Leap Struggle – An International Report of Class Struggle from Chicago, to Spain, to China

European Trade Union Confederation “Day of Action” – F.29
Autonomous Workers’ Group

In early February, The European Trade Union Confederation called for Direct Actions to occur all over the Eurozone in protest of the austerity measures planned by the EU Economic Summit that would be convening March. 1st. Of the demands for the callout were:

–>    An International Recovery Plan with emphasis on Quality Job building for Youth and Adults  (Editor’s note: an end to precarious and casualized work)
–>    A dynamic European Industrial Program that places emphasis on advancing a “Green Economy”
–>    Budget Balancing for the Long Haul
–>    A guarantee to social rights
–>    A minimum Tax Rate for Companies in the EU
–>    An intensification of the fight against Social and Wage dumping

“Enough is enough. Austerity measures do not work,” said ETUC leader Bernadette Segol. “We have alternatives, and Europe must work for employment and social justice. And we haven’t had that until now,” Segol said at a demonstration in Brussels attended by Hundreds of Union members.

EU Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso acknowledged on the eve of the two-day summit that the sacrifices needed to overcome, that the financial crisis must be better spread around if Europe wants to hold onto its cherished welfare state model of government.

Contrary to this the unions seek a financial transaction tax, a clampdown on tax evasion and a pooling of debt through the use of eurobonds.

“Sacrifices are being made on an unfair basis,” Barroso said after meeting with leaders of the trade unions and employers federations in Brussels. He said he “is looking to fight tax evasion and boost a financial transaction tax.”

In addition to the several hundred international demonstrators outside EU headquarters, well over 1,000 Belgian union activists protested outside the national bank.

In Greece, unions held a three hour work stoppage and planned rallies in central Athens in opposition to painful new austerity measures that saw the government this week enforce a 22 percent cut in the minimum wage, as well as a in slash benefits and pensions

In Spain, Youth and Union Activists took to the streets in cities against cutbacks in education. Spain has nearly 29% unemployment and is in the midst of a major budget deficit. Civil servants in the central region of Castilla La Mancha went on strike to protest wage cuts of up to 8 percent.

Alongside Brussels, Spain and Greece, some 24 other European Countries held actions to protest the latest wave of Austerity Measures.

“The objective is that a day before a European Union summit, the unions’s message be heard loud and clear to defend alternatives for this Europe without solidarity, without plans, without hope and without prospects”, noted ETUC leader Bernadette Segol.

Class War in Spain:

On February 10th, the government of Mariano Rajoy passed a series of reforms that will, among other things, make it easier and cheaper to fire workers (All they have to do is claim that it is necessary in order to ensure that business remains competitive.), slash severance pay, introduce longer trial periods at work and force the unemployed to do public work. The unemployed will lose all benefits if they reject the offer of any job three times and the government is creating training and apprenticeship contracts on disgusting pay, terms and conditions. There will also be an end to collective pay bargaining.

The Spanish government claims that the reforms are necessary in order to reduce the 23% unemployment rate, currently the highest in the developed world. Spain’s youth unemployment rate is at 50%.
In short, it is a reform that broadens and deepens the existing failed measures to deal with economic decline. This reform not only will not help to create employment but will also produce more unemployment, precarity, lower salaries and a savage deterioration in working conditions.

A Spanish teacher said that, “The labor reform is the perfect excuse for the government, which is a puppet of the banks and big corporations, to attack our living standards. This system is defrauding us all.”

On the weekend of February 18th and 19th well over a Million workers demonstrated across 57 cities to against these labor reforms.

The CNT mobilizes across Spain against labor reform – Feb. 10th  – 19th

“The Confederation believes that the demonstration against the labor reforms of the People’s Party should be only the first step of a widespread social response which would lead to the calling of a general strike.” – A statement by the Secretariat of the CNT

Since February 10th, there have been constant protests against labor reform in different cities; the CNT has been organizing most radically for the direct action of the working class against the labor reform.     Whilst the bureaucratic Socialist Unions – UGT and CCOO – have set out only timid and detrimental responses of simple protest, the CNT raises the slogan “the answer is clear: struggle is the way forward and it is necessary to call for a general strike”.

Contrary to other unions, the CNT considers that it is not the time to retreat. It has mobilized and will continue advocating mobilizations in the most militant manner with direct action in mind. In marches in solidarity with other militant unions and social movements, and also in the demonstrations like those called by the institutional trade unions on the weekend of February 18th – 19th, where it participated, very critically.
In a press release the CNT said it:

“calls on all workers to encourage continued and growing mobilizations, building another form of unionism, to increase conflict in the workplace to counter the launch of the Labor Reform and to achieve its withdrawal.”

The refusal of the CCOO and UGT to call a general strike, and the latest statements of its leaders, trying to reform and negotiate the measures taken by the government, raises fear within the working class and the CNT that there will be a new surrender of all social and workers’ rights by a type of unionism that would thus definitely have shown its inability to face the offensive of a government that has assumed the maximum program of bosses and bankers.

The CNT concluded a press release following the waves of protests on the weekend of February 18th and 19th that:

“Moving towards a general strike call with the ability to reverse the attacks on workers is the challenge the working class and the trade unions must consider, so we can see that rights are not surrendered, but defended and won.”
Spanish Anti – Police Brutality Demonstration February 21st

In Valencia, thousands of students have marched to protest against police brutality. The police arrested twenty five people and injured four, during a demonstration against cuts in education that occurred on the 20th; a part of the national movement against labor reforms and austerity measures.

Spending cuts in education have now started to bit following the government’s austerity measures. A local student stated that, “The heating is turned off, there is no water, no gas, or electricity, and we have to make photocopies at home”. Students have been forced to bring sleeping bags and blankets to school to keep warm.

Film footage and photographs has emerged that show numerous examples of police brutality. The local police chief, Antonio Moreno, claimed the force used on peaceful protesters to be “proportional,” stating, “Greater aggression requires a proportionate response.” This has caused outrage among students and their parents.

The anti-police brutality event has been attended by an estimated 5,000 students, who marched through Valencia, past the police station, before occupying a square and holding a rally.

Anarcho – Syndicalists and Communists demonstrate on Feb. 24th against Labor Reforms

A joint demonstration was held by two Anarcho – Syndicalist Unions (CNT, CGT) and Bloque Obrero (A Marxist Political Group) on Feb. 24th calling for a General Strike to combat Welfare Cuts in Spain. More than 2000 people marched through the streets of Valladolid against labor reforms and social policy that has been agreed upon from the major trade unions: CCOO and UGT .

At the end of the demonstration, representatives of the three founding organizations spoke. Comrade Peter urged on behalf of the CNT to “fight in the street”, and “that the true strength of workers lies in the awareness of themselves and their organization from the grassroots.”- “If we do not fight to defend our rights, no one will do for us, and of course the fight is neither the polls nor in committees or in parliament. The real struggle is in the street.”

A Reportback from the CNT Bloc at Union March on Feb. 25th against Labor Reforms

Thousands of Workers took to the street showing “their rejection of a new attack against the working class, embodied in a labor reform that will lower our rights,” – said an Anarcho – Syndicalist representative from the CNT.

Participating in a Bloc fashion the CNT highlighted the popular support that the CNT bloc had during the event and reiterated its call to fight against the perpetrators of the current crisis. “Today’s event, he added, “should be a step in the fight against the dictatorship of capital.”

Barcelona Student Strike against austerity met with police violence – Feb. 29th
A Report to the Libcom Collective from Barcelona Libertarians

Today’s demonstration, or as it was labelled here in Catalunya, a student strike, was held for a combination of reasons around university staff pay and conditions, general concerns about the privatisation of education, and in solidarity with the Valencian students who had recently been brutally attacked by the boys in blue for the temerity to demand the heating to be turned on when it was freezing cold. Police violence had been a recurring theme in discussions and placards at the protest. There were various chants about the state of Spain no longer being a democracy, or that the current government was fascist. While it is easy to dismiss these claims, as Spain is clearly not fascist, it is nevertheless disconcerting for a people only 30 years away from a genuine fascist government to see an increasingly aggressive police and government presence on campuses and in neighbourhoods.

The demonstration started quietly, in contrast with many protests in Catalunya. There was an absence of the normally ubiquitous drumming groups and snappy chants about the politicians not representing us like they should. Instead, chants and placards focused around demands for quality public education, and in derision of the police and the banks. At any rate the march, maybe 30,000 strong at an uneducated guess, wended its way peacefully around the streets until reaching the Catalan stock exchange and a branch of Banco Popular.

The Police were sat in vans outside the stock exchange, but stayed passive only 10 feet away while a series of missiles and paving stones and finally a rush of masked comrades stormed the doors of the Banco Popular, forcing their way in. After this had happened, a surge of police vans came through two streets with riot cops fully kitted out. Although they didn’t try and kettle, they didn’t mind using their sticks. From then on, it was cat and mouse through the streets as the tail end of the demonstration scrapped with the Mossos D’Esquadra (Catalan boot boy police). The marchers would erect barricades, often setting them on fire, before retreating in the face of police charges and what seemed to me like some extremely reckless driving from police vans that could easily have landed some demonstrators in hospital.

This tit for tat pattern was repeated until the demonstration returned to Placa Universitat, where the Mossos continued to harass all demonstrators, whether or not they were at all implicated in any of the direct action at the banks. As mentioned previously they weren’t shy about swinging the truncheons, and this observer saw more than one peaceful protester clubbed by a frustrated copper, probably boiling in his daft riot gear after chasing kids around all day with his mates. After a time, a fire engine arrived and in an undoubted highlight of the day it was applauded as it made it way through the crowd to a fire. It was genuinely inspiring to see demonstrators who had been united in resistance to the police aggression changing mood so suddenly to one of co-operation with the fire brigade which, in contrast to the police, is a vital public service threatened by austerity measures.

At the time of writing, word on the street is that many more actions have taken place in various parts of the city, on the metros, at radio stations and at the ‘Mobile World Congress’, a ghastly business function that is closing down parts of the city while it is on. Many of these actions and protests will be ongoing as this is sent in, all I can say is keep checking the Spanish and Catalan news outlets for more news, there will surely be more as the Mossos and the demonstrators continue to scrap late into the night.

India – Workers up the Ante against Oppression in the largest General Strike in Human History – Feb. 28

A staggering 100 million workers in India joined forces on 28 February to make the biggest labor strike in world history.  Crossing all the divides that bourgeois society creates: religious, political, social, caste as well as geographical, industrial and regional divisions, they have come together under a set of unified central demands including:

–> Increase the minimum wage
–> Greater employment protection
–> An end to contracting-out and outsourcing of jobs
–> Social security for unorganised and informal workers

Bringing the country’s all-important financial transactions to a complete halt. Seventy-five percent of India’s banking sector is state-owned, and these workers were all out. In total, some 87,000 individual bank branches were either closed or deserted. The State Bank of India didn’t make any transactions at all, and by day’s end the total value of uncleared cheques amounted to Rs 100 crore (around $A19 million). The total amount of bank transactions affected in some way by the strike was a staggering Rs 2,500 crore. About 500 Million Dollars by US Standards.

While in other industries the strength of the strike varied along geographical lines, Workers were solid across the country. In the Capital of Delhi and the country’s financial hub of Mumbai, the Banking Strike was Solid.
The heart and soul of the strike was in Kolkata in West Bengal, where what remains of former Left Front Coalition government dominate the Union movement, particularly the Communist Party of India – Marxist. Nearly a week before the strike two activists within the Union movement from the Communist Party were beaten to death by thugs within the ruling party (Trinamool Congress Party) in front of a police station. Additionally, the West Bengal government unleashed legal threats against the rank and file if they decided to continue their motion to join the General Strike.  The state’s Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee spent days in the lead-up to the strike threatening workers. By having the one-day strike officially deemed a “break in service” workers’ could lose their entire accumulated pensions, regardless of how many years or even decades of employment they had notched up. On the day of the strike itself, West Bengal police ransacked the CPI-M headquarters.

Following the lead of the Chief Minister, the media played down the strike declaring that nothing had been shut down and that the effects were practically unnoticeable. The figures published by the CPI-M show a different picture. The figures give a clear indication of the incredible strength of the West Bengal strike in particular.

Almost 90 percent of West Bengal’s total tea estates were hit, including those in Darjeeling, Jalpaiguri, and North Dinajpur. In Howrah and Hooghly, 85 percent of the jute mills of were shut down. Across the state 82 percent of coal workers and 65 percent of steel workers struck, while in the state’s booming hosiery sector that produces around Rs. 20 billion annually, workers spontaneously joined the strike and shut down most of the industry. Amazingly, even the IT sector struck, with 85 percent of workers taking action, most of them for the first time in their lives.

Parallel to this there was action in Unorganized Sectors. In these industries, the strike drew in a staggering 90 percent of the total workforce. The Mass Strike of unorganized workers has been deemed by Socialists and Communists as the most promising element of the overall strike as in India, whole swathes of the economy are unorganized. For example, the hand-rolled “Bidi” cigarette industry consists of around 441,000 workers – mostly women working from home. The strike in this industry was rock solid. Millions more unorganized workers drive the construction industry, the garment factories, and the autorickshaws that crowd the streets in cities like Mumbai and Delhi. These workers joined the strike. As part of their initial strike call, the unions in the organized sectors put a call out to all unorganized workers to join in the strike, putting forward demands that were engineered specifically to pull unorganized workers in. It quickly became clear that the call paid off, the effect in the long run leading to the class confidence of workers to act even when they are unorganized.

Strike Wave resumes in China
By John Chan

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AWG Forward – This Strike Wave in China comes in light of other acts of Social War by the proletariat of China in the month of February. Particularly in the Chinese Villages there has been a struggle against the illegal land grabs by the Communist Party. In Wukan, Zhejiang and Pahne villages local governments have been overthrown, Communist Party officials expelled and barricades built against Police.
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A wave of strikes, initiated by workers in Guangdong province export factories last November, has resumed, fuelled by a slowing economy. This follows a pause due to the Chinese New Year holiday period from late January to early February.

Over 5,000 workers from the Hanzhong Iron and Steel Group in Shaanxi Province went on strike on February 14, complaining that their wages of 1,000 yuan-1,500 yuan ($US238) a month were barely enough to survive on, amid rising prices of basic necessities. According to the China Jasmine Revolution web site, the steel workers complained that they could not feed their families, while Communist Party bosses-turned managers had such high incomes that they had mistresses.

According to the China Labour Bulletin based in Hong Kong, thousands of workers held a demonstration outside the plant, holding red banners proclaiming “We want our rights, we want to eat.” In ensuing scuffles with hundreds of police, about a dozen workers were arrested.

Hanzhong Iron and Steel Group is a privately-owned company based on mergers of several state-owned firms in 2003, as part of the privatisation of state industry by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) regime from the late 1990s.

The struggle by Hanzhong Steel workers followed January’s clashes by 10,000 Chengdu Steel plant workers with police, after talks between the management and state-run trade unions broke down. (Click here to see the video footage of workers confrontation with the police on January 4).

The Hanzhong Steel strike in turn inspired 900 workers at the company’s Yangjiaba Iron Ore mine, also in Shaanxi province. They blocked a major tunnel from February 23 to 24, and paralysed the mine’s operation. Miners complained that their poverty wages of 1,500-1,900 yuan could not support their families.

Due to a slowing property market and falling export orders, demand for steel is falling in China, leaving many steel mills operating at a loss. In January, China’s steel production dropped 13 percent from the corresponding period last year. In turn, employers have sought to cut costs at the expense of their workforces.

The growing pressure on workers has resulted in major accidents in recent weeks. A major blast at the largest steel company Anshan, the parent of Chengdu Steel, killed 13 workers last Monday.

Foreign-owned corporations are also intensifying the already harsh conditions of workers, provoking more strikes.

On February 14, 600 workers at the German-owned Siemens Switchgear in Shanghai, went on strike after four colleagues were fired for taking days off. Siemens issued a warning letter on February 16, threatening to treat the stoppage as absenteeism if workers did not return to work the next day. This fuelled even more anger among workers, who were already resentful of the company’s low wages and long hours. They responded by blocking the factory gate. Banners at the gate denounced Siemens as a “sweatshop” oppressing workers, and demanded “equality”.

On February 17 and 18, hundreds of workers at four factories in the Taiwanese-owned Foxconn’s Ningbo complex staged a stoppage to protest against insufficient compensation for working over the Chinese New Year period. The Foxconn complex, which has over 30,000 workers, is notorious for its oppressive conditions.

An unnamed manager told Radio Free Asia that the strikes occurred because the company had hired fewer workers after the holiday. “What [work] was for three people must now be done by two. It is tiring of course,” he said. The pay levels remained the same, he commented, despite the increased workloads, because it was an hourly wage system.

Foxconn workers at this complex had posted their complaints online via the Baidu web site, explaining that most workers were just 16 to 25 years old, and had to stand up for 12 hours, often in uncomfortable work suits. The same unnamed manager explained that Foxconn sacked workers immediately after they struck.

Industrial production is weakening, signalling further job losses and cost cutting. According to HSBC’s preliminary purchasing manager index, February was the fourth consecutive month of manufacturing contraction, driven particularly by falling orders from Europe. Earlier this month, the International Monetary Fund warned that China’s growth rate could be halved to 4 percent this year, because “a storm emanating from Europe would hit China hard.”

Strikes are especially prominent in China’s largest export hub, Guangdong province. On February 20, 200 workers at the Japanese Sumitomo Corporation’s factory in Dongguan’s Shatian township went on strike. The plant makes metal parts for microwave ovens and fridges. After taking over another local firm, the company is shifting production there, workers were concerned their serving years will be reduced to zero at the new factory, which affects their medical benefits and pensions. Three hundred riot police were sent to break up the sit-in protest by workers last Monday.

On the same day, a thousand workers at a Taiwanese-owned sport shoe factory in Shaoxing city blocked a major highway in protest over the lack of compensation as the firm relocates to merge with a larger factory. The local labour bureau ignored their demands, forcing workers to take the desperate action. About 100 riot police were mobilised and threatened to disperse them.

On February 23, 1,000 workers went on strike at a factory in Huizhou run by the American-owned Merix Corporation. The company makes circuit boards, mainly for industrial companies such as BOSCH, Autoliv and Kimball. Workers struck against a 25 percent cut in their annual bonus.

Saniation workers have also staged protests in Guangdong. On February 20, more than 200 workers held a demonstration outside the Meizhou municipal building, demanding higher wages. They complained that after social security insurance deductions, they were paid only 800 yuan a month. The government responded by deploying riot police. On the same day, 100 saniation workers in the provincial capital of Guangzhou’s Baiyun district struck over similar demands.

The Chinese regime is caught in a dilemma. A government employment plan issued last Wednesday for the next five years set a target of at least a 13 percent annual rise in minimum wages-the default basic wage for most workers-in order to placate the working class.

On the other hand, the document warned all levels of the government “to pay close attention to unemployment risks” because there remained an oversupply of labour, with 25 million urban job seekers and millions more rural migrants needing work each year. The fear in Beijing is that in the event of a major economic slowdown, rising unemployment and declining living standards will lead to greater social unrest.

Burma/Myanmar – Striking Factory Workers Form Union in light of a month of Struggle – Feb. 28th

Throughout the month of February workers at a garment factory in the region of Hlaing Tar Yar industry zone in Rangoon have been in a struggle against management for better wages, sick leave and safer working conditions. A Strike which began on the 6th spread to other factories by the 10th with similar demands. In all factories, workers were not unionized and received support from the community and from labor lawyers, lending to the situation becoming a “Mass Strike” in the Industrial Zone. “The workers were threatened with dismissal by their employer, who called them ‘dogs that bite the hand that feeds them’,” said Su Su Nway. Similar threats were declared at multiple factories, the workers countered with a proposal to form a Union.

“They were very disappointed with the threat and began walking out of the factory and also pelted their employer with water bottles. They are rallying in the factory building, demanding [the employers] meet their demands or if not, they will shut down the factory.” Continued Su Su Nway.

“When we can form a free trade union, we can make our demands more easily,” Tai Yi footwear factory strike leader Moe Wei said.

According to the Labor Law, to form a trade union at least 30 workers must organize, and they must have the support of at least 10 per cent of the work force concerned. The trade unions would be divided into basic level, township level, state and region level and central level at the All Burma Labor Affairs Association. If workers wanted to stage a strike and demonstration under the direction of the labor union concerned, they must inform the arbitration committee of their planned strike date and venue and number of participants at least 14 days before a strike.

Su Su Nway said “Burma must move to create stronger labor rights’ organizations, with existing mechanisms inadequate at dealing with complaints.” She said “many so-called labor watchdogs formed by the government were corrupt.”

“We have been raising the workers’ awareness of their rights and discussing the idea of forming a union for workers at this industrial zone since the start of the month,” said labor activist Ko Than

The decision to form a union had already been made public at a press conference on Feb. 27th, when the workers said that they had begun collecting the signatures of workers who wanted to join.

More than half of the 1,800 workers at the Tai Yi factory have decided to remain on strike despite a deal reached last week that persuaded many of the company’s employees to return to work.

The Agreement stipulated that the company said it would raise hourly wages from 75 kyat to 100 kyat (US $0.09 to $0.12), while monthly bonuses would increase from 6,000 kyat to 7,000 kyat ($7.50 to $8.50). The company also promised to give workers the day off on Sundays and not force them to work long overtime hours.

Meanwhile, Ko Than said that Tai Yi had hired about 300 new employees to replace some of the workers who remain on strike.

Indonesia – Bali Prison Riot – February 21st

Rioters set fire to the administrative offices of the jail and the flames burned nearly everything inside, including documents and money stored there and an armory containing firearms and ammunition on Tuesday February 21st.

Police spokesman Insp. Gen. Saud Usman Nasution said that inmates had locked the jail from inside and pelted incoming riot police with stones and cement blocks. Only 20 guards were on duty on Tuesday night and were outnumbered by the rioters’ overwhelming numbers.

Later on Wednesday, at 10:15 p.m., rocks and two fuel bombs flew from inside the prison. Police and military officers on standby outside responded by opening fire. Police immediately shut down the surrounding area. Prisoners demanded the release of three inmates who had been shot and taken to the police hospital at a standoff earlier. Police and soldiers needed 11 hours to re-establish control, and they had to call in hundreds of officers and water cannons to do it.

The immediate cause that comes to mind for the Riot is how overcrowded the prison was. Data from the directorate general for penitentiary affairs tells us there were 1,015 people detained at the prison, about 300% over its caring capacity.

“The question is why nothing has been done to handle this known overcrowding,” said Gatot Goei, deputy program director for the Center for Detention Studies.

Italian activists’ blockade key motorways and fight against State forces – February 29th
Autonomous Workers’ Group

On Feburary 29th activists from the NO –TAV campaign occupied major roadways and railways all across Italy and built barricades in protest of the plan to construct a high speed rail link between Turn and Lyon. Their reasons for protesting are the following:
–> The Railway is Useless: Not justified by reasonable estimates of freight and passengers
–> The unbearable cost to all public expenditures and projected debt on future generations
–> The Railway would be deficit spending when crucial social services are suffering.
–> It would favor the growth of the plot twisted-party contractors-mafias
–> The Railway would have devastating and irreversible impact on the surrounding territory, so compromising and irreversible to environmental resources and public health
The campaign against a high speed rail link between Turin and Lyon has been running for over twenty years. Throughout the campaign, protestors have occupied land, engaged in sabotage and many other forms of direct action. The Italian state has launched many attacks against the protestors in order to secure the land required for the rail project.

The most intense of recent struggles come from Chianocco, where demonstrators built huge barricades across the motorway before setting them on fire and fighting running battles with the police. Control of the motorway switched between the police and demonstrators on several occasions. The police used batons, teargas, water cannons, and fire engines in an attempt to disperse demonstrators. In Salbertland, a nationally significant motorway was occupied, barricaded, and set on fire. The police again used teargas and water cannons, and local soldiers in an attempt to regain control of the roads. 150 activists in Pisa marched to the town railways station and occupied the lines. Parallel to this, Anonymous has hacked the website of the Italian police in solidarity.

“A TV crew documenting tensions over the high speed rail (TAV) programme has been attacked at Chianocco. One of the crew members was punched and had his nose broken, audio and video equipment was stolen and car tires slashed.”

A statement has been issued by activists occupying Bologna University:

We put a brake in their profit; we block devastation

Communique from the occupied faculty of Political Sciences
On February 27th, 2012, the State’s military apparatus attacked the Val di Susa people, expropriating and destroying their land with bulldozers and truncheons, in order to proceed with the mad project of TAV’s construction.
Among the NO TAV activists who stand against the invasion was also Luca, a comrade whose land was expropriated by the industry CMC. Luca climbed an electricity pylon to block the advance of the bulldozers.
In order to escape from the police climbers who wanted to take him down, Luca continued to climb up the pylon until an electric shock of 15.000 Volt hit him, throwing him on the ground.
Despite the fact that help had been hindered for nearly an hour by cordons of riot police squad, Luca is now out of danger, although in very serious condition.
But this is not enough to pacify the rage of our hearts! That pylon had to be cut off from electricity; the police knew so but did nothing, while Luca had been forced to climb higher.
It was just a matter of coincidence that the State did not murder a comrade!
It is, therefore, clear that the statements made some days ago by the police chief Manganelli, who made an invocation of death without many metaphors, are in fact a declaration of war against the Valley and all the people who           resist.
The area of the site has been declared a ‘strategic site of national interest’, meaning that apart from military presence, an unconditional use of violence is being legitimized.
The residents and solidaritarians who were present responded immediately by occupying the highway near the site at several points, in order to prevent the access and the shift changes of cops and construction workers.
Since the first hours, solidarity actions were carried out in 26 more cities (now around 80), managing to create significant damage and disruption to the TAV traffic all around the peninsula.
Furthermore, the solidaritarian attack has crossed the sectoral boundaries (in this case the transport sector), as in the case of the workers that went on strike in the very same morning.
We are aware that the high speed line is crossing the country and that the NO TAV struggle isn’t limited in Val di Susa or in solely one project.
So, we have occupied the faculty of Political Sciences of Bologna in solidarity with Luca and the NO TAV arrestees.
We want to create an open space where we can discuss ideas and proposals against the advancement of this devastating works, and organize ourselves concretely also in this city.

Workers Occupy their Workplace in Chicago

On February 23rd, about 65 workers initiated an occupation of their workplace “Serious Materials” – formerly known as “Republic Windows and Doors”. In 2008, in the wake of the current capitalist crisis, workers at the same plant held a similar occupation after the business suddenly and illegally announced it was shutting its doors and closing the plant. A few weeks later, the union – United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers of America Local 1110 – from which some of the workers were a part of, announced a settlement amounting to over 1.75 million dollars in favor of the workers. The plant remained open, but the company continued to decline filing for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy. In 2009, Serious Materials bought the company. The current Occupation comes in light of the local management’s decision to shut down operations and consolidate to other factories in the US. The Union demanded that rather than laying off workers, the factory be sold to a company that can keep people on, or be turned over to the workers as a cooperative.

On the night of the Occupation, Union representative Leah Fried said: “We’ll be here as long as it takes. We’ve done it once, we’ll do it again.”

Members from the local Occupy Wall Street Movement showed up and set up tents outside the factory in solidarity.

But as soon as the Occupation began, Serious Energy’s corporate leaders stepped in and declared that local and regional management should have not had acted in that manner and immediately negotiated to resolve the situation “responsibly”.

A statement from the company reads:

“Serious Energy and UE (United Electrical Workers Union) Local 1110 have reached an agreement to resolve yesterdays’ situation at the Chicago-based window facility. Members of the press received incomplete and incorrect         information that Serious Energy would be closing the facility immediately. The Chicago plant remains open at this time, and the parties are working together to find a new owner if possible and explore all other options. Both UE and Serious Energy apologize for any resulting confusion.”

Serious Energy has agreed to keep the plant operational and people on the job for another 90 days while the union workers and the company work together to find a way to keep the plant open with new ownership because the plant will no longer be part of Serious Energy’s business plan.

After nine hours the occupation has ended with a hopeful workforce:

“We started the morning with the plant closing and ended the day with work and a chance to save our jobs.” said Armando Robles, President of UE Local 1110, “We are committed to finding a new buyer for the plant or if we can, buy the place ourselves and run it. Either way, we are hopeful”.

Portland: Broken Glass and Banner Blocs – Feb. 29

Property Destruction at Banks and Business
Anonymous Reportback by a good group of hoodlums

Around ten pm, Tuesday night (Feb. 28th) a group of anticapitalists rolled up on the US Bank at SE 39th and Main and smashed out its windows and ATMs.

This was done in preparation for February 29th’s “Shut Down The Corporations” Day. We chose a bank because banks have upheld the sanctity of capitalism, making it possible for a few people to accrue copious amounts of wealth. This was also for the role the banks have played in the current financial crisis and the level of environmental destruction they have supported. These banks are responsible for throwing poor and oppressed people the world over under the bus of extreme poverty and destitution. They did this all to keep the pockets of a few rich CEOs lined with extravagant bonuses, and it’s time we started taking from those pockets.

We also did this to remind #Occupy to keep its horizons open. Rather than resort to the gory analogy about cats, we prefer to say they’re more than one way to shut down a corporation. Parades through the city may be able to accomplish this task on occasion, but at the end of the day there’s really no replacement for a few dozen folks in masks with rocks. We don’t know whether this will be taken as solidarity or antagonism by the core of Occupy, but frankly that isn’t worth dwelling on for us. You said you wanted to help shut down corporations, and we helped to do that in our own way. Take it or leave it, we’re going to keep doing it.

At about 1:30am (Feb. 29th), inspired by the property damage on 39th a few hours earlier, another group high-tailed it over to 38th and Broadway where a Key Bank was just sitting there, all windows intact, just waiting to be fucked up.

So we destroyed the windows and doors and ATM. Then we had some rocks left over so we fucked up the Starbucks across the street for old times’ sake.

Wherever capital chooses for its bunker, we will be there to attack it in the night.

For freedom, for equality, for anarchy.

Good night, Occupy, and Good Luck.

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