Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Posts Tagged ‘worker revolts

Happy Updates

leave a comment »

With cheers and chants that echoed President-elect Barack Obama’s campaign of change, jubilant workers agreed to a $1.75 million settlement that ends their six-day occupation of a shuttered Chicago factory that became a symbol of the plight of labor nationwide.

Written by gerrycanavan

December 11, 2008 at 5:15 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Tagged with , , , ,

Weekend Updates

leave a comment »

Weekend Updates.

* Obama supports the sit-in in Chicago.

* Krugman says he was misquoted: Urk. I gather that there’s a report on the wires quoting me as saying that the US auto industry would disappear. What I actually said was that the concentration of the industry around Detroit would disappear. That proposition sounds significantly more reasonable than the original version, but still, I’m very skeptical. People are not going to just let (completely) Detroit die.

* The conspiracy goes all the way to the top: The Supreme Court has refused to hear the case on Barack Obama’s citizenship.

Written by gerrycanavan

December 8, 2008 at 4:34 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Tagged with , , , , , , , ,

The Revolution Comes to Chicago

leave a comment »

Workers in Chicago have occupied a closing Republic Windows & Doors factory demanding $1.5 million in severance and vacation pay they are are owed by management. Via Vu as a followup to this morning’s post about the “Occupy, Resist, Produce” movement in Argentina—two out of three, Chicago…

Written by gerrycanavan

December 7, 2008 at 6:24 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Tagged with , , , , , ,

The Revolution Wasn’t Televised

leave a comment »

Something very close to what Marx meant by “the revolution” has been happening for years in Argentina, where workers “have been responding to rampant unemployment and capital flight by taking over businesses that have gone bankrupt and reopening them under democratic worker management.”

The principles are so simple, so elementally fair, that they seem more self-evident than radical when articulated by one of the workers: “We formed the co-operative with the criteria of equal wages and making basic decisions by assembly; we are against the separation of manual and intellectual work; we want a rotation of positions and, above all, the ability to recall our elected leaders.”

The movement of recovered companies is not epic in scale – some 170 companies, around 10,000 workers in Argentina. But six years on, and unlike some of the country’s other new movements, it has survived and continues to build quiet strength in the midst of the country’s deeply unequal “recovery”. Its tenacity is a function of its pragmatism: this is a movement that is based on action, not talk. And its defining action, reawakening the means of production under worker control, while loaded with potent symbolism, is anything but symbolic. It is feeding families, rebuilding shattered pride, and opening a window of powerful possibility.

Like a number of other emerging social movements around the world, the workers in the recovered companies are rewriting the script for how change is supposed to happen. Rather than following anyone’s ten-point plan for revolution, the workers are darting ahead of the theory – at least, straight to the part where they get their jobs back. In Argentina, the theorists are chasing after the factory workers, trying to analyse what is already in noisy production.

These struggles have had a tremendous impact on the imaginations of activists around the world. At this point, there are many more starry-eyed grad papers on the phenomenon than there are recovered companies. But there is also a renewed interest in democratic workplaces from Durban to Melbourne to New Orleans.

That said, the movement in Argentina is as much a product of the globalisation of alternatives as it is one of its most con tagious stories. Argentinian workers borrowed the slogan “Occupy, Resist, Produce” from Latin America’s largest social movement, Brazil’s Movimiento Sin Terra, in which more than a million people have reclaimed unused land and put it back into community production. One worker told us that what the movement in Argentina is doing is “MST for the cities”. In South Africa, we saw a protester’s T-shirt with an even more succinct summary of this new impatience: “Stop Asking, Start Taking”.

Via Boing Boing.

Written by gerrycanavan

December 7, 2008 at 3:54 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Tagged with , , , , , , , ,

Midday Politics Links

leave a comment »

As warned, it’s a busy kind of week. Here’s what I’m reading about:

* Obama returns again to North Carolina tomorrow morning in Raleigh.

* The N&O looks at North Carolina’s answer to the butterfly ballot, the straight ticket vote that doesn’t vote straight ticket. This is a very foolish way to design a ballot, but it has a long history in North Carolina, and it’s fairly well-marked both on the ballot and in the polling place. I’m hopeful this won’t be determinative of the outcome here.

* Some three dozen workers at a telemarketing call center in Indiana walked off the job rather than read an incendiary McCain campaign script attacking Barack Obama, according to two workers at the center and one of their parents.

* A PEW Research poll puts Obama up an improbable sixteen points nationally, up 19 among those who have already voted. The RNC has taken to the airwaves in a bid to retain Montana. In Ohio, 22% of the population has already voted, favoring Obama 56%-39%. McCain is only up three points in Arizona. In short, things are looking good.

* Another article looks back to Howard Dean as one of the forces (both before and after “The Scream”) who made Barack Obama’s candidacy (and, one hopes, landslide victory) possible.

* And another classic for the Palin files: forget “diva,” a top McCain adviser says Palin is a “whack job.” More at Washington Monthly, which makes the key point: “To blame Palin is to blame McCain. If the campaign is her fault, then the campaign is his fault.”