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Anger from the underground: Bulgarian miners in wildcat strike

By evgeni5150 - libcom.org, June 5, 2017

The miners from Obrochishte - the third largest manganese mine in the world, located in eastern Bulgaria, went on wildcat strike on 01.06.2017. The strike was supported by the anarchosyndicalists from ARS (Avtonomen Rabotnicheski Sindikat / Autonomous Workers Union), while the bureaucratic union in the mine opposed the strike and sided with the bosses.

17 miners from the day shift refused to come out of the mine and stayed underground for 5 days. All the workers from the other shifts, around 150 people, joined the strike. The miners, alongside with the anarchosyndicalists, blocked the main portal so the trucks of the company could not get the goods out. The strike broke out after the management refused to comply with the collective bargaining agreement that was signed earlier this year. The collective agreement was the result of similar strikes in March, when the miners went on hunger strike and organized mass protests to demand raise in salaries, improvement of the working conditions and review of the mining concession contract. Wages in the mine are extremely low - between 230 EUR ( the minimum wage in Bulgaria) and 305 EUR per month. Workers do not receive the necessary equipment, no food vouchers, they don't have transportation provided and the working conditions in the mine are terrifying.

The current 25-years concession contract for the mine was made back in 1999 by the right wing government of Ivan Kostov, famous for his mass privatization policy. For the last 18 years, the private operator of the mine - "EuroMangan", failed to comply with any of the concession agreements, which led to ecological and social disaster in the region. During all those years not a single inspection or regulation was made by the authorities. The organization is owed by a Cyprus offshore company with unclear ownership, but the day-to-day operations are managed by a women named Teresa Dankova, famous among the workers as 'the satan'. She regularly insults the miners, refuses to sign their papers for their social benefits and once she even refused to open the gates for an ambulance to pick up a heavily injured worker. During the March strike, the CEO of "EuroMangan" David Wellinges called the miners' demands - "an extortion". Nevertheless, following pressure from the workers, and through the mediation of the Minister of Energy and the Ombudsman, a collective labor agreement was signed, which stipulated an increase in salaries (albeit with the pitiful 75 EUR), transportation for the workers and also the employer made a commitment to abide by the labor laws.

But it turned out the collective agreement means nothing to the company. They have so far failed to fullfil any of the agreed terms. Furthermore the management has yet to pay salaries for April. That's why the miners went on strike again, but this time with more radical demands - they want all the bosses to leave the mine for good. The strikers got a lot of media attention and solidarity. Autonomous Workers Union organized actions of solidarity with the miners in the capital city of Sofia. Workers from the Varna's section of the union (the closest big town to the mine) joined the strikers in their blockade and raised money for food supplies.

The strike ended on 05.06.2017 when the government officials stepped in, "freezed" the concession and gave 14-days term to terminate it permanently. With this semi-victory, the miners went out from the underground after 5 days, but said that the blockade of the mine stays, as well as strike-readiness, and that if the bosses return after the 14-days term, they will resume the direct actions. In that period, Autonomous Workers Union plans to organize more solidarity actions as well as protests in front of the ministry of electricity (the ministry that is in charge of the concession), so it can put pressure on the officials to comply with the workers' demands.

Turkish Army burning Kurdish forests: Call for a delegation

By Ercan Ayboga - Mesopotamian Ecology Movement, August 18, 2015

Disclaimer: The views expressed here are not the official position of the IWW (or even the IWW’s EUC) and do not necessarily represent the views of anyone but the author’s.

With the restart of the war in North-Kurdistan by Turkish state in end of July 2015 the Turkish Army has started to burn down forests. After 2,5 years of negotiations about the start of a peace process between the Turkish government and the Kurdish Freedom Movement, the Turkish side decided to attack the PKK Guerrilla HPG (Peoples Defense Forces) and legal political activists.

In a planned and systematic manner the Turkish Army shoots with munition and bombs which result in forest fires. Particularly in the provinces of Dersim (Tunceli), Sirnex (Şırnak) and Amed (Diyarbakır) the Army has burned down several ecologically highly sensitive forests in its operations against the HPG. Thereby the Turkish Army hopes to limit the mobility of HPG. This method in fighting the long-lasting Kurdish rebellion has been used widely already in the 90’s in North-Kurdistan. Almost every greater forest in the contested regions has been burned down in that years.

The most forest fires have been initiated in areas which have been declared by the Turkish government as “security areas” just after the restart of the war. That is why local people and activists – like from our movement – have been hindered by the Turkish Army to go to the affected areas and try to extinguish the fires. These initiatives have been created while the responsible governmental bodies did not act. We assume that they have been instructed by the government not to intervene. To date several hundred hectares of forests have been burnt down in North-Kurdistan where the main tree type is the oak.

We call on the international political activists, social movements and NGO’s working on ecological issues to join an international delegation. This delegation could investigate the dimension and impacts of the forest fires of the last weeks, the subsequent behavior of Turkish officials, the efforts of locals to extinguish the fires and if existing the ongoing fires and inform the international public based on their observations. We think that the extremely destructive behavior of the Turkish State in this dirty war must be treated also on international level. The period for the international delegation is planned from the 8th to the 12th September 2015. Write us in case of interest.

Ercan Ayboga (e.ayboga [at] gmx.net)
for the Mesopotamian Ecology Movement

Murray Bookchin and the Kurdish resistance

Joris Leverink - RoarMag.Org, August 9, 2015

Disclaimer: The views expressed here are not the official position of the IWW (or even the IWW’s EUC) and do not necessarily represent the views of anyone but the author’s.

The introduction to the new book The Next Revolution: Popular Assemblies and the Promise of Direct Democracy (Verso, 2015), explains how Murray Bookchin – born to Russian Jewish immigrants in New York City in 1921 – was introduced to radical politics at the age of nine when he joined the Young Pioneers, a Communist youth organization. This would be the start of his ‘life on the left’ in which he would turn from Stalinism to Trotskyism in the years running up to World War II before defining himself as an anarchist in the late 1950s and eventually identifying as a ‘communalist’ or ‘libertarian municipalist’ after the introduction of the idea of social ecology.

Even though Bookchin never even attended college – except for a few classes in radio technology right after World War II – he wrote dozens of books and published hundreds of academic articles, besides founding several journals and setting up the Institute for Social Ecology in 1974. Possibly his most important contribution to radical politics was to (re)introduce the concept of ecology to the arena of political thought.

Bookchin opposed the ideas and practices of the emerging environmentalist movements, accusing them of advocating mere “technical fixes” of capitalism, counter-posing it to an ecological approach that seeks to address the root causes of the systemic problem. In his view, capitalism’s fatal flaw lay not in its exploitation of the working class, as Marxists believe, but rather in its conflict with the natural environment which, if allowed to develop unopposed, would inevitably lead to the dehumanization of people and the destruction of nature.

The Next Revolution includes the 1992 essay The Ecological Crisis and the Need to Remake Society. In it, Bookchin argues that “the most fundamental message that social ecology advances is that the very idea of dominating nature stems from the domination of human by human.” For an ecological society to develop, first the inter-human domination must be eradicated. According to Bookchin, “capitalism and its alter-ego, ‘state socialism,’ have brought all the historic problems of domination to a head,” and the market economy, if it is not stopped, will succeed in destroying our natural environment as a result of its “grow or die” ideology.

For years, Bookchin sought to convince anarchist groups in the US that his idea of libertarian municipalism — which, in his own words “seeks to reclaim the public sphere for the exercise of authentic citizenship while breaking away from the bleak cycle of parliamentarism and its mystification of the ‘party’ mechanism as a means for public representation” — was the key to making anarchism politically and socially relevant again.

Our Perspectives and Tasks on the Revolution in Rojava

By Black Rose Anarchist Federation / Federación Anarquista Rosa Negra - Black Rose Anarchist Federation, August 4, 2015

Disclaimer: The views expressed here are not the official position of the IWW (or even the IWW’s EUC) and do not necessarily represent the views of anyone but the author’s.

#Rojava #Kobane #internationalsolidarity

As revolutionaries in North America we would like to outline the foundations of our political perspective as well as how we as an organization have agreed to relate the recent events and the struggle underway in Rojava in the Middle East.

Our Perspective

The Rojava Revolution has probably made more concrete progress towards libertarian socialism than any other large-scale struggle at least since the Zapatista insurrection. For this reason alone it is important to engage with this struggle to support the most revolutionary elements of it and to hold it up as an international example of what the self-activity of the popular classes can accomplish.

While we have many questions about the overall political ideology of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and the Democratic Union Party (PYD) (which would need to be addressed in a separate and longer article), the specific project of democratic confederalism (which is only one part of their political vision for “democratic modernity” and the reorganization of society) has set the popular classes of Kurdistan in motion, constructing autonomous alternatives to capitalism, oppression and the state. In Rojava, and in some cases also in Bakur (north Kurdistan) when state repression doesn’t forbid it, workers’ cooperatives are being formed, land is being collectivized, women’s collectives are spreading, neighborhood assemblies are taking on power, restorative justice is replacing the court system, a democratic militia is defending the region, and other aspects of self-governance are being organized. This is not all that there is to this struggle – much of the land and capital is intended to remain in private hands, the PYD has created a new minimal state instead of abolishing the state, forced conscription has occasionally been implemented, PYD politicians have been lobbying western countries, foreign corporate investment is pursued, etc. But despite much remaining vagueness about the exact details of what’s happening on the ground (even among those who have been to Rojava), it is clear that much of the popular classes in Kurdistan are engaged in a revolutionary process that we should support. It is also clear that since a democratic revolution is based on the will of the people, it will only be through the long-term political education and organizing work among the popular classes of Rojava that the revolution will generalize beyond the current active minority and continue to take shape. We believe that we have a responsibility to both contribute to that process and to learn from it.

Statement on the Recent Massacre in Suruc, Turkey

Press Release - Black Rose Anarchist Federation, July 20, 2015

Disclaimer: The views expressed here are not the official position of the IWW (or even the IWW’s EUC) and do not necessarily represent the views of anyone but the author’s.

#‎Rojava‬ ‪#‎SurucBomb‬ ‪#‎SuruçtaKatliamVar

Today we mourn the loss of friends and comrades and renewing our commitment to an international revolutionary struggle in their memory.

At noon, in the border town of Suruç in Turkish Kurdistan, a bomb ripped through the bodies of communists, socialists, and anarchists who were on their way to assist in the rebuilding of Kobane. Tens of people were killed, many more injured. One Black Rose member was present assisting in preparations for a campaign to support the rebuilding of Kobane and Rojava, but was uninjured in the blast.

A half an hour after the bombing, the city of Suruc shook once more as a second massive bomb hit the border in Kobane. News reports indicate that this was a car bomb attack that was stopped by self-defense forces which minimized causalties.

The trip to Kobane was organized by the Marxist-Leninist organization Sosyalist Gençlik Dernekleri Federasyonunun (SGDF). They brought together youth–entire families–from across Turkey and beyond to give revolutionary support to the developing social revolution in Syrian Kurdistan. Up to 300 people were preparing to cross the embargoed border to help rebuild the city, learn about its political developments, and link the struggles of the Turkish left with the Kurdish movement.

After the bombing, the first to respond was armored military vehicles of the occupying Turkish state that rolled down the street in front of the Amara Cultural Center to block the street and point their guns at the recently injured and trauma-ridden revolutionaries. It took ambulances so long to arrive on the scene that private cars had to be organized to take the injured to the hospital. The military and police were on the scene in minutes, managing to form a line of riot police before the first ambulances arrived. Their alertness should come as no surprise since they had been actively harassing the bus loads of revolutionaries coming to Suruc that morning, monitoring many of them, and had made calls to their families telling them that their young relative was going to join terrorists in Rojava.

This demonstrates the attitude of the state and is indicative of a sad reality: Turkey is continuing its murderous policy towards the Kurds and this attack can be seen as a fulfillment of Erdogan’s promise to stop Rojava by any means necessary. In the coming months, Black Rose will continue to broaden the scope in organizing committees and networks in solidarity with Rojava. We hope for your support.

Biji Rojava! Rojava Lives!

-International Secertary, Black Rose Anarchist Federation / Federación Anarquista Rosa Negra (BRRN)

Stateless Democracy: The Revolution in Rojava Kurdistan

By De Balie -Vimeo, October 21, 2014

Disclaimer: The views expressed here are not the official position of the IWW (or even the IWW’s EUC) and do not necessarily represent the views of anyone but the author’s.

#1. Stateless Democracy: The Revolution in Rojava Kurdistan [part 1] from De Balie on Vimeo.

The fight against the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) has often been portrayed as a fight between the West and its Arab allies against Islamic ultra-fundamentalists. Over the last several years, however, a progressive Kurdish-led resistance has been forming in Rojava (Syrian Kurdistan) amidst the Syrian Civil War. The resistance has successfully implemented new models of grassroots democracy, gender equality, and sustainable ecology, its members practicing a political project they refer to as Democratic Confederalism. Women and men stand side-by-side in its armed forces in the face of both ISIS and the Bashar al-Assad regime. Despite the resistance’s efforts, Rojava is currently threatened by a massacre, and the international community continues to stand by silently as tragedy unfolds.

This conference discusses the current Kurdish resistance in Kobanê, Rojava against ISIS. With help of representatives from the Kurdish movement as well as specialists in the field, it explores the politics and culture of Rojava and the reasons behind the formation and growth of the self-proclaimed Islamic State. The question as to what and how the international community and civil society can help is also addressed—not only to stop ISIS, but more crucially, to support a movement from within the region that is offering a new democratic horizon from which the world can learn.

Keynote speeches by Dilşah Osman (co-president of the Kurdish Democratic Society Congress in Europe, KCD-E) and Dilar Dirik (PhD researcher and activist of the Kurdish Women’s Movement), contributions by Joost Jongerden (researcher and Kurdish specialist, Wageningen University), Jolle Demmers (co-founder of the Center for Conflict Studies, Utrecht), Jonas Staal (artist), Jasper Blom (Director Scientific Bureau Groenlinks / Green Party), Dilan Yezilgoz-Zegerius (Amsterdam council memberfor Liberal Party VVD, former Amnesty International specialist on Turkey) en Golrokh Nafisi (artist) and many others.

The conference is hosted by New World Academy; BAK, basis voor actuele kunst, Utrecht; Center for Conflict Studies, Utrecht; and De Balie, Amsterdam.

Stateless Democracy: The Revolution in Rojava Kurdistan is the first of a series of events on stateless democracy organized by New World Academy in collaboration with the Kurdish Women’s Movement.

A Response to Rojava: An anarchosyndicalist perspective

By Hüseyin Civan (from DAF) - November 3, 2014

Disclaimer: The views expressed here are not the official position of the IWW (or even the IWW’s EUC) and do not necessarily represent the views of anyone but the author’s.

The effects of social revolutions are not limited by the effect of struggle against political and economical powers in the geographical region where the revolution happens. It's important to see their effect on other different regions along with the intellectual and practical changes this effect brings. Being talked about with Kobanê Resistance ,Rojava Revolution gets more important now to see this effect more clearly.

The reaction and attack of the state and capitalism against what's happening in Rojava, is expected at this point. However, we need to turn our face to the internal debates in social opposition at the same time.

It's necessary to emphasize that such debates are an important resort for understanding what the effect of Rojava is. Since the start of this process, anarchist comrades' behaviors towards understanding Rojava and taking up with the resistance has been quite important for remembering the international solidarity, which we aren't familiar to see in such an organized manner. Again we have experienced that solidarity is our greatest weapon.

This manner of solidarity that was created between anarchists inevitably made the resistance in Kobanê a headline especially among anarchists all around the world.

The paper "Rojava: An anarcho-syndicalist point of view" which was published on several different sites is one of the reflections of this headline. This evaluation of the paper especially aims to correct information about Rojava Revolution and Kobanê Resistance, instead of pointing out positive and negative sides of the paper and making a simple criticism.

Considering different comments may form with the different perspectives of anarchist organizations in different geographical regions; I focused the criticism of paper on the matter of incomplete evaluation of Kurdish freedom struggle and Rojava Revolution. Political criticism against a community which is in a life or death struggle under war conditions can't be made ignoring this condition. Even so if said criticism has certain prejudices and was formed with sharp generalization. And of course, if a huge people's movement is evaluated with a degrading manner...

An Anarchist Communist Reply to ‘Rojava: An Anarcho-Syndicalist Perspective’

Anarkismo Editors Group - YouTube, November 1, 2014

Disclaimer: The views expressed here are not the official position of the IWW (or even the IWW’s EUC) and do not necessarily represent the views of anyone but the author’s.

Web Editor's Note: The IWW EUC did not repost the article, from the WSA publication Ideas and Action, to which this article responds initially; therefore following article is posted in interest of discussion:

Note from the Original Article: This text is a response to the article Rojava: An Anarcho-Syndicalist Perspective by K. B., recently published on the Ideas and Action website of the North America-based Workers Solidarity Alliance (WSA). In the article, there is an attack on the Rojava revolution in the Middle East, an event in which the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) has played a key role.

This response is not published in bad faith or with ill intentions towards the writer or their organisation but, rather, in order to clarify and share our thinking regards the question of anarchist support both for national liberation movements and what is, for us, a very important and inspiring struggle playing out in the Middle East. The aim is to have a frank, and comradely, debate that takes us all forward.

This text is a response to the article Rojava: An Anarcho-Syndicalist Perspective by K. B., recently published on the Ideas and Action website of the North America-based Workers Solidarity Alliance (WSA). In the article, there is an attack on the Rojava revolution in the Middle East, an event in which the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) has played a key role. This response is not published in bad faith or with ill intentions towards the writer or their organisation but, rather, in order to clarify and share our thinking regards the question of anarchist support both for national liberation movements and what is, for us, a very important and inspiring struggle playing out in the Middle East. The aim is to have a frank, and comradely, debate that takes us all forward.

Western blind spot: the Kurds' war against Islamic State in Syria

By Derek Wall  - Open Democracy, September 29, 2014

Disclaimer: The views expressed here are not the official position of the IWW (or even the IWW’s EUC) and do not necessarily represent the views of anyone but the author’s.

A victory for the Kurds and their allies in Syria would be a victory for all who seek a future dictated by neither fundamentalists nor imperialists, writes Derek Wall. Is that why NATO members' have taken no effective action to help Syria's Kurds resist Islamic State - even as Kobane is set to fall, and with 160,000 Kurdish refugees trapped at the Turkish border?

The current narrative from Cameron and Obama is simple: the head-chopping Islamic State is a threat to all of humanity, so western forces need to return to the Middle East.

Yet this narrative is far from supported by the empirical evidence. Non-existent weapons of mass destruction and non-existent Islamic fundamentalist jihadists were used to justify the invasion of Iraq in 2003 by George Bush and Tony Blair.

Iraq was transformed from secular totalitarianism to chaos: in turn, chaos and opposition to occupation seeded a jihadist movement.

Western support for opponents of Assad in Syria gave the so-called 'Islamic State' an opportunity to take territory. ISIS was able to seize huge quantities of heavy weaponry supplied by the USA and its allies.

Thus, if US intervention has created or at least massively accelerated the growth of a monster, critics argue that more intervention will no doubt provide the Islamic State with more weapons, more support and more chaos on which to thrive.

Soma Mine was Death Trap, Report Shows

IndustriALL Global Union - Mining.Com, October 2, 2014

Disclaimer: The views expressed here are not the official position of the IWW (or even the IWW’s EUC) and do not necessarily represent the views of anyone but the author’s.

A scathing official report into the Soma mining disaster in Turkey has revealed a catalogue of negligent practices and a complete disregard for worker safety. The comprehensive analysis shows warning sensors were ignored, safety reports fabricated and ventilation systems faulty. Three hundred and one miners were killed in the tragedy in May.

The much-anticipated 126-page expert report, commissioned by the Turkish public prosecutor, clearly states the catastrophe was preventable. While eight high-level managers of the mine’s operating company have already been arrested in connection with the tragedy, the report points the finger of blame at almost everyone involved in the mine, including ministry bureaucrats, with the exception of the miners themselves. “The only innocent group is the workers,” says the report.

The Soma mine is owned by a state-owned company Turkish Coal Enterprises (TKI) and operated by a private company, Soma Kömür İşletmeleri A.Ş.

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