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One Year after the 2015 Grahamstown Riots against Foreign Traders

Anarkismo (en) - Wed, 12/14/2016 - 18:59
Attacks Hurt Working Class and Poor, Only Capitalists and Politicians Benefit
A year ago, starting 20 October 2015, around 75 small shops were looted, some burned down, in the eastern townships and downtown area of the small Eastern Cape university town of Grahamstown/ iRhini, South Africa. The attacks targeted Asian and African immigrants, many of them Muslim, and displaced 500 people. These riots were largely ignored by the media.

The text below is a slightly revised revision of a briefing I was asked to write at the time for the local Unemployed People’s Movement (UPM). The UPM played a heroic role in opposing the attacks and assisting the displaced. The text’s general points remain relevant to the working class’s fight against prejudice and racism. And the riots of 2015 should not be forgotten.grahamstown-riots

One Year after the 2015 Grahamstown Riots against Foreign Traders

Anarkismo - Wed, 12/14/2016 - 18:59
Attacks Hurt Working Class and Poor, Only Capitalists and Politicians Benefit
A year ago, starting 20 October 2015, around 75 small shops were looted, some burned down, in the eastern townships and downtown area of the small Eastern Cape university town of Grahamstown/ iRhini, South Africa. The attacks targeted Asian and African immigrants, many of them Muslim, and displaced 500 people. These riots were largely ignored by the media.

The text below is a slightly revised revision of a briefing I was asked to write at the time for the local Unemployed People’s Movement (UPM). The UPM played a heroic role in opposing the attacks and assisting the displaced. The text’s general points remain relevant to the working class’s fight against prejudice and racism. And the riots of 2015 should not be forgotten.grahamstown-riots
Categories: Anarchists

Italia - Pulizie di Natale a Genova

Anarkismo - Wed, 12/14/2016 - 12:24
sullo sgombero di Pellicceria a Genova
E così, questa mattina, la Questura di Genova ha provveduto a sgomberare il Centro Sociale Pellicceria ex Giustiniani. Una volta le pulizie in grande stile si facevano in primavera ma in questo caso si sono scelte le feste di Natale per cercare di mettere la parola fine ad un'esperienza autogestionaria di spazi abbandonati, recuperati e restituiti alla collettività.
Categories: Anarchists

[Chile] Proyección: un lugar de encuentro fraterno y libertario que hay que defender

Anarkismo - Wed, 12/14/2016 - 04:30
Hoy necesitamos tu apoyo
Proyección es una librería y centro social ubicado en el centro de Santiago de Chile. Desde su fundación, en junio del 2010, ha sido un lugar para el encuentro fraterno entre organizaciones sociales, así como un espacio para los libros y la cultura. Durante los últimos seis años, Proyección ha sido parte de las movilizaciones que han reactivado la sociedad chilena, sirviendo como lugar de reuniones y actividades para editoriales independientes, grupos de estudio, colectivos estudiantiles, organizaciones feministas, sindicatos y muchas más.

Categories: Anarchists

Qatar: Labour 'Reforms': New Labels on Old Laws

Labour Start - Tue, 12/13/2016 - 20:00
LabourStart headline - Source: ITUC
Categories: Workplace Struggle

Building Working-Class Defense Organizations: An Interview with the Twin Cities GDC

Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) - Tue, 12/13/2016 - 18:06

By Erik Davis - First of May Anarchist Alliance, December 4, 2016

A PDF of this interview is here.

The General Defense Committee of the Industrial Workers World (IWW) has become an important pole of struggle for pro-working-class revolutionaries in the Twin Cities. While active on a number of different fronts it is the participation of the General Defense Committee (GDC) in the year-long struggle against police killings and brutality in the Twin Cities that has largely led to the significant growth of the organization. The GDC has grown to approximately 90 dues-paying members in Minnesota, and has several active working-groups. In the wake of Trump’s election victory, Wobblies(1) and others across the country have begun establishing their own GDC locals – strongly influenced by the Twin Cities’ model.


First of May Anarchist Alliance spoke to Erik D. secretary of the Twin Cities GDC Local 14 about the history and work of the General Defense Committee there. Erik is a father, husband, education worker, and wobbly, who’s also been involved in the youth-focused intergenerational group, the Junior Wobblies.

Fellow Worker Erik – can you tell us about the origins and history of the General Defense Committee, its relationship to the IWW and how the militants who founded the current Local conceived of it?

As I understand it, the General Defense Committee (GDC) was first founded by the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) in 1917, in response to the repression of wobblies and anti-WWI draft protests. I haven’t learned enough about the historic GDC to really speak much about it. I joined the IWW in 2006, and we didn’t formally charter the current local as a GDC until 2011. In 2011, the committee was 13 wobblies. But we had actually started organizing ourselves prior to 2011, calling ourselves the Local Defense Committee.

Are there historical or modern examples or inspirations that influence the way GDC sees itself, its activity and organization?

One of the things I’ve appreciated about the Twin Cities GDC is the very practical intention to learn, with a specific focus on learning in order to act. From the very beginning we engaged in mutual education. Since one of our early orientations was to anti-fascist and anti-racist work, we did a fair bit of reading on the topic of fascism and anti-fascism (Sunday mornings with coffee).

I mention this period of mutual education because we have a lot of inspirations, but none of them have been role models, per se. We have looked to previous movements largely in order to inform our own work and to learn from our elders and the experience of previous generations, but not as Role Models To Be Emulated. That’s been important.

With that caveat, we have a lot of inspiration. I get new inspiration every time I read a book, it seems. Some of the inspiration is local: here, I’d specifically highlight Anti-Racist Action and Teamsters Local 544. Anti-Racist Action (ARA) came out of a Minneapolis-based group of anti-racist skinheads who decided they needed to find a way to kick racist skins and organized fascists out of the Twin Cities. Teamsters Local 544 was the local that organized the 1934 strike that made Minneapolis a union town, innovated new forms of the picket (specifically, the ‘flying picket’), and engaged for a short time in open physical confrontation on the streets.

Beyond the Twin Cities, I think our members have a lot of very different inspirations. One of mine has always been John Brown, but I grew up partly in Kansas. I guess the Black Panther Party would be the most common source of inspiration among early members; our advocacy of Community Self Defense certainly owes a lot to the Panthers, including their Survival Programs. The most recent addition to my ‘Hall of Inspiration’ is Rudy Shields, whom I learned about from Akinyele Omowale Umoja’s We Will Shoot Back: Armed Resistance in the Mississippi Freedom Movement.

One of the first projects of the Twin Cities GDC was organizing a “Picket Training”, which seems like a kind of simple project, but you all attached some importance to it. How come?

I think the history of the Picket Training is actually the beginning of the history of the local GDC, so forgive me for a longer answer. The IWW was always heavily involved in local May Day events, naturally. In both 2007 and 2008 we had dispiriting and potentially dangerous experiences in marches that were organized by other groups. These happened when we were ‘out-marshaled’ and ‘peace-policed.’ Folks might remember the 2006 “Day Without An Immigrant.” In 2007 immigrant protection and rights continued to be major issues, and the march was partly centered around pro-immigrant demands.

So it was worrying when wobblies who had been active in local anti-fascist actions saw someone they thought they knew from a fascist rally elsewhere in the state videotaping the crowd (we were never able to confirm the identity because of what happened next). Fascists videotaping an immigrants rights march is extremely concerning; they were likely videotaping either to research immigrants rights’ groups (including antifa groups), or to identify potentially undocumented people.

A few wobblies went to talk to the videotaper and get in the way of the camera. Shouting commenced, and the self-appointed organizers of the march successfully pushed the wobblies back into the crowd, allowing the videotaping to continue.

The May Day parade the next year found wobblies promoting militant chants shut down by the same sort of marshals.

At roughly the same time, the local IWW was doing a lot of organizing. While some of us had prior experience in organizing pickets and direct actions, the Starbucks Workers campaign, the Jimmy John’s campaign, the Sisters Camelot Canvas Union, and the Chicago-Lake Liquors campaigns all provided early experience and training in planning and executing pickets and direct actions, in a context where we were already committed to IWW ideas and practices. Some of these were particularly challenging, such as doing intelligence and the occasional flying picket of scab canvassers in the Sisters Camelot campaign. Since they never stayed put, it felt like a throwback to the 1934 strikes and the flying pickets. It was cold both Winters.

There was one particular occasion at the University of Minnesota AFSCME strike in 2007 where the IWW promoted, and executed, a hard picket line in the early morning hours at a delivery dock. This was going extremely well until a UMN delivery truck driver rammed the picket line. I was in the wrong place at the moment, and ended up on his hood. I found out later I’d crushed three neck vertebrae; it took two surgeries and a lot of physical therapy to get past it. It also gave me a serious motivation for doing pickets and direct actions better. Just a week after a truck hit me, a delivery truck hit another picketer at an IWW picket of D’Amico’s restaurant, thankfully without serious consequences.

Finally, 2008 was the end of an intense two-year process organized at disrupting the Republican National Convention. Most of us already had a critique of ‘summit hopping’ styles of disruption, few of which have been effective since before the FTAA in Miami 2003. But a number of wobblies were serious and on occasion influential participants in (at least the early period of) the two years of planning that ended up calling itself the “Welcoming Committee.” The Welcoming Committee meetings (which were held in the same community space as the early IWW at the time, the Jack Pine Community Center) hammered out some early agreements and principles, including, along with other interested groups, the well-known Saint Paul Principles. This process also gave local wobblies experience in critically thinking through on-the-street tactics and what it would take to actually win goals and actions on those streets, whether in labor pickets or direct actions(2).

All these motivations and experiences were in the forefront of our minds when we thought up the picket training. We knew we had to get better at this, and though we all had some experience, that’s not the same thing as having teachable knowledge. So we researched, wrote, debated, and practiced. We adopted a principle of teaching the tactics quickly rather than perfecting the training first, and encouraged people to think about themselves as the next trainers. In order to keep track of our curriculum and to make it portable, we created a trainer’s manual, a trainee manual, and a setup manual, which we update frequently.

We offer the trainings to non-wobblies, and while we avoid being an on-call security group, we are trusted locally as providing quality security and planning successful actions. With the rise of the Black Lives Matter movement and on-the-streets protest since Ferguson, I think the GDC has earned a bit of respect from other local organizations as a result.

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Categories: Workplace Struggle

Fellow Worker Chris White

Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) - Tue, 12/13/2016 - 17:52

By Steve Early, former International Representative, Communications Workers of America and author of Save Our Unions and other books.

I first met Chris White, a Connecticut native and former hard rock miner from Leadville, Colorado 37 years ago. Chris was one of the key organizer’s of a cross-union reform organization in Alaska called Ruled Out of Order (ROOR).  Anyone who has ever been a union dissident knows why the group was called that!  At the time, I was working for the Professional Drivers Council (PROD), soon to be merged with Teamsters for a Democratic Union.  Chris was a Laborer, not a Teamster, but he arranged for me to visit his adopted state and meet with members of ROOR. They included Teamsters, Hotel and Restaurant Employees, and former Alaska pipeline workers from every construction trade.

Four decades ago, people moved to Alaska not just because of the pipeline boom. They ended up in places like Fairbanks, Anchorage, Livengood, or Clear, Alaska—where Teamster technicians maintained an ICBM tracking station—because they thought Idaho was getting too crowded. Needless to say, ROOR members were probably the most colorful, eccentric, and committed rank-and-file activists I have ever met. Their shared concerns about mishandling of Taft-Hartley pension and welfare funds, and the lack of democracy within their unions, made them formidable adversaries of entrenched local union officials. At the national level, LIUNA in the 1970s, like the Teamsters in that era, was a pretty mobbed up operation. It took great courage to challenge corruption in unions like that—and Chris White, a gentle soul in appearance, was utterly fearless.

Chris (as the picture here confirms) had a longtime commitment to the Industrial Workers of the World, and its proud traditions. In recent years, he could be found camping out in 40-degree below weather with Occupy Fairbanks folks or serving on the board of Alaska Peace Center in Fairbanks. He also fought many battles within the Democratic Party of Alaska to keep it focused, at least partially, on working class concerns. He was greatly encouraged by Bernie Sanders 2015-16 campaign in the Democratic presidential primaries. When Bernie placed second, Chris backed Jill Stein and the Green Party.

At the local memorial service for Chris on December 2, 2016, his life well led was recalled by those who knew him best and loved him the most. He will be long remembered by everyone he ever worked with or aided in the struggle for union democracy and a better world for workers.

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Categories: Workplace Struggle

Danville, VA: Triangle IWW Joins with Other Antifa Groups to Shut Down the KKK

Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) - Tue, 12/13/2016 - 17:38

Reposted from It's Going Down, December 4

DANVILLE, VA – On Saturday, December 3rd, the Triangle Area Industrial Workers of the World joined a broad coalition of over 100 protesters from different affinity groups responding to reports that the Loyal White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan would be holding a “victory parade” in Pelham, North Carolina. The protesters ran the Klan out of both Pelham and Danville, Virginia, the other proposed location for their parade. We held the street and marched through both Pelham and Danville, while the Klan could only muster a car parade speeding through six blocks in Roxboro, NC (aided by NC state troopers, of course).

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Categories: Workplace Struggle

NEPA IWW Calls for Nationwide Mass Direct Action January 20th

Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) - Tue, 12/13/2016 - 17:32

By staff - NEPA IWW, December 1, 2016

The Northeast Pennsylvania Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) stands in strong opposition to the reactionary and authoritarian forces that are on the rise in many parts of the world including the United States. These reactionaries will take control of the US government on January 20th with the inauguration of Donald Trump. These forces seek to divide the working class and turn worker against worker for the benefit of those that have the most wealth and power.  This is not new. We have seen this over and over again throughout history – from Franco’s Spain, Nazi Germany and the era of Thatcher and Reagan. Each of these regimes viciously attacked labor, immigrants and all others that opposed them.  We vow to fight this latest upsurge of reactionary forces together as a united working class seeking our liberation.  We refuse to see our fellow workers as enemies regardless of their race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, religion, immigration status or nationality. We believe in the slogan: an injury to one is an injury to all.

On January 20th 2017 Donald Trump and his reactionary cabal will take office.  We must resist this dangerous regime. We have seen their values. They rose to power on a platform of hate and division. They will continue this as they take hold of the U.S. government. If history is any guide, we know that once they are fully in power, they will attack organized labor and every perceived enemy very soon after. They know that we, the workers that run society, are one of the few obstacles to their agenda. We need to take this opportunity to show our unity and our strength.

We call for mass action across the nation and the world on January 20th to resist these dangerous forces. We will organize resistance in our workplaces, our communities and in the streets. We call on all people to do the same. Take action to resist this rising tide of reactionary authoritarianism. Organize a walkout at your school or workplace. Call in sick. Take to the streets. Together, we will place our bodies upon the gears of the machine of hate and force it to a stop. As the Trump regime consolidates power and fills all the seats of the state with yes-men and cronies, the power of popular resistance is the only power we have left.  The IWW has been doing this for more than110 years and we will continue to fight for the liberation of the working class. This is a struggle for the type of world we want to live in - a struggle for humanity against barbarism.

If we do not act now, it will be too late.  If we let them take the reins of the state without any resistance they will think that they have won - that they have a mandate. They do not. We are the majority. We hold the greater power of collective resistance and collective solidarity.  We are humanity. We will win!

In Scranton we will be gathering at 12:00 noon for a rally and march in Courthouse Square. Join us in this show of solidarity.

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Categories: Workplace Struggle

UPDATED: Towards Womens Freedom

Workers Solidarity Movement (Ireland) - Tue, 12/13/2016 - 10:39

The WSM's collectively agreed position on women's freedom.

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Trump & the myth of the progressive but misled 'white working class' voters

Anarchist Writers - Tue, 12/13/2016 - 06:52

Once it became clear that Trump was going to become the president of the USA, my Facebook feed became cluttered with attempts to understand how that could possibly happen.  How could a white supremacist, misogynist and utterly transparent snake oil salesman accumulate so many votes?  Those on the left both inside and outside the borders of the USA struggled to understand what had happened.

[Listen to the audio of this entire article]

A common conclusion in too many of these pieces is that the left needs to reach out, and listen to the concerns of, those who voted for him as a priority.  In a similar fashion to how sections of the left evaluated Brexit, they see a working class anti-establishment rebellion in the Trump vote from what they term the ‘white working class’. They believe that component was won by Trump because it has been neglected by the left - often, they will assert, because the rest of the left was distracted by what they call identity politics.

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Categories: Anarchists

Kazakhstan: Thin Red Line - trial of former Journalist Union leader

Labour Start - Mon, 12/12/2016 - 20:00
LabourStart headline - Source: ODR
Categories: Workplace Struggle

Global: Corporate spy infiltrated anti-asbestos campaign, court told

Labour Start - Mon, 12/12/2016 - 20:00
LabourStart headline - Source: Guardian
Categories: Workplace Struggle

USA: Memo to the Media: Chuck Jones is not a 'Union Boss'

Labour Start - Mon, 12/12/2016 - 20:00
LabourStart headline - Source: AFL-CIO
Categories: Workplace Struggle

Sri Lanka: Naval troops open fire on strikers

Labour Start - Mon, 12/12/2016 - 20:00
LabourStart headline - Source: Port Technology
Categories: Workplace Struggle

Report on WSM National Conference 2016

Workers Solidarity Movement (Ireland) - Mon, 12/12/2016 - 16:28

The Workers Solidarity Movement had our Autumn national conference in Dublin on the 22nd October. What follows is a brief report on the days proceedings.

What is WSM National Conference?

National Conference is the ultimate decision-making body for WSM members. It happens every six months and takes place over a day or two. We discuss motions on collective policy, reflect on the past six months of activity and map prospects for the next period.

Conference normally begins with reports of activity from all branches, officers and working groups.  This might cover areas like current campaigns, publications, education, engagement and administration as well as organising Dublin Anarchist Bookfair. We then move on to an open discussion of our perspectives before discussing amendments to our position papers.

We interrupted National Conference this year in order to take part in a demonstration outside the Central Bank in support of a 17 year old water charges demonstrator from Jobstown. 

This is direct democracy in action. If this appeals to you, you might consider finding out more about the WSM and what we anarchists are up to. (Not on our contact system? Self register here)

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Class and Exploitation

Workers Solidarity Movement (Ireland) - Mon, 12/12/2016 - 16:14

What this paper does...  
The left talks about class in ways that are often contradictory and confusing.  This paper represented our collective use of class and how we understand exploitation. The scope of what we cover means that it necessarily makes sweeping generalisations but the goal is to sketch what our collective perspective is around these, not to be an educational resource in itself.

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Perspectives for Struggle and Revolution

Workers Solidarity Movement (Ireland) - Mon, 12/12/2016 - 16:06

What this paper is...  
What we summarise below is what the WSM has collectively agreed are the prospects for struggle in the short and medium term both in terms of global and local capitalism but more importantly of the existing movements and struggles and those we think are coming into existence.  It should be read in conjunction with ‘The Role of the Anarchist Organisation’ which is the long term strategic view within which these short and medium terms considerations are shaped.  Fundamentally we think ‘kick it till it breaks’ leads to burnout and inactivity. Sustained organising over decades requires a collective understanding and identification of the moments of opportunity scattered through the periods of preparation and experimentation.

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