#HANDSUPDONTSHIP: IWW UPS Workers Organize Against Police Brutality

from IWW:

Starting on Friday, August 22nd, IWW workers at a UPS sorting facility in Minneapolis began organizing against their and their coworkers’ labor supporting the ongoing police violence against the population of Ferguson, Missouri in the aftermath of the murder of Michael Brown, an unarmed 18-year-old black man. In a series of actions aimed at a local company shipping questionable shooting-range targets to law enforcement agencies nationwide, workers stood up to the idea that they should have to support racism, brutality, or murder in order to make ends meet. This action was organized in conjunction with, and under the banner of Screw Ups, a rank-and-file newsletter published by IWW workers at the facility for the past year.

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Shortly after the murder of Michael Brown and the deployment of militarized police and national guardsmen to Ferguson, IWW workers and in-shop allies began researching Law Enforcement Targets, Inc, a company based in Blaine, Minnesota, which produces shooting range targets and holds hundreds of contracts with police departments, federal agencies, and military branches across the country. The company has held at least 10 contracts with federal agencies in Missouri, and far more with county and local police departments and other agencies. They sell product lines like “Urban Street Violence,” featuring photos of stereotypical “thugs,” and previously were forced to withdraw a line of targets called “No More Hesitation,” featuring pictures of gun-wielding children, pregnant women, mothers, and elderly people, all as if to say that you should consider everyone you see as a threat to be gunned down. Their products are shipped through the UPS sorting facility in Minneapolis every day.

After discovering what products L.E.T. shipped, and who to, a group of workers decided they would not be silent about the connection between their work and murders such as Mike Brown’s. Some removed targets from trailers that would deliver them to law enforcement agencies, while others stood in solidarity and decided not to ferry these packages to their intended trailers. Those who were uncomfortable or unable to directly engage in these actions posed with a sign reading “#handsupdontship” in order to speak out. Actions like this took place in various work areas across the building, and were taken by people with a variety of job positions. The following Monday, several workers continued the action, setting more targets aside for the second consecutive shift. This small group included both workers of color and white workers, both IWW members and not. It was agreed that this protest would be publicized online through the Screw Ups newsletter.

For just over two years, the IWW has actively been organizing workers committees within the UPS hub in Minneapolis. One of the main outgrowths of this campaign has been the publication of Screw Ups, a regular newsletter published by IWW workers in the hub that is handed out by allies outside the building to workers on their way to clock in. This newsletter has consistently raised issues of management harassment, speed-ups, sexual harassment and sexism, racial discrimination on the shop floor, and more, while soliciting contributions from other workers via email to screwups@riseup.net. It has educated workers about their rights on the job and called out the exploitation of workers by both UPS and the Teamsters union, which is happy to collect dues from the half of UPS’ workers working in sorting hubs, while forcing concessionary contracts onto this rank-and-file which only preserve poverty wages and sweatshop conditions for those of us who allow UPS a multi-billion dollar company.

However, the newsletter has only been one part of the IWW activity at the hub. IWW Workers and others have frequently confronted management on issues of safety, harassment, and more through collective actions. CB, an IWW organizer, noted, “We all know that conditions at our work are unsafe. We all know that we work too hard for too little pay. We know that the Teamsters either can’t or won’t do anything to fix these issues. And we know that we’re going to have to fight to change things.”

The IWW has always refused to restrict itself to issues of wages and conditions, and has encouraged workers to fight against exploitation and oppression both on the shop floor and off it. Unlike other unions and workers’ organizations which see things such as police brutality as “outside issues,” the IWW has a long history of fighting against the ways that workers are forced to uphold systems of oppression. “The rules say you have to do what you’re told at work. Doesn’t matter what you’re shipping, what horrible things are being done with them, UPS doesn’t care, so you don’t care,” said J.B., another IWW worker, “luckily, breaking the rules is what the IWW does best.”

He further added, “We don’t want to take the place of the Teamsters here. What we want is for workers to have an organization that can fight for—and win—meaningful, concretes improvements in our work and in our lives. We need an organization that isn’t afraid to stand behind workers when we confront management and isn’t interested in some long, drawn out bureaucracy. If they want to keep doing that, good for them. That’s their game, but it’s not ours.”

IWW workers at the Minneapolis hub have stated that they are committed to continuing to organize with their coworkers in order to directly fight against management abuses and other issues workers face. They are also working with UPS workers in other hubs to help them form similar committees and organizations, and are happy to talk to anyone interested in doing so. They urge any interested UPS worker to email the committee at screwups@riseup.net, and add, “don’t wait, organize!”

Gaining prominence in recent years for organizing Starbucks and Jimmy Johns workers, the IWW is a global union founded over a century ago for all working people. It is a member-run union for all workers, dedicated to organizing on the job, in our industries and in our communities. IWW members are organizing to win better conditions today and build a world with economic democracy tomorrow.

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August 21: Protest in NYC to Free Nestora Salgado!

The Anti-Oppression Forum (AOF) is proud to participate in tomorrow’s International Day of Protest to Free Nestora Salgado and All Political Prisoners. The event comes on the first anniversary of Nestora’s unjust imprisonment. AOF folks will be down in New York City tomorrow (August 21) to protest outside the Mexican Consulate, 27 E 39th Street, Manhattan (between Madison Avenue and Park Avenue). For more info on the event, call Stephen Durham of the Free Nestora campaign at (917) 714-6453 or e-mail FreeNestora.NYC@gmail.com

For more on Nestora’s case, visit FreeNestora.org

 

Israeli Army Summarily Executed Fleeing Civilians in Southern Gaza

by Charlotte Silver, Electronic Intifada

Palestinians walk past houses destroyed by Israeli airstrikes and shelling in Khuzaa, 3 August. (Ramadan El-Agha / APA images)

Palestinians walk past houses destroyed by Israeli airstrikes and shelling in Khuzaa, 3 August.
(Ramadan El-Agha / APA images)

Even before a short-lived ceasefire allowed journalists to enter the besieged southern Gaza strip town of Khuzaa on 1 August, desperate reports of an Israeli massacre — including execution-style shootings — had emerged from survivors who had escaped to nearby Khan Younis.

Once journalists were able to enter the choked-off village, they found slain bodies and the stench of decay. Journalist Jesse Rosenfeld described one scene, among several, that appeared to be the site of a summary execution: “Blood and blackened remnants are caked on the bathroom floor. The walls have been drenched in blood and they are pocked with scores of bullet holes that look as if they were fired from an automatic weapon at waist level.”

Fifty-one bodies were recovered on 1 August.

Deliberately firing on civilans

On Saturday, Ali Abunimah reported on a video apparently made by Israeli soldiers from the Givati brigade on 30 July, recording their dedication of the destruction of a mosque in Khuzaa to fallen Israeli soldiers.

Now, after conducting its own investigations into the events between 23 and 25 July, Human Rights Watch has accused the Israeli army of deliberately firing on and killing civilians in the southern Gaza town of Khuzaa, violating several laws of war.

After interviewing surviving witnesses in Khan Younis, Human Rights Watch was able to chronicle the war crimes committed by the Israeli army. Such crimes include firing on civilians carrying white flags in an attempt to flee the village; shooting at medical workers attending to a mortally wounded Red Crescent paramedic volunteer; denying medical care to Palestinians in Israeli custody; and shooting at civilians after they were ordered to exit their homes.

This is not the first time such crimes have been committed in Khuzaa. As both Human Rights Watch and the Goldstone Report documented, during Israel’s 2008-2009 offensive on Gaza Israeli soldiers shot at several Palestinians in Khuzaa carrying white flags, killing at least one and injuring more.

“Large craters”

Khuzaa has a population of around 10,000 and lies between Khan Younis and Gaza’s eastern boundary with Israel. Employees of Human Rights Watch have yet to be able to enter Khuzaa, saying that all four roads leading to the town have been replaced by “large bomb craters.”

For weeks, Khuzaa was completely isolated from ambulance services and much of the media as Israeli forces fired on its residents by air and ground assault.

The one exception was on 24 July, when the Israeli military allowed the Red Cross to enter Khuzaa for just one hour to retrieve the injured and collect dead bodies. The next day, on 25 July, Israeli forces granted a request submitted by the International Committee of the Red Cross to permit the Palestine Red Crescent Society to do the same.

But still, the Red Crescent was unable to reach many families. Furthermore, as reported by the International Committee of the Red Cross, Israel attacked a volunteer with the Red Crescent while he was attempted to treat the wounded. Paramedics tried to rush him to a hospital, but were also targeted by Israel. The volunteer died.

Unable to escape

Human Rights Watch reports that Israel gave advanced warnings to the residents of Khuzaa prior to 21 July, but notes that civilians’ failure to evacuate an area that has been given an advanced warning does not make them lawful targets.

Instead, as the investigation makes clear, Israel deliberately shot at Palestinians as they tried to flee their homes and village.

In one incident described by Human Rights Watch that took place on 25 July, an Israeli airstrike shelled a home that was sheltering 120 people in its basement, killing three civilians: five-year-old Motassem al-Najjar, 70-year-old Salim Qdeih, and 62-year-old Kamel al-Najjar. Fifteen were injured.

When the survivors of the strike tried to flee, carrying white flags over their heads, another Israeli missile struck the group, killing one man and injuring another.

While many towns located on the eastern border with Israel fled following Israel’s ground assault on 18 July, residents of Khuzaa were unable to escape. Speaking from Khan Younis, Akram al-Najjar, 15, told Human Rights Watch that Israel began shelling the village on 18 July, and his family ran “from house to house seeking shelter.”

Al-Najjar added that he and about 100 others had gathered in one house on 23 July. Once the Israelis found them and ordered them to leave, al-Najjar said: “The first one to walk out of the house was Shahid al-Najjar. He had his hands up, but the soldiers shot him. He was shot in the jaw and badly injured, but he survived.”

The army then ordered the rest of the men to take off their clothes before exiting the house. Everyone was then separated by age and gender; women and boys under 14 were ordered to leave the village by foot, while the men were shuffled between houses after putting on their clothes.

“He was shot”

Akram al-Najjar was put in a group with boys ages 14 to 19. He reported: “We had walked from the dunes and had reached the mosque. We got 50 meters past it, and soldiers started shooting at us. The shooting injured three of us. One of them died. He was shot in the stomach.”

According to Akram’s grandfather, 75-year-old Mohammad al-Najjar, Israel detained all the men between the ages of 16 and 50 and “let the rest of us go.” He believes that his three sons are still in Israeli custody, along with hundreds of others that have been detained in Gaza.

The full Human Rights Watch report documents several of the laws of war Israel violated in Khuzaa — yet still only a partial picture of what occurred in Khuzaa is illuminated.

In the report, Human Rights Watch urges the Ramallah-based Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas to seek International Criminal Court jurisdiction over crimes committed on and from Palestinian territory as a means to achieve accountability and deter war crimes.

DCNR To Open 15 Day Comment Period On Loyalsock State Forest Drilling Plan

Many of those involved in Marcellus Shale Earth First! and their campaign to save the Loyalsock State Forest from fracking are from the Hudson Valley and have worked closely with the Anti-Oppression Forum. We were really happy to be a part of organizing a fundraiser for MSEF!, and we stand in solidarity with those who are still refusing to compromise in defense of Mother Earth over in Pennsylvania. Stay strong, comrades!

Marcellus Shale Earth First!

Untitled(This article was written by members of Marcellus Shale Earth First! in response to this DCNR press release)

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On Wednesday July 30th, the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) Secretary Ellen Ferretti announced the department will be taking public comment on a draft ‘Surface Development Management Agreement’ for the 25,000-acre tract known as the Clarence Moore lands in the Loyalsock State Forest, Lycoming County PA. DCNR’s announcement comes less than a week after StateImpact Pennsylvania published a story about environmental groups’ concerns over the lack of transparency in the process. Since DCNR does not own the subsurface rights in the Loyalsock, use agreements are used to manage oil and gas activity. Anadarko Petroleum Corporation (APC) and Southwestern Energy Company (SWN) each own or lease 50 percent of the subsurface rights and have requested access to extract shale gas. While the state does not own the subsurface rights…

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Arab Workers Union: Appeal to Labor Unions and Civil Society Organizations

Statement by the Arab Workers Union. It has been circulated by the International Trade Union Committee in support of Palestinian Working Men and Women

Nazareth, 20 July 2014

Stop the terrorist war on Gaza!

Stop the sacking of Arab workers for showing their solidarity with the people of Gaza!

The Arab Workers Union of Nazareth calls on all civil society organisations and all progressive international trade unions throughout the world to openly take a clear position condemning the barbarous terrorist attacks carried out by the Israeli occupying forces against the population of the town of Gaza, the refugee camps, and throughout the Gaza Strip.

This area is the scene of murders on a daily basis, targeting hundreds of children, men and women. The most recent of these took place in the Shuyayia neighbourhood  and the town of Khan Yunis. The trade union calls on the international organisations, as well as on all progressive forces, political parties and trade unions, to demonstrate and strengthen their protests and solidarity with the civilians of Gaza, who are undergoing extermination.

On another level, the Arab Workers Union of the town of Nazareth has urged the progressive forces, trade unions and political parties to condemn every kind of racial discrimination suffered by the Palestinian workers (who have Israeli nationality), especially after several Israeli employers had sacked dozens of Arab workers because of their solidarity with their brothers in the Gaza Strip. Furthermore, several Israeli workplaces have banned their employees from speaking Arabic to each other.

It should be noted that for more than a month now, all of the towns and villages of Galilee, the Negev region and Nazareth have witnessed big demonstrations by the people following the murder by burning alive of the child Mohammed Abu Khdair, born in Jerusalem, and also in solidarity with the people of Gaza. These popular demonstrations saw violent clashes between the demonstrators and the army and police forces, which resorted to repression in order to disperse the angry crowds. We should emphasise that the number of people detained in the 1948 zones is now over 150.

We urge all the revolutionary forces, parties and trade unions throughout the world to express their solidarity and demonstrate against the murders being committed by Israel in Gaza.

We invite all trade union comrades and friends to condemn every kind of racial discrimination against Arab workers in Israel and also to condemn the repression carried out by the Israeli police against the Palestinian demonstrators in the 1948 zones.

Nazareth, PO Box 2721, Mikod 16126

Fax: (972) 04 6001369

Mobile: (972) 0507770134

 

Note: The International Trade Union Committee in support of Palestinian working men and women was set up in December 2006 in Algiers, by trade unionists from 23 countries who participated in  an international conference in support of Palestinian Arab workers of Nazareth being  subjected to the Wisconsin Plan.

[PHOTOS] Egyptians Defy Military Regime And Show Solidarity With Gaza

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Despite Abdel Fattah el-Sisi’s close collaboration with the Israeli Occupation Forces and siege of Gaza, Egyptians have staged solidarity actions across the country against Israeli aggression.

The actions have mostly been ignored by both the Egyptian and Western media, with some inside Cairo incitinghatred against Palestinians and political figures declaring “Israel is not the enemy.

July 28:  Beni Suef

July 25: Alexandria

July 25: Baltim

July 24: Imbaba

July 22: Port Said

July 19: Kerdasa

July 14: Cairo

July 12: Tanta, Gharbiya

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Israel’s Iron Dome doesn’t cover Bedouins

Dispatches from the Underclass

The Negev (Naqab) desert in the south of present-day Israel is home to 200,000 indigenous Palestinian citizens of Israel, known as Bedouins, most of whom arecompletely defenseless against falling rockets because the Israeli government refuses to protect their villages and denies them the right to build bomb shelters.

One of two Israeli civilians killed since Israel began its relentless bombing campaign in Gaza was 32-year-old Auda al-Wadj.

He died when a rocket fired from Gaza struck his home in Qasr al-Ser, a Bedouin village near Dimona that lacks sirens, bomb shelters and cover from Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense system because, according to Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovich, the Iron Dome “does not protect agricultural areas.”  

As life in Gaza grinds to a halt amid death and destruction from Israel’s merciless bombing campaign, Israeli casualties from Palestinian rockets fired in response to Israel’s military…

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