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- Electoral fraud: The view from Sungai Siput
3 days 8 hours ago
- 'Left to rescue capitalism'?
1 week 21 hours ago
- Mao Zedong’s granddaughter among China’s super-rich
1 week 2 days ago
- US arms to Syria? an exchange
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- World War I will be fought again, starting next year
3 weeks 17 hours ago
- Great comrades of Malaysia
3 weeks 23 hours ago
- Australian Unity
3 weeks 1 day ago
By Dale T. McKinley, Johannesburg
May 13, 2013 -- South African Civil Society Information Service, submitted to Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal by the author -- If capital is to be believed, it is the worker who is the main source of our contemporary social and economic problems.
Every time the annual South African season of wage negotiations is about to begin, as it is now, representatives of capital unleash a tsunami of propaganda about workers’ "high and unaffordable" wage demands. Dire warnings of destructive social unrest/conflict, high inflation rates, poor competitiveness and generalised economic devastation roll off their silver-lined tongues. The underlying message is neither subtle nor sanguine: wage demands of workers are to blame for just about everything bad that is happening in our society.
Workers and protesters holding a defaced portrait of Hong Kong billionaire Li Ka-shing march on May Day, May 1, 2013. Thousands of workers, local labour rights groups, socialists and striking dockworkers joined in. The Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions said a record 5000 people took part in its march from Victoria Park to government headquarters before ending near tycoon Li Ka-shing’s Cheung Kong Center.
By Ellen David Friedman
May 7, 2013 -- Labor Notes -- The 40-day strike of more than 500 dockworkers at the Port of Hong Kong ended on May 6 with a settlement that included a 9.8 per cent wage increase, non-retaliation against strikers and a written agreement, all of which had been fiercely resisted by the four contractors targeted in the strike.
Strikers accepted the offer by a 90 per cent vote.
April 17, 2013 -- Labor Notes -- A new video shows Hong Kong dock workers walking off the job March 29 and describing apalling working conditions at the world’s third-busiest port, where their dramatic strike has brought transport to a virtual halt.
Their energy is palpable. “It’s like—the things we’ve suppressed for 10, 20 years, it’s all blowing up now”, one worker says (at 3:59 in video above). He points to a co-worker seriously. “Look at his face. He’s done 24. That’s what a 24 looks like.” Then he cracks a smile. “Actually, you know, he used to be pretty [bleep] good-looking—at least if you shave that beard!”
The workers are appealing for protest letters to be send to support their strike. Please visit Dock workers defy Hong Kong's richest person, seek solidarity, attract huge support for sample letters and more background the struggle.
The video was produced by students from Left 21, a left organisation in Hong Kong. Richard Chen, who translated it, writes:
Striking Hong Kong dockworkers and supporters march at the world's third-busiest port. The two-week-old strike has bottlenecked cargo and gained enormous public sympathy. Photo: Left 21.
By the Union of Hong Kong Dockers
April 9, 2013 -- Text via ESSF -- Hundred members of the Union of Hong Kong Dockers (UHKD) are striking to demand pay rise while their wages have not risen in the past 15 years. Moreover they are also fighting for the collective bargaining right to negotiate with the management.
We ask you to send protest letters to the Hong Kong International Terminals (HIT) as well as its parent companies Hutchison Port Holdings Trust (HPHT), Hutchison Whampoa Ltd (HWL) and the Hong Kong SAR government to support the dockers.
For this purpose we attach a template which you can adapt and send, with a copy to the Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Two workers of the 1000-member TRADOC cooperative. The hiring of women in the plant was one of the many gains of worker ownership. Photo by Bob Briggs.
By Jane Slaughter
April 3, 2013 -- Labor Notes -- A tyre is not just a piece of rubber with a hole in it. I learned this when I visited the workers’ cooperative that makes Cooper tyres in El Salto, Mexico. A tyre is a sophisticated product that comes about through a chain of chemical processes, lots of machine pounding, and still the intervention of human hands.
A fervent inspection worker pointed out that every single tyre is tested under road-like conditions, “If not, it could kill people”, he noted. And, he added practically, “keeping the tyres safe saves our jobs”.
"Waterside worker', by Noel Counihan, 1963.
By Chris Slee
March 18, 2013 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- In his article entitled “Is there a labour aristocracy in Australia?” (published in the Socialist Alternative magazine, Marxist Left Review) Tom Bramble criticises the concept of the “labour aristocracy” on a number of grounds.
By Kavita Krishnan
February 27, 2013 -- Links international Journal of Socialist Renewal via Radical Socialist -- The dominant capitalist media narrative about the February 21-22 all-India strike called by the country's major trade union centres was one of "hooliganism" by workers and inconvenience caused to the "public". As is usual, the main demands of the striking workers found little space in the media’s discussion of the strike.
'They will make splendid allies': The Communist Party of Australia and its attitude towards migrants
February 22, 2013 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Below are two chapters from Australian socialist Douglas Jordon's thesis on the Communist Party of Australia. They deal with the CPA's sometimes inconsistent attitude to migration and racism within the Australian working class. As such issues continue to feature heavily in Australian politics and trade union activity, something the left must always deal with, these chapters provide useful lessons and experiences for socialists today. The chapters are availabe for download as PDF files or can be read on screen below the introduction.
Douglas Jordan was politicised in England in the late 1960s. After arriving in Australia he joined the Socialist Youth Alliance/Socialist Workers League/Socialist Workers Party, in which where he remained a member for 14 years. Today he is a community activist and co-presenter of the City Limits radio program on Melbourne's 3CR.
February 12, 2013 -- Radio Australia -- A Philippine socialist party has thrown its support behind the Australian workers blockading the Werribee Water Treatment plant south-west of Melbourne.
Unemployed local tradespeople have been blockading the Werribee Water Treatment plant for the past week to protest against the employment of Filipino workers on special 457 visas [for guest workers].
Earlier this week, the Federal Court reserved decision on the Fair Work Building and Construction Inspectorate's bid to end the eight-day blockade.
On Monday, a group of 12 men, including Filipino workers, were helicoptered into the water treatment plant to avoid the blockade.
The chairperson of the Party of the Laboring Masses (PLM), Sonny Melencio, has told Radio Australia's Asia Pacific program he's concerned Filipino workers are being used to break picket lines.
January 30, 20133 -- Solidarity -- Trade union activist Sulthoni Farras, a leader of the Indonesian union federation Progresip, union alliance Sekber Buruh, and member of Indonesian political organisation KPO PRP, is in danger of arrest for leading a strike in 2012. Another activist, Bona Ventura, may also face charges.
The Indonesian government and bosses are using these kinds of tactics against a growing workers’ movement in Indonesia. Solidarity is asking for messages of support and for signatures to a letter we will give at the Indonesian Consulate this Friday 1 February, 2013. More details below.
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We are writing to ask your solidarity for a number of unionists in Indonesia presently in danger of being arrested and charged for taking part in lawful industrial action.
Below is some background to their situation in Indonesia. We would ask you to sign the letter (text below) that we intend to hand to the Indonesian consulate this Friday, 1 February following a solidarity protest at the consulate.
By the Socialist Party of Malaysia
January 23, 2012 -- Socialist Party of Malaysia (PSM) is deeply concerned and disappointed over the verdict of Thai court today that sentenceed labour activist Somyot Pruksakasemsuk to 10 years of imprisonment for charges under the Article 112 of the Criminal Code (the lèse-majesté law) and another year of imprisonment for a violation of printing act in 2009, totaling 11 years of jail terms.
The PSM is of the view that those charges and convictions of Somyot are politically motivated, with the aim to suppress the right to freedom of expression and activism of political dissidents who not adhere to the will of ruling elite in Thailand.
The prosecution and conviction of Somyot are regressive and push the country back to the Middle Ages. Such persecution against a political activist is devastating to the democratic process in Thailand.
Palestinian, Israeli and international protesters break into Whoprofits.org.supermarket in the Shaar Binyamin settlement near Jerusalem, to protest against the Israeli occupation and call for a boycott of Israeli settlements, October 2012. Photograph by Yotam Ronen, ActiveStills/
January 2013 -- Whoprofits.org -- In order to work in Israel's settlements, Palestinians must obtain work permits from the Israeli Civil Administration, which also entails the approval of the Israeli internal security service (the Shin Bet). This permit can be annulled at any time, especially when workers demand their rights or try to unionise, or if they (or one of their family members) engage in any kind of political activity. This situation exposes Palestinian workers to extortion by the Israeli internal security service.
South Africa: Harvesting discontent -- farmworkers rebel; Stop rural slavery! Respect the farmworkers!
By Mercia Andrews
January 13, 2013 -- International Viewpoint -- The protests and mobilisation that started in the small town of De Doorns on November 6, 2012, galvanised the anger of farm dwellers against decades of discontent at extreme exploitation and oppression that persist on farms, in rural towns and South Africa's agricultural sector.
President Barack Obama bragged how he had saved the US auto industry by handing out billions in taxpayers’ money to the auto bosses, and even establishing what amounted to temporary federal ownership of the old General Motors plants when GM went bankrupt during the “Great Recession”.
By Sam Williams
December 23, 2012 -- A Critique of Crisis Theory, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Journal with permission -- December 11, 2012, brought news of a major new attack on basic labour rights in the United States. The following day, the Federal Reserve [the US central bank] announced new inflationary measures designed to end the economic stagnation the US economy has been mired in since the “Great Recession” bottomed out in July 2009.
By Terry Bell
December 13, 2012 -- Terry Bell Writes, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission -- The tortuous road to the governing African National Congress' (ANC) centennial conference at Mangaung ends next week. And, not to put too fine a point on it, much of the country is gatvol [fed up] with the route it has taken and where it has arrived.
Potholed with corruption, meandering in no fixed direction to the profit of cronies, and riddled with damaging scandal, it should long ago have been resurfaced, rebuilt and given a clear destination. But it has remained in place as a national project and, in the process, has pushed into the background the ongoing — and often more subtle — unethical dealings outside of government circles.
In recent years and despite occasional grumbles, the country’s major trade union federation, the congress of South African Trade Union (COSATU), has continued to stumble along that road, praising its supposed promise. The federation was committed to it, especially after declaring, at its congress in 2006, that a “Zuma tsunami” would cure the ills on the road ahead. In the event, the leapfrogghing into power of President Jacob Zuma has proved even more destructive.
South Africa after Marikana massacre: Strike wave and new workers' organisations challenge old compromises
Thousands of Amplats mineworkers rally in Rustenburg, South Africa.
By Leonard Gentle
November 12, 2012 -- International Labour Research and Information Group -- Over the November 10-11, 2012, weekend striking mineworkers of the Anglo American Platinum (Amplats) corporation gathered at a mass rally in Rustenburg and howled their defiance of a series of ultimatums issued by the company. At De Doorns, farm workers are on a "wildcat" strike -- the latest of a series that has become a feature of the South African landscape over the last three months, knocking the African National Congress conference in Mangaung off the front pages. Something is stirring from below … and it is time we got beyond the fear and trepidation that have become the stock response in the media.
Photo: Alex Mahan/Flickr.
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Can you explain why you have developed the term bureaucratic capitalism to describe China today and what you mean by that term?
I did not invent the term. It was first used, ironically, by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) during the 1940s to depict the kind of capitalism that the Guomindang (Koumintang] had created under its rule.
Maurice Meisner defines bureaucratic capitalism in his book The Deng Xiaoping Era – An Inquiry into the Fate of Chinese Socialism 1978-1994 as a term to refer to the use of political power for private pecuniary gain through capitalistic or quasi-capitalist methods of economic activity. He adds that although this is not new in history, the form of this in China today is more prominent than the others.
SACP's Blade Nzimande leads COSATU members prior to clashes with striking Anglo Platinum miners. October 27, 2012, Rustenburg, North West. Photo by Greg Marinovich, Daily Maverick.
Statement by the Democratic Left Front (South Africa)
October 29, 2012 -- The Democratic Left Front condemns the police for shooting workers in Rustenburg on October 27. Two workers who work at Amplats were hit by live ammunition, and one, hit in the chest, is in a critical condition in hospital. Eleven other mineworkers were injured by rubber bullets. The DLF also condemns Blade Nzimande, SACP general secretary and minister for higher education, for condoning this shooting by the police. This so-called “Communist” defends the shooting of workers in the interests of the capitalist bosses.
By the Trade Union Friends of Palestine (Ireland)
October 11, 2012 -- BDS Movement -- Israel's trade union federation, the Histadrut, was founded in December 1920 in British Mandate Palestine. From its inception its aims were neither to build workers' solidarity nor represent or campaign for workers' rights.
Instead it was founded as an exclusively Jewish organisation to facilitate the colonisation of Palestine. As such it worked in tandem with the Jewish Agency to promote the exclusion of Palestinian labour and produce, and was at the forefront of the movement to turn Palestine from an Arab country into a Zionist one.
Today it continues to work hand in hand with th government of Israel and promotes and defends policies that violate the basic civil, political and human rights of Palestinians.
Marikana miners protest against the August 16, 2012, massacre by police.
By Patrick Bond, Durban
October 18, 2012 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- When a ruling party in any African country sinks to the depths of allowing its police force to serve white-dominated multinational capital by killing dozens of black workers so as to end a brief strike, as happened in South Africa in August, it represents not just human rights and labour relations travesties. The incident offers the potential for a deep political rethink.
But that can only happen if the society openly confronts the chilling lessons learned in the process about the moral degeneration of a liberation movement that the world had supported for decades. Support was near universal from progressives of all political hues, because that movement, the African National Congress (ANC), promised to rid this land not only of formal apartheid but of all unfair racial inequality and indeed class and gender exploitation as well. And now the ANC seems to be making many things worse.
There are five immediate considerations about what happened at Marikana, 100 kilometres northwest of Johannesburg, beginning around 4 pm on August 16, 2012: