One of the biggest unreported stories going on at the moment is the repression going on against anarchists in the North-West US. Yesterday Matt Duran and Leah-Lynn Plante appeared before a grand jury; they both refused to testify, and Matt was taken into custody for his refusal to co-operate. Leah was released but summoned to testify again at a future hearing. It’s quite likely that both will eventually end up serving prison sentences for refusing to inform on their friends and comrades. Their bravery deserves our total solidarity and respect; above all, it deserves to be a lot more widely known than it is now.
To get in touch with Matt, write to:
Matthew Kyle Duran
P.O. Box 13900
Seattle, WA 98198
Also in the US, the Chicago Teachers’ Union are currently out on strike, and have now stayed out for a week. This kind of all-out action is increasingly rare, especially on a city-wide scale, so it’s worth paying attention to.
Back in the UK, but still on an American note, a member of the Seattle Solidarity Network is currently doing a speaking tour, with visits to Nottingham, Newcastle and Glasgow planned next week. SeaSol are a really inspiring organisation, with an impressive record of victories, so this sounds worth attending if you get the chance.
The solidarity network model has also proved its effectiveness in the UK a number of times, most recently in Nottingham where a solidarity network managed to force the debt collection agency Lowell to back down. Going further back, I think I’d missed the fact that the tenant-led campaign against rip-off letting agents Victorstone managed to secure a victory last month, forcing them to pay back around £3000 in fees.
Although action around benefits has slowed down a bit since the end of the Atos week of action, the pressure’s still been kept up to some extent, with a blockade of an Atos office in Cardiff and an occupation of a jobcentre in Huddersfield. The campaign against workfare also continues, with a day of action that forced the British Heart Foundation to openly lie in order to try and protect their image, and a call for action against workfare during the Lib Dem conference in Brighton.
Another aspect of the fight against austerity that’s seen a bit of publicity recently is the occupation of Friern Barnet Library by squatters, who aim to re-open the closed library under community
On the industrial front, away from the posturing of the TUC conference, the Sparks rank-and-file network have been continuing their struggle against construction companies: they’re keeping up the fight on blacklisting, resisting new attempts by Crown House to attack their pay and conditions, and they’ve forced Balfour Beatty to back down on attempts to sack the rank-and-file militant Stewart Hume. Looking to the future, the next few days will see international solidarity for Australian Domino’s workers who’re attempting to organise in a revolutionary union, the General Transport Workers Association. Events happening in the UK that I’m aware of are solidarity pickets in Sheffield and Leeds tomorrow, plus an email and phone blockade on Monday that anyone can join in with, but there might be more that I’ve missed.
Finally, this extensive piece from Zabalaza on the recent massacre of miners in South Africa is worth a read, since it provides an impressive amount of background information.