Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Textile Workers Mobilize in Haiti for Minimum Wage Adjustment — Press Conference

By PLASIT, via Workers Struggle
April 19, 2016

Press Conference on April 14, 2016

Greetings to all our media friends, print as well as television, that come to provide coverage for the conference that PLASIT, which is Textile Plants Union Platform, to launch the mobilization for the minimum wage adjustment for the year 2015-2016. In PLASIT, we notice that 8 months following the beginning of the fiscal year, the Supreme Salary Council finally made recommendations to the government just as it did for the past 2 years. Thus, the Council has adopted a bad habit of not respecting what is stated in Article 4.1 in the Law of 2009 on the minimum wage.

In the Supreme Salary Council, it’s mainly delaying tactics and plots going on. Management and the two so-called union representatives in the Council are dragging their feet so that management may continue to steal several months of workers’ wages. So, management will have more leeway to continue to pay workers measly wages.[...]

Read full press release:
Watch video (in Creole):

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Are Sanders and Fair Trade a Threat to the Global Poor?

By David L. Wilson, MRzine
April 13, 2016

On April 24, 2013, some 1,134 people died in the collapse of the Rana Plaza complex outside Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh. The building housed factories where low-wage workers, largely women, stitched garments for the U.S. and European markets.

For several years before the disaster a number of U.S. opinion makers -- notably New York Times columnists Thomas Friedman and Nicholas Kristof -- had been arguing that assembly plants like those at Rana Plaza were crucial to the development of economies in the Global South and therefore a boon to the world's most impoverished. The media's efforts to promote sweatshops suddenly slowed down after the collapse in Bangladesh, but they seem to be reviving now, just as we approach the third anniversary of the disaster.

The occasion for the new pro-sweatshop campaign is Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders' opposition to trade pacts like the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).[...]

Read the full article:

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

From Scapegoating to Solidarity: 2016 Is the Year to Turn the Immigration Debate Around

By David L. Wilson, Truthout
March 15, 2016

There are two surprising facts that most mainstream US media outlets have studiously ignored in their coverage of immigration and the 2016 presidential campaign:

First, the Republican candidates are promising to end a wave of unauthorized immigration that actually ended eight years ago.

And second, the same working-class white people who cheer billionaire candidate Donald Trump's anti-immigrant rants would themselves benefit from legalizing the immigration status of the approximately 11 million people who currently lack legal papers.

We'd be well on our way to ending the current anti-immigrant frenzy if only we could get these two facts across to a majority of the US population - and this might be the year to do it.[...]

Read the full article:

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Failing to Connect the Dots on Immigration: The Democratic Debate in Miami

As investigative journalist Allan Nairn said on Democracy Now! in January: "Well, you know, if you go and burn down your neighbor's house, don't complain when, as they run from the flames, they come onto your lawn."

By David L. Wilson and Jane Guskin, MRZine
March 13, 2016

The March 9 debate in Miami between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders was the first chance the two candidates for the Democratic presidential nomination had to discuss immigration and its connections to trade and U.S. policy in Latin America. Unfortunately, neither candidate took advantage of the opportunity.

The mainstream "immigration debate" generally avoids mentioning the forces that have driven millions of Latin Americans to move here without legal authorization over the past forty years. The media and the politicians treat the migration either as a natural disaster ("flooding over the border") or as a second-rate science fiction movie ("the aliens are invading") -- with either scenario seen as deserving an aggressive response.[...]

Read the full article:

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Garment Workers Protest in Port-au-Prince

Report posted on one-struggle-circle and bosolidaritynetwork
November 30, 2015

Happening right now: workers in Haiti shut down a factory this morning! Please share widely. Support the autonomous struggles of the working class!

Port-au-Prince, November 30
The Korean-owned garment factory gave paychecks with insufficient funds. The government promised the workers they would pay the workers themselves but they never did. This protest is going on right now in SONAPI industrial park.

The workers closed the factory by blocking the front with branches. Since this morning with posters in hand, they wanted to block the whole park but did not have the capacity for that. They are at present continuing the mobilization at the factory.

Report from Batay Ouvriye (Creole)
November 30, 2015

Depi maten an ouvriyèz yo mobilize nan Sonapi. Se yon seksyon sendikal ki nan SOTA. Pi presizeman, se ouvriyèz ki leve kanpe poutèt faktori kote yo t ap travay la, DKDR ki se yon izin Koreyen t ap dirije, fèmen. Pou sa fèt selon lalwa, yo peye travayè yo. Men vwala, lè sila yo al chanje chèk yo depi semenn pase, yo tout jwenn chèk yo san provizyon !!! Lè a, y al lakay moun Koreyen yo... epi yo annik wè Koreyen yo kite kay kote yo te rete a!!
Port-au-Prince, November 30

Konsa, nou pare yon mobilizasyon pou jodi lendi a granm maten nan Sonapi. Sèten nan reskonsab yo pale deja nan radyo. Dòt, ansanm ak reskonsab BO yo, ale nan Afè sosyal.

Apremidi a, apre jounen mobilizasyon an, yo gen randevou ak reskonsab BO yo nan lokal la ansanm ak yon avoka nou deja kontakte pou konn sa k ap fèt nan nivo legal tou, pandan mobilizasyon an ap kontinye.

Lòt nouvèl va swiv.

Report from Batay Ouvriye (English)
November 30, 2015

Since this morning, workers mobilized in SONAPI (National Society of Industrial Parks). The workers are members of one of the Unions in SOTA. Precisely, the workers rose up because the factory where they worked, DKDR, a Korean factory, closed down. According to the law, they paid the workers. However, when the workers went to cash their checks last week, the checks bounced!!! At that time, they went to the home of the Koreans only to find that they moved.
Port-au-Prince, November 30

Therefore, we planned demonstration today, Monday, very early in the morning in SONAPI. Some leaders spoke on the radio already. Others, together with BO representatives went to the Ministry of Social Affairs.

This afternoon, after a day of mobilization, a meeting is set with BO representatives and a lawyer at the BO Workers hall to decide what to do legally also while continuing the mobilization at the same time.

More news to come.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

The Part of “Illegal” They Don’t Understand: Book Review

By David L. Wilson, Monthly Review
October 2015

Aviva Chomsky, Undocumented: How Immigration Became Illegal (Boston: Beacon Press, 2014), 256 pages, $16, paperback.

Anyone who really wants to understand U.S. immigration policy needs to read the brief history of the U.S.-Mexico border in Aviva Chomsky’s often-brilliant new book on immigration.1

Politicians constantly tell us we have lost control of the border. In fact, as Undocumented demonstrates, never in the 166 years since the border was established by the 1848 Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo has it been so tightly controlled as it is now. For nearly half its history it was exactly the thing immigration opponents say they fear most—an open border. The first serious restrictions did not come until a head tax and a literacy requirement were imposed in 1917, and even then there was an exemption for Mexican workers, the people most likely to enter the country from the south. The creation of the Border Patrol in 1924 was mainly a Prohibition Era measure to keep alcohol out.

Far from trying to control the border, U.S. businesses and politicians were trying to get people to cross it.[...]

Read the full article:

Friday, October 23, 2015

NYC, 10/30/15: "Close-ups on Revolution: the Nicaraguan Films of Marc Karlin"

VOYAGES (1985), 42 min.
SCENES FOR A REVOLUTION (1991), 110 min.


MARK KARLIN (1943-1999), one of the greatest British filmmakers of his generation, created an outstanding body of philosophically rich, formally bold work that explored themes of history, memory, labour, and political agency in a time of neoliberal despair.

Foremost among his achievements are the five films he made on the Nicaraguan revolution: spanning the Sandinista decade, focussing on rural and urban grassroots movements, attentive to the sadness and disappointments of the revolutionary process, they are a remarkable chronicle of a remarkable era.

MEMORY AND ILLUMINATION: THE FILMS OF MARC KARLIN, the first US retrospective of his work, begins with two works from this period.

VOYAGES (1985) is composed of stills by renowned Magnum photographer SUSAN MEISELAS taken in 1978 and 1979 during the overthrow of the fifty-year dictatorship of the Somoza family. Written in the form of a letter from Meiselas to Karlin, it is a ruminative and often profound exploration of the ethics of witnessing, the responsibilities of war photography and the politics of the still image,

SCENES FOR A REVOLUTION (1991) is a film about aftermaths and reckonings. Revisiting material for his earlier 4-part series (1985), Karlin returns to Nicaragua to examine the history of the Sandinista government, consider its achievements, and assess the prospects for democracy following its defeat in the general election of 1990.

Friday, October 30th 6:30pm
King Juan Carlos I of Spain Center
53 Washington Square South
New York, NY 10012

Post screening discussion with:
Susan Meiselas, Magnum photographer since 1980 and 1992 MacArthur Fellow.
Hermione Harris, anthropologist; collaborator on the Nicaragua series.
Jonathan Buchsbaum, author of Cinema Sandinista: Filmmaking in Revolutionary Nicaragua, 1979-1990.
Susie Linfield, author of The Cruel Radiance: Photography and Political Violence.

Organized by Sukhdev Sandhu. QUERIES: