trades union

on the “its acceptable for women to wear men’s clothes but not men to wear  women’s clothes” thing- its always forgotten that women and girls have been fighting in small but organised ways to wear “masculine” (mostly read practical) clothing from at least the 1870s.  I know women in their 80s and girls in their tweens who at some time in their life have organised in order to wear the clothes they want - from making petitions to persuade their school to let them wear shorts not gym skirts, to trade union organising at work to make sure overalls and workboots are available in women’s sizes, to being the first women in the office to wear trousers, to just turning up at social events in the clothes they want to wear - and getting solidarity from other women doing the same thing - and of course not forgetting the women who risked violence, losing their job or families, or being arresting for cross-dressing laws because of what they wore.

There just hasn’t been such a widespread and longstanding organised push from men to wear skirts or other clothes coded feminine in everyday life.  That isn’t women’s fault.

*Disk Scratch*

This’ll be my only post today unless something ridiculous happens but it has now been confirmed that the freedom of movement between the UK and the EU will end March 2019.

Now that we have that date it completely jeopardises new EU nationals wanting to come and live, work and study in the UK. Lack of clarity on how this affects EU nationals currently in the UK also poses a problem.

From March 2019 young people across the UK will lose the right to freely move, work, study across the EU as well and of course, students of languages will have their ERASMUS funding removed.

A sad, pathetic UK that now has to turn and suckle on whatever trade deal America gives us. Cheap American food like chlorinated chicken will drive the quality of our own farm produce down in order to remain competitive.

A complete lack of governmental infrastructure to support areas that have previously been supported by the EU.

The withdrawal from Euratom, Europe’s expertise in both nuclear science but also that of radiology required for cancer treatments.

The fishermen who are slowly beginning to realise how incompetent Westminster actually are and how any Brexit deal will not be as much to their benefit as they originally thought.

Brexit is an absolute farce. It’s horrifically embarrassing and even though I’m a strong supporter of Scottish independence, I would not wish for any country that makes up the UK to go through the clusterfuck that Brexit has already been.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-40734504

buzzfeed.com
Hundreds Of Thousands Of Workers Will Strike May 1, Organizers Say
A major union local and a coalition of worker centers have voted to strike on International Workers Day, calling for others to join.
By Cora Lewis

Almost 350,000 service workers plan to strike on May 1, a traditional day for labor activism across the world, in the most direct attempt yet by organized labor to capture the energy from a resurgent wave of activism across the country since the election of Donald Trump.

Tens of thousands of members of a powerful California branch of the Service Employees International Union will participate in the strike, according to David Huerta, the president of the chapter.

“We understand that there’s risk involved in that,” Huerta told BuzzFeed News, “but we’re willing to take that risk in order to be able to move forward in this moment, while the most marginalized are in the crosshairs of this administration.”

Since Donald Trump’s election, there has been no shortage of wildcat strikes by groups disproportionately affected by his administration’s policies. But this time around, organized labor is driving the effort. According to a coalition of groups leading the strike, more than 300,000 food chain workers and 40,000 unionized service workers have said they will walk off the job so far.

Huerta’s union chapter represents tens of thousands of workers, including janitors, security officers and airport staff, while the Food Chain Workers Alliance, which represents workers throughout the food industry, says hundreds of thousands of its non-unionized members have committed to striking.

“We are a workforce made up mostly of immigrants, women, African Americans, and indigenous people….Without workers, who does Trump think will harvest the crops, craft the food, transport it to market, stock the shelves, cook in kitchens, and serve the meals?”

It’s on!

acaramela  asked:

Hey can I ask you something and this is a thoroughly ignorant question but I'm Latina and I grew up learning that Castro killed his own people and that he just was a terrible dictator. I even have friends from around the region that support this and say that Castro and communism are responsible for the suffering of the Cuban people. Could you explain to me why this isn't the case? I just can't find any other reliable sources to inform myself. Thank you.

im sorry this is long, but read the whole thing, its all important information

First, Cuba isn’t a one-man or military dictatorship. A lot of people don’t know this, especially in countries allied with America, but Cuba is highly democratic, and even takes measures to stop corruption in politics. For example, elected representatives are paid workers’ wages, so there is no monetary incentive to run for office, all voting is by secret ballot, votes are counted in public, voting is voluntary, elected representatives can be recalled at any time, women make up 48.9% of the Cuban government (a hell of a lot more than the US which can’t even break 20% in its Congress), it is illegal to spend any money on political campaigns to advertise for particular candidates, and candidates’ biographies and their reasons for standing are posted on public notice boards so everyone has equal exposure.

The nomination and election of local candidates for office is done in public meetings, with return meetings happening every 6 months. There are limitations in higher levels of the government, where voters must choose to either accept or reject a single nominee, but as far as i know, the principles of recall and community nomination still hold true.

You can read more about Cuban democracy here:

Why Cuba Still Matters // Representative Government in Socialist Cuba // Cuban Democracy Fact Sheet // How to Visit a Socialist Country // 

As for the specific claim that Castro is a dictator, its on very shaky grounds (to say the least). Its true, of course, that Fidel and Raul have been the only presidents of Cuba since the revolution. However, the presidency isn’t chosen like it is in America, directly (well, its not even direct in America, but thats another topic). The presidency is chosen through the elected parliament (national assembly).

Delegates to the National Assembly are elected every 5 years, half nominated from municipalities and half nominated by mass organizations (like trade unions, women’s orgs, cultural orgs, etc.). Each nominee must receive at least 50% of the vote. All in all, there are 612 delegates, and 48.9% are women. 

The National Assembly votes on who belongs to the Council of State, which appoints the ministers, Presidency, and Vice Presidency. And following a 2011 Congress of the Communist Party, senior elected officials can only serve two terms (10 years) in office. That means in 2018, Raul Castro will step down and a new President will be chosen.

We should also talk about what exactly “dictatorship” means. All societies are dictatorial for some and free for others, because all states are institutions of class rule. Cuba, while I don’t believe it has a socialist economy (and thus not a socialist government) has absolutely shown what can be done with the support of the mass power of the people, and drawn a line between it as a free and independent country and imperialists.

So how is Cuba in service of its people? It raised literacy from 60-70% to 96% in two years- today 100% of Cubans are literate. It has a massive amount of doctors per capita and has lower rates of infant mortality, HIV, and malnutrition than the US. They have state subsidized SRS and HRT, some of the best current LGBT rights in the Caribbean, despite their historical struggles with homophobia. They are the most sustainable country in the world, despite the embargo. 

(The Embargo is absolutely devastating to the Cuban economy, too. Never let a discussion of Cuba’s economy go on without discussing the impact of the embargo)

Still, compare those achievements to Haiti. A country that has been and still is politically and economically crippled by US and French imperialism, which suffers under a neocolonial elite, which is paid starvation wages to make Levis and other commodities for the US, which receives little to no aid when natural disasters hit (which are exacerbated by the ecological devastation of the island).

What is really responsible for the suffering of the people, not just in Cuba, but in Haiti and all countries in the global south? Is it really the ideology of socialism that fights for greater rights and the accessibility to basic needs? Or is it capitalist-imperialism, which strangles Cuba with economic blockades, and parasitically leeches off of its neighbors?

As for the claim that Castro killed “his own people”… the phrasing of this (and of course this isn’t your fault, anti-communists always phrase stuff like this) makes it seem like its better if politicians kill others in imperialist war. Killing “your own people” is somehow far worse than killing the people of countries you want to invade or control. Castro and Che did kill people, yes Cubans. But again, we have to look at the class forces involved. Who were those fleeing? Who were being killed? Historical records show most were rich, white Cuban plantation owners or otherwise of the middle and upper classes, who backed the former military dictator Batista:

All weekend a Cuban exile contingent of right-wing ‘gusanos’ have been gathered on Calle Ocho street in Miami’s “Little Havana” to celebrate the death of Fidel Castro. However the hatred was always mutual; as Fidel characterized the first 1960’s waves of wealthy white parasitic former land owners who were part of the Batista dictatorship he overthrew as “gusanos” (worms), based on their reactionary politics, intransigent support for the blockade, and desire to team up with the CIA to carry out terrorist attacks all across post-revolutionary Cuba. (Note, not all exiles fall into this category, especially more recent arrivals).

The zenith of gusano interference was the 1961 U.S.-backed Bay of Pigs invasion, which Cuba’s government defeated, and afterwards Fidel pointed out the wealth of many of the 1,100 exile soldiers that his troops captured (and later released back to the U.S. in exchange for baby formula). Within those 1,100 soldiers were: 100 plantation owners, 67 landlords of apartment buildings, 35 factory owners, 112 businessmen, 179 living off inheritances, and 194 ex-soldiers of Batista.

Over the decades since that time, the aging gusano contingent in South Florida has proven to be perhaps the most corrupt group (on a per-capita basis) in American politics—which is saying something. In their dying off ranks you can find Batista’s old BRAC secret police goons, ex Cuban mafia, CIA contract killers, and former oligarchs of vast latifundias. As essentially Miami is still controlled by the remnants of Batista’s dictatorship and their off-spring, a regime which killed 20,000 Cubans and tortured tens of thousands more.

(from here)

Almost all (and i only say almost because i don’t know of any who were not) of those executed were members of Batista’s army, informants, rich landowners who backed Batista, etc. And, contrary to the idea that these were executions against the people, they were actually popularly sanctioned:

Serving in the post as commander of La Cabaña, Guevara reviewed the appeals of those convicted during the revolutionary tribunal process.[9] The tribunals were conducted by 2–3 army officers, an assessor, and a respected local citizen.[105] On some occasions the penalty delivered by the tribunal was death by firing squad.[106] Raúl Gómez Treto, senior legal advisor to the Cuban Ministry of Justice, has argued that the death penalty was justified in order to prevent citizens themselves from taking justice into their own hands, as happened twenty years earlier in the anti-Machado rebellion.[107] Biographers note that in January 1959, the Cuban public was in a “lynching mood”,[108] and point to a survey at the time showing 93% public approval for the tribunal process.[9]Moreover, a January 22, 1959, Universal Newsreel broadcast in the United States and narrated by Ed Herlihy, featured Fidel Castro asking an estimated one million Cubans whether they approved of the executions, and was met with a roaring “¡Si!” (yes).[109] With thousands of Cubans estimated to have been killed at the hands of Batista’s collaborators,[110][111] and many of the war criminals sentenced to death accused of torture and physical atrocities,[9] the newly empowered government carried out executions, punctuated by cries from the crowds of “¡paredón!” ([to the] wall!),[100]

thats from wikipedia, no less

Always remember- all states are the power of one class over another. Whether that class is the working class by itself (or in alliance with a progressive and anti-imperialist bourgeoisie as in Cuba), or whether it is a reactionary or imperialist bourgeoisie armed against the working class of the world (as in the US)- states are not just democracies or dictatorships- but institutions of class power. Its interesting how we call Cuba a dictatorship when the rich landowners flee or face persecution or god-forbid *gasp* their land is redistributed to campesinos! But the United States, which has the largest (mostly black and brown) prison population in the world (both by number and per capita), which is established on stolen land, and which regularly exercises its power to interfere in and mess with other countries independence, is seen as “free.”

Here are some more resources on Cuba:

[Documentary] Cuba: Defending Socialism, Resisting Imperialism // 20 Reasons to Support Cuba // Cuba: A Revolution in Motion // Cuba and its Neighbors: Democracy in Motion // Work and Democracy in Socialist Cuba // The Sugarmill: The Socio Economic Complex of Sugar in Cuba 1760-1860 // Cuba and the US Empire: A Chronological History // A Hidden History of the Cuban Revolution // Reminiscences of the Cuban Revolutionary War // The World Economic and Social Crisis // The Economic War Against Cuba // Race in Cuba //

The thing is, capitalism has never been reformed ‘peacefully’.

Reform movements which have formally disavowed violent means - from the Civil Rights movement in 1960s America, to Attlee’s Labour government in 1940s Britain - have only been historically successful because mass, organised, revolutionary movements of the politically disenfranchised outside of the formal reform movement have forced those benefiting from the status quo to cede concessions to non-violent, often middle-class, reformist leaders. Malcolm X, the Socialist Party of the USA and the Communist Party forced the American elite to come to the table with Dr. King; the syndicalist and communist trade unions in post-War Britain made opposition to Attlee’s NHS and limited nationalisations foolhardy.

Those who preach non-violence as a strategy rather than as a flexible tactic fatally mistake capitalism for a rational, logical system which plays by its own rules and respects human life.

We know better.

Some ways to be patriotic today:

- Take a moment to read about the history of Native Americans, their beautiful and varied pre-colonisation societies, and their gradual extermination by white planters, frontiersmen and the US military.

- Consider putting those fireworks away for the evening, as many veterans who have returned home from far-away battlefields with PTSD report Independence Day celebrations can act as a trigger.

- Do something worthwhile to turn America into the place you want it to be: talk to your neighbours about how to solve a problem in your hood, join a workplace union, donate to Planned Parenthood.

theguardian.com
French Guiana strikes lifted after aid package agreed with Paris
Deal worth €2.21bn brings end to general strike spearheaded by coalition of 37 unions that had brought productivity in the territory to a halt

Activists in French Guiana have lifted strikes that crippled the territory for almost a month after the government in Paris pledged an aid package worth billions of euros.

A general strike by 37 unions has paralysed the French territory in South America, with locals pressing for a “Marshall plan” along the lines of the huge US economic support given to help western Europe to recover after the second world war.

An AFP journalist said the government and the collective spearheading the protests signed a deal in Cayenne late on Friday, just two days before France’s presidential election. Under the accord, the French government pledged to provide €2.1bn (£1.85bn) in aid to the territory but did not give a precise timetable for its implementation. The amount would be in addition to just over €1bn in emergency funding agreed in early April but which the movement considered insufficient.

France’s overseas territories minister, Ericka Bareigts, hailed the deal as “a defining day” for the territory’s future.

Ayyy! Victory to the Guianese workers! 

3

May 11 2017 - Workers at a car component factory in central France have occupied the plant and are threatening to blow it up in a radical protest against their bosses as the site risks closure.

The workers at the GM&S auto-suppliers plant in the Creuse region, north of Limoges, have told Renault and Peugeot they are ready to blow up the factory if their demands are not met.

Some 280 jobs at the site are under threat after the plant went into receivership back in December, and workers accuse the two car giants of blocking negotiations for a takeover of the factory and of making too few orders.

The protesters have already started destroying machinery at the site. Photos released on social media on Thursday, show them cutting a machine in half with a blowtorch. CGT trade union representatives say the workers will destroy a machine each day unless their demands are met. [video]/[video]

4

The revolution here in Rojava is a women’s revolution. From the front lines of the fight against ISIS, to running the cantons to trade unions that ensure all working women have their voices heard.

International women’s day has special significance here, with events and demonstrations taking place all over the region. We stand with women worldwide in the struggle against patriarchy, and today we stand with the women of Ireland. We call on the Irish Government to repeal the 8th amendment and allow women rights over their own bodies! Today news reporters, trade unionists, HPC (civilian self-defence units) heard about the strike and stood in solidarity.

Today women across Qamishlo support.

Strike 4 Repeal

independent.co.uk
One of the biggest NHS strikes in history is about to happen – but you won’t hear about it
This year Serco took over services in NHS hospitals. From that moment on I felt my working life became unbearable.

Today, I, along with hundreds of other hospital cleaners, caterers, porters and security workers at St Barts Trust, will be taking strike action.

Between December and April, so-called ‘soft service’ workers across Whipps Cross, Mile End, Royal London and St Bartholomew’s Hospitals were fully privatised over to the Serco corporation in a contract worth £600m. Overnight we went from being valued workers in the NHS to being the employees of a private company better known for running prisons. This alone was upsetting for many of us, especially those with decades of service in the NHS.

When Serco came in they promised us that nothing would change and if anything, things would get better. In reality, I felt things got worse almost immediately. Within three days of taking over the Royal London Hospital they attempted to abolish our ten-minute morning tea break; this was only reinstated after 120 of us walked off the job and demanded it was returned. On top of this, cleaners often find themselves doing the jobs of two people. A hospital domestic now has 57 duties to complete in a given shift – everything from mopping numerous floors, cleaning dozens of toilets as well as difficult tasks like high dusting. We are heavily scrutinised by managers and supervisors and face huge pressure to complete tasks in an impossible timeframe. As a result of this, many of us are starting work up to 30 minutes earlier (unpaid) and many of us work through our breaks as we do not have enough time to serve food to patients or complete our allocations.

This culture of overwork has led to a huge strain on us both mentally and physically. I have frequently seen colleagues, grown men and women, break down into tears as they simply cannot take the pressure any more. Many of us are talking about quitting the hospital altogether. I myself have had to go off sick with swollen hands due to having to clean multiple wards – similarly I have developed a back ache from having to rush through my tasks. Other injuries I have seen in my colleagues include tendinitis, aching joints and ganglion cysts from abrasions. Where once I used to come home and spend time with my children and help them with their schoolwork, now I often come home and simply fall asleep.

In March we submitted a pay claim to Serco for an extra 30p per hour. This is to cover the rising costs of travel and general inflation. Serco have rejected this out of hand. This is despite the fact they are making huge profits every year. Their CEO alone, Rupert Soames, makes over £2m per year in salary plus bonus. One of us would have to work over a century to earn that. Along with other NHS workers, we have had a pay freeze for years. The previous argument for this was that the NHS didn’t have enough money; but it is clear that that isn’t the case with Serco. It seems that their priority in St Bart’s isn’t patient care rather squeezing us in order to make as much profit as possible. They want more and more work from people so they can pocket the difference.

We love our jobs and love being part of our NHS, however these private companies are making it almost impossible to bear. This is not a strike simply about money, but about our dignity as hospital support workers. We hope you will support us.

anonymous asked:

im still fairly ignorant about leftism sorry but from my readings of council communism it sounds very similar to syndicalism. what would u say are the main differences?

They’re actually wicked similar tendencies. There are a few differences, though.

  • Council communism uses Marxist perspectives and methods of analysis (historical materialism, etc.), whereas syndicalism generally does not. (”Generally” being the keyword there – Greg is a syndicalist with a Marxist perspective, for example.)
  • Syndicalism is understood pretty much exclusively as an anarchist tendency, whereas council communism is not necessarily anarchist. In cases where council communism supports a transitory “dictatorship of the proletariat” state, it opposes centralization and Leninist conceptions of the vanguard party, seeking full direct democracy in the economic base in an attempt to wield the state for the benefit of the proletariat; syndicalists don’t advocate for this transition period.
  • Workers’ councils are defined as setups of spontaneous organization born in times of revolutionary struggle, whereas syndicalism relies on trade unions that exist before the struggle really takes off. For this reason, many traditional council communists argued that trade unions could only be reformist in nature and that separate revolutionary councils would instead be created by class conscious workers in times of tense material conditions; this also led many of them to refuse to work with reformist individuals or organizations of any sort (which I think is silly). Syndicalism posits that unions will become increasingly revolutionary as workers develop class consciousness.

All said, both tendencies involve near-identical final products in terms of organizational structure – councils/unions hollowing out the capitalist system from below and reforming society into linked confederations based on mutual aid, direct democracy, and a for-need economic system. When push comes to shove, a lot of it is just semantics debate. The unified leftist front that topples capitalism for good will have to focus on directly-democratic institutions of worker control in some very real capacity, and I think council communism and syndicalism truly get to the heart of this idea. 

-Daividh

African Union criticizes US for ‘taking many of our people as slaves’ and not taking refugees

[IMAGE: African Heads of State pose for a group photo ahead of the start of the 28th African Union summit in Addis Ababa on 30 January, 2017.]

The head of the African Union has criticized Donald Trump’s ban on immigration from some Muslim-majority countries, saying it presents “one of the greatest challenges” for the continent.

As representatives of the AU’s 53 member states met in Addis Ababa for a two-day summit, the chief of its commission said the bloc was entering “very turbulent times” after the US President’s election.

“The very country to which many of our people were taken as slaves during the transatlantic slave trade has now decided to ban refugees from some of our countries,” said Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma.

“What do we do about this? Indeed, this is one of the greatest challenges to our unity and solidarity.”

Mr Trump’s executive order prevented people with passports from three African nations – Libya, Somalia and Sudan – from travelling to the US. It also blocked visas for citizens from four Middle Eastern countries – Syria, Iraq, Yemen and Iran.

The President has also suspended all US refugee programmes for 120 days, and ended the flow of Syrian refugees to America indefinitely.

Also speaking in Ethiopia, the UN Secretary General commended African countries for opening their borders to refugees and people fleeing violence while other parts of the world, including the developed West, close boundaries and build walls.

Antonio Guterres, attending his first AU summit as the UN chief, said: “African nations are among the world’s largest and most generous hosts of refugees.

“African borders remain open for those in need of protection when so many borders are being closed, even in the most developed countries in the world.”

Mr Guterres didn’t make a direct reference to the recent executive orders signed by Mr Trump, which also included a commitment to build a wall along the Mexican border, but his comment drew enthusiastic applause from hundreds of African leaders, officials and dignitaries who attended the opening of the summit, the Associated Press reported.