Blogs

Police in Chile violently evict children from occupied schools

School children across Santiago have occupied schools and blocked roads as part of a protest movement for education reform. The Chilean police refer to the children as 'hooded vandals' , and have violently removed them from the occupied schools.

Police in Chile have arrested 139 school children who had been occupying secondary schools and blocking roads in the capital, Santiago. Police in full riot gear violently evicted the school children, but some still remain occupied.

According to a police inspector, they were met with:

Talking 'bout a revolution?

The Syrian events are a challenge for both left wing party people and revolutionaries. Part of the confusion, however, is related to matters of definition, choice of words and what they mean. One such word is 'revolution'. Does it apply? And if so, what does that mean?

The Syrian events are a challenge for both left wing party people and revolutionaries. I addressed some of the arguments in my recent blog series. Part of the confusion is related to how the facts are seen: how much Western interference is going on, and how much influence does it have on the battlefield and ont the likely political outcome?

Striking miners killed by security forces in South Africa

Earlier today at least seven striking miners have been gunned down and killed by security forces at South African platinum mine. The killings are the latest in a long line of deaths during a strike that is complicated by a bitter and violent inter-union dispute over membership numbers.

Yesterday, South African police ordered thousands of striking miners to leave the vicinity of the Lonmin Marikana platinum mine or face being forcibly removed. Up to 3,000 police officers, an elite paramilitary unit, supported by horses and helicopters, confronted the miners and delivered their ultimatum.

Just before the police attacked the strikers, a spokesman said that:

Science reading group: 'Ever Since Darwin'

Kickstarting a discussion on Stephen Jay Gould's first popular book form the late 70s, Ever Since Darwin.

A few people had expressed interest in discussing Stephen Jay Gould's book, Ever Since Darwin, as part of a science discussion/reading group. The book was Gould's first collection of essays from his monthly Natural History column.
A few general points first, then some specific ones about the first four essays that comprise the first chapter/section.

Gould's writing style

Cleaners success heralds a rebirth of industrial unionism

The dispute of cleaners at the John Lewis Partnership’s flagship at Oxford Street store has ended with significant success for the workers who took strike action in July.

Press release, reproduced via - http://www.facebook.com/cleaners.branch/posts/398889790174882

The dispute of cleaners at the John Lewis Partnership’s flagship at Oxford Street store has ended with significant success for the workers who took strike action in July.

Sudanese protest movement gathers pace

Over the last six weeks, Sudan has seen the birth of a decentralised and leaderless protest movement against the government, known as the “Sudan Revolts”. This is in response to the virtually bankrupt Sudanese government has scrapped all fuel subsidies, and has more than doubled the price of petrol.

Around 1,000 students and transport workers have marched through the city of Nyala, burning police stations, and petrol stations along their way. Violent clashes with the police followed, who used live ammunition and tear gas in an attempt to stop the march.

On worker control (of the staff meeting)

A short blog detailing and analysing a low-level direct action in which I participated in the recent past.

“It was like a chorus of complaints! As soon as one of us stopped talking someone else jumped in. Man, she didn't know what to do!” So went the excited words of one of my workmates that Friday afternoon. We all felt it, too. We were giddy and laughing, and why shouldn't we have been? We'd done it. For once, we were the ones in control.

Australia to re-open Pacific island prisons for asylum seekers

The Australian government has passed legislation, known as the ‘Pacific solution’, that will see asylum seekers transferred to offshore prisons on remote Pacific islands….Sorry, I meant, ‘immigration processing centres’.

The measures are supposedly designed to ‘stop human trafficking’, and, ‘promote legal immigration’. Any asylum seekers attempting to gain entry to Australia by boat will now be intercepted, and immediately transferred to one of the offshore prisons.

Within the legislation – there is no limit on the length of time that people can be detained on the islands (including children).

An American in Montréal

An American student gives his impressions of the student struggles in Montreal

I arrived at Cegep Marie-Victorin on Monday at 8AM to find a group of 20 or so red clad college students standing outside the main building cheerfully killing time.

"In the street for social strike," Montreal, night 110

Reporting from Cindy Milstein on day 110 of the student strike in Québec.

Despite a weather forecast calling for rain all day, the drops held off until just as the last section of the Mile-End neighborhood's Dans la rue pour la grève sociale / In the street for social strike was being cleaned up and taken away.

Direct action gets the goods in Brazil

Faced with with over 1,000 redundancies, Brazilian GM workers walk off the job, and occupy the busiest highway route in the country. The bosses cave in, suspend their redundancy plans, and give the workers paid leave for their wildcat action.

Last week, 2,000 GM workers from the Brazilian Metalworkers Union, occupied, and took control of an important highway, and demanded a stop to 1,840 redundancies.

Arson attack on the offices of the Golden Dawn

Unknown individuals have burnt down offices in Athens that belong to the fascist 'Golden Dawn' party.

The Greek fascist party, the Golden Dawn, have received significant fire damage to their offices in central Athens following an attack by unknown individuals.

The offices are on the fourth floor of a tower block, and were empty at the time.

The folly of voting

The following is a leaflet entitled, ‘The Folly of Voting’. It was published by Freedom Press in 1904. There is a small, faint photocopy of it in the first issue of ‘The Raven’ in 1987, but unfortunately it is not clear enough to be scanned and blown up. As it is unlikely an electronic version exists, and as I have far too much time on my hands, I have typed the whole thing out, for your reading pleasure.

I shall not vote in the coming general election.
I am fully aware that this will be of little consequence so far as the result of the contest is concerned, and that is one of the reasons for not voting.
But I have other reasons, chief among them being that I do not believe in government by the majority, nor the minority either.
I do not believe in government at all.

Bloated corpses and institutional limits - An interview with Mark Paschal

To inspire an exodus from universities, we must struggle within existing institutions—such as through strikes and occupations—while we create autonomous universities that force the dominant ones to confront their own limits.

Summary:

Stormy warnings ahead in higher education

Education?

JoeMaquire looks at rocky road ahead in Higher Education.

It was announced this week that there was a 15,000 drop in applicants to HE institutions. Most notably this drop in numbers was centred on England, because the £9,000 cap on tuition fees does not affect Welsh or Northern Ireland students who will pay the £3,465 agreed base rate. Scottish students attending Scottish university are further exempt from fees entirely.

Siemens hire an anti-trade union consultant

Siemens in Pittsburgh have hired an ant-trade union consultant following workers decision to join the United Steelworkers. The bosses laughably send letters to all workers advising them that joining a trade union is not in their interests.

Siemen’s workers in Pittsburgh who recently joined the United Steelworkers (USW) have become targets for Siemens and their anti-trade union attitudes.

Siemens have hired a man called Ken Cannon, who is an anti-union consultant. He proudly advertises himself as having -“40 years of experience supporting management’s efforts to remain union free”.

Former GM workers sew their mouths shut and start hunger strike

Seven members of the Association of Injured Workers and Ex-Workers of General Motors Colmotores (ASOTRECOL) have sewn their mouths shut and started an indefinite hunger strike until General Motors meet their demands.

Between 2008 and 2011, General Motors in Columbia fired many workers who sustained injuries during the course of their work.

Work related injuries were widespread throughout the factory. Workers developed repetitive strain injuries, affecting hands, wrists, elbows, and shoulders – as well as spinal injuries due to heavy lifting, and hands being ripped off in machinery.

Union busting at Palermo’s pizza

Workers at Palermo's pizzas have been fired on the bogus pretext of immigration laws as a punishment for daring to try to unionise a poorly paid and dangerous workplace. The workers are on strike, and calling for a boycott of Palermo's products, and demanding the reinstatement of the sacked workers.

In Milwaukee, around 75% of workers at Palermo’s Pizza’s organised a meeting in which they all signed a petition saying that they wanted to unionise. They then handed the petition to the company management.

A lengthy reply to David Hoffman

This reply has been a while in compiling, as Hoffman has, for a man regularly protesting how little he cares about the opprobrium of the anarchist set, been remarkably hardworking in his efforts to send letters to pretty much anyone who will listen to him say what a great guy he is and how Freedom is basically Dr No's richer, more unscrupulous successor.

I'm dealing here only with direct allegations Hoffman has been making over the last couple of weeks, in an effort to clarify matters.

“Just and peaceful labor relations”: Why the U.S. government supported collective bargaining

This post gives a brief account of some of the history of the capitalist state’s sponsorship of contracts for unions in the United States, with an emphasis on the reasoning that politicians and judges gave for their support of collective bargaining. The piece argues that what the U.S. government wanted out of introducing state support for collective bargaining was, in the words of the National Labor Relations Act, to ‘Promote the flow of commerce’ through ‘friendly adjustment of industrial disputes.’

The U.S. government increasingly promoted collective bargaining in the early part of the 20th century. To take one important example: In 1919, economically disruptive disputes escalated between the International Ladies Garment Workers Union (ILGWU) and capitalists in the textile industry.