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'Workers' rights are human rights' demonstration against new Labour Bills, 21 March 2018, Johannesburg. Photo: Nimet Arikan
southern africa / workplace struggles / opinion / analysis Wednesday March 28, 2018 01:14 by Jonathan Payn   image 1 image
On 17 November 2017, the Minister of Labour announced the state intends to carry out a new round of attacks on workers and their rights. The attacks come in the form of three Labour Bills currently being considered by parliament: the Basic Conditions of Employment Bill, the National Minimum Wage Bill and the Labour Relations Amendment Bill. If passed, the changes to the labour laws these bills propose will be a major attack on workers’ rights, won through decades of struggle, and will further deepen and entrench inequality and roll back important democratic gains.
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southern africa / the left / opinion / analysis Wednesday December 13, 2017 18:12 by Jonathan Payn   image 1 image
A lightly edited transcript of a presentation at a workshop hosted by the International Labour Research & Information Group (ILRIG) and the Orange Farm Human Rights Advice Centre in Drieziek extension 1, Orange Farm township, south of Soweto, South Africa, on 24 June 2017. It was attended by a hall full of community and worker activists, including veterans of the big rebellions of the 1980s. read full story / add a comment
Women constructing a shelter on occupied land at Bush Koppies. Photo: Lekhetho Mtetwa (ZACF)
southern africa / community struggles / feature Thursday June 08, 2017 02:20 by Jonathan Payn   image 1 image
The struggle of the black working class majority of Freedom Park, South Africa, is not just for land on which to build housing – although that is obviously a central issue and key demand; nor is it just against the accompanying political and police violence and intimidation. It is a struggle against the injustice, violence and corruption of a system that puts the power, privileges and profits of a few before the lives and wellbeing of the majority.

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venezuela / colombia / crime prison and punishment / opinión / análisis Monday January 30, 2017 21:42 by El (A)guijón   image 1 image
A pocas horas para entrar en vigencia el Nuevo Código de Policía y Convivencia Ciudadana, el cual contempla las reglas del comportamiento y conducta ciudadana, más que ser un documento que contempla más de 300 situaciones en 243 artículos que rigen la conducta y el comportamiento de los ciudadanos en el país; es a todas luces una ley hecha a la medida de los regímenes totalitarios en tanto que con la amenaza constante de la Ley Penal y la sanción vía multa, restringe y prohíbe todo intento de movilización institucionalizando así la criminalización. read full story / add a comment
venezuela / colombia / represión / presos / news report Saturday January 21, 2017 01:09 by El (A)guijón   image 1 image
Los desalojos en el barrio Nuevo Jerusalén comenzaron sin garantías para las 175 familias que serán desalojadas, el Estado encarnado en las alcaldías municipales de Bello y Medellín no tiene una propuesta clara para reubicar a estas familias, solo han brindado un arriendo temporal de “3 meses con posibilidad de prórroga”, una solución en el aire para las familias que desde hace más de 10 años están construyendo su hogar, su casa, gentes que fueron desplazadas y que tampoco tuvieron apoyo o garantías a su llegada a la ciudad. Hoy estos hogares construidos con esfuerzo están siendo convertidos en escombros. read full story / add a comment
"Autonomy and struggle: students and workers decide!"
brazil/guyana/suriname/fguiana / education / opinion / analysis Friday December 16, 2016 20:07 by Jonathan Payn   image 1 image
In September 2016 the Brazilian government published a Provisional Measure (MP 746) outlining a reform in secondary education that would have devastating consequences for the education system, disproportionately affecting majority-black working class students. Students responded with direct action and occupied schools in the state of Paraná, with occupations soon spreading to at least six other states. One month later 600 high schools in Paraná alone had been occupied to protest the government’s attack on public education – which comes in the context of a broader attack on the working class through a Proposed Constitutional Amendment (PEC 241) that threatens to freeze public spending on health, education and social welfare until 2037. read full story / add a comment
southern africa / migration / racism / opinion / analysis Tuesday June 02, 2015 22:19 by Jonathan Payn   image 1 image
Like in 2008, the recent wave of anti-immigrant violence and looting of foreign-owned stores that followed King Zwelithini’s statement that foreigners must “pack their bags and leave” quickly spread to cities and townships across the country. Unlike other places in Johannesburg, however, there were no reports of xenophobic violence in Thembelihle and, although the violence spread to numerous parts of Soweto in 2008, this adjacent township was unaffected then too. This article, based on an interview with an activist from the Thembelihle Crisis Committee (TCC), looks at how working class self-organisation and solidarity helped curb or prevent the outbreak of xenophobic attacks and attempts to draw lessons for preventing future attacks.
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Photo by Jacob Potlaki (Casual Workers Advice Office)
southern africa / community struggles / opinion / analysis Thursday May 21, 2015 16:50 by Jonathan Payn   image 1 image
The xenophobic violence and looting following King Zwelithini’s statement that foreigners “pack their bags and leave” spread to cities and townships across the country. However, the recent attacks are not an isolated incident; nor is Zwelithini solely responsible for fomenting it. Local elites – particularly those linked to the ruling party – also encourage anti-immigrant attitudes and actions. This article, based on discussions with Abahlali baseFreedom Park activists, looks at how local elites stimulate ‘xenophobia’ to protect their class interests, as well as how progressive working class activists have responded.
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greece / turkey / cyprus / the left / opinion / analysis Wednesday May 06, 2015 22:26 by Joost Jongerden   image 1 image
In 2005, the Partiya Karkêren Kurdistani (Kurdistan Workers’ Party) (PKK) announced that it considered the nation-state a hindrance on the road to freedom, and that its strategic objective was not the establishment of a state but of an interlinked network of councils as the basis of self-determination and a new way of living together. The objective of this article is to discuss and explain the PKK’s understanding of politics as it evolved in the 2000s by looking at two concepts: ‘democratic autonomy’ and ‘democratic confederalism.’ This article will put these concepts in a historical and comparative perspective, and contextualise them in wider discussions in political and social sciences. The question central to this contribution is how these concepts make sense in the context of political theory, and how they have the potential to address fundamental shortcomings in modern democracy. Data has been collected by the study of primary sources and interviews. read full story / add a comment
international / miscellaneous / opinion / analysis Thursday January 08, 2015 15:43 by Jonathan P   image 1 image
As working class activists, we should share experiences with – and learn from – working class struggles in other places. The ruling class organises worldwide to exploit and dominate our class. So we need to organise resistance to defend our interests everywhere. And we can only benefit from arming ourselves with lessons from different working class movements.
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netherlands / germany / austria / history / opinion / analysis Friday November 07, 2014 21:40 by Jonathan Payn   image 1 image
A "revolutionary alternative from below" that was not quite to be but holds pertinent lessons for movements today. Our latest issue of Workers World News continues our educational series on "united fronts" with a focus on the Workers’ Council Movement in Germany, 1920-1923. Part 1: NUMSA and the ‘United Front Against Neoliberalism’
Part 2: Anti-militarist United Fronts and Italy’s “Red week”, 1914
Part 3: The 1917 Russian Revolution and United Front read full story / add a comment
netherlands / germany / austria / history / opinion / analysis Thursday October 16, 2014 17:40 by Jonathan Payn   image 1 image
In the October Revolution of 1917, the Bolshevik Party, together with other revolutionaries, overthrew the Provisional Government established in February and – together, initially, with left Social Revolutionaries – seized power. How did the Bolsheviks – a minority just eight months earlier, when the February Revolution overthrew the Tsar and established the Provisional Government – come to power so quickly? How did this small force emerge from relative obscurity to win large sections of the working class to its programme and take power? Herein lies the root and essence of United Front policy in a traditional Marxist sense. First published in issue 88 of Workers World News Part 1: NUMSA and the ‘United Front Against Neoliberalism’
Part 2: Anti-militarist United Fronts and Italy’s “Red week”, 1914
Part 4: United Working Class Action and the Workers’ Council Movement in Germany, 1920-1923 read full story / add a comment
southern africa / history / opinion / analysis Wednesday September 03, 2014 17:34 by Jonathan Payn   image 1 image
The United Front tactic – aimed at uniting masses of workers in action and winning Communist leadership for the working class – was adopted as policy by the Communist International (Comintern) in 1921 and will be discussed later in this series. However, there are important examples of working class unity in action which predate Comintern policy and bear relevance to the united fronts discussion. One often-cited example is the united front to defend the gains of the February Revolution from a military coup in Russia in 1917, which will be discussed in the next article in this series.

Before looking at this, however, there is another example of proletarian unity in action – that didn’t seek to win Communist leadership – which warrants attention; that of a revolutionary worker-peasant alliance. This conception of united front action found expression in Italy’s anti-militarist “red blocs” and it is to these that we now turn.

First published in issue 87 of Workers World News Part 1: NUMSA and the ‘United Front Against Neoliberalism’
Part 3: The 1917 Russian Revolution and United Front
Part 4: United Working Class Action and the Workers’ Council Movement in Germany, 1920-1923 read full story / add a comment
NUMSA: The United Front is a weapon for uniting the working class.
southern africa / the left / opinion / analysis Wednesday September 03, 2014 17:26 by Jonathan Payn   image 1 image
The resolution adopted by the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA) to form a ‘United Front against neoliberalism’ – as well as its decision not to endorse the ANC in the elections – represents an interesting development in the political landscape, one which activists should look at carefully and engage.

Due to the language used by the media, the Left, NUMSA’s critics and even NUMSA itself much confusion surrounds the debate – leaving many questions: Is the ‘United Front’ an organisation or attempt to build a new labour federation or political party? Is it an attempt to revive the 1980s United Democratic Front (UDF)? Why NUMSA’s sudden interest in community struggles?

This series, of which this article is the first, aims to clarify these and other questions by looking at the proposal and history of united fronts locally and internationally to clarify key issues and draw lessons that activists can use when engaging the pros and cons of NUMSA’s United Front proposal and if and how they think it should be developed. First published in issue 86 of Workers World News Part 2: Anti-militarist United Fronts and Italy’s “Red week”, 1914
Part 3: The 1917 Russian Revolution and United Front
Part 4: United Working Class Action and the Workers’ Council Movement in Germany, 1920-1923 read full story / add a comment
venezuela / colombia / workplace struggles / opinión / análisis Monday June 16, 2014 19:48 by El Aguijón   image 1 image
El primero de mayo es reconocido en el mundo como un día de actividades de movilización relacionadas con el trabajo, en el cual se mezclan infinidad de concepciones, prácticas, deseos y añoranzas de muchos individuos y grupos organizados, aun su carácter reivindicativo de las luchas del proletariado mundial no parece en nuestros días haber una confrontación de clases tal como las ocurridas en Chicago a finales del siglo XIX. De ahí la obvia excusa para que reflexionemos sobre eso del trabajo y el trabajador. ¿Ha mejorado su situación? ¿Se vislumbran siquiera en el horizonte las siluetas de una nueva sociedad? ¿Se ha perdido el rumbo o nunca lo ha habido? read full story / add a comment
internacional / antifascismo / opinión / análisis Saturday June 14, 2014 08:15 by El Aguijón   image 1 image
Especialmente en Ucrania y Venezuela, se ha observado como sectores de derechas han salido a las calles a manifestar su oposición apropiándose de estrategias de lucha comúnmente utilizadas por los sectores populares y las izquierdas. Estas manifestaciones han sido nutridas por la clases medias y altas, estudiantes universitarios, grupos fascistoides, ongs y una gama variopinta de población, apoyados por USAID (agencia de cooperación y ayuda de los gringos a la pobreza que ellos mismos crean) y la fundación Open Society Institutes del multimillonario George Soros. read full story / add a comment
venezuela / colombia / movimiento anarquista / news report Friday May 23, 2014 03:53 by El Aguijón   image 1 image
El 9, 10 y 11 de mayo de 2014 se llevó a cabo en Medellín la segunda feria anarquista del libro y el fanzine. Durante esos tres días se contó con actividades como charlas, debates y exposiciones que reflejaron parte de las experiencias de trabajo sobre todo las que se vienen desarrollando alrededor de las letras y la escritura. Hubo una muestra permanente de material escrito a cargo de las editoriales, librerías y distribuidoras, además de un taller de encuadernación casera, todo acompañado de teatro, bazares, comidas, cafés y una significativa asistencia no solo de colectivos e individualidades libertarias sino de muchas otras personas afines y gustosos de la literatura anti-autoritaria. read full story / add a comment
southern africa / the left / feature Wednesday May 07, 2014 21:28 by Shawn Hattingh & Jonathan Payn   text 2 comments (last - tuesday may 13, 2014 21:37)   image 1 image
There has been much hype, amongst the media and sections of the public, in the run up to this year’s provincial and national elections in South Africa and, for some, the arrival of new parties to the electoral arena has renewed their faith in the possibility of an electoral solution to the myriad of problems facing South Africa. Politicians from across all parties have been using this hype and a seemingly renewed faith in the ballot box to their advantage. The question, therefore, is: can equality, socialism, national liberation or ‘economic freedom’ – or even a respite from state violence – for a majority be brought about through parties and activists entering into the state or through voting for parties that promise not to use the state for violent or oppressive means; or will this only lead to a dead-end for the working class yet again? read full story / add a comment
venezuela / colombia / community struggles / opinión / análisis Tuesday September 17, 2013 20:45 by (A)guijón   image 1 image
Marmato con su incesante rugir no duerme para vivir en su propio tiempo, ritmo y realidad socio histórica. Construido en medio de vibrantes montañas por las que atraviesa sinuoso el río Cauca, desde siglos atrás permanece habitado por comunidades que defienden con valentía el futuro de sus descendientes. Los pequeños mineros tradicionales marmateños tienen la férrea convicción que los cerros les pertenecen, que las minas de sus abuelos son de sus nietos, que la entrada de las compañías extranjeras en locomotoras desarrollistas amenazan su modo de vida y que el Paro (léase bloqueo de vías, acciones directas o vías de hecho) es necesario para que el gobierno tenga en cuenta sus justas exigencias. read full story / add a comment
Τα μέλη της Organização Anarquista Socialismo Libertário (Αναρχική Οργάνωση Ελευθεριακού Σοσιαλισμού, OASL) συμμετείχαν στους αγώνες ενάντια στην άυξηση των τιμών στο Σάο Πάολο, τόσο στην πρωτεύουσα, όσο και σε πόλεις όπως η Mogi das Cruzes, Marilia και Franca, στο κίνημα που όλο και μεγαλώνει και έχει καταλάβει τη χώρα. Η συμμετοχή άλλων οργανώσεων που συνδέονται με το Coordenação Anarquista Brasileira (Συντονιστικό Αναρχικών Βραζιλίας, CAB) έχει βοηθήσει επίσης στην οικοδόμηση των αγώνων σε άλλα κράτη. [Português] read full story / add a comment
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