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ireland / britain / gender Friday November 16, 2012 23:11 byWorkers Solidarity Movement
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There are some stories that are hard to cover - the death of Savita Halappanavar, a pregnant women, from septicemia whose life might have been saved if an abortion was not delayed is a hard as they come. According to the Irish Times Praveen Halappanavar, the husband of Savita said she had asked for a termination several times over a three day period only to be told "this is a catholic country."

All the ruling parties – Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael, the Greens and the Labour party - have prevaricated, delayed, avoided and ignored the issue. This has led to two further court cases where girls in care had to go to the courts in order to be allowed to travel to another country. It has led to court cases over ownership of eggs used in IVF. It has, no doubt, led to the forced pregnancies of immigrant women who cannot travel. It has led to women ordering abortion drugs over the Internet. It has forced women to travel under stressful conditions at great expense to other countries, including women who are carrying foetuses who will not survive birth. And now the delay in carrying out a termination has led to the death of a women. Whether it’s due to cowardice or callousness, all the ruling parties have shown little concern for the misery they inflict on women's lives.

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southern africa / workplace struggles Monday September 17, 2012 17:06 byShawn Hattingh
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Sugar workers

This article explores, from an anarchist perspective, the sugar industry in southern Africa, and how the two dominant companies - Illovo and Tongaat-Hulett - exploit and oppress workers and communities surrounding their operations.

Southern Africa has become well known for being one of the cheapest places to produce sugar. Millions of tons are produced in the region every year and two companies have come to dominate much of this lucrative industry: Illovo Sugar and Tongaat-Hulett, who have once again declared massive annual profits. Illovo and Tongaat-Hullett have publicly claimed that despite their drive to maximise profits and their self-declared goals of becoming the cheapest sugar producers in the world; they have also played a valuable social role in the southern Africa. Both companies have publicly declared that they care deeply about the welfare of workers, claiming they are well paid, respected and valued. And they have repeatedly highlighted their Corporate Social Responsibility programmes, including work around HIV/AIDS and outgrowing schemes. This has all been used by these two companies to argue that they play a very positive role in society.

Unfortunately, much of this is a public relations campaign that is designed to sugar coat the shady practices of these two companies. In reality, both of these companies’ profits are based on paying abysmal wages.

southern africa / repression / prisoners Monday August 20, 2012 19:17 byZACF/ TAC/ IWAC
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Joint statement on the Marikana Massacre issued by the Tokologo Anarchist Collective, Zabalaza Anarchist Communist Front and Inkululeko Wits Anarchist Collective.

The Constitution promises political rights and equality. It is quite clear that the bosses and politicians do exactly as they wish. They walk on the faces of the people. This is shown by the police killings of strikers at Lonmin’s Marikana mine.

[Ελληνικά] [Français] [Português] [Italiano] [seTswana] [isiZulu]

  • WSA Statement on Marikana Massacre

  • international / imperialism / war Thursday June 14, 2012 19:10 byMichael Schmidt
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    Uncle Sam gets stuck in

    As the US enters yet another election cycle (though it is hard to say whether the US is ever not in election mode these days), it is worth interrogating the current state of the world’s unipolar hyperpower – and of the foreign policy, red in tooth and claw, that affects us all.

    The first thing that is important to recognise about the foreign policy of the United States of America is that it has a very specific history, or rather a national mythology that distinguishes it from other countries by the explicit nature of its revolutionary aims. The Revolutionary War established a unique republican state in the West, a reflection in part of the values of the French Revolution, but, isolated by the vast Atlantic, destined to pursue a path of its own. It is thus useful to consider the US state as an explicitly revolutionary state (albeit institutionalised in the Mexican sense of the word), with a national mythology which endows it with a sense of mission in the world. Comparable, though very different, states with expansionist missions driven by revolutionary myths would include Revolutionary France, the Soviet Union until its collapse, Nazi Germany, and post-apartheid South Africa today, with a ruling party explicitly dedicated to a “National Democratic Revolution”. The foreign policy and thus warmaking of Britain and the Netherlands, in contrast, despite having possessed globe-spanning pre-war empires, were never guided by anything similar to such political myths.

    venezuela / colombia / the left Tuesday May 08, 2012 03:44 byShawn Hattingh
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    For many people on the left, within and outside of Southern Africa, the ‘Bolivarian Revolution’ is seen as a beacon of socialist hope in a sea of capitalist despair. The reason why many leftists feel so strongly attached to this project, and promote it as an alternative, is because they have come to view it as a move by the Venezuelan state towards creating a genuine, free form of socialism or at the very least an experiment that profoundly breaks with the tenets of neo-liberalism.

    This article, however, questions the assumption that the Venezuelan state is embarking upon a path to create a truly egalitarian and free socialist society. It will, therefore, be argued that Venezuela is not in a transitional phase to socialism; rather it is a capitalist country where the private sector and important state-owned companies seek to maximise profits.

    It is argued that while some welfare is handed out by the State, this often sits side by side with other policies that are outright neo-liberal. In order to make the argument that Venezuela cannot be considered as heading in a socialist direction, this article engages and examines issues around the State’s nationalisation programme, its relations to multinational corporations, its community councils project and its social service programmes.

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