workers freedom

economics as if workers mattered

Monthly Archives: July 2013

Freedom for los 5 de Barcelona

I recently received this appeal from a Swedish syndicalist:

In May 2013 on directions from Madrid the police arrested five anarchists in their homes accusing them for beeing terrorists because of what they had written i social medias and for what they have been claimed to have been saying at demonstrations. This is political oppression and also oppression of the freedom of speech. The evidence the police has found is a can of petrol found in a garage, legally firework, anarchist books, banners and t-shirts.
We notice that the critiscism that Amnesty International recently gave Spain sadly seems to be correct. Freedom for Yolanda, Silvia, Juan, Xabier and José!

There is an online petition here.

How to live on minimum wage

Faced with a wave of strikes by fast food workers and growing pressure to raise the minimum wage, McDonald’s and other low-wage employers have decided to lend a helping hand to their workers. Not by raising wages or offering benefits, no; the bosses are offering something far more valuable: instruction in financial planning.

The problem, you see, is that those with very little money never learned how to handle the money they don’t have. So McDonald’s has partnered with VISA to teach their workers how to make a budget. With determination, they can save their paltry wages and earn enough to buy a McDonald’s franchise!

Except that it turns out the well-trained financial advisers given this task found it too difficult. In order to put together a sample budget that made sense (even cutting expenses to the bone), they were forced to have their hypothetical workers put in 75 to 80 hours a week. Since McDonald’s would never schedule workers that way (then they’d have to pay overtime, which would mess up the entire profit-making scheme), they slot workers for a second job. Then, after doubling the income by doubling the work day and nickel-and-diming the expenses, they managed to come up with a budget which would enable their hypothetical sleep-deprived wage slave to save enough for a rainy day. (As long as there were only one or two of those rainy days; there’s not much slack here.)

You can see a video on one McDonald’s worker’s response to this nonsense here. (You can also see the scissorbill mentality at work if you scroll down past the initial comments.) Rather than taking two jobs to try to make ends meet (even were that possible for most of us, given the unemployment situation — ignoring the toll on our bodies and the difficulty of juggling schedules), we’d do far better to work less. With shorter hours, the bosses would be forced to turn over some of the massive productivity gains they’ve been redirecting into profits, sky-high managerial salaries and other parasitism, and we’d have some time to live our lives.

UPDATE: Mike Elk reports on a health & safety strike by McDonald’s workers in New York, which began after a worker collapsed in the kitchen (and was taken to hospital in an ambulance) during the current heat wave. The air conditioner had broken.

ASR 60 is on the press

Anarcho-Syndicalist Review #60 is on the press, check it out:

This issue has an interview with an Egyptian anarchist, an in-depth look at the rebellion in the South African mines, a review of a book on anarchism in the colonial world, reflections on Maggie Thatcher’s death, and much more…

Happy International Flag Burning Day

The Troublemakers wrote a song to commemorate this important holiday:

If you join in the festivities, be sure to be safe. No polyester flags – watch those chemicals!

Corporate America’s Employees of the Month

The July 1 Business Week names the US Supreme Court “Corporate America’s Employees of the Month.”

They know whereof they speak.

Solidarity Against the Persecution of the Gaucha Anarchist Federation in Brazil

Call for solidarity and endorsement against the persecution in Brazil of anarchist militants and the Gaucha Anarchist Federation in Porto Alegre

In Porto Alegre, on June 20 past, about 15 agents from the Civil Police raided the Ateneo Batalha da Varzea, political and social premises where the Gaucha Anarchist Federation is located, without a warrant.

In Porto Alegre, on June 20 last, about 15 officers from the Civil Police raided the Ateneo Batalha da Varzea, the political and social premises where the Federação Anarquista Gaúcha is located, without a warrant.
In this city where, since the beginning of the year, there have been massive demonstrations for popular demands concerning public transport, health, education, against corruption, with the aim of creating social change for their locality and their country.

This is a country where thousands of people are taking to the streets to denounce that everything is rotten and that it is necessary and urgent to change it. Faced with so much opulence of the powerful, with the stadiums being built for the Confederations Cup and the FIFA World Cup, faced with so much sustained repression, displacement and militarisation of working-class neighbourhoods, the almost total neglect of public health and education, the usury and theft that – as a corollary – is the cost and quality of transport.

And now they are seeking to criminalise the FAG, and make it responsible for all the anger and fury that the population of the whole country feels. They are seeking to accuse the FAG, saying that they came across anarchist literature in their premises. What did you think you would find in anarchist premises? The FAG is accused of being in collusion with the far right, when its work has been in places that the right rejects, such as the Popular Resistance committee, the waste collectors movement, trade unionism, the peasant movement, the student struggle, activities to involve more comrades in practices of a libertarian nature.

And there are more and more things that separate the FAG from that which has been its enemy in a historical constant, such as the raid that occurred in 2009 under the orders of governor Yeda Crusius, when the anarchist organisation held her responsible for the assassination of activist Elton Brum.

So, it has itself been against the powerful, those at the top and their allies in power. This raid is above all ideological, because it is the persecution of our ideas that is principal. It is this that they want to erase: all meaning of rebellion and liberation that our struggles can adopt; class independence, direct democracy, the building of people’s power.

We therefore express our greatest concern and alert on the issue and will follow up on the matter by responding where we find the stories of our struggles!

Down with the repression of the Brazilian people’s movement!
Down with the criminalisation of the FAG!
Forward with those who struggle!
Arriba los que luchan!

Endorsed by:
Columna Libertaria Joaquín Penina (Rosario, Argentina)
Columna Libertaria Errico Malatesta (CABA, Argentina)
Federación Anarquista Uruguaya (Uruguay)
Zabalaza Anarchist Communist Front (South Africa)
Federazione dei Comunisti Anarchici (Italy)
Federación Comunista Libertaria (Chile)
Unión Socialista Libertaria (Peru)
Coordination des Groupes Anarchistes (France)
Organización Anarquista Socialismo Libertario (Sao Paulo – Brazil)
Libertäre Aktion Winterthur (Switzerland)
Miami Autonomy & Solidarity (USA)
Federación Anarco Comunista (Argentina)
Autogestión Oscar Barrios (Buenos Aires – Argentina)
Convergencia Libertaria (Valparaíso – Chile)
Gisela Gaeta – actriz – (Buenos Aires – Argentina)
Red Libertaria Estudiantil (Valparaíso – Chile)
Dr Alejandro Horowicz, titular de “Los cambios en el sistema políticomundial”, Sociologia, Universidad de Buenos Aires (Argentina)
Osvaldo Bayer (Buenos Aires – Argentina)
Sala Alberdi (Buenos Aires – Argentina)
Pueblos, Barrios y Colonias en Defensa de Atzcapotzalco (Mexico)
Luciano Andrés Valencia, Writer and historian (Rio Negro – Patogonia Argentina)
Mb12 de Agosto (Claypole – Glew – Argentina)
Salvemos al Iberá (Corrientes – Argentina)
Martín Jaime (Argentina)
Analia Casafu, Ruben Saboulard, Angela Morin, Comision de Coordinacion de las ASAMBLEAS DEL PUEBLO (Argentina)
Sociedad de Resistencia Oficios Varios San Martín member of the FORA – AIT (Argentina)
FOB – Federación de Organizaciones de Base, Córdoba, Rosario, Buenos Aires , José C. Paz, Berazategui, Almirante Brown, Florencio Varela, Valentin Alsina, Lanus, Lugano, La Matanza, Lomas de Zamora (Argentina)
Prairie Struggle Organization (Canada)
Workers Solidarity Alliance (USA)
Frente Estudiantil y Social de Zaragoza (Spanish State)
Federação Anarquista do Rio de Janeiro (Brazil)
Alternative Libertaire (France)
Confederación General del Trabajo – CGT (Spanish State)
Iniciativa Socialista de Izquierdas (Andalusia, Catalonia, Extremadura, Madrid, Aragon, Castile and León, etc – Spanish State)
Kasandrxs, Feministas Libertarias (Neuquén – Argentina)
USI (Italy)
Confederazione Italiana di Base UNICOBAS (Italy)
Barricada TV (Capital Federal – Buenos Aires, Argentina)
Associació Cultural el Raval-el Lokal (Barcelona, Spain)
Consejo Indigena Popular de Oaxaca Ricardo Flores Magon – CIPO RFM (Mexico)
Frente Anarquista Organizado [FAO] (Valparaíso, Chile)
Movimento Red Tinku (Bolivia)
Melbourne Anarchist Communist Group (Australia)
First of May Anarchist Alliance (USA)
Four Star Anarchist Organization (USA)Grupo Libertario Vía Libre (Bogotá-Colombia)
Grupo Estudiantil Anarquista (Colombia)
Centro Social Okupado El Nido de Benimaclet (Valencia – Spanish State)