Late August class struggle round-up and events listing

Cautiously pessimistic

Recent events: it seems that there might be a positive end in sight for the occupation at Harland & Wolff in Belfast, as some buyers have now expressed interest in keeping the shipyard open. In Bradford, a proposed indefinite strike by NHS staff has been called off, as the plans to privatise their jobs have been postponed, but not yet cancelled entirely. Down in London, at least eight kitchen staff employed by a posh Mayfair club have been suspended from work after organising through the IWGB union.

Over in Merseyside, […]

 

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Class Politics is about Power NOT Identity.

A Working Class Academic

Thankyou Agnes from Carpenters Estate speaking at a Focus E15 Meeting Jan 2019

I am Working Class

When I say I’m working class, I’m not describing an identity, I’m not explaining a social position, I don’t say this because I need others to place me. I live in Britain, I am a working class woman, I don’t have to tell people this because we place each other, we read each other, and I have always been read as working class.

Being working class isn’t an identity I wear in order to get funding, or a free place at a seminar, my type of working class doesn’t get these things anyway, my type of working class has come through experience and a history that has been passed down to me by generations, my values, how I see and think about the world is knowledge that has been shared with me by mother, by her mother, by her mother and her mother before her, my dad, my granddad and so on, by Mrs Bell my next door neighbour who looked after me when I was a child and her collective knowledge, being working class to me is about power, history, and experience. Being working class is about the relationship a group of people have with other groups of people, looking at each other and seeing that pain, but in turn having others look at you as ‘other’ and not one of them.

When I say I am working class it is a deep feeling of love and pain, pride and shame, it’s not an individual feeling about me, it’s a collective feeling about us. When I see and hear other working class people being abused or hurt, when they are subjected to symbolic violence, it hurts me.

This collective knowledge isn’t about nostalgia, and the past, its about the past the present and the future, a pain I inherited and a pain I have passed on. Working class people are hurt from the day they are born, even before they are born, questions are asked about our inception,

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It’s a Dug’s life

scottish unemployed workers' network

Dugs

We make no apology if these blogs are often grim reading. We write this record of our experiences to inform both those in similar situations and a wider public, and to serve as an archive for the future. Reports from the stalls are a record of what is happening as a result of UK Government policy. At this week’s stall we were joined by Brandy and Trudy, two affiliate canine members of the group.

Connor has a mobility disability and is being shifted from Disability Living Allowance to Personal Independence Payment. This is happening nationwide, and it seems to have struck our local area a lot recently. Connor is one of a number of people we have spoken to about their move from DLA to PIP. As ever, we gave the standard advice: get someone to help you fill in the form, and get someone to go into the assessment…

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Thank You Letter from Hunger Striker at Scotland Correctional Institution

Quote

IWOC

Letter from hunger striker in North Carolina thanking people for taking part in phone zap campaign.

Last week, the Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee (IWOC) put out a call to participate in a phone zap campaign in support of a hunger strike to win better conditions at the Scotland Correctional Institutions in North Carolina. What follows is a message from one of the hunger strikers thanking people for taking part in the action.

UPDATE from a NC hungerstriker
Demands are being met!

“We knew there would be reprisals and I was the victim of them, but I gladly take them with pride knowing that my fellow prisoner can enjoy exercise outside his cell 5 days a week and be offered a phone call every 90 days.”

Revolutionary Love,

Komrade is more than a friend, it’s a title given to one who struggles with you and makes sacrifices to assure their Komrade knows they have a Komrade.

So thank you Komrades all of you who took the time to shine a strobe light on the inhumane living conditions myself and others were being subjected to. When unconscious prisoners see that there are people who care about us, their morale and desire to join the struggle reach unforeseen heights.

Love and Solidarity was what motivated you all and know we are grateful for all the time and energy that was put in to let these miscreants know that we have people that love us despite our flaws. When outside support is shown, these miscreants think twice before they move on us.

We knew there would be reprisals and I was the victim of them, but I gladly take them with pride knowing that my fellow prisoner can enjoy exercise outside his cell five days a week and be offered a phone call every 90 days.

Since the calls were made, Captain Henderson has been in the process of addressing our complaints. She let it be known that it wouldn’t be done overnight, but the recreation was rectified immediately, we’re still waiting to hear from her on the phone calls which must be provided once every 90 days. They are obviously not complying with their own policies and procedures. This negligence on behalf of the prison staff is nothing new and there’s still a mile to walk but with the support of ya’ll on the outside we don’t have to walk the mile alone.

Fellow Komrade
Hunger Striker
Held captive by the state at Scotland Correctional Institution

Review of ‘Hired’ by James Bloodworth

Angry Workers of the World

Unknown

Comparisons with George Orwell abound as Bloodworth goes undercover to investigate the murky depths of the low-waged sector in the UK. He says his aim is to merely describe what he sees – although as a former editor of Left Foot Forward, he is, of course, partisan. His other aim is to tackle some of the myths of poverty and show how ubiquitous poor working conditions are in the UK’s low-waged sector, which has seen the biggest share of new jobs in the economic ‘recovery’ since 2008. His experiences at Amazon, Uber, a call centre and as a careworker are more like snapshots of a broken world, where the bottom has fallen out of social, working class life. What we are left with is a hollowed out and transient workforce, with little glue to hold people together. The pace of work is getting faster, productivity is being surveilled and recorded…

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Law enforcement and prison: their origin during the Great Expropriation and their role in the return to primitive accumulation. – By Mal Content.

Wessex Solidarity

C.W. racism, slavery.

To put law enforcement and the prison-industrial complex in their historical and social context, these are very recent innovations, hastily constructed by the ruling class in response to a crisis.

This is the way ruling classes have worked pretty much since records began. They create a disastrous state of affairs and introduce drastic measures, then persuade their subjects it was unavoidable.

What is striking about these institutions is their absolute continuity of purpose since their inception during the Great Expropriation. We had been ripped from the land that supported us from prehistory, robbed of our means of subsistence and forced into alienated labour in the factories, workhouses, and prisons.

Factories and prisons developed in parallel for the same purpose, to use our bodies for the augmentation of capital.

Look at a Victorian prison, workhouse or factory and spot the difference. Workers who had hitherto been disciplined only…

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Mental illness, money, and survival

scottish unemployed workers' network

Mental health

We are constantly being told that mental illness is an epidemic. Indeed it is. Especially among men.

Last year the UK Government created the much-ridiculed position of ‘Minister for Suicide Prevention’. Since 2011 they have collected statistics on happiness and ‘wellbeing’. To those with real mental health issues these derisory public relations stunts are insulting and ultimately meaningless.

Back in the real world, we all know that economics is a major cause of the UK’s mental health crisis. The link between poverty and poor mental health is indisputable fact. We all know this link: money is survival. Money means shelter. Money means warmth. Money means food. Without these basic needs met, human beings cannot survive. If we cannot achieve these basic needs, we worry about them and we are anxious. Prolonged mental anguish leads to mental illness, chronic anxiety, depression and, if left unchecked, suicide.

This is why benefit sanctions…

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