jiselle's blog

Death squads returning to the Philippines

In the space of two days, 10 labour and human rights activists were killed in separate shootings on the islands of Luzon and Mindanao. All the victims were shot by the military or paramilitaries. These murders coincided with the announcement by President Duterte that the police will go back to the frontlines of the ‘War on Drugs’. This campaign has unleashed death squads throughout the Philippines, resulting in a bloodbath where over 10,000 people have been murdered. In the Philippines, the current situation has become so bad that it has surpassed even the worse days of the Marcos Dictatorship. 

Palestinians protest after Trump’s Jerusalem declaration

This week, in a widely anticipated move, US President, Donald Trump declared that the USA would recognise Jerusalem as the capital city of Israel. This recognition is contrary to a whole number of international treaties. Massive protests erupted all over the West Bank and the Gaza strip, leading to deaths and hundreds of injuries (see here and here). While Trump’s declaration may be a sign of renewed support for Israel, the long term ramifications of this move are going to be unknown (see here, here and here) and is certainly the death of the ‘two state’ solution

Bangladeshi shipyards continue to be a graveyard

According to latest reports, in the last month alone, at least 5 workers were killed and many others injured in a string of separate incidents. Falls, explosions and falling metal parts were the main causes of these deaths and injuries. The fact that these incidents are repeated over and over indicates the total absence of meaningful occupational health and safety measures. While the social and political situation in Bangladesh is highly repressive with workers continually prevented from organising, initiatives like the Shipbreaking Workers Trade Union Forum continue to push for better workers’ safety and living conditions.

Iranian workers go unpaid for months

This week, the workers at the giant Haft Tapeh sugar cane plantation and mill complex in Shush, Khuzestan Province in Western Iran, took a series of industrial actions in protest against not being paid for over four months. The workers at Haft Tapeh have a long and proud history of militant resistance. These workers and families are in desperate conditions and need your support. An international solidarity campaign has been initiated. The Canadian Union of Public Employees has also put out an international call for the Iranian government to stop the repression against labour activists.

Maritime dispute continues to grow

This week, many unions in Melbourne, Australia, came out in a show of support (see here and here) for the dockworkers who have walked off their job against the tactics of the global stevedoring giant International Container Terminal Services (ICTSI). The dockworkers who participated from other nearby port operations did so in defiance of Australia’s repressive anti-union laws that forbid secondary actions in support of other workers (see here and here). The dispute is continuing, with pressure building due to goods being held up before the busy Christmas period. To keep up to date with the community picket, click here, but otherwise get down to Webb Dock at 78 Webb Dock Drive, Port Melbourne.

Protests greet far right speaker to Australia

Well known USA far right propagandist and multimedia troll, Milo Yiannopoulos concluded his tour of Australian cities this week. Milo is a mouthpiece for the far right in the USA, targeting minorities, the labour movement and the left in general. Milo is backed by far right news outlets like the Breitbart News Network and capitalists like billionaire Robert Mercer. In Australia he was able to meet fellow far right personalities in the Australian Parliament. While thousands paid to hear his hate speeches, anti-fascist protests met his performances (see here for Adelaide, Perth, Sydney reports). Melbourne witnessed the biggest protest, lasting around 6 hours, including large numbers of people from the migrant working class communities who lived near the venue (for reports see here and here – for photos, see here and here). 

Union leader arrested for taking strike action

Piston National President and Kilusang Mayo Uno National Council Member George San Mateo was arrested this week in controversial circumstances for organising an ‘illegal’ strike. San Mateo had been about to enter the Justice building to post bail when the police swooped on him and arrested him. The charges against him relate to his involvement in the successful two day strike by thousands of Jeepney drivers earlier this year. San Mateo’s arrest is quite clearly an attempt by the government of President Duterte to intimidate activists and crack down on workers’ organising.

Start of court cases highlights climate of repression

This week, 150 academics in Turkey are facing trial under draconian emergency laws for signing a petition calling on the government to end the war against Kurdish insurgents. Solidarity demonstrations were held at the start of these trials as a show of support for those in court. These workers are only some of the tens of thousands that have been dismissed from their jobs following the failed coup last year. Some, like Uraz Aydin, face additional charges of ‘terrorist propaganda’.

Vale Comrade Denis Walker

The Aboriginal rights movement in Australia mourns the loss of brother and comrade, Denis Walker, co-founder of the Australian Black Panther Party in 1972.  Denis Walker was a major figure in the civil rights and land rights movements from the 1960s and continued to fight for a treaty until his death. Vale comrade Denis Walker.

Many workers killed in elevator collapse

Up to nine workers were killed last week at a tunnel construction site when their elevator they were in plunged over 70 metres. The workers were working on a major water infrastructure project near Akole village, around 100kms from the city of Pune in Eastern India. Preliminary enquiries point to the main elevator cable breaking while the workers were being brought up to the surface. The local government has ordered an enquiry into this incident and has promised 200,000 Rupees (US $3,100) of compensation to the families of the workers who were killed. Unfortunately, lax workplace safety is widespread in India.

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