A commentary about the "Free Education for All" struggle, via a Cooper Union artist-organizer rally in NYC on February 20, 2013. For photos too, see the original post at my Outside the Circle blog, cbmilstein.wordpress.com and/or my "Free Education for All" tumblr at http://free-educ-for-all.tumblr.com/.
Now that the Five Star Movement has made such an impression in the Italian national elections, we believe it is no longer possible to avoid examining this phenomenon in terms of a political vacuum that the movement, founded by Beppe Grillo and Gianroberto Casaleggio, fills with its presence. The M5S draws attention away from the fact that there is an absence of a true radical movement in Italy. The M5S takes up this empty space to ensure that this remains the case.
Stories about the government threatening a “crack down” on trade union power emerge almost on a loop. Particularly in times of heightened class antagonism. But far from showing the unions as threats to society, such threats are a demand that the unions tighten up their role in policing class conflict.
On 25 February there will be demonstrations across Italy to highlight the difficult situation in which refugees from a number of North African countries have found themselves over the past 18 months. The demonstrations are also to draw the authorities’ attention to the need to support refugees’ integration and inclusion in the country.
Today's ruling that every part of workfare other than the Mandatory Work Activity scheme breaks the law has given campaigners against workfare a huge boost - we were right all along. But the DWP have already said they will be doing a simple rephrase of the regulations and trying again and we need to make sure that doesn't happen by piling on the pressure now.
With attacks on claimants and the unemployed escalating, campaigners and trade unions have made numerous calls for “unity” between workers and the unemployed. But too often, this “unity” is a purely theoretical one. How can we go beyond words to build a practical basis for solidarity across our entire class?
Summary and links to news stories of workers' struggles around East Asia during December 2012 & January 2013 and related resources. The most important stories appear on my Twitter feed as soon as I find them: http://twitter.com/spartacusnews.