When Hayward teachers struck in April 2007, a group of teachers decided to launch a daily video strike bulletin. This is the first time that teachers on the job have decided to break the information blockade and broadcast their own stories. You can see video bulletins by going tWhen Hayward teachers struck in April 2007, a group of teachers decided to launch a daily video strike bulletin. This is the first time that teachers on the job have decided to break the information blockade and broadcast their own stories. You can see their show Channel 1684 “The Truth” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YnGBp…https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jMnZL…https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HqRSE…https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B6FAy…https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ms4Uh… Production of Labor Video Project www.laborvideo.org
A year ago, the majority of South Africans stared into the abyss. They faced either a continuation of corrupt misrule by a stereotypical kleptocrat—Jacob Zuma—whose anti-imperialist rhetoric failed to disguise worsening austerity, or a potentially dramatic change of political direction toward liberal capitalism.1 Next door in Zimbabwe, Robert Mugabe had just been pushed out in a wildly popular palace coup that at least superficially shared South Africa’s ideological overtones, given that his successor, Emmerson Mnangagwa, also courts big business while maintaining a liberal veneer.2 The choice was obvious at least for South Africa’s urban citizenry, a large subset of which had campaigned against Zuma and his increasingly notorious cronies in the 2017 “Zuma Must Go!” movement. Finally, in late December 2017, 52 percent of the ruling African National Congress (ANC) delegates voted for the party’s next president, narrowly electing business tycoon Cyril Ramaphosa over former African Union chairperson Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, Zuma’s loyal ex-wife.
Ramaphosa, who, according to Forbes, was worth more than $450 million in 2015, grew rich through ownership of McDonald’s and Coke franchises, as well as banking and extensive coal and platinum mining interests. But as the major local investor in Lonmin—the British producer of platinum metals operating in South Africa’s Bushveld Complex—in August 2012, he e-mailed the police and mining ministers to describe a wildcat strike at the Marikana platinum mine as “dastardly criminal” and requiring “concomitant action.” The next day, police massacred thirty-four workers in what became known as the Marikana massacre. Ramaphosa only apologized for his e-mail in 2016, and in early 2018 admitted the need for “atonement” for Marikana. The $1,000/month minimum wage demanded by the Lonmin rock-drill operators in the mines was never won, in part because the platinum price soon plummeted. Lonmin lost 99.3 percent of its share value in 2015 as the commodity supercycle collapsed and, facing bankruptcy in 2017, agreed to a friendly takeover by a firm (Sibanye) prepared to fire 40 percent of its workforce as soon as the takeover is completed this year.3
Prior to this incident, Ramaphosa had epitomized the ANC liberation movement’s venerated old guard, having led the mineworkers’ union in the 1980s, served as the ANC’s secretary general (chief operations officer), and chaired the drafting team for the country’s first democratic constitution in 1996. The focus on constitutionalism had prevented Ramaphosa from winning the power struggle within the ANC to become Nelson Mandela’s heir apparent. Nevertheless, during the fifteen years that Thabo Mbeki edged him out of politics, his business career boomed. There were, however, snags along the way, including two embarrassing bankruptcies in the late 1990s, at a time when all South Africa’s black business elites learned the limits of borrowing money at expensive rates in order to buy into white companies that were suffering share-price overvaluation.4
But soon enough, Ramaphosa evolved into the ideal Johannesburg branch-plant comprador partner to multinational corporations, aiding both Lonmin in brazen Illicit Financial Flow (IFF) profit transfers to Bermuda, and MTN—the largest African cellphone firm, which he chaired—in its prolific profit outflows to Mauritius. He also featured as a tax-haven abuser, via his main holding company, Shanduka coal, in the Paradise Papers leak in late 2017.5 Yet, as a nationalist politician, Ramaphosa retained sufficiently strong organizational skills to advance within the ANC. In the immediate wake of the Marikana massacre, incongruously, he was chosen as Zuma’s deputy party president. He became the state deputy president during Zuma’s second term in power, from 2014 to 2018.
Source and continue reading: https://monthlyreview.org/2019/01/01/south-africa-suffers-capitalist-crisis-deja-vu
Picture: Student protesters in South Africa. Photo credit: “Landmark case to have major repercussions for protests in South Africa,” Business Tech, January 25, 2018.
The shutdown in rural India coinciding with the trade union’s strike will unite the farmers and workers to challenge the pro-corporate and anti-people rule of far right BJP government.
More than 2 lakh farmers, workers and agricultural labourers marched on September 05, 2018 to the Indian parliament demanding an end to the anti-worker and anti-farmer policies of the government headed by far right-wing Prime Minister Narendra Modi. (Photos: V Arun Kumar / Peoples Dispatch)
Building a massive resistance against the neoliberal policies of the Indian government, farmers’ organizations have given a call for a nationwide strike coinciding with the two-day general strike by trade unions. In September this year, 10 central trade unions and independent federations gave a call for a nationwide strike on January 8 and 9, 2018.
On Tuesday, December 18, Communist Party of India (Marxist)-affiliated farmers’ union, All India Kisan Sabha (AIKS) gave a call for a two-day Gramin Bharat Bandh (Rural India Shutdown) on January 8 and 9, 2019. Ashok Dhawale, president of AIKS speaking with Peoples Dispatch said, “The bandh in rural India, along with the trade union strike would unite the farmers and workers to challenge the pro-corporate and anti-people regime of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).”
The call is supported by the Bhumi Adhikar Sabha, a platform of various people’s organizations demanding land for poor farmers for agricultural purposes.
Farm loan waiver and land allotment to poor farmers are the two major demands put forward by the AIKS. Dhawale noted that the bandh will also be against the increasing religious polarization tactics employed by the far right-wing government headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
“Corruption, communalism [religious polarization], and corporatization, which marks the policies of BJP rule will be resisted by the people of this country. We have seen how the BJP lost in Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, and Rajasthan, as farmers and workers united for their rights,” Dhawale said emphasizing that people’s movements will be strengthened in the coming days.
India is currently witnessing an agrarian and economic crisis, marked by continuous erosion of farmers and workers’ rights. More than 50 percent of the population, which includes farmers and agricultural laborers from the country’s agricultural sector, has been affected but little support has been provided by the government. According to the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), nearly 48,104 farmers and farm laborers committed suicide between 2013 and 2016. And the crisis is exacerbated by government policies supporting the corporatization of agriculture and forceful land acquisition by private companies.
Renowned journalist P Sainath, in an article noted that “India’s agrarian crisis has gone beyond the agrarian. It’s a crisis of society. May be even a civilizational crisis, with perhaps the largest body of small farmers and laborers on Earth fighting to save their livelihoods.”
In the past one year, the country witnessed three major farmers mobilizations, in August, October and in November. In these movements, more than half a million farmers protested in the Indian capital calling for an end to the neoliberal and anti-farmers’ policies of the government.
“While the government is refusing to provide loan waivers to poor farmers, rich corporate loans are being waived off. This government is of the corporates and what we want is a people’s government,” Dhawale noted.
The recent farmers’ march on November 29 and 30 demanded a special session of the Parliament to be held to discuss the agrarian crisis, and the National Commission on Farmers’ 2006 report. The report had recommended crop acquisition by the state at a minimum support price (MSP) which is 50 percent above the full cost of production and redistribution of ceiling-surplus land to the landless.
Trade unions’ call for total strike
Since the Hindu conservative BJP government came to power in 2014, there had been attempts to dilute the labor laws under the banner of ‘ease of doing business.’ Trade unions have warned that the continuous trampling of workers’ rights will be met with severe resistance. In November 2017, more than 3,00,000 workers from various trade unions (except Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh (BMS), trade union close to the ruling government) organized a Mahapadav demanding the government to end the assault on working-class rights and its neoliberal policies.
Announcing the nationwide general strike call, the workers’ convention held on November 28, 2018, put forward a 12-point charter of demands, which included strict enforcement of all basic labor laws and stringent punitive measures for violation of labour laws, universal social security cover for all workers, minimum wage of not less than Rs. 18,000/- per month with provisions of indexation, stoppage of disinvestment in Central/State PSUs and strategic sale, ending contractualization in permanent perennial work, equal pay for equal work, urgent measures for containing price-rise through universalization of public distribution system and containing unemployment through concrete measures for employment generation.
Dozens of tech workers rallied in San Francisco on 3/2/18 to protest the illegal firing of 14 Lanetix software engineers who had joined the CWA and were seeking unionization and a contract. The workers rally took place at the the office of Lanetix in San Francisco and participants talked the about issues facing tech workers and why they need a union to defend their rights. They also talked about the support for striking West Virginia teachers.
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Eighty four Henkel Aerospace IAM 1584 workers went on strike on October 16, 2017 at Henkel’s Bay Point plant in California to protect their health and safety conditions at the plant that manufactures adhesives for Boeing and other airline companies. The company has prevented proper health and safety conditions which directly led to the death in 2013 of a temporary worker 26-year-old David Eleidjian who was also an ex-Marine. After only a month on the job he was working alone and pulled into a mixing machine. The company was fined $200,00 by OSHA for these serious violations that led to Eleidjian’s death but was not prosecuted by the District Attorney for murder. They have also continued the same deadly work practices in the factory that has led to serious burns and other injuries in the dangerous process of producing these adhesives. These dangerous working conditions were also an important reason that workers went to the IAM to protect their rights and prevent further injuries and deaths on the job. They have also retaliated and discriminated against union leaders and members at the plant in an effort to get the union out of the plant. The company has also brought in a national union replacement/strike breaking company Strom Engineering with scab workers. This company also trained and brought in 3,000 mechanics to break the strike of the Northwest Airline mechanics who were also members of the IAM. Henkel is now spending millions of dollars on these strikebreakers and temporary workers at Bay Point to destroy the union at the plant. The chairman of the management board of Henkel, Hans Van Bylen made $6,976,661.01last year 2016 in salary and compensation. The company which is based in Düsseldorf Germany also has a unionized cosmetic plant in Berkeley, California that has provided scab supervisors and is also the owner of Dial soap. They have unionized plants throughout Europe and say that they are in a partnership with labor. Henkel also is the owner of the product Dial soap which is very profitable for them in the United States.
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Tens of thousands of UK medical workers and supporters of the National Health Service marched in London on February 3, 2018 against the privatization and destruction of the public health service by the Tory May government. They said people were dying as a result of cuts, outsourcing and profiteering by contractors retained by the May government. Teachers and other workers and people who desperately need healthcare also spoke out about how the NHS saved their lives and children. Many supported Labor Party leader Jeremy Corby and had sharp words of US president Donald Trump.
Additional media: https://vimeo.com/249447965
UK Brimming With Love” For Trump? Truth or Fiction?
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Korean Oracle workers have been on strike since May 16, 2018 over health and safety conditions and wages. The average working hours at Oracle Korea is about 80-100 hours per week, yet most workers have seen no wage increase over the last 10 years. These workers are calling on international support in their struggle for justice and human rights. This video was distributed on 7/8/18 For additional media:
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