Uprising in the Cape Winelands - self-organised farmworkers reject union attempts to end their strike
Driving through the Hex River Valley after Wednesday’s chaotic protests feels like entering a ghost town. Yet when one manages to find residents and speak to them, it becomes crystal clear that the farm workers are planning to hold out for their wage demands – and that few of them know anything of the well-publicised promises that they would be back at work this week.
Two interesting new articles on the self-organised wave of strikes in South Africa that has now spread from the mines to the farms (self-organised militancy began in the shack settlements in 2004). With militant mass strikes organised outside of the unions many sense that new political possibilities are in the air.
Mineworkers of the Marikana diamond mine in South Africa are continuing their strike. Their perseverence comes after violent police efforts to suppress the strike, efforts culminating in a horrendous bloodbath on 16 August, when police machinegunned protesting miners, killing 34 and arresting at least 250 of them.
Signed, sealed and delivered: 1978 strike against mandatory overtime, speedups and hazardous working conditions
On July 21, 1978 thousands of postal workers walked off the job, saying "No" to mandatory overtime, forced speedups and hazardous working conditions. As a result of this wildcat strike, 600,000 workers won better contracts. But 200 were arbitrarily fired by management to teach all postal workers a lesson. This documentary is the story of the struggle these postal workers waged to win back their jobs.
The textile workers in the organised industrial zone of Antep, a city on the border of the Kurdish area of Turkey, recently went on a strike against their working conditions, low wages and cuts in their bonuses. The strike, which started with the participation of 3 to 5 thousand workers according to different sources, quickly spread to a total of seven factories in the industrial zone, including a total of 7 thousand workers.
Sister machinist unions, San Francisco's Lodge 68 of the International Association of Machinists and Oakland's Local 1304 of the CIO's Steel Workers Organizing Committee (which left the IAM over a wildcat strike in 1936), had a national reputation for militancy; Lodge 68 had more strikes during World War II than all other Bay Area unions combined. Along with Local 1304, they accrued this strike record in open defiance of the National War Labor Board, who were backed by the FBI, the Office of Economic Stabilization in the White House, a Navy Vice-Admiral, the War Manpower Commission, the collective bosses, who in turn were supported by the CIO, ILWU, and Communist Party.