There are now two workplace occupations ongoing in Ireland: The Vita Cortex occupation in Cork, which has been running for several weeks now, has now been joined by an occupation of a La Senza shop in Dublin. Their facebook page is here. It’s hard for people living in the UK to offer much practical support for these disputes, beyond liking the La Senza and Vita Cortex occupation facebook pages and sending messages of solidarity, but we need to be publicising them as widely as possible. It seems fairly obvious that these kind of militant tactics are more effective than traditional picket lines – although, for those who’ve already been laid off, a straightforward strike might not even be an option – and the Occupy movement shows how powerful an example can be: not so long ago, camping out in city centres was a completely unheard-of tactic. Now, whatever you think of the tactic, it is at least widely recognised as being something that happens. If we can get the idea that workplace occupations are something that happens when people get made redundant back into the popular imagination, we’ll all be in a stronger position.
Back in the UK, today also saw more action in the ongoing electricians’ dispute, although the only reports I’ve been able to find so far are from the Hartlepool Mail and Socialist Worker. Hopefully the national rank-and-file meeting this Saturday will strengthen the network and take things still further.
Looking abroad, the general strike erupting in Nigeria sounds pretty exciting, the first few weeks of 2012 are already seeing a lot of strikes in China, following on from all the largely-unreported conflict last year, and Hyundai workers in Korea briefly stopped work after one of them set himself on fire – according to the report, Hyundai are saying they made major concessions to calm the situation down, but they’re also planning on taking legal action against the union, so mixed messages there.
On a different note, this story’s a month old, but I’ve only just found it: even for those of us who already hate the police, it’s still possible to be shocked by individual cases of their viciousness, and I certainly found that was the case with this first-hand report and accompanying video of the unprovoked arrest of Joe Diaz, a 24-year-old philosophy student, in a library. Nothing new, nothing that we didn’t know already, but still, fuck the police.
Finally, I think this article encouraging activists to make a new year’s resolution against abstract politics of lobbying and self-promotion is worth reading for anyone who’s politically active. It also reminds me that I want to write something outlining my reservations about the idea of protesting the Olympics, but that can wait for another day.
Oh, and in case you don’t get the title, it’s a reference to this: