working class self organisation's blog

Carol Malone, Benefits Street, and mental health

Journalist at the Mirror and general scumbag, Carol Malone, has attacked an individual on Channel 4's 'Benefits Street - calling her a lazy, feckless, thief, and denouncing her mental health problems as a 'sob story'... This is my brief response.

Earlier today I had an unpleasant experience. I was forced to remember that Carol Malone, her yachting blazers, and bouffant wig, still existed.

Ordinarily, an individual, who in the name of journalism – claimed that illegal immigrant receive free cars, and that the Philpott deaths were an accident waiting to happen because they claimed benefits – would live long in the memory.

Christopher Alder: death in custody

In light of the recent ‘lawful killing’ verdict in the Mark Duggan case, and the increased interest around the conduct of police, deaths in custody, and corruption, I am re-visiting the case of Christopher Alder who died in 1998, face down on a police station floor in Hull. Christopher’s death was initially ruled to be an ‘unlawful killing’, but the decision was over-turned by a judge in 2000. Fourteen years of lies, cover-ups, and heartbreak for his family, have followed.

I met Janet Alder, Christopher’s sister, several times through a shared activist circle in 2002/3. Whilst she will not remember me, I certainly remember her. Janet was(is) an inspirational figure, who had dedicated her time to fighting for justice for her brother, and for others who had died in police custody.

Pussy Riot released: a PR stunt of Olympic proportions

The last two incarcerated members of Pussy Riot, Maria Alekhina and Nadezhda Tolonnikova, were yesterday released from prison as part of an amnesty granted to around 22,000 prisoners. Whilst their release is obviously good news for everyone concerned, it is more of a public relations stunt by Vladimir ‘Bonaparte’ Putin, ahead of the Winter Olympics in early 2014 - than it is clemency, or a relaxing of Putin’s regime.

There have been 22,000 prisoners released from Russian jails this week, to mark the twentieth anniversary of the Russian constitution.

My Favourite Libcom posts / articles of 2013

A run-down of the ten Libcom blog posts / articles that I found the most informative, interesting, or thought provoking in 2013.

10 Steven
Why Blackadder Goes Forth could have been a lot funnier

9 Joseph Kay
Dawkins and liberal racism

8 Juan Conatz

Protesters clash with police at Rote Flora social centre eviction in Hamburg

Over 8,000 protesters have clashed with riot police as they protested against the planned eviction of squatters from a popular social centre, and against the eviction of hundreds of people from heir homes. The largely peaceful protest erupted following a baton charge, and use of teargas, and water cannons by the police. The protesters responded by building barricades, throwing stones, fireworks, and bottles. It is reported that over 500 people has been injured, and around 150 arrests made.

The Rote Flora is an old theatre building which has been used as a social centre since 1989. The initial sale of the building to developers took place in 2001, and has sparked widespread outrage and protest. There are also wider issues relating to an old apartment building nearby, the ‘Esso houses’ that had been the home to around 300 people, until they had been evicted last week.

Brazil World Cup 2014: workers' deaths, racism, gentrification, and cultural terrorism

A brief look at the deaths of four construction workers at the World Cup 2014 stadium construction sites, and at several other scandals associated with next summer's tournament, FIFA, event organisers, and the Brazilian political elite.

Despite everyone knowing the opposite to be true, the Brazilian sports minister claims that all the world cup stadiums will be finished and ready to hand over in January 2014. His smugness over the speed of their completion has come with a heavy cost.

Nelson Mandela: some thoughts

Some brief reflections on Nelson Mandela, his politics, and legacy.

I must admit to having a lump in my throat when I found out that Nelson Mandela had died (although not sure why) Whatever my thoughts are on him as a person, the ANC, or his legacy, the passing of such a towering international figure deserves honest reflection.

Security guards murder locals scavenging for gold in Papua New Guinea

Private security guards employed by ‘Barrick Gold’, aided by local police have killed at least five miners at the Porgera mine in Papua New Guinea. The shootings came after mine security confronted a group of 300 locals who they deemed to be ‘illegal miners’ and ‘trespassers’. Barrick Gold – the world’s largest producer of gold - has a long history of using violence, gang rape, and murder against their workers, and local people in Papua New Guinea. Barrick founder and owner, Peter Munk, claimed that ‘gang rape’ is just a ‘cultural habit’.

The mine bosses are denying any responsibility for the trouble, claiming that their staff was attacked by trespassers, and they called for police assistance.

Violence has spread to nearby villages. The following is a description of events via an eye-witness at the Protest-Barrick campaign:

As Argentinian police go on strike, the people go shopping

As police go on strike in Argentina’s second largest city, Cordoba, the people have gone on a huge shopping spree, emptying every supermarket in the city. Despite there being massive unemployment and poverty across the city, the media and government have claimed the the shopping spree has nothing to do with being poor, and everything to do with ‘common criminality’.

The widespread emptying of supermarkets in Cordoba comes just twelve months after similar actions spread across the whole of Argentina.

Indian workers shut down seven mines and destroy bosses' offices

Following violent clashes over the decision to dismiss hundreds of unionised workers and replace them with unaffiliated workers, locals in the Odisha region of India have forced the closure of seven large open cast coal mines, and two railway stations. 1,000 local workers ransacked the management offices and fought running battles with workers who remain loyal to the bosses.

Over forty mining vehicles have been set on fire and destroyed, and railway tracks have been damaged to prevent the transportation of coal. Several hundred police officers have been drafted into the village to try and regain control.

Sussex and Birmingham Universities occupied

For the second time this year, Sussex University and Birmingham University have seen students occupy buildings on campus in protest against privatisation, outsourcing, lack of democracy, and tuition fees. The Sussex occupation will soon enter its fifth day, however, the students occupying the Aston Webb building in Birmingham have been forcibly evicted by the police and bailiffs, earlier today.

Sussex University
Over forty students are into the fourth day of an occupation of a building (Bramber House) at Sussex University, protesting against working practices at the university and against what they claim is the ‘privatisation’ of university services. Catering services are being sold off to a private company who are then seeing their terms and conditions stripped.

Chinese electronics workers win 20% pay rise after three week strike

A three week strike involving 5,000 workers at an electronics company in Shenzhen, China, has ended after the bosses agreed to a 20% hike in pay.

The strike started on the 31st October after the factory owners, ASM materials, announced – without consultation with the unions – that it would be relocating elements of its production outside of Shenzhen. Thousands of workers walked off the job, demanding a wage rise of 3,000 Yuan a month, and a compensation package for re-location.

300 Turkish miners barricade themselves underground

300 miners across two shifts at a mine in the Black Sea area of Zonguldak have barricaded themselves underground in protest at atrocious health and safety. Turkey has the worst mine safety record across all of Europe, with 2,554 miners losing their lives since 1991. They have vowed to continue their protest until the demands have been met.

The protest was initiated by workers on the night shift , and then gained widespread support from those who were due to work the day shift. Around 2000 workers who did not wish to go underground have been conducting a protest outside the mine in solidarity with their colleagues.

Strikes and sit-ins at Chinese Nokia factory

Around 3,000 workers at a Nokia factory in Southern Guangdong have started a rolling programme of strikes and sit-ins to protest against the management who are bullying people into leaving their jobs.

Following a decision to sell its mobile phone division to Microsoft, Nokia bosses have made draconian changes to the staff rule book in what appears to be a deliberate ploy to force employees to leave their jobs in order to avoid paying them compensation when the inevitable job losses occur.

Walkouts at seven Walmart stores in Dallas

Workers have today walked off the job at seven branches of Walmart across Dallas. The workers then joined protests outside, demanding that workers are paid a minimum of $25,000 a year. The action organised by the ‘OUR Walmart’ campaign has been played down by company lickspittles, who claim that very few employees have been involved, and that busloads of pickets had been transported between stores to boost numbers.

These latest walkouts follow on from similar wildcat actions in Chicago, Seattle, Los Angeles, Cincinnati, and Miami. They are planning more of the same on ‘Black Friday’, traditionally the biggest shopping day of the year, which signals the start of the Christmas shopping period.

A toadying Walmart spokesperson claimed that:

Clashes in Rome over high speed rail link

Hundreds of protesters opposed to the construction of a high speed rail link have clashed with police during a visit to Rome by the French President, Francios Hollande.

Protesters fought running battles with police as they tried to reach the French embassy where a meeting between Hollande and the Italian Prime Minster was due to take place. Opponents say that the $35 billion rail project between France & Italy will take over a decade to complete, will cause massive environmental damage, and will not serve any purpose.

Walmart organise food collections for employees in hardship

You would be forgiven for thinking that this post is an April fool’s joke… Walmart are holding a holiday ‘canned food drive’. So that employees ‘in need’ can enjoy a thanksgiving dinner. Walmart claim it’s a positive move and typical of the organisations caring culture. The workers have a different take on it.

A Walmart lickspittle believes that the ‘canned food drive’ is a positive thing:

Quote:
“This is part of the company’s culture to rally around associates and take care of them when they face extreme hardships. I could not be prouder of people in that store, helping people in touch situations.”

Thousands march in Greece on the 40th anniversary of 1973 student uprising

Tens of thousands of Greeks have participated in marches through Athens to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the student uprising against the US backed military junta. The blood stained flag that flew over the Athens Polytechnic on the night of November 17th, 1973, was carried at the front of the march in memory of those who had been murdered. “Bread, Education, Freedom” chanted the marchers, just as they had done 40 years ago. 6,000 extra police were deployed around Athens and security stepped up at the US embassy.

Both marches ended outside the US embassy, which is around 2 miles away from the National Technical University, the centre of the 1973 uprising. The uprising was brutally dealt with by the military, using tanks to across the campus, and killing scores of people, with over 1,000 people injured.

One of the marchers, 63 year old farmer, Thodoros Psarras, said that:

Bulgarian fascists run nightly patrols targeting immigrants

In the Bulgarian capital, Sofia, groups of fascists in paramilitary uniforms are conducting what they describe as ‘civil patrols’. The purpose of the patrols is to stop people in the street and then demand to see their identification or immigration documentation. Leading member of the far-right National Union Party, Boyan Rasate has claimed that the city council and police force are well aware of the patrols and do not object to them.

The patrols came to light after fascists had posted stories online, describing how they have been stopping people, shining torches in their faces, demanding to inspect their documents, and making threats of violence if they did not comply

A local journalist reported that:

Police attack IWW pickets at Insomnia Cookies

Striking workers peacefully picketing at Insomnia Cookies, Harvard Square, MA, have been attacked and arrested by the local police.

Picketers were asked to stop using a PA system, which they did, but were then attacked for no apparent reason. IWW member, Jason Freedman, was ‘punched and bloodied before being ‘thrown onto the trunk of a car’.