Other Voices: The Connexions Newsletter

January 14, 2015

Labour around the Globe

In the first issue of the New Year, Other Voices look into the labour conditions globally, examines how the working class is being exploited and shares instances of suppression against whistleblowers. Also shared are articles regarding the United States' ongoing drone war, the terror attacks in Paris and an article on what humanity could learn from Bonobo primates.

Enjoy this issue of Other Voices? Want to share with friends and family? Then we encourage you to share this link. All issues of Other Voices are available on the Connexions website at /Media/CxNewsletter.htm

This Week on Connexions.org

US drone strikes kill 28 unknown people for every intended target, new Reprieve report reveals

US drone strikes in Yemen and Pakistan have killed as many as 1,147 unknown people in failed attempts to kill 41 named individuals, a report by human rights charity Reprieve has found.

The report looks at deaths resulting from US drone strikes in Yemen and Pakistan between November 2002 and November 2014. It identifies 41 men who appeared to have been killed multiple times – drawing into question the Obama administration’s repeated claims that the covert drone programme is ‘precise.’ Read More

Keywords: Drones - War on Terrorism

Why Environmentalists Should Support Working Class Struggles

First, we must recognize the fact that global capitalism is driving ecocide.The problem reaches much farther back than capitalism itself. The combination of an early gendered division of labor with the adoption of agriculture and corresponding formation of permanent settlements set the stage for class divisions and the private accumulation of surplus wealth. Maintaining this arrangement required the development of states with armies, social oppression and repression to weaken internal opposition, and ideologies to make it all seem normal and pre-ordained. Read More

Keywords: Commons - Ecosocialism

The Whistle-Blower as Deep Mole

There’s an intriguing idea based loosely on the turn-of-the-century union practice of “salting” a workplace. Salting consists of union activists secretly hiring into an anti-union shop in order to promote unionism from within. It’s a technique that was used fairly often prior to passage of the Wagner Act (1935), and though not widely publicized, is still used today. Read More

Keywords: Whistleblowers - Labour Organizing

Make 2015 the Year of the Bonobo!

We humans have much to learn from our kissing cousins, the peaceful, empathic, playful, sensual and highly sexual Bonobos, writes Susan Block. Rather than play out the myth of ancestral 'killer apes', better follow the 'Bonobo Way', and extend our love to all living beings and Earth herself. Read More

Keywords: Sexual Behaviour - Bonobos

Je suis charlie?

‘Je suis Charlie’. It’s a phrase in every newspaper, in every Twitter feed, on demonstrations in cities across Europe. The expressions of solidarity with those slain in the attack on the Charlie Hebdo offices are impressive. They are also too late. Had journalists and artists and political activists taken a more robust view on free speech over the past 20 years then we may never have come to this. Read More

Keywords: Media- Free Speech

Treasures From the Archives

Traces of Magma: An Annotated Bibliography of Left Literature

Rolf Knight's Traces of Magma is an annotated bilbiography of left wing novels which deal with the lives of working people during the twentieth century. It includes some collections of poetry, drama and stories as well as a smattering of non-fictional material such as oral history, but basically it is a compendium of novels. It provides brief synopses of more than 3,000 titles originally in some 50 languages by circa 1,500 authors from over 90 countries. The survey is an introduction of left wing fiction for those who for whatever reason have become interested in what this literature has to say about events throughout the world but who have only a vague notion of which authors and titles exist and where to begin. Read Full PDF Here

Topic of the Week: Workers' Health & Safety

An economic system based on maximizing profits inevitably reduces the health and safety of the people doing the work to a secondary consideration -- if that. Unemployment is high, and workers are easily replaceable. In Canada, a relatively 'safe' country by world standards, about 1,000 workers are killed on the job each year. A much larger number suffer injuries, many of them causing permanent disabilities. Compensation is meagre, and no compensation can make up for the effects of having your health destroyed.

In addition to immediate injuries, there are the hidden and long-term effects of exposure to workplace contaminants. For example, some 5,000 workers have died of asbestos exposure in Canada since 1996, and even though Canada's last asbestos mine is long closed, asbestos-related deaths continue at a rate of more than 300 a year. In the oil industry, many workers will experience long-term health effects long after their jobs and paycheques are gone.

Internationally the situation is grim. The International Labour Organization reports than an estimated 2.3 million workers die every year from occupational accidents and diseases. We may hear about the most dramatic instances, such as factory collapses and fires in Bangladesh that kill hundreds of workers at a time, but most of the deaths go unreported. In China, you can go to jail for documenting unsafe conditions. In Dubai and Qatar, migrant workers forced to work in appalling conditions die on a daily basis. Workers who try to organize unions to improve conditions are likely to find themselves fired - or murdered, in countries like Colombia and Bangladesh.

See Workers' Health & Safety in the Connexions subject index for information on this topic, as well as about organizing to bring about change.

Group of the Week: International Labor Rights Forum

An organization dedicated to achieving just and humane working conditions for workers worldwide. They are committed to overcoming child labour, forced labour and other abusive practices. They promote the enforcement of labour rights through public education and mobilization, research, litigation and collaboration with labour, government and business groups.They’re listed in the Connexion Directory here.

Keywords: International Labour Movement - Labour Issues

Fighting for Hope: Organizing to Realize Our Dreams

Joan Newman Kuyek provides detailed information and advice on how to organize a group for social change from a Canadian perspective. She provides relevant anecdotes, exercises and examples to enhance the understanding of how to build and structure groups, do successful fundraising, research all the possibilities and the keys behind effective leadership. Kuyek explains how to create a culture of hope by reviving community spirit through activities like community newspapers, radio, theatre and education. She details different ways to reclaim the economy with such acts as co-operative living and alternative investment funds. Fighting For Hope shows how to repossess political power either through direct actions like strikes and boycotts, to running for municipal government to try to instil change from the inside. Read More

Keywords: Political Action - Strategies for Social Change

Flim of the Week: Silkwood

A film inspired by the life of Karen Silkwood. Silkwood was a nuclear whistleblower and a labour union activist who died in a suspicious car accident while investigating alleged wrongdoing at the Kerr-McGee plutonium plant where she worked.

More Information

Keywords:Activism - Social Change

Connexions Calendar

January 21, 2015
The War in Gaza: What does it mean and Where is Israel-Palestine Headed?
Toronto, Ontario

January 21-23, 2015
Canadian Wind Energy Conference & Seminar Toronto, Ontario

January 23-26, 2015
6th International Che Guevara Conference: "Cuba: A Socialist Project in Progress" Vancouver, British Columbia

January 27, 2015
International Day of Commemoration in Memory of the Victims of the Holocaust Worldwide

The Connexions Calendar is an online calendar that exists to advertise events that support social justice, democracy, human rights, ecology, and other causes. We invite you to use it to promote your events. Adding events to the Connexions Calendar is FREE. We’ll give you a username and password which you use to log on. Use the contact form to arrange for a username and password.

Read more →

Seeds of Fire

January 14, 1601

The Roman Catholic Church burns sacred Hebrew books in Rome.

January 14, 1875

Birth of Albert Schweitzer (1875-1965), physician, theologian, musician, opponent of nuclear weapons, winner of the Nobel Peace Prize. Quote: “There are two means of refuge from the miseries of life: music and cats.”

January 14, 1918

Mass strikes in Austria-Hungary.

January 14, 1919

Rosa Luxemburg writes her last article, “Order Prevails in Berlin,” hours before she is murdered.
She concludes with the words: “You foolish lackeys! Your ‘order’ is built on sand. Tomorrow the revolution will ‘rise up again, clashing its weapons,’ and to your horror it will proclaim with trumpets blazing: I was, I am, I shall be!”

Read more →

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Other Voices: The Connexions Newsletter, is available online here

Thanks to Tahmid Khan and Ulli Diemer for their work on this newsletter.


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Enjoy this issue of Other Voices? Want to share with friends and family? Then we encourage you to share this link. All issues of OtherVoices are available on the Connexions website at /Media/CxNewsletter.htm