working class self organisation's blog

What now for the EDL, Tommy Robinson, and the far-right?

Tommy Robinson has decided to ‘step down’ from his leadership of the EDL due to ‘extreme far-right elements’ (the membership to you and me). The several thousand boneheads who regularly turn out for EDL events are not about to change their views, so what lies ahead for the ‘street’ elements of the far-right, Robinson himself, and far-right in general?

In 2009 Robinson created the EDL, he declared himself the leader, worked to establish the brand, held all monies, owned the web domains etc, and if rumours are to be believed – made a decent living through EDL merchandise.

Twenty trade union leaders murdered in the Philippines over the last decade

Antonio Petalcorin, President of the Network of Transport Organisation (NETO) has been shot dead on his way to a union meeting. Antonio is one of twenty trade union leaders to have been murdered over the course of the last decade, and one of up to 1,000 politically motivated killings in the Philippines.

This latest murder follows that of Romy Almacin last month, who like Antonio Petalcorin – was executed in broad daylight by a masked individual on a motorbike.

A spokesperson for the trade union federation (ITF) said that:

Spanish banks occupied

Hundreds of activists from the Platform for Mortgage Victims (PAH) have occupied a branch of the Banco Popular Bank, and the BBVA bank, both in Barcelona.

Activists have taken up the case of Jose Antonio Gomez. Jose signed for a loan of 390,000 Euros, and despite repaying over 100,000 Euros - interest rates mean the debt has now risen to 590,000 in less than 5 years.

Jose’s circumstances are typical for many ordinary Spaniards who have been crippled by interest rates.

30,000 prisoners in California are refusing food

Over 30,000 inmates across California’s vast prison estate have been refusing meals since yesterday morning. A further 2,300 prisoners have refused to attend work or educational classes – claiming they are sick. Prisoners are protesting against the use of a draconian solitary confinement policy that can see prisoners held in solitary for several decades – often with little or no attempt at a justification.

California currently has 10,000 prisoners in solitary confinement, and several dozen who have spent more than 20 years each in solitary.

South African riot police pave the way for Obama visit

Security forces have clashed with protesters who are angry that Barack Obama is to receive an honorary doctorate from the University of Johannesburg.

Demonstrators – from the university, trade unions, communist party, and the groups ‘NoBama’, and ‘No You Can’t’ - cited Obama’s on-going support for Israeli attacks on Palestinians, drone attacks, and plans to exploit Africa’s resources - as the rationale for their protest.

A student spokesperson said that:

Squatters in Manila clash with police over gentrification project

Thousands of people living in slums in Manila have fought fierce battles with police, who are trying to evict them from their homes in order to make way for a multi-billion dollar project to turn the area into a new business district.

As police moved in to the 72 acre site, residents erected barricades, and fought back the police using rocks, nail bombs, and bags of faeces. The police repeatedly charged the barricades with batons and teargas, but without success.

Political prisoners seize control of Vietnamese prison

Over fifty political prisoners seized control of a Vietnamese prison for several hours, demanding a more humane regime, improved conditions and food.

The prisoners gained control of the facility following violent clashes with prison staff and local police. The prison governor was held hostage throughout the duration of the prisoner’s control.

Workers in China kidnap their boss

Workers at a medical supplies factory in Beijing, China, have taken the owner of the factory hostage. He has been locked in his office for several days, and subject to sleep deprivation techniques. The action was taken following a dispute over unpaid wages and severance pay.

The factory boss, Chip Starnes, visited the factory last week to ‘lay-off’ thirty workers. He gave them a redundancy payment and then intended on leaving. As soon as the rest of the workers on shift realised what was happening they thought the entire factory was about to close down and barricaded him in his office.

Knowsley Fight The Bedroom Tax embrace fascists, exclude antifascists

The growing Merseyside movement against the bedroom tax has astonished and delighted long-standing activists with the speed of its growth, both in terms of numbers and geographical spread. From the initial meeting in Liverpool city centre just four months ago, it has grown to involve thousands of people from across the region.

Each local group is very different from the next, and this is to be welcomed, so long as it doesn't stop us uniting when it matters.

Protesters storm government offices in Greece

Today scores of people protesting against austerity occupied the offices of the Greek Labour Minister. The occupation ended after two hours - following violent clashes with the police

Hundreds of supporters gathered outside the offices with banners, and chanted “We are not clients, we are workers”… this is in response to comments recently made by the minister, who claimed that the Greek social security system was founded on clientism.

Angry workers hold bosses hostage

More than 1,000 migrant workers in Shanghai have gone on strike and held 18 managers hostage following a dispute over the introduction of a draconian new disciplinary policy. Four hundred riot police officers attended to the factory in a bid to free the bosses. There are reports of many workers being injured in the subsequent clashes, including several with broken limbs. Following the incident the bosses have withdrawn the new policy, issued an apology for its introduction, and have promised the workers a pay rise…… Direct action gets the goods!

The workers, employed at the Shinmei Electric plant were furious at the new rules and regulations that will mean heavy fines or dismissal, should people be late back from the toilet, and instant dismissal for making one work related mistake. Angry workers besieged the plant in Shanghai for over two days, rounding up the bosses and forcibly locking 18 of them in a room.

Thousands of Coca Cola workers walk off the job

Thousands of Coca Cola workers across Germany are staging a series of short term ‘warning’ strikes this week in protest over their wages. Workers at two factories in Bavaria walked out today, with a further 50 plants expected to follow suit later in the week.

The warning strikes generally last several hours, and are a common tactic used by German trade unions. They are the first step up on the pressure on employers in anticipation of the next round of wages negotiations. Workers are demanding a 6% pay-rise for all of Coca Cola’s 10,600 employees across Germany. The bosses are only prepared to offer a 2% rise.

Italian fascist offices firebombed

The offices of Robert Fiore’s fascist, ‘Forza Nuova’ party have been firebombed by persons unknown. The fascists have stated that extensive documents, membership information, flags, banners, and a large amount of literature has been destroyed.

The offices in Bonifati are the regional headquarters in Cosenza. The fire was started during Saturday night and quickly engulfed the ground floor before it could be extinguished. Soon after, the upper floors collapsed due to extensive fire damage.

Forza Nuova, whose activists intimidate and attack political opponents, homosexuals, and immigrants, have hilariously labelled the attack as

South African vineyard workers erupt

For the second time in the last few months vineyard workers in the Western Cape Province, South Africa have clashed with bosses, scabs, private security goons, and the Police. They are demanding that their paltry wages are doubled, and an improvement in their working conditions. Countless injuries have been reported and at least 50 people have been arrested.

Wildcat strikes have been reported across the Cape region, which is of huge financial importance to the South African state – both in terms of wine production, and the tourist industry….. The government are worried about “business confidence”..

Asylum seekers occupy a church in Vienna

Frustrated at the lack of help from the local or national government, being kept in terrible conditions, and frequent threats of deportation, 100 asylum seekers have occupied a church in Vienna – 27 of whom are now on hunger strike. Despite the possibility of alternative accommodation being found they are refusing to leave due to so many disappointments in the past.

In late December a large group of asylum seekers set up a tent city close to the Votivkirche church in Vienna. Following threats of eviction, many of them decided to occupy the nearby church.

Those that chose to remain in their tents were forcibly evicted this morning. Several were arrested for not having the correct documentation, and for allegations of assaulting the police.

POA Cry-Wolf at Morton Hall Immigration Centre

Several prison officers are reported to have been injured during a serious disturbance at the Morton Hall Immigration Removal Centre on Christmas Eve. One prisoner is said to be in a serious condition in hospital with a head injury. Between 30 and 40 Prisoners are believed to have started a peaceful protest against conditions within the facility, and refused to return to their cells when instructed to.

Despite the UK border agency playing down the incident, the POA (Prison Officer Association) claim that around 50 individuals were involved in serious violence that included the use of home-made knives, pool-cues, and snooker balls. They also claim that there was a serious escape attempt thwarted on Christmas day.

Russian prisoners fight-back against corrupt and brutal screws

Hundreds of prisoners at Prison Number 6 in Kopeisk, in the Urals region of Russia, have fought fierce battles with screws and security forces and launched a rooftop occupation in a protest against draconian conditions, torture, extortion, and the use of solitary confinement. Four inmates have died at the prison in recent years following beatings from staff. The protest lasted for two days before the police and army special forces managed to regain control.

The trouble started when around 250 prisoners refused to follow the prison rules and routine, demanding the immediate release of those in solitary confinement. An end to barbaric treatment and extortion were the main demands that the prisoners had. Whilst on the roof, the prisoners unfurled placards that read, “Help us”, and “We have a thousand on hunger strike”

Police kill striking diamond miners in Sierra Leone

Hundreds of workers are striking against non-payment of bonuses, for an end to racism, and improved conditions at Sierra Leone’s largest diamond mine in Koidu. Following a blockade of the entrances and clashes with scabs, the armed forces were deployed, who opened fire on the workers, killing two and injuring many others.

The dispute is being reported as the ‘biggest’ to have hit Sierra Leone’s highly lucrative diamond mined for many years. The government have been heavily involved in the industry following the end of the civil war in 2002.

Precarious chemical workers strike in Iran

Over 300 precarious chemical workers have walked off the job at the Fajir petrochemical plant in Iran. They are protesting against a lack of job security, unpaid salaries of up to 22 months, broken promises on pay rises and permanent contracts, and health and safety issues.

Abbas Rezai, a local union activist reports that:

Kenyan police murder four squatters during eviction

Four people have been killed and ten others seriously injured when police opened fire on squatters protesting about being evicted from the 1200 acre Twiga Estate farm in Kenya, which they have lived on since 1952.

152 families (4,000 people) have been living on the farm since 1952, but claim they have owned the land since 1965 when itwas given to them by a white settler. They built homes and schools, and farmed the land for over 60 years.