Saturday, June 30, 2007

Elderly Anarchism

A West Philly-based anarchist newspaper turns 10

The conversation on that van ride 10 years ago this month spawned The Defenestrator, a collectively run anarchist newspaper based in West Philadelphia that first published a few weeks later. In August the newspaper will celebrate its 10th anniversary—a major accomplishment for a community that’s constantly in flux and doesn’t believe in hierarchy.

Against Type

A West Philly-based anarchist newspaper turns 10.

by G.W. Miller III
Philadelphia Weekly

It was the halcyon days of the mid-’90s. The economy was fast approaching the dot-com boom, welfare reform was putting people to work, the country wasn’t at war and Monica Lewinsky wasn’t yet a household name.

With the exception of an escalating homicide rate, things were pretty quiet in Philadelphia in 1997.

A little too quiet.

On a long van ride back to Philadelphia from a Boston conference for activists fighting poverty and homelessness, a group of Philly anarchists decided, “We don’t fuck shit up nearly as much as we really ought to.”

The rhythm of everyday life had beaten the once-thriving Philly activist scene into submission. Demonstrations had been too tame, they said. Protests had been ill attended. They needed a spark to bring everyone together, to inspire action, to mobilize.

The conversation on that van ride 10 years ago this month spawned The Defenestrator, a collectively run anarchist newspaper based in West Philadelphia that first published a few weeks later. In August the newspaper will celebrate its 10th anniversary—a major accomplishment for a community that’s constantly in flux and doesn’t believe in hierarchy.


Fuck the DNC

Union rooms not in cards
By Chuck Plunkett

In a significant break with tradition, no state delegations will stay in a unionized hotel in Denver during the 2008 Democratic National Convention, the national party confirmed Wednesday.

Because there is just one unionized hotel in the city, Democratic National Convention Committee officials were concerned that states with high union representation would be clamoring for the 1,100-room Hyatt Regency Denver.

The Hyatt will be used during the Aug. 25-28, 2008, convention but will probably house national party officials and support staff. Nearly 7,000 state delegates are expected to attend the convention.

The arrangement disappoints many Democrats, whose rule of thumb is to seek out union hotels whenever they travel and who are accustomed to staying at union hotels during convention week. The last time Democratic conventioneers traveled to a city with little to no union representation was 1988, in Atlanta.

But several state party officials interviewed said they considered the accommodation plan a workable solution.

"There is one union hotel in all of Denver," said New York State Democratic Party chairwoman June O'Neill. "It's the reality."


South African Strike Ends

Crippling four-week strike in South Africa ends

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa (Reuters) -- South African public sector unions agreed a wage deal with the government on Thursday, ending a four-week strike that exposed sharp political divisions between the ruling ANC and its labor allies.

"The public service trade unions, after full consultation with their membership, have unanimously agreed to call off the strike action which began on 1 June, 2007," said a statement issued by the umbrella COSATU labor federation.

The decision eased pressure on the ANC leadership, which is holding a policy conference expected to provide hints on a bitter succession race ahead of a December congress that will choose a new party leader.

The protest saw some 600,000 teachers, nurses and other civil servants walk off the job on June 1 to push for a 12 percent pay hike in one of the largest industrial actions since the end of apartheid in 1994.

Angry union members marched through major cities in demonstrations of labour's power, while many schools closed due to teacher walkouts and public hospitals operated with skeleton staffing.

Unions accuse President Thabo Mbeki of abandoning the poor through his pro-business policies. South Africa's economy is booming but civil servants have complained their wages can barely keep up with rising prices.


Thursday, June 28, 2007

Zambian Union Mergers

Zambia: Don't Downplay Union Mergers, FFTUZ Told
The Times of Zambia (Ndola)

THE Zambia Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) has called on the Federation of Free Trade Unions of Zambia (FFTUZ) not to downplay the importance of trade union mergers.

ZCTU secretary general, Sylvester Tembo, said in a statement in Kitwe yesterday that unions stood to lose if they opted to continue with the status quo.

"This is not the time for trade union leaders to take individualistic positions on serious issues at the expense of the interests of the general membership," Mr Tembo said in reaction to FFTUZ national executive secretary Lyson Mando's negative response to the ZCTU proposed merger.

Mr Mando on Monday described the ZCTU proposal contained in Mr Tembo's letter as not being serious saying it lacked details on how the merger was envisioned.

Mr Mando said the ZCTU had over the period of time been discussing the merger in the Press without putting plans on the table.

But Mr Tembo said Mr Mando's views lacked seriousness and bordered on triviality and should be dismissed with the contempt they deserved.

"ZCTU attaches great importance to issues of unity and solidarity hence our desire to initiate moves for a merger between our two federations. We did not expect to get such an immature response, which lacks credibility and seriousness from our colleagues.


Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Copper Strike in Chile?

Chile Collahuasi copper workers expect to vote strike

SANTIAGO, June 26 (Reuters) - Workers at the large Collahuasi copper mine in northern Chile expect to vote for a strike on Wednesday after management failed to present them with a better offer than the one they rejected a week ago.

"We have received no new offer, except for the one last Wednesday ... and the expectations are for workers to vote 100 percent to go on strike," Union President Hernan Farias told Reuters on Tuesday.


Mobtown, Organizing and Precarity

Temporary Injustice
Union Tries To Organize Temp Laborers At Camden Yards
By Chris Landers

The men and women began arriving at 2 p.m., and half an hour later there were around 30 of them, gathered in the shade by Camden Yards' Gate B. The crowds weren't scheduled to arrive for hours to watch the Washington Nationals hand the O's a 7-4 beat-down.

During a baseball game's nine innings, fans generate a lot of trash. The people at Gate B are there at the stadium to pick up after them.

Veronica Dorsey took the No. 3 bus from Northwood to get here. Phyllis Ockimey came down after her hospital job was finished. Last Saturday she was turned away because she was wearing her slippers from the hospital. Today she's worried about her nonregulation shorts, which she wore instead of pants, but it's hot out.


Tuesday, June 26, 2007

P-CRAC Goes International

Greetings Comrade-Enemies,

P-CRAC is most pleased to announce a "great leap forward" in the fight for liberation and pie-cardism!

In addition to our established chapters in Seattle-Tacoma, Chicago and New York City including revolutionary union hacks from SEIU, UNITE HERE and UFCW...

We gladly accept our first international chapter!

P-CRAC is now in London with the CWU.

Clearly this growing movement is catching on like a wildfire. We will not be stopped.

This is Class War!
This is P-CRAC!

Anarchists put the @ in N@ture!

Guerrilla Gardens
by Justin Valone
info [at]
Faultlines (San Francisco Bay Area Independent Media Center)

For those of us living in our modern cities land is a foreign concept. Stories of land conjure romantic images of countrysides far from our crowded neighborhoods, images that seem irrelevant to our lives. Even though we inhabit a landscape smothered with buildings and concrete, the struggles for land fought by rural people hold many important lessons for us as we strive for control over our lives and communities. When we consider the landless state of most poor people the world round and how most of us own no land, we realize we are all perpetually inhabiting someone else’s space. Our lives and communities as well as our food supply are controlled by people in far away places whose main motivation is profit. When we start to reclaim some of this space we begin to take back our lives.


SEIU Healthcare Launch

Union creates health care arm
SEIU unit to oversee 38 locals across U.S.
By Hanah Cho
Sun reporter

The Service Employees International Union, hoping to better coordinate its resources, organizing strategies and direction nationally, has created a new health care union.

SEIU is expected to launch the health care arm of the larger organization tomorrow in Baltimore. Leaders and members will meet until Sunday to discuss the new union, which is designed to better unify about 1 million health care members - including nurses and service workers at hospitals and nursing homes. The parent union has a total of 1.8 million members.


Interview with Dennis Rivera

Labor adapts to service economy
Boston Globe

Dennis Rivera, president of the New York-based 1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East, recently rose to the job of chief of all SEIU healthcare workers in the country. He spoke with Globe reporter Christopher Rowland about the union's efforts to organize workers at Boston's teaching hospitals.

Q Why are you having success organizing healthcare workers when other unions are having trouble increasing membership?

A The American economy right now is basically going to a service economy, and we are in areas where the economy is growing. By this time next year, we will have 2 million members in our union, and that will be a milestone -- 1.1 million to 1.2 million will be healthcare workers. There are about 10 million healthcare workers in the United States that could potentially be organized. We believe this year we are going to organize around 100,000, including, we hope, 22,500 personal care attendants here in Massachusetts.