We have the beauty on our side: International round-up

To try and counter-act the usual UK-centric focus of the blog, here’s a round-up of some international stories that’ve caught my eye recently:
In the US, grocery store cleaners in Minneapolis have launched a hunger strike against their starvation wages. The process of analysing the struggle that erupted in Wisconsin earlier this year continues, as Paul Mattick Jr. and the Institute for Experimental Freedom have both recently produced pieces attempting to draw lessons from it (have to admit I’ve not actually read the “Early Spring for the Badger” pamphlet yet cos it’s long, but it looks interesting.)
Spain: I am still completely failing to keep track of the Spanish situation, since I’ve yet to find an English-language source as good as Occupied London’s coverage of Greece. This article’s the most interesting report I’ve been able to find in English so far.
Greece: I’d just advise reading Occupied London. This was particularly interesting, and in general the whole blog’s still the best source for information about the movement in Greece.
Egypt: An interview with an Egyptian anarchist’s just gone up on libcom, and a Libertarian Socialist Movement’s just been set up in Egypt. Looks to be worth keeping an eye on.
Belarus: Five comrades in Belarus, Ihar Alinevich, Mikalaj Dziadok, Aliaksandar Frantskievich, Maxim Vetkin and Yeveni Slivonchik, have just been sent down for up to 8 years of “hard regime” (don’t really want to know what that means in the context of the Belarussian legal system). Maxim Vetkin and Yeveni Slivonchik testified against the others and got much lighter sentences, but the first three deserve our total support.
Finally, at home, this weekend saw an impressively well-supported day of action in defence of the NHS called by UKUncut. You can read reports from participants in Oxford, London, Leeds, Camden, Nottingham, Edinburgh and Bristol, but perhaps the most interesting thing about it is that it managed to get fairly sympathetic or at least neutral write-ups in a lot of the mainstream media, including papers as frothingly right-wing as the Daily Mail. This seems to indicate that the ruling class are seriously divided over cuts to the NHS: before the election, Cameron was keen to reassure us that he’d “cut the deficit, not the NHS”, and the Lib Dems have been keen to disassociate themselves from the Tories on this issue. Out of all the areas where cuts are being threatened, the health service looks like it might be the most winnable fight at the moment (indeed, as I’ve noted before, some victories have already been won in places like Nottingham). It’d be pointless to speculate too much about what the results might be: if the government dropped their threats to the NHS, there’s the possibility that they could use it skillfully to demobilise the least committed sections of the anti-cuts movement, as the Lib Dems reassure everyone that they’ve succeeded in persuading the nasty tories to drop the bad, unnecessary cuts, and those that remain are really vital to the health of the economy. On the other hand, it’s equally possible that forcing the government to back down on the health service could lead to a total collapse in confidence among the ruling class and a huge increase in confidence on our side, leading to a swift defeat for the cuts programme as a whole. Or something else unpredictable might happen, who knows?
Looking to the future, the (less popular, but still vital) fight over welfare cuts continues with call-outs for action against a conference on welfare reform on 7 June, and ATOS recruitment events in London and Glasgow. And, in the run-up to June 30th, strike assemblies will be happening in Birmingham, Leeds, London, Norwich and Sheffield, and hopefully elsewhere. The strikes at the end of this month have the potential to move beyond business as usual and develop into a real challenge, and we can all play a role in helping them spread beyond the normal union divisions.


About nothingiseverlost

"The impulse to fight against work and management is immediately collective. As we fight against the conditions of our own lives, we see that other people are doing the same. To get anywhere we have to fight side by side. We begin to break down the divisions between us and prejudices, hierarchies, and nationalisms begin to be undermined. As we build trust and solidarity, we grow more daring and combative. More becomes possible. We get more organized, more confident, more disruptive and more powerful."
This entry was posted in Anarchists, Internationalism, Protests, Repression, Strikes, Stuff that I think is pretty awesome, Tories, Unemployment/claimants and welfare and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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