South African strike: Political watershed? – Gentle

South African strike: Political watershed?

Leonard Gentle

Pambazuka News, 2010-09-09, Issue 495

http://pambazuka.org/en/category/features/66783

The public sector strike has been suspended. But whether the unions accept the state’s latest offer or not, this strike may well be (and these things we are almost always fated to see only in retrospect) a watershed in South African politics.
Firstly, amidst all the media opprobrium and invective against the strikers and the stories of intimidation, there is also a picture emerging of the appalling state of the public sector.

Whilst the very wealthy and even many middle-class people simply avoid much of the public sector, sourcing health services from medical aids and private hospitals, sending their kids to private schools and living in gated communities cleaned by private companies, most other South Africans are dependent on public healthcare, public schooling and other public services. And not only have these been seriously neglected, the very people who must provide the services – teachers, nurses, state clerical workers – are underpaid and angry enough to hold out for a protracted strike in order to get some improvement. Continue reading

The Information Proletariat and Globalization – Hookes

The Information Proletariat and Globalization – Hookes

Submitted for the International Conference:

The Working Class: What is it and where is it?

At the Economics Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences
Moscow, 11-12 July 2006

Introduction: The fetishisation of manual labour

It is generally recognised that the character of work has changed considerably during
the 20th Century. The classical Marxist proletariat, manual factory workers, from
being the overwhelming majority, say, 70-80 % of the workforce, are now between
10-20% in advanced capitalist countries. Those members of the workforce who
provide services, especially information processing and delivery services, are now the
majority.1 A sub-group of the ‘information proletariat’ are sometimes called
‘knowledge workers’, that is,  those who jobs require high level of knowledge input
obtained from advanced schooling. They are now about one third of the workforce in
the US, more than twice as numerous as the manual factory proletariat. They are
expected to become at least 40% of the working population, say by, 2010. [1] This
latter group can be considered to be the new core proletariat of a knowledge-based
society. It contains many highly privileged groups such as university teachers and
researchers, and so on, whose level of alienation is, let us say, tolerable, as well as
less privileged technical knowledge workers.  The information proletariat as a whole
includes many highly exploited workers such as those in call-centres and data-input
offices.

See the complete article here:

http://www.labortech.net/pdf/Moscow3.pdf

Live Working or Die Fighting – Interview with Paul Mason

Haymarket author and BBC Newsnight’s Economics Editor Paul Mason appeared Friday morning, September 24, on Democracy Now! (http://www.democracynow.org/).

Mason on Live Working or Die Fighting: How the Working Class Went Global

The Census Bureau latest report shows that the numbers of Americans living in poverty and without health insurance have skyrocketed. 43.6 million people-about one in seven-lived below the poverty level of $22,000 for a family of four in 2009, pushing the national poverty rate to a fifteen-year high of 14.3 percent. We speak with British journalist Paul Mason about his new book, Live Working or Die Fighting: How the Working Class Went Global.

http://www.democracynow.org/2010/9/24/paul_mason_on__live_working

Mason is the author of:

Live Working or Die Fighting
How the Working Class Went Global
Paul Mason
Haymarket Books
Published: 07/01/2010
978-1-60846-070-0 | $17.00 | Trade Paper
http://www.haymarketbooks.org/pb/Live-Working-or-Die-Fighting

Plan for a Global Industrial Union

The future is global unionism
23 September 2010

Union workers across the globe need to find new innovative ways of working together to match the increasing global power of multinational corporations, AWU
National Secretary, Paul Howes, said at a meeting in Germany this week. Continue reading

International Transport Workers on Sustainability

The ITF 42nd Congress, meeting in Mexico City from 5-12 August 2010:

1. Acknowledging the fact that global warming is already occurring with the 10 hottest years on record having happened since 1990, and the massive danger presented by further climate change to human civilisation;

2. Noting the scientific consensus that global warming is caused by human activities which pump carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions into the atmosphere; Continue reading

How Policy Is Affecting the Marginalized (South Africa) – Vavi

http://www.amandlapublishers.co.za/home-menu-item/389-zwelinzima-vavis-address-to-the-ruth-first-memorial-lecture

Zwelinzima Vavi’s Address to the Ruth First Memorial Lecture ruthfirst2aOn the 17 August 2010

Cosatu General Secretary, Zwelinzima Vavi, delivered the address at the Ruth First Memorial Lecture at Wits University. The theme was “How policy is affecting the marginalised and its impact on poverty”.

In keeping with the current issues faced by South Africa, Zwelinzima Vavi says “…we ask a question and pose a challenge to the journalists and academics of today: How many journalists and academics have taken forward the legacy of Ruth First? How many on a daily basis, battle against poverty and inequalities and fight for economic justice as she did?” Continue reading

Global Unionism – Leitch

http://newunionism.wordpress.com/2010/05/06/global-unionism-which-way-forward/

Global Unionism – which way forward?

Looking at the example of unionism in Mexico, Richard Leitch discusses different approaches to building union internationalism.

My recent review of ‘Global Unions, Global Business’ by Croucher and Cotton [on the newunionism site – pw] raised a couple of concerns about the authors’ preferred perspective of ‘regional minilateralism’. These revolved around its applicability to all areas of the global economy, and whether or not the alternative approach (which they call ‘rank and file bilateralism’) has some purchase for international trade unionism. Here I want to expand on these points, and look in particular at the example of building independent trade unionism in Mexico. Continue reading

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