Networked Labour University, a project networed in process! | Networked Labour

Networked Labour University is a universal, free and open access platform that allows collective learning for individuals and groups. Unconditional empowerment of the disempowered, excluded, and oppressed with direct solidarity is the reason we exist for. Based on a transformatory and emancipatory perspective the platform is designed to liberate knowledge from alienation and domination of any kind, at the point of production and distribution. We use free/libre, open source software is to enable money-free access to most essential cultural resources. The platform is being developed to facilitate broader solidarity economy by encouraging and enabling open-cooperative exchanges between participants. Anyone can join us and contribute by offering and taking courses, moderating circles or skill shares, helping with web design and platform development or in any other way!

Website: http://networkedlabour.networg.nl/moodle/Empowered by http://www.networkedlabour.net/

via Networked Labour University, a project networed in process! | Networked Labour.

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Unionizing solidarity with Palestine: Support grows for BDS among grassroots labor movement

Block the Boat march in Oakland. (Photo: Bob Ristelhueber)“We, representatives of Palestinian civil society, call upon international civil society organizations and people of conscience all over the world to impose broad boycotts and implement divestment initiatives against Israel.” This call for solidarity was issued in July 2005 by hundreds of Palestinian organizations, including all major trade unions. Systematic land confiscation, mass incarceration, house demolition, and routine attacks that leave hundreds of civilians dead have become part and parcel of daily life in Israel-occupied Palestine. The US-sponsored “peace talks” merely readjusted Israel’s occupation strategy: instead of deploying its army inside Palestinian cities and towns, Israel now surrounds them with checkpoints and walls; hinders Palestinians’ ability to work, study, and travel; and ensures that Palestine remains economically dependent on Israel. Recognizing that Israel has used negotiations to normalize and sustain the occupation, Palestinian civil society adopted the non-violent strategy of Boycott, Divest and Sanctions (BDS) against its oppressor.

Compared to its international counterparts, the U.S. labor movement has been slow to embrace BDS. Michael Letwin, co-founder of the solidarity group Labor for Palestine, suggests this is the product of the American labor movement’s historical and continuing institutional support for Israel. The major US trade unions, Letwin says, have hundreds of millions of dollars in pension funds that are invested in Israel. Senior union leaders, in fear of alienating the Democratic Party and other political allies, frequently denounce BDS and criticize their counterparts around the world who support it.

via Unionizing solidarity with Palestine: Support grows for BDS among grassroots labor movement.

The P2P Prince?: The form and the program of the transnational REvolutionary subjectivity

Below text is an excpert from unpublished and unedited 2012 article Another World, Now! Coming of the Transnational REvolutions and the P2P Prince.

The  modern  prince,  the  myth-prince,  cannot  be  a  real  person,  a  concrete individual. It can only be an organism, a complex element of society in which a collective will, which has  already been recognised and has to some  extent asserted itself in action, begins to take concrete form. (A. Gramsci)

 

Italian political activist and theorist Antonio Gramsci’s core concepts like hegemony, organic crisis, historic bloc, war of position and war of manoeuvre are central to our understanding of today’s complex global capitalist system as well as the catastrophic changes that are currently taking place in it. Referring to the original concept developed by Gramsci, global political economy theorist Stephen Gill describes the 2008 global financial turmoil as the manifestation of an organic crisis at the global level. [1] We can also read the outcomes of the global organic crisis following another neo-Gramscian theorist Robert Cox as a mixture of three scenarios he describes.[2] First one is a global (military) Keynesian recovery being pushed by the West. Regional wars moving from the periphery to the centre involving massive destruction of lives, cities and the nature, as we witness it happening since the 9/11. The second scenario is the rise of global fascism in tandem with the regional wars. This has also been happening, especially increasingly in the centre, since 2007; highlighting the race to the bottom caused by the strengthening of totalitarian forms of capitalism at the main contenders like China, Russia and India. Finally and the last scenario is accompanying transnational revolutions, like the uprisings in the northern Africa, Americas and Europe also happening.[3]

What brought humanity to this point is not a secret and also made clear by many thinkers, intellectuals, and activists. The above mentioned article by Gill is only one of the public records. It is very clear however where we have to drive history as the humanity, the third option: Transnational revolutions. Again, following Gramsci and Gill, we can think of the realisation of the transnational revolutions in relation to the ‘Prince’. For his time Gramsci thought of it as the collective subjectivity which will give the moral leadership to a wider counter-hegemonic historic bloc, and shape the form and content of the communist revolution in a national context. And it was the communist part of the working class. Gill referred to the anti- and alter-globalisation movement. Continue reading

Freelancers’ Movement – http://freelancersmovement.org/

Independents Unite! Inside the Freelancers' Rights Movement by Joel Dullroy and Anna CashmanIndependents Unite! – Preview Edition Now Available

The preview edition of Independents Unite! Inside the Freelancers’ Rights Movement is now available for download. This preview edition includes five chapters. Further chapters will be released in future editions of the book.

ABOUT THE BOOK:

Around the world, independent workers are getting organized. No longer an ignorable minority in society, freelancers are waking up to the potential power within their growing number. They are combining through online communities, campaign groups, incorporated associations and even proto-unions to exert influence over their conditions.

Independents Unite! Inside the Freelancers Rights Movement, by Joel Dullroy and Anna Cashman, introduces the concept of the collective empowerment of freelancers. The book provides an overview of the existing elements of the freelancers’ movement, with comparisons of the organizations and campaigns currently at work and the goals they are striving to achieve. It lays out the conditions which have led to the growth of the freelancing workforce to show how the current situation has been purposefully created through political decisions, and can therefore be altered and improved by the same means.

With a foundational text in place, critical discussions on the topic of independent worker rights can continue to develop, in symbiosis with the freelancers’ movement itself.

PREVIEW EDITION:

This preview edition includes five complete chapters:

Introducing the Freelancers’ Movement

How Many? Counting Freelancers

Pushed: How Politics and Ideology Created the Freelancing Grey Zone

The Reaction Begins: How Freelancers are Getting Organized

Case Study: Freelancers Union

DOWNLOAD NOW:

The book is available as a free download, in both PDF format and .mobi format for Kindle readers. Supporters may also select to pay a donation to help the authors complete their research and writing.

Download free e-book – €0.00

Supporter – download book with donation – €5.00

Big Supporter – download book with donation – €10.00

via Freelancers’ Movement.

Open Letter from Peter Waterman Asking Eric Lee of Labour Start the Reason Why He is Suspended and Banned from Unionbook | 24.07.14

I have received the below open letter from someone who is very well-known by devoting his life time efforts to international and global solidarity and social emancipation: Peter Waterman. Peter, though, did put a stress on labour internationalism of which he saw that the solidarity between unions is only one and a small part in the broad picture. Coming from a Jewish family himslef he, has been openly critical of Zionism and Israel’s ever-expanding a barbaric occupation on Palestinian territory.

Peter had been actively blogging about global labour and union solidarity in his blog page on Unionbook, since 2008-9. I say he ‘had’ because, the ‘owner’ of the Unionbook and its mother project LabourStart, Eric Lee, self-claiming ‘democratic socialist’ yet who is also known with his over sympathy to the Israeli state, who is the owner and the administrator of the Unionbook did ban Waterman’s user account two days ago. Eric created the Unionbook on Ning servers, which belongs to the corporation owned by Zuckerberg’s ex-partner -also the creator of Napster. Altouhg Unionbook thought as a social network site for all the unionists of the world it did manage to attract at around 5600 international unionist as its users. Lee cut off Peter’s communication, as Israel cuts off Gazza’s roads, food and electriciry. So now Peter has no access to his acount, pages, posts etc. on Unionbook, so he can not responde this move using his own blog page.

In the below open letter Peter makes a guess about the possible reason behind this ‘occupation’ of his cybersland by Lee and invites him to discuss the issue publicly -may be a ‘two network admin solution’ (?). According to Peter Waterman the ban came right after he re-blogged Lee’s own article where Lee openly supports recent war/sate-terrorism launched on Gazza. Waterman gives details from his perspective and indicates the limits of the marriage between ideologies like Zionism, as well as other nationalisms and internationalism.

Now you can read on, as Peter always sez:

The Slow Death of the Socialist International by Dan Gallin

Original post

Dan Gallin at the International Summer School

Talk at the Global Labour Institute International Summer School 2014. Video available here.

– By Dan Gallin

The Socialist International is the organization of the world’s socialist, social-democratic and labour parties, by a loose definition. Its headquarters are in London (Maritime House, Clapham).

It is the successor organization of the historical Internationals of the labour movement, the First (International Working Men’s Association) (1864-1879), the Second (Labour International) (1889-1916), which split three ways during World War I and reconstituted itself as the Labour and Socialist International (LSI) in 1923 The LSI did not survive World War II and the present Socialist International was founded in 1951 in Frankfurt as its successor.

At the last count, it had 162 member parties in 100 countries, and it is now in a deep crisis which reflects the crisis of most of its members, certainly its most influential ones.

Why is any of this important?

Because socialism has been the ideological foundation of most of the world’s trade union movement, not necessarily always in the same acceptance of the term, and today we are faced with a crisis of socialism, which is principally a crisis of the meaning of socialism.

Continue reading

#ISS14: Capitalism, Anti-Capitalism and the Trade Union Movement 7 July 2014

#ISS14: Capitalism, Anti-Capitalism and the Trade Union Movement

Talk by Asbjørn Wahl, Fagforbundet (Norwegian Union of Municipal and General Employees) and Bill Fletcher, American Federation of Government Employees

How do we revive the global union movement?

– By Josiah Mortimer

The global labour movement is at a crossroads.

Bill Fletcher. Picture by Leif Martin Green

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#ISS14: The International Trade Union Movement  7 July 2014 – By Dave Spooner

A brief guided tour around the political and organisational landscape of the movement – for participants new to international trade union discussions.

Highlights

  • Dave Spooner explains it’s very hard to find an example of the ITUC’s concept of ‘decent work’ in today’s economy
  • The ILO was formed in 1919 in response to the Russian Revolution – Dave Spooner describes it as a ‘theatre of class warfare’!
  • Some unions are turning to the World Federation of Trade Unions, however problematic, in a search for class-based unionism
  • Climate change is one of the most pressing issues workers face globally
  • Most European trade union structures are dependent on EU finance, which can be difficult under neoliberalism says Dave Spooner
  • Passing a pro-worker motion in the ILO is just the ‘beginning of the battle’ before state ratification says GLI chair Dave Spooner
  • ‘Domestic workers have faced enormous abuse across the world’
  • There is a tension within unions as to whether the labour movement should be anti-capitalist – an issue we will have to face
  • Precarious work is on the rise in the global north. How should unions organise those workers?
  • ‘Gone are the days when a union official could knock on the door of a factory, talk to the manager and then have a union’
  • Everybody was an informal worker before the trade union movement – it was only through organising that employment standards rose
  • Unions across the world are questioning their relationships with ‘social democratic’ parties which have become more neoliberal
  • ITUC General Secretary Sharan Burrow has described the situation for unions across the globe as a ‘labour war’ by neoliberalism
  • Delegate: neoliberalism is ‘capitalism without working-class opposition’ – a political project against workers

Continue reading

The Tragedy of The Private, The Potential of The Public

From South Africa to Brazil, from Italy to the US, in Uruguay, Greece, Norway, the UK and in many other countries, municipal councils are taking services back under public control. Public Service workers and their fellow community members are not only defending public services but are also struggling to make them democratic and responsive to the people’s needs and desires.

This report co-published by Public Services international and the Transnational Institute surveys anti-privatisation campaigns by PSI affiliates around the world. From South Africa to Brazil, from Italy to the US, in Uruguay, Greece, Norway, the UK and in many other countries, municipal councils are taking services back under public control.

Over the past 30 years, since Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan gained office, it is clear that the problems the welfare state was designed to alleviate – hunger, disease, unemployment, poor living conditions – have thrived once again, as these dogmatically pro-market politicians drove the destruction of the model. In the case of too much of the Global South, their ideology contributed to blocking attempts to build public services where they are most needed.

It is now clear that public service managers and local politicians, those taking decisions on the front line of public services, are in practice rejecting the claims of private business and their political champions. They are asserting pragmatically an understanding of ‘efficiency’ that is based on a different logic from that of private commercial accounting. Instead it is grounded in an understanding of the distant concept of ‘public value’ – the meeting of social needs – as the central criteria for efficiency in the management of public services. This turning point is drawn from their everyday experience of the failure of services delivered by private business.

How can we strengthen this pragmatic – and still modest – turn away from privatisation, to challenge the national and international institutions that continue to drive outsourciing and impose it on an increasingly disaffected public? And how can this pragmatic rejection of the private market in the sphere of public goods become a source of energy and creativity, sparking a process of improving and expanding public services to meet the new needs and desires that have emerged in recent decades? These are the questions which this booklet seeks to answer.

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Global Labour Institute International Summer School 2014 #ISS14

The third GLI International Summer School will be held from Monday 7th – Friday 11th July 2014 at Northern College in Barnsley, UK. The aim of the Summer School is to bring together trade union activists from around the world to debate and question what are, and what should be, the politics of the international trade union movement.

This year, up to 100 participants will be attending the Summer School – including delegations from national unions and global union federations, invited trade union activists, labour movement researchers and educators.

Most participants who attend the school are nominated by supportive unions, union federations and organisations. If you’re interested in attending the Summer School, get in contact with your union in the first instance.

If you have any further queries about the Summer School, drop us an email at gli-uk@global-labour.net

The Programme

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Global Labour Journal Special Issue: Analysing Labour and the Crisis: Challenges, Responses and New Avenues

guest edited by Mònica Clua-Losada and Laura Horn

Global_LabourFrontmatter

Articles

“New Forms of Worker Organization: The Syndicalist and Autonomist Restoration of Class Struggle Unionism”

About the Book

Bureaucratic labor unions are under assault throughout the world. The decline of labor unions has exposed workers throughout the world to capitalist absolutism, where trade unions are unable to defend workers’ interests under capitalism. As financial capital controls investment decisions on a global scale over the past 30 years, most unions have surrendered the achievements of the mid-20th century, when the working class was a militant force for change throughout the world. As unions implode and weaken, workers are independently forming their own unions, rooted in the tradition of syndicalism and autonomism—and unions rooted in the tradition of self-directed action are auguring a new period of class struggle throughout the world. In Africa, Asia, the Americas, and Europe, workers are rejecting leaders and forming authentic class-struggle unions rooted in sabotage, direct action, and striking to achieve concrete gains.

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Global strike by fast food workers | USILive

Fast food workers protest in Tokyo

In an unprecedented and inspiring demonstration of workers’ solidarity, fast food workers around the world took coordinated global strike action today.

From New York to Mumbai, from Paris to Tokyo, fast food workers and their supporters picketed their workplaces. They are striking against a fast food industry – dominated by big names like McDonald’s, Burger King, Pizza Hut and KFC – that makes huge profits while keeping workers on low wages and in precarious jobs.

This may be the first time in history that workers have taken simultaneous strike action against the same multinational companies in so many different countries. It is a welcome dose of union internationalism, aided by social media. Fast food workers around the world have been spreading messages of their actions, and words of solidarity, using the #FastFoodGlobal hashtag.  By late afternoon it was the number one trending topic on twitter – the most talked about thing on social media. This is the first time a trade union campaign has achieved this. It is a huge success for us to celebrate: poverty pay has been put firmly on the agenda.

The action kicked of this morning in New Zealand, where the Unite union has been running a highly successful Supersize My Pay campaign for several years.   Continue reading

Confronting the most difficult challenges facing the international labour movement

by  – 15th May 2014, 17.00 BST

In the next couple of days, more than 1,500 trade union leaders from 161 countries will meet in Berlin for the Third World Congress of the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC).  The ITUC unites national trade union centres, including Britain’s TUC, all over the world.

The ITUC event will be followed on Friday in the same city by a slightly smaller one: the LabourStart Global Solidarity Conference. Almost 700 people, from 75 countries, have registered to attend.

To a casual observer, these sound like very similar events. And there’ll certainly be some overlap. For example, the leader of Australia’s trade unions, Dave Oliver, will open the LabourStart event, though he’s also attending the ITUC Congress.

Here’s the difference: the ITUC Congress is a bit like a TUC Congress in the UK. Elected leaders attend, discuss issues, pass resolutions, elect a leadership and so on. Although, unlike TUC, ordinary rank-and-file workers, shop stewards, branch union officials and others won’t be there.  It is where the senior leadership of the international trade union movement meets.

And it’s a direct continuation of global trade union meetings that started 150 years ago in London, where Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels led the foundation of the International Workingmen’s Association, known as the “First International”.

The LabourStart event, on the other hand, is something new, something that probably couldn’t have been imagined before there was an internet.

Continue reading

Online Preparatory Meeting for the ‘Organizing Digital Labour and Digital Labour Organizing Workshop’ at Global Solidarity Conference

When: 10:00, 14 May 2014

Where: BigBlueButton

Preparatory and test call for planning the ‘Organizing digital labour & digital labour organizing’ workshop. The actual workshop is being planned to take place in Berlin between 23-25 May 2014, during  Labour Start‘s 5. Global Solidarity Conference.

Original Post

To open up the preparation process for the workshop as wide as possible and to allow those interested online participants to test and practice with the online system we will be using, we will be making several test conference calls in coming days. The first call will take place on Wednesday 14 May, between 10.00 am and 15.00 pm [UK time], so wider global participation will be possible during the day.

The draft description of the workshop, which we be taken as the starting point, can be found at ‘Union Upgrading’ Group Wiki created on Organizing Network -which we will be testing and using to document the workshop and the preperation, and to take the minutes. If you like to participate the preparatory call, and the workshop itself please add your name, affiliation, contact information, and any ideas or suggestion of yours on the wiki and click on ‘Save’. In order to be able to use all the functions of the Organizing Network, for instance the wiki, you will need to register first. Please read the user guide for the ON here.

The test call is open to all unionists, labour organizers, social justice activists, free information and knowledge [h]activists, researchers who are interested in and experienced on the topic. The call is especially set up for those who wish to actively collaborate in the preparation of the content of the workshop, and who needs to practice with the digital tools we will be using.

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CYBERUNIONS EPISODE 84: TO WHERE LABOR DAY STARTED

Updates
  • Met Listeners in person matt and michael both in the Chicago area
  • In fact recording from matt’s place now
  • Lots to talk about from this week in chicago
Labor Talk
  • labor notes conference
  • Stephen attended on behalf of May First / People Link
  • extensive discussion of the various workshops that Stephen attended
  • In particular the VW chattanooga panel on the UAW organizing drive met Chris who worked on the facebook Chattanooga for Workers in support of the UAW drive. Really good analysis from two workers that were in the plant organizing.
Tech Talk
  • From the CWA telecom session a clear generational gap amongst the labor activists.
  • Met some awesome folks involved in the CWA next generation
  • labor tendency to support capitalism
  • need to build and fund activist network software
  • encourage labor activists to join the Organizing Network
Feedback
  • Michael will be posting our content on reddit for us since my account got blocked
Play

Social Justice Unionism Seeks Can Build Labor And Student Movements

Labor Notes

by Roshan Bliss, SUNDAY, 20 APRIL 2014 14:59

Earlier this month at the Labor Notes Conference, rank and file labor leaders announced for the first time the creation of the Network for Social Justice Unionism (NSJU), a new infrastructure that unionists concerned with advancing social justice beyond the workplace hope to use to organize for a shift in the way the labor movement operates.

The NSJU seeks to encourage the creation of social justice caucuses in union locals across the nation and to establish working relationships between those caucuses to be able to support each other’s struggles. Together, these caucuses hope to create an movement inside of organized labor that pushes union leaders across the country to do more to see that union power benefits not just workers themselves, but also the communities that unions are embedded in and rely upon.

Plans for the NSJU have been in the works for over a year, and NSJU members are optimistic that their work will not only be enthusiastically received by workers and social justice activists, but that it could eventually transform and revitalize an aging labor movement. The NSJU effort has its roots in recent struggles for change led by teachers, but seeks to encourage workers of all kinds to commit to lending their knowledge, resources, and influence to other ongoing struggles for justice beyond their workplaces.

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AAWL Public Meeting – Organising garment workers internationally

The garment and apparel manufacturing sector is mainly concentrated in a few countries in the south and south east of Asia. It is an industry with a vicious ‘Race to the Bottom’ drive that kills thousands of workers. Workers are fighting back in many countries, but their struggles are often isolated. How do we better link together, how to we organise better together, how do we campaign together for common demands? On Wednesday the 2nd of April, AAWL is organising an international co-ordinated meeting with a number of garment workers representatives to discuss these issues.

6pm Wednesday 2 April 2014 at AMWU

Level 1, 251 Queensberry St

Carlton South

All Welcome

Click here for leaflet

Connecting Western and Chinese Workers | Union Solidarity International

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China is the workshop of the world. And – if you’re a worker in the West – its the threat your boss uses to keep your wages down. We are constantly told how our wage demands are “uncompetitive”, and how companies will ship their production to China to save costs.

But what about the workers of China? We hear very little about them – about their terms and conditions, about their organisations, about their lives and their struggles. And yet their struggles are vitally important to the labour movement everywhere: if Chinese workers win better conditions for themselves, it makes the bosses’ threat less convincing. It gives us an opportunity to support each other in a climb to the top, instead of competing on a race to the bottom: to build a world of fairness and dignity at work, with wages that allow workers to live secure and fulfilling lives.

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