Seattle’s drivers aren’t trucking around.

It’s been another busy week. Over in the US, the ongoing struggle in the ports of the West Coast has seen a dramatic new development as poorly-paid truck drivers have shut down the port of Seattle in a wildcat action. Last weekend was marked by big clashes as Occupy Oakland tried to take a large building – since I’ve never quite been able to suppress my anarcho-instinct that anything involving big fights with the cops is probably good, I was quite excited to hear about it, but it’s attracted some harsh criticism from anarchists involved with Occupy Oakland who think the whole thing is in serious danger of degenerating into a series of predictable, routine clashes between a shrinking core of activists and the state. The Workers’ Solidarity Alliance have also posted a quite well-written statement of solidarity with the many people arrested during the action. Looking to the future, as the Occupy movement becomes harder and harder to sustain as a set of physical encampments, the “Occupy Our Homes” tactic/slogan is looking increasingly appealing, a strategy discussed in this really inspiring interview with an organiser in Boston who claims that the city’s now seeing hundred-strong weekly anti-eviction meetings. It’s a tactic we really need to start adopting over here, as home repossessions continue to rise. The push for a general strike on May 1st is continuing, with some really excellent graphics being made to promote it, but, as anyone who’s noticed the failure of June 30th and November 30th to bring down the government will be aware, the class struggle is an ongoing process that can never be reduced to single days of action. On that note, one current dispute worth paying attention to is the nurses’ strike in California. Finally, Arizona may be the next major engagement after Wisconsin in the ruling-class offensive against public sector unions.
Back in the UK, it’s also been an eventful week. Today’s seen pickets at a number of Pizza Hut stores in solidarity with the Pizza Hut employees in Sheffield who’ve been organising through the Industrial Workers of the World – as well as the Sheffield store, there are pickets in London, Bristol, Liverpool and Glasgow that I’m aware of, and quite possibly more that I don’t know about. Hopefully the freezing weather won’t have hurt morale too much.
The last few days have also seen action in other ongoing disputes, like the sparks’ fight against the new contracts and the Europe-wide campaign against the Adecco temp agency who’ve been supplying scabs to undermine the CNT in Spain. And those are just the cases anarchists have been most focussed on, there’s also a lot of other stuff going on, like the strikes by bus drivers in Barnsley.
Away from the workplace, the last week’s also seen quite a bit of action by disabled people, starting with a big blockade by Disabled People Against Cuts that brought Oxford Circus to a standstill for two hours last Saturday, as well as protests against Atos in Nottingham and London. The Void has a good piece about the effects all this pressure is having on Atos, as well as a heartfelt rant about how absolutely fucking scummy the Lib Dems are for going along with this war on the sick. Meanwhile, as the cold weather means huge profits for the energy companies, fuel poverty protesters staged a successful occupation of British Gas headquarters, an act that would be the most audacious action of the week, at least in the UK, if it wasn’t for John Foley handcuffing himself to the goalposts during an Everton vs Man City game to draw attention to Ryanair’s exploitative recruitment practices.
Some very welcome news comes from Bradford, where the 1 in 12 Club has now officially beaten the threat of closure. Less welcome news comes from the National Campaign Against Fees and Cuts national conference, which by all accounts was completely fucking awful. The “anti-imperialists” of the SWP, Counterfire and Student Broad Left (which, despite the fluffy and inclusive-sounding name, is actually a tightly controlled Trot front group dedicated to the worship of Chavez, Galloway, Ken Livingstone, and any other scumbag who gets anywhere near a position of power, up to and including Gaddafi) managed to derail discussion about actual student issues like fees and cuts by starting a bitter debate about Iran where they smeared everyone who criticises the Iranian regime or supports dissidents as being the same as the Tea Party. The behaviour of Fiona Edwards, a Student Broad Left/Socialist Action member of the NCAFC Women’s Committee, was so objectionable that the vast majority of the women’s committee have now signed a statement calling on her to apologise or resign immediately. Normally I’d have severe reservations about posting another activist’s full name on the internet without their permission, but then again, bureaucratic wanna-be politician scumbags like Fiona Edwards are only too keen to publicise themselves as much as possible in order to boost their “progressive” CV so they can maximise their chances of getting a cushy job working for Livingstone or Galloway. That turned into more of a rant than I expected, but these careerist, power-seeking fucks really piss me off.
Anyway, in other news, Freedom Press have a reminder about the three remaining antifascist prisoners, as well as Omar Ibrahim, who’s still inside for his role in the March 26th protest. They also have a handy guide to events coming up in February – it sounds like next Friday’s particularly busy in London, with a protest against the sacking of the IWW cleaners’ branch secretary, a benefit gig for our comrades imprisoned in Greece, and another benefit gig for new local Radical London groups.
Looking abroad, Adam Ford’s got a good summary of recent workplace occupations in Ireland, including one I’d not heard of, as well as an update about KPMG’s betrayal of the La Senza workers. Italy’s seen a wave of arrests targetting activists fighting the construction of a new high-speed railway line, and Barcelona’s also had an exciting and combative January. Outside Europe, there’s been a big strike wave in Indonesia, and port workers in Auckland are taking action – perhaps there’s potential for them to link up with the dockers on the US West Coast, but that’s the sort of thing that’ll be decided by dock workers, not me. Meanwhile, huge protests continue in Russia, and one of the biggest international stories this week has been in Egypt, where 73 ultras died in an incident which is widely believed to have been deliberately engineered by the security services. Freedom have a good basic summary, and there’s a big collection of links here for anyone wanting to do more detailed reading into the case. Elsewhere, things have got very tense indeed in India, where workers at a ceramics factory have killed an executive in revenge for the killing of a union leader. This incident comes at the same time as huge numbers of nurses have launched an indefinite strike, and there’s still a monster strike by 100 million workers planned for the end of this month. Along with China, India is definitely worth paying attention to as the global class war continues to heat up.

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 Activism, Anarchists, Occupations, Protests, Strikes, Students, The left. Bookmark the permalink.

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