Published on IUF UITA IUL
New government attacks on independent union in Algeria
24 January 2018 Urgent Action
The government of Algeria has further escalated its attacks on the independent energy union SNATEGS, which organizers workers at the state energy company SONELGAZ. SNATEGS is affiliated to the IUF through its catering workers.In May 2017, the union had its legal status revoked and the Labour Ministry made the fabricated claim in December that the union had formally voted to dissolve itself. Hundreds of union members, delegates and officers have been dismissed, harassed and persecuted on bogus legal charges for exercising their fundamental rights. Union President Raouf Mellal was sentenced to 6 months in prison for exposing a long history of SONELGAZ fraudulently overcharging Algerians for their utility bills.
Now the government is inventing new charges to persecute Mellal and cripple the union. On November 28 the union president was sentenced in absentia to two months in prison and fined EUR 5,000 for allegedly defaming SONELGAZ. The court hearing will take place on January 30.
Mellal has learned that he was sentenced in absentia in January last year to 6 months in prison and a fine of EUR 2,000 in a suit brought by the director of a security agency following a complaint of sexual harassment by a women worker who was fired as a consequence. Mellal was sued for defamation after expressing his solidarity with the victim. Expressing solidarity with a victim of sexual harassment now risks imprisonment in Algeria…
And on January 17 2018 he was sentenced to 3 months’ imprisonment and fined EUR 3,000 in yet another ‘defamation’ lawsuit brought by SONELGAZ. As a consequence of these absurd and arbitrary judicial decisions Raouf Mellal has been forbidden to leave the country.
Update 29/09/2017: we now have confirmation the regional CNT of Catalonia and Balearic Islands has voted to join the call out for a general strike on Wednesday 3rd October. The other big radical union in the Iberian peninsula – the CGT – has also called out for a general strike, and various smaller alternative unions have joined.
The IWW supports the call out coming from sister unions that we have connections and have been working with. We invite ourmembers in the UK to support the general strike through solidarity actions in your own cities, wherever possible outside embassies and consulates (info below).
Spanish Embassy in the UK (London): location and details here.
Spanish General Consulate in London: info here
Spanish Consulate in Edinburgh: info here
The International Solidarity Department has received and is happy to share this statement from the CNT Catalonia & Balearic Islands:
“The CNT local unions from Catalonia and the Balearic Islands publicly state our support for the self-determination of the Catalan people.
As anarcho-syndicalists, we don’t think that political reforms within a capitalist framework can reflect our desire for social transformation, a change that would place production and consumption means in workers’ hands. Because of this, our daily struggles do not focus on creating new states or backing parliamentary initiatives.
However, we can’t look the other way when regular people are being attacked and repressed by any state. A state that has, in this case, removed its mask and revealed itself as an authoritarian rule, the true heir of the Franco regime. This is something that could be glimpsed before through many instances, such as labour law reforms, bank bail-outs, cuts on health and education, mass evictions of out-of-work families…many of which were implemented by the Catalan government itself.
CNT Catalonia and the Balearic greet this spirit of disobedience against a dictatorial state, a discriminatory and fascist state, and want to assert our strongest denunciation of repression against workers and of those who carry it out.
The men and women in CNT will stand as one to defend their neighbours and townsfolks, as couldn´t be otherwise with an anarcho-syndicalist, and henceforth revolutionary, organisation.”
You can also view the original statement published here in Catalan, Spanish and English.
We have been working closely with the CNT for the last year or so and consider them fellow travellers in the radical unionism’ journey leading to the abolition of the wage system.
More news to follow on how to support the CNT internationally, keep posted.
A conference was held in Frankfurt, Germany, this past weekend to prepare a new international association of anarchosyndicalist and revolutionary unions. This was the third conference of its kind.
At the meeting it was decided to hold a constitutional congress in a year’s time. The long runup is needed to facilitate the grassroots decision-making processes of the unions involved. Over the coming months, every individual member of the unions will have the opportunity to make proposals about the makeup of the international. Afterwards, they will vote on the proposals.
The conference was attended by the unions CNT (Spain), USI (Italy), ESE (Greece), IP (Poland) and FAU (Germany), who have all committed to taking part in this project. The CNT-F (France) as well as the IWW for English- and German-speaking European countries took part as observers. The conference was also joined via a video chat by Rocinante (Greece), IWW (USA and Canada) and FORA (Argentinia). The FORA has also committed to joining the project. Stimulating discussions and a productive working atmosphere meant that contentious issues were dealt with that had prevented these like-minded unions from coming together in the past.
Although there is still a long way to go before the first congress, it was clear at the conference that the unions were already providing each other with solidarity and mutual aid as well as cooperating in their union work. For example, mutual aid in the form of help for earthquake victims in Italy, solidarity in the form of direct action in support of the CNT’s struggle against Ford, and union cooperation in the form of an international campaign for delivery workers. The fact that many of the basics tenets of “syndicalism” are already being practiced across national frontiers bodes well for the nascent international.
Because Riseup does not tie user account creation to a phone number or credit card information, many people attempt to obtain Riseup accounts for the purpose of sending spam or phishing email.
In the past, we asked people to write a short description of their activism in order to try to eliminate these scammers. Unfortunately, over the years, this has been excellent training for teaching scammers how to sound *exactly* like activists. It got to the point where if an account request sounded too inspiring and awesome, it was probably fake. This has been a huge problem for us.
Another problem is that whenever a Riseup bird leaves their cozy nest, someone always mentions that they tried to get a Riseup account and were rejected. Many apologies! We were not judging you. It is likely that you sounded too wonderful and therefore seemed like a scammer.
In light of this, we have made two changes:
(1) We have removed the ability to request a new account.
(2) We have simplified the process of creating a new account with an invite.
It now only requires a single invite in order to create an account, and every user is able to create more invites. In order to create an invite for someone, log in to https://account.riseup.net
To prevent abuse, new users are not immediately able to create invites. We are hopeful this will make life better for everyone.
Personally Encrypted Email Storage
After much effort, we are happy to announce a new feature! We have taken action to ensure that Riseup never again has access to a user’s stored email in plaintext. Now all new Riseup email accounts will feature personally encrypted storage on our servers, only accessible by you. In the near future, we will begin to migrate all existing accounts to use this new system.
To be absolutely clear, this type of encryption is not end-to-end message encryption. With Riseup’s new system, you still put faith in the server while you are logged in. For full end-to-end email encryption, as before, you must use a client that supports OpenPGP (and is not web-based).
We are working to roll out a more comprehensive end-to-end system in the coming year, but until that is ready, we are deploying personally encrypted storage. This new per-user encryption is on top of the system full disk encryption which we have done since 2001.
If this doesn’t really make sense, we’ve done our best to explain it more fully at:
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New and Improved!
We’ve recently switched to new systems for account management and support. The old system was first started nearly 10 years ago, lacked some modern features, and was getting to be a burden to maintain. To adjust your account settings, you can now go to https://account.riseup.net
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Please share our short video featuring Deliveroo riders from Bristol, who got organised and improved their working conditions.
Now, they need YOU to join them so that Deliveroo riders can speak to managers with one voice across Europe, and demand proper employment, better wages and conditions, and union recognition.
Riders: Go to http://deliverunion.com/ to see what unions are ready to help you organise in your area.
ALL WORKERS: Full time, part time, gig economy, unpaid or unemployed, retired – it doesn’t matter, you all have a place in the One Big Union.
Blenk, Owen, Paul, Fin and George & the rest of Bristol Roo Riders
Mat & Maff from Bristol IWW
Cameraman: Dean Ayotte
Editor: Badmouse Productions
Filmed at Roll for the Soul Cafe in Bristol