World Resistance Day for Rojava: 2nd November 2019

Internationalist Commune

The revolution in Northeast Syria will prevail, fascism will be smashed!

At 4pm on October 9th, the Turkish occupation army and its Islamist allies began their long-prepared war of aggression against the liberated areas of northern Syria.

At four o’clock sharp in the afternoon, bombs rained down on people in towns and villages on the border. Jihadist militias began their advance under the leadership of the Turkish army and tried to penetrate into the border area. Turkey is talking about a “military operation” aimed at “securing the border” and establishing a so-called “peace corridor”, but the fact is that the Turkish army and the Islamist mercenaries under its command are concerned with nothing less than the occupation of the mostly Kurdish populated entire area along the Turkish-Syrian border. The regime in Ankara speaks of the “fight against terrorism” and emphasizes that their war of aggression is not about the war on the civilian population, but indiscriminate bombing of civilian settlements, looting and mass deportations of hundreds of thousands of people, arbitrary executions and the brutal abduction of hundreds of civilians speak a different language. The further the war against northern Syria progresses, the more it becomes clear, what Erdogan is really about, namely ethnic cleansing through the violent expulsion of millions of people and the long-term demographic change of the entire region.

In the north of Syria, in the shadow of the Syrian civil war, a revolutionary and democratic social project has thrived in the past seven years

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A Class War Against State War – IWW Istanbul’s Statement on the Turkish Invasion of Syria

From Industrial Worker
The following statement was originally published on Yeryüzü Postası


We call on all workers — workers who are exploited under this system, workers who have become increasingly impoverished and who are being sent to die — not to join this war, but to unite against it.

At a time when war is taking place in Syria, war which has no purpose other than death, destruction, and poverty, the AKP government launched a mission of occupation that will only further increase chaos. Like the previous occupation of Afrin, this operation shows that neither Russia, the US, nor other imperialist powers care about the Kurdish people.

This operation is a continuation of the extermination and denial of the Kurdish state based on the rejection of a peaceful solution to the Kurdish question and is also part of the AKP’s imperial fantasies that will only complicate the Syrian problem. The provocation by Turkey, with the help of other countries, caused more Syrian people to leave their country and triggered a new wave of migration that made it impossible to build housing for refugees who were evacuated from the border region. It is madness.

To eliminate Kurds from the border zone eliminates the possibility of a peaceful solution to the problem. It makes the war even worse and only increases the chances of further chaos spreading in the Middle East.

Worker’s pay has already started to be cut back with the increased cost of operations in Turkey. The meaning of this operation is “do you know the price of one bullet?”

The increasing nationalism and militarization of Turkey only strengthens the capitalist system and the bosses who run it. This operation and the crisis it creates weakens our struggle against capitalism.

We are completely against this operation because it means more death and poverty for our class. We condemn all wars between nations, as a part of our historical heritage. We believe that it is the historic duty of the working class to fight against this war and the lie of national unity that is intended to be promoted in the name of this war. We have no common interests with the bosses and the governments in their service!

Furthermore, Turkish workers and thousands of other people have lost their lives, are getting poorer every minute, and live terrorized because of the Syrian war. To end this war, the workers of the world have to organize and move. We must strongly oppose the policy of states that provoke, deepen and make even more destructive the war for the interests of the ruling classes.

We call on all workers—workers who are exploited under this system, workers who have become increasingly impoverished and who are being sent to die—not to join this war, but to unite against it.

It is time to talk about what we can do against this war from our shopfloors, how to silence the chauvinists, how to defeat the smell of nationalist blood in the air, and how to stop the war and mitigate its effects. We are organizing workers against the war. Immediately! Now!

IWW Istanbul

EU Nationals Pre-Settled/Settled Status

From IWW WISE-RA International Solidarity Department international@iww.org.uk

This is a reminder for all EU national workers in the UK territory.

Fellow Workers,

Considering the last declarations about the possibility to end, without any other legislation in place, the freedom of movement between the EU block and the UK, we need to remind all EU nationals to apply and submit for the pre-settled or settled status. Once the approval is received, it guarantees the continuation of the rights of the EU nationals, such as the right to work and to access the NHS services. It’s possible to apply until December 2020 with the application system put in place in March 2019, but if the current government manages to delete all the EU nationals rights in one night, there will be no other document able to prove the right to work and live in the UK. Especially there will not be any other system in place to use, such as a visa, maybe for months.

The Home Office sent out an email the 15th August stating that 1 million EU citizens were granted the status, if the total number of 3 millions EU nationals is right, this means that there are other 2 million people that need to fill the application or are waiting for the answer.

My concern is that a no deal Brexit will affect the most vulnerable workers in the UK, impacting on people that have more difficulties accessing internet, speaking English or access help points and offices. The application is online at https://www.gov.uk/settled-status-eu-citizens-families, the app to verify the passports works only on Android phones. If someone doesn’t have access to an android phone, they will need to send the passport by post to one of the Home Office offices.

I think we need to remind our members to apply if they didn’t and to remind it to our colleagues, if there are EU citizens in the working place.

Some of the information circulating on the press at the moment is incorrect, if there are any doubts about the application you can use the Home Office sources or you can contact us.

‘Mickey Mouse’ scabs endanger safety at Heathrow.

Union News

Striking Heathrow firefighters are being undercut by a privatised strike-breaking outfit from Surrey County Council, the FBU has learned.

The union has slammed the “backhanded” method of strike-breaking, warning that replacement crews will not be sufficiently trained for airport or airplane fires. Unite members have currently suspended strike action after bosses made an improved pay offer.

The strike-breaking unit, South East Business Services, was set up by Surrey County Council over four years ago as a separate local authority trading company. Some firefighters initially signed up to the unit, which came with a £3,000 pay package, but pulled out upon learning that the unit was set up to provide strike cover.

Firefighters in Surrey are not generally trained to provide airport or airplane fire cover, which requires specialist skills. The FBU believes the strike breaking plan is badly thought out and could risk public safety at Heathrow Airport.

FBU general secretary Matt Wrack said: “This is a backhanded act of strike-breaking from Surrey County Council. Airport fire crews are specialists and, quite frankly, this Micky Mouse outfit will not be trained to deal with airplane fires to anywhere near the standard of airport firefighters. They’re playing fast and loose with public safety at an airport, one of the most high-risk locations imaginable.

“Striking Heathrow workers have the full support of the FBU. It is grossly unfair that they be treated so poorly, while executives and shareholders line their own pockets. No one, and certainly no firefighters, should be helping bosses undermine this strike under any circumstance.”

Unite suspended the strikes planned for earlier this week to allow members to vote on a new pay offer, but strike dates are still on the table for later this month.

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Delfin English teachers win contract improvements after joining IWW

We would like to start a TEFL group in Dorset, there are many language schools especially in the BH postcode area. If you are employed by one of these firms in any capacity and would like to participate in this new initiative, please get in touch.

If you are a student, we would like to hear from you also. Remember you can carry your IWW membership in and out of work, and across national borders.


After joining the TEFL Workers Union, teachers at Delfin Language School in London have won paid meetings, paid CPDs, paid sick days, a pay policy, and an end to zero-hours contracts.

Teachers at Delfin Language School in London have joined the TEFL Workers Union, part of the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW). As a result, they have won major improvements to their working conditions.

Prior to unionisation, Delfin contracts were copied-and-pasted templates off the internet that, in many instances, didn’t meet basic legal minimums. After a year-long campaign, the teachers now have paid meetings and CPD training sessions, five paid sick days, a pay structure and contracts that guarantee a minimum of 15 hours a week. With union support, the teachers also won back pay and a pay increase for three teachers who’d been unfairly denied a rise.

Throughout the campaign, workers have stuck together and stood up for themselves and each other. This has meant many things: taking out individual and collective grievances, setting up a shared email account to communicate collectively with management, demanding group meetings with senior managers, and organising a boycott of yearly appraisals.

On one occasion, an IWW representative in Ireland had to pay a visit to the main Delfin campus in Dublin in order to get a response from the school. Similarly, the London teachers’ negotiating hand was strengthened when their fellow Delfin teachers in Dublin joined the UNITE ELT union. Teacher-to-teacher and union-to-union communication increased the teachers’ power and made management aware that national boundaries would not prove a barrier to solidarity.

Throughout all of this, the IWW TEFL Workers Union has been instrumental in offering legal guidance, a meeting space, representation, training, and strategic advice.

One of the Delfin teachers had this to say about the value in joining the union and getting organised:

“I’m not exactly coming up for retirement, but I wish I’d done this ten years ago. All aspects of my working life until this last year have been in the hands of my employers and this has not worked out well for me. I’ll never let that happen again and neither should any other teacher.”

The struggle is not over. Delfin has agreed to meet their staff for formal negotiations and the teachers still want to secure paid prep time, better pay, and greater accountability and transparency from management. The IWW TEFL Workers Union will be there to help them achieve that.

If you work in a language school, the IWW is happy to sit down with you to discuss your contract and answer any questions you may have. We also offer training, advice, and representation in disciplinaries and grievances.

The TEFL Workers Union is open to all workers in language schools, including receptionists, admin staff, interns, cleaners, and sales staff. If you work at a language school and you have a problem at work, the IWW has got your back.

tefl@iww.org.uk
https://iww.org.uk/tefl-workers-union
https://facebook.com/teflworkers

How bad is global inequality, really?

Local Futures

Most everyone who’s interested in global inequality has come across the famous elephant graph, originally developed by Branko Milanovic and Christoph Lakner using World Bank data (see below). The graph charts the change in income that the world’s population have experienced over time, from the very poorest to the richest 1%.

We can update the elephant graph using the latest data from the World Inequality Database, which covers the whole period from 1980 to 2016 using a method called “distributive national accounts”. Here’s what it looks like in real dollars (MER), developed in collaboration with Huzaifa Zoomkawala:

The elephant graph has been used by some to argue that neoliberal globalization has caused inequality to decline since 1980. After all, it would appear that the biggest gains have gone to the poorest 60% of the world’s population, whose incomes have grown two or three times more than those of the richest 40%.

But this impression can be misleading. It’s important to recognize that the elephant graph shows relative gains, with respect to each group’s baseline in 1980. So the poorest 10-20th percentile gained 82% over this period. That sounds like a lot, on the face of it. But remember that they started from a very low base. For people earning $2.40 per day in 1980, their incomes grew to no more than $4.36 per day… over a period of 36 years. So, about 5 cents per year. [ … 433 more words]

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Four Imprisoned Rhode Islanders Punished With Solitary Confinement at the ACI for Possession of Legally-Protected Union Literature

iwoc-logo_0Providence, RI March 5th, 2019 – The RI DOC (Department of Corrections) has held four men for over ten days in solitary confinement at the ACI (Adult Correctional Institution) for allegedly possessing union literature, according to a statement provided to the press. The four men — Joseph Shepard, Ryan Callahan, Anthony Meo, and a fourth whose name is unknown — were transferred from the general population of the ACI’s John J. Moran Medium 1 Facility into solitary confinement between February 21-22, in an apparent attempt by the DOC to prevent legitimate and legal efforts towards addressing the inhumane conditions at the ACI.  As of Friday March 1st, at least two of the four men have yet to even be booked for the alleged violations on which they are being held.

While under solitary confinement — or “disciplinary confinement”, as it’s referred to by the DOC —  all four are being denied access to legal documents, rehabilitative and therapeutic programs, adequate medical care, and contact with their families and supporters is limited to a single ten-minute phone call each day. A lawyer with knowledge of the case said,

“A filing deadline in one of the men’s cases against the Department of Corrections has already been missed for lack of access to legal documents, and the restrictions will almost certainly interfere with the individual’s ability to show up in court. “

In a preliminary statement about the situation, Callahan comments:

“I was [brought] down here without any answers, without any [of my] property. I’ve been down here for over a week now and have not been booked. […] I have not been able to speak with the psychiatrist whom I have an appointment with and missed. That appointment has not been rescheduled. The orthotic insole to my shoe has not been provided to me. As far as medicine, I have been receiving just the medicine that I’m prescribed. I have basically been kicked out of all the programs I was attending (Providence Center, 9 Yards, CCRI, College Unbound, and parenting).”

Prior to this current solitary confinement, two of the people being held – Joseph Shepard and Ryan Callahan – had filed separate federal lawsuits against the RIDOC. In one of those lawsuits, among other grievances, Shepard cites prison conditions and disciplinary practices that he argues amount to “cruel and unusual punishment” in violation of rights that are supposed to be protected by the 8th Amendment of the United States Constitution. Shepard also recently sent an extensive 150 page letter to various RIDOC officials with detailed grievances about conditions at the ACI as well as problems with DOC policies such as the official grievance process itself and arbitrary requirements which severely restrict access to core rehabilitative programs that many inmates need for parole – programs which Shepard and the other three people are at risk of losing access to due to their placement in solitary confinement. That 150 page letter also included clear requests and proposals for how to address the problems outlined in the grievances.

When Joseph Shepard asked the  the Warden about the letter of grievances, “he said that I wouldn’t be getting a response then he smiled and continued to walk off when I further asked him about the progress of the investigation.“ This has led Sheard to view his being placed in solitary as retaliatory in nature “because I continue, in a positive way, to directly address the harsh confinement of prison conditions not only on behalf of myself, but on behalf of the prison population.”

In 2011, The United Nations UN Special Rapporteur on Torture “called on all countries to ban the solitary confinement of prisoners except in very exceptional circumstances and for as short a time as possible … saying the practice could amount to torture.” The Rhode Island DOC plans to hold the men for up to 90 days while investigating them, where the same UN report recommended an “absolute prohibition” of “solitary confinement in excess of 15 days”, citing scientific evidence for lasting mental damage beyond a few days of social isolation. The 90-day detention policy also flies in the face of RI’s own 2017 legislative commission report recommending that “only those who commit the most serious predatory offenses will be subject to segregation for more than 31 days [..] Non-predatory Class 1 offenses would be limited to 30 days and Class 2 offenses would be capped at 20.”

The four individuals stand accused of attempting to ‘organize a demonstration’ because of their alleged possession of literature produced by the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW), an NLRB-certified labor union with a significant membership in prisons across the country. Additionally, they are also being accused of ‘signing into an illegal contract’ for filling out union membership forms. Others at the facility report having been threatened with the same “disciplinary confinement” if they are found in possession of IWW or IWOC literature, or caught talking about the union, indicating that the union’s literature is being treated as contraband by the RIDOC.

Shepard expressed further thoughts in his statement to the press:

“I use my words on paper to articulate these harsh conditions of confinement and here I sit in segregation, wasting away. My programs have been taken away from me, my CCRI classes, my phone calls, my rec, my visits. I’m on 23 hour lockdown. I deal with PTSD and anxiety and I feel as the days go by that it’s just getting worse. I’m trying to change things for the better but they are specifically trying to deter me and other inmates from filing grievances and from being outspoken about the conditions of confinement.”

About Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee:  The Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee (IWOC) is a prisoner-led section of the Industrial Workers of the World working to end prison abuse and exploitation.

Contact:

Servio (401) 401-484-7288 or Liam (401) 649-0579

PO Box 27913 Providence, RI 02907
providence@incarceratedworkers.org

Notes to editors

[1] Ryan Callahan – Statement for the press (3-1-2019): https://drive.google.com/open?id=1cdakPOcLRwBDM73mSg4apOIi897Zvam1

[2] Joseph Shepard – Statement for the press (3-1-2019): https://drive.google.com/open?id=1lzzwRvNTbp0eajeAFMObs-GgoDhB7QyF

[3] UN Special Rapporteur on Torture, 2011 report  https://news.un.org/en/story/2011/10/392012-solitary-confinement-should-be-banned-most-cases-un-expert-says#.UdsQoT5gaBg

[4] Packet of Grievances About RIDOC and ACI Medium 1 by Joseph W Shepard: https://drive.google.com/open?id=1Ey4qDfsiQizQxCI3aTD6uNOEyQyshN7W

[5] Rhode Island legislative committee report on solitary confinement: http://www.rilegislature.gov/pressrelease/_layouts/RIL.PressRelease.ListStructure/Form/DisplayForm.aspx?List=c8baae31%2D3c10%2D431c%2D8dcd%2D9dbbe21ce3e9&ID=13084&Web=2bab1515%2D0dcc%2D4176%2Da2f8%2D8d4beebdf488

[6] The Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee (IWOC) is part of the Industrial Workers of the World, a grassroots union for all workers. More information about IWOC is available on the website, https://incarceratedworkers.org

[7] On Monday February 24th, the Deputy Warden of ACI Medium confirmed that at least one of the men was in “disciplinary confinement as part of an ongoing investigation” during a phone call with a union volunteer.