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(en) Britain, SolFed*, DA #30 - international news:

From Worker <a-infos-en@ainfos.ca>
Date Fri, 26 Nov 2004 08:55:13 +0100 (CET)


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A - I N F O S N E W S S E R V I C E
News about and of interest to anarchists
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1) Greece - Olympics : hidden truths
2) Argentina
3) Venezuela
4) Spain
5) Italy
6) Indonesia,
7) Iraq
8) Israel/Palestine
1) Greece - Olympics : hidden truths
The Greek state killed dozens of workers in order to finish the
Olympic stadiums on time. They also poisoned thousands of
animals (mostly dogs and cats), installed surveillance cameras,
brought in two surveillance Zeppelins, and deployed 80,000
police, riot police and army troopers. To complete the picture,
they then forcibly removed thousands of immigrants, beggars,
drug addicts and homeless people from the capital's streets.
Human rights activists said they feared vulnerable people,
including asylum seekers from war-torn countries such as Iraq,
were falling victim to the campaign.

'There is a climate of absolute terror on the streets,'
said Spyros Psychas, a member of Arsis, a charity working with
the homeless and underprivileged youth. 'People are afraid.
They're ringing in saying how unbearable the police
controls have become.' Underlining the concern, the UN
High Commissioner for Refugees urged the Greek government to
ensure that 'international standards', including the
Geneva conventions, were not being breached. UNHCR's
Athens branch said in a statement: 'Many asylum seekers
lack proper identification documents and are at risk of arrest,
detention and possible deportation in contravention of
international standards.'

Some people are thought to have been put in psychiatric
institutions where doctors have complained of being deluged with
sectioning orders from public prosecutors. The authorities deny
that the police have conducted a sweep, saying that no group had
been deliberately targeted.

Meanwhile, agreements over 7-hour days for construction
workers were long-forgotten in the run-up to the games, as
contractors threatened and forced workers to put in 12 hours and
even 19 hours, seven full days a week, in terrible conditions with
no locker rooms, toilets, ambulances, scaffolds, qualified staff,
and so on. Shop opening and delivery restrictions have been
abandoned, and, as the games progress, the Greek working class
is bracing itself for the inevitable oppression following the games,
as they are expected to pay extra taxes and work harder in order to
pay off the debts run up by the state and big business (the games
have cost 6.5 billion Euros, with 2 billion going on
'security'). State-owned trade-union organizations
like the National Workers' Union of Greece, have of course
gone along with the craziness of the games, the associated
prohibition of demonstrations and strikes, and the mass of other
oppressive 'security' measures.

The ecological destruction is also blatant; the Olympic village is
built on the cliffs of mount Parnitha, a place of outstanding
natural beauty, while the Olympic rowing facilities are at Shinias,
a site of great ecological importance. Mount Imitos has been
destroyed in order to manufacture the facilities for the distribution
of high voltage electricity, and the Kifissos river has been filled
with rubble in order to become motorway as a part of the Olympic
ring. Like the 'emergency' security measures and
oppressive labour laws, of course, the environmental destruction
will never actually go away after the games.

The Antiauthoritarian Movement organised actions including
anti-olympic, anti-capitalist and anti-war demonstrations and
other activities during the run-up to the games, to publicise these
atrocities and give voice to the resistance.


2) Argentina

When Argentina exploded in a popular uprising in December
2001, overthrowing four presidents in two weeks, the mainstream
international press reported on the news as the
'collapse' of a country. Indymedia Argentina instantly
transported us to the streets of Buenos Aires, where unemployed
workers, middle class neighbours and university students were
staging a revolt against the same neo-liberal economic program
that is failing around the world. The protests did not represent the
collapse of a country, but the end of passivity.

For tens of thousands of international visitors, Indymedia became
our only window to this remarkable uprising, inviting us to not
just to look but also participate by writing directly to those
involved, and posting stories of resistance from around the world.
A national movement went global.
Over the past year, Indymedia Argentina's reporters have
been there, cameras in hand, at virtually every protest, road
blockade, occupied factory, and important assembly in Buenos
Aires. The Indymedia site is genuine community media, and the
primary space for non-partisan debate about movement ideas and
tactics.

Now, Indymedia Argentina is facing eviction, the local
government having counted on the fact that when the world is
focused on a massive war, smaller local battles can seem
unimportant. Now is the time to prove them wrong.

Support Indymedia's anti-eviction campaign:
http://argentina.indymedia.org/

3) Venezuela

In August, following a nasty campaign by the right, which forced
the left-wing government of Hugo Chavez to seek re-election, the
controversial Chavez administration won a convincing victory.
Despite the fact that election observers from the Carter Center and
the Organization of American States officially accepted the results
of the referendum, stating that 'observers have not found
any element of fraud in the process', the right-wing
opposition maintained that voting fraud had taken place. There
were tense days in Caracas as the stand-off ensued, the left
waiting to see what the anti-popular forces would do next, while
hundreds of thousands of people partied in the streets.

Venezuelan social movements have put President Chavez on
notice that their support for him during the referendum does not
mean that they see his presidency as an end in itself; rather, his
presidency should protect the grassroots from Venezuela's
ruling elites so that the reach of directly democratic
neighbourhood assemblies can be extended. As they put it:

'While Chavez has done some to improve the lives of the
poor in Venezuela, the revolution can only advance when the
people themselves seize control of all the resources and means of
production owed to them'.


4) Spain

The CNT-AIT in Sevilla have been calling for solidarity, support
and action for the CNT-AIT cleaning workers of TOMARES. As
their 2-month strike (started at the end of March) has progressed,
it has become increasingly difficult for them to pay their bills.

The strike was originally called to make the company fulfil an
agreement made last year, where it promised to provide fixed
contracts and improvements to working conditions. The firm,
Ferrovial, will be profiting from the Iraq invasion, as they have
signed contracts with the new regime, and the
'socialist' Mayoress Antonia Hierro, who was
formerly opposed to the war against Iraq, now helps Ferrovial in
its war against the workers.

The strikers comrades are seeking financial support for them, as
well as faxes, letters, and e-mails in support of the workers and
protests to the company Ferrovial and the 'socialist'
Mayoress Antonia Hierro.

More information can be found at: www.cnt.es/tomares
CNT information telephone:
+34 600 019 658.

Or send donations directly to: Banco Santander Central Hispano,
Account nş: 0049-5423-23-2695021674.

5) Italy

Sabatino Catapano has been convicted for demonstrating on May
Day in Sarno, and is currently appealing. The following reasons
make his conviction a very serious matter for activists in Italy:

1) The state is applying a fascist law from 1931 against the union
freedom of demonstration

2) In Sarno there is a very strong local relationship between mafia
and politicians, and they are attempting to criminalize and
eliminate local activists who are campaigning for popular and
self-managed solidarity.

These factors are also framed within the tremendous increase of
police and government repression and the action of provocative
nazi-fascist groups all over Italy. In August in Milano, a group of
people from the Social Centre COX18 were seriously injured by a
small fascist group. The anarchist movement is being particularly
attacked, with many arrests, inspections, searches and
prosecutions. Again recently, a large gathering of police attacked
and seized materials from the locals of the FAM - Florence
Anarchist Movement, site of the Florence Section of the
USI-IWA.

6) Indonesia

Over the past year, workers at Dae Joo Leports Indonesia (DJL
Indonesia), who make backpacks for Jansport, Eastpak, Adidas,
REI and other well known brands, have dared to exercise their
right to organise.

The union's efforts have resulted in huge improvements at
the factory, like health care and a union contract. Now Jansport
and Adidas, along with other brands, are shifting all of their orders
that were formerly produced at DJL's Indonesia facility to
DJL's factory in China. As a result (or perhaps as a
coordinated plan with the brands), DJL Corporation is planning to
shut down their Indonesian factory altogether. This
factory's closure means that DJL Indonesia's workers
will be punished for having the courage to take at their word the
basic labour rights guaranteed in the brands' own codes of
conduct.

Protest NOW at:
www.unionvoice.org/campaign/daejoo/i73wu34r8mti5

7) Iraq

Over a year after Saddam fell, his financiers are still squabbling
over the debts he failed to pay them, leaving Iraq's
economic future hanging in the balance. Meanwhile, the
long-ignored issue of the UN Compensation Commission
reparations cost the new Iraq $1.64bn in the period April-June;
more than its combined health and education budgets. The
UNCC met at the end of June to award yet more reparations to
the $30bn already outstanding. The Iraqi people are not
responsible for Saddam's bills and crimes, yet they are
being made to pay.

As Condoleezza Rice emphasised recently, Iraq will be required to
submit to a long-term IMF structural adjustment program in
return for partial debt reduction. This will remove a large part of
economic sovereignty from Iraq.

It is likely to include policies such as rapid privatisation, leading to
even greater unemployment and concentration of Iraqi assets in
the hands of wealthy individuals and foreign companies.

A leaked letter from the State Department recommends deducting
$360-640m from the $18.4bn of appropriated reconstruction
money to pay the 'budget cost' of cancelling debt. In
effect, the US would be taking debt payment from money it had
pledged to rebuild Iraq.

Since Saddam was never expected to repay his debts, neither the
US nor the other creditors could prudently had have expected
revenues from debt payments in their forward budgets, so the true
budgetary cost of writing off these debts is actually zero.

The US is flagrantly ignoring the odious nature of its debts, which
resulted from credit extended to support Saddam during the
devastating Iran-Iraq war and the Al-Anfal genocide of the Kurds.
It cannot claim the moral high ground by using the language of
'forgiving' such odious debts to 'help the Iraqi
people.' Instead, it should be asking Iraqis' for
forgiveness for financing Saddam in the first place, and writing off
its bad debts as a first step of penance. Similar criticisms apply to
Britain, France, Germany and the other EU countries who
financed Saddam.

More info: www.jubileeiraq.org/


8) Israel/Palestine**

In July, the national port workers demonstrated the great potential
of workers' solidarity in a 'wildcat' strike, as
they stood against the government's forced privatisation of
the ports, in defiance of a return to work court order. During the
actions, Israeli police detained eight people for questioning,
including the president of the Manufacturers' Association,
Oded Tyrah, one of the most loyal servants of Israel's
finance minister, Binyamin Netanyahu.

The state-owned trade unions were doing their best to stop the
strike. Tyrah threatened that unless the strike ended within a
week, 17,000 workers would be laid off. The manufacturers
estimated the damage from the strike at NIS 4.4 billion. Figures
provided by the Israel Shippers Council show that goods destined
for Israel worth NIS 3.2 billion have been unloaded at Middle
Eastern ports, mainly in Egypt.

Haaretz daily reported that the Histadrut admitted it had lost
control of the port workers because of Finance Minister Benjamin
Netanyahu's legislation to privatise the ports. The law
disrupted a balance that had existed for decades in labour
relations, and the Histadrut thus lost its moderating influence on
the workers, labour federation sources said. The strike eventually
ended on August 5th, after the government promised not to go
ahead with the privatisation without due notice, consultation and
compensation.

The port workers' determination to fight against the
bureaucratic and state-owned trade unions and against the
capitalists reflects their understanding of who is serving their class
interest - only themselves. Through such actions, it is hoped that
workers in Israel, Arab and Jews, can form their own mass
workers' organisations, build their revolutionary popular
communities, and bring forward a victory over the bosses'
government.

Meanwhile, the Anarcho-Syndicalist Initiative in Israel/Palestine,
which is growing and is now seeking affiliation to the
International Workers Association (IWA), released a statement
which included the following:
'Recent years have been especially bad for the Israeli and
Palestinian workers. No political organisation or party offers any
kind of decent way forward; all of them are serving the ruling
capitalist elites. The state-owned trade unions in Israel and the
corrupted trade unions in the Palestinian Authority have nothing
to propose but compromises with big capital, alliances with some
'progressive' bourgeois elements, and rude betrayal.

The revolutionary ASI calls for multinational workers'
unity, and joint struggles for workers in the region against the
Zionist movement headed by the local capitalists, the Arab
reaction headed by the Palestinian Liberation Organization, and
the Islamists and the collaborative regimes headed by the loyal
puppets of US imperialism.'

Direct Action is published by Solidarity Federation, the British
section of the International Workers' Association

==============================
* Solidarity Federation is of the anarcho-syndicalist spectrum
** [Ed. Note: Grossly inaccurate information regarding the
reformist (not state-owned) general trade union, which is very
militant lately against privatization, as it mainly serve the interests
of the stronger and better of strata of the working class.]


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