultures have been repressed for generations. This book, by Eliza Egret and Tom Anderson, gathers together first-hand accounts of the struggles for a new society taking place in Bakur and Rojava – the parts of Kurdistan within the borders of Turkey and Syria.

The setting up of local assemblies and co-operatives, as well as radical women’s and ecological movements, are rapidly gathering momentum in Kurdistan. The book gives a simple introduction to democratic confederalism, the idea that has inspired many of those involved in these movements.

The book also compiles accounts from Kurdish people who are oppressed by the state of Turkey and profiles some of the companies that are complicit in their repression. The interviews give suggestions of how people outside of Kurdistan can act in solidarity.

Buy the book or download it for free here.

Red and black telly: THE END OF THE UK STEEL INDUSTRY – AN ANARCHIST VIEW

We’re still going to need steel after we’ve overthrown capitalism! No pay cuts, no pillaging the pension fund; the workers need to take the plant, now. Then we would have something to fight for, starting a wave of occupations and expropriations building to a social general strike and a long hot summer! – W.S.

STOP THE MASSACRE IN SUR! Message from the People’s Democratic Party – HDP

HDP

01 March 2016

Across 58 separate curfews imposed in several neighborhoods of the 21 districts of 7 Kurdish provinces, 290 citizens have so far lost their lives. The curfew and blockade in the Sur district of Diyarbakir, declared by Diyarbakır Governorship with absolutely no legal and constitutional basis on 2 December 2015, enters its 91st day today. Twenty-four local citizens have lost their lives during this curfew. The number of losses includes only those who could be identified.

For centuries, Sur district has been the cultural, social, economic and historical heart of Diyarbakır. The curfew imposed in the district amounts to a military blockade, and is in clear violation of the fundamental rights and freedoms and state responsibilities stipulated in the Constitution, such as the right to life, right to health, right to education and right to travel. The economic, social and cultural life in Sur has come to a halt, with no electricity and water at homes and no basic services such as pharmacies and bakeries in the streets. Under these grave circumstances—and all under the gaze of the world—children, women and the elderly are losing their lives one by one. Even iconic and sacred public places, considered to be humanity’s common cultural and religious heritage, are brought to ruins during the curfew jointly enforced by military, police and paramilitary forces. Tanks and heavy artillery have damaged Diyarbakir’s city walls, officially listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Five-hundred-year old Kurşunlu Mosque, historic Hasırlı Mosque, 1700 year-old Saint Mary Church, historic Surp Giragos Church and Protestant churches are among the historical places that were destroyed and rendered unusable by curfew enforcement.

One hundred and seventy-eight bodies have so far been collected from the “Savage Basements” in the Cizre district of Sirnak. Yet, the family members who were asked to identify the deceased report that the bodies were burnt beyond recognition. Furthermore, bodies have been intentionally transported to various other cities in Turkey for autopsy procedures, which in turn have aggravated the suffering of the family members. We have no other choice but to prevent the occurrence of yet another similar atrocity in Sur. The curfew in Sur has to be immediately lifted. This is the only way to prevent the recurrence of the Cizre Massacre, which, with its all cruelty, happened right in front of the world’s indifferent eyes. The military blockade must be lifted so that people whose lives are in danger can be safely evacuated. All that is happening in Sur at the moment, and all that will happen in the coming days, is a matter of humanity and human dignity. International public and political actors are necessarily implicated in the sustainability of the stability of Turkey and the region. In the face of recently unfolding events in Turkey, it has become an urgent need to have a clear stance along the axes of freedom, peace and democracy. We call upon all national and international democratic institutions and platforms to express a solid reaction against the current political and humanitarian crisis in Sur and act in solidarity with the people of Sur.

Figen YÜKSEKDAĞ and Selahattin DEMİRTAŞ, Co-chairs of Peoples’ Democratic Party

Contact: international@hdp.org.tr Web: www.hdp.org.tr
Address: Barbaros Mah. Tahran Cad. Büklüm Sok. No: 117 06680 Çankaya, Ankara – Turkey
Phone: +90 312 427 17 80 Fax: +90 312 4288957

*ENDS*

Download as pdf

Rat-infested Wetherspoons closed.

By our restaurant correspondent, Roland Butter.the Albany Palace in Trowbridge

Wetherspoons’ pub the Albany Palace in Trowbridge was closed for half an hour last night after a diner complained that a rat ran up his trouser leg and stole one of his chips. – From Western Daily Press

Reece Coombs, from Trowbridge, was out with his partner Lucy Wrenn. “It felt like somebody had kicked me, then a rat ran up my leg and took the chip out of my hand and bolted,” staff immediately cleared the pub, without telling other customers why they were getting kicked out mid-meal. Ms Wrenn said: “All we got was a refund, which was going to be a part-refund for the food we were waiting on, until I saw about the rushed drinks and incomplete, potentially contaminated starter we had,”.

It’s believed the rat had escaped from the kitchen.

Is Wetherspoons going down the crapper at long last? The group’s shares fell 9% they claim as a result of the meagre increase in the minimum wage. Multi-millionaire boss Tim Martin, a big fan of the zero-hours contract has always whinged at the prospect of his staff making a living. He hates our class with a vengeance and would ideally like you to pay VAT on food as well so he can compete with the supermarkets. If you encourage the bastard he’ll end up owning everything then he can squeeze your wages and ram up the prices at the same time.

If you’re planning on taking someone special out for Valentine’s, best steer clear of the ‘spoons or you won’t get laid.

Greeks extradited to Italy for alleged mayday involvement

From a Greek friend in the UK.

I don’t know whether or not it has made any activist websites yet, but 5 Greek students are facing extradition to Italy (via a European Union warrant) where the Italian legal system hopes to imprison them for their participation in the 1st of May demo of 2015. After being arrested and then set free in Italy, Greek police bust into their houses this November. There is no evidence against them and the charges they face are pure bullshit (the translation is roughly one charge for “damages” and one for “extended resistance”- obviously referring to when they were snatched from the streets on the 2nd of May for no fucking reason). These offences carry sentences between 8-15 YEARS.

This issue should be of concern to everyone active in Europe as it represents repression on a variety of levels: 1. The students don’t have any evidence against them, so that is a huge issue in and of itself, 2. they are arrested for protesting, 3. the issue of extradition and the EU’s involvement adds a whole other dimension- if this passes, mass mobilizations like Genoa or like Paris recently will be much harder to organise. Imagine coming back from COP21 and getting snatched many months later while you are chilling with your family. This is next level criminalisation of protesting, ON A EUROPEAN LEVEL. This could set a very negative precedent and people need to be aware of this and be ready to organise.

After Fede, an Italian student studying at SOAS, was snatched in Frankfurt at the Blockupy demonstrations, solidarity actions were largely limited to people taking photo’s of themselves holding a cardboard sign reading “Free Fede”. The most antagonistic action was a 30 person demo outside the German embassy in London, whilst Fede was held in prison for months.

Obviously when lefty kids share solidarity selfies on social media, it raises awareness of the issue, slightly. But it’s had the effect of limiting solidarity to these simple, easy acts for a lot of people, instead of organising larger strategic actions, campaigns and so on. It also reinforces on a large, public scale, the idea that appealing to rulers could work, if only they were nice enough or saw enough sense to grant our wishes. But why should they? They know we’re weak, which is why they can snatch who they want, and profit from whatever they want to, protected by whichever racist or repressive policies they choose.

With solidarity actions for Kurdistan, Spanish anarchists, Greece, with individual cases that look to set dangerous precedents, and in general offensive struggles, we have the potential to build for much more. I think we need to use info from the organisations mapping capital like Corporate Watch, seeing who owns what, and how we can actually exert pressure on targets by reducing what matters to them, profit, rather than just trying to hurt their PR. An example would be how the German state own Deutche Bahn (now the biggest transport company in the world, and running London Overground, Arriva trains and buses, Cross-county rail and more) and DHL, the world’s largest logistics firm. Can we map the most strategic targets for social movements, or the most destructive infrastructures?

There are also huge similarities between anarchists and autonomous Marxists that can be worked on, and should be if we’re going to be able to spread our ideas effectively. It annoys a lot of anarchists (for good reason) that autonomists ignore anarchist lit and tradition when they ‘discover’ that parliamentary politics aren’t too useful, and that seizing the state isn’t the way to change society, but we need to work through our differences. This is especially important in getting beyond a to b demos, and showing how blocs can be done much better.

I don’t think we should be waiting until other groups or movements emerge and do the hard work of getting people working together, to then piggyback it and then get disappointed when things don’t go perfectly, or they get co-opted by liberals or statists. I also don’t think we should be waiting for widespread social unrest or spontaneous rioting to then try sustain the pressure. If there were ideas about how people could take control of their own lives before rioting, strategies, infrastructure to mass distribute information quickly, infrastructures set up to help counter the massive repression we saw in 2011, and help further politicise people that are facing repression (ie bigger than GBC and not just limited to ‘protests’).

So just to summarise, I’m saying I think its time we:

  • Build communication links and a BROAD strategy between groups, networks and orgs in the extra-parliamentary left and anarchist circles.
  • Keep mapping capitalism, but with ambitious, strategic actions in mind.
  • Get the people, money and buildings needed to start working on a much bigger scale (ie can people being priced out of London homes be accommodated in large euro-style housing co-ops in office buildings?)
  • Focus on strategically tailored propaganda and anti-repression infrastructure for when shit kicks off for real.

Join the international week of solidarity with self-managed VIOME against the auction of the premises

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Foto: Andrés Lofiego

As a result of the legal battle waged against the workers of the occupied self-managed VIOME factory in Thessaloniki, Greece, the state-appointed trustee is now organising a series of auctions with the aim of liquidating the plot of land on which the VIOME factory is located. A possible sale of the land would create the legal ground for evicting the workers from the factory. Although the workers and the solidarity assembly are decided to stand their ground and defend the factory in all eventualities, the auction process represents a threat and it requires mobilisation in order to be prevented. A first step is to block, through direct action, the first such auction that is programmed for November 26th. This is why we reach out to you, to ask for help and mobilisation to put pressure on the government to satisfy the long-standing demands of the VIOME workers for legalisation of their activity, by expropriating the factory and granting it to the VIOME workers’ cooperative, which will operate it in a horizontal and self-managed way, as it has been doing for 3 years now.

We appeal for an international week of solidarity, from November 17 to 24. Facebook.

We urge you to sign the below resolution by returning your details (name, collective, place) to protbiometal@gmail.com, or even better, hand it in to the nearest Greek embassy or consulate demanding that it is transferred to the Greek Ministry of Labour. We welcome any international acts of solidarity, especially ones that involve non-violent direct action towards Greek embassies worldwide.

We urge you to organise screenings of the below 30-minute documentary by D.Azzellini and O.Ressler, detailing the struggle of VIOME through interviews and participation in its assemblies (English subtitles included). Write to us if you want a good quality copy. You can send us announcements of your events, and/or photos to be uploaded to VIOME´s website, to protbiometal@gmail.com, thank you for your support,

The Assembly of Solidarity to the Struggle of VIOME for Self-management.

RESOLUTION:

After being abandoned by the employers, the Factory of VIOME has been operating for nearly 3 years under workers’ control, through self-management by the workers’ assembly. Today, it constitutes an internationally emblematic struggle, which demonstrates that the real response to the crisis that leaves millions in poverty and unemployment is workers’ emancipation and a productive reconstruction based on society´s initiative and creativity.

The workers of VIOME, through the production of natural cleaning products in the premises of the occupied Factory, have proposed a new mode of production that responds to the needs of society, against exploitative labour relations and the drive for endless accumulation of capital.

Unfortunately, despite the promises of a series of governments to legitimise this important example of workers’ self-management, the workers of VIOME are now facing legal procedures that could lead to the liquidation of the factory premises and could threaten the continuation of the factory’s production.

We, the undersigned collectives and individuals, support the struggle of the workers of VIOME for employment, dignity and freedom against the judicial system that blindly serves the interests of the powerful.

We stand by their side in their decision to defend their productive endeavour by any means possible.

We warn the Greek authorities and the powerful business interests that oppose the VIOME struggle that an attack on VIOME is an attack on us all.

We demand that the Greek government stops the auction of the VIOME premises and that it offers a definitive solution by expropriating the land and granting it to the workers, on the condition that the factory keep operating under workers’ control and horizontal decision making.

We state clearly that we will not allow anyone to grab the factory from its legitimate owners, that is, the workers and the wider community. We will support this struggle in every step along the way.

The workers of VIOME will prevail, since they fight for the just cause of dignity and self-determination!

Occupy, Resist, Produce: VIOME / ΚΑΤΑΛΗΨΗ-ΑΝΤΙΣΤΑΣΗ-ΠΑΡΑΓΩΓΗ: ΒΙΟΜΕ

And here’s the film:

VIOME is a building materials factory in Thessaloniki, Greece, which was abandoned by its owners at the peak of the Greek crisis, in 2011. Subsequently it was occupied by its workers, and has been producing natural detergents under workers’ control since 2013. Despite being an emblematic and inspiring struggle, today VIOME is under imminent threat of eviction. Find out how you can get involved and be part of the struggle at viome.org

This is the third in a series of short documentaries on the self-managed factories of Europe made by militant film-makers Dario Azzellini and Oliver Ressler. Find the other two here:

Occupy, Resist, Produce – RiMaflow


Occupy, Resist, Produce – Officine Zero

You are free to organise screenings in your town and use this film for any non-commercial purpose.

The closing video clip is “At utopia’s fiesta” by Greek militant hip-hop collective Social Waste. It was filmed at the factory of VIOME. See the full version here:

Breaking the law: victory for Bridgwater wildcats!

Andrew Mootoo, (centre) with pickets

When Bridgwater Royal Mail victimised a disabled worker, his colleagues walked out; no ballots, no bureaucracy, just solidarity. Andrew Mootoo, is deaf and suffers from severe MS, and management have come up with a stream of ridiculous excuses for keeping him off work for 18 months against his will. He might get stuck in the bog, they said, and anyway they’ve commandeered his rest room for disciplinaries. When Andrew passed a fitness for work test, they changed the test, and used a faulty chair.

80 posties went on strike the day after the government’s anti-union bill received its second reading, showing their plans to chain the working class will come to nought so long as we stick together. The management have backed down and assured the workers that they will sit down with Mootoo and reach a resolution. Watch this space to make sure they do!

CWU rep Dave Chapple said it was remarkable that 98% of staff had walked out (without legal protection) in solidarity with someone they haven’t seen for 18 months, and that he has received over 200 emails of support from fellow trade unionists and disabled people. Royal Mail are now threatening to discipline him for breaking their rules – good luck with that.

So if the bosses are taking the piss, just get together and walk the fuck out – you don’t need a vote if you have consensus. Together we win!

Bridgwater Wildcat walkout for postman and MS Sufferer smashes Tory anti-union laws!

Wessex Solidarity wholeheartedly supports Bridgwater Wildcat Postal Strike in aid of worker sacked for his disability. Reinstate Andrew Mootoo immediately!


80 Royal Mail postmen and women at Bridgwater Delivery Office in Somerset defied the Tory anti-union laws today when they walked out without a ballot to protest at Royal Mail’s refusal to reinstate Andrew Mootoo, a postman who suffers from MS/Multiple Sclerosis. Andrew has been waiting so long for Royal Mail to support his return to work that his pay has been stopped and he has to rely on benefits.

Dave Chapple, CWU Rep, said:

“Most decent employers would do their best to try and get a disabled worker like Andrew Mootoo off benefits and back to work on a properly adjusted duty. Instead, for 18 months, since MS was diagnosed, Royal Mail, nationally and locally, have tried every dirty trick in their book to get Andrew the sack and reduce him to a lifetime of benefits dependency. 18 months ago they tried to sack him. We stopped that by proving they would have acted illegally. Then Royal Mail tested Andrew back at work: when he passed this with flying colours, they invented a new test, which they ensured he would fail, for example, by deliberately using a faulty chair! The last straw is Royal Mail saying that Andrew has no rest room for his meal break, because it is in continuous use by managers for disciplinary purposes; and that his MS means he will get stuck in the toilet. What offensive rubbish from the country’s second largest employer! Justice for MS sufferers at work! Justice for Andrew Mootoo!”

Andrew, who is of Indo-Mauritian parents and who is also profoundly deaf, lives a full life: he drives a car, shops, goes to sport matches, goes shopping, walks down busy high streets, goes to the gym once a week, all without falling over, getting stuck in a toilet or endangering anyone else. All Andrew’ s friends at Bridgwater Delivery Office want, is for Royal Mail to sit down and give him a chance to come off the dole and work for his living, as he wants to do. The work is there. The CWU have even accepted that Andrew could return on a monitored trial basis. Every reasonable compromise CWU offer to Royal Mail has been spurned: every patient CWU plea to Royal Mail to give Andrew a chance has been ignored. 80 Bridgwater trades unionists are right now, a day after the Tory Anti-Union Bill passed the House of Commons, breaking these vicious laws to fight for workplace justice for a severely disabled and much respected colleague. They, and Andrew, deserve your support.

Please contact Dave Chapple, CWU Rep, on 077007 869 144, e-mail davechapple@btinternet.com

The Iva Valley Colliers.

Monument to the miners at Enugu, Nigeria.

Monument to the miners at Enugu, Nigeria.

On the 18th November 1949, 21 striking miners and a bystander were shot dead at a British government-owned coal mine at Enugu, Nigeria; 51 were injured.

The miners were fighting for back-pay owed to them for a period of casualisation known as ‘rostering’, later declared illegal, and had been sacked following a work to rule. They occupied the mine to prevent a repeat of the lock-out they had suffered during the 1945 general strike. Because Enugu was home to the Zikist independence movement, which included Marxists and other radicals; police were sent to remove the mine’s explosives, accompanied by Hausa troops drafted in from the North of the country; whose language and even their uniforms were unfamiliar to the Igbo miners.

Local Igbo constables fraternised with the workers, they were sure the government would pay them what they were due; in return the miners assured them they did not want to fight. They would not obstruct the police from removing the explosives, but refused to help because it wasn’t their job. They had strict work demarcation imposed by the British, these were hewers and tubmen: “This job is for timbermen, some special labourers, he should call them.”

Nigerian Coal had been of strategic importance during the war, and continued to be vital in the re-building of infrastructure by the post-war Labour government, who sought to maximise output in the Sterling zone to pay off its debt to the U.S. Many of the men had served in the British armed forces, veterans of guerrilla warfare in Southeast Asia. In 1943 with inflation raging they had been called on to make up the shortfall in the British coalfields caused by the war. They were acutely aware they had saved Britain’s arse and been led to believe their sacrifices would create a better world, whilst their bosses were planning for a future that didn’t exist.

They used their regular income to develop their communities, establishing the self-help mechanisms once familiar to mining villages in Britain, which were the inspiration for the welfare state, with free hospitals and relief funds for injured workers and their dependants. The Enugu Colliers supported maternity clinics, road building and clean water supplies. Rejecting the British government’s mass literacy programme, designed to prepare their children for a life of menial labour, they created permanent, stone-built primary and secondary schools. These commitments were undermined by the economic uncertainty of rostering.

The aspirations of these workers collided with Labour’s reconstructive ambitions and its cold war paranoia, plus the racism of the colonial management, desperate to maintain their privileges. As they had done at home Labour wanted to integrate trade unions into the state, using them to contain and defuse class struggle. The Colonial Office recruited hundreds of T.U.C. bureaucrats and despatched them around the empire to institute modern industrial relations practices. In this they were thwarted by the colonial officials, who considered African workers unworthy of political representation. The Igbo themselves had no use for the concept, their culture of open assemblies and mass meetings lent itself to Syndicalism; judging union leaders simply on their ability to execute the will of the workforce. Their Zikist General Secretary, Okwudili (Isaiah) Ojiyi, used his detailed knowledge of colonial labour law and thorough understanding of its political context to run rings around the bosses. Because striking was illegal he imported the Durham miners’ ‘ca canny’ go-slow tactic, translated to ‘welu nwayo’ in Igbo and spent many days in the mines teaching it.

A T.U.C. advisor named Curry tried to insert a layer of bureaucracy between Ojiyi and the rank and file by splitting the union into five occupational branches, in violation of Igbo organisational principles. They therefore interpreted this as the creation of five autonomous unions, rendering the negotiating structure redundant. The hewers began a wildcat go-slow, were sacked and occupied the mine, followed by the tubmen.

The violence was initiated by a British policeman called Captain F.S. Phillip; terrified of Africans and fearful of communist subversion, he spoke neither Igbo nor Hausa. The miners had tied strips of red cloth to their helmets and clothing to show their solidarity; to Phillip these were paramilitary insignia. As was their custom, facing the mass of armed troops they began to dance and chant to keep up their spirits. Philip panicked and shot dead a young hewer named Sunday Anyasado who had recently married and moved to the area. He then killed a machine man, Livinus Okechukwuma. Hearing the noise, tubman Okafor Ageni ventured out of the mine asking “Anything wrong?” and was killed on the spot. The firing continued for several minutes, some miners were shot in the back. Dead and wounded alike were left where they lay; blacksmith Emmanuel Okafor told Philip: “I surrender, take me to hospital”. Philip answered: “I don’t care” and walked away.

Those eighty-seven rounds sounded the doom of the British Empire; Labour’s strategies of using intermediaries to buffer class anger, and separating industrial disputes from their political context had blown up in its face. The ethnic, regional and even class divisions in Nigerian society were temporarily set aside, replaced by a collective momentum to do away with British rule.

“The radicals and the moderates, the revolutionaries and the stooges, the bourgeoisie and the workers, sank their differences, remembered the word Nigeria and rose in revolt against evil and inhumanity.”

– Nduka Eze

We are indebted to Dr Carolyn Brown, for information and sources. Mal C x

Further reading:

Syndicalist Workers’ Federation: How Labour Governed 1945-51
OWEI LAKEMFA: “One hundred years of trade unionism in Nigeria”
The link is to the first of five parts, dealing with the background to the 1945 General Strike, for the next part you have to click ‘previous article’ on the web page, and so on.
Bristol Radical History Group: Hidden histories of the British state revealed 2013
Carolyn Brown Phd: ‘We Were All Slaves: African Miners, Culture, and Resistance at the Enugu Government Colliery, Nigeria.’ Heinemann / James Currey.
‘Africa and World War II’ edited by Carolyn Brown, Judith Byfield, Tim Parsons, Ahmad Sikainga Cambridge University Press.
‘POWER AND NATIONALISM IN MODERN AFRICA: Essays in Honor of Don Ohadike.’ Edited by Toyin Falola and Salah M. Hassan, Durham, North Carolina: Carolina Academic Press, 2008.
Frederick Cooper: ‘Decolonization and African Society: the labour question in French and British Africa.’ (Cambridge 1996)
David Smock: Conflict and Control in an African Trade Union: A Study of the Nigerian Coal Miners’ Union.’ Stanford U: Hoover Institute Press, 1969
Agwu Akpala: ‘Background to the Enugu Colliery Shooting Incident in 1949’ – Journal of the Historical Society of Nigeria, 3,2 (1965) 335-64
Paul Kelemen: ‘Planning for Africa: The British Labour Party’s Colonial Development Policy, 1920-1964’, Journal of Agrarian Change, Vol 7, No. 1 (January 2007), pp. 76-98.
Jack Woodis: ‘The Mask is Off! An Examination of the Activities of Trade Union Advisers in the British Colonies.’ London: Thames Publications, 1954

From Genocide to Resistance: Yazidi Women Fight Back – By Dilar Dirik

yazidi_resistance_genocide4a.jpg_1718483346

Protest march of Yazidi women in the Sinjar Mountains on the first anniversary of the Islamic State group massacre

Having suffered a traumatic genocide, Yazidi women on Mount Sinjar mobilize their autonomous armed and political resistance with the PKK’s philosophy.

SHENGAL – The old Kurdish saying “We have no friends but the mountains” became more relevant than ever when on Aug. 3, 2014, the murderous Islamic State group launched what is referred to as the 73rd massacre on the Yazidis by attacking the city of Sinjar (in Kurdish: Shengal), slaughtering thousands of people, and raping and kidnapping the women to sell them as sex slaves. Ten thousand Yazidis fled to the Shengal Mountains in a death march in which they, and especially children, died of hunger, thirst, and exhaustion. This year on the same day, the Yazidis marched in the Shengal Mountains again. But this time in a protest to vow that nothing will ever be the same again.

Last year, the Iraqi Kurdish peshmerga of the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) promised the people to guarantee Shengal’s safety, but ran away without warning when the Islamic State group attacked, not even leaving arms behind for people to defend themselves. Instead, it was the guerrilla of the PKK, as well as the the Kurdish People’s Defence Units, or YPG, and its women’s brigade the YPJ from Rojava, who in spite of having Kalashnikovs and a only handful of fighters, opened a corridor to Rojava, rescuing 10,000 people. … Read full article at teleSUR.

Some useful points from the IWCA

We know full well that the govt. will deliberately squeeze resources to stoke racism and its propaganda wing the BBC will do everything possible to reassure wavering xenophobes that it’s perfectly natural to be scared of foreigners. Alongside welcoming the victims of the neoliberal wars we must all be fighting austerity on the ground. We must make allies of these people not rivals. The refugee crisis and the pathetic squabbling over responsibility for their well-being has made a nonsense of the concept of nation-state.

Originally posted on The Heckler

Given that refugees from Syria are due to start arriving in the UK in the next few days as part of the government’s pledge to accept 20,000 over the next five years – Syrian refugees in new scheme ‘to arrive in UK soon’ – May
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-34268604 – we thought it would be useful to re-visit the manifesto of the Independent Working Class Association (IWCA) to see what they had to say about the issue of accommodating refugees. Here it is:

Asylum seekers & immigration

As with official anti-racism, immigration and asylum policy can prove similarly divisive. As a rule political refugees are housed in the most under-funded areas which are duly expected to share out already meager resources with the new arrivals. Across the country, the government is shown to have repeatedly short-changed councils to whom refugees are allocated. The interests, concerns and sensitivities of local communities are also routinely dismissed. Unsurprisingly this can be a source of suspicion, tension and resentment.

The IWCA will fight for:

The allocation of political refugees to areas that can most easily accommodate them.

Consultation with local communities regarding new arrivals.

Appropriate financial compensation from government to local authorities.

Additional government grants to facilitate integration.

Extra housing provision to take account of any extra demands on housing stock.

The safeguarding of tenants’ positions on existing housing lists.

The right to work or study for political refugees while their claims for citizenship are being processed.

The rest of the IWCA manifesto can be seen here – http://www.iwca.info/?page_id=1410 Trust us, it’s well worth reading…

All pretty reasonable as far as we’re concerned. However, we have to bear in mind this was written over ten years ago and we are now in the midst of some heavy duty austerity. Which means that any areas due to accept refugees will have to fight tooth and nail to ensure funding is in place and that they’re not expected to cut into their existing budgets to fulfil their obligations.

We know it’s inevitable that refugees will be parked on the worst estates in ‘hard to let’ properties with minimal support to help them settle and integrate. That is going to cause problems, there’s no point in denying it. What will exacerbate the situation is when residents contact the council with worries about the impact of refugees being parked on their estate with minimal support and find their concerns are dismissed by the council as ‘racism’. There are no prizes for guessing which political tendency is going to benefit from the resentment at having concerns about the impact of refugees dismissed out of hand.

Having a sensible discussion in some left wing and anarchist circles about the impact of settling refugees in areas already under considerable social and economic stress as a result of austerity and a stagnating economy is proving to be difficult. Lisa McKenzie is finding this out to her cost after having written this piece for the Guardian – The refugee crisis will hit the UK’s working class areas hardest http://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/sep/16/refugee-crisis-hit-uk-working-class-powerless

All Lisa has done is to point out the bleeding obvious that settling refugees in areas suffering social and economic stress is going to cause problems if financial and other forms of support are not provided and there’s no consultation with the host community. Dismissing legitimate concerns such as this as ‘racist’ and sweeping them under the carpet as some people in left wing and anarchist circles are trying to do is making a potentially difficult situation for stressed working class neighbourhoods even worse.

HKCTU June 4th Declaration on 2015

HKCTU June 4th Declaration on 2015

Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions

Under the one-party dictatorship, workers in China are still deprived of the three labour rights: freedom of association, the right to strike, and the right to collective bargaining. Their struggles for labour rights often lead to oppression from government officials and employers. Meanwhile, due to the undemocratic political system and collusion between government and enterprises, workers in Hong Kong are similarly deprived of standard working hours and the right to collective bargaining.

As Chinese workers become aware of their legal rights, they are more courageous in their struggles which are also becoming more frequent. In the meantime, apart from forcing labour organizations to close down their offices, local governments are gradually turning to the use of violence and detention as repressive means against workers who are often forced to accept resignation compensation which is much lower than what is stipulated in the law. In the first six months of 2015, there were at least three cases of labour disputes in which police broke into the venues where workers were meeting. They beat up and arbitrarily arrested staff of labour organizations and workers representatives. At least 7 labour activists are now in prison (see name list below). Some of them are serving life or long term imprisonment due to their support of the 1989 Democratic Movement or organizing independent labour movement. There are also innumerable but undocumented cases of labour activists who are detained or criminalized.

Since the second half of 2014, the Chinese government has been tightening its surveillance of mainland NGOs that receive overseas funding and are stifling the development of the civic society and the labour movement. On June 16th, 2014, the Guangzhou Government passed the ordinance of “Community Organizations Management Directives”, stipulating that any NGO primarily funded by an overseas NGO would be defined as a branch of the overseas NGO, allowing its activities to be restricted or even banned. The draft Foreign NGOs Management Law and the National Security Law will be reviewed by the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress this year. The purpose of the new laws is to block mainland NGOs from building connections and receiving support from overseas. Under the new laws, Chinese people’s right to free association will be further curtailed.

We call on the Hong Kong and International Community to continue to focus on labour rights in China and urge the Chinese Government to immediately:

  1. Release all imprisoned labour activists, and stop all suppression and violent acts against labour organizations and workers’ representatives;
  2. Ratify ILO Conventions No. 87 and No. 98; namely the implementation of the right to organize trade unions and collective bargaining, the elimination of severe constraints on domestic NGOs, the protection of the freedom of association and the establishment of the three labour rights;
  3. Implement strict law enforcement to severely penalize enterprises for labour rights infringement and to protect labour rights

Anarchist Action Network website SSL certificate.

The AAN website has been updated and new content is being added all the time, however the SSL certificate has expired which means a new one must be purchased and installed, this is being sorted by the collective. In the meantime you will see a ‘security warning’ that depending on the browser you are using will look something like the examples below. You will then have to jump through a few hoops to access the site, ignoring all their dire warnings, and we hope you will; it’s perfectly safe and fortune favours the bold!

ssl1

ssl2

ssl3

In that case you have to click on ‘advanced’ to proceed to the site.

The bitter harvest: Human trafficking, child abuse and union busting by British American Tobacco.

Further to the post below, here is the report on the slave-like conditions in North Carolina tobacco farms, published on behalf of the Farm Labour Organising Committee by Unite:

BATslaves

“Why do we ban cigarettes to minors, but somehow it’s perfectly OK to have 12-year-olds getting nicotine poisoning in the fields?”

Article: Why Are Children Working in American Tobacco Fields?

Clicktivism: Spam the fuckers!

FLOC Presents Alternative Shareholders Report at BAT Annual Meeting, Outlining Labour Abuses in North Carolina

British_american_tobacco_AGM

FLOC PRESENTS ALTERNATIVE SHAREHOLDERS REPORT AT BAT ANNUAL MEETING, OUTLINING LABOUR ABUSES IN NORTH CAROLINA

Arriving in the pouring rain, representatives of FLOC, IUF, Unite, and Rev. Singh of the Ecumenical Council for Corporate Responsibility, attended the British American Tobacco annual meeting on the 29th of April. Outside the BAT AGM were a group of young activists protesting BAT policies with regards to child labour and youth smoking. Pres. Velasquez met with them and reported the conditions of tobacco farm workers that FLOC is trying to change.

Full story.

If you drink in Wetherspoons – be honest, vote UKIP – racist bastards.

coronetAs reported in the Irish Times The self-important bigoted pricks behind J.D. Wetherspoons plumbed new depths in 2011 when they barred delegates of the Irish Traveller Movement in Britain, a charitable organisation, and their guests from The Coronet pub on Holloway Road after their A.G.M. The Travellers successfully sued the chain for racial discrimination and each of them has been awarded £3,000 in compensation. Yet more proof of the reactionary mindset of Wetherspoons’ bosses.
If you drink in Wetherspoons, Be honest, vote UKIP, get a swastika tattooed on your forehead. Wetherspoons is UKIP, it stands for an anti-working class community-destroying corporate oligopoly of rich parasites exploiting their workforce and selling a grotesque parody of working class culture to their eager serfs.

Evening standard

The Guaridan

Tripadvisor

It’s a mandate for Civil War!

By Mal Content.

In the 2015 election the tories got roughly 24.4% of the registered voters, comprising the privileged few that benefit from their policies and those wage slaves stupid and selfish enough take their masters at face value. Fair enough; there wasn’t a plausible anti-capitalist alternative and most of us* voted for nobody as usual. The Scots voted overwhelmingly (in representative terms) against austerity and Trident; it will be interesting to see how they react to having these things shoved up them when their representatives cave in.

*Turnout was 66.1%, there are at least seven million eligible voters who either don’t bother to register, or are unable to due to homelessness or being on the run from domestic violence, debt collectors, or the state. Migrants and prisoners aren’t allowed to vote anyway.

In other news it’s no real surprise that 7.9% of the electorate are confused, racist, misogynistic homophobes; that’s not brilliant but it’s probably gone down a bit since I was young. I’ve long suspected the function of UKIP and the funding lavished on it by its wealthy backers was purely to obscure the class issues, giving the tories room to move to the right and drag the others in their wake, and it’s worked, the BBC were in on it as well. When it all kicks off they will use these mugs as scab labour, if we let them.

The bourgeoisie aren’t stupid or they would never have got away with robbing us blind for centuries; they know exactly how to work the electoral system they invented to keep themselves in power forever. Before 2010 the lib dems had positioned themselves very slightly to the left (whatever that means) of Labour so Cameron invited them into his minority cabinet with the promise of setting up their miserable carcases for life – which is all anyone goes into politics for – and ritually humiliated them for five years. As you’d expect he now has all their seats and no more hung parliament, he will now use this majority to pursue the interests of his corporate sponsors in defiance of every civilised value.

The phrase ‘one nation’ and the concept of national interest have never been less valid. The population is split into two irreconcilable camps whose interests lie in diametrically opposite directions, what’s good for us is bad for the them and vice versa, one side must perish. We were never represented in government and never will be, we have nowhere to place our trust but in ourselves and each other. The good news is that there are more of us.

What matters now:

We recognise our class interest and put it first in everything we do.

We understand who our enemies are, and who they are not, don’t allow ourselves to be distracted by prejudice or self-interest. That means working with those with whom we feel nothing in common, whose lifestyles don’t appeal, or whose survival tactics make us uncomfortable.

Have absolute faith in ourselves and our abilities. Look around, we the Working Class are responsible for everything that ever was and will be, when we accept that responsibility and harness our strength to our imaginations, we will do a lot better than this.

Communicate and work together, reach out to and inform the politically naive and misdirected.

We support each other right or wrong; it doesn’t matter what the fight appears to be about. The lesson of the Miners’ Strike is the importance of total class solidarity in the face of a concerted attack. The ruling class are hardly going to let you in on their long-term plans.

Act locally; define your sphere of influence and get a grip on it. Taking everyone into the capital a couple of times a year just confirms the centralisation of power and gives the state free crowd control training at very little risk.

Build support mechanisms outside of the economy, based on mutual aid and mutual respect; think about how we are going to feed each other, keep the lights on, and care for the vulnerable. Abandon the concept of transaction.

Organise within the infrastructure, we’re still going to need it.

The only thing that matters in a war is who’s left standing at the end of it.

Mal C x

Mayday events 2015.

We’ll probably add more as we hear of them, send us yours!

Why we celebrate May Day.

chicagoanarchists

Bristol: May Day Demo – Combat Workfare with Bristol Anarchist Federation Friday 1st may.

BAFmayda

We’ve been lucky to mark International Workers Day (1st May) with some effective & fun demonstrations and direct actions for the past four years.

Last year we directly a large local organisation to end all involvement with workfare – picture of the demo is the one above! This year we hope to build on that, and our other anti workfare successes.

Boycott Workfare have called for a week of action that covers May Day, we aim to target a couple of companies who are profiting from the forced exploitation it represents – and hopefully help out some people affected by the schemes at the same time.

We’ll post more details nearer the time, yes we know its during the day on a workday but we also know a lot of you use any means at your disposal to avoid working on May Day! If you are forced into it you have our sympathy, if not see you on the streets again!

Gig afterwards

kebele mayday

Cardiff: Radical Workers Bloc Saturday 2nd May facebook

Caerdydd: Bloc Radicalaidd y Gweithwyr.

“THE DAY WILL COME WHEN OUR SILENCE WILL BE MORE POWERFUL THAN THE VOICES YOU ARE THROTTLING TODAY.”

– (August Spies on the scaffold before his execution)

SWA_8x3

South Wales Anarchists will be demonstating in Cardiff to celebrate this years May Day. Originally a pagan festival, the modern May Day bank holiday has its roots in the fight for the eight hour day and is celebrated across the globe as an International Workers’ Day to commemorate the anarchist trade union organisers who were executed in Chicago 1887. They were framed and wrongly accused of throwing a bomb at police breaking up a crowd in the Haymarket during a demonstration involving over 400,000 working in Chicago on May 4, 1886.

The anarchist idea did not die with these workers in 1887 and continues to be the inspiration for many fighting capitalism around the world. We call on all those struggling for a world of justice, dignity and freedom to come together and join us this May Day in Cardiff.

Bring your red and black flags and class struggle banners!

Meet at 12 noon at the southern end of St Mary St, under the railway bridge near the Great Western Wetherspoons. March starts at 12.30 through the streets of Cardiff City centre to…. somewhere with no bureaucrats’ speeches!!!

London: Reclaim the Beats – join the Fuck Parade!

Fuckboris
Class War 12V multi rig street party at 1 Commercial Street, London, from 6pm on Friday May 1.

Manchester: 0161 Festival Friday 1st, Saturday 2nd, Sunday 3rd May 2015 Facebook

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Milano: NoExpo 2015

Noexpolittle

May 1, 2015: from Milan, capital of the crisis, to Europe.

After seven years of crisis the precarious pride has become rage and indignation against the burgeoning unemployment and the growth of poverty imposed by BCE & IMF to most of the population with austerity policies, particularly in Italy, Greece and the rest of the Latin Europe. Social slaughter, plunder of wealth and common goods, the end of the public city are the bases upon which governments build their response to the economic crisis.

Make a week of it:

APRIL 28: INTERNATIONAL NO EXPO CAMPING. Until May 3 with debates and workshops
APRIL 29: THE CITY OF MILAN AGAINST THE FASCIST MARCH
APRIL 30: NATIONAL STUDENTS DEMONSTRATION
MAY 1: #NOEXPOMAYDAY
MAY 2: MOBILIZATIONS AGAINST EXPO
MAY 3: GENERAL ASSEMBLY for 6 months of mobilizations
FROM MAY 3: 6 months of meetings and conflict against and beyond the Expo paradigm.

Tyne & Wear:

maynewc

Support independent anti-capitalist Cubans of the Observatorio Critico.

Please share this campaign to raise money to support the trip of anarchist comrades from Cuba to Europe in June:

Gofundme – Observatorio Critico Cubano

Now that the border is opening after many years a time for change is coming, full of possibilities and danger for Cuban society and perhaps for all of us. We want to make our voices, our social views and proposals for self-managed co-operativism heard. We ask for your help to cover the expenses for our network of collectives and social initiatives in Cuba.

We are the Observatorio Crítico Cubano. Our projects include years of work for non-violence, the struggle against racism, LGBT rights, the recovery of our Indigenous and Black original heritage, Ecology, the development of Open Source computer culture, communities for mutual aid in mental health, support for childhood education by means of non-competitive and non-adult-centered child play, cultural research, promoting self-managed socialism, and the crafting of proposals for building Cuba’s future from an anarchist perspective.

We work towards a world where the public space is the birthright of all the people, not just a few powerful minorities. A world where those decisions, which affects the people, are not discussed and arrived at out of sight of the majority. In this world the highest praise is reserved for those initiatives where neighbors gather spontaneously to give their communities the best they have to offer, via the arts, ecological activism, the remembrance of historical and cultural traditions, the promotion of popular education. A world where the workers are the true owners of the means of production. Contrary to today’s prevailing logic, profits, manipulation and the rule of the mightiest are not prioritized; instead we advance dialog and the search for consensus on the important issues of social life. In this world we are building all consciences are respected, and in ecumenical fashion the representatives of the different manifestations of spirituality participate as equals.

What we are attempting:

In July this year we are organizing a tour of several European countries (France, Spain and maybe a couple more still to be decided) in order to take part in various international forums we have been invited to, where we will be able to show Cuba’s social and cultural reality, for the first time in many years, straight out of the hearts of the people of the Island and outside the official discourse of the Cuban government or international interests which seek to silence the people’s daily struggle for a better and more just world for ourselves and for humanity. For that we need your help.

What we need:

  • Visas, custom duties and air fare to France for two members of our collective: 3000 EUR.
  • Transportation for four people by land to three or four countries: 1000 EUR.
  • Room and board expenses for those four people in those countries for the 20 days the tour will last: 1000 EUR.

Why we ask:

We receive no financing from any government, official institution, or NGO. We don’t want it either, in order to safeguard our total independence and not be subordinate to any external agenda. Occasionally we get small donations from collectives and people close to our principles, unconditionally and with no strings attached. Our activity doesn’t generate profits of any kind rather it is the opposite.

It is also well known that with the Cuban median salary ($20 per month) it is impossible to cover the large expenses a trip like this incurs.

What we will give in return:

  • We don’t have material things to give in exchange, just our gratitude and good vibes.
  • For those who wish to make their names public, we’ll have a list of appreciated  donors in our website with the names of those people who helped make our effort real.
  • Also, if you will allow us, we will include your email addresses in our distribution list, so that you will receive the newsletters our collectives publish.
  • We will give you a recap of our trip, as well as a thorough report regarding the way donations have been spent.

Salud y Anarquia!

apoyoalobservatoriocritico – wordpress blog

Industrial dispute at Refresco-Gerber, Bridgwater, Somerset: Press release from Unite the Union. Support needed!

Please support this major strike in a Somerset manufacturing plant in any way you can. This is a David and Goliath struggle against a vicious multi-national company going all out to weaken or smash trade union organisation. Please share far and wide.

Don’t vote, picket!

Picture by Roy Winter

Press release from Unite the Union: Friday 13th March 2015
Angry strikers set to escalate dispute:

250 Bridgwater fruit-juice makers resolve to see out their David and Goliath struggle against foreign-owned company to bitter end

Picture by Roy Winter

Fifty Unite the Union demonstrators, a familiar sight at the Express Park roundabout at the north end of the Bristol Rd in Bridgwater for months now, were still in determined mood yesterday. This was their seventh 36-hour strike protest against plans by Refresco-Gerber to radically worsen pay and conditions at the factory, which produces household-name fruit juices. At least three more stoppages have been planned for the next two weeks. Unite the Union officer Roy Winter said:

“Our members contribute their working lives to this factory, which makes a handsome profit for Refresco-Gerber. Unfortunately, under new owners whose HQ is now in Rotterdam, those profits are not enough: the plan is to double or treble them at the expense of Unite members sick pay, shift allowances, pay protection. We are talking here of corporate greed, nothing more or less. Refresco-Gerber is making a bad mistake. There has been a recognised union organisation here for nearly fifty years: Unite the Union will not walk away from this dispute until the company agree an acceptable settlement.”

Picture by Roy Winter

Two mass meetings will be held on the 16th & 17th March to inform Unite members involved in the dispute of the latest negotiations.

Future 36-hour strikes are set for:

  • Wednesday /Thursday the 18th/19th March, 0645am to 1900pm;
  • Tuesday/Wednesday 24th/25th March, 0645am to 1900pm;
  • Wednesday/Thursday 1st /2nd April, 0645am to 1900pm.

Trades unionists are welcome at picket lines, key times are 7am/7pm. For further information please contact Roy Winter on 07720 705078 roy.winter@unitetheunion.org

BEING LABELLED A WOMAN…

Re-blogged from irate

Being a feminist for me didn’t come from reading academic theory. It also didn’t come from a hatred of men. It just came about from being a woman in this society and not understanding the way I was treated on a day to day basis; from the casual sexism of school playgrounds to being ignored in meetings as an adult, talked over, patronised and put down. It may sound simplistic, even trivial, but living in a world where women are constantly undermined and under-represented, makes those everyday ‘soft sexisms’ really hard to bear. Often too difficult to prove, often too vague to explain, often too complex to tackle, but always extremely difficult to bear.

These everyday manifestations of a male dominated society are at the thin end of a large social wedge, where the majority of low paid exploited workers are women, where women still take on the majority of care and household responsibilities, one in four women will suffer from domestic violence and one in three are raped. We are bombarded with unhealthy images, which make us hate our own bodies; made to feel guilty for controlling our reproduction; dirty for enjoying sex; and perhaps worst of all, labelled hysterical or monstrous, when we demand our rights.

Faced with this, it’s all too easy to see women as the passive victims of society but in doing so we forget that throughout history women have actually been at the forefront of political struggle. We must not fall in to the trap of rendering women and women’s labour invisible. Whether it be the early trade unionists like the Match Girl Strikers of 1888, the suffragettes fighting for their right to vote, women demanding abortion provision, the Women Against Pit Closures, the Wages for Housework Campaign, the Grunwick Strikers and the more recent Gate Gourmet workers, time and time again women have heroically fought to improve their lives, often faced with the most difficult circumstances. The fight for women’s liberation is, and has always been, at the heart of the labour and anti-capitalist movements’ fight for a world in which we can all realise our true potential, living in a community in which power, wealth and opportunity are in the hands of the many not the few.

So what is the role now for feminists? Well for most women, it’s not enough simply to get more women to parliament, as New Labour has smugly delivered, or espouse rhetoric supporting increasing women’s representation, which even now the Tories have donned. Questions about whether or not we should wear high heels and how ‘to have it all’ (being a successful professional, perfect mother and style icon all at the same time) as important as they are, fail to fully deal with the reality of most women’s lives – not least that of the cleaner or nanny employed by these middle class women to ‘free’ them from household drudgery. Admittedly, it is a victory of some kind that this type of feminism is quite prominent in the media now (from columnists like Julie Birchell and Susan Moore to ‘pop’ politics books by the likes of Caitlin Moran and Kat Banyard) – signifying that it is no longer acceptable that issues arising from gender are completely silenced.

Yet we know that the career or liberal feminist outraged pursuit of legal equality is woefully inadequate. Different people have different access to (and indeed, some explicitly denied) these ‘human rights’. Popularism for these feminists invariable means opportunism. More importantly, whatever value their otherwise often valid and accurate analysis has to offer, is tragically diminished by their illusions in ‘tinkering’ around the edges of society’s structures, changing laws; reforming capitalism to included women. And of course, what this in the end becomes, is to fight to include white middle class women, who indeed are still oppressed in relation to their male counter-parts, in to the system. Why can’t they be rich and powerful too?

This is not to say that engaging in these reformist campaigns are superfluous, when, in fact, they impact greatly on our lives. Only, lessons of the Women’s Liberation Movement, have shed light on the tendency of certain ‘feminists’ to silence difference through their ‘universalising’ narrative. A story based on their own unrepresentative experience. The ones who get to speak on behalf of us all. To be ‘heard’ loudly and clearly – becoming the columnists, academics, lawyers, journalists (and so forth) – as the establishment accepts them more readily because in many ways they are from the establishment (or at least less of a threat). Feminism in this light becomes alienating and excluding for anyone who can not relate, or indeed have diametrically opposing interests, to this middle class white privilege.

Of course the conditions created by capitalism create and utilise a myriad of complicated oppressions which divide us. Oppression and exploitation are linked in a whole host of ways – there is always something of the idealogical in exploitation and something material in oppression. Arguably capitalism did not just inherit systems of oppression from previous societies but that these systems have actually helped to shape its social manifestation. As a result we socially and personally negotiate complex and unique identities. There is a constant struggle between being defined and defining ourselves. It seems crucial that these processes are engaged with and that we all need to reflect – consciously, sensitively, individually and collectively – on both our own and other’s sense of self (and how we relate to each other). Diversity is a massive resource of our movement and yet it goes to waste as we often reproduce the crushing limitations that oppression inflicts on individual lives.

On the other-hand we want to resist fetishing and exotising difference by creating mysterious unknowable others. Not only can become very unhelpful but is often leads to pointless (in my opinion) competitions about who is more oppressed. Most importantly of all, we need to understand our society in order to change it. Understand what drives these oppressions; what drives everything. It is Marxism that offers us not just a ‘critique’ of the material reality but more importantly a future. A way forward beyond lifestyle individualism.

We need a type of feminism which is able to address the conditions in which the majority of women live. One that is able to take account of the multiple different oppressions people experience (from race to disability to gender to sexuality and so on) and represent our multiple identities. One that goes beyond a, far too often limited, critique of patriarchy but has the capacity to imagine and create a fundamentally different society. It is becoming increasingly clear to many, that we need revolution not reform and only an anti-capitalist intersectional feminist movement will be able to truly deliver.

An open letter to John Harris, photographer, from a participant in the Radical Workers’ Bloc at Tolpuddle.

We would like to point out that these comments are in no way related to John Harris Photography of Norwich.
Stick with horses head handle
Background

Those who were at last year’s Tolpuddle Martyrs’ Festival may recall an attack on the Radical Workers’ Bloc stall. The RWB is an annual celebration of class struggle anarchism focussing on Sunday’s march. For the past two years a collective of libertarian groups has manned a stall acting as a meeting point and a distro for literature and other items for which we will accept donations in the hope of covering our costs. We don’t actually sell anything ourselves although we’ve carried stock for our comrades of Freedom Books, Hunt Saboteurs Association, Anti Fascist Network and Solidarity Federation, the proceeds from which went directly to those bodies.

Insofar as any transaction takes place, it is between the bloc’s supporters and South West TUC who provide us with a pitch for sixty of your English pounds (debt tokens, beer vouchers, symbols of the state’s monopoly on coercive force or whatever you conceive money to represent). That pic of Lesley Boulton at Orgreave has been widely shared on this 30th anniversary of the Miners’ Strike; it’s all over the Internet, in all forms from thumbnail to posterised to high definition. Anyone can click ‘print’ ‘save’ ‘share’ or ‘retweet’ on one of these images, and countless thousands do. We had a couple of them on display though we couldn’t say for sure whether any changed hands. Imagine our (W.S.) astonishment when the following message was received through our contact form:

Name: John Harris
Email: info@reportdigital.co.uk
Comment: If I catch you selling or using my pictures from Orgreave without my permission I will be after you! Pastpixels & OTJC have my permission.
Unlike some we do not have a private income & have to earn money to reproduce ourselves so my family can eat & we can carry on taking pictures
I hope that is something you can understand!
Thanks
John Harris/reportdigital.co.uk

Here, a comrade who was present on the day, but did not witness the incident, makes reply:

“John Harris, you’re coming after us are you? Come on then. Your arrogance verges on self-parody, with your exclamation marks – are you stamping your little feet? You’ve provoked us with some hostile language but sadly there are no words in the English language rude enough to express our contempt for you. Were you ever a protagonist in the class war, or just a tourist? We have within our ranks photojournalists who have risked life and limb to document social struggles the world over, not just to make money. Whatever you may or may not have achieved in your life you have just pissed all over it.

The field of Orgreave, on which working class heroes shed their blood, and the near-execution of a fellow photographer, provided you with the photo opportunity on which you have been dining out for three decades. Those workers fought to reproduce themselves and feed their families, and many have struggled to do so ever since, whilst you have made – who knows? Enough to show for a day’s work?

On the 30th anniversary of that great conflict, you stand, not facing the enemy, but facing your own Class petulantly demanding your royalties. You are the living embodiment of the self-serving moral bankruptcy that defeated the 20th century left.

As to your puerile threat, we fervently hope you mean it, but we suspect what you actually intend to do is invoke the bourgeois concept of litigation in defence of the bourgeois concept of property.

John Harris, do your worst, win, lose or draw the actual working class doesn’t give an actual fuck.”

– Jo Gonmush.

France: Migrants, Asylum Seekers Abused and Destitute.

Investigate Reports of Police Abuse in Calais, Provide Shelter.

Read full article on Human rights watch. Francais

A group of Iranian migrants and asylum seekers keeping warm in a camp in Calais in November, 2014.© 2014 Human Rights Watch

(Paris) – Asylum seekers and migrants living in destitution in the port city of Calais experience harassment and abuse at the hands of French police, Human Rights Watch said today. The abuses described to Human Rights Watch include beatings and attacks with pepper spray as the migrants and asylum seekers walked in the street or hid in trucks in the hope of traveling to the United Kingdom.

Several thousand asylum seekers and migrants, most from Sudan, Eritrea, and Ethiopia, are living in makeshift camps or in the streets in Calais. Some said that their treatment by police, a lack of housing for asylum seekers, and delays in the French asylum system had deterred them from seeking asylum in France.

“Asylum seekers and migrants shouldn’t have to face police violence in France, and no one who applies for asylum should be left to live in the street,” said Izza Leghtas, Western Europe researcher at Human Rights Watch. “Providing adequate reception conditions and humane treatment for asylum seekers isn’t only a matter of meeting legal obligations, it is also the right thing to do to help end the limbo for many asylum seekers in Calais.” More.

For better working conditions in Amazon!

Support the struggle of workers at two Amazon fulfillment centers in Poland for better working conditions!
sad_amazonAs the Amazon workers in UK, France and Germany have organized themselves and have even gone on strike, Amazon decided it would be profitable for them to find a cheaper workforce, more desperate for employment. They opened two centers in Poland, where the wages are only a quarter of those in Germany. The warehouse mostly services orders for other countries, especially Germany.

The working conditions are even worse than in other countries. Not only the low pay and long hours. Some Amazon workers, especially those hired by agencies, complain of a number of problems including late payments, incorrect payments, not having the mandatory health insurance payments, etc. etc. There is also the matter of workers in one center having a higher rate than in the other.

Click here to send a message to the exploiter.

Anarchist comrade Monica Caballero on Operation Pandora from Brieva prison (Spain)

mcFrom Anarchist News

If I were to choose a different life I would not change it for anything.

I vividly remember the intoxicating feeling that came over me when I began to question authority; I remember the many contradictions and questions. In this discovery of ideas I found many people that made their ideas into practical material in their libraries, publications, social centres, etc. … in their everyday life … they lived their lives in the here and now. It did not take long for me to want to do the same.

I remember the anxiety I felt when I heard there were comrades imprisoned for putting their ideas of freedom into practise; sisters of ideas in all corners of the world in the jaws of the panoptic beast. That distressing feeling never changed, but is accompanied by gestures of solidarity.

We are many; the anarchists on the other side of the wall, and after Tuesday December 16 our numbers have grown.

The tentacles of power dropped into anarchists´ spaces, libertarian social centres, a squatted house and homes of several anarchists in Catalonia and Madrid. The hunt captured eleven companions, of these, seven have been kept in prison, accused of belonging to an armed group of a terrorist nature. It is no coincidence that comrades arrested are part of my immediate circle; indeed, more than half of them frequently visited me in jail. The judicial hammer has punished solidarity.

I cannot keep silent before such misery, the State´s repressive revenge borders on delirium. The media (spokesmen for the rulers) talks about bosses and subordinates, I stress to them and anyone who harbours any doubts – we are anti-authoritarian, no one is above me, nor am I above anyone!

The spaces attacked in Catalonia, were not arbitrary, firstly, the Kasa de la Muntanya is an important symbol of the squatting movement, and with its 25 years distanced from capitalist logic they have made their contribution to many generations of dissidents to this system of terror. The libertarian social centres and anarchists spaces that were attacked never hid their ideals, providing fertile ground for sowing the seeds of freedom.

The costs in this struggle for the recovery of our lives are very high, nobody said it would be easy, but undoubtedly if I were to choose a different life I would not change it for anything. In this fight against domination no cages or walls can silence our voices, but without you, comrades, our voices are transformed in echoes.

If you, my recently jailed comrades, are ever able to read these words, I tell you that I’m certain you will remain incorruptible and rise to the occasion as you always have.

I remember every time I read or heard “solidarity is a necessary weapon for anarchists”. Today I hope that those memories come true … making our ideas action.

Brieva prison, December 2014.

Spanish State – Operation Pandora: Democracy imprisons 7 more anarchists

Re-blogged from Bristol Anarchist Bookfair.

Recent years have seen growing, militant and popular anarchist movements across Spain. Unsurprisingly these have been met with state repression – attacks on protests & assemblies, arrests, beatings, imprisonment – but movements have continued to flourish. Mired in corruption and economic chaos, the Spanish state has recently moved to introduce a new law, the ‘Gag Law’, or Ley Mordaza, to clampdown further on opposition. It was no surprise then when on 16 December mass raids on homes and anarchist spaces were carried out, leading to at least 4 anarchists on bail and 7 on remand. The response of anarchists, other radicals and indeed non-radicals was immediate, as a series of protests & actions have occured daily ever since. The twitter hashtag #YoTambienSoyAnarquista (I too am an anarchist) has achieved mass circulation. The article below is one of many such statements of solidarity & struggle, and comes from the Iberian Federation of Libertarian Youth (Federación Ibérica de Juventudes Libertarias – FIJL), a Spanish anarchist organisation that pre-dates the Spanish Civil War of 1936-39. You can read here the Spanish original, and here the original English translation. Details of a Spanish solidarity fund/bank account are here.

Spanish State – Operation Pandora: Democracy imprisons 7 more anarchists

On December 16, Operation Pandora was unleashed. The State’s security forces burst into different houses and squats in Barcelona and Madrid, and eleven anarchist comrades were kidnapped.

NiInocentesThis kidnapping—and it couldn’t have been done any other way—was coordinated with the media, who helped justify and legitimate it with heart and soul, spreading the news that the police had carried out an operation against international anarchist terrorism. This kidnapping of eleven comrades set off a multitude of rallies and demonstrations that same day in different cities—Madrid, Barcelona, Seville, and Zaragoza, for example—thousands of people coming out in solidarity with the kidnapped comrades and showing rage and hatred towards the State’s new repressive operation against the libertarian movement.

Two days later, on December 18, the news came to light that Judge Javier Gómez Bermúdez, with an ample repressive history behind him, ordered pretrial detention without bail for seven of the eleven comrades, in so doing giving greater media and political justification for the repressive campaign. We have to remember that this new repressive operation is closely related with the still-open repressive case against the anarchists Mónica and Francisco, who have already spent a year in pretrial custody, in isolation, and to remember that the torturer Javier Gómez Bermúdez was also responsible for imprisoning those comrades.

Zaragoza

The persecutor Javier Gómez Bermúdez justifies the pretrial detention of these seven comrades with such compelling reasons as “there are indications that support the hypothesis that they are part of coordinated anarchist groups with terrorist ends” and that “they seriously upset the public peace.” However, as anarchists, we are not going to play the game the System imposes on us, the game of concepts, assessments, guilt, innocence or “investigation” processes; as anarchists, we recognize neither their Justice, nor their Law, nor, of course, their Public Peace; not only do we not recognize them, but we fight them and we declare war on them without quarter. We’re not concerned with what our kidnapped comrades did or didn’t do or say; we don’t recognize the categories of “innocent” or “guilty” imposed by the System, categories that only make sense when recognizing and legitimizing the Law and the Judicial System.

It seems that, in the police searches, numerous copies of a book called “Against Democracy” [“Contra la democracia”] were found. This book attempts to provide tools of reflection and debate for those who oppose democracy, that mythicized and deified system that we are all obligated to venerate and defend, given that if we don’t, we run the risk of ending up with our bones in the State’s dungeons. However, we know that democracy is precisely the following, the same story once again: repression and incarceration of all those who raise their heads and fight daily for the destruction of all Authority and the construction of a new world that works based on horizontality and mutual aid, in which all vestiges of Power have disappeared.

seeds

Democracy is, necessarily, prison, the police, pistols and bombs, wage labour, schools as centres of indoctrination and distortion, psychiatrists, merchandise, the Parliament, government and domination as a form of “organizing” society…; democracy is simply one more way that the State and Capital, the dominant minority, have of administering their system of oppression. It’s because of this that, as anarchists, we declare war against democracy and any other system of domination and Power; it’s because of this that we fight and will continue to fight the “public peace” mentioned by the torturer Javier Gómez Bermúdez, the public peace of jails, of wars, of unemployment, of wage and labour exploitation, of hunger, of misery, of evictions, of consumerism, of beaten and expelled migrants, of arrests and police torture, of the hundreds of women killed at the hands of machismo and patriarchy, of the representation of our lives in the hands of a minority by means of the vote and parliamentarianism, of that false life of cardboard and money whose goal is for us to forget and for us to accept our alienated, submissive, and empty lives.

It’s because of this that yesterday, today, and forever we will struggle day to day against the State, Capital and all forms of Authority, even if they are dressed up in the suit of democracy. It’s because of this that it is undeniably clear and certain to us that we will defend our kidnapped comrades with tooth and nail, that we will unleash that which always scares the State so much: anarchist solidarity, that is to say, mutual aid and direct action against the Enemy and its institutional tools and frameworks. This new repressive blow is not going to put the brakes on the struggle, but just the opposite: we will continue on the path we have set forth on, we will strengthen and organize ourselves even more so as to continue and magnify the everyday struggle against the system of oppression and domination that we suffer permanently and daily. We will construct a new world, where not a trace of Power remains, in which there will be neither dominators nor dominated, neither condemned nor persecutors, persecutors like Javier Gómez Bermúdez.

fijlINTERNATIONAL ANARCHIST SOLIDARITY!
FREEDOM FOR ANARCHISTS IN PRISON!
DEATH TO THE STATE AND LONG LIVE ANARCHY!

FIJL / Grupo Aullido Libertario / Nafarroako Gazte Anarkistak / Juventudes Libertarias de Mallorca / Juventudes Libertarias de Salamanca

AN OPEN LETTER – TO JD WETHERSPOON

This is going viral on social media, we have no connection with the author but thought it was worth sharing.

AN OPEN LETTER – TO JD WETHERSPOON

I have dined in your establishments many times but I write to inform you that I will never do so again and nor will any of my friends or family.

The reason for this is that my stepson has the misfortune to work in your Thomas Sheraton bar in Stockton and I am now aware of the basis upon which you operate and profit.

He is “employed” on a zero hours basis and earns barely enough to feed himself. Not long after joining your establishment he got into trouble with his rent due to the extremely low wages and was evicted from his home. I blame the basis of his employment with you for this. He now lives 2 miles away from your bar and is obliged to walk this distance to and from work as he does not earn enough to afford public transport. Yesterday my wife was obliged to buy him new shoes as he had worn holes in his existing ones. I think it is appalling that you do not provide your kitchen staff with appropriate footwear. If you feel that this communication is becoming a stream of negative comments then I urge you to read on as I have more to say. This 4 mile round trip trudge is sometimes made to attend a one hour shift. Unbelievable, a day’s work of just ONE HOUR. Furthermore, if he attends expecting a longer shift this is sometimes not the case as he is sent home if trade is slack. He, your employee takes all the risk, you the employer take none. You’ll note that I do not mention his name. This is for fear of reprisals. Before you scoff, let me tell you this: When he first joined you, after two months of working every single weekend he politely enquired if he might have a weekend off. He was given the weekend off but worked no other hours either. A genuine ZERO hours. This was clearly a reprisal and he has never asked for the weekend off again.

The only way he can survive on such grindingly low wages is by getting benefits top ups. In order to do this he must provide pay slips which you do not provide. He is obliged to download them and print them himself and given that he will never be able to afford a computer and printer so long as he works for you, he must go to the library. I put it to you that it takes him more effort to work for you for a pittance than it does me to fulfill a full time job.

Clearly your business model requires that the public purse subsidise your employee’s wages. This to my mind makes your firm and others like you one of the benefit scroungers we hear so much about these days.

Yours sincerely
STEVE THOMPSON

Leave a review on the Sheraton’s Farcebook page:

We will fight against exploitation in Amazon! from ZSP union.

amazondzwig10.5 hour shifts, one 30 minute unpaid break for lunch. Barely enough time to get to the canteen, eat something quick and get back to work. Not to mention that the food isn’t fresh. Half the time we work in the night, from 18:30-5 AM. Many of us travel more than one hour to work. Our bodies cannot adjust to the changing shifts. We miss spending the evenings with our families. We treat this job as something we are stuck with until something better comes along. Almost any job is better.

Work in the fulfillment center is stressful, we are always monitored. There is a lot of physical work. We are exhausted in the first few hours. We cannot take a break to rest our feet. When we get home, we can only collapse.

For all our hard work in the evenings and even on Sunday, we get no extra pay. Workers in Sady get paid more than workers in Bielany Wroclawskie for the same job.

In some countries, workers get more money for the evening shift and two paid 15-minute breaks. Not in Poland.

A lot of colleagues say the same: they thought they would have opportunities to work more, overtime, extra pay for night shifts. They feel misled by the agencies that recruited them. Nobody told anybody what the work would really look like. Some people might not have taken the job. A lot of us have no other choice.

There is a total mess with the payments. One colleague is not in the system and can’t get paid. Others claim they received too little payment. There are delays. People do not understand why their salaries are so low.

Some of our colleagues already quit and a lot where just hired til the end of the year. Some of us will stay on here, hoping that things will get better. But nothing will change if we let the bosses treat us like slaves. In Germany workers make 4 times more money for the same job and they still fight for better working conditions. We are being used to increase the profits of a company that earns enough to pay their workers decent wages.

ZSP union has taken action concerning payments through Manpower and Adecco. We will fight so that agency workers and better informed and paid correctly and on time!

In the long term, we want to see better working conditions in Amazon Poland and this means concretely a higher rate for evening and Sunday work, no pay discrimination and paid breaks.

Contact

Fair play for Mike Haney! Communications blockade of Gwalia housing association.

Mike Haney has worked for Gwalia, a large housing association for 8 years, in July 2013 they changed his workplace without any consultation, increasing his annual mileage to and from work by 3,525 miles. In addition to fuel and vehicle maintenance costs he incurred extra insurance premiums. Gwalia have since cut Mike’s salary by £300 per month, making it financially impossible for him to continue. Mike has volunteered for redundancy but is being refused.

Mike has resorted to camping outside his work place at Brecon House, Llantarnam Industrial Park Cwmbran. Np44 3AB. Phone: 01633 833540 He’s camping out 22nd 23rd 29th & 30th Dec, then from 5th Jan he’s there from Monday-Thursday for as long as it takes!

Please support Mike Haney by contacting Gwalia Hierarchy telling them to give him redundancy he deserves otherwise the fight goes on! He’s on his own but with plenty of fighting spirit.

If you would like to go and support Mike in person get in touch first (as he might be working). We will will pass on any messages of support and solidarity to him.

Here’s Mike’s statement:

I have worked for Gwalia for 8 years.

Two years ago I took out a mortgage. I could afford this based on my salary at that time. I could not have anticipated a cut in salary as Gwalia had stated in their 2012 corporate report that they had increased surplus and that their finances were robust. Indeed they had factored in yearly wage rises.

In July 2013 they changed my workplace without any consultation. This increased my annual mileage to and from work by 3525 miles. It also put me over my insurance mileage limit and so incurred me further costs.

Increasing cost of living was also taking its toll, but by cutting back on every possible expense I was continuing to keep a roof over my head. Gwalia have now cut my salary by £300 per month.

There is no living expense I can cut now, except my home to work mileage. I now have no alternative but to pitch a tent outside the office premises during the working week.

Gwalia directors have shown complete contempt for my situation. I volunteered for redundancy but was refused. I believe that this was a deliberate effort by Gwalia to force me to leave the company with no recompense for the years of service and contribution to the company’s reputation that I have given.

The constant changes within my terms and conditions and pay means that I am being forced to leave my job. However, if I resign and cannot obtain immediate employment, then I am unable to either claim any benefits or claim on my mortgage protection. Hence my current situation.

Ironically I was a key member of a group who raised money for rough sleeper kits, including sleeping rough on one of the coldest nights of 2014. Gwalia were happy to make the most of the publicity this generated.

Update to Bristol Solidarity Network action and communications blockade against rogue landlord.

BIG UPDATE 28/12/14: From Bristol Solidarity Network:
CEA have had enough, and have notified the landlord and the tenants that they have quit managing the property. We have called off a second picket and communications blockade of their offices, pending further confirmation. They have put the tenant in direct contact with the absentee landlord, watch this space for more information on how the landlord plans to handle things!

Rotting House, Rotten Landlord

The first protesters arrived outside CEA at 10am

On Monday 22nd December, 20 members and friends of Bristol Solidarity Network demonstrated at the offices of Central Estate Agents in Bristol. There was a great deal of interest and support for the picket from passers by, many of whom said they would tell others about the situation. This marks the beginning of a campaign to expose CEA’s shocking neglect and threats against tenants of a house in Easton, which will continue with a second demonstration on Friday the 2nd Of January.

CEA “manages” this property for an absentee landlord last seen by the tenants in 2007. The house is in an appalling state of disrepair, with a seriously leaky roof, huge cracks in walls and ceilings, broken doors, rotting window frames and intolerable mould, cold and damp. Four family members, including three children, have developed asthma as a result of these conditions they have been forced to live in by CEA and the landlord’s neglect. They are understandably angry.

CEA and the landlord they work for have consistently dodged their responsibilities and ignored the tenants’ repeated requests to carry out the necessary repairs. Even ignoring a legally binding improvement notice issued by Bristol City Council. The very few repairs that have been done have been cosmetic, minimal and ineffective. Unbelievably, the council claim they are satisfied the repairs have been done, without even examining the roof! We offered them a ladder so they could see the extent of the disrepair but they declined. Their “investigation” was clearly just about how they could shirk any responsibility or involvement. As is often the case, the tenants are very unlikely to get help from the council. Luckily, our boxes are not so easily ticked and we are not so easily brushed aside.

Protest against delapidated housing, Bristol, UK 22/12/14

On Monday 8th December Bristol Solidarity Network members accompanied one of the tenants to the offices of CEA to deliver a letter demanding the necessary repairs be done. Two days later Jabar Mohammed of CEA responded, not by agreeing to do the right thing and start the repairs, but by threatening the family with eviction. We will not allow this absentee landlord and his agents to bully a family out of their home just for wanting to live in decent conditions. This family are prepared to stand up against this shameful bad practice, and Bristol Solidarity Network will fight alongside them until we win. We know this family is not alone and this is part of a larger struggle for decent homes for people – rather than ever higher profits for landlords.

CEA have a clear list of the much needed repairs. We will not stop and the pressure will increase until these repairs are done. It seems they won’t listen to tenants or appeals to do the right thing. Let’s see if they’ll take notice of a high profile campaign to affect their profits. Money talks after all.

One of our next steps will be a demonstration at the offices of CEA on Friday January 2nd at 2pm: Central Estate Agents, 52-54 Gloucester Road, Bishopston, Bristol BS7 8BH. (Facebook).

At the same time, throughout the day on Friday January 2nd, we are calling for a communications blockade to give everyone a chance to let CEA know what they think.
If you can’t join the demonstration, please contact them to let them know what you think. Here are the company’s contact details:

Tel: 0117 98 92 150
Fax: 0117 94 21 882
Email: info@ceahomes.co.uk

Not quite as pretty as the pictures CEA choose to display in their windows!

Message from Palestine Solidarity Campaign, Southampton Branch: Medical Aid for Palestinians.

You might like to learn about the amazing work that Medical Aid for Palestinians are doing on behalf of the people of Gaza. As you may be aware tens of thousands of people in Gaza are going to be homeless this winter, including newly orphaned children and bereaved families. Medical Aid for Palestinians are doing everything they can to try to provide them with the basics that they will need to at least get through the winter months such as blankets, food packages, mattresses, and hygiene kits. Would you like to help them reach a few more of the many thousands who are suffering? Maybe you’ll make a donation to their Gaza Winter Crisis Appeal (think of it as buying a Christmas present that you know someone definitely DOES need and want!) to help them to do just that:

Palestine Solidarity Campaign is not an aid organisation, but as a branch group we support the work of Medical Aid for Palestinians and have often donated a proportion of the proceeds of our annual sponsored walk to them. It would, however, be unsatisfactory to focus exclusively upon aid given that this is a man-made problem that can be resolved with sufficient political will. Medical Aid for Palestinians are also well aware of that and also try to promote awareness of what is happening and why. This point was also made by Norwegian doctor Mads Gilbert who was working in Gaza at the time of the mass bombing in the Summer. As Mads Gilbert has put it prevention is always better than cure in the area of public health, and so it would be irresponsible for him to not focus on the root causes of the problems faced by the people of Gaza.

Please consider joining Palestine Solidarity Campaign as an individual member. Even if you aren’t able to make it along to any of our local events this is still a powerful way of supporting our organisation at a national level and ensuring that we can continue to advocate on behalf of the long-suffering people of Palestine and advance their cause.

For a powerful interview with Mads Gilbert see:

For a brief summary of events of the past year by our Chairman Hugh Lanning and a link to our annual report see:

Southampton Palestine Solidarity Campaign

Website
Blog

Message from Barnet UNISON via Dorset Socialists.

Dear Colleagues

First of all I need to update everyone that we managed to hold on to our UNISON office and to our facility time. Tonight 63 Barnet Councillors are going to vote on the proposal to outsource 81% of the existing Council workforce. Our story has been covered in the Guardian by Aditya Chakrabortty: “Outsourced and unaccountable: this is the future of local government”

By the comments being left it is taking place across all of public services. BUT there are more and more shocking headlines emerging I have produced some of them below:

“Northamptonshire County Council reduce its workforce from 4,000 to 150 people in a bid to carve £148 million out of its budget within the next five years.”

Camden £73 million cuts

Cardiff council planning £32m cuts in 2015/16

Birmingham city council to axe thousands of jobs as part of ‘dire cuts’

Manchester facing £60m council cuts – while 20 areas in the south GAIN spending power

Funding crisis leaves Newcastle facing ‘impossible cuts’ and social unrest

Coventry City Council’s service cut plans ‘horrify’ residents

Leeds faces up to ‘brutal’ council cuts

Business leaders hear impact of £102 million council cuts

The makes it very clear that public services funding will be reduced to 1930’s levels. I have checked, there weren’t many public services in 1930’s, which does mean the end of local government. But it isn’t stopping a local government with 70% of NHS contracts already handed to the private sector.

Two weeks ago we submitted a joint Trades Dispute with the GMB in response to the mass outsourcing proposals. Today our branch submitted to our region a request for a formal industrial action ballot as this is the only response to the draconian proposals we are now facing. It is untenable not to mount a fight that is directed at our member’s Terms & Conditions, Pay and Pensions.

Some branches may be able fight battle alone but it is obvious this is a national matter which needs a national response and quickly.

Solidarity to all and good luck in your fights in 2015.

Best wishes
John Burgess
Branch Secretary, Barnet UNISON

DS members have been supporting the UNITE Defence Support Group picket lines at Bovington.

Message from Palestine Solidarity Campaign, Southampton Branch. ‘Open Bethlehem’ Film showing.

The film ‘Open Bethlehem’ is getting rave reviews from many of the people who have seen it. The film’s website give the following background to the making of the film:

“Film director Leila Sansour returns to Bethlehem to make a film about her home town, soon to be encircled by a wall. She left the city as a teenager thinking that Bethlehem was too small and provincial. She never wanted to return but this time she is making an exception. She intends her film to be a tribute to her late father, founder of Bethlehem University, and a man regarded as a hero by his town’s folk. As Bethlehem approaches ruin her decision to flee this sleepy town, taken much to her father’s regret, comes to haunt her.

Armed with her camera and a dilapidated family car that keeps breaking down, Leila plans to make an epic film about a legendary town in crisis but just few months into filming her life and the film take an unexpected turn when cousin Carol, Leila’s last relative in town, persuades her to stay to start a campaign to save the city.”

The film will be shown at the Harbour Lights Picturehouse in Southampton on Wednesday 4th February at 21.00, but only if we can get the necessary number of bookings for it – we currently need about thirty more. If you would like to see the film and to support a showing of it in Southampton please book here:

For further details about the film via the film’s web-site

Southampton Palestine Solidarity Campaign

Website
Blog

South African farm workers need your help!

Visit CSAAWU siteThe CSAAWU is the only thing standing between these workers and ruthless exploitation, they need and deserve the support of every worker throughout the world, please contribute to their fund, share their appeal and publicise their situation. They are not so far away, you’ve probably eaten something they grew, picked or shipped. Our class, our future.

Facebook page.

Click here to contribute.

Click here to contribute.

In the coming months CSAAWU may be forced to close its doors.

CSAAWU made a decision to defend all farmworkers who were dismissed or victimized in the aftermath of the 2012/3 farmworker rebellion. Amongst CSAAWU members alone, there were close to 100 dismissal cases. CSAAWU went as far as to take dismissal cases to the Labour Court, representing farmworkers in the Court for the first time since since 1994.

The Labour Court issued devastating judgments against the dismissed workers and CSAAWU. The judgment rebuked individual union officials for supporting the strike, deeming this reckless and irresponsible behavior. Cost orders were awarded against the union with the loss of two cases. While CSAAWU paid a high price for its position to support the struggle of farmworkers, we believe that it can never be wrong for a union to support the strike action workers, especially the most vulnerable workers, when they stand up against their exploitative conditions.

It would be a devastating defeat for CSAAWU members and farmworkers in South Africa for many years to come if CSAAWU can’t be saved! However, once we pay off the cost orders, we will be stronger than ever! Please read more about the struggles of farmworkers in the Western Cape, and consider contributing to our cause.

AMANDLA! VIVA CSAAWU, VIVA!

Campaign Statement:

In 2012/2013, farm workers and dwellers undertook a historic rebellion. It was more than a labour dispute for higher wages – it was a spontaneous rural rebellion driven by workers and communities against the brutal conditions the rural working class are forced to suffer everyday, even 20 years after so-called democracy. The ANC government has failed to transform the rural landscape characterised by dependency master-slave relations, racism, sexism, starvation wages and violations of the limited freedoms won from decades of working class struggle. Farmworkers are forced to work under unsafe and unhealthy conditions, to drink dirty water, live without electricity, live without toilet facilities, on poverty wages, suffer threats of evictions, and violent physical and verbal abuse and intimidation for enacting limited freedoms such as joining a trade union.

“Why do the horses enjoy clean water and we must drink dirty water? Why do the pigs’ living quarters have electricity and we are without?”

ROBERTSON FARM WORKER

Visit CSAAWU Site.

Wessex welcomes new IWW Dorset branch!

iwwlogo DORSETgreenIndustrial Workers of the World Dorset group is in the process of chartering as a branch in its own right, having operated for several years under the auspices of Bristol General Members’ Branch. The paperwork’s all done we’re just waiting for the formalities and should be fully operational in the new year.

The IWW is a certified union and can represent you at work, but unlike the TUC unions we’re not shy of direct action and don’t have to pretend we’re all on the same side, we’re not bothered about getting Labour elected and none of us has any ambition to sit in the house of lords! Follow the logo to the side of the page.

– Cindy Callist.

AUTUMN 2014 RESISTANCE #157 is out.

Paper of the Anarchist Federation. We don’t always get round to sharing but back issues can be had Here.

ANGRY WOMEN WIN, SPECIAL ISSUE: Ireland and Spain abortion struggles, Legal battles, Gender and Factory Resistance in China, Women & LGBTQIA in Ukraine, Free Women of Spain – Mujeres Libres 1930s. Sexual harassment at work, Transgender tipping point, Angry Women of Liverpool, Single mothers fight social cleansing in East London. 12 pages. Download RESISTANCE bulletin issue #157 Autumn 2014

“Flood the Embassy – Justice for Michael Brown – Darren Wilson is GUILTY” London Black Revs 26th November 2014

lbrs

IWW Convention Statement on Solidarity with Ferguson

This motion was passed at the Industrial Workers of the World’s 2014 General Convention in Chicago

September 1, 2014

Motion for Solidarity with Ferguson

Whereas the IWW has historically operated in opposition to white supremacy and its relationship to capital, class, exploitation of fellow workers,

And whereas the residents of Ferguson, Missouri are openly defying white supremacy,

And whereas capitalism and white supremacy have conspired to construct a social reality which values private property above the lives of Black people,

And whereas these systems operate in a fashion which seeks to dehumanize rather than empower our fellow workers through tactics of economic, physical, psychological violence,

And whereas the residents of Ferguson have a longstanding history of oppression, disenfranchisement, marginalization due to intersecting mechanisms of economic and racial
control, And whereas the economic and social structures which simultaneously exploit and oppress all fellow workers also finance the technological advancement and surplus of military equipment deployed against the people of Ferguson,

Be it resolved that the Industrial Workers of the World stand in solidarity with the oppressed and exploited residents of Ferguson currently enduring a militarized denial of basic human dignity,

Be it further resolved that the IWW supports industrial action to combat oppression and spread the struggle, such as taken by UPS workers in Minneapolis, and commits to support and organize similar action in the future.

Message from the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, Southampton Branch.

Dear All,

I’m sure that we will have all been shocked and alarmed to learn about the murders of Rabbi Moshe Twersky, 59, Rabbi Aryeh Kupinsky, 43, Rabbi Avraham Shmuel Goldberg, 68, Rabbi Kalman Zeev Levine, 55, and Zidan Nahad Seif, 30, last Tuesday. Any act of violence, especially one against civilians, marks a profound failure of human imagination and causes a deep and abiding trauma for all involved. Such actions only harm the Palestinian cause and so as Palestinian rights activists we have condemn them for that reason too.

However, what has sadly yet predictably been absent from the main-stream media’s reporting of this issue is the context withing which these events occurred – the on-going oppression, humiliation, kidnapping, torture and killing of Palestinians which are rendered invisible by a media which seems to regard such events as not news-worthy. What have we hear about the 14 year old Palestinian American Orwah Hammas, or 21 year old Mohammed Jawabreh both shot and killed recently by the Israeli military? Or 22 year old Khayr al-Din al-Hamdan, a Palestinian citizen of Israel killed by the police? Sadly, such non-reporting of Palestinian deaths is almost too commonplace to be noteworthy.

But perhaps most serious of all is the main-stream media’s non-reporting of the arrest, detention, and torture of Palestinian non-violent protesters. Take the case of Abdallah Abu Rahma. Rahma is a leader of the Bilin Popular Committee, which, since 2005, has led unarmed protests against the separation barrier that cuts the West Bank village off from 50 percent of its land. “In Bilin,” Rahma wrote in a 2010 letter, “we have chosen another way. We have chosen to protest nonviolently together with Israeli and international supporters. We have chosen to carry a message of hope and real partnership between Palestinians and Israelis in the face of oppression and injustice.” Rahma’s wife smuggled the letter out of the jail where he was serving a year-long sentence for “incitement” and organising “illegal demonstrations.” Under Military Order 101, which Israel issued when it took over the West Bank in 1967, an “illegal demonstration” is any gathering of 10 or more Palestinians that involves “a political matter or one liable to be interpreted as political.”

Rahma’s case is not unusual. In 2011, Bassem Tamimi was convicted under Military Order 101 for leading illegal protests in the village of Nabi Saleh, which has seen much of its land handed over to the neighboring settlement of Halamish. Many Palestinians were inspired by Obama’s speech in Cairo in June 2009 in which he referenced Gandhi and Martin Luther King to engage in non-violent direct action against illegal Israeli encroachments on their land and were injured and sometimes killed as a result.

Non-violent protest *is and has always been* the main form of Palestinian resistance to the on-going oppression and dispossession that they experience, but is rendered ineffective as a tool of political change by a main-stream media who simply declines to report on it.

Which is why those within the main-stream media who condemn the murders of Moshe Twersky, Aryeh Kupinsky, Avraham Shmuel Goldberg, Kalman Zeev Levine, and Zidan Nahad Seif really need to take a look in the mirror. Because *by failing to report on and honour the courage and sacrifice of Palestinian non-violent protesters they themselves have created the conditions in which violent protest comes to be seen (by some) as the only viable and effective form of protest possible.*

As some of you will know I regard campaigning against the selective and biased reporting of this issue as a major campaign objective. Because it is just so obvious and self-evident how distorted people’s perception of this issue becomes when, outside of the major bombing campaigns, they are only hearing about Israeli fatalities.

Yours sincerely,

Adam Waterhouse, Branch Secretary – Southampton Palestine Solidarity Campaign Website Blog

For statistics compiled by Alison Weir on relative fatalities and other
important figures see her web-site ‘If American’s Knew’

An article by Jeff Halper of the Israeli Committee Against House
Demolitions

One Commercial Street, One Door For All! Every Wednesday 6-7 p.m. until they give in.

The Lucy Parsons banner.

The Lucy Parsons banner.

As the gentrification and Class/ethnic cleansing of London proceeds apace the people have drawn the line at No 1 Commercial Street. There are weekly pickets at the socially-segregated building in Whitechapel, traditionally a working class stronghold and the spiritual home of London’s Anarchist movement, just a few doors from Freedom Books.

Social apartheid.

The front door, which resembles a swanky hotel lobby, only serves part of the building. Planning regulations require the developers to grudgingly include ‘affordable housing’ on their sites, knowing full well that few of those who actually make this city work could ever afford to buy a flat in London. Tenants of the 70 ‘social plots’ at no 1 are required to enter through the Poor Door, located down a dingy piss-stained alley; they have separate lifts, which are out of order for days on end.

“ONE ICONIC BUILDING One Commercial Street towers twenty-one storeys above Aldgate East like a blade of light, its glass fin protruding dramatically to add a sculptural quality to Redrow London’s first flagship development.” The developers’ website slobbers.

A three bedroom flat here will set you back over four million quid. The sign in the lobby says: “The concierge is available 24 hours per day. Should you wish to contact the concierge by phone or we are away from the desk, please phone: Mob: 07872108385 Landline: 020 7247 0464″

Please be polite.

“This is the Alamo for the working class of East London, if people put up with ‘one door for the rich, another door for the poor,’ they’ll put up with fucking anything. If there’s ever been an issue that people should stand up and be counted on, it’s this disgrace.” – Ian Bone.

Redrow goes on:

“this development bridges the gap between the square mile and London’s exciting East end”

– Every Wednesday for the past fourteen weeks, Class War and allies have been making the East End a bit more exciting for the toffs and swankers who get to use this door:

Poordoors3a

Deep blue apartments offer short stays in the flats to corporate sharks working in the City of London, starting at £170 a night for a studio flat about the size of a prison cell. Their website boasts:

“the ideal location in an up and coming trendy area, … right in the heart of the fashionable East End of London … Around the corner, you’ll find the creative hubs of Hoxton, Whitechapel and Shoreditch”

– masturbate furiously!

Poordoorsa

” The ideal base to return to after a hard day’s work,”

– stripping assets, cutting wages and foreclosing on poor people’s houses, presumably.

Saturday’s action, coming after the TUC’s festival of irrelevance ‘Britain needs a pay rise’ – emphasising the point that the business unions only represent those who get paid in the first place – was joined by anarchists, socialists and wobblies from across the country. North East Anarchists brought the Durham Miners’ banner, Cosmo entertained the troops, drummers drummed – sorry didn’t get their name – the Women’s Death Brigade did the okey-cokey, and blocked the road as well as the entrance, not a single toff did pass for over an hour.

Poordoors

Redrow’s operating review and financial review for 2014 are full of praise for government policy and reveal that they are making money hand over fist:

redrow

Enquiries:

Steve Morgan, Chairman 01244 527411
Barbara Richmond, Group Finance Director 01244 527411
John Tutte, Group Chief Executive 01244 527411

STICK A ROCKET UP BORIS JOHNSON’S ARSE – NOVEMBER 5th

cwnov5 (1)

If you can get to One Commercial Street on a Wednesday evening please come along and support this campaign: farcebook event

If you can’t here’s a list and map of Redrow’s developments in England and Wales, and if you’re aware of any development in your area using Poor Doors, tell us about it. Let’s spread this battle until we win it!

While we’re at it, why not come to Bridport and give ‘Evil Oliver’ Letwin a bollocking on the 8th November.

Localise the resistance!

Support the Anti-Fascist 3 Fundraiser, Oxford 24th October.

AF3Three Anti-Fascists with stories to tell about their experiences confronting fascists in Oxford, London, and Brighton. Two arrests and one set of smashed teeth Facebook event.

Help us raise funds for the fight against fascism – medical fees and court costs! Taking place on Turl Street (if raining, alternate venue).

To break out of the conventional academic format that often replicates the alienation and boredom students feel in classrooms, our edu-art performance will take place on the public streets.

** For legal reasons, we have been advised to be intentionally vague about the fundraising as the aim of the court’s fining system is to cause hardship and the courts have had a history of fining higher if they know fundraising has occurred. Please come to the event to find out more ** Continue reading

Revolution will win in Kobanê! Statement of Revolutionary Anarchist Action-DAF

Untitled

Statement of Revolutionary Anarchist Action-DAF affiliated to International of Anarchist Federations

Published on Thursday, 09 October 2014 16:14

Our Comrades in Boydê Village Reports

It’s the 24th day of ISIS attacks on Kobanê. While people’s defending forces in all border villages are on human shield sentry for Kobanê against attacks, everyone, everywhere in the region we live, rised up not to let Kobanê fall.

We have been on human shield sentry for around three weeks in Boydê village west of Kobanê. In the last two days, explosions and sounds of clashes got intense in Kobanê’s outer districts and town center. During this period of intense clashes, military forces increased their attacks on human shield sentries at border villages. Soldiers of Turkish State has been attacking with gas bombs to those who approach the border from both sides, including the village that we are in, which was attacked on Tuesday. Soldiers also used live ammunition from time to time in their attacks and wounded people.

These attacks on border villages especially mean that ISIS forces are allowed passage through the border. Republic of Turkey’s support to ISIS is clearly visible here as it is there. Of course that’s not the only thing that is clear. We have learned that one of the ISIS leaders commanding the attack on Kobanê got killed by YPJ/YPG forces. Meanwhile clashes today are as intense as before and continued all day long. Sounds of clashes almost never stopped today. However now we know that explosions are made by YPJ/YPG forces. It’s reported that YPJ/YPG forces tactically emptied the streets of Kobanê at town center and ambushed ISIS, neutralizing them with successful tactics.

Everyone’s excited by what’s told at village meetings; one of them is ISIS’ fear of women guerillas. ISIS represents the state, the terror, the massacre and also the patriarchy of course. Because of their belief that they cannot be so-called “martyrs” when they get killed by a women guerilla, a YPJ fighter, they are scared of encountering YPJ forces. Because when they encounter them, the women who “fight” against them show no mercy to the ISIS lot. This is the freedom against patriarchy created by YPJ fighting.

The rebellion that rises in all of Kurdistan and all cities of Anatolia in the last two days, makes us feel the invincibility of organized people. These rebellions increase the confidence in revolution for everyone in Kobanê, in villages at Kobanê border, and in all of Rojava. Whenever a sister or brother falls, although we feel the sorrow, it intensifies everyone’s anger and power here. Requiems that start with hitting on knees turn into halay dance with feet kicking fast and strong enough to crack the earth. Thus our sorrow bursts into anger, fast and strong.

This is just what everyone needs here. For the freedom and revolution that’s craved, despite everything.

Long live the People’s Kobanê Resistance!

Long live the People’s Rojava Revolution!

Long live our Revolutionary Anarchist Action!

Revolutionary Anarchist Action-DAF

DAF_in_Kobanê_10

Victory for Dorset Health Campaign! Community rejects pathology privatisation.

The NHS will last as long as there are folk left with the faith to fight for it” – Aneurin Bevan.

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The people of Dorset have seen off the piratisation parasites and foiled attempts to flog off the Dorset county hospital’s pathology lab to private contractors out of the county.

Bridport Unite Community Branch performed ‘NHS versus capitalists’ street theatre outside Dorchester hospital ahead of its board meeting on Wednesday. Watch it on youtube

The directors caved in to the avalanche of public outrage over the profiteering scheme. Demonstrations have been taking place outside the hospital for a year and a petition gathered over 11,000 signatures. This is one up the shitter for ‘evil Oliver’ Letwin the bloodsucking M.P. for West Dorset whose manifestation is anticipated in Bridport next month.

Discussions began in July 2013 to sub-contract the service to South West Pathology Services in Taunton – See more:

In August, 24 Dorset G.P.s wrote to the Echo:

“The innovation of electronic reporting means we can receive a result in the late afternoon from a sample taken in the morning. This is great for patient care. There is no intention from local GPs to destabilise or undermine our local service by forcing competition and making a market where none is needed.”

In September a row erupted over a proposal to spend three and a half grand training the governors and appoint a spokesperson to stop them giving the game away to the media.

On Monday midwives at Dorset County Hospital will strike over an ‘insulting’ one percent pay rise. The Royal College of Midwives estimate that if their members, who rely on food banks to survive, began billing the NHS for the 13 hours of overtime they clock up on average over a few weeks, it would increase their pay packets by one percent anyway.

The NHS was built by the working class for the working class. Drugs and medical equipment are made by workers not capitalists. Cleaners, doctors, nurses, midwives, porters and technicians are workers. It belongs to us, it’s not a source of revenue for the socially useless. Keep your filthy grasping bourgeois hands off it!

Dorset Eye report

To celebrate, here’s a song about vampires:

How you can help Kobane.

YPJFrom the Facebook page The Middle Eastern Feminist

Friends/hevals, a large number of you are asking “how can we help Kobane?” I have compiled a list of things that you can do to help:

1- Be informed and keep up with the news. We do not recommend any of the Western sources as they are lagging in information release, and do not have the finer details. I recommend the following news sources:

http://en.firatajans.com/
http://pydrojava.net/eng/
http://en.xeber24.net/

2- The following Facebook pages are up to date on Kobane and post regularly: *You may need to be logged in to access them, WS*

https://www.facebook.com/rojavabreaking
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Kurdish-Resistance-Liberation/1480960568841619

3- If you are on Twitter I recommend a number of people who are informed and produce up to date, and often live news:

https://twitter.com/DefenseUnitsYPJ
https://twitter.com/DefenseUnits
https://twitter.com/ColdKurd
https://twitter.com/geehall1
https://twitter.com/reband_kurd
https://twitter.com/AJANSAMED
https://twitter.com/ArjDnn
https://twitter.com/MEasternfeminst (my own twitter)

Additionally, if some of us have some cash to spare I recommend this aid organization only. They are the official regional wide Kurdish organization operating in Europe. Their reach goes into all four Kurdish provinces including support for the people of Kobane:

http://www.heyvasor.com/en/alikari/

The most important thing is that you help us to highlight what is happening in Kobane. Please speak! Share information. Support the aid organization if you can spare some money. To speak is to resist! To speak is to be visible. To speak is to exist! and existing right now for the Kurds is resistance and a revolutionary act. Please stand with us in speaking about Kobane as much as you can.

Finally, learn about who the Kurds are. Learn about their plight and why they are in this situation. Learn about the genocide of the town of Halabja that was the target of Chemical attacks (my own family escaped being killed in Halabja by just an hour or so). Learn about the Anfal campaign against the Kurds. Learn about the oppressive nature of the regimes (Iran, Turkey, Iraq, Syria) in which the Kurds have been divided in, and the violent assimilation and ethnic cleansing policies of these regimes towards the Kurds, which has produced resistance movements such as the PKK. It would also be an immense help and of respect if you start recognizing, speaking and voicing the names of the different parts of Kurdistan and use the Kurdish names for the Kurdish cantons and provinces:

1-Rojava (Kurdish word for Sun-set is located in Syria, and is known as Western Kurdistan). This is where Kobane is located.

2- Roj-halat (Kurdish word for sun-rise is the Kurdish canton in Iran, and is known as Eastern Kurdistan)

3-Basur (pronounced ba-sh-ur, is the Kurdish word for South and is south of Kurdistan in northern Iraq). This is where I am from.

4-Bakur (is the Kurdish word for north and is northern Kurdistan in Turkey)

Thank you friends and feminists for standing in solidarity with us.

Press release from the Y.P.J.

YPJpr

Left events this Saturday: 4th October. Portsmouth and Dorchester.

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From the battle to keep common land to women campaigning for the vote, from mutinous sailors to the fight against racism, the past struggles of local people are a source of huge inspiration and interest. 

Portsmouth Socialist Network invites you to a day dedicated to the radical history of our city. Facebook event

Dorset Socialists meeting Saturday – CHAOS IN IRAQ: the bitter fruits of imperialism.

Saturday 4th October, 1.30pm at the Colliton Club (opposite County Hall), Dorchester.

“Iraq is in a mess, and the Western leaders, who have been in effective charge since the invasion of 2003, have no idea of what to do about it. A region of relative wealth and prosperity, with above average women’s rights for the region and minimal sectarian conflict has been turned into its polar opposite.

An admittedly repressive dictatorship has been replaced by a Shia regime which is entrenched in sectarianism and up to its neck in corruption. And all under the supposedly liberating Western occupation. The naked pursuit of oil profits has plunged the whole country into a crisis which threatens those very same petrochemical interests, and threatens to drag us all back to a boots on desert fighting was. A renewed war can only make matters worse.

Join us to discuss what is to be done.”
DS

Workfare exploiter fingered in Southbourne!

spyglass-and-kettleWord reaches us that the Spyglass and Kettle Stourwood Ave, Bournemouth, Southbourne, Dorset BH6 3PW Phone: 01202 424888 facebook uses workfare. A storm erupted on social media as a number of comrades called or messaged the establishment. Their responses have varied throughout the day, from:

“Unsure where you find your “facts” but they are ALL false”

And:

“We have only fully employed staff here, on full pay, no work exp, or workfare staff.”

To:

“The team members that we have within workfare are from the job centre who are on job seekers and do earn money each week from the job centre. I see nothing strange”

Which would seem to imply they support the principle of people being forced to work for benefits.

Then:

“We do use the scheme, but as the above comment states there is no abuse of it. 5 people have got full time jobs with us from this job centre scheme to give young people the chance to gain experience and confidence in the work place.”

So they’ve swallowed IDS’ story hook line and sinker, still unaware that workfare is a massive scam that as well as robbing workers of their livelihoods is costing the taxpayer millions. See Johnny Void’s blog for the gory details.

And:

“As I have already pointed out we claim not to be abusing the scheme, not that we have not been using the scheme, and they do get employed by us when they finish the scheme. Speak to the 5 staff we have employed.”

So they get some free labour then give ‘em a job when they have to, that’s nice.

Finally:

‘Ok, point taken, I don’t have any workfare people at the moment and won’t take any on in the future. Can I also suggest that you contact Apple who’s phones are all made in China using slave labour’.

Well of course we do support workers in struggle around the globe as you can see from our archives.

Here’s the point: if you need permanent staff and approach the Job Centre who send you unpaid placements, some of whom you subsequently employ you are doing us all (and them) no favours. The workfare industry gets paid for placing people whether they get a permanent job or not. If you could just get a job straightaway, there would be no profit in it for them. The last thing they want is unemployed people applying for jobs like these in the normal way and being taken on. So the poorest, most disadvantaged workers are supporting corporate entities that serve no one.

If they are serious about giving this up and have learned their lesson they could make amends by paying those staff the difference between their jobseekers allowance and what they should have earned in the first place, backdated to when they started work, as a gesture of goodwill to them and contrition to the working class as a whole.

Every business tainted by this loathsome scheme must be put under pressure until everyone who works receives decent compensation for doing so.

If you exploit us we will shut you down!

Just to complicate the picture, groups of unsavoury UKIP types have been observed entering the Spyglass and Kettle, best avoided, if you can.

Victory at Autogrill: from LabourStart.

Status

Thank you – your support helped contribute to this important win.

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Back in May we launched a campaign on LabourStart in support of striking German workers at Autogrill. 5,930 of you signed up to support it.

That campaign, called by the NGG union and its global union federation (the IUF), has now resulted in a victory.

The IUF has issued this statement:

The German Food Workers Union (NGG) have announced a successful conclusion to their fight for a first-ever collective agreement at Autogrill Germany, where workers in Bavaria and Thuringia have been holding strikes since April. On September 9, Autogrill Germany announced it would be joining the national employer organization for the sector, which would bring Autogrill employees under the national collective agreement for the sector. The NGG has warmly thanked the many thousands who supported the campaign.

It’s always great to report a victory — but I’d like to ask you to do more:

Make sure you’re supporting ALL eight of our current online campaigns. Workers on the picket line, workers who have been the victims of employer-initiated violence, workers who have been locked out — they all need your support:

And most important of all: spread the word in your unions about these campaigns. Share this message by email and on social networks. Click on any of these links:

Thank you!


Eric Lee

Justice for Citra Mina 78!

citra-AIRFIn response to poor health and safety conditions, precarious employment and issues around pay and social security contributions, workers last summer formed the Samahang United Workers of Citra Mina Group of Companies Union, which was legally registered on July 24. The company responded with waves of dismissals targeting union members and supporters between September and January 2014, leaving the workers and their families without income. However 78 of the workers stood their ground and are fighting back.

Support the struggle of Citra Mina 78! Let us all demand for their reinstatement with full back wages and the recognition of their union. At home, they are supported by the national center SENTRO, which on June 19 launched a national action campaign to support the dismissed Citra Mina union members Official Facebook page of the United Workers of Citra Mina Group of Companies Union (UWCMGCU). IUF e mail campaign

Press Release: 5 September 2014
Contact: Jumary Arevalo (0910) 9770142

Citra Mina’s Human Right Violations Exposed During the Tuna Congress

Today, hundreds of striking Citra Mina workers trooped to the venue of the 16th Tuna Congress to dramatize their plight and to reiterate the pressing need for the erring company to address its continuing human rights violation.

Bearing “Justice for Citra Mina” banner and chanting, “because of Citra Mina, our families are hungry,” the workers conducted a die-in right outside the hall where the congress is being held.

“We find it ironic for Joaquin T. Lu to chair this year’s Tuna Congress whose theme is ‘Shared Resources, Shared Responsibility’ when his company is not even acting responsibly towards us – its workers,” Jumary Arevalo, president of the Samang United Workers of Citra Mina Group of Companies Union (UWCMGCU), said.

Joaquin T. Lu is the Chairman Emeritus of Citra Mina Group of Companies whose human rights record is now under scrutiny at the global level.

“Let’s make one thing clear, the issue in Citra Mina is the grave human rights violation it caused when it sacked me and 237 of my fellow workers in 2013 when we formed our union,” Arevalo said.

“The company’s offer to reinstate 12 of us is nothing but a cheap PR campaign. The only acceptable solution is for the company to recognize our union and to reinstate with full back wages all of us who are still interested to work,” Arevalo added

The right to self-organization is protected under the Philippine Constitution, ILO Core Convention and the UN Declaration of Human Rights.

Citra Mina Group of Companies has been very artful in shifting its operations from one company to another in order to avoid formation of workers’ unions, which only proves that the company’s anti-union attitude is systematic.

“Worse, Citra Mina Group of Companies now resorts to blaming the international labor community for all its woes,” Arevalo said. “Truth is, Citra Mina is now hitting the IUF and the ITF in an attempt discredit them as they are the ones helping us expose the human rights violations of the company,” he added.

The International Union of Food and Allied Workers (IUF) and the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) are global union federations with millions members around the world.

UWCMGCU has consistently warned that Citra Mina’s human rights violations could potentially damage not just the reputation of the company but of the entire tuna industry of the country. “Citra Mina’s uncooperative attitude is starting to be a liability of the entire industry,” Arevalo said.

Local359Members of UFCW Local 359 at New York’s New Fulton Seafood Market – the entry point for Citra Mina frozen tuna products into the US – were outraged to learn the story of Citra Mina workers in General Santos, Philippines. In a show of solidarity with the workers’ fight for reinstatement and recognition of their union they signed and displayed a poster on July 9 inside the seafood market, and pledged to undertake every possible solidarity action to press Citra Mina to respect worker rights.

Autonomy Films and UNITE Community Group invite you to: NHS vs. PRIVATISATION! Saturday 13th September 2014.

NHS Film_Play

W.I. Hall, North Street, Bridport, 7pm for 7.15pm start (NOTE EARLIER TIME!) Entry £3 or less if you can’t afford it, Vegetarian soup served from 6.30pm. Discussion afterwards: What can we do?

EVENTS ORGANISED BY OTHERS:

Saturday 6th September 2014 1.30pm Film show – MINERS SHOT DOWN (86 mins)
A documentary film about the Marikana miners of South Africa. Followed by a talk by Peter Alexander who works closely with the Marikana miners. The Colliton Club, Colliton House, Colliton Park, Dorchester, Dorset DT1 1XJ organized by Dorset Socialists FREE

Saturday 6th September. The 999 March for the NHS reaches London.
People have been marching for weeks to protest at the privatisation of the NHS, following the route of the Jarrow Crusade against unemployment in 1936. The march will be at: Clissold Park N16 11.45 – 12.45pm, Red Lion Square WC1 2pm, Trafalgar Square WC2 3.30pm more details online

Tuesday 9th September 2014 6.30pm Film show – ‘Pride’
New feature film about lesbians and gays supporting S.Wales miners in the 1984/5 strike. At: Cineworld, Yeovil FREE: ring to book.

Wednesday 17th September 2014 7pm. Film show – ‘Flying Paper’
60-minute film about children in Gaza and their kites. Cerne Abbas Room, United Church, Dorchester DT1 1EE Refreshments. Organised by Dorset Palestinian and Israeli Peace Group ENTRY by donation

ADVANCE NOTICE: Saturday 18th October (Same day as London Anarchist Bookfair) National ‘Britain needs a pay rise’ demo in London organised by TUC.
Assemble 11am on the Embankment near Blackfriars, dept. 12pm for rally in Hyde Park.

And before that, a one-day strike on Tuesday 14th October.

That’s from Unison, same statement can be found at Untie the Onion, it’s mentioned on the GMB site, and many Unison locals have their own plans but it seems there isn’t a single TUC strike page to co-ordinate and promote all the local actions and pickets for this (we’ve looked) why not? Tell you what, if you send your action’s details to us we’ll put them up here. Watch this space.

Timeline of recent events in Israel/Palestine

Taken from the blog of Adam Waterhouse.

29th July 2013 – Start of the so-called Kerry Peace Talks

14th November 2013 – Palestinian team quit negotiations citing the fact that Israel was continuing settlement construction on land in the West Bank that was supposed to be designated for a Palestinian state.

30 December 2013 – Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erehat said that Israel had shown through its actions that it wanted to destroy the possibility of a Palestinian state, and that the Palestinians would be seeking recognition through international bodies (this was on the basis of Palestine being up-graded to non-member observer status by the General Assembly a year previously on 29th November 2012). Israel insisted that the Palestinians should continue the peace talks, why? Purely as a cynical public relations exercise – because Israel needs ‘peace talks’ in the same way that a bank robber needs a balaclava – to try to prevent the world from recognising what they are doing – an analogy given by American Professor of history Juan Cole in this articles about this matter.

23rd April – Fatah and Hamas agreed to form a unity government and to hold fresh elections. Netanyahu said that Abbas would have to chose between peace with Hamas and Peace with Israel – clearly a threat of violence. The EU and the US offered their support to the unity government. Netanyahu was furious and immediately withdrew Israel from the so-called peace negotiations.

15th May – During Nakba day celebrations Israeli soldiers opened fire on Palestinian youths in the West Bank city of Beitunia near to Ofer prison (a prison for political prisoners in the West Bank). Some of the boys were throwing stones but they were falling on the ground short of where the soldiers were. Two boys, one 16 and one 17, were killed, another was shot in the chest but survived, and eight others were shot in the arms or legs. The incident was caught by security camera, put on-line, and viewed by many Palestinians who were very angry and upset about it.

2nd June – The technocratic unity government of Fatah and Hamas was sworn in. Many of the key positions within it were given to academics who were part of neither party. Hamas were subordinate to Fatah and had agreed to accept the leadership of Mahmoud Abbas of Fatah.

12th June – Three Israeli students were kidnapped. Benjamin Netanyahu announced “Hamas is responsible, Hamas will pay.” This was very much the same as the Bush administration’s attempt to try to lay blame on Saddam Hussein for 9/11 without the slightest shred of evidence – clearly a cynical attempt to find a pretext for launching an attack on Hamas. Hamas’s senior leadership in Gaza said that they were not behind the kidnapping, calling Netanyahu’s allegations that Hamas masterminded the kidnappings “stupid.” This was later confirmed by the Israeli police themselves when on 25th July Israeli police spokesperson Chief Inspector Mickey Rosenfeld informed BBC journalist Jon Donnison that the two men detained for killing the three Israeli teens were acting on their own initiative. Jon Donnison reported this via Twitter but BBC didn’t run a story on it.

13th June – The very next morning the Israeli police knew that the three had been killed because one of them placed an emergency call, and there was an open recorded line as they were shot. The police soon found a burned-out Hyundai which contained a pair of tefillin (leather-bound texts that religious Jews strap on for prayer), DNA evidence that was quickly matched to the boys’ parents, and eight bullet holes. The same day Israel launched Operation Brother’s Keeper in the West Bank and over the next ten days arrested approximately 800 Palestinians without charge or trial, killed nine civilians, and raided nearly 1,300 residential, commercial and public buildings. Its military operation targeted Hamas members previously released as part of a[during the Gilad Shalit] prisoner exchange in 2011 – rearresting without any ground at all the people it had agreed to release. This was clearly an attack on Hamas and not an attempt to locate the missing teens.

29th June – The Israeli air force carries out strikes on 12 targets in Gaza killing a member of Hamas.

30th June – Further Israeli air strikes take place in Gaza killing one person and injuring three. In response Hamas fired sixteen rockets into Israel which hit open areas in the Eshkol region harming no one. This was the first Hamas rocket fire into Israel since Operation Pillar of Defence in November 2012. [Although there were some rockets being fired into Israel over 2013 [about 5 per month] these were fired by other groups and the Israeli security establishment had themselves testified to the aggressive anti-rocket efforts made by the new police force that Hamas established specifically for that purpose.] The bodies of the three teens are found under rocks close to the West Bank city of Hebron. 1st July – At the funeral for the three killed Israeli teens Benjamin Netanyahu’s statements included vengeful language, speaking of the “horrific darkness of those who seek our destruction – despicable kidnappers of children, heinous murderers whose brothers rejoice at the spilling of innocent blood.” Even the Jewish Forward, an American pro-Israeli newspaper expressed sharp objections to Netanyahu’s comments calling them incitement to violence. During the day of the funeral there are violent protests in East Jerusalem in which Israelis were chanting ‘Death to Arabs.’ Palestinians were pulled from cars and beaten and a 17 year old Palestinian was abducted and murdered in what appeared to be a revenge attack.

8th July – Israel launches ‘Operation Protective Edge’ against Gaza claiming that they were doing so in response to Hamas rocket fire, which they had obviously provoked.

11th July – During a Press Conference at the Defence Ministry at Tel Aviv speaking only in Hebrew announced that he would never, ever, allow a Palestinian state in the West Bank and that Israel would maintain full military control of all of historic Palestine indefinitely and should never have withdrawn from Gaza in 2005.

On 17th July amid escalating, overwhelmingly one-sided violence Israel launched a ground invasion, claiming that it needed to destroy tunnels – tunnels that it had known about for years and which were used to Palestinians to bring food and other goods into the besieged Gaza strip. But for people following what is happening between Israel and Palestine, it was already quite clear that Benjamin Netanyahu’s real objective was to totally crush any possibility at all of Palestinian self-rule and self-determination. This is entirely consistent with the policy position of the political party to which he belongs, the Likud Party which has always emphasised Israel’s supposed right to occupy and control the whole of historic Palestine. In exactly the same way that he sought to scupper the peace negotiations with the Palestinian Authority by continuing to build Israeli-only settlement housing on stolen Palestinian land during the so-called ‘peace negotiations’ and presenting the Palestinians with increasingly unreasonable demands; he has now deliberately scuppered and destroyed the cease-fire agreement that was in place with Hamas since the end of Operation Pillar of Defence in November 2012 and launched a massacre in Gaza which has already costs the lives of over 1,600 Palestinians and counting, as well as over 50 Israeli soldiers who are also, in a sense, victims of Benjamin Netanyahu’s crimes of mass-deception.

March on the Boss, Samsung Bristol

View post on Bristol IWW website

On Thursday 10th of July members of Bristol IWW and friends visited the Samsung phone shop on Park Street in Bristol to speak to an unscrupulous boss who has recently dismissed an employee with no good reason.

Outside Samsung shop

Matthew had worked for the same boss for over 5 years in his two laptop and phone repair shops. After a holiday of 6 weeks, he returned to find his hours reduced. A few weeks later he was told that he was ‘surplus to business requirements’ and that they did not have enough hours for him. This dismissal came completely out of the blue with no disciplinary procedure at all. Insultingly in his last week of work (having only been given one week’s notice) Matthew’s job was advertised in the window of the shop.

Matthew is owed over £1000 in unpaid holiday pay and wages. His former employer has offered no redundancy pay to help Matthew while he looks for another job.

Matthew decided to take the issue to his union, the Industrial Workers of the World, who wrote to the company and asked for a meeting to ensure Matthew received his wages and the holiday pay. After a terse, incoherent and rude written response from the boss, (in which the company expressed that they felt there was ‘no need’ for any further discussion), the union decided to visit in person to deliver their demands and ensure that this boss knows what to expect when he treats his workforce unfairly with little respect.

8 members of the union accompanied Matthew in the shop while around 20 others handed out flyers to potential customers in the street. The boss reacted by insisting they had to leave and he didn’t have any time, but the group stood their ground, delivered a letter with their demands and the boss had to listen to Matthew.

The recently hired manager of the shop was phoned and an organiser with the union spoke with him on speaker phone. Both bosses refused to negotiate with the union and while the phone conversation was taking place, the shop was visited by two police officers.

After assessing the situation the police explained to the boss that the union had every right to be holding their protest.

Samsung Bristol are now taking Matthew’s dispute seriously and are currently seeking legal advice. The union expects that the company will be advised to pay Matthew the money that he is owed or face a much larger cost should this escalate to employment tribunal. Not only have they unfairly dismissed Matthew and withheld his money, the company has broken the law in several other ways including not paying wages on a regular basis, not providing employees with a written contract, having no coherent sick pay policy and having no disciplinary or grievance procedure for longstanding employees.

july14action-samsung bristol-2

Matthew and the IWW are still waiting for correspondence from the company. We urge all readers and friends not to buy services from Samsung Bristol or RepairPhones4u on Park Street and to take your custom to a company that respects its employees. For more information on the company please visit http://samsungbristol.co.uk/

Having problems at work? Fed up of the way you’re treated by your boss? Want to organise with your colleagues for a better deal? Please visit bristoliww.org.uk to contact your local branch of the Industrial Workers of the World, the fighting union.

Tolpuddle 2014.

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Photo by Wheelz.

We take a moment to salute our illustrious comrade John Flower (see below 4th July) who passed away in June, we left a small memorial to him at the annual International Brigades ceremony and antifascists from Wessex, Portsmouth and Southampton attended his funeral.

But life is for the living and we had another cracking weekend! We were delighted to welcome four comrades from CNT-AIT Caen this year.

Minor drama on Saturday when some prat tried to trash the stall after a specious argument about royalties. His objection was to our use of the ubiquitous John Harris photograph of Lesley Boulton at Orgreave, on this the 30th anniversary of the Miners’ Strike, which could be seen adorning T shirts all over the site. He was safely and efficiently restrained by one of the older members of our group, who also happens to be a photojournalist. We have several NUJ members in the collective who questioned him about his motives. All became clear when we visited his stall which carried similar images at four quid a pop! It turned out he was just some bourgeois flogging lefty posters for the benefit of no one but himself, and he was upset that we were giving away something he was trying to sell.

The unseemly fracas didn’t do us any harm as people queued up to tell us – and him, what a prick he was, and our now slightly disheveled literature flew off the stall. He approached the organisers (not us) to offer an apology, and we replied that since he cares so much about money, he could make amends by sticking some in our donations jar, this he failed to do.

The stuff we carry on the stall is only there because we want people to read it; we produce it ourselves and we only take donations for it to cover our costs so we can do it again next year. The cash we take for Freedom goes to Freedom. Revenge was foregone as we were reluctant to relinquish the moral high ground we occupied, but if you’re doing a class-based event keep an eye out for this arsehole who just might decide to barge in and fuck shit up. Stocky bloke with white hair, gold-rimmed glasses and beige trousers. This is from his web site, ‘Past Pixels’ click on it to go there:

Untitled

class warpx

Numbers on the march down a bit on last year but it was good to welcome some new faces.

iPhone 6 supplier NXP ramps up intimidation and delaying tactics

From IndustriALL

nxp_philippines_11

NXP Semiconductors, the billion-dollar electronics manufacturer, is further intimidating workers and using delaying tactics to break trade union demands to reinstate 24 illegally fired workers in the Philippines.

The Dutch multinational, which is reportedly supplying technology for Apple’s new iPhone 6, sacked 24 trade union leaders from the Metal Workers Alliance of the Philippines (MWAP) on 5 May for not working on a series of public holidays.

Now the company is said to have conveyed through the ministry of labour that it wants to try and pay off the illegally sacked workers, effectively removing the trade union leadership from the plant. MWAP has rejected this offer.

Despite assurances, NXP has failed to bring a new negotiating team to the table for talks with IndustriALL Global Union affiliate, MWAP, this week, delaying a critical conciliation meeting. In the meantime, the 24 fired trade unionists face yet another week without work and without pay

NXP has also increased the number of security guards at its plant in Cabuyao, outside the Philippine capital Manila, adding to the intimidation already felt by workers there.

Jyrki Raina, IndustriALL’s general secretary, said:

“NXP must end the delaying tactics, stop the intimidation and bring back the workers now. NXP’s cynical strategy to draw out proceedings and break the resolve of 24 loyal workers and trade union leaders, some of whom have been with the company for 20 years, is an overtly aggressive case of union busting, contravening all international standards on labour legislation.”

Furthermore, Raina added:

“NXP’s insulting attempt to pay off the illegally fired workers would set a dangerous precedent of trading corporate cash for worker rights. You cannot put a price on fundamental worker rights.”

MWAP has succeeded against all odds in achieving union representation at NXP’s Cabuyao facility in the country, which is located in a special economic zone notorious for hostility towards unions.

When MWAP workers attempted to negotiate a new collective bargaining agreement with NXP, the company responded by firing all 24 members of the union’s leadership under the pretext that their failure to work on a number of public holidays mounted to an illegal strike.

There is a growing global campaign in support of the sacked Filipino workers. As well as protests around the world, 15 IndustriALL affiliates in the Philippines have signed a powerful statement of solidarity in support of MWAP.

NXP has operations in over 25 countries. Formerly a Philips division, in 2013 NXP reported revenue of US$ 4.82 billion. As well as being key supplier to Apple, its customers include major employers of IndustriALL members including Bosch, Continental and Samsung among others.

IndustriALL Global Union represents 50 million workers in 140 countries in the mining, energy and manufacturing sectors.

For more information, please contact:

Communications Officer
Leonie Guguen
+41 22 308 50 23
lguguen@industriall-union.org

Communications Officer
Tom Grinter
+41796934499
tgrinter@industriall-union.org

The Future of Working-Class Education? Saturday 2nd August, Bridgwater, Somerset.

Does working-class education have a future?

A day conference for all trades unionists including Union Learn reps, trade union branch officers, TUC/ Trade Union Studies tutors, WEA/adult education lecturers, and mature students, organised by Trade Union Solidarity magazine and Bridgwater Trades Union Council

11am to 4pm, Saturday 2nd August GWRSA/Railway Club, Wellington Rd, Bridgwater, Somerset, TA6 5HA

Speakers:

  • Marie Hughes South West TUC Regional Education Officer
  • Trish Lavelle CWU National Education Officer
  • Becca Kirkpatrick Co-editor Trade Union Solidarity
  • Shan Maidment TU studies tutor, City of Bristol College
  • Carole Vallelly GMB Southern Region/TUC tutor
  • Nigel Costley, Secretary, South West TUC
  • Dave Chapple, Bridgwater TUC
  • Ian Manborde, Ruskin College
  • Richard Ross: London Metropolitan University

Cost is £5 per person which includes buffet lunch. Places are limited: please register in advance if possible, make cheques out to“Bridgwater Trades Union Council” and send to Dave Chapple, Conference Organiser, 1 Blake Place, Bridgwater, Somerset, TA6 5AU.

Further details phone 07707 869 144 e mail

Programme

  • 10.30am to 11am: registration tea and coffee
  • 11am: welcome: Vicki Nash, Somerset NUT and President Bridgwater TUC
  • 11.05am: First session: Chair, Andy Newman, GMB, White Horse (Wiltshire) TUC
  • Speakers: Marie Hughes, Trish Lavelle, Dave Chapple
  • 11.50am: discussion
  • 12.30pm: Second session: Chair, Glen Burrows, RMT, Bridgwater TUC
  • Speakers: Nigel Costley, Shan Maidment, Richard Ross
  • 1.15pm: discussion

2PM BUFFET LUNCH AND LICENSED BAR

  • 2.40pm: Third session: Chair: Richard Capps, PCS, vice-Chair South West TUC
  • Speakers: Carole Vallelly, Ian Manborde, Becca Kirkpatrick
  • 3.25pm: discussion including conference follow-up

4pm: Close of conference

The last few generations have seen, overall, both a crisis and decline in the general field of what used to be called working-class education. Despite substantial government Union Learn funding, now of course under severe pressure, and some impressive internal trade union shop steward programmes, the subsidised and ‘liberal’ ‘adult education sector where many of us learned the theory and practice of socialism has almost disappeared.

This conference is a ground-breaking attempt to address this crisis, asking these questions amongst many others: would the internet have destroyed adult ‘liberal’ education without any government cuts? Do any trade unions educate their members for socialism or merely effective trades unionism? Can a volunteer/community-led strategy restore cuts to Union Learn and adult evening courses?

What about the left-wing political parties, including Labour and the Greens? What are the strategies to restore a once-thriving Independent Working Class Education as part of the workers’ emancipation project? Do TUC courses succeed in teaching solidarity between workers in different unions? Could local trades councils play a new educational role?

These of course are only a few possible ways of approaching our conference subject: make sure you raise yours! Our speakers will all, hopefully, give us personal reflections of all their years teaching workers, as well as their own ideas for future education campaigns.

Bridgwater GWRSA/Railway Club is 100 yards from Bridgwater rail station at the east end of Wellington Rd. Car parking in adjacent station car park. Bridgwater station is served by an hourly train service throughout the day, arriving from Bristol at 40 minutes past the hour and from Taunton at 15/20 minutes past the hour. Bridgwater is also easily accessible from the M5 motorway with two junctions: north (Dunball/Junction 23) and south (Huntworth/Junction 24). The GWRSA/railway club itself is one of the national network of railway clubs which in themselves are an important part of working-class history-they were funded by the employers, and so can be understood both as social concession or dangerous palliative. However, you will find the Bridgwater GWRSA a friendly, thriving but last-surviving local working class club. We look forward to seeing you on 2nd August!

Polish fellow worker fired for organising, solidarity needed.

iwwlogo-buttonFellow Worker Anna, a worker/organiser, was fired by Aelia, a conglomerate that owns duty free shops around the world, usually situated in airports.

She appears to have been fired directly because of organising. She works at Chopin International Airport in Warsaw. The local workers have been picketing. Thus far there has been no reaction from Aelia.

There’s something you can do right now for Anna. She was organizing a union at Aelia duty free shop at the Warsaw Airport, and she was fired on Friday, June 6. Our union in Poland is conducting solidarity pickets at other airports, where Aelia runs its shops listed here. Globally, Aelia runs shops at more than 10 airports in France, 5 airports in Spain, in China, Australia and elsewhere. Aelia belongs to Lagardere Services group, one of the international leaders in the travel retail market. Lagardere is present in more than 20 countries around the world. So spread the word, so people coming to Poland or traveling elsewhere can boycott Aelia and other Lagardere outposts.

It would be also helpful if some non-Poles could write e-mails to Aelia’s management), as well as Lagardere’s, demanding Anna’s reinstatement and that the the union be allowed to function.

You’ll also find a link to Labourstart’s campaign in the post below.

Here’s the Polish union’s official statement in English.

Victory for the working class! ITF Peru: From Labourstart.

This is great news.  Just two weeks after we launched an online campaign together with the International Transport Workers Federation in support of airline workers in Peru and Argentina, they’ve won a huge victory. I’m copying their entire short statement below — read it and enjoy. (That’s a photo of them celebrating their win, above.)

What LATAM workers have won, we can also win for LIDL and Aelia workers in Poland — if only we can spread the word of these campaigns to thousands more union members.  

Please help — share this message. Thanks! Eric Lee.

 

 

SITALANPE says THANK YOU to LabourStart supporters!

This Tuesday, LAN Peru’s mechanics signed a ground-breaking new collective agreement with the company. After years of unequal treatment, and a pay freeze for the last ten years, the workers have reached an agreement with the company which guarantees job security and improved conditions. Highlights of their agreement include:
  • Precarious workers have new fixed term contracts
  • An improved work-life balance, with a more transparent allocation of shifts and rotations
  • An increase in basic salary
Over 6,500 of you supported the mechanics in their pursuit for equality, and this result would not have been possible without you. Thank you for your support for the Peruvian mechanics! As we write, LAN Argentina’s flight attendants are struggling against the company’s refusal to negotiate an agreement. We ask you to remain alert and ready for action to support our brothers and sisters in Argentina.
In solidarity,
LATAM NETWORK ITF

Which campaigns have I missed?  Click here to find out.

Settlement in Swazi sugar strike brings important gains for workers.

Settlement in Swazi sugar strike brings important gains for workers

 

The three-week strike by the Swaziland Plantation and Agricultural Workers Union (SAPWU) has ended with a settlement bringing workers a 10% wage increase and satisfying the union’s non-wage demands, including improved benefits for seasonal workers. Over the course of the strike involving some 3,000 workers, union members stood up to intimidation by military and security forces and legal action by the company intended to hamper picketing. Ubombo Sugar, the Swazi subsidiary of South African sugar giant Illovo, is 40% owned by Swaziland’s despotic monarch Mswati III. Illovo in turn is 51% controlled by the UK’s Associated British Foods (ABF).

The union’s general secretary Archie Sayed has written that “The workers of Ubombo send their gratitude to all who contributed to their struggle and appreciate the spirit of solidarity which has also come as a lesson to them that there no better future for the workers as solidarity and unity.”

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Autonomy films present: Hispanic film evening in Bridport Sat 28th June 2014.

Untitled

self-portrait-with-braid-1941

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Saturday 28th June 2014 7.15pm W.I. Hall, North Street, Bridport Entry: £3 or less if you can’t afford it Vegetarian soup on sale from 6.45pm Discussion afterwards about art and politics for anyone interested.

*EVENTS ORGANISED BY OTHERS*

No More Austerity: National Demonstration and Free Festival organized by the People’s Assembly Saturday 21st June 19, assemble 1pm at BBC HQ Portland Place London W1 1AA, March to Parliament Square.

‘Robert Potts and his Lost Photo-History of Bridport’

Tuesday 8th – Saturday 19th July in the Foyer, Bridport Arts Centre Pre-exhibition seeking local involvement to piece together social history from the postcards of pioneer photographer Potts.

Thursday 10th July *National One-Day Strike against Austerity* by public service workers

Friday 18th July to Sunday 20th July in the usual field in Tolpuddle Tolpuddle Festival ‘to celebrate the early trades union martyrs.’ Stalls, music, workshops, camping. Book online. Events on Sunday are free.

IWW statement on Operation Centurion

iwwlogo-buttonThe IWW condemns the intensification of immigration raids across the UK under Operation Centurion. We believe that all workers, regardless of their place of origin or legal status, need to support one another in order to fight the common enemy; the present system that upholds the interests of business and other elites at the expense of ordinary working and unemployed people.

The undercutting of the pay and conditions of British workers by migrant labour is not caused by the immigrants themselves but by business owners, managers and government who seek to maximise their profit by forcing working and unemployed people to compete for an ever-diminishing number of jobs. This ‘race to the bottom’ forces us to work harder for less money, and all workers suffer from this – while bosses happily rake in their profits.

The IWW urges British and documented migrant workers not to demonise those without papers but to look after one another at work and create a strong labour movement to promote the interests of working class people of all nationalities – improving pay, working conditions, and collective power at work for everyone. The first step is to join a union.

What is the IWW?

We are the union for all workers, working across the globe to empower
workers to improve their lives together. We are one of the fastest-growing unions in Britain, and we pride ourselves on real democracy and getting results through collective worker-led action. We welcome anyone who works for a wage, whatever their immigration status, because we believe that an injury to one is an injury to all.

One Big Union

Radical Workers’ Bloc at Tolpuddle 2014.

Radical Workers’ Bloc at Tolpuddle 2014.

Tolpuddle Martyrs Festival and Rally, Friday 18th July to Sunday 20th July 2014

RAD00

Tolpuddle 2013 Radical Workers’ Bloc: the weekend in pictures.

This will be our fourth bloc on the Martyrs Festival and rally; from an inauspicious start with seven of us and a black hanky on a stick, we’ve more than doubled each year to about seventy-five in 2013, from as far afield as Wales, France and the Midlands. Our commitment is to the original spirit of the Martyrs: working class self-organisation in the face of a hostile bourgeois state, more relevant today than ever, owing to the abject failure of political and industrial representation to meet the needs of the people, and the increasingly repressive reaction of the state to autonomous protest and resistance.

Once again we have a stall in the Martyrs Marquee; we will be carrying stock from Freedom Books, Britain’s oldest anarchist publisher, plus flags, badges, zines and pamphlets for donations, and loads of free stuff. If you’d like to take part and help run the stall, or if you have literature you’d like to give away or accept donations for please get in touch.

For those who are staying for the weekend festival, an advance party will arrive on Friday afternoon to pitch tents; we corral them together so that people can get to know each other, exchange contacts and ideas, plan and plot another year of class struggle.

If you’re just marching with us on Sunday 20th July, Meet up as usual 1:30 pm outside the Martyrs Museum; bring your flags and banners. View map  Farcebook event

A4 Flyer     2xA5 Flyer To get involved, contact: wsol@riseup.net

Freedom Press

Picket of Poole Council meeting 22.04.14

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.The action was organised by members of the Industrial Workers of the World and Bournemouth and Poole Anti Cuts Coalition, there was a good turnout and the accompanying communications blockade seemed to be going well. The e-mail and phone blockade was specifically targeted to affect the exploiters alone and not impair services to the clients, thanks to comrades and fellow workers around the world who supported us, we will do the same for you.

More actions will follow. An injury to one is an injury to all!

50% pay cut for ex-NHS carers in Dorset.

A personal account from a Dorset care worker:

In 2011 approximately 160 adults with severe learning disabilities and challenging behaviour were transferred from long stay hospital units and moved into their own homes. The private sector stepped in to provide care for these people and staff were personally matched and TUPE transferred with each individual. The promise was that any private care provider bidding for one of our clients had to show they could ensure our contracts for 2 years minimum, employ new staff on the same pay as the NHS workers to avoid a 2 tier workforce, and help with retention of new staff. A few weeks after the transfer it became apparent this was not the case; providers were employing colleagues at a much lower rate.

By October 2012 the provider ‘Dimensions’ had cut one third of staff’s salary in the form of lost enhancements, change to overtime rate, reduction in annual leave, loss of sick pay, reduced maternity leave etc.. Staff on average lost between £300 and £500 per month in take home pay. For one reason only, many staff accepted the cut at that time while others were dismissed and re-engaged. This reason being respect for those we care for. In Dorset many of us have worked for decades with these people, and have seen them uprooted and socially isolated in their own homes, often with strangers (agency staff) coming in to care, having lost day care provision and suitable transport, we felt so soon after this monumental change in their lives it would be beyond heart-breaking to remove the stability of those they had grown to trust over the decades, so we bit the bullet and continued to provide good care for our clients with the facilities we have.

‘Lifeways’, another of these providers, early in 2014 not only cut their staff’s wage in a similar fashion to Dimensions, they also reduced the hourly rate by 20% at the same time leading to huge reductions in take home pay. For example, a single parent of 3 previously took home £950 per month for part time hours – for these same hours she will now take home £389 – less than her mortgage payment alone and that is after 27 years in the service.  Again those that did not sign to accept this cut were ruthlessly dismissed and re-engaged.

In March 2014 Dimensions staff received a further letter stating their hourly rate would be cut by £1.90 (a 20% drop this time). This is going to force the long term staff to search for work elsewhere a choice they cannot take lightly but for reasons of survival will be forced to, having devastating effects for those we care for. Stability is essential for their quality of life and the staff realise this as we have, in many cases, dedicated our lives to the vocation.

Both Dimensions and Lifeways insist the cuts are only necessary because the local authorities who commission the work to such companies have cut the budget and they cannot survive as businesses unless they do. This appears to be their priority – survival as a business – rather than the devastation they are about to unleash on staff and vulnerable people.

That said, other private providers locally receiving the same amount of money from the authorities have kept their ex NHS staff on their original terms and conditions without going out of business. Despite staff arguing that the cut of £1.90 per hour to 42 Dimensions staff in the area, will result in recruitment and training costs higher than the saving made, Dimensions are well aware of this and stated they are looking at the long term stability of the company, so to us as staff this devastating upheaval is completely unnecessary, especially when you learn extra directors with huge salaries have been employed, managers have been cut in number but received an increase, deputy managers have been put in place  and a bonus will be paid to all staff in April due to a profit share scheme.

In what world can carers and those we care for be treated this way – in a tory world where profit is put before people time and time again, I would ask everyone reading this to imagine losing 50% of their wage within 2 years, through no fault of their own and in fact for taking more responsibility now than we ever did as a care worker in the hospital units.

Where does this leave me? Other than fighting against this cut I cannot look the gentleman I have looked after since 1999 in the eye for fear of how I am about to let him down, let alone his family and how they will feel when those staff they trust implicitly are priced out of the job. Not to mention how to pay my bills and care for my own children.

Join the “CARE CUTS HURT” demo outside Poole Council meeting. 22 April 17:45

“CARE CUTS HURT” demo outside Poole Council meeting. 22 April 17:45

CNCIf you have been affected by cuts to care in any way, whether you have lost your day care, lost you benefits, mobility car, a carer who has had their wage slashed, a care provider who is having to slash their staff’s wages or simply someone who cares please join us in the “CARE CUTS HURT” demo outside Poole Council meeting. Let those that are making the decisions see the human cost, bring a placard, bring your personal story written down to be collected for presenting to the councilors at a future date. Enough is enough with 60% of cuts still to be rolled out we must make ourselves heard.

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Poole Civic centre (map)

farcebook event

BPACC (Bournemouth & Poole Anti Cuts Coalition)

N.U.T. Teachers’ Strike 26th March.

If you’re a teacher and you’re striking tomorrow, good luck and solidarity!

If you’re a teacher, not in a union or in a different one and you’re thinking of crossing a picket line:

  • A. Don’t
  • B. No one wants a scab, your pupils will lose all respect for you.

If you’re in the N.U.T. and you’re thinking of crossing a picket line:

  • A. Don’t.
  • B. What are you fucking thinking of? Don’t you know there’s a war on!
  • C. What sort of example are you setting the youth? Selfish, cowardly, treacherous…

If your children have a scab teacher, keep them home:

  • A. This is about more than just the future of their education but about resisting the ravages of this despicable neoliberal regime.
  • B. This is the most important lesson they will ever learn, don’t scab.
  • C. Forcing them to cross a picket line before they are old enough to understand the enormity of betraying their class is child abuse.

If you’re at school and you’re old enough to think for yourself (hint), join the picket line, show some support, one day others will do the same for you.

Join a march or rally

Solidarity, and a bit of fun.

iwwlogo-buttonOur fellow workers at Gainesville’s local food cooperative, Citizens Co-op, announced The Citizen Co-op Workers Unions in early March.

A couple of days letter they brought their demand for union recognition to the board during a meeting, and a few days ago they met with the General Manager.

By unionizing, the workers want to ensure that the patrons of the store are promoting a business that respects its worker-owners and operates in a fair, democratic, and truly cooperative manner.

7 of 10 Citizens Co-op Workers petitioned to have a union. In response Citizens Co-op fired 5 of them and 2 of them are now on strike because of Unfair Labour Practices.

However, it seems Citizens Co-op might be hiring scabs. They have advertised the position of a current Worker Rep on the Board and Workers Union member: http://gainesville.craigslist.org/fbh/4385258888.html

We are asking that every IWW member and supporter immediately apply for these positions regardless of your location or qualifications.

Thank you for you help and Solidarity!

To keep in touch with Citizens Co-op you can follow them online:

Facebook: Tumblr: Twitter: @coopworkerunion

Here look we’ve done it for you – Sample e mail:

To: mvdkn-4385258888@job.craigslist.org

Subject: Grocery Purchaser (Gainesville, FL)

To whom it may concern:

I wish to apply for your crappy fucking job, I’ve been purchasing groceries for years.

I am a member of the Industrial Workers of the World.

OBU

Cindy Callist.

You can support the strikers financially here:

Dorset Socialists organise against deportation 24/03/14

The Verne ex-prison on Portland is due to open its doors to detainees on Monday 24/03/14.

The opening of the Verne as a Detention Centre has been postponed, but the MOJ has declared it will house detainees there from Monday whilst it is still a prison, according to the Echo.

Dorset Socialists have collaborated with Detention Action and others to help set up Dorset Against Deportation.

1/. There will be an Anti-Deportation vigil to mark the opening on the roundabout at Victoria Square on Portland from 17:00 to 18:00 on 24/03/14, followed by
2/. the inaugural meeting of DAD in Osprey Quay nearby from 18:30 to 20:00. This will be addressed by Bill Mackeith from the Campsfield campaign and Oxford TUC. Banners and placards welcome.

All welcome.

Train carries straight on from Dorchester to Weymouth. It is a no1 bus to Portland from Debenhams.

Statement from KRAS-IWA and other internationalists against war in Ukraine.

WAR ON WAR! NOT A SINGLE DROP A BLOOD FOR THE “NATION”!

The power struggle between oligarchic clans in Ukraine threatens to escalate into an international armed conflict. Russian capitalism intends to use redistribution of Ukrainian state power in order to implement their long-standing imperial and expansionist aspirations in the Crimea and eastern Ukraine where it has strong economic, financial and political interests.

On the background of the next round of the impending economic crisis in Russia, the regime is trying to stoking Russian nationalism to divert attention from the growing workers’ socio-economic problems: poverty wages and pensions, dismantling of available health care, education and other social services. In the thunder of the nationalist and militant rhetoric it is easier to complete the formation of a corporate, authoritarian state based on reactionary conservative values and repressive policies.

In Ukraine, the acute economic and political crisis has led to increased confrontation between “old” and “new” oligarchic clans, and the first used including ultra-rightist and ultra-nationalist formations for making a state coup in Kiev. The political elite of Crimea and eastern Ukraine does not intend to share their power and property with the next in turn Kiev rulers and trying to rely on help from the Russian government. Both sides resorted to rampant nationalist hysteria: respectively, Ukrainian and Russian. There are armed clashes, bloodshed. The Western powers have their own interests and aspirations, and their intervention in the conflict could lead to World War III.

Warring cliques of bosses force, as usual, force to fight for their interests us, ordinary people: wage workers, unemployed, students, pensioners… Making us drunkards of nationalist drug, they set us against each other, causing us forget about our real needs and interests: we don`t and can`t care about their “nations” where we are now concerned more vital and pressing problems – how to make ends meet in the system which they found to enslave and oppress us.

We will not succumb to nationalist intoxication. To hell with their state and “nations”, their flags and offices! This is not our war, and we should
not go on it, paying with our blood their palaces, bank accounts and the pleasure to sit in soft chairs of authorities. And if the bosses in Moscow,
Kiev, Lviv, Kharkiv, Donetsk and Simferopol start this war, our duty is to resist it by all available means!

NO WAR BETWEEN “NATIONS” – NO PEACE BETWEEN CLASSES!

*KRAS, Russian section of the International Workers Association*

*Internationalists of Ukraine, Russia, Moldova, Israel, Lithuania*

*Anarchist Federation of Moldova*

*Fraction of the Revolutionary Socialists (Ukraine)*

*Wessex Solidarity*

The statement is open for signature

Victory for Labatt’s brewery workers.

labattsolidaritywithla

The following statement received via Labour Start

A settlement has been reached ending the 11-month strike by members of the Newfoundland and Labrador Association of Public and Private Employees (NAPE/NUPGE) at the Labatt brewery in St. John’s, NL.

Your support over these months has been critical to keep pressure on the employer and let them know that workers around the world are standing with the 45 strikers. But your support also helped keep the spirits up of these dedicated workers.

Together, we helped these union members take on a profitable multinational looking to impose global standards on this small workforce. Together, we stood up against scabs on the job. Together, we helped them say no to a race to the bottom.

And today, because of their strength and the solidarity that has been shown to them, they are happy to get back to work brewing the beer they love, at jobs they love. Thank you for helping make it happen.

Tonight, join them in raising a glass to celebrate their victory!

Visit the website for more internet campaigns.

Condor Ferries picket in Portsmouth.

RMT2

RMT!

A healthy anarchist and antifascist presence joined yesterday’s RMT/ITF demo at Portsmouth ferry terminal, in support of French comrades at St Malo who are conducting a sit-in on a vessel to protest against the super-exploitation of Ukrainian seafarers being paid £2.35 per hour by Condor Ferries operating from EU ports.

It is vital that we build and maintain class solidarity across all borders in opposition to global capital, and that the debate on economic migration and employment is framed in terms of class struggle and not the short-sighted protectionism so easily co-opted by the far right.

We emphasise that economic migration is directed by the ruling class, both with the use of super-exploited groups to drive down wages and conditions, and the so-called ‘quality immigration’ of engineers, scientists and healthcare professionals, which just pillages the resources and education systems of poorer regions. Meanwhile the refugees from the bosses’ wars are treated like criminals and there are more slaves alive today than at any time in human history.

The IWW flag you see here represents a proud tradition of more than 100 years of self-organisation across all trades, grades, races and nationalities.

The working class has no country!

Solidarity required! RMT & ITF picket Condor Ferries in Portsmouth 16:00 18th February 2014

Please support RMT / ITF demo 16.00 on Tuesday 18th February at Portsmouth Commercial Freight Gate, Prospect Road, Portsmouth, PO1. Facebook event

French Comrades are currently sitting in on a Condor vessel in St Malo, they have asked the UK unions to support them against ‘social dumping’ by Condor who, are paying Ukranian seafarers £29 a day for a 12hr day. This rogue ferry operator, using Portsmouth as its crew change over base, is avoiding UK legislation through dubious interpretation of immigration laws to exploit foreign workers and pay poverty wages. Bring your banners and whistles! We support our comrades in dispute with Condor and we are not going to accept exploitation of workers in a ‘Race to the Bottom’. SOLIDARITY will change the agenda.

RMT NEWS RELEASE February 17th 2014 Immediate

RMT campaign over social dumping scandal in UK shipping industry returns to Portsmouth this week

A long running campaign against social dumping in the UK shipping industry will return to the south coast this week with a major protest targeting ferry-operator Condor in Portsmouth tomorrow.

The protest, supported by both RMT and the International Transport Federation, will take place at 16.00 on Tuesday 18th February at Portsmouth Commercial Freight Gate, Prospect Road, Portsmouth, PO1.

The RMT campaign to expose the scandal on Condor Ferries is specifically over the ‘social dumping’ of cheap, non-EU labour which makes a complete mockery of both UK and EU employment rights. Condor Ferries are able to duck around rules and regulations that are supposed to stop exploitation and as a result pay their seagoing staff £2.35 per hour well below the UK minimum wage. Condor operates a ferry service between Portsmouth and the Channel Islands.

RMT General Secretary Bob Crow said:

“The super-exploitation of foreign nationals in the British shipping industry is a massive scandal that the political elite want to keep quiet. That’s no surprise as it’s their wealthy mates running the shipping companies who benefit from this scam that dodges normal employment regulations while the European Union refuses to lift a finger.

“Social dumping is a mechanism seized on by some of the most rotten employers in the book to dry and batter down wages and conditions. RMT members and their supporters have the full support of the union for this weeks’ protest in Portsmouth as the union, alongside our colleagues in the ITF, steps up the fight against Condor Ferries and the ships of shame.”

RMT National Secretary Steve Todd said:

“The fight to stop the scandal of social dumping remains a national priority for RMT and we will continue to step up the campaign to turn the spotlight on the shameful practices that this ConDem government legitimises in the British shipping industry with the collusion of the EU.”

ENDS

Further information: Geoff Martin 07831 465 103;   0207 255 9146

FTUC Acknowledges Support of International Union Movements

The FTUC wishes to acknowledge organisers of the campaign for the Fijian unionists who have now had charges against them withdrawn.

The campaign has been hailed a success and FTUC recognises the efforts and support shown by LabourStart, ITUC and TUC. We also wish to thank each and every participant for their participation and contribution towards the campaign.

Fiji still has a long way to go in relation to the abuse against workers’ rights and it is our humble request that our sister union movements from around the world will continue their much-needed support for the campaigns against the violation of our workers.

The ENI Decree for instance is one such legislation established by the Regime that violates Fiji workers’ rights to Collective Bargaining, a right that our union fathers fought to retrieve. We however have not lost faith and the success of this recent campaign is testament to the solidarity between us.

FTUC vows to keep fighting the good fight and encourages all its affiliates to contribute to every campaign as each and every success is a win for workers’ and human rights.