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Judi Bari Day: May 24, 2014

By Karen Pickett - Indybay.org, May 20, 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.

Join us to commemorate the 24th anniversary of the bombing of Judi Bari & Darryl Cherney & attack on Earth First! - With a Speak-Out, Sing-Out, and show of solidarity

Sat., May 24 -- Gather @ 11:30 am at Park Blvd @ E.33rd, near MacArthur, Oakland, California
To mark the moment of the bombing: 12 noon

Bring musical instruments, poems & your voice.

A bit of history: Earth First! activists Judi Bari & Darryl Cherney were subjects of a bomb attack in Oakland on May 24, 1990 as they were organizing for Redwood Summer. They were charged with bombing themselves by the FBI & OPD; Earth First! was smeared, & a serious investigation was never done. Judi & Darryl sued the FBI & OPD for civil rights violations, winning the case in 2002. Judi Bari died in 1997. Activists continue to investigate the bombing.

Judi famously said [when asked by an FBI representative if there was anything the FBI could do to restore Bari's confidence in them as an investigative agency], “Find the bomber and fire him!”

We will never forget.

We will never give up.

"If Gezi never happened, the anger at mass murder at Soma could not have burst forth from the people"

An Interview with IWW member Yusuf Cemel - Libcom.Org, May 20, 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) Can you describe the general atmosphere in Turkey at the moment? Where do you see the protests going from here? Any predictions for what the summer might hold?

The protests are going on. I just came from one of them. Remarkably the cops didn't attack us this time around.

But I’m sure the government is preparing a political attack on us, because Soma unveiled the AKP’s real face to people who are workers, people who voted for the AKP: the AKP is a rich people’s party. The AKP is collaborating with the bosses against workers. The AKP is covering and helping all bosses.

You can’t believe what they did. People in Soma people hissed and protested at Tayyip’s words. Because he said that the people who protest him are bad-mannered and presumptuous. Then a lot of the people of Soma started to protest him. Then the despot beat someone in a supermarket while saying “Why are you running away, İsraeli semen?” You can watch it here. The AKP’s spokesman denied these words. But we know what we heard. After that the bodyguards attacked this guy.

But now, the guy who was beaten by Tayyip has started to say “He was helping me”.* Can you understand the fear? Can you understand pressure on this guy? Maybe they offered to bribe him while they were threatening him? This is not a dictatorship. This is a regime becoming despotic. An under-secretary of the despot kicked a miner’s relative. I could tell you a lot more about the disgusting affairs during Soma.

The government dispatched some Islamic dervishes into Soma. They told people in Soma that they shouldn’t riot and they should obey the government. You know Marx said “Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, and the soul of soulless conditions. It is the opium of the people.” This is exactly what’s happening here.

Now, we are trying to expose the AKP’s behaviour to the workers who voted for them. But the demonstrations are not useful for this purpose. We need different facilities. Such as mass strikes, such as a self-organized workers’ movement etc.

Turkish mine disaster: Unions Take Strike Action, Blaming ‘Murderous’ Lack of Safety and Privatisation

By John Millington - Red Pepper, May 15, 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.

Turkish trade unions staged a one day strike on Thursday (May 15) in protest at the Soma mine disaster which has left over 200 dead. An as yet unexplained explosion took the lives of 246 miners and around 700 may still be trapped underground.

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan visited the area but had his car attacked as hundreds of protesters and angry relatives besieged his car. Unions in Turkey have put the blame for the disaster at the feet of the mine owners and the government for privatising the industry, labelling them “murderers.”

The Confederation of Progressive Trade Unions in Turkey who took part in the one day stoppage called on people to wear black and demand answers. “It is a workplace murder, not an industrial accident,” a statement read. “Hundreds of our brothers working in Soma mines have been forced to work in inhuman production process in order to make maximum profit since the matter of promoting workers’ health and security measures are considered in accordance with the pros and cons of expenditures. It means they have been left for dead since the beginning.”

The Public Workers Confederation told the BBC: “Those who pursue privatisation… policies, who threaten workers’ lives to reduce cost… are the culprits of the Soma massacre and they must be held accountable.” Global union INDUSTRIALL demanded the government comply with basic International Labour Organisation (ILO) standards on health and safety to prevent further deaths in the future. “We once again call upon the political authorities to take the lives of mineworkers seriously and to place it above profit,” a statement read.

And the World Federation of Trade Unions (WFTU), representing 90 million workers across the world, denounced the Turkish government and a “murderous lack of safety measures” leading to the deaths. They said: “The WFTU denounces the Government of Turkey and the companies exploiting the mines for their murderous lack of safety measures and demands the end of privatization of the people’s wealth, the natural resources, the modernization of the technology used in the mines, the immediate implementation of safety controls and the application of all necessary measures in all mines to protect the lives of the working people.

“The World Federation of Trade Unions expresses its condolences to the families and the loved ones of the victims and demands the immediate full compensation of the victims’ families and the injured workers.”

Five Liberal Tendencies That Plagued Occupy

By Mark Bray - Roar Magazine, May 14, 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. 

In a country so devoid of genuinely left politics as the United States, it was little surprise that Occupy Wall Street (OWS), the most dynamic American social movement in decades, surged to the fore of national politics riding a robust wave of liberal euphoria. As I argue in Translating Anarchy: The Anarchism of Occupy Wall Street, OWS never would have attained historic proportions without tapping into the pervasive despair that plagued left-liberal and progressive circles after Obama’s failure to live up to the “savior of the left” hype that was so recklessly bestowed upon him in 2008.

But it was liberal support for a movement that a core organizing group of anarchists and anti-capitalist anti-authoritarians shifted in an autonomous, directly democratic, non-electoral, class struggle, direct-action-oriented direction that made OWS popular, radical, and radicalizing. Without the anarchists it would have been ineffectual; without the liberals it would have been irrelevant. By carving out space for liberals and progressives to engage with anarchist praxis, OWS made a profound contribution to the development of anti-authoritarianism in the USA and beyond.

However, some of the most debilitating obstacles that we encountered stemmed from a number of liberal tendencies infecting a predominantly radical anti-capitalist organizing network. No, I’m not talking about attempts to turn Occupy into a voter-registration drive for the Democratic Party, or run “Occupy candidates” in local elections, or morph the movement into a new, hip political party that “breaks all the rules.” No, those tendencies were always peripheral and idiosyncratic within OWS, and they were cloaked in the stench of putrefying electoralism.

Instead, I’m referring to unacknowledged, internalized perspectives and orientations infected with liberalism through their constant exposure to the individualistic, capitalist climate we endure in this country. I hope that by examining a handful of them (space and time do not permit a complete list), we can better resist them next time.

In Chicago, Nurses Take Up Fight Against Petcoke Piles

Story and image by Kari Lydersen - Midwest Energy News, May 14, 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. IWW member Tom Morello took part in this event!

“Stunning, just stunning, just stunning,” said Sheilah Garland, shaking her head as she stared out the window of the bus rolling along a dirt road next to towering black piles of petroleum coke on Chicago’s Southeast Side.

As an organizer of National Nurses United, a labor union representing about 6,000 nurses in Chicago and 185,000 nationwide, Garland has seen a lot. She represents nurses working in grueling and traumatic situations on a daily basis. And the union has picked fights with powerful politicians, including former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel.

But Garland was shocked by the piles of petcoke, about six stories high, located across the street from homes. She was also perturbed to see employees walking onsite without respiratory masks.

The nurses union has joined local residents’ fight to get petcoke transportation and storage banned in Chicago. They see it as a serious public health issue and part of their larger social justice advocacy mission.

Rallying At Koch-Owned Facility, Nurses Experience Petcoke Pollution Firsthand

By Emily Atkin - Think Progress, May 12, 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.

Standing on South Burley avenue in southeast Chicago on Monday morning, Rolanda Watson-Clark began to feel droplets of moisture forming on her arms. But it wasn’t raining. The fluid being sprayed on nearby piles of petroleum coke was blowing on to her skin.

“It’s so scary,” Watson-Clark told ThinkProgress. “We were just standing there for a press conference taking pictures with our signs close to the plant, and we’re saying ‘Oh my God! Did you feel that?’ We’re feeling it dropping on us and we’re like — can we go now?”

Watson-Clark, a nurse at the Illinois-based Robbins Health Clinic, was part of a Monday rally demanding Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel put an immediate stop to petcoke — a dusty byproduct of tar sands oil refining — which is stored in large piles along the Calumet river on Chicago’s southeast side. The nurses and activists attending claim that, on windy days, the uncovered piles coat primarily low-income areas of Chicago with thick, black, oily dust that harms children’s respiratory systems and otherwise threatens public health.

“One of the women here is a mother with children, and when the wind blows her house is covered with this soot,” Watson-Clark said. “Her 5-year-old even knows that when it’s windy, she can’t go out and play.”

As part of the rally, members of National Nurses United, the Southeast Side Environmental Task Force, Southeast Side Coalition to Ban Petcoke, and Progressive Democrats of America, took a bus tour of oil refineries that produce petcoke, and sites that store petcoke piles in the area. This included the controversial KCBX Terminals Company storage site on South Burley avenue, owned by billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch. The brothers were recently threatened with a lawsuit over air pollution from the piles, some of which Watson-Clark said were six stories high.

Associated Pennsylvania State College and University Faculties (APSCUF) Position Statement on Hydraulic Fracturing (Fracking)

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 ad hoc committee, by majority, supports the position that PASSHE (Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education) campuses are not appropriate locations for hydraulic fracturing (fracking), that given the environmental and health hazards of the fracking process, including all of its infrastructure and associated enterprises, its presence on PASSHE campuses is inconsistent and potentially deleterious to the PASSHE educational mission as well as to the health and welfare of PASSHE community members. 

A growing body of research is beginning to quantify and characterize the negative environmental, societal, economic, and ecological impacts on those close to such activities. Local impacts include but are not limited to gas migration, air pollution, and surface and near-surface water quality degradation as well as potential chronic impacts to air, water, landscapes, habitat, and ecosystems. Shale gas development in the United States) states, “Having one of these sites near a home, school or business can be distracting, inconvenient, annoying, and disruptive” (Soeder (2012).

Moreover, APSCUF opposes SB 367--the Indigenous Mineral Resources Development Act--as inconsistent with the PASSHE education mission for the same reasons and because it effectively pits some PASSHE campuses against others for revenue which could accrue to the permitting of fracking operations on PASSHE lands.  Such potential competition, or implementation of SB 367 in any form, could accelerate the presence of such operations--including pipeline construction, compressor infrastructure, waste management, heavy industrial truck traffic, and thereby increase exposure to pollution and hazards for members of PASSHE communities. 

Lastly, APSCUF takes a position against a PASSHE contribution to climate change, as induced by increased greenhouse gas emissions, as this is also inconsistent with a mission committed to the educations and welfare of future citizens of the Commonwealth.

Chapter 13 : They’re Closing Down the Mill in Potter Valley

By Steve Ongerth - From the book, Redwood Uprising: Book 1

“A year before (the closure) was announced, they told us we’d work ten more years…if they hadn’t gone to two shifts five years ago, we could’ve gone twice as long.”

—Ray Smith, 14 year L-P employee commenting on the closing of the Potter Valley Mill.

“Harry Merlo, L-P’s president, makes a million dollars a year in salary and fringes. Forty-five Potter Valley mill jobs at $20,000 per year out of Merlo’s annual booty would still leave Harry a hundred grand a year.

—Bruce Anderson, Anderson Valley Advertiser, December 28, 1989

“Now Ray says there’s timber back there, They’ll haul it right past town,
Sam says the only way they’ll reopen, Is if another mill burns down,
The company says it’s environmentalists, Crampin’ up their style,
But as I look out on the Mendocino Forest, I can’t see a tree for miles…”

—Potter Valley Mill, lyrics by Darryl Cherney and Judi Bari, January 1989.

The ideological battle being waged between Corporate Timber and the environmentalists continued. Although the Louisiana Pacific workers had been largely silent since the unions had been busted three years previously, they were about to be shocked out of their malaise. Despite announcing record company quarterly earnings of $51.5 million at $1.34 per share (in contrast with $36.8 million at $0.97 the previous year) [1] L-P announced, on November 28, 1988, that they would be clos­ing their lumber mill in Potter Valley in Mendocino County, which had been in operation for fifty years and employed 132 full-time employees, the following spring. L-P’s Western Division manager, Joe Wheeler admitted that the timing of the announcements, just before the Christmas holiday season, was “especially difficult”, but felt it was necessary so the workers would not “extend themselves financially through the holiday season.” [2]

Rumors of the closing had been circulating for some time. The company confirmed them in their usual fashion. As they had prior to the temporary mill closures in the earlier part of the decade, L-P management bought the workers donuts. “For the past 15 years it was the same rumor. ‘Here come the donuts,’ the workers would say, expecting the worst, but it was usually a (temporary) layoff,” declared Linda Smith, whose husband, Ray, worked as a saw-filer in the mill. Indeed, many initially thought that the latest layoff would be no different, but this time they were mistaken.

Climate Change is Evidence of the Death-Wish of Capitalism

By Renfry Clark - Green Left Weekly, April 26, 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.

If modern industrial capitalism were a person, he or she would be on suicide watch. The system that has brought us quantum physics and reality television, modern medicine and the columns of Andrew Bolt is set on a course which, by all the best reckoning, points directly to its doing itself in.

If capitalism goes on — everything goes. Climate, coastlines, most living species, food supplies, the great bulk of humanity. And certainly, the preconditions for advanced civilisation, perhaps forever.

Moreover, we’re not just talking risk, in the sense of an off-chance. These are the most likely outcomes for capitalism’s current policies and performance in the area of climate change.

As far back as 2010 the famed US paleoclimatologist Lonnie Thompson told a gathering of scientists in Phoenix, Arizona: “Climatologists, like other scientists, tend to be a stolid group … Why then are climatologists speaking out about the dangers of global warming? The answer is that virtually all of us are now convinced that global warming poses a clear and present danger to civilization.”

Rulers in the capitalist world are not remotely contemplating action on the scale needed to contain the crisis. In recent years, the Climate Action Tracker, a scientific partnership that includes Germany’s high-powered Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, has issued an annual report detailing the climate commitments of governments around the world, and spelling out the implications for global warming. The most recent report, from last November, concludes: “Weak government action on climate change will lead to a projected 3.7°C of warming by 2100.”

Almost certainly, though, the warming that will result if action is limited to current promises will be much greater than this. Like the reports issued in recent months by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the Climate Action Tracker figures do not take account of so-called “slow feedbacks”. These are factors, such as the melting of polar ice and releases of greenhouse gases from melting permafrost, that cut in only on a time-frame of decades to centuries.

Mining Strike: Whose Reality is ‘The Real World’?

By Dick Forslund and Jeff Rubin - Daily Maverick, April 25, 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.

Everyone, other than lunatics, troublemakers and the economically illiterate, is supposed to know that the demand by the striking platinum workers for a starting basic wage of R12,500 is plainly unaffordable. Indeed, anything even near R12,500 is supposedly so outrageous as to guarantee the bankruptcy of the mining companies and the closure of the mines. The fact that the mining companies are now only nudging towards this claim, after more than 12 weeks of all out strike, and despite the major concession by AMCU, the trade union involved, of a four-year phasing in of the claim, ought to be sufficient proof of the magnitude of the workers’ unreality. A closer look at the actual numbers, however, suggests something very different.

The absurdity does not go away; instead we are forced to ask: Whose reality determines ‘the real world’?

An “unskilled” worker at Angloplats, for instance, has a basic monthly wage of R5,400. To reach R12,500 in the fourth year means an annual increase of R1,775 for each of the four years. This would appear to be a whopping 32.9% increase for the first year, falling gradually to a still large 16.6% in the fourth year. However, excluding other allowances and pension costs that, as a further concession, AMCU agreed to peg at the rate of inflation and assuming official inflation of 6% for four successive years, means that the total nominal wage increase falls to 21.6%, in the first year, and 12.1% in the fourth year.

For skilled and professional workers, the situation is far easier, for their basic salary is already close to R12,500. Indeed, the highest grades have it already. We don’t know the precise number of employees in each pay grade because the employers seek to hide this information. However, we can confidently say that the total wage bill for all AMCU’s members would be far less than a 20% increase in the first year and close to or below 10% in year four. Keeping inflation below 6% would reduce these numbers even further.

But the cost of meeting these increases – whatever they might be – is not small. This is not something to conceal but rather to affirm: We are indeed speaking of a wage revolution but with a difference: the cost would come from profits, rather than at the expense of the production of wealth.

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