Beating Balfour Beatty, humiliating Holland & Barret, and round 2 of the Israeli Summer: late June-early July round-up

I’ve been pretty busy for a while, and really not had time to post anything substantial on here, but quite a lot of important stuff’s happened recently that seemed worth mentioning, so here’s a quick round-up:
The first big victory, which you’ve probably seen something about already, is that the ongoing campaign against workfare has forced Holland & Barratt to pull out. The timing of the announcement clearly has something to do with the upcoming week of action against workfare, and is a nice boost to make sure everyone’s in high spirits as we gear up to take on the rest of the super-exploitative bastards. Chris Grayling’s already upset, let’s make sure we really give him something to cry about in the days and weeks to come. If you can make it, the Boycott Workfare conference on Tuesday sounds really worthwhile.
Equally important, but not particularly well reported, is the victory won by construction workers taking wildcat action against Balfour Beatty. Rank-and-file militancy in the construction industry, and especially against Balfour Beatty, has been really impressive lately, and it’s good to see wildcat direct action continuing to win real victories. We’re all under attack at the moment, and there’s a lot to learn from the example of the sparks and other militant construction workers.
Also on the industrial front, an all-out strike by recycling workers in Sheffield has ended in an agreement that the GMB are selling as a major victory, with promises of no redundancies and a new bonus scheme. It’s always good to be skeptical of anything unions and employers claim, but the reinstatement of six sacked workers definitely sounds like a real win. It’s also worth noting that Remploy workers are set to go out on strike action, another dispute that should be supported. Hopefully the Remploy employees will move beyond union-called one-day strikes and start taking the kind of action that can actually win. Oh, and the IWW cleaners’ branch are set to start taking action at John Lewis in London – good luck to them, judging by their track record there is every reason to think that they can win this one.
Other interesting developments in the UK have included a strike by students at New College Nottingham and resistance to an eviction in Birmingham – the eviction eventually went ahead, but was slowed down by two hours. Housing struggles are already a pretty big deal in Spain and the US, among other places, and they’ll only become more important here with the attacks being made on housing benefit. Eviction resistance is one area where it’s very possible for direct action to win, so it’s good to see it starting to take off here.
Finally, on the international front, Adam Ford reports on the Chinese government being forced to abandon plans to build a copper alloy plant by popular resistance, and the protest movement that shook the Israeli state last summer has returned. Apparently, much like with recent developments in the American Occupy movement, it’s not as big as it was last year, but there’s a new militancy. It’s too early to say how this latest round of protests will play out, and they might well just fizzle out without achieving anything in the short term, but it’s good to see that ethnic privileges and divisions can’t keep class tensions hidden forever. Nationalists on both sides of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict like to portray both countries as being unified behind their respective elites; the resurgence of class struggle in Israel, along with some attempts to build unity across ethnic divisions, is a welcome reminder that, in Israel just like everywhere else, “national unity” is a fragile myth that serves to paper over very real divisions and conflicts. Across and against all borders, the struggle continues.

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, Disability, Strikes, Stuff that I think is pretty awesome, Unemployment/claimants and welfare and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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