The following statement was released by the Prison Branch of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine on January 3:

freedom4The resolution of the government of the Zionist occupation with respect to the imposition of new sanctions on Palestinian prisoners comes in the context of the overall attack being waged against the Palestinian people, from the continuation of settlements, the Judaization of Jerusalem, the imprisonment of the bodies of the martyrs, to the daily attacks against our people and attempts to crush their ongoing resistance. The decision taken against the prisoners is an escalatory step as we have seen in the Nafha prison yesterday, with the isolation of a group of leaders, including the leader Comrade Kamil Abu Hanish. This action means that the year 2017 will be a year of confrontation inside the prisons. These sanctions will not pass! We will not accept these policies that attempt to divide the prisoners and engage in micro-targeting. We will face them united, and the prison sections will remain a square of Read the rest of this entry »

Faulty trucks at Otahuhu Fire Service workshop

Faulty trucks at Otahuhu Fire Service workshop

by Susanne Kemp

Auckland firefighters have blacked an entire fleet of Fraser-MAN fire trucks.  The union ban on the trucks follows months of disquiet over the trucks.

Back in August last year, for instance, the union began trying to resolve issues related to these trucks.  Auckland firefighters were forced to black an appliance due to safety concerns.  The Auckland City fire truck carrying the life-saving “jaws of life” rescue equipment was found to be faulty and had to be taken off the road.

In October a AGM of Auckland firefighters expressed frustration and anger over the pumping and  pump-rescue appliances on these trucks.  At the time, the Auckland local of the union produced a comprehensive account of the problems with the trucks and rebuttal of the stalling and arse-covering antics of fleet management at national headquarters.

The Auckland local noted, among other things, “A proper trial involving a few prototypes would likely have avoided the current situation, a situation where $20 million of levy payers’ money has been wasted on a fleet of lemons with irretrievably bad DNA. A situation where vehicles less than six months old are literally coming apart at the seams (Christchurch). Where vehicles have had their wiring interfered with to the point where they won’t start when called upon to respond. Where pumps will not Read the rest of this entry »

The interview below first appeared in revolution magazine (#6, May-June 1998).  Fred was a longtime shopfloor militant and Marxist in the United States, being frequently fired and suspended from jobs due to his union and political activities.  At the time of the interview Fred was living in San Francisco but retirement meant that, at a certain point, he could no longer afford to live in that city and he moved to Mexico.  Fred died in 2002.

Fred at founding conference of the Class Struggle League

Fred at founding conference of the Class Struggle League, 1972

revolution: People have an image of the 1960s as fairly wild, in terms of social experimentation and political radicalism.  How general were these trends in the US?

Fred Ferguson: In the beginning, it depended on what part of the country you were in.  The New York City and San Francisco Bay metropolitan areas have always been little social democratic and liberal islands in a sea of reaction.  The US is a very backward country, politically and culturally.

However, as time went on and one revelation after another was made of government lying, duplicity, secret vendettas against civil rights leaders and secret wars against whole countries, young people began to wake up and look around.

By the end of the war in Vietnam, even high school (and junior high school), student strikes were taking place in the most remote areas of the mid-west and rural south.

Tens of thousands of young people flocked to the two sea coasts and formed what was to become the ‘youth culture’ of the United States.  The influence was tremendous: racially, sexually, politically, in pharmacology, fashion, hair styles and even in the automobile plants of Detroit.

The combined effect of that period politically has been misnamed ‘the Vietnam Syndrome’.  But it didn’t only apply to the government’s policy in Southeast Asia – it extended to nearly every aspect of society.  The people no longer believed.

revo: Although the US lost the Vietnam War and the American ruling class appears to have been traumatised for a while by that experience, they seem to have paid very little political price domestically.  For instance, no big revolutionary organisation emerged out of the years of ferment around the war and today the US government is intervening militarily around the world again, with very little domestic opposition.  How would you assess the campaign against the Vietnam War?

Fred: The campaign against the war was headed by the social democrats and their political partners in the Communist Party and the rapidly rightward-moving Socialist Workers Party.  Sociologically, it was overwhelmingly pacifist, middle class and campus-based.  The working class was, by and large, suffering under the patriotic illusions left over from World War II and the Korean War.  The US had only just begun its long decline economically and most of the working class was doing quite well compared to the pre-war years.  That tended to give them a conservative colouration.

But by 1967 most were deeply disturbed by the war and by the pictures that were on their television news programmes every night.  The social democrats, with no base in the working class, and the CP which had pissed theirs away in the 1930s and strike-breaking during World War II, had been driven to the right by the McCarthyite witch-hunt and the need to hide in the Democratic Party.  The left-wing concentrated around the (Maoist) Progressive Labor Party and the early (Trotskyist) Spartacist League were just too small, too late and too shrill.

During the same period much of the youth became Read the rest of this entry »

The article below first appeared in the Living section of revolution magazine (#6, May-June 1998), a print predecessor to this site.  The original article appeared under the title “Meddling in generics”.

downloadBeneath Gattaca’s serene exterior lie the clichés of the nervous nineties, argues Andrew Welch

The most striking aspect of Gattaca is its serene nineties style.  Every shot has obviously been carefully planned and the locations carefully chosen.  Newcomer Andrew Niccol has crafted a pleasantly non-commercial film – obviously not cynically constructed from the usual marketing analyses and box office recipes.  Niccol has written an excellent screenplay, with strong dialogue, balanced pace and, as a director, he displays an eye for period style.

Where it likely appealed to the corporate cinema machine is in its highly-marketable treatment of contemporary nervousness about genetic technology.

As far as its science fiction credentials go it is a sign of the times that there has been no doubt that this is one of the greats.  One reviewer gushed, barely able to contain himself: “with Gattaca we’ve finally discovered our generation’s 2001 – a film so boldly important, so vastly intelligent and so beautifully rendered that it will likely revolutionise the sci-fi genre like Stanley Kubrick and Terry Gilliam, Niccol dares to elevate the sci-fi realm to poetry.”

Yet behind this outwardly quite captivating film are a number of Read the rest of this entry »

Below is the New Year statement by the Irish revolutionary movement Éirígí.  With marches around Ireland and a major occupation in Dublin going on at present, the statement focuses on the housing question:

download-2On the first day of 2017 Éirígí sends New Year greetings and solidarity to our members and supporters across Ireland and beyond. Throughout the centenary year of the 1916 Rising our activists worked within their communities to challenge injustice and inequality. From Galway to Dublin and Wexford to Belfast we honoured our patriot dead by continuing the struggle for an all-Ireland Republic that will put the interests of the many ahead of the greed of the few.

downloadIn a change from previous years, this New Year’s statement will focus on a single issue – namely the privatisation and commodification of housing and the devastating impact that this is having on our people, the economy and the environment.

download-1While there are some differences in relation to housing in the Six and Twenty-Six County states, both jurisdictions are now in the grip of a full-blown crisis that is denying millions of citizens access to secure, affordable, suitable homes.

Contrary to the propaganda of the political establishment, the housing crisis has not happened by accident or because of factors beyond the control of those who masquerade as Ireland’s political leaders. In truth, the housing crisis has occurred as a direct result of the Read the rest of this entry »

The following is taken from Engels on Capital (London, 1938) and transcribed by us[1]

download

The necessary labour-time is given.  The surplus labour is variable, but within certain limits.  It can never = 0, since then capitalist production ceases.  It can never go as high as 24 hours for physical reasons, and, moreover, the maximum limit is always affected by moral grounds as well.  But these limits are very elastic.  The economic demand is that the working day should be no longer than for normal wear and tear of the worker.  But what is normal?[2]  An antimony results and only force can decide.  Hence the struggle between the working class and the capitalist class for the normal working day (pp255-259).[3]

Surplus value in former social eras.  As long as the exchange-value is not more important than the use-value, surplus labour is milder, eg among the ancients; only where direct exchange-value – gold and silver – was produced, frightful surplus labour (p260).  Likewise in the slave states of America until the production of quantities of cotton for export.  Likewise corvee labour, eg in Roumania.

Corvee labour the best means of comparison with capitalist exploitation, because the former fixes and exhibits the surplus labour as a specific labour-time to be performed – Reglement organique of Wallachia  (pp261-4).

The English Factory Acts are negative expressions of the greed for Read the rest of this entry »

But only if the masses choose to use that potential power. . .

But only if the masses choose to use that potential power. . .

One of our biggest concerns at Redline is that, while workers’ rights, living standards and general conditions of life have been made worse over the past 30 years, workers’ resistance has declined to negligible levels.  Moreover, the rare tussle that does take place is a defensive one.  Workers in this country, with the possible exception of the early days of Unite union when it was organising new workplaces and fighting to get contracts for new union members, haven’t been going on the offensive for several decades now.

imagesSometimes it seems that two generations of workers got defeated – through the 1980s and 1990s – and the next generation therefore hasn’t had a fighting spirit and class consciousness passed on to it nor developed these through its own experiences.

But if workers here have forgotten or, in the case of the new generation, not yet learned what resistance is let alone what going on the offensive is, there is no shortage of examples of powerful workers’ upsurges and of workers’ workers_power_lets_organize_against_capitalismresistance pointing to, or at least offering a glimpse of the potential for, alternative ways of organising economic, social and political life.

The really big stuff: dress rehearsals for workers’ emancipation
France, May-June 1968: the glimmer of revolution
Forms of popular power in Chile, 1970-1973
The grandeur of workers’ revolution: Portugal, 1974

History’s biggest general strike (2013)
History’s biggest strike: Indian workers show us how

Recent Workplace Occupations (and one from 1989)
Workers occupy Paris Bakery, Moore St, Dublin
When workers occupied – the Cockatoo Island occupation of 1989

Portugal 1974

Portugal 1974

Factory takeover in Argentina sees discussions on workers power, women’s liberation
Greek lessons: workers occupy factory, continue production
Video on the Vio.me struggle
Greek factory: “the machines of self-management have been turned on”
Workers’ self-management only solution: interview with spokesperson for the Vio.me occupation

Resisting austerity and taking on the state in Ireland
Working class resists water tax in south of Ireland

Working class community organising against Class A drug pushers
Standing up for ourselves: a brief history of the IWCA’s campaign against Class A drug dealers in Blackbird Leys

What about New Zealand?
When workers had class
Which way forward for workers and unions?

Further reading:
Whatever happened to workers’ resistance?