Throughout August and September, anti-government protests have rocked Syrian cities. While the crowds are typically small, numbering only a few hundred, they show little sign of abating. Demonstrators are motivated by increasingly unlivable economic conditions spurred by crippling U.S.-led international sanctions against Damascus. These have produced hyperinflation, mass food insecurity, and many daily hardships for the population. They also prevent vital humanitarian aid from entering the country. The media has given the unrest blanket coverage. No reference to Washington’s central role in imposing the misery under which average Syrians suffer today, let alone that several key figures in the protests are former opposition fighters who laid down their arms under a government-approved reconciliation deal in 2018, can be found in the reporting.
At midnight on September 15, the UAW began its strike at three plants of the the Big 3 — GM, Ford, and Stellantis. While limited, this strike immediately sent shockwaves across the nation with every bourgeois news outlet turning to cover the strike. Indeed, the strike is proving very popular: 75 percent of Americans side with the UAW in their fight. This strike is part of what some have dubbed a “Hot Labor Summer,” characterized by an averted strike at UPS and the on-going entertainment industry strikes amongst many smaller strikes and labor actions, like Blue Cross Blue Shield workers also represented by the UAW. It’s placed the working class at the center of the national agenda.
I’m a 34-year Teamster and package car driver for UPS, and I’ve been a steward for the past seven years. Since I’ve been with UPS for so long, I am very used to the constant harassment and intimidation this company has thrived on. I had the honor to be put on the national negotiating team for the UPS contract by my local union—one of the strongest in the country, Local 25 in Boston. After UPS walked away from the negotiating table in early July, I was at barns helping to run practice picket lines. The UPS center in Westwood, a suburb of Boston, has a new center manager from New Orleans named Brian Newman.
On Wednesday, July 26, scores of Iraqis protested in front of the country’s central bank in the capital Baghdad following a massive fall in the value of the Iraqi dinar that is attributed to the recent US ban on 14 private banks. The market rate of the Iraqi dinar in exchange for one US dollar has climbed up to 1,570 from 1,470 in the last two days. The US Treasury Department and the Federal Reserve imposed the bans this month, accusing the banks of money laundering and transferring funds to Iran. The banks insist that they “have nothing to do with political tensions and are independent financial institutions” willing to face an audit to dispel any notion of wrongdoing or criminal activity.
Six thousand Machinists working for Spirit AeroSystems in Wichita, Kansas, ratified a new four-year contract last week, returning to work today. The company had locked workers out on June 22, two days before their strike. Machinists (IAM) Local Lodge 839 accepted the latest offer on June 28 by 63 percent, compared to 79 percent who rejected the first tentative agreement and 85 percent who voted to strike. “The company basically took away some things, gave it back, and added some small wage increases,” said Nathan Jewett, a production worker who has been at the company for 15 years.
On June 22, nearly 200 workers, union leaders, progressive politicians, and other community members were arrested in a mass civil disobedience action. 200 demonstrators sat down in the middle of the road in Los Angeles, subjecting themselves to arrest to demand better wages, pensions, a housing fund, benefits, and safer workloads for UNITE HERE Local 11 workers in Los Angeles. Workers are gearing up to possibly strike after their contract with Hyatt, IHG, Hilton and Marriott hotels in LA expires on June 30. Local 11 workers authorized a strike on June 8 with 96% approval. This strike would involve over 15,000 union hotel workers, the largest hotel strike in modern US history.
The ‘Stop Cop City’ movement’s sixth week of action continued on Wednesday, with two events striking a more tense tone than the relatively calmer days earlier in the week. At around 10:30 a.m., a few dozen protesters held an unannounced noise demonstration outside Cadence Bank, which is providing the Atlanta Police Foundation with a construction loan for building ‘Cop City.’ They reportedly chanted at the bank for about 20 minutes, with some bacon apparently being tossed toward the mass of police guarding the bank, before leaving.
This year’s Armed Forces Day is on Saturday 24 June. The main “public show” (perhaps the most grotesque uses of the phrase imaginable) will be in Cornwall. However, local and national campaigners are not taking this display of militarism lying down. In fact, they’re planning a counter-event to show the public’s resistance. Naturally, the day is less about the public showing support for vets, and more about the state pushing creeping militarism. As the Canary previously wrote, campaign group ForcesWatch published a report in 2019. It detailed how the state uses Armed Forces Day to push the idea that war is normal to the public – and that we should support both it and continued militarisation.
DeKalb County, Georgia - Two defendants arrested in March during a music festival against ‘Cop City’ were again denied bond Wednesday in DeKalb County Magistrate Court, while a third was granted $25,000 bond with conditions. The defendants, all of whom are facing domestic terrorism charges for their alleged participation in the movement against the sprawling police training complex, have been detained since their arrests two months ago. Luke Harper and Victor Puertas were denied bond, while Fredrique Robert-Paul was granted a $25,000 bond with conditions including relinquishing her passport, remaining in Georgia pending trial, severing contact with codefendants, and avoiding discussing the movement against ‘Cop City’ on social media.
This was one out of the nearly 100,000 voices that rose in the Indian capital of Delhi on April 5 as workers, farmers, and daily wage agricultural workers from across the country came together for the landmark Mazdoor Kisan Sangharsh Rally (Workers-Farmers Rally). The demonstration was organized by the All India Kisan Sabha (AIKS), All India Agricultural Workers Union (AIAWU), and the Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU) in rejection of the neoliberal assault on the lives and livelihoods of the Indian working class, overseen by a ruling party which they accuse of fueling sectarian and caste-based violence, while stamping out all forms of dissent.
More than 50 political parties in the island of Taiwan staged a protest outside Taoyuan Airport in Taipei on Friday against regional leader Tsai Ing-wen’s meeting with US House Speaker Kevin McCarthy. The Friday activity, themed “Anti-Taiwan independence, anti-interference” started around 7:30 pm and lasted for more than an hour. More than 200 people from over 50 political parties – including the Labor Party of Taiwan, the Reunification Alliance Party, the Chinese Unification Promotion Party, and the New Party – gathered outside the airport, calling for reunification and waving banners with slogans such as “Tsai-McCarthy selling Taiwan” and “We want no war, but peace.”
Marking Palestinian Prisoner’s Day on Monday, prisoners’ advocacy groups said around 5000 Palestinians are currently incarcerated in Israel, the official news agency WAFA reported. The Commission for Prisoners and Ex-Prisoners Affairs, the Palestinian Prisoner’s Society, Addameer Association for Prisoner Support and Human Rights, and Wadi Hilweh Information Center – Jerusalem, said in their joint report that an estimated 4,900 political prisoners are currently incarcerated in Israel. Several rallies are planned for Monday in the occupied West Bank and besieged Gaza, in support of the Palestinian prisoners.
Under the AUKUS plan, Australia would pay the U.S. and Britain to the build and deliver three nuclear submarines by the early 2030s to the Port of Kembla in the city of Wollongong, 85 kms south of Sydney. Opponents of the plan, including the former Prime Minister Paul Keating, say China poses no military threat to Australia, but rather that the U.S. is leading Australia into a dangerous provocation against China.
Roger Waters is facing pushback from Germany. City authorities have canceled his upcoming concert over claims the Pink Floyd frontman is anti-Semitic. Yet activists say his experience is not an isolated incident when it comes to support for Palestine. In February, Frankfurt’s City Council canceled Waters’s concert scheduled for May 28, stating in a press release that the musician “is considered one of the most widely spread anti-Semites in the world.” City officials cited Waters’ advocacy for a cultural boycott of Israel as one of the reasons for his alleged anti-Semitism. When reached for comment, Frankfurt City Council referred MintPress News to its aforementioned press release.
The Weelaunee Forest in Atlanta is the proposed site of a massive police training facility, known to most as “Cop City.” Cop City is the logical outgrowth of violent, racialized capitalism in the United States. Corporations and wealthy Atlantans believe that they need a large and well-equipped police force to tamp down “crime” in the city they are working to gentrify, and have thus contributed financially to this project. As landlords and cops push Black residents out, wealthy, mostly white neighborhoods like Buckhead demand ever more police intervention to keep them and their ill-gotten wealth “safe.” With all their militarized training, equipment, and qualified immunity from prosecution, police murder thousands of people per year — disproportionately Black, Brown, and Indigenous.