More than 100,000 of Colombian farm workers ban together in protest
August 20, 2013

Thousands of Colombian farm workers have staged protest marches in rural areas, demanding national dialogue on land access and government subsidies.

Eberto Diaz, one of the organizers reported that more than 150,000 workers joined rallies nationwide on Monday. According only to understated police estimates, some 20 rallies and four major demonstrations were held and 11 roadblocks had been set up by the protesters. Authorities deployed 56 tow trucks to dismantle the roadblocks and there were also 13 aircraft which monitored the protests. 

In addition, police Chief Rodolfo Palomino reported 22 arrests and more reliable sources said eight people were injured in clashes. Organizers demand President Juan Manuel Santos to set up a national dialogue to discuss land and other farm related issues, including subsidies to coffee farmers. Santos promised higher subsidies in March, however, farmers said that it is not enough, as coffee growers have seen a 40 percent drop in international prices over the past year. 

The protest was supported by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), who called the rallies a valid response to “neoliberal economic policies.” 

Meanwhile, Santos had urged the workers for the past few weeks to call off the strike. On August 15, Santos voiced his frustration over the workers’ refusal to cancel, calling them for “useful idiots” who were being manipulated by powerful political interests against him. 

Another day of protest is scheduled for August 20 with other sectors joining the rallies. ”Truckers and miners are also going to join. Certainly tomorrow more people will be joining,” said Diaz. 

Miners are demanding that the government cancels new rules requiring all mines to be licensed, citing that the regulation clears the way for foreign mining companies. 

Colombia is struggling with a financial slowdown after three years of strong growth. Analysts blame the slowdown on neoliberal globalization and capitalist privatization.

Source

Socialist Kshama Sawant wins 33% - Seattle gives green light to oust Richard Conlin from city hall
August 8, 2013

Seattle voters sent a clear message to an out-of-touch political establishment yesterday that they are fed up with business as usual, and are looking for an alternative to corporate-pandering politicians like Richard Conlin. Kshama Sawant, who was recently written off by The Seattle Times as “too hard left for Seattle,” won a stunning 33% of the vote, a number that will likely rise as late ballots are counted. 

A majority of primary voters voted against 16-year Seattle City Council incumbent, Democrat Richard Conlin, who despite a massive fund-raising advantage and name recognition, received only 49%. Sawant and a second challenger to Conlin, Brian Carver, won the majority of the vote in the City Council Position 2 race. 

“Working people in Seattle have a clear political choice for a change. If you want to fight for an alternative to the status quo, join us in the struggle for a citywide $15/hour minimum wage, a major expansion of public transit by taxing Seattle’s millionaires, increased investment in affordable housing, and implementing rent control,” said Sawant. 

Sawant has earned the endorsements of The Stranger newspaper, four labor unions, and prominent community activists such as Real Change founder Tim Harris. 

Unlike Conlin, Sawant refuses to accept corporate donations. Her grassroots campaign has raised $25,000, predominantly in the form of small donations of $25 or less, and has mobilized over 125 volunteers. “We will make history by raising a grassroots army of over 300 volunteers, and run one of the biggest door knocking campaigns this city has seen to defeat Richard Conlin,” Sawant declared. 

“Conlin has made clear where he stands, with corporations and the elite. By not representing the majority of struggling working people in this city, he has made himself obsolete.” 

Please Support  Campaign: 
1) Donate on-line at www.VoteSawant.org/donate 
2) Like our Facebook page www.facebook.com/VoteSawant 
3) Volunteer at www.votesawant.org/get_involved 
4) Endorse our candidate at www.VoteSawant.org/endorsements 
5) Join Socialist Alternative!

Source

Letter to ‘The Nation’ from a young radical
May 25, 2013 

When I was growing up, the dinner table in my household was full of extremes. My immigrant parents encouraged intemperate arguments. Depth of knowledge was no barrier to entry, and only one rule applied: don’t be boring. It was an easy environment in which to loudly proclaim oneself a socialist. 

Things were different at the dinner tables of my childhood friends. Maybe it was because the conversations were kept to reasonable volumes or more cutlery was used, but I found myself wishing for different convictions. The chatter would inevitably turn to politics in conventional terms: Kerry or Bush, liberal or conservative, pre-emptive bombing or targeted sanctions? There was no “none of the above” on the menu. When pressed, I would meekly call myself a socialist, all the while regretting that I couldn’t just utter the word “liberal” instead. 

“Like Sweden?” I would be asked. “No, like the Russian Revolution before its degeneration into Stalinism.” It’s a wonder I was ever invited back. But liberalism—including in the pages of The Nation, save for a few redeeming essays and columns—seemed, even at its best moments, well-intentioned but inadequate. It’s a feeling that I haven’t been able to shake. 

Maybe I wasn’t alone in looking for alternatives. A Pew Research poll from 2011 shows that more Americans between the ages of 18 and 29 have a favorable opinion of socialism than of capitalism. We don’t know exactly what they mean by “socialism,” but it certainly reflects a discontent with what’s on offer in the political mainstream. 

And yet, the decay of liberal reform traditions has been nothing to celebrate. Real wages have stagnated, indebtedness is on the rise, and the deregulatory “free market” revolution has not only fostered massive new disparities in wealth and power but a historic recession. If liberalism once had teeth, that memory has faded. Many in my generation who found voice in the Occupy protests had no knowledge of the way that strong liberal administrations, backed up by vigorous social movements, forced concessions from capital throughout the last century. 

To radicals, the sad state of liberalism comes as no surprise. It represents merely the re-emergence of flaws embedded deeply in its roots, making so much of the social policy that The Nation supports difficult to revive. American liberalism is practically ineffective and analytically inadequate—and a jolt from its left is a prerequisite for its resurgence. 

Liberalism’s original sin lies in its lack of a dynamic theory of power. Much of its discourse is still fixated on an eighteenth-century Enlightenment fantasy of the “Republic of Letters,” which paints politics as a salon discussion between polite people with competing ideas. The best program, when well argued by the wise and well-intentioned, is assumed to prevail in the end. Political action is disconnected, in this worldview, from the bloody entanglement of interests and passions that mark our lived existence. 

Barack Obama’s inclination to sit the health insurance companies down at the table rather than confront them head-on is a useful example of this def iciency at work. You didn’t have to be a Marxist to realize this was a doomed strategy; plenty within the liberal ranks knew it at the time. Liberalism has evolved and incorporated views of politics that were traditionally associated with the socialist movement. But this development happened only under the influence of the left, and now the dominant currents in the liberal movement, especially in the Democratic Party, are forgetting lessons learned from radicals in the past. 

* * *

Some clarifying is in order. “Liberalism” has always been a slippery term, but to the extent that we can assign coherence to the ideology, two main camps of modern American liberalism are identifiable: welfare liberals and technocratic liberals. The former, without the radicals they so often attacked marching at their left, have not adequately moored their efforts to the working class, while the latter naïvely disconnect policy from politics, often with frightening results. 

Welfare liberals remain committed to the New Deal paradigm: equality of opportunity, collective-bargaining rights, an expanded social safety net. They call for higher marginal tax rates, want to restore union density, oppose austerity measures and support the struggles of public sector workers. More inclusive and progressive than their predecessors on social issues, they nevertheless form a continuum with the past. Elements in the Congressional Progressive Caucus, dominant tendencies within labor and much of The Nation’s output are true to this tradition.

For all their admirable qualities, welfare liberals not only fail to account for the welfare state’s crisis in the 1970s; they have struggled to imagine what political forces could return it to its previous dominance. Without strong trade unions and a visible center-left reform movement—linchpins of the New Deal coalition—austerity has been hard to resist as a solution to the current economic crisis. These measures, in turn, have further undermined the social basis for progressive politics in America. 

Unlike its center-left counterparts elsewhere in the developed world, the American reform tradition has battled to enact policy without the benefit of a labor party. Absent such a party and faced with intense corporate resistance, the bulk of the American left has been tied to the Democratic Party, a social liberal, not a social democratic, formation. Workers and trade unions were brought into the big tent, but they were never structurally connected to or put in the vanguard of reform efforts. This lack of agency and of a solid institutional foundation for combating the excesses of capitalism eventually undermined liberal programs to build a more expansive welfare state. 

The practical consequences of this failure are evident. In their 1987 study The American Perception of Class, Reeve Vanneman and Lynn Cannon showed that self-identified working-class voters in the United States, lacking a party like Britain’s Labour, often do not vote. The growth of highly organized, mass-membership political parties was a development of Europe’s late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century labor movements, starting in Germany. That the Democratic Party retains a looser political structure than its counterparts elsewhere finds reflection in its relatively inchoate, and at times contradictory, politics, and the lack of meaningful political action it inspires. 

It is, after all, only a party in the broadest sense of the word. Open to all, the Democratic Party has no ideological requirements for membership. Anyone can register, making it little more than a coalition of social forces in which various groups contest for influence under a common banner. The American left, without a natural base and condemned to support the Democratic “lesser evil,” has traditionally conceded legitimacy to forces governing in the center. 

* * *

It’s no surprise that publications like The Nation, no matter how earnest in their opposition to the worst excesses of the Clinton or Obama administrations, have been prone to paint too many segments of the diverse Democratic Party as good-faith partners with progressives. Case in point: during last year’s labor dispute, in her “Sister Citizen” column [October 8], Melissa Harris-Perry equivocated between the insurgent Chicago Teachers Union and Democratic Mayor Rahm Emanuel. Instead of closing ranks and protecting a vulnerable union during an important fight, she pitied the children stuck “between the leaders and teachers who are supposed to have their best interests at heart but who seem willing to allow this generation to be lost.” There was no deeper analysis of the stakes of the dispute or acknowledgment that the demands of the teachers—geared almost entirely toward student needs—enjoyed high levels of community support. Political conflict itself was painted as regrettable, and perhaps because Emanuel was a prominent Democratic leader, as a kind of fratricide.

But even The Nation’s bravest material has, like welfare liberalism as a whole, struggled to articulate a clear critique of the structures and social forces that have rolled back many of the social gains of the past century. Hence the room for some contributors to make battles over neoliberal education reform seem like the result of mutual intransigence and the clash of personalities rather than a broader class struggle. 

The other half of the liberal scene, technocratic liberals, best embodied by Washington Post columnist Ezra Klein, seem at first glance to have responded to the global social democratic impasse in more sophisticated ways than their peers. In a January piece, “After ‘the end of big government liberalism,’ ” Klein claimed that “the progressive project of building a decent welfare state is giving way to the more technocratic work of financing and managing it. How government is run, more than what exactly it does, seems set to be the main battleground of American politics in coming years.” 

Unlike the welfare liberals with whom they share the same political party, technocratic liberals are less nostalgic for the postwar Fordist compromise between a strong labor movement and growing corporations. They are more apt to advocate reduced government spending and the introduction of markets into previously decommodified spaces—public schools, for instance. It’s a self-consciously “realist” approach to a new historical moment.  

For technocratic liberals, sound policy has become an end in itself. But big policy changes require mobilized political actors. By acquiescing in the conservative consensus on welfare entitlements (largely transformed into “workfare” by President Clinton in 1996) and attacks on teachers disguised as education “reform” (pushed by mainstream Democrats at the local level across the country), the technocrats launch broadsides at the very people who got them elected, eroding the base from which they can enact policy. Even sharply progressive calls, like a recent one from The New York Times in favor of strengthening collective-bargaining rights, are more often than not presented as a wonkish policy program for economic stimulus, to be turned on and off at will, rather than a vehicle for working-class power and long-term progressive advance. 

Socialists would not make this mistake. And neither would conservatives, for that matter. Though there are fierce battles in their party, House Republicans bind themselves to an ideological code, enforcing a set of standards that ironically resemble that of European socialist parties: dues are paid, commitments made explicit and members occasionally expelled. Declarations like Grover Norquist’s “Taxpayer Protection Pledge” unite conservatives in Congress, while a network of think tanks, political action committees, grassroots activists and organizations at the state level keep them setting the national discourse, even as the demographics continue to skew in the Democratic Party’s favor. 

The basic liberal program—a responsive government and the preservation of key social protections—is far more popular than, say, weakening child labor laws or forcing pregnant women to get transvaginal ultrasounds. But the conservative program is not only “on the agenda,” it is often enacted, and for good reason: the right is generally more confident, more ideologically consistent and better organized than those who oppose it. 

* * *

Somewhat ironically, given the history of violence and repression inflicted on the left throughout its history, the solution to liberalism’s impasse lies in the re-emergence of American radicalism. The prospects are more promising than they may seem at first glance. The present context on the socialist left is one of institutional disarray but critical vibrancy, not unlike the moment that fueled leftist milieus in the early 1960s, when journals like Studies on the Left anticipated the upsurges that were soon to come, but groups like the Socialist Party of America were in terminal decline. Current literary journals like n+1 have taken a turn toward the political through engagement with Occupy Wall Street, while radical thinkers like Vivek Chibber, Doug Henwood and Kathi Weeks are finding broad new audiences for their work. A younger cohort is emerging as well. This generation of Marxist intellectuals is resurrecting debates about the reduction of working time, exploring the significance of new forms of labor, and arguing about the ways a democratic society would harness technological advance to universal material benefit, while avoiding ecological ruin. 

It’s a big mission, but in covering these themes, Jacobin, the magazine I founded in 2010, has garnered a measure of mainstream attention and success that would have been inconceivable even a few years ago. Still, the actual political situation in the country hasn’t caught up to the hype. Ideas don’t mean much without avenues for action. 

Which is to say that the left needs a plan—a plan that must incorporate more moderate allies. American radicalism has had a complex and at times contradictory association with liberalism. At the peak of the socialist movement, leftists fed off liberal victories. Radicals, in turn, have added coherence and punch to every key liberal struggle and advance of the past century. Such a mutually beneficial alliance could be in the works again. The first step is to smash the existing liberal coalition and rebuild it on a radically different basis.

Socialists must urgently show progressives how alien the technocratic liberal worldview is to the goals of welfare-state liberalism—goals held by the rank and file of the liberal movement. The ground can be softened at the intellectual and cultural levels, but a schism will have to be forced through actual struggle. Broad anti-austerity coalitions, particularly those centered at the state and municipal levels like last year’s Chicago Teachers Union strike, point the way toward new coalitions between leftists and liberals committed to defending social goods, especially if that means standing up against pro-corporate members of the Democratic Party like Rahm Emanuel. 

A last bastion of progressive strength, public sector labor unions, will be crucial in these battles, but they will have to adopt new tactics. The teachers union’s commitment to community-wide agitation and social-movement building—a commitment that kept it in the public’s favor—is a model to emulate. And groups like the AFL-CIO’s Working America, which is currently not serving an especially radical purpose, could potentially give labor a tool to circumvent restrictive labor laws and build alliances with unorganized sectors of the population. 

These national campaigns will have local roots. The recent neoliberal turn of Democratic mayoralties, for example, has much to do with their intense budget constraints. But these isolated struggles must be tied to broader campaigns to centralize our welfare system, shifting local and state burdens onto the federal government. Such a change would allow for a deeper development of social protections and allow progressives who are elected to office to govern without having to impose austerity on workers. 

This is just one example of the kind of class politics that has to be reconstituted in America today; surely there are many others. The Next Left’s anti-austerity struggles must be connected to the environmental movement, to the struggle of immigrants for labor and citizenship rights, and even, as unromantic as it sounds, to the needs of middle-class service recipients. Baby boomers are facing retirement without pensions or private savings; they have a stake in defending Social Security. Recent college graduates are saddled with student loans and fear they won’t be able to buy homes or start families. The left must organize around these aspirations and expand its coalition until left-liberalism becomes the dominant force in American politics.

And what then? Socialists aren’t just doctors with remedies for liberalism’s ailments. We’re members of a movement with aspirations distinct from it: a society free from class exploitation, a democracy extended from political spheres to social and economic ones, a world dramatically transformed. This means pushing struggles beyond the limits of liberalism, or even the boundaries of a single nation. It means a pitched battle for supremacy within the broader progressive movement and, at the very least, a golden age of dinner-table political banter.

Read John Nichols on “How Socialists Built America” (May 2, 2011), adapted from his book The “S” Word: A Short History of an American Tradition… Socialism (Verso). 

Source

Upcoming United States actions:

May 18th: ‘Operation Green Jobs’ March from Philadelphia to Washington, DC organized by the Poor People’s Economic and Human Rights Campaign.

May 18th to 23rd: the  Home Defenders League Week of Action against the banks and foreclosures in Washington, DC.

May 18th to 20th: there is a  weekend of protests against the closure of schools in Chicago.

May 22nd:  Stop the Frack Attack People’s Forum in Washington, DC.

May 25th: Protests against Monsanto everywhere

May 25th to June 3rd: March from Philadelphia to Harrisburg against prison spending.

June 1st:  Get on the Bus For Bradley Court Martial Trial  with buses leaving from Baltimore, MD, Washington DC, New York City and Willimantic, CT.

June 14th to 16th:  Trade Justice Action Camp in Bellingham, WA by the Backbone Campaign

June 24th to 29th: is the beginning of “ Fearless Summer” that starts “ an epic summer of actions.

Source

Reblog with your own additions to the list.

Farmers protest against corporate power plant & corrupt government partnership hits 1000th day
May 17, 2013

“Lathi maar maar ke utha lehale anshan wahe/ daktar sahib soochna pahuchain naye mukhyamantri se bataiye da/ hum aapan zamin na dewai/ hame na chahi kuch tumhara.” (Translated: Police beat protesting farmers and remanded them/ We heard a new CM is coming to hear us/ Tell him we won’t give up our land/ We want nothing from you.)

These defiant lines in a created mix of Bhojpuri and Hindi are few of the many composed and sung by Anarkali (52), over the last three years. Her songs are meant to inspire a few hundred fellow farmers, who sit attentively with their farming tools each day, listening to her after the day’s work. On Friday, they assembled at Kachari village in the Trans-Yamuna region of this district, for the 1000th consecutive day. A maha-panchayat of villages was held to mark the occasion.

Under the Purnvas Kisan Kalyan Sahayta Samiti (PKKSS), these farmers have been protesting the proposed 1980 MW Karchhana power plant. Through songs, slogans and speeches about government corruption & corporate land development, the farmers wish to keep up the momentum for their daily assemblage. “We apprise them of their rights, how the government cheated us. They are encouraged not to fall for bribes or be intimidated by threats. This is not compulsory yet the farmers come daily,” said Raj Bahaur Patel, president, PKKSS.

The project was conceived in 2007 under the Bahujan Samaj Party government and about 2,500 bighas of land was acquired from 2,286 farmers in eight villages — Devari, Kachari, Katka-Medhra, Dehli, Dohlipur, Bagesar, Kachara and Bhitar. However, the project, handed over to an undertaking of Jaypee Group in 2009, could never take off due to consistent protests by farmers over compensation, leaving one farmer murdered by police repression.

Last April, the Allahabad High Court allowed the farmers’ writ petitions and stalled the project. The Court stipulated that farmers who had received compensation for their land should either return the money and take back the land or willingly hand over the land for the project. Around 140 farmers did not accept compensation. Those who did are in no condition to repay the amount, causing an impasse which the administration is struggling to break through. Ever since the initial violence gripped the area, the protests have been peaceful, but the farmers complain they are being intimidated by local goons and officials to give up their land and discontinue the protests.

"We will shoot you and your family. Just let the power plant come up you will be taught a lesson, they tell us," says Sukhdevi, 65, one of the many protesters.

Many of these threats also come from petty politicians, says Mr. Patel. “They approached us for a compromise, first with bribes. When we declined, they have resorted to fear tactics.” Consequently, the farmers have written to the Prime Minister’s Office and the Chief Minister’s Office, listing their apprehensions and demands. Also, in two letters dated August 8, 2012 and October 10, 2012, the farmers mentioned the threats to their lives, while also promising that they were ready to return the compensation but in installments and on their terms.

When Mr. Patel was called in to receive the response on April 15, the special land acquisition officer O.P Singh only inquired about the land possession of each farmer, completely ignoring the threats to the farmers’ lives. The Hindu has a copy of the document.

The farmers have been demanding: restoration of the fertility of their lands, compensation for the loss of farming over the last five years and losses suffered at the hands of police action during protests, an official inquiry into the violence & threats made against them.

Despite Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav announcing that the government would quash all FIRs filed against protesting farmers, eight criminal cases registered against farmers in Karchhana still stand. The farmers, who also reported that their land was wrongfully claimed to be barren, have filed an RTI into it. However, they have received no response yet.

Unlike previous years, when the farmers abandoned farming on the proposed site, they have engaged in some cultivation this season. Yet they remain fearful of violent retribution by goons and intermediaries. “We live in uncertainty. What if they destroy our crops and start the plant? We cannot afford further losses,” says a farmer.

The proposed land includes a large portion of the common property resources in the villages, like the ponds, rearing grounds, connecting paths and grain storage houses.

Notably, the region is turning into a hot-bed for famers’ protests against power plants. In Bara, while farmers have given up on their demands for higher compensation, they are on the verge of launching a movement against the excess extraction of water from the Yamuna.

The farmers have also demonstrated that “men of authority” are trying to create a rift among them to break down their movement. “They are creating false news that there is in-fighting among the farmers,” says Mr. Patel, citing a news report in a highly circulated Hindi daily.

Source

tywyllwch-tachwedd
tywyllwch-tachwedd:

dreadful-record-of-sin:

thepeoplesrecord:

Fast food strike wave spreads to Detroit, St. LouisMay 10, 2013
St. Louis, and last month’s in New York and Chicago, today’s work stoppage is backed by a local coalition including the Service Employees International Union, and the participants are demanding a raise to $15 an hour and the chance to form a union without intimidation.
Organizers say that over a hundred workers joined the St. Louis strike between Wednesday and Thursday. That included a group of Jimmy John’s workers who alleged that management humiliated them by requiring them to hold up signs in public with messages including “I made 3 wrong sandwiches today” and “I was more than 13 seconds in the drive thru.”
“Sometimes I walk for more than an hour just to save my train fare so I can spend it on Ramen noodles,” St. Louis Chipotle worker Patrick Leeper said in an e-mailed statement Thursday. “I can’t even think about groceries.”
A spokesperson for Jimmy John’s declined to comment on Thursday’s strike; McDonald’s and Wendy’s did not respond to inquiries last night.
As I’ve written elsewhere, the fate of the fast food strike wave carries far-reaching implications: Fast food jobs are a growing portion of our economy, and fast food-like conditions are proliferating in other sectors as well. Organizers say the fast food industry now employs twice as many Detroit-area workers as the city’s iconic auto industry. These strikes also come at a moment of existential crisis for the labor movement, a sobering reality that was brought into sharp relief in December when Michigan, arguably the birthplace of modern US private sector unionism, became the country’s latest “Right to Work” state.
Along with a shared significant supporter—SEIU—the campaigns in New York, Chicago, St. Louis and Detroit have apparent strategies in common. Rather than waiting until they’ve built support from a majority of a store’s or company’s workers, they stage actions by a minority of the workforce designed to inspire their co-workers. Rather than publicly identifying the campaign and its organizers with a single international union, these union-funded efforts turn to allied community groups to spearhead organizing. Rather than training all their resources on a single company, they organize against all of the industry’s players at once. And—faced with legal and economic assaults that have weakened the strike weapon—these campaigns mount one-day work stoppages that are carefully tailored to maximize attention and minimize, but not eliminate, the risk that workers will lose their jobs.
Whether these strategies can ever compel a fast food giant to negotiate with its employees remains to be seen.
“After what I would consider well over three decades of wage suppression, workers in this particular industry—and then I think it’ll go to others—are realizing that their only way up the wage ladder is through their own organizations,” CUNY labor studies lecturer Ed Ott said Wednesday. Ott, a board member of the community organizing group that spearheaded the New York fast food strike, added, “The only way these workers are going to be able to advance these jobs is through unionization. And I think that idea has finally gotten traction.”
Update (9:15 AM Friday): According to the campaign, a walkout by twenty workers at Detroit’s 10400 Gratiot Avenue McDonald’s prevented the store from operating. Some workers brought in as strikebreakers to replace those striking workers chose to join the strike instead.
Organizers say that by day’s end, today’s strike could be the largest fast food work stoppage yet, topping last month’s 400-strong strike in New York.
Source

Fuck yeah.

I have to say, considering Jimmy John’s is featured here, I’m disappointed the IWW hasn’t been remotely mentioned, but of course I’m also not surprised. (I’m furthermore hoping this doesn’t get picked up by the SEIU or any trade unions because not even SEIU has a concept of total militancy…) But still, this is a fantastic development. Solidarity with all the strikers!

Fill our inbox and/or email with information about the IWW. I’ve heard bits and pieces about the organization (things I’ve heard that may or may not be true: was syndaclist, now isn’t; was problematic, now isn’t). Anyway, ya’ll’ve got a strong enough internet presence to peak my curiosity. 

tywyllwch-tachwedd:

dreadful-record-of-sin:

thepeoplesrecord:

Fast food strike wave spreads to Detroit, St. Louis
May 10, 2013

St. Louis, and last month’s in New York and Chicago, today’s work stoppage is backed by a local coalition including the Service Employees International Union, and the participants are demanding a raise to $15 an hour and the chance to form a union without intimidation.

Organizers say that over a hundred workers joined the St. Louis strike between Wednesday and Thursday. That included a group of Jimmy John’s workers who alleged that management humiliated them by requiring them to hold up signs in public with messages including “I made 3 wrong sandwiches today” and “I was more than 13 seconds in the drive thru.”

“Sometimes I walk for more than an hour just to save my train fare so I can spend it on Ramen noodles,” St. Louis Chipotle worker Patrick Leeper said in an e-mailed statement Thursday. “I can’t even think about groceries.”

A spokesperson for Jimmy John’s declined to comment on Thursday’s strike; McDonald’s and Wendy’s did not respond to inquiries last night.

As I’ve written elsewhere, the fate of the fast food strike wave carries far-reaching implications: Fast food jobs are a growing portion of our economy, and fast food-like conditions are proliferating in other sectors as well. Organizers say the fast food industry now employs twice as many Detroit-area workers as the city’s iconic auto industry. These strikes also come at a moment of existential crisis for the labor movement, a sobering reality that was brought into sharp relief in December when Michigan, arguably the birthplace of modern US private sector unionism, became the country’s latest “Right to Work” state.

Along with a shared significant supporter—SEIU—the campaigns in New York, Chicago, St. Louis and Detroit have apparent strategies in common. Rather than waiting until they’ve built support from a majority of a store’s or company’s workers, they stage actions by a minority of the workforce designed to inspire their co-workers. Rather than publicly identifying the campaign and its organizers with a single international union, these union-funded efforts turn to allied community groups to spearhead organizing. Rather than training all their resources on a single company, they organize against all of the industry’s players at once. And—faced with legal and economic assaults that have weakened the strike weapon—these campaigns mount one-day work stoppages that are carefully tailored to maximize attention and minimize, but not eliminate, the risk that workers will lose their jobs.

Whether these strategies can ever compel a fast food giant to negotiate with its employees remains to be seen.

“After what I would consider well over three decades of wage suppression, workers in this particular industry—and then I think it’ll go to others—are realizing that their only way up the wage ladder is through their own organizations,” CUNY labor studies lecturer Ed Ott said Wednesday. Ott, a board member of the community organizing group that spearheaded the New York fast food strike, added, “The only way these workers are going to be able to advance these jobs is through unionization. And I think that idea has finally gotten traction.”

Update (9:15 AM Friday): According to the campaign, a walkout by twenty workers at Detroit’s 10400 Gratiot Avenue McDonald’s prevented the store from operating. Some workers brought in as strikebreakers to replace those striking workers chose to join the strike instead.

Organizers say that by day’s end, today’s strike could be the largest fast food work stoppage yet, topping last month’s 400-strong strike in New York.

Source

Fuck yeah.

I have to say, considering Jimmy John’s is featured here, I’m disappointed the IWW hasn’t been remotely mentioned, but of course I’m also not surprised. (I’m furthermore hoping this doesn’t get picked up by the SEIU or any trade unions because not even SEIU has a concept of total militancy…) But still, this is a fantastic development. Solidarity with all the strikers!

Fill our inbox and/or email with information about the IWW. I’ve heard bits and pieces about the organization (things I’ve heard that may or may not be true: was syndaclist, now isn’t; was problematic, now isn’t). Anyway, ya’ll’ve got a strong enough internet presence to peak my curiosity. 

slothtanic
whitehouse:

Share the news: Our economy added 176,000 private-sector jobs last month, while unemployment dipped to its lowest rate since December 2008. http://at.wh.gov/kGdc9

Share the news - Barack Obama is a war criminal.
Share the news - poor people don’t know what you’re talking about, we’re still jobless or over-worked & underpaid and yes, poor. 
Share the news - we want a private-sector DEATH. We want private-sector abolition!
Share the news - it was a really bad idea for the White House to get a Tumblr. You are not welcome here. 
Share the news!

whitehouse:

Share the news: Our economy added 176,000 private-sector jobs last month, while unemployment dipped to its lowest rate since December 2008. http://at.wh.gov/kGdc9

Share the news - Barack Obama is a war criminal.

Share the news - poor people don’t know what you’re talking about, we’re still jobless or over-worked & underpaid and yes, poor. 

Share the news - we want a private-sector DEATH. We want private-sector abolition!

Share the news - it was a really bad idea for the White House to get a Tumblr. You are not welcome here. 

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Article segment: Why the left must support Syria’s revolution
April 9, 2013

BEYOND THOSE who support the Syrian regime as a progressive opponent of imperialism, there are those who are justly suspicious of the motives of the U.S. and other powerful governments—and who fear that Syrians are doomed to a civil war between a bloodthirsty dictator and groups of intolerant little tyrants sustained by the U.S. and other powers.

What these pictures of the situation miss—intentionally or not—is the fact that Syria is in the grips of more than a civil war. What is taking place is a popular revolution, with an armed component. There are a wide variety of groups involved and at least as many strategies and ideas about what the struggle is about—including those that are not left wing and that will make accommodations with imperialism.

But the uprising is also a very dynamic process that has involved millions of people becoming active in public life for the first time. There are political advances and retreats, and moments of triumph and disappointment, just as there are military victories and defeats. But it would be wrong to reduce the Syrian Revolution to the question of the armed struggle and the role of imperialist powers in trying to shape and co-opt that armed struggle.

Take the role of women in the uprising—something that is not widely appreciated anywhere, and especially not in the mainstream media. Women have been very active participants and leaders from the beginning. They have played a role not just as victims and mothers and sisters of the martyrs and detainees, but also in demonstrations, on the front in field hospitals, in citizen reporting, and in the distribution of medicine and humanitarian supplies.

As a group of women activists in Aleppo wrote, “We will not wait until the regime falls for women to become active.” At the same time, they write, the “militarization of the revolution” has overshadowed the role of women—so in early March, the revolutionary local council of Aleppo was elected and didn’t include a single woman, despite some well-known female activists being nominated.

So there is—like everywhere in the world—some distance to go before women have equality in Syria. But the role they have played in the struggle so far—and will in the future—underlines how the uprising has opened up many different fronts in the battle against the Assad regime. As Ghayath Naisse said in an interview published by SocialistWorker.org:

The popular masses have invented many forms of struggles, including massive popular demonstrations that we saw in July of last year in Hama and Deir Ezzour; fast demonstrations (like flash mobs) that only last for several minutes; and demonstrations in neighborhoods with narrow streets in order to prevent the security forces from finding and cornering them, thus allowing protesters to disperse in narrow alleys when faced with repression.

Other actions include night demonstrations, releasing balloons carrying revolutionary slogans, dyeing the fountains red in major city squares, raising the flags of the revolution in streets and balconies, renaming streets with names of the revolution’s martyrs and, of course, a series of general strikes. The most recent one, in December 2012, was called the Strike of Dignity and lasted two days.

Every Friday, the masses raise their slogans, most of them united, in response to specific situations or to express their opinion regarding any matter of concern to the revolution. These are also a means to form a common mass consciousness and to generalize revolutionary experiences.

I WANT to leave the last word to a brave revolutionary, leftist writer Nahed Badawiyya, speaking from inside Syria:

The Arab Revolutions have come to put an end to the traditional left, and especially the traditional Communist Parties, which have been ineffective for a long time. They have become conservative, reactionary structures, devoid of members. In Syria, these Communist Parties gravitated towards the murderous regime and become accomplices to its crimes.

Therefore, much of their base, especially the youth, abandoned them and took to the streets to join their generation in protest. You will notice this phenomenon in all the traditional political movements in Syria. The youths of the Palestinian, Arab and Kurdish political movements have all separated from their leadership and joined the revolution. In all these political movements, the party leaderships were an obstacle and a brake on the revolutionary Syrian youth. At the same time, however, new Leftist youth formations emerged from within the revolution giving voice to its essence. I hope they grow and proliferate.

Full article here in which Yusef Khalil answers the objections of those on the left who reject the Syrian uprising against dictatorship—and demands to know which side they’re on.

As Sherry Wolf put it on her Facebook: Don’t reduce the Syrian Revolution to the question of the armed struggle and the role of imperialist powers in trying to shape and co-opt that armed struggle. Read this thoughtful and nuanced piece by Yusef Khalil. If you want to comment, please read the article. For some reason the Syrian Revolution inspires radicals to talk out of their ass.”

Bank of Cyprus to cut 30% off deposits over €100,000
March 25, 2013

Depositors in the Bank of Cyprus, the biggest bank on the island, will reportedly lose 30 percent on their holdings above 100,000 euros, the chairman of the Cypriot parliamentary finance committee said on Monday.

"I haven’t heard a formal announcement about the haircut, but this is the figure I heard," Irish radio quotes Nicholas Papadopoulos as saying.

At dawn on Monday, Cyprus and the troika of international backers reached agreement on a €10bn bailout plan, aimed at preventing the bankruptcy of the island’s financial system and the country’s exit from the Eurozone. Under the plan the depositors in Bank of Cyprus will be compensated with equity in the bank, while Laiki Bank, which is the island’s second largest financial institution, will be closed down.

Those with deposits under 100,000 euros in both banks will continue to enjoy the protection of the state’s guarantees, after an earlier proposal to impose a 6.75% tax on them provoked anger.

Banks are due to reopen on Tuesday, however, withdrawal limits will be imposed to avoid a run of capital.

Source

Thousands of Greeks protest planned gold mining site that would be destructive to the environment
March 9, 2013

More than 10,000 people have taken to the streets of Greece’s second largest city to protest a planned gold mine they see as an environmental risk.

Police blocked the crowd’s march to the Canadian Consulate in Thessaloniki, but Saturday’s protest took place and ended peacefully. Eldorado Gold Corp., based in Vancouver, Canada, has been granted the rights to the gold mine in Halkidiki peninsula, east of Thessaloniki.

The company has established a camp employing 1,200 people and plans to begin digging soon.

The issue has bitterly divided Halkidiki residents, with some claiming the mine will harm tourism and release toxic substances, and others denying that and saying new jobs are crucial during Greece’s severe economic crisis.

Source

Ours is a time of multiple crises generated by global capitalism.  It is a time of global resistance, occupation, and insurgency. It is a time to connect with the ideas of Luxemburg, Trotsky, and Lenin – a critical-minded engagement with revolutionary resources, based on past revolutionary experience, as we consider future action for social change.

New waves of young activists are compelled to become radical– going to the root of today’s problems, demanding a shift of power in society from the super-wealthy 1% to the increasingly hard-pressed 99%.

It will not be a simple thing to win the battle of democracy, to create a world in which the free development of each is the condition for the free development of all. The problems we face have been more than two centuries in the making.  Millions of people, generation after generation, have engaged in revolutionary struggles for basic human rights and dignity – liberty and justice for all, experiencing defeats and victories, learning and passing on an accumulation of lessons for those who would continue the struggle.

Luxemburg, Trotsky and Lenin were among the most perceptive and compelling revolutionaries of the 20th century. The body of analysis, strategy and tactics to which they contributed was inseparable from the mass struggles of their time.  Critically engaging with their ideas can enrich the thinking and practical activity of those involved in today’s and tomorrow’s struggles for a better world.

A global activist collective – multiple individuals exploring texts on how to understand and change the world, proliferating study groups connecting revolutionary theory with the struggles of today and tomorrow – reaching out to the rest of the 99%, can have a powerful impact for social change. It is time, in the most revolutionary sense, to get political.

Source

Although power-points aren’t exactly the most thrilling or efficient way to present information with text & visuals (I like Tumblr for that, for instance) this is still a pretty cool, creative Marxist project. Click on the source to see their powerpoints and read more about the project.

I’ve posted most of this list before, but I’m happy to share it again, with a few additions.
A list of good leftist/politically-conscious blogs on Tumblr…
Almost exclusively news & conscious politics:
http://fuckyeahmarxismleninism.tumblr.com
http://socialistorganizer.tumblr.com/
http://the-uncensored-she.tumblr.com/
http://anarcho-queer.tumblr.com/
http://sans-nuage.tumblr.com/
http://sinidentidades.tumblr.com/
http://disciplesofmalcom.tumblr.com
http://canadian-communist.tumblr.com/
http://randomactsofchaos.tumblr.com/
http://amodernmanifesto.tumblr.com/
http://rebeltranscripts.tumblr.com/
http://socialismartnature.tumblr.com/
http://leftskewed.tumblr.com/
http://cognitivedissonance.tumblr.com
http://anarchistpeopleofcolor.tumblr.com
http://dentonsocialists.tumblr.com
 Blend of political & personal:
http://nitanahkohe.tumblr.com/
http://socialistexan.tumblr.com
http://youngbadmanbrown.tumblr.com/
http://blackraincloud.tumblr.com/
http://crookedthinking95.tumblr.com
http://tranqualizer.tumblr.com/
http://afellowmartian.tumblr.com/
http://pragnacious.tumblr.com
Movement/fraction/specific-activism focused:
http://democracyatwork.tumblr.com/
http://oppression-and-feminism.tumblr.com/
http://justice4janitors.tumblr.com/
http://chileanstudentmovement.tumblr.com/ (inactive for a few months now)
http://wearethe1in3.tumblr.com/  (inactive for quite a bit but could still use submissions & is generally a good idea)
— — —
I know this could be infinitely longer. I know I left some good ones (that I probably follow & read and others that I don’t) out.
This would be a great starting point though if you’re new to tumblr and/or socially-conscious news & politics and want some great blogs to follow to stay informed & learn. These blogs make tumblr a better place. <3
And if I forgot you, I’m sorry. Please add other great blogs in the same vein as these when you reblog. :D

I’ve posted most of this list before, but I’m happy to share it again, with a few additions.

A list of good leftist/politically-conscious blogs on Tumblr…

Almost exclusively news & conscious politics:

 Blend of political & personal:

Movement/fraction/specific-activism focused:

— — —

I know this could be infinitely longer. I know I left some good ones (that I probably follow & read and others that I don’t) out.

This would be a great starting point though if you’re new to tumblr and/or socially-conscious news & politics and want some great blogs to follow to stay informed & learn. These blogs make tumblr a better place. <3

And if I forgot you, I’m sorry. Please add other great blogs in the same vein as these when you reblog. :D