To take on the problems not accept them

Straws in the Wind

Perth: Taken to the Cleaners? - Cleaners took to the streets in May as they believe that they are the lowest paid in this great nation of ours. Their union (LHMWU) who ought to know, says that they get $14 an hour and need another 16% to reach the dizzy heights of success that is the lot of cleaners on the eastern seaboard. Some are being given only a couple of hours work a shift that could hardly cover the cost of petrol getting there. Cleaner Terry Milligan said that they cleaned three times the floor area done by the American workers but “we just can’t earn enough to live on”

The same week another Perthian cleaner, Colin Parker, was jailed for six months for defrauding Newstart of some $35 000 over four years. The Magistrate thought that the taxpayer’s money must be protected and, to deter others, just had no alternative but to give him the time.

State Roundup

May Day - May 7th
After porridge breakfast we got the IWW stall together and went to Trades Hall Building, Lygon Street Carlton. There were jumping castles and a climbing wall and merry go round for the kids and food and stalls for the rest of us. We grabbed a good position next to the bus shelter (it hailed after the march and was a popular retreat!).
Melbourne's union community turned out and defied the rain, hail and wind to enjoy a family arvo event. The traditional march went from and returned to the Trades hall Building Lygon Street Carlton.
Margaret has a torn ligament around her knee so sat down & took on the stall in the wild winds while the rest of us marched with the banner stating AN INJURY TO ONE IS AN INJURY TO ALL !

The Wooden Shoe

In ancient times the beasts were caught
And penned within a noisome sty,
And scraps of food their master brought
For fear his useful beasts might die;
A lash of heavy weight and shape
Discouraged efforts to escape.

The careless hand that flung the food
Could wield the lash with deadly skill,
And often in an angry mood
A beast or two would sometimes kill,
But over this no sleep he'd lose,
More beasts there were than he could use.

The beasts at times by methods crude
Would strive and seek to break away,
Then would the hand withhold the food
And bring the dreaded lash to play.

Fisk and the great war for civilisation

This is a great door stopper of a book of over 1300 pages. Fisk will need little introduction to most as his journalism has been a source of information to those contra the existing policy of to West to the Middle East for as long as I can remember having an interest in the subject. In this volume he gives himself space to develop many of the themes that have existed as an underlay to these reports.

It is a dialectic that goes back into remote history but into which Fisk slices with the first world war. Here his father marches of into battle and the Ottoman Empire decides to ally itself with the central powers. Thus is entwined the personal and the historical that make the book interesting as the author feeds into the story a thousand and one others – the partition of the Ottoman empire and the way the European powers abused their League of Nations mandates – Fisk’s meetings with Bin Laden – the Balfour declaration and the painful imposition of Israel into the geo-political maelstrom; the Armenian genocide his discussions with American servicemen in the Gulf War; together with observations of dozens of battles as these themes unfold and patterns of dominance and submission, dominance and revolt, colonialism and local pride, ignorance and expensively won experience repeat eerily through the pages. Ending, for the book but not it is suspected, for the region in the slow motion horror that is the Iraq occupation. It is Fisk’s personal impressions of dozens of leaders. It is a great book to fill in on all those little bits of the history of the region as, coincidentally with the passing of the old order coal declines in importance ad is replaced by oil and everything changes.

Mass evictions !!! Capitalist parasites target Canberra's poor

Peter Emmett reports

Anyone who's experienced a Canberra winter knows that wintering in a caravan would be a pretty miserable experience. The only thing worse would be out on the street. But that's exactly what's in store for 200 people who have just received eviction notices from the Narrabundah Longstay Caravan Park in Canberra's south.

Built back in the 1970's to accommodate transient construction workers, the Park is now home to 200 of Canberra's poorest residents; pensioners, single mums and their kids, low paid workers and the disabled. Many have been there 20 years or more, investing heavily in establishing their homes on the site. Despite the disadvantages they face in life, park residents are a close knit community and look out for each other as much as possible.

Back to basics

by Marcus

We cannot rely on any Trade Union to save us least of all sell-outs like Bill Shorten who represents the working class by clamouring for a cut in the top-rate of income tax and more uranium mines (which first kill uranium miners).

The French unions only went out on strike because young people (mainly students) occupied/blockaded and shutdown two-thirds of Universities and more than a third of all high schools.
This is what kick-started the French union movement into carrying out two General Strikes.
Maybe, we need something similar in Australia to embarrass the trade unions into doing what they were created for. BTW this isn't electing ALP Governments!

Moving towards a General Strike

by Jeremy Dixon

The practicalities of an indefinite General Strike discussed in a preliminary and general way, with brief reference to history. Suggestions for immediate practical activity including call for a General Strike icon.

A few thoughts on the General Strike…….
The ACTU has called “General Strikes” before in the sense of a one day general stoppage to protest against this or that. Such stoppages have their place but they should be distinguished from the General Strike proper which is always inherently a revolutionary action. The one day stoppages can function as a kind of fire drill for the real General Strike, and also as a warning that a real General Strike might be pulled in future. But in themselves, divorced from any connection with the real General Strike, these stoppages are little more than pointless tokenism. My experience is that most unionists are well aware of this which is why such stoppages, sometimes miscalled ‘general strikes’, are often greeted without enthusiasm.

It’s No Silver Screen - Shattuck Cinema Workers

By Dean Dempsey,

Landmark Shattuck Cinema workers are fed up. Years of bad hours, poor pay, a hostile work environment and the demoralizing treatment from theatre management has led the Cinema workers of Berkeley, CA, to push for a union; for the One Big Union of the Industrial Workers of the World.

At 4pm on May 12, 2006, approximately 80 Wobblies and supporters gathered in what some hailed as one of the largest IWW gatherings in recent Bay Area history, next to the May Day contingent earlier this month. Theater workers, union organizers and locals from the community attended the rally to demonstrate their solidarity for the union effort, carrying signs that read “An injury to one is an injury to all”, and “Union Now”. A drum team kept the crowd enthused, as they sang union songs and recited pro-worker chants to the public. Some Cinema employees were still on the clock, but were very much committed to participate in the rally while on their breaks, wearing their IWW pins and showing support for the union. Shattuck Cinema organizer, Harjit Gill, says “I think what we see here today is a great success. There has been the participation of IWW members from the past and the present, and those who haven’t been recently active. Ultimately, we’re very excited about this campaign.”

General Strike in South Africa

Protesting against job losses workers in their hundreds of thousands supported the trade union Cosatu’s one-day general strike on May 18.

Police closed roads and busineses closed in Johannesburg and Durban as huge marches brought central
business districts to a standstill.

Speaking to thousands of protesters earlier, Cosatu’s secretary-general Zwelinzima Vavi said low wages, joblessness and poverty had undermined the sacrifices made in the anti-apartheid struggle.

“We fought for democracy in this country, but where is democracy when people are engulfed with poverty and unemployment? The ‘better life for all’ concept promised by the government … should be honoured,” said Vavi.

Why haven’t our union leaders come out fighting ?

Bigger cages, longer chains: why haven’t our union leaders come out fighting ? Leaflet distributed by Peter at “ Your Rights at Work” rally in Newcastle, June 28, 2006: Peter is not a member of the IWW but we reproduce his handy work anyway because we like it and as a general encouragement to rebels everywhere

Just imagine :

During a lull between the official speeches, a leftist militant climbs onto the stage & addresses the crowd on the topic of the return to collective agreements once Howard’s IR laws have been defeated. His promise that there will also be jobs for all is met with derisory laughter from most of the crowd. And as he offers other reforms, a group begins a mocking chant; ‘Bigger cages, longer chains ! Bigger cages, longer chains !’”

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