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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 [...]

CHILE Constituent Assembly, Now!

2019-11-02

Neither President Piñera’s state of siege — with the army and police in the streets, the 18 dead, and the hundreds of wounded and nearly 2,000 arrests — nor the announcement of social measures aimed at calming things down, have had the least effect in quelling the protests. Pushed by the mobilisations from below, the platform called Unidad Social (Social Unity — which brings together hundreds of the country’s trade unions and social organisations, including the CUT / Workers’ United Central, the Coordinating Committee Against the No + AFP Pension Fund law, and the Colegio de Profesores, affiliated with CUT — issued a call for a general strike on 23 and 24 October. The demands are the ones that the workers and youth have been chanting in the streets since the beginning of the social explosion: lifting of the state of emergency, withdrawal of the draft law that destroys workers’ rights to retirement pension, education, taxation, and the demand for a series of [...]

HAITI   « This popular uprising » which the « servile press » does not want to see (Haïti Liberté)

2019-11-02

While “a continuous rain of demonstrations” has been falling on Haiti, aimed at getting rid of the illegitimate president, Jovenel Moïse, who only has been able to remain in power thanks to the occupation of U.N. troops, the capitalist Western press continues to ignore this popular uprising. “The popular events that are taking place in our country have once again revealed the true colours of some of the foreign press … . Need this come as a surprise, need we be shocked? Not necessarily. There is nothing surprising or abnormal about it, since this despicably reactionary press has indeed learnt its lesson from history; it defends only the interests of the multinationals and the imperialist powers, in order to smash any movement of national emancipation and progress. « This highly specialised press is not completely free and independent, it does not have the freedom to tell all, especially when it is the working class that is revolting and resisting heroically, calling upon [...]

CATALONIA A human tide against the repression and for the Republic

2019-10-26

To all those who said that it is dead and buried, the human tide that has surged and swept the country has answered: “The Catalan Republic is still here!” On 14 October, nine Catalan leaders were placed on trial and given prison sentences of from 9 to 13 years for “sedition”. It was a sentence handed down by the Supreme Court and in the name of the Penal Code that are both legacy of Franco’s dictatorship, as are the Spanish monarchy and the 1978 Constitution. The verdict provoked immense anger that quickly turned into mass demonstrations, at the call of the Committees for the Defence of the Republic (CDR) and associations such as the National Catalan Assembly (ANC) or Omnium Cultural. As of 17 October, the students union launched the demand for a strike. The human tide peaked on 18 October in Barcelona, the day of general strike launched by the “minority” trade unions. The leaders of CCOO (Workers Commissions) and UGT refused to call for strike – all the while [...]

Address to our sister and brother workers and youth in China

2019-10-26

We are labour activists and defenders of democratic rights. We send our fraternal greetings to the workers and youth in China. We wish to express our solidarity with the hundreds of thousands of youth and workers who have been marching in demonstrations in Hong Kong for the past four months, and with the hundreds of thousands who went on strike on 5 August and 2 and 3 September and imposed the withdrawal of the Extradition Bill on Carrie Lam. We condemn theheavy-handed police crackdown on the protesters, the imprisonment of protesters and the implementation of an emergency law that gives authorities unlimited power against elementary civil liberties. This emergency law was adopted in 1922 by the British colonial regime to break a seamen’s strike. Thus, the Hong Kong authorities, and the Beijing government behind them, are using a law of the colonial powers which plundered China against the Chinese workers and youth.They should beware of the fact that in 1922, the seamen’s general [...]

Communiqué of the International Youth Alliance for Socialism Release the young activists arrested in Algeria immediately!

2019-10-20

On Wednesday 9 October, Youth Action Rally (RAJ) President Abdelouhab Fersaoui was arrested by police at the end of a rally organized in front of the Algiers court house to demand the release of five other leaders of that organisation, which is very active in the Hirak (popular movement).  They have been charged with threatening national security, and face 10 to 20 years in prison.  The militant activists of the International Youth Alliance for Socialism cannot allow activists to be arrested and imprisoned for their political opinions.  There is only one youth, and it is international.  The same goes for defending democratic rights and individual freedoms in Algeria as for anywhere else.  We give our total support to those activists, and demand the immediate release of all prisoners of conscience.  We invite all young people, school or university students, activists or not, to sign this appeal and have others sign it, and to join the international [...]