Also on 10 May, Ofer military court upheld the administrative detention of Fuad Assi and Adib Mafarjeh, both hospitalised after 39 days on hunger strike.
Also on 10 May, Ofer military court upheld the administrative detention of Fuad Assi and Adib Mafarjeh, both hospitalised after 39 days on hunger strike.
On 10 May, an Israeli military court in Ofer in the West Bank ordered Palestinian scientist Imad Barghouthi to remain under administrative detention (without charge) for two more months for anti-oc
Judge says 'clear, credible' evidence of 'criminal wrongdoing' at past arms fairs
On 15 April, eight people from Bahrain, Belgium, Chile, Peru and the UK were acquitted at Stratford magistrates’ court of obstructing the highway during the defence & security equipment i
Vanunu charged with new "crimes"
On 8 May, Mordechai Vanunu was charged with several crimes: talking to two US nationals three years ago; saying things – that were not broadcast – during a TV interview last September, something fo
Marc Morgan surveys anti-nuclear fasts, past and present
The international Hiroshima-Nagasaki fast has been held for over 30 years now, as an act of sorrow and commemoration and as a form of protest against nuclear weapons.
US campaign to hold over 350 events across US and beyond, this September
Campaign Nonviolence is a US project focused on a ‘week of actions’ every September.
More than three-quarters of the British public would accept refugees in their neighbourhood or home, according to an Amnesty International survey published on 18 May.
Jeremy Seabrook’s The Song of the Shirt: The High Price of Cheap Garments, from Blackburn to Bangladesh was the British radical book of the year, winning the Bread & Roses Award for Ra
On 10 May, British peace activist Lindis Percy was arrested for ‘breach of bail’ outside the NSA/NRO Menwith Hill spy base and held overnight for at Harrogate police station.
Jewish scholar Norman Finkelstein talks about Naz Shah, Ken Livingstone, and the Nazi Holocaust
Norman Finkelstein is no stranger to controversy. He is one of the world’s leading experts on the Israel-Palestine conflict and the political legacy of the Nazi Holocaust.
How should the peace movement vote in the European Union referendum?
‘Leave it in the ground’ say anti-coal campaigners
by Alex Press
As the Service Employees International Union, or SEIU, held its international convention in Detroit in May, organizers behind the Fight for $15 — the national campaign for a fast food workers’ union and a $15 minimum wage — demanded the union extend its principles of workplace democracy to its own employees.
The Union of Union Representatives, or UUR, which represents nearly 100 SEIU organizers, researchers and other staff, went public with the campaign on May 21, in hopes of garnering the attention necessary to win what has turned into an ugly fight. Launching the campaign on social media and in person at Fight for $15 protests held in Chicago outside of the McDonald’s shareholder convention, organizers had a chance to spread the demand to staff not yet involved in the campaign.
According to Nicholas Calderon, a UUR vice president and shop steward, 15 organizers with the Fight for $15 campaign submitted UUR membership cards on April 12. Three days later, Christopher Prado, a Las Vegas-based Fight for $15 organizer and one of the original group to file for representation, was fired.
“At noon on Tuesday, April 12, I had a meeting with management about my work and our plan for the next 10 weeks,” Prado said over the phone. “At 5 p.m., we submitted our request as Fight for $15 organizers to be absorbed into the UUR contract. And on Friday, April 15, I was retaliated against.” His managers fired him with one week’s severance pay.
“The stated reason for his termination was a lack of budget,” said Calderon, but the UUR believes this was a lie, as “the budget was funded for the coming months.” This led the UUR to file an Unfair Labor Practice claim with the National Labor Relations Board against SEIU on the grounds of retaliation for union activity.
According to Calderon, these organizers are often on the payroll of SEIU subsidiaries, such as the Western Workers Organizing Committee of Chicago, which — while largely funded by SEIU — are outside organizations. This ambiguity helps SEIU rely on non-union organizers for its grassroots efforts — such as the Fight for $15 campaign — that have gained significant media attention in recent years. It is a particularly contradictory move for the Fight for $15, which has brought lawsuits against McDonald’s based on the argument that a parent company is responsible for labor violations allegedly committed by its franchisees.
After voting at their annual conference last year to investigate the status of organizers working for the Fight for $15 and other SEIU campaigns, the UUR found Fight for $15 employees are rightful union members and entitled to UUR representation.
“We are strong believers in the work of the Fight for $15 campaign,” said UUR President Conor Hanlon in a statement last Monday. “Our members work side-by-side with non-union staff who are on the front lines of this campaign. Why then, should Fight for $15 staff not be part of our union? Many of them come from the same communities and share the same struggles as fast food, home care and other low-wage workers. Like those workers, they deserve the benefits of a union. We call on SEIU to honor its commitment to working people by recognizing them as members of UUR.”
This isn’t the first time problems within SEIU have spilled into the public. In 2009, the UUR filed a complaint with the National Labor Relations Board against SEIU in response to announced layoffs of 75 of the union’s 200 members.
In a May 2009 article for Labor Notes, Malcolm Harris, then-president of the UUR wrote: “We are proud of our work to build SEIU and through these efforts hope to rescind the layoffs, win a decent contract, and push SEIU to uphold the values it claims to represent — dignity, respect and fair treatment of workers. Then we can get back to our real work, building the labor movement.”
The filing was unsuccessful. As Ned Resnikoff pointed out in Jacobin, SEIU’s reluctance to extend its unionism to its employees doesn’t come from malice on the part of labor leaders. Rather, SEIU faces “the same pressures as any large employer: the constant need to maximize efficiency and workforce flexibility while minimizing labor costs.”
As strange as it sounds, if SEIU is run like a business, labor leadership plays the role of management, squeezing productivity out of its organizers. This is evident in an internal document from the UUR to Fight for $15 organizers, which states that organizers are sometimes forced to work “for weeks straight, for a salary that amounts to less than an hourly minimum wage.”
SEIU isn’t the only union pushing its organizers to the limits. In the face of dwindling resources and a concerted right-wing attack on unions that dates back to Ronald Reagan — continuing under Republican and Democratic administrations alike — unions are fighting an uphill battle. But understanding these constraints is different than condoning the behavior of union leadership.
To avoid the errors that plagued the labor movement in the past, greater democracy within unions must be agitated for at every turn. Even on its own terms, SEIU and any other union engaged in similar practices risk more than they gain by denying their grassroots organizers, the heart and soul of union staff, the right to collective bargaining.
“We are demanding the same thing low-wage workers across the country are demanding: job security, fair wages, respect and a union,” said Emiliana Sparaco, a San Diego-based Fight for $15 organizer. “This campaign is our way of showing workers that we are prepared to lead by example and strengthen the Fight for $15 movement.”
What this campaign looks like beyond the unfair labor practice claim and social media messaging remains to be seen. However, when asked, UUR president Conor Hanlon said the union would “continue organizing Fight for $15 staff and using direct action to put public pressure on SEIU. Since going public with the campaign, over a dozen more Fight for $15 organizers have joined the original 15 to demand UUR representation.”
By retaliating against Prado and those at the forefront of the Fight for $15 for exercising their right to unionize, SEIU’s leadership risks undermining hard-won legitimacy in the eyes of fast food workers and the public and hamstringing their own goals in the process. Organizers are the ones building relationships with low-wage workers in the hope that they’ll vote to join SEIU, which becomes hard to do when SEIU is fighting tooth-and-nail to resist improving working conditions for its own organizers.
“I’ve never been in a situation like this, where a social justice organization — a union organization that protects rights for other people — left me abandoned, without anything,” Prado said. When asked what success looks like beyond SEIU recognition of Fight for $15 staff as UUR members, he added, “I want my job back, I would like to see my unfair labor practice [claim] recognized and to get compensation for the pain SEIU put me through. While I’m still grieving, my participation with the UUR has let me take action and find strength in that.”
The Fight for $15 is one of the most important labor struggles of our time, breathing new life into the labor movement with every victory. Many have lauded SEIU for its willingness to devote resources to organizing workers in an industry many unions dismissed altogether. Rather than expending those resources endorsing Democratic Party candidates — especially ones like Hillary Clinton, who have long opposed a $15 minimum wage — SEIU should improve the terms of contract it offers its staff and commit to treating organizers well instead of burning them out.
Not long ago, Mike Baird was the country’s most popular politician but last weekend, 5,000 people marched against his increasingly paternalistic policies
On Sunday, an estimated 5,000 people walked from Sydney Town Hall to NSW Parliament House as part of the catchily-named March Against Mike, a one-size-fits-all protest for anyone riled up at the government of Mike Baird.
Sydney, as a rule, isn’t known for the size or effectiveness of its protests – that’s more of a Melbourne thing. And it isn’t as though the endless and chronically boring federal election campaign has seen people’s interest in politics spike. But the March Against Mike was different from the usual collection of scrappy diehards and socialist splinter groups who congregate at Town Hall to air their grievances.Continue reading...
On the night between Sunday the 22nd & Monday the 23rd of May three comrades were detained near the car park of South Warsaw police station. Cops claim to have found an explosive device under a police car. All three comrades were taken into custody at the station and one comrade was severely beaten. The comrades refused to cooperate and denied all accusations of ‘terrorism’ and attempting to bomb the police station. The comrades received support from the anarchist community and 3 squats from Warsaw (Przychodnia, Syrena, Radykalne Ogrody Działkowe) and were provided with legal representation.
The same day police raided and tried to evict Radykalne Ogrody Działkowe squat where one of the arrested comrades lived and search for evidence. According to the “Reclaim The Fields” website: “Cops arrived between 4 and 5AM. They invaded the squat area by cutting fences and demolishing the gate with a forklift. Six undercover police invaded people’s rooms. One friend woke up and found himself surrounded by cops questioning him about his identity. They then proceeded to search the entire squat.”
Warsaw anarchist collectives all released statements saying that they reject the terrorist accusations that have been made by the mainstream media and that they stand in solidarity with the accused comrades. Humiliating photos of the 3 anarchists in handcuffs and taking alcohol tests were published in the press.
The anarchist community of Warsaw has pointed to the fact that the media reaction to the latest events are an attempt to legitimize the new antiterrorist act that is being discussed by the Polish government. They also pointed out that about two weeks ago a young man named Igor was beaten to death at a police station in Wroclaw and that the legal system is protecting the murderers.
Poznań Anarchist Federation released a statement which strongly pointed out that “In these times where state power is shifting rapidly into authoritarian rule and state of emergency conditions are applied more severely each day the attempt to torch some police cars is called ‘terrorism’ and two bottles filled with petrol are called a ‘bomb’. This is nothing more than an attempt to distract the public from obvious incidents of police brutality and abuse of the law”. The comrades from Poznań reminded people about the dramatic death of Romanian prisoner Claudiu Crulic who died in Kraków prison after two months of hunger strike.
Another statement came from Łukasz Bukowski, our imprisoned anarchist comrade who is behind bars because he refused to pay court fines imposed on him as an act of judicial revenge for his political activity helping poor families resist evictions in Poznań.
He wrote: “I just received the news about the three comrades taken into custody in Warsaw accused of the so-called bomb attack on the police station. Regardless of the validity of the accusations we must support them. Throughout history the struggle for freedom has always used a variety of methods and tactics to fight oppression. Even if we don’t support insurrectionary tactics we cannot deny the effectiveness and strength of solidarity support. I know this because I myself have experienced it’s uplifting strength. Solidarity is our weapon”.
Grecja w Ogniu stands in solidarity with the arrested comrades who were forcibly and illegally abducted by the state regime and suffered acts of physical and psychological terror while in custody and whose lives now depend on regime puppets in uniforms.
We will publish separate statements in the coming days.
We are all calling for action in solidarity and support of all of the three prisoners of the state!
Police bastards we are going to remember every one of your assaults and aggressions against our comrades!
Eternal war against banks, cops and prisons!
Forty years ago apartheid police killed hundreds of children protesting in the Johannesburg township. Were you there? We want your help telling this story
Wednesday 16 June 1976 was a day that would change South Africa, when some 10,000 black children and teenagers took to the streets of Soweto to protest against being forced to study in Afrikaans, the language of their white oppressors.
As apartheid police responded to the march with force, the protest turned violent. By the end of the day, around 176 young people had been killed and thousands more injured when police fired live ammunition into the crowd.Continue reading...
On the night of May 23rd, the police in Warsaw arrested three anarchists on charges of an alleged arson attempt of a police vehicle. The three were transferred to a remand prison where they are to be held in custody for three months, awaiting trial. They face up to 8 years in prison. Media frenzy broke out over the arrest in the past few days, with high-ranking politicians and experts on terrorism discussing the matter on TV. Photos and video reruns of the arrested walking with chains around their feet and hands are broadcast on public transportation. The text below is a translation of the statement that was sent out by various groups from the anarchist and wider social justice community in Poland, in response to these arrests.
Open letter in connection with the arrest of three anarchists in Warsaw
The mass media in Poland are releasing increasingly more absurd, one-sided reports about the arrest of three anarchists on Monday, May 23rd. We interpret this as an attempt to intimidate and criminalize social justice movements in Poland.
As we write, Polish authorities are pushing for the so-called “Counter-Terrorism Act” to enter into force by June 1st of this year. It is no coincidence that as we approach this date, the media and politicians are desperately searching to construct a reality in which this new law will seem absolutely necessary. Yet the step-by-step analyses of the police operation that neutralized the alleged arson attempt of a police car on the night of May 23rd stand in stark contrast to the media’s silence around other recent events, which challenge the image of “police heroes”. Just a few days before, the police in Wroclaw murdered Igor S., an unarmed man. Igor was beaten to death while in custody at the police station. In this case, righteous indignation on the part of politicians, media, police or terrorism experts is hard to find. Journalists prefer to safely turn their critical gaze in another direction when it comes to police brutality. But police killings are only the tip of the iceberg: extortion, beatings and the unlawful protection of the interests of the powerful are daily bread in Poland. Every year, among 16,000 complaints filed against the police only 5 percent is taken into consideration, while the rest is simply ignored. Due to media bias and omissions, the police have little fear of repercussions. It is safe to say that people are officially discouraged from filing complaints since they bring no effect. The truth is that only loud protests and upheavals have the power to prevent police violence from being quietly swept under the carpet. We must bear this in mind, as the media will not miss the opportunity to pave the way towards the greater expansion of police authority and to further reduce public control over the activities of these bodies of repression.
Today, the panic over an alleged, failed attempt to burn down a police car fabricates the consent necessary in order to pass a severe law that will allow for uncontrolled surveillance, a database of potential terrorism suspects, shoot-to-kill policies, martial law, the delimited right to public protest, and the profiling of migrants, Muslims in particular. This is legislation that will allow for unlimited police violence against all people. Today, irresponsible journalists use sensationalism associated with “terror” in an attempt to persuade those not yet convinced: even official political trends in Poland express doubts about the new “anti-terrorist” law.
The anarchist movement in Poland is active within groups of workers and tenants, in the environmental and anti-racism struggles, as well as in the fight against land-grabbing. It works without compromise towards social justice and against the oppression of business and political elites. The lack of public control over the police force has led to a tacit approval of uncontrolled brutality, on the part of police, against people opposed to systemic violence in various fields. More broadly, the atmosphere of a witch-hunt of the entire anarchist movement serves to build consent for the repression and surveillance of communities that challenge the most influential interest groups in this country.
Today, amidst the media reconstructions of the alleged arson attempt, the psychological profiles of the would-be arsonists and the press conferences, it is with great anger that we recall the lack of a similar reaction to the repressions of people fighting for our causes. When the tenant activist Jolanta Brzeska, who lived 50 meters from a police station, was repeatedly harassed and eventually assassinated in March 2011, we could not count on similar outrage from the political elite. There were no TV debates, expert opinions, or step-by-step accounts of how she was kidnapped and burned alive, like a witch. There were no psychological profiles made of the real-estate developer who harassed her; there were never even any murder suspects. Indeed, whenever attacks are made on social justice fighters, public opinion does not pay them any attention.
In contrast, a media storm explodes around an arson, which in fact, did not take place. The arrested anarchists are being referred to as “terrorists”. This serves to enforce social acceptance of using physical and psychological violence against them now, while they are in custody. Their current state of health and physical appearance already testify to the fact that they are being tortured, with impunity.
To our friends and comrades: resist the panic spread by police and the media. The good authority, concerned with our safety, is merely an illusion. Ask: who benefits from this sort of writing of history? Does such a manipulative narration leave any reason to believe in a fair trial?
We will not be intimidated, nor will we cease our struggles for social justice; in spite of what is increasingly becoming a full-fledged police state.
To the media: until you have the courage to condemn many years of police violence, sustained by an excess of privileges and the entire state apparatus, your judgment of the imprisoned anarchists and your campaign against the whole anarchist movement will only ever serve to reveal your well-funded bias. There is no- and there never will be any- authority, business or church behind this movement. Our history is made of a thousand social struggles, about which many of you are too afraid to speak. Our history will survive any repression.
We stand in solidarity with the arrested and we call on all people to do the same.
Enough of a state founded on fear and police violence!
Kolektyw Syrena (The Syrena Collective)
Warszawskie Stowarzyszenie Lokatorów (The Warsaw Tenants’ Association)
Kolektyw Przychodnia (The Przychodnia Collective)
Ruch Sprawiedliwości Społecznej (The Social Justice Group)
Kancelaria Sprawiedliwości Społecznej (The Social Justice Office)
Warszawska Federacja Anarchistyczna (The Warsaw Anarchist Federation)
There is a whole generation of women out here who were protesters at Greenham Common, Aldermaston, and the Newbury Bypass (Anti-Fracking groups plan protest camps, 26 May). Besides working with our partners to help our children carve out a life in a horribly hostile financial climate, we are volunteering on committees to help keep youth and children’s centres, libraries, and village halls open, because council budgets are totally inadequate. In our 50s, 60s and 70s, we are supporting the junior doctors, standing against welfare cuts, and for renewable energy. We want this government to publish the report, which they have been sitting on since the end of March, on the Environmental Impact of Shale Gas Technology, by the independent Climate Change Committee. Yes, I think there will be anti-fracking camps like Balcombe here in the north. I think there might be all sorts of imaginative social disobedience. We’ve been round the block already, and demographics show that our age group is growing. Even if we didn’t get to Greenham Common, there are quite a lot of us who might make up for it in Kirby Misperton, Preston New Road, or Roseacre Wood.
Silsden, West Yorkshire
Police taskforce to be created to catch people who hid faces and sparked violent clashes during Melbourne rally against both Islam and racism
Protesters could be banned from wearing masks and there are calls to reinstate laws that give police more powers at rallies after violent clashes at a Melbourne rally.Continue reading...