“We know who you are, we know what car you drive, we know where you live,” “Payback is a bitch 3 fold. “Scabs do not go against the majority.”

16.09.2011 § Leave a comment

Toyota employees who defied industrial action and turned up to work have been threatened with “payback” in a chilling letter that claims “we know where you live”.

The full-page letter says the workers are a “f…ing scab” and “the lowest of the low” for going against the majority of workers who went on strike today.

“We know who you are, we know what car you drive, we know where you live,” the letter reads.
“Payback is a bitch 3 fold. “Scabs do not go against the majority.”

Australian Manufacturing Workers’ Union (AMWU) acting national secretary for the vehicle division, Dave Smith, condemned the letter and said there was no place for threats and intimidation in the workplace.

The union would begin an investigation into the source of the letter when workers returned on Monday, he said.

More than 3000 Toyota employees in Melbourne and Sydney began a 48-hour strike this morning over a pay dispute, bringing production to a halt.

Toyota Australia spokeswoman Laura Hill said there was no production at the company’s Altona assembly line after just 400 of the normal 3300 staff arrived for work.

The action is also affecting the Altona and Sydney parts distribution centres.

Further strike action is planned for next Thursday and Friday.

The industrial action was due to begin last week, but Fair Work Australia granted Toyota an interim suspension banning the strike.

MORE HERE

“Women were betrayed by the revolution they helped to make” – Gender, Class and Security Politics in Iran

06.04.2011 § Leave a comment

Fabulous article just finished, focuses intensively on role of women and labor in recent uprisings as well as Iranian revolution. Some passages excerpted below.

New Middle Eastern Uprisings: Gender, Class and Security Politics in Iran

” The two groups that most contested Khomeini’s consolidation of power were women and labor. Iranian women were at the forefront of the struggle to overthrow the Shah; they participated in leftist guerilla struggle as well as in the mass demonstrations that formed the iconic images and collective strength of the revolution. Women’s experience of making the revolution empowered them to launch the modern Iranian feminist movement in its immediate aftermath. Missing from most histories and timelines are a series of marches and sit-ins organized and led by women demanding that gender equality be written into the new post-revolutionary constitution. On International Women’s Day, March 8, 1979, just weeks after the revolution had triumphed, tens of thousands of womenfrom all classes, some veiled, some nottook to the streets. “We didn’t make a revolution to go backwards,” they chanted. For Iranian women, a new phase of struggle against new state forms of patriarchy began at the very moment when the struggle for national liberation was over, when Khomeini told everyone to stop protesting and go home. They marched for days against Khomeini’s draconian family law and mandatory veiling and sat in at the Ministry of Justice. On March 9, Khomeini revoked the mandatory veil decree, only reinstituting it after discrediting the women as corrupted by Western-influenceand then driving them off the streets with violent repression.

Women were betrayed by the revolution they helped to make. Subsequent generations of women’s rights activists have taken this legacy seriously and drawn the lesson that national self-determination in no way guarantees self-determination for women (a reversal of the common wisdom at the time). Significantly, among the first groups of Iranians, if not the first, to express solidarity with the Tunisian revolution, was the women’s movement, which issued a statement excerpted here:
“Tunisian women’s rights activists should know that what they manage to accomplish in their quest for democracy and the equality of women will significantly impact the region and serve as a model for us all. Today, a gain for the women of Tunisia is a gain for all the nations in the region and for all women in Islamic countries.”
http://www.socialtextjournal.org/blog/player.swf 

The above clip summarizes the work of a
grassroots feminist campaign in Iran from 2005-2008.
http://change4equality.org
Iranian women were out in front of the riot squads in 2009 and joined the protests again this past week despite the violence. The women’s movement struggles to find ways of injecting feminist politics into the broader struggle. This is, of course, not an easy task but activists have continued to organize under severe repression. All of the major feminist leaders are in jail or exile, but new leaders have stepped up and the decentralized structure and word-of-mouth strategies enable the work to go on.
Also rarely mentioned in references to the Iranian revolution is the role of labor. Not only were there strikes in every sector of the economy in 1979, including most decisively a protracted strike by oil workers at the Abadan refinery (one of the world’s largest at that time), but workers formed their own councils, or shoras, to coordinate their activities and put forward demands. [2] Again, the experience of making the revolution translated into demands that could not be met within the framework of patriarchal capitalism that Khomeini was attempting to consolidate. Instead, workers demands revealed competing definitions of what an Islamic Republic should look like. On March 1, 1979, less two weeks after the revolution had been victorious, the Founding Council of the Iranian National Workers’ Union issued 24 demands including: “government recognition of theshoras; the expulsion of all foreign and Iranian capitalists and expropriation of their capitals in the interests of all workers; and the inclusion of workers’ shoras in industrial decisions such as investment and the general conditions of the plant, as well as buying, selling, pricing and the distribution of profit.” [3]

When women intervene, something more than class relation appears… (Feminized Labor unrest in Kenya, Indonesia, Pakistan, Zambia)

22.03.2011 § Leave a comment

“A struggle of women, even with ordinary demands which
are themselves not particularly “feminine” (wages, working
conditions, layoffs…) is never just a struggle or a strike, but
always a struggle or a strike by women. In fact, the contradiction
between men and women is never absent, whether it is
addressed as such or just present in the themes. All women’s
movements bring to the table (or just make apparent) the
question of the separation of the private and public spheres
(to challenge their separation is to challenge their very existence,
which is nothing if not separate) constituting the
wage relation; the question of subsistence, of solidarity and
of unproductive-reproductive labor, that is to say, the organization
of life despite exchange; the question of sexuality (an
ostensible public appearance is always attached to a deviant
sexuality); and finally the pleasure of being together not only
as female workers or employees, but as women….

In their own struggles or in that of male workers, when women
intervene, even in the direct expression of ordinary demands,
a different dimension, something other than the reflexive
game between the classes, always appears.”

— TC: “Comrades, But Women”

Nurses and midwives are staging-go slows and inciting strikes in Kenya and Indonesia; women faced with the paticular oppressions of feminized labor in Pakistan and Zambia are pissed and rising up:

The 180 nurses at the hospital staged the go-slow on 16 March to protest at being overworked and the withholding of their uniform and other allowances by the hospital’s management

— KENYA: Nurse’s go-slow

Eight nurses and midwives have been arrested in Jayapura for their
involvement in a strike that resulting in a halt to services at the
general hospital in Jayapura. They face charges of inciting their
colleagues to take part in a strike.

INDONESIA (Jayapura) Nurses and Midwives arrested for inciting strike

Sindh Labour Minister Ameer Nawab said home-based workers, an overwhelming majority of whom were women, were not only paid less but they also did not have any job security. Besides, since they were not considered workers in the legal term, they could not get registered with various social security schemes of the government.

— PAKISTAN: Policy for Home-based Workers Sought

“Many women have been flocking our office with numerous complaints of alleged poor condition of services. Many have complained that they were working under harsh condition of services and in some case they were dismissed without any benefits despite the years they have served,” she said.

Mrs Tonga appealed to the ministry of Labour and Social Security to intervene in the matter.

And Chipata Muslim Association of Zambia vice chairperson Aiyub Mogra said his association had not received such complaints from the maids.

“Maids have never complained of their alleged poor conditions of service to the association. We are not aware of complaints,” he said

East Women’s Lobby Bemoans Poor Work Conditions for Domestic Workers

Jobless recovery for women, not men… USA to the Middle East

16.03.2011 § Leave a comment

So recent data coming out showing that burden of unemployment are heavily borne by women. In the article about the “Arab world”, the trend is explained as follows: “Experts attribute this to social barriers and lower education levels.” In the US, it seems the cause is the male breadwinner stereotype. Hm.

In the US, out of every 5 people who lost their government jobs this year in the US, 4 were women!!! Yow! that makes 202,000 in total. And of all (nonfarm) jobs added to the US economy between Jan 2010 and Jan 2011, more than 95 percent went to men!! DIZAMN! “Even in the service sector, where women are overrepresented, only 99,000 new jobs went to women in the past year, while nearly 800,000, or eight of every nine, went to men. Women have lost 59,000 retail jobs since last year, while men grabbed 147,000”

Interesting is thiat in this article, the only speculation as to WHY this is the case is the following:
“These companies would rather lay off a woman whose husband is working than a man who’s a sole provider,” Serdjuk said. “I always felt like I was perceived as having a working husband, and throughout my working career, I’ve heard that remark.”
The Nothing just read Assembling Women by Teri Caraway, who analyzes economically how women are pushed in and out of work much more easily than men, and specifically shows how this kind of thing is how women are pushed out of higher-paying, more secure jobs. If women are able to enter a well paying, secure industry, when things get rough all the women are just fired, and men stay.
In her explanation of why, we see Caraway getting hte most foucaultian-discourse-y, because she argues that it is the sexist belief structure around jobs and employment held by employers that really makes the difference. While some of us nothings prefer not to explain things with discourse, clearly there is something to be understood here…
And for article about Arab Women and unemployment, which gives unemployment stats for women vs. men in a series of countries, click here.

Wisconsin Budget Battle Targets Women and People of Color

16.03.2011 § Leave a comment

We had been ruminating about this (click)…

The rhetoric being used by the governor and his supporters to discredit public workers is eerily similar to the campaign used against single mothers during the welfare debates of the 1990s. At that time, the right-wing mobilized public anger by pushing a manufactured image of an inner-city woman of color who gave birth for welfare checks and lived an undeserved life of comfort…

Most importantly, in both battles, women and people of color ultimately are the biggest losers, disproportionately affected by the budget cutting mania because they are more often employed in the public sector. Nationally, the public sector is the number one employer for African-American men and the number two employer for African-American women. Also on average nationally, women at the state and local levels make-up 52 percent and 61 percent respectively of public sector employees.

In Wisconsin Walker has specifically exempted the male-dominated firefighter and police unions, aiming his attack at predominantly female unions like the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees and the American Federation of Teachers. In addition, women, especially women of color, continue to earn less than men for the same work. Slashing salaries and benefit in sectors where women are concentrated has a profound effect on their economic power, particularly at a time when budget cuts threaten funding for women and family health programs such as Title V in Wisconsin and Title X nationally as well as state insurance programs for women and children.

The article ends on the following note… apparently this is supposed to be good, but we’re not sure…:

“The consequences are going to be gendered and raced, but the movement itself is not fractioning along those lines,” Collins says. “Right now the message is ‘this hurts us all.’”

read full article here.

 

 

 

Can a General Strike have a gender analysis? Can a General Strike help destroy white society? Plus: Austerity Stats!

09.03.2011 § 1 Comment

So there’v been sum posters done to push for general strike

 

Drooker for IWW

crimethinc

pretty one, anon?

But like, it also just so happens that the people who the cuts are targeting are women in general, black women in particular, and POC in general.  Should the form of the General Strike be adequate to this reality? Could it be?

Some people have been doing some sweet stats on this stuff. 23.3 percent of black women work in the public sector, the highest percentage of any group in the US, and so will be hit disproportionately. If we only look at states that are seriously in crisis, then the percentages go way up —

It’s hard to escape the fact that, in the states and localities with the biggest budget crunches (New Jersey, California, New York…) public employees are uniquely black.

Who are all these evil public workers? Black people.

appears that public sector job and benefit cuts will be centrally to women-dominated fields, while the fields most male-dominated are being generally left untouched:

If we focus on public sector employees at the local level, it becomes clear that women and their families will receive the brunt of the effects of these anti-union bills floating around state capitols in the Midwest. The most common occupation for local public sector women workers is elementary and middle school teachers (22 percent).  The most common occupation for local public sector male workers? Police and sheriff’s patrol officers, a group whose union representatives would be excluded from proposed legislation.

Whats at Stake for Women Workers in Wisconsin

see also:

Attack on Public Employees Deals a Sharp Blow to Blacks

thorough statistical report on Women and Men’s employment in the public sector: Women and Men in the Public Sector

DANG: “Texas wants undocumented workers but only for household chores”

05.03.2011 § Leave a comment

Since we’re on the topic of women’s labor, domestic work, and migration patterns, check this article on feministing.

“A proposed immigration bill in the Texas state House is sure to raise more than a few eyebrows. The bill would make hiring an “unauthorized alien” a crime punishable by up to two years in prison and a $10,000 fine, unless that is, they are hired to do household chores.”

Of course, this doesn’t also offer any labor/immigration protections for domestic workers. It’s just creating another weird exploitative grey area in a state that has a whole frightening maquiladora industry anyway.

Interesting to think through this in regards to Domestic Workers United (see website) here in NYC – the bill they got passed last year protecting domestic workers doesn’t cover undocumented domestic workers (in fact this was a huge concession necessary to make the bill pass), and also doesn’t cover people who get paid in cash/”under the table,” which often overlaps with undocumented workers but not always.

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