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strategy-iconThe section provides articles on strategy to assist you in making your campaigns more effective. They include case studies of social movements and information about the current resistance environment. Visit the Resources Page for links to organizations that provide both online and in-person training on strategy and tools for designing and evaluating your campaigns and actions.

Against Your Demands: Lessons From Occupy McGill

In 2022, I was an active anarchist in the two week occupation of McGill University. In the months prior to the occupation, I was part of the meetings that discussed the idea of pitching up tents in the Arts building. Back then, we were just 6 people at a picnic table. I witnessed the successes and failures of the occupation (and of its offshoots at Concordia and UdeM) but until now have not written anything on the subject. Earlier this month, an international call to action was launched: “End Fossil – Occupy.“ In a *Guardian* opinion piece, students are urged to “occupy our campuses to demand the end of the fossil economy.” This call seems to follow the example set by McGill, which has received somewhat broad attention.

Germany: Port Strike And Inflation Fight Pose The Question Of Strategy

Two weeks ago, thousands of dockworkers in the ports of northern Germany went on strike for the third time in just a few weeks. The 48-hour strike for wages that would cover the real inflation being felt by these workers was the longest work stoppage in the ports in more than 40 years — reason enough for the bosses in the port, and beyond, to tremble with fear for their profits and attack the right to strike. Some 17 injunctions have been sought in labor courts to stop the strike. Rainer Dulger, president of the Confederation of German Employers’ Associations (BDA), went so far as to call for declaring a “national emergency” to make it easier to break strikes in the future. Even though the leadership of the ver.di union1 denounced these attacks, it ultimately accepted an out-of-court settlement in Hamburg that ruled out further strikes until August 26.

Every Boss Has A Weak Spot – Find And Use It

Steel production in the late 1800s used to require one crucial step: a 20-minute process called the “blow” that removed impurities, strengthening the metal. It was not unheard of for union members to go to the supervisor at the start of the blow and demand that some important grievance be resolved. According to old-timers, it was amazing what the company could accomplish in those 20 minutes. These workers had found their employer’s vulnerability— and they used it to make the workplace safer and more humane. Think about where your employer is vulnerable. For some companies it might be their logo or their image, which they have spent millions of dollars cultivating. For others it might be a bottleneck in the production process, or a weakness in their just-in-time inventory system.

We Can’t Build Real Power By Defending Democrats

The United States Constitution is failing: Its anti-democratic structures are creating a crisis of legitimacy and an inability to address a cascade of social crises. This is a problem endemic to liberal democracies, as the contradictions between political democracy on the one hand, and the tyranny of capital and ruling class control of politics on the other become heightened. Part of the crisis we face is the disjuncture between the sense of horror and urgency from the events of the last months and the gross inaction from politicians, particularly Democrats. Less than two weeks after a white supremacist attack on Black shoppers in Buffalo, New York, another gunman murdered children and their teachers in a school in Uvalde, Texas. In the same month as these mass murders, a leaked Supreme Court decision from an abortion case in Mississippi threatened to undo 50 years of legal precedent and end the right to abortion.

Gramsci In The Midst Of Brazil’s Landless Workers’ Movement

Despite the persistent hegemony of capitalism and its ruling neoliberal ideology, various forms of resistance, social struggle, and proposals for an emancipated future continue to emerge. This is taking place in the face of economic, political, social, and environmental crises as well as a continuing lack of vision of how to overcome the health crisis. Our intellectuals must put their hearts and souls precisely into this orientation toward the future, one based on the possibility of change and hope for human emancipation, as we argued in Tricontinental: Institute for Social Research dossier no. 13, The New Intellectual. We must create innovative proposals on how to use our social wealth to resolve the immediate problems faced by humanity, such as hunger, poverty, disease, and climate catastrophes, and study and familiarise ourselves with the resistance and struggles that emerge in all corners of the world.

America Is Breaking The Bargain It Made For Labor Peace

The American labor movement finds itself in a “good news, bad news” situation — which is better than the standard “bad news, bad news” situation, but just as perilous. This week, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) announced that in the past nine months, petitions that workers have filed to unionize with the agency have risen by 56% over the previous year. This is a clear and tangible sign of what public opinion polls have already told us: In the aftermath of the pandemic, with a union-friendly president in the White House, workers are more enthusiastic to form unions than they have been in many years. Organized labor is always pining for a moment of opportunity, and that opportunity is here. Right now. Then there’s the bad news. In the same press release trumpeting the boom in union election filings, NLRB General Counsel Jennifer Abruzzo made a pointed case that the institution is starved for resources.

New Canadian Postal Veep Has A Plan To Revive Militancy Coast To Coast

A letter carrier who helped organize a militant campaign of refusing forced overtime has won national office in the Canadian Union of Postal Workers, with the goal of taking that direct action approach nationwide. Roland Schmidt, president of the local in Edmonton, Alberta, won a national election in May to became CUPW’s third vice president in charge of internal and external organizing. Three years ago he won his local presidency on a platform of reviving shop floor militancy. Under his leadership the local has trained hundreds of members in direct action, revitalizing its workplace culture. Schmidt has been a postal worker for 18 years. He was first drawn to Canada Post for its storied union history—CUPW had won collective bargaining rights for the federal sector, and maternity leave, which eventually became mandatory for all Canadians.

Visualizing The Economic Veins That Fuel Our Carceral Reality

The contemporary US prison system incarcerates people — largely Black, Native, Latinx, disabled, and working-class and poor folks — and hides them from society for years, decades, or lifetimes. This is true across the United States generally and in Massachusetts, specifically. These days, when discussing the case against incarceration and the prison system, there are a few different arguments one tends to hear: (1) the first is that incarceration is immoral and reprehensible in both its conditions and treatment of incarcerated people; (2) a second, appealing to economists and technocratic policymakers, argues that prisons are a drain on taxpayer dollars and the money wasted there would be better spent on social services and alternatives; (3) another argument that centers racialization is that the prison system is a direct continuation of chattel slavey, chain gangs, and Jim Crow forced labor; (4) a final common refrain is that degenerate investors in private prisons and detention centers, as well as other perpetrators of gross injustice live off of turning prison labor into private profit.

‘We Are Resilient People Who Fight For Each Other’

Elnora Gavin is a lifelong Benton Harbor resident and currently works as the West Michigan organizer with We the People Michigan. In this interview, she talks about her love for Benton Harbor, the challenges facing ordinary people there, and how they’re fighting to address everything from school closures to a disastrous human-made water crisis, and ultimately create a Benton Harbor where everyone flourishes. Eli Day, a Detroit-based writer and We the People Michigan communications director, interviewed Gavin for Convergence.

The Language We Use To Talk About Inequality, Power, And Class Matters

In the US, discourses of inequality seldom are rooted to the nation’s long history of violent class conflict. Two examples of that history which come quickly to mind are the 1892 Homestead steel strike in Pittsburgh, which earned a place in labor history as the Homestead Massacre and the 1921 coal strike known as the Battle of Blair Mountain in which workers saw their homes bombed as they faced army troops. These were extreme but not unique moments in the history of labor. Oppressive working conditions and inadequate pay have never been an accident or the result of an oversight — they have been for profit.

White Socialist Left: Seeing A Bleak Future For ‘Black And White Unite’

The Red Summer of 1919 put paid to the lie of a monochromatic class struggle as thousands of hysterical white workers took to the streets around the country over the course of the year to lynch, beat, shoot and burn to death more than 250 of their African American coworkers who they feared were replacing them in the workplace. One-hundred and ten years after O’Hare published her racist polemic, another white woman with ties to the political Left in the U.S., Krystal Ball, appeared on the Marxist economist Richard Wolff’s podcast to once again downplay the role that racism plays in the struggle between capital and labor.

US National Security State Censoring Anti-imperialists

Since 2016, US government-backed censorship of websites, YouTube channels, Facebook pages, Twitter profiles, and PayPal accounts has escalated alarmingly. Washington targets those who counter the narratives that the government and big business media feed us, whether it be about US intervention and attempted overthrow of other governments, Covid, or stories of Russian interference. With the war in Ukraine, the immense propaganda power of the US government and corporate media has been directed against Russia and intensified on an overwhelming scale.

Global South And North Unite To Stop East Africa Crude Oil Pipeline

On last month’s annual celebration known as Africa Day, activists in Uganda, Kenya, Nigeria, Ghana and elsewhere held demonstrations targeting French oil giant TotalEnergies’ involvement in African fossil fuel extraction projects. A main focus of the protests was Total’s proposed East Africa Crude Oil Pipeline, or EACOP, which would transport 200,000 barrels of oil per day from western Uganda to export terminals 1,445 kilometers away on the Tanzanian coast. Grassroots organizers in Uganda and Tanzania have been speaking out against EACOP for years, sometimes at great risk to their own safety.

Why Escalation Is The Best Response In Moments Of Crises

Between the lack of action around police brutality, the threats to Roe v. Wade, increasing mass shootings, and the ever looming threat of climate catastrophe, desperation and despair have become the emotions of the day. Polling shows most Americans still care about these issues, but they’ve long lost faith in mainstream institutions and their capacity for change. It can be difficult to know how to respond in moments of crisis like these. Besides panicking, one traditional approach is what is called the “ladder of engagement,” which relies on a series of actions that increase in intensity over time to win over supporters and apply pressure to people in power. This usually begins with gathering petition signatures and holding educational events while gradually building the support and capacity to move towards rallies and eventually, though rarely, more confrontational protests like occupations.

How Latin American Women Are Winning Abortion Rights

It was inconceivable, just five years ago, that ultra-conservative Colombia would decriminalize abortion, or that Catholic, neoliberal Chile would be gearing up to vote on a new constitution that enshrines sexual and reproductive rights, including on-request abortion. Yet in February, Colombia’s constitutional court removed abortion (up to 24 weeks) from the criminal code in response to a court case brought by Causa Justa—the spearhead of a wide-ranging social and legal campaign of more than 120 groups and thousands of activists. Colombia is now “at the forefront of the region and the world,” according to doctor and feminist activist Ana Cristina González, a spokesperson for Causa Justa.
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