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UNITED STATES Message to Congress: Vote ‘NO’ on NAFTA 2.0! A Comprehensive Replacement Is Required!

2019-12-28

First published by The Organizer (USA), December 2019 It’s been called a “historic bipartisan trade pact.” Donald Trump hailed it as a “victory” for his administration and for the American people. Nancy Pelosi called it a trade agreement that is “infinitely better” than both NAFTA and Trump’s initial proposal. AFLCIO President Richard Trumka insisted that the USMCA has been “fixed” — that “swift and cer­tain labor enforcement mechanisms” are now in place.  But is this really a victory for wor­king people? Is the USMCA fundamen­tally different from NAFTA? To answer these questions, it is worth looking at how the financial press has covered the story.  Interviewed on the NPR News Hour on December 10, Christopher Wilson, director of the Mexican Institute at the Wilson Center in Washington, explained that the financial markets are greatly “relieved” that a deal has been reached and that “market certainty” has been restored. “We [...]

CHILE Democracy and Dictatorship Face to Face

2019-12-20

On 11 December, the Chilean Senate passed a « constitutional accusation » against the former Minister of the Interior, Andrés Chadwick, following strong pressure to end impunity for murders, torture and imprisonment of demonstrators (some 30 dead, more than 300 seriously injured in the eyes, two of whom became blind, thousands of detainees). All members of the government ran to comfort Chadwick who, at the press conference, highlighted his « innocence », claiming to be the victim of a « political trial ».  On 12 December, in the Chamber of Deputies, a « constitutional accusation » against President Piñera was rejected by 76 votes to 70, thanks to the votes of the Christian Democracy, the Radical Party and the « independents ». That said, this initiative launched by the Frente Amplio [1] and the Communist Party aimed above all to give the illusion that it was possible to get rid of Piñera « democratically »… within the framework of an [...]

INDIA No Anaj Mandi again! Nation wide strike on January 8, 2020 demanding justice for workers and labour rights

2019-12-20

On December 8, Sunday morning national capital of India, New Delhi’s Anaj Mandi, witnessed the tragedy of 43 labourers charred into death when a five storey building housing a dozen manufacturing units engulfed in fire. Five of the dead were minors. They were poor migrant workers who had come to Delhi in search of livelihoods. They lived and slept in the cramped premises after rigorous work and then choked to death. Unregulated manufacturing units have mushroomed not only in Delhi but in several parts of India.  On February 12 this year 17 people including a child were burnt alive in Arpit Palace Hotel in Delhi.  In another major fire on December 17, 2018, in a workers hospital owned by the government in Mumbai 6 people died and 129 were injured.  In December 2018, 18 miners were trapped in a mine in the eastern Indian state, Meghalaya, for several days and ultimately they could not be rescued. The mine was closed.  Every time such fires take place and precious [...]

AFRICA African Forum On The Global Convergence Of Farmers Land, Water And Seed Struggles – West Africa (CGLTE-AO)

2019-12-20

The African Forum on “The Role and Responsibility of Women and Youth in Land Ownership Governance according to Uses and Customs” took place at the Nyeleni Agro-Ecological Centre in Selinnkegni, in Mali, from 5 to 8 December 2019. As a reminder, this international meeting gathers delegates from the platform countries of the CGLTE-AO making up the Organisations of Civil Society from the 14 countries of the Economic Community of West African States active in farmers’ struggle for land-ownership, water and seed, plus Mauritania which is an official member even if it isn’t part of ECOWAS. Chad was also present as a guest, as were traditional and customary chiefs, and local elected officials from various countries.  There were also farming communities and farmers living in Mali who are touched by aspects linked to landownership because they are often victims of the land-grabbing done by multinationals, as everywhere in Africa, in Latin America and Asia, on the fallacious [...]

IRELAND A victory against zero-hour contracts: a point of support in the fight against exploitation

2019-12-07

Last week we published the call by 407 labour activists from 52 countries for a world conference against war and exploitation, for a Workers’ International to meet on November 5th and 6th 2020. (A new version of the list will soon be published).Among the endorsers of the call is Ciaran Campbell, who endorsers it on behalf of Mandate Trade Union in Ireland (Retail, bar and administrative workers’ union). We have interviewed him. Over these past few months, Irish retail trade union, Mandate,has successfully campaigned against what is called “zero-hour contracts”. Can you tell us more about that? Ciaran Campbell Yes, the characteristic of a zero hour contract is that it is a contract between an employer and a worker, where the emplo­yer is not obliged to provide any mini­mum working hours. The employee may sign an agreement to be available for work as and when required, so that no particular number of hours or times of work are specified. Zero hour contracts have multiplied [...]

FRANCE A strike has begun this 5th of December in France A class issue and a civilisation issue

2019-12-07

A strike has begun this 5th of December in France for the withdrawal of the Macron government’s draft bill against the retirement pension system. No mobilisation of this size and scope has been seen in this country for over half a century.In the editorial of La Tribune des Travailleurs, the working class newspaper published by the Independent and Democratic Workers Party (POID) , Daniel Gluckstein explains what is at stake. What is at stake in the strike that will begin on 5 December? First of all, there is a class issue, a long-established one, the issue of working time. From the very beginning, the capitalist system has been marked by confrontation over this issue: on one side, the bosses who impo­sed working days of 16 hours or more for poverty wages, and then cried certain bankruptcy if the working day was limited; on the other side, the nascent labour movement which called for an eight-hour day with the famous slogan “Eight hours’ labour, Eight hours’ recreation, Eight [...]

CHILE “It’s not about 30 pesos, it’s about 30 years”

2019-11-09

The eruption of the workers and young people has opened a revolutionary crisis. “It’s not about 30 pesos” [the increase in the price of an underground ticket – editor’s note], say the millions of workers and youth, “it’s 30 years that we reject.” Thirty years is the period during which, after the end of Pinochet’s dictatorship, all the political parties in Chile, including those on the “left”, have continued to accept and maintain the dictatorship’s institutions, beginning with the 1980 Constitution — institutions that enabled the implementation of IMF plans. Our correspondents for the Alliance of Workers and Students write:  High School Students Erupt  When President Piñera announced the increase in the price of an underground ticket, the high school students in Santiago (the capital of Chile) entered the fray. They called on underground users not to pay. The management of the underground called on the army to stop the fare-evaders. Students then [...]

LEBANON Protests Shake the Communitarian Institutions

2019-11-09

Massive demonstrations have just caused Prime Minister Saad Hariri (of triple nationality — Lebanese, Saudi and French) to resign. The president has called for the formation of a “government of experts”. For nearly three weeks now, the Lebanese people have been demonstrating en masse. They are demanding radical change, the ouster of “all the political class”, which are judged to be incompetent and idle, and the departure of the government. In a country where the Constitution is based on specific rights attributed to each “community”, where these communities are represented in the institutions according to a carefully crafted mix (the Sunnites get the position of Prime Minister, the Christians get the presidency, etc.), the calling into question of this communal construction is a revolution.  “We are one single people”, the demonstrators chant, addressing the activists of Hezbollah [one of the parties in the coalition government – editor’s note] who have been [...]

UNITED STATES Teachers’ strike wave returns to Chicago

2019-11-02

Today, October 22nd the strike of 32,500 educators, all members of the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU), is entering its fifth day with even greater energy and determination than in September 2012, when the Chicago teachers’ strike kicked off a Teachers’ Revolt that would go on to sweep the entire nation over the next seven years. Unlike 2012, the 7,500 Chicago Public Schools (CPS) support staff organized in SEIU* Local 73, have joined the strike “We’re fighting for the schools that Chicago’s youth deserve, » stated Jesse Sharkey, president of the CTU, who went on to enumerate the teachers’ main demands, including increased wages, smaller class sizes, nurses and counselors in every school, real sanctuary schools, more bilingual and special education teachers, and housing for teachers. The picket lines and daily mobilizations have been massive, underscoring the strong parental and community support for the teachers.. Democratic Mayor Lori Lightfoot, — the [...]