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aotearoa / pacific islands / miscellaneous / opinion / analysis Tuesday January 22, 2019 10:57 byPink Panther

This article offers tools for debunking conspiracy theories. It views such ideas as a dangerous blockage preventing a clearer path to solving the very real political, social and economic problems we face.

When the Internet made its appearance there was a lot of talk about the information super highway in which people would be able to click on a few buttons and get whatever information they were looking for.

Cue forward to 2019 and the information super highway is looking a lot more like the information rubbish tip. While its undeniable there is some good solid stuff out there, it’s also true that not only is some of the information irrelevant to what we’re looking for (as anyone who has used Google Search can attest to) but it is also unreliable. One of the reasons is the number of charlatans such as conspiracy theorists who have made the Internet their home.

Despite what you might think, lots of different kinds of people can be sucked in by conspiracy theories. Unfortunately, it is becoming all too common for people who should know better, to fall victim to this nonsense. This matters because we can only fight back against the very real material and political problems of the world as it is, by understanding reality. Once we know what is really going on, we will have a sound basis for organising resistance to it. So how can we detect if what we are reading is nonsense or a conspiracy theory? The ten step guide below is what I use to sift fact from fiction or half-truths. When that fails I turn to sites like and which are both non-partisan debunkers of bullshit, no matter what side of the political spectrum it comes from.

I. Use of Vague Statistics.

Any claim that uses a statistic like “One in three people are…” should always be treated with great scepticism because they’re meaningless. Without knowing anything like the number of people who were studied or surveyed, the terms of reference for the study or research undertaken or the people or organisation who conducted the research, we cannot determine if the statistic is real or made up. More often than not studies which use such vague references are made up or conducted by highly partisan groups trying to convince people that “research” backs what they say.

II. Awe with Percentages.

How many times have you read a poll that claims that “40% of Americans support Trump” or something similar? Most polls conducted by a polling company tend to interview between 1000 and 1500 people over a given time period and are chosen from electoral or other voting rolls. It’s not hard to realise that it is impossible to determine what millions of people think about anything on the basis of what 1000 or so people say. You also have to consider that such a sample excludes people who aren’t on electoral rolls for various reasons. Despite the claims that such polls are scientific no one has been able to explain just what part of the polling process actually involves science. Percentages without context are another problem. Informing us that the average house price has increased by 35% in a particular area doesn’t tell us anything. Telling us that the average house price in that area was $250,000 back in 2012 then telling us that house prices in that area have increased by 35% gives us information that is useful.

III. Emotive Manipulation.

In some news networks there is a lot of pressure to try and get as many people to support a certain viewpoint or to galvanise support for a particular cause. One way this is done is to get a hysterical parent wailing about how her child is a victim of a certain social or other evil in order to rally support for that cause. The problem with such news stories is little, or no, attempt is made to find out if anything the said parent has claimed is true, false or an combination of both. Also, no attempt is made to put things in context.

The problem with anecdotal, human interest and other stories of this nature is they exaggerate the extent of a social evil in the minds of the public.
An example of this is when a child is snatched off the streets and murdered. Parents stop letting their children walk to school out of fear the same thing will happen to their own children. This is despite the fact that crime statistics from the United States and other countries repeatedly show that the chances of anyone, let alone a child, being snatched from the streets and killed by strangers is very rare. For example, according to the New York Times (August 17th, 2016), the FBI reported that only 1,381 of the 11,961 homicides reported within the United States in 2014 involved people who were unknown to the victims.
Emotionally manipulative news items can also have serious consequences. U.S President Donald Trump’s crack down on undocumented immigrants and his so-called “Muslim ban” was largely the result of emotive hysteria whipped up by Fox News about crimes committed by undocumented migrants and terrorist acts by Islamic State in Europe.

IV. The Defying of Reality.

Let’s be blunt. Most conspiracy theories and incorrect news stories are exposed as such because they fail to pass the most basic test of “Is it practical or realistic that such a thing could happen?” The 9/11 Truthers often come unstuck on this one. They would have us believe that multiple American government agencies conspired to murder thousands of their fellow Americans so that George W Bush could justify invading Afghanistan for its oil and gas reserves.

There’s at least four major problems with that:

1. A plot to kill thousands of people would’ve required a degree of co-operation between various government agencies that did not exist at the time – and still doesn’t. U.S government agencies are notorious for jealously guarding their jurisdictions and tend to avoid co-operating unless circumstances or the law requires them to do so. It was the lack of co-operation between government and intelligence agencies that enabled the 9/11 hijackers to enter the United States despite the terrorists involved in the hijackings being on known or suspected terrorist watch lists. It was to ensure better information gathering and sharing between these agencies that the Department of Homeland Security was created. Yet, despite this, co-operation between various government agencies is the exception rather than the rule.

2. American civil servants are required to take an oath to uphold the U.S Constitution. As the U.S Constitution forbids extra-judicial killings (of which plotting to kill thousands of Americans would be an obvious breach of said Constitution) public servants would’ve had the legal requirement to come out and denounce such behaviour.

3. Afghanistan was not invaded for either gas or oil because Afghanistan has neither. It was invaded because George W Bush believed that the Taliban were harbouring the man they believed was responsible for orchestrating the 9/11 attacks.

4. Genuine whistle-blowers go to credible news organisations like CNN, ABC or NBC or newspapers like the L.A Times, Washington Post or New York Times. They don’t go to websites like InfoWars or tabloids like National Inquirer.

V. Ignorance of basic facts.

Conspiracy theorists often lack a basic understanding of the relevant fields they are lecturing about. None of the 9/11 Truthers or so-called “Scholars for 9/11 Truth” have relevant qualifications or expertise in the fields that would be most relevant in any investigation into the 9/11 terrorist attacks such as building demolition, structural engineering, air crash investigation, architecture, disaster management, building and construction or even chemistry. Instead, the 9/11 Truthers are made up of people like celebrities, religious scholars, former intelligence officers, ex-military officers and sports stars. In other words, people who simply don’t have the expertise or knowledge to answer if a building can collapse pancake-style from causes other than an explosion or if molten steel would contain thermite independent of any explosives. That’s why air crash investigators, arson investigators and police detectives don’t just look for one or two things when they suspect damage might’ve been caused by a bomb. They look for many things because sometimes explosive residue can be found at the site of a disaster that has been caused by something else.

For example, explosive residue was found on Partnair Flight 394 which crashed off the coast of Denmark on September 8th, 1989. Many people, particularly in Norway, initially believed it was a bomb because of reports of a loud explosion and because the Prime Minister of Norway had recently flown on the same aircraft. The reason why explosive residue was found on the wreckage was the result of contamination resulting from military ordinance littering the sea floor from various naval battles fought in the area. The cause of the crash was the failure of counterfeit aircraft parts used during aircraft maintenance.

VI. Confusing Authority with Expertise.

Yes, there is a difference between authority and expertise. Authority is gained from one’s position or title within a group or organisation. Expertise is gained from learning, working in and mastering a particular skill, trade or area of knowledge.

Among conspiracy theorists there is a tendency to ignore the experts in their chosen fields in favour of authority figures. The more common authority figures they listen to are celebrities, ex-wrestlers like the former Minnesota Governor Jesse Ventura, former military officers and former police officers.
Few conspiracy theorists see the absurdity of debunking authority figures who have the expertise to back up what they are saying by claiming they’re all in cahoots with the evil, omnipresent government or Big Something-or-other but not the authority figures who go along with their conspiracies.

VII. Playing on prejudices.

They play on people’s prejudices to advance their nonsense. Despite what the moral relativists may claim it’s not necessary to be a white heterosexual male to indulge in stereotyping. Stereotyping is attributing to all persons within a certain group attributes – both negative and positive – that may or may not be held by many people within that group. Some of the more obvious stereotypes are the hard working and well educated Asians who are all work and no fun, the Muslim terrorists who want to impose Sharia law upon us, the lazy drug addicted welfare queen… I’m sure there’s many other stereotypes that one can think of. Stereotyping often comes about as the direct result of selective reporting about certain groups within both traditional and social media that is picked up and used to vilify anyone who belong to those groups. All arguments presented by anyone from those groups will be greeted with comments like “Oh you would say that because you are one of them!” and people who defend those being stereotyped will be attacked with comments like “That’s what we expect from an apologist for these people.”

VIII. Treating the masses with contempt.

For people who claim to speak for the ordinary person in the street or who desire to “educate” them the conspiracy theorists regularly abuse and vilify the masses by labelling them “sheeple”, “muppets”, “ignorant” or “liars”. Rarely, if ever, do they assume the masses might have enough intelligence to work out the facts for themselves. A search on YouTube for anything to do with debunking anti-vaccination campaigns, 9/11 Truthers or Pizzagate will provide ample examples of this contempt in the Comments section.

IX. The Obsession with the word “Big”.

An obsession is prefixing any sector of society they dislike with the word “Big” as in “Big Pharma”, “Big Agriculture”, “Big Business” and “Big Government”. Everything they say and write ends up being about how something prefixed with the word “Big” is behind everything they dislike. Accusing people of belonging to Big Something-or-other is a sure-fire way to try and discredit anyone who challenges the claims made by a conspiracy theorist.

That leads us to the single biggest indicator that something is wrong or a conspiracy theory.

X. Using supposedly “Anti-Establishment” sources because they provide “alternative sources of news”.

A British conservative may be happier reading The Times while a liberal counterpart may be more contented with reading The Guardian but both newspapers contain the same basic content. What separates the two newspapers is their bias. The former is biased towards its conservative readership and the latter is biased towards its liberal readership. Bias doesn’t make a news story fake or the news organisation a fake news peddler or a bunch of conspiracy theorists.
While both The Guardian and The Times are Establishment publications they employ editors, sub-editors, fact checkers, reporters and journalists who actually go out and find out if what is being told to them is true. They usually come back with different interpretations of what has happened but they don’t differ when it comes to the basic facts. They also distinguish between opinion pieces where a writer peddles their viewpoint and the news. Most supposedly “Anti-Establishment” or alternative news sources have none of these things. They don’t distinguish between facts and opinions. They don’t bother to find out if what is being written or broadcast is true or false. They only care that what they produce fits in with their world view. That usually means they cite from sources of like-minded groups and individuals.

‘All’ that most multi-billion dollar media companies want us to do (which is bad enough in itself!) is read stories while they harass us with endless advertising and marketing campaigns that keep the money rolling in for these companies. Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation is the multi-billion media empire it is because it encompasses newspapers, magazines and websites that have at least some diversity of opinions. That correspondingly brings in at least some diversity of readers and viewers whom Murdoch’s advertisers can harrange with advertising. They have a vested interest to tell us the truth most of the time, even if it’s usually biased in favour of Capitalists and Capitalism.

Don’t be fooled by the news charlatans and conspiracy theorists. They aren’t providing you with ‘alternative facts’ from alternative news sources. They make up what they say and they’re playing you for suckers as they laugh all the way to the bank with the money they got from hacking your personal data when you clicked on their site. You might find it temporarily comforting to believe you’ve been handed the mysteries of the universe via a website run by somebody living in his Mum’s garage. Spending hours listening to podcasts about chem-trails, our alien lizard overlords, the flat earth or the moon-landing ‘hoax’ etc. will perhaps provide psychological distraction from wondering how you’re going to pay this week’s rent. What it won’t do is give you the tools necessary to overcome and struggle effectively against the hard, cold and sometimes ‘boring’ realities of the world we really live in.

venezuela / colombia / imperialismo / guerra / comunicado de prensa Monday January 21, 2019 08:21 byGrupo Estudiantil Anarquista

Ahora, cabe preguntarse por la suerte de Colombia en un inminente escalonamiento del conflicto armado, represión y persecución a otro nivel para líderes y el movimiento social en general, y así mismo, responsabilizamos al Gobierno Nacional por lo que viene. Pero, como nunca hemos querido que la suerte decida, nos empoderamos de las condiciones para proponer y movilizarnos por la vida digna, para que nunca más haya jóvenes en las filas de ningún ejército o fuerza represiva; para que sus sueños y los nuestros -claro está- sean los de servir al pueblo desde cualquier ocupación u oficio, pero nunca más como actores armados.

Como colectividad que lucha por la vida digna y la alegría, rechazamos todo tipo de acción violenta contra las clases populares y sus expresiones de movilización, por ello, antes de rechazar los hechos ocurridos el día 17 de enero en la Escuela de Cadetes General Santander en Bogotá, recordamos e invitamos a reflexionar ciertos sucesos que han ocurrido en los últimos meses. Luego del Acuerdo de Paz, han asesinado más de 400 líderes y activistas sociales (y en lo que va corrido del 2019, ya van siete). El 5 de octubre del 2017, en el municipio de Tumaco, la Fuerza Pública cometió la peor masacre de los últimos años al asesinar 15 campesinas; el 17 de diciembre del 2018, paramilitares asesinan 5 personas en Mapiripán ¿A ellas quién las recuerda? ¿Quién las homenajea? ¿Quién las llora? ¿El despliegue institucional, mediático y solidario también se ha manifestado en gran medida por estos hechos? Esto no significa que justifiquemos el asesinato de policías en la Escuela de Cadetes, pero la discusión también esta direccionada al tipo de víctimas que históricamente han sido legítimas para el Estado.

Colombia ha vivido por más de cincuenta años en un conflicto armado y social, donde las condiciones de miseria, represión y violencia política, que aquejaban los años 40 y 50 (inicios de las insurgencias) a la gran mayoría de la población, hoy siguen vigentes en la cotidianidad popular. La respuesta estatal ha sido la sangre y persecución, con tal de mantener en la élite del poder a las mismas de siempre. Una solución política y social real nunca ha estado en sus agendas. El reciente acuerdo de paz con las FARC no ha sido implementado ni siquiera en un 10%. La tierra sigue en manos de unas pocas familias, la educación y la salud siguen siendo un negocio totalmente rentable para los Gobiernos de turno, el alza de impuestos sigue aumentado y el salario disminuyendo. Habrá que repensar, entonces, en qué términos se pensó y se esta pensando la paz, ¡en qué condiciones!.

Por la sensibilidad de lo ocurrido, no queremos martillar en las mentes de las que nos leen, ni crear un ambiente de zozobra frente a nuestro discurso. Lamentamos las muertes de este conflicto armado, en donde las explotadas siempre somos las que perdemos: prestemos atención a las familias de las asesinadas y sus condiciones económicas, donde los medios han mostrado sus condiciones materiales en pueblos y veredas colombianos. Aquellas jóvenes vieron como salida ingresar a la institución policial para apoyar económicamente a sus núcleos familiares. Sin embargo, para nadie es un secreto que también querían pertenecer a la guerra y sacar provecho de ello. Sin lugar a duda, es un “atentado contra la juventud”, como lo es también la violación continua de los derechos humanos durante las jornadas de movilización estudiantil; los falsos positivos judiciales y el asesinato sistemático estatal.

Lamentamos este hecho de dolor para con las familias y las allegadas de las personas fallecidas. Rechazamos contundentemente este suceso, donde no hubo ganancia política ni militar por parte de las personas detrás de los hechos.

Ahora, cabe preguntarse por la suerte de Colombia en un inminente escalonamiento del conflicto armado, represión y persecución a otro nivel para líderes y el movimiento social en general, y así mismo, responsabilizamos al Gobierno Nacional por lo que viene. Pero, como nunca hemos querido que la suerte decida, nos empoderamos de las condiciones para proponer y movilizarnos por la vida digna, para que nunca más haya jóvenes en las filas de ningún ejército o fuerza represiva; para que sus sueños y los nuestros -claro está- sean los de servir al pueblo desde cualquier ocupación u oficio, pero nunca más como actores armados.

Esperamos que la solidaridad y el sentimiento de apoyo por parte de los medios de comunicación y la población en general, sea igual de ferviente a la hora de asumir el asesinato sistemático de líderes sociales y actos de violencia a las comunidades.

Grupo Estudiantil Anarquista

brazil/guyana/suriname/fguiana / miscellaneous / opinion / analysis Monday January 21, 2019 05:15 byBrunoL

The October 2018 presidential and general elections in Brazil challenged that notion. An extreme right wing candidate, Jair Messias Bolsonaro, rose to power in a contested victory. This was the last straw in a mounting political crisis with multiple causes and, the way it looks at the moment, even more consequences.

January, 2019
Latin America’s largest country finds itself in a complex political moment. Brazil is the 8th economy worldwide but has yet to realize its full potential as a world power. It is a country of many coexisting qualities that combine to make a vibrant whole. Brazil is often a mystery even to those of us who make a living studying it, and it can be a fascinatingly open and tolerant society - one where anything and everything is welcome. The October 2018 presidential and general elections in Brazil challenged that notion. An extreme right wing candidate, Jair Messias Bolsonaro, rose to power in a contested victory. This was the last straw in a mounting political crisis with multiple causes and, the way it looks at the moment, even more consequences.

The beginnings of the country’s current political crisis can be traced back to 2003. However, the steady momentum which ultimately led to Bolsonaro’s election likely began on August 31st 2016, when President Dilma Rousseff was impeached during the second year of her term. Dilma succeeded Lula in 2010 and was re-elected. She was previously his Minister of Energy (Minas e Energia). After, she served in the Ministry of Government (Casa Civil), which is the most important branch of national government in Brazil outside of the presidency. Rouseff’s impeachment establishes a new phase in Brazil, known as the end of New Republic (1985-2016). The 31 years after the end of Brazil’s military dictatorship (1964-1985) was the result of a national agreement reinforced through a new National Constituency Assembly and the creation of the Citizenship Constitution. An agreement was reached between traditional political oligarchies, military commanders, media groups, federal judges and federal public prosecutors. Put simply, one could say that Nova República’s Agreement resulted in the recognition of political and social rights, as well as a legal system that aimed to organize people to fight for their rights as citizens.

Despite the agreement, high levels of state violence prevailed in Brazil, perpetrated frequently by militarized police forces (an unfortunate remnant of the military dictatorship and consequence of the country’s Military Assistance Program in the 1960s). Gangs or cartels (“commandos”) based in prisons or slums also regularly contributed to high rates of crime. The government maintains a sad record of social injustices. Murders of peasants, indigenous Brazilians, and African-Brazilian were a regular occurrence. Our society carried this inner conflict for three decades. The resulting trauma was translated into positive political advancement - the election of a former union organizer and political prisoner to the presidency. Next came a former guerrilla fighter, and then, sadly a former military that supported the Dictatorship.

Lula, followed by Dilma, never promised radical social change. But a new phase in the national agreement began regardless. Brazil’s working and middle classes were lifted out of poverty through economic policies that favored the country’s majority. A large structural part of the national economic policies were based on the export of commodities. Much of the government’s economic goals were also created in agreement with privately-owned companies inside the oil and gas sector and engineering. State-sponsored contracts and the expansion of public debt made up the core of Brazil’s national development. The success of this system depended on exports of soy beans, raw sugar, iron ore, crude petroleum, frozen bovine meat, agriculture products (high intensive agriculture, based on fertilizers and technology), and some industrial products (For a more complex description of the Brazilian economy, see here:

There were several fragile aspects of Brazil’s economy, even during the country’s period of economic boom. But three in particular contributed heavily to the crisis that preceded Dilma’s impeachment. The first was that Brazil’s economy was based on finances. Because of global currency competition, the international debts of Brazilian companies became unmanageable. The second is typical in which the country economy is still based primarily on exports. The collapse of this sector in Brazil began after the 2008 financial crash (the global speculation fraud that started with US-based mortgages and spread throughout the globe). China reduced its amount of primary imports, a decision that negatively impacted worldwide prices. The third is an operation led by the federal police and prosecutors, waged through the media, named Projeto Pontes (, initiated in February 2009. The operation was a key part of Operação Lava Jato (Operation Car Wash), similar to the Operazione Mani Pulite carried out in Italy during the 1990s.

During the 2014 national election, Dilma was reelected. She had maintained her alliance with oligarchic parties (including PMDB, her vice president’s Michel Temer’s party - a central part of the conspiracy to impeach Rouseff). After a difficult first round against several candidates, Rouseff faced off against Senator Aécio Neves (PSDB, Minas Gerais state). She won on a platform challenging the state of Brazil’s government goals and social programs. However, a month after winning the presidency, Dilma nominated a “Chicago Boy” for the Ministry of Economics. Joaquim Levy destroyed Rouseff’s legitimacy among low and middle-class voters. It was the perfect storm - a fragile and unpopular administration, Operation Car Wash criminalizing Brazil’s economic and political model through the media, plus the actions of self-proclaimed Neo-Pentecostal and ultraliberal youth “movements” - was enough to move Congress into action.

It would be near impossible to explain what is happening in Brazil without a comprehensive analysis of recent history. The rise of Jair Bolsonaro and Brazil’s far-right is complicated. And it would not have been possible if it weren’t for Brazil’s long and chaotic political history, as well as the ability of the right to imitate the success of similar political ideologies in the United States.

Bruno Lima Rocha is working on his post-doctorate degree in Political Economics. He has a PhD and MSC in political science and works as a professor of International Studies and Journalism in southern Brazil. Bruno is also the vice-leader of a research group ( and editor of Estratégia e Análise ( E-mail:
The original text in written English was kindly revised by Erin Sheridan (

mashrek / arabia / irak / imperialismo / guerra / cronaca Friday January 18, 2019 02:57 byGianni Sartori

Dagli intervento su "scala industriale" operati da Ankara in Bakur e Rojava, all'apparente modesta "attività artigianale2 della repressione operata da Teheran, per il popolo curdo è sempre perenne emergenza...


(Gianni Sartori)

Cantone di Afrin. Chi lo ha visitato ne parlava con entusiasmo.

Una natura magnifica – tra montagne e pianura – varia e suggestiva. Ricchezze inestimabili, sia in superficie che nel sottosuolo. Storicamente agricola, questa regione nel nord della Siria è da sempre anche vivaio di convivenza tra diverse etnie, fedi religiose, culture (Arabi, Curdi, Ezidi, Zoroastriani, Aleviti, Sunniti...). Un esempio di possibile e proficua convivenza tra popoli, se pur in miniatura, .

Quella di Afrin è una delle aree liberate in cui maggiormente si era consolidata l'esperienza del Confederalismo democratico, frutto della rivoluzione – sociale e culturale – del Rojava.

Negli ultimi anni era divenuta anche un rifugio per quanti fuggivano dalle devastazioni operate dagli Stati (in particolare di quello soidisant “islamico”).

Anche sotto assedio, l'amministrazione autonoma ha offerto protezione e assistenza agli sfollati provenienti da ogni angolo della Siria. E soprattutto, diversamente da come la Turchia agisce con i rifugiati (usati come ricatto e moneta di scambio nei confronti dell'Europa) senza contropartite.
L'acuirsi del conflitto aveva alimentato ulteriormente le ondate di fuggitivi, provenienti da Aleppo, Kafrnaha, al-Tabqa, al-Raqqa, Hama...e anche di profughi palestinesi, in parte scappati dall'Iraq.

Aperto nel 2014, il campo profughi di Robar a Basla (distretto di Sherawa) aveva accolto oltre tremila profughi. Un altro centinaio di famiglie venivano ospitate direttamente nella città di Afrin, 25mila persone nel distretto di Rajo, 50mila nella regione di Janders, 10mila a Bulbul e 15mila nel distretto di Shara.

La collaborazione tra il Comitato di gestione delle persone sfollate e l'Autorità per gli affari sociali e del lavoro, ha consentito - nell'ambito dell'Amministrazione democratica autonoma – di affrontare positivamente le questioni vitali (tende, elettricità, acqua, assistenza medica, istruzione...) per gli ospiti dei campi di Shehba e Robar. Garantendo, nei limiti del possibile, anche opportunità lavorative per i rifugiati.

Va comunque stigmatizzato che gli appelli rivolti alle organizzazioni umanitarie, sono stati disattesi.

La situazione era precipitata il 20 gennaio 2017, data dell'attacco turco eufemisticamente denominato “Ramoscello d'olivo” (ma forse “Randello” era più appropriato). Mentre esercito e aviazione di Ankara (con l'accompagnamento dei soliti mercenari) si scatenavano su Afrin e dintorni,

alla furia devastatrice non sfuggivano nemmeno i campi profughi. E non certo come “effetto collaterale”, ma in quanto obiettivi precisi e prestabiliti.

Un gran numero di profughi (in gran parte arabi), tra cui decine di bambini rimasti feriti nei bombardamenti dei primi giorni, hanno dovuto fuggirsene via – terrorizzati –da Robar, rifugiandosi nei villaggi circostanti.


Se la Turchia opera contro i curdi su scala industriale, non va sottovalutata la gravità della repressione iraniana (su scala artigianale, per ora) nel Rojhilat (Kurdistan orientale, sotto l'amministrazione di Teheran). Dopo la recente ondata di arresti operata da polizia e servizi nelle città di Kamyaran e Sine (Sanandaj), la Piattaforma democratica dei movimenti e dei popoli d'Iran ha diffuso una dichiarazione in cui si rivolge a tutti i movimenti politici chiedendo loro di solidarizzare con gli arrestati.

Nel testo si mette in guardia contro il rischio rappresentato dalle attuali misure di sicurezza adottate dalla Repubblica islamica per la vita stessa (oltre che per la libertà) dei dieci militanti ecologisti curdi. Accusati di “spionaggio e corruzione sulla terra”, potrebbero venir sottoposti a torture per estorcere improbabili “confessioni”.

L'azione repressiva, opera dei servizi del regime, viene definita un “complotto”, deciso e avviato a Teheran per approdare in Rojhilat. Oltre all'arresto dei dieci militanti, vi rientrerebbe a pieno titolo l'uccisione di Kavous Seyed Emami - sociologo ed ecologista - morto in circostanze poco chiare nella prigione di Evin.

Nella dichiarazione si ricorda che il responsabile governativo della sicurezza - in un'intervista concessa all'agenzia Mehr - ha affermato che gli arrestati erano membri del Partito della vita libera del Kurdistan (PJAK) e che agivano sotto la copertura di associazioni ambientaliste. Accusandoli anche della morte del conducente di un'ambulanza dell'organizzazione Kamyaran,

ma senza fornire alcuna prova. Va ricordato che il PJAK, oltre a non rivendicare come propri membri gli arrestati, aveva fornito un'altra versione sulla morte dell'autista che in realtà sarebbe stato ucciso da agenti dei servizi iraniani.

Scrive la Piattaforma democratica dei movimenti e dei popoli d'Iran: “Senza alcun dubbio, l'obiettivo strategico del regime islamico dell'Iran, di complottare contro i militanti dei movimenti sociali e civili così come contro i militanti ambientalisti, i lavoratori, gli insegnanti, gli studenti, le donne etc. - che continua da quattro decenni di potere reazionario e repressivo - non è altro che un capovolgimento del movimento sociale di massa condotto dagli oppressi, dopo la creazione della Repubblica islamica”.

E quindi invita “tutte le organizzazioni socialiste e di sinistra, i partiti e i movimenti politici, i militanti libertari ed ecologisti, i difensori dei dei diritti umani e le comunità oppresse in Iran a sostenere i militanti arrestati in Kurdistan per sconfiggere le denunce e i mandati di arresto del regime”.

asia meridionale / lotte sindacali / cronaca Thursday January 17, 2019 02:06 byGianni Sartori

Le proteste e gli scioperi di questo inizio 2019 in Bangladesh strappano il velo del bestiale sfruttamento "pret-à-porter"...

RIVOLTE e scioperi degli operai in BANGLADESH

(Gianni Sartori)

Almeno venti operai di alcune aziende tessili (settore del pret-à-porter, comprese le T-shirts) sono rimasti feriti il 13 gennaio negli scontri con la polizia – armata di cannoni ad acqua, proiettili di caucciù e gas lacrimogeni - nella regione di Narsinghapur in Bangladesh.

Iniziate il 6 gennaio, le proteste (a Savar, Ashulia, Gazipur, Mirpur...nei giorni precedenti anche a Uttara, Dhaka, Hemayatpur, Kathgora, Tongi, Dakkhinkhan, Abdullahpur...) duravano ormai da una settimana. Tra manifestazioni e scontri avevano coinvolto diverse migliaia di lavoratori (circa 50mila, molto consistente la partecipazione delle donne lavoratrici) che richiedevano miglioramenti salariali.

L'8 gennaio 2019– colpito dagli spari della polizia – era rimasto ucciso l'operaio Sumon Miah di 22 anni, dipendente della Anlima Yarn Dying Ldt, azienda dell'area industriale di Savar.

Savar – sobborgo industriale della capitale – era già tristemente nota per il catastrofico crollo del Rana Plaza dell'aprile 2013 (oltre mille le vittime, almeno doppio il numero dei feriti estratti dalle macerie).

L'edificio di otto piani (di cui quattro costruiti abusivamente) conteneva alcune fabbriche che impiegavano circa 5mila persone. Qui si producevano capi di abbigliamento per Adler Modemarke, Auchan, Ascena Retail, Walmart, Benetton, Bonmarché, Camaieu, C&A, Cato Fashions, Inditex, Joe Fresh, Kik, Cropp, El Corte Inglés, Grabalok, Gueldenpfenning, Matalan, NKD, Premier Clothing, Primark, Sons and Daughters (Kids for Fashion) Loblaws, Mango, Manifattura Corona, Mascot...

Ai piani inferiori del Rana Plaza, una banca, appartamenti e negozi. Quando apparvero le prime crepe i piani inferiori vennero chiusi ed evacuati mentre ai lavoratori venne ordinato di tornare anche il giorno dopo. In mattinata l'edificio crollò seppellendoli sotto le macerie.

Nel settembre dell'anno scorso c'era stata la decisione di aumentare il salario minimo (congelato dal 2013) passando da 53 a 80 euro mensili a partire da gennaio.

Venivano aumentati, ma in maniera lieve, anche gli altri sei livelli salariali. Non abbastanza - secondo i sindacati - rispetto all'aumento del costo della vita.

Dopo i duri scontri del 13 gennaio è dovuto intervenire direttamente il governo per concedere un ulteriore aumento salariale (variante da 20 centesimi a 8 euro mensili) per gli altri livelli. Ma, almeno per ora, senza poter ottenere la sospensione delle mobilitazioni.

Nonostante l'esportazione di capi d'abbigliamento rappresenti l'80% delle esportazioni totali del Bangladesh, i lavoratori del settore (quattro milioni in oltre 4500 aziende) sono tra i peggio pagati del mondo. Sfruttati per i profitti degli insaziabili grandi nomi occidentali (Zara, Carrefour, H&M, Aldi, Walmart...). Stando a un rapporto del CGWR dell'anno scorso, la situazione appare in continuo peggioramento a causa delle insostenibili pressioni su costi e tempi di produzione e di consegna. Le aziende che non stanno al passo vengono scavalcate dalla concorrenza di Birmania e Vietnam e rischiano il fallimento con le immaginabili conseguenze per i lavoratori.

In questi giorni il vice-presidente della BGMEA (l'Associazione dei fabbricanti ed esportatori di capi d'abbigliamento del Bangladesh) ha denunciato che almeno 35 fabbriche non sono più in condizione di produrre a causa del protrarsi dello sciopero. In alcuni casi magazzini e depositi sarebbero stati dati alle fiamme.

In aggiunta il rappresentante della potente corporazione ha minacciato la serrata delle fabbriche se le contestazioni dovessero proseguire. Ma a quanto pare i lavoratori non si sono fatti intimidire e le dure proteste proseguono anche in questi giorni.

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