It’s 1935 and class war is brewing in Arkansas. Standing before 1,500 black and white sharecroppers, the radical Methodist minister Ward Rodgers thunders, “I can lead a mob to lynch any planter in Poinsett County.” The crowd erupts with applause. These white and black sharecroppers who worked, lived, and died amid the vestiges of the Southern plantation system were no strangers to terror. The night before, a group of planters and deputy sheriffs had attacked an adult education class taught by Rodgers. The landowner class, the banks, the police, and an offshoot of the Ku Klux Klan called the Nightriders had been engaged in a brutal crackdown on the workers of the Southern Tenant Farmers Union.
Milan, Italy — For many years, transnational movements like “Fridays for Future” or “Extinction Rebellion” have tried to push governments to comply with the 1.5 C climate threshold set in 2015 by the Paris Agreement, yet activists believe not enough has changed. The struggles against mega-projects — be it coal mines, pipelines, motorways, train lines, construction for Olympic games, or water privatization — are still happening in every continent, and many are crying out for an immediate reaction to a dystopian future. One such reaction happened in October in Milan, Italy: The World Congress for Climate Justice (WCCJ).
Digital solidarity and the sharing economy may seem like natural companions. To be sure, the sharing economy with its melding of community and commerce has the potential to be a key contributor to digital solidarity in developing economies. Both concepts revolve around the idea of collaboration, sharing resources and funds, community-building, the network effect, increasing trust between strangers, and the leveraging of digital technologies for the greater good. In this blog post, we consider how the sharing economy can contribute to digital solidarity in a developing economy; the barriers to the sharing economy doing so; and if unchecked how it can distort an economy.
Argentines weary of annual inflation soaring above 140% and a poverty rate that reached 40% have elected right-wing libertarian economist Javier Milei. On Sunday, November 19, 2023, Milei defeated Economy Minister Sergio Massa by a wide margin, 55.7% to 44.3%, winning all but three of the nation’s 24 provinces. He had campaigned on the promise to privatise state-owned enterprises, slash government spending, dollarise the economy, eliminate the Central Bank, and close key ministries, among them health and education. Milei is making the privatisation of the Argentine state-run oil company, YPF, a top priority. “The first thing to do is to restructure it so that YPF can be “sold in a very favourable way for the Argentinians.”
On November 15, Labor Notes hosted a Zoom call to hear reports from workers who are organizing to stop an escalating genocide in Palestine. Many are also fighting against the repression of workers who are speaking up for a ceasefire and against Israel’s occupation. We heard speakers from unions in education, health care, construction, and others who have organized their co-workers into action. Registration is open for the Labor Notes conference on April 19-21, 2024, for which we plan to develop programming on the labor movement and Palestine.
On November 17, Palestinian and anti-imperialist organizations including the Palestinian Youth Movement, the People’s Forum, the ANSWER Coalition, and National Students for Justice in Palestine have called on the Palestine solidarity movement to stage shut downs of “business as usual” in solidarity with Palestine. Across the globe, students will be walking out or occupying their universities, businesses will shutter, and activists will directly target the centers of power which enable Israeli genocide in Gaza. Actions will be taking place around the world including in Zambia, Puerto Rico, Canada, South Africa, South Korea, Australia, the Philippines, Brazil, Japan, Mexico, Cuba, England, the United States, among others.
Hundreds of health workers and demonstrators gathered outside of New York City Hall in solidarity with Palestinian health workers on the night of November 3. Demonstrators rallied in their scrubs and white coats, honoring the many health care workers who have lost their lives in Gaza. Since October 7, at least 150 health care workers have been killed by Israel in Gaza. Demonstrators stood in vigil to honor the slaughtered health care workers, calling for an end to the Israeli assault in Gaza, access to medical care in the Strip, and an end to US aid to Israel, free healthcare for all including those in the US, and no institutional retaliation for healthcare workers in support of Palestine. The protest was organized by NYC Healthcare Workers for Palestine.
Saturday’s 300,000-person march through the streets of Washington, DC was a political earthquake that shook the Biden administration to its core. The next step in making these demands a reality is to Shut It Down For Palestine this Thursday, Nov. 9. There will be no business as usual as long as the Palestinian people are being subjected to a genocide – a genocide paid for with our tax dollars. We will shut it down for Palestine all over this country and around the world. From walk outs to pickets at Israeli embassies to protests at companies that profiteer from Israeli apartheid -- or symbolic actions like wearing kuffiyehs or black armbands -- we will keep this people's movement growing from strength to strength.
As a worldwide series of protests in solidarity with Palestine erupt in multiple cities across the globe, the clear distinction between the will of the people and that of militarized fascist states couldn't be more clear. It is pivotal during this time for the Black community to recognize the origins of our oppression and stand in solidarity with the Palestinian people. The genocidal strategies of settler colonial states are not unfamiliar to Black communities, and the source of our oppression is coming from the same systems and institutions. Afro Palestinians are our siblings in the Black diaspora who have consistently been at the forefront of the occupation.
In the U.S. and across the world, hundreds of thousands of people have taken the streets to protest Israel’s assault on Gaza, which has killed at least 8,300 Palestinians, including 3,300 children, since October 7. On October 27, the United Nations called for an “immediate, durable and sustained humanitarian truce.” In the U.S., those protesting Israel’s attacks have faced a wave of repression by employers. Management retaliation has struck journalists and academics. Michael Eisen, editor-in-chief of the open-access science journal eLife, was fired after sharing a satirical article from The Onion that criticized media responses to the loss of Palestinian life. Jackson Frank, a sports writer for PhillyVoice, was fired after criticizing a pro-Israel post by the Philadelphia 76ers.
The rich tradition of international solidarity and anti-imperialism within the British trade union movement extends beyond the anti-apartheid movement. In 2003, two Motherwell-based train drivers refused to move a freight train carrying ammunition believed to be destined for British forces deployed in the Gulf. Railway managers cancelled the Ministry of Defence service after the crewmen, described as ‘conscientious objectors’ by a supporter, said they opposed Tony Blair’s threat to attack Iraq. And just ten miles away, in the 1970s, shop stewards at an East Kilbride Rolls Royce factory refused to carry out repairs on warplanes belonging to Chile’s air force.
As the Israeli military relentlessly bombards 2.4 million Palestinians in the besieged Gaza Strip and a ground invasion appears imminent, one storied, national union — the United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers of America (UE) — is opposing U.S. military aid for the state of Israel whose assault on the besieged strip has already taken the lives of at least 1,800 Palestinians (a number that is quickly rising) and displaced more than 420,000 others. The Israeli government’s overwhelming violence comes on the heels of a surprise attack by Hamas militants on October 7 when 150 were taken hostage and more than 1,300 people, almost entirely Israelis, were killed.
Just days after Indian authorities raided the homes of over 100 journalists affiliated with Indian leftist outlet Newsclick, international outlet Peoples Dispatch, and Tricontinental Research Services, over 300 journalists, political leaders, artists, academics, and progressive activists signed an open letter repudiating the repression. The individuals also demanded the immediate release of Newsclick editor-in-chief Prabir Purkayastha and administrator Amit Chakraborty who were arrested under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act and remain in police custody. The letter comes amid an outpouring of support and solidarity for Newsclick and those harassed and detained on October 3.
When teens and librarians planned a Drag Make-Up Hour at the Peabody Institute Library in Danvers, MA (a small town about 25 miles north of Boston) they drew fury from a handful of right-wingers—and heartfelt support from the community, including dozens of union members from the North Shore Labor Council. Holding rainbow signs that read “North Shore Labor Council: Where No Worker and No Union Stands Alone,” they joined hundreds of others from LBGTQ+, faith, peace, and environmental communities. Altogether, more than 350 counter-protestors formed a “wall of love” outside the library at the May 2023 event, greatly outnumbering the 10 protestors who held signs reading “Make America Great Again: Vote Republican” and “Straight Pride.”
As the first-ever simultaneous strike at General Motors, Ford and Stellantis continues, the United Auto Workers (UAW) union is being cheered on not only by a majority of Americans, but also by much of the international labor movement. Over the past two weeks, the UAW has received messages of solidarity from worker organizations in multiple countries, including a letter from the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa and an email from Malaysia’s National Union of Transport Equipment & Allied Industries Workers — both of which represent autoworkers in their respective countries. “The world is watching, and the people are on our side,” UAW President Shawn Fain said last Friday.