labor

Polish farmers clash with police

Polish farmers clashed with police on March 6 during a mobilization on Warsaw, part of ongoing protests over increasing economic pressures on the agricultural industry. Warsaw police stated on X (formerly Twitter) that they arrested 55 people in connection with the protest, and that 13 officers were injured in the clashes. Police described the protesters' behavior toward officers as "provocative." In contrast, the Rural Solidarity trade union, representing the farmers, described the police behavior as "provocative." Rural Solidarity said the protest was "successful" and "peaceful" until the police arrived to break up the demonstration. 

Court dismisses child labor case against Big Tech

The US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit on March 5 dismissed a child labor case against technology companies and refused to hold them accountable for their alleged complicity in the use of children in cobalt mining in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). Former cobalt miners and their representatives filed a lawsuit against Alphabet (Google), Apple, Dell Technologies, Tesla and Microsoft under the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2008 (TVPRA). The TVPRA penalizes anyone who "knowingly benefits financially from participating in a venture that engaged in trafficking crimes." They claimed that the companies were involved in a "venture" with their suppliers that engaged in forced labor of children to obtain the metal.

Farmers' march on Delhi met with repression

Amnesty International released a statement Feb. 14 decrying the Indian government's disproportionate restrictions on the right to peaceful protest instated to quell the "Dilli Chalo" (on to Delhi) farmers protest. In response to farmers' cross-country mobilization to protest agricultural policies, Indian authorities imposed limitations on group gatherings, erected barricades along the route of the march, and used tear-gas and rubber bullets against the farmers.

Wildcat labor actions spread in China

Although winning no coverage in English-language media, labor actions are spreading across China in the current economic downturn in the People's Republic. On Jan. 22, workers hung banners outside the headquarters of the Guilin No. 3 Construction Company in Guangxi province to demand payment of outstanding wages owed to hundreds of employees. On the same day, migrant workers in Jinan, Shandong province, raised banners in the city's central business district demanding payment of backlogged wages by the China Railway Construction Corporation. By definition, such actions are not authorized by the state-controlled All-China Federation of Trade Unions (ACFTU).

West Bank tips deeper into crisis

With all eyes understandably on the humanitarian catastrophe in Gaza, the economic and security crisis unfolding in the Israeli-occupied West Bank risks being overlooked, as funds to address the growing needs evaporate, according to aid groups and Palestinian residents. Escalating violence by the Israeli military and settlers, intensified restrictions on mobility, tens of thousands of cancelled work permits, and the withholding of tax revenue from the Palestinian Authority (PA) are combining to tip the territory into a humanitarian crisis, they say. 

UN: poverty, oppression at root of Ecuador crisis

UN Special Rapporteur on Extreme Poverty & Human Rights Olivier De Schutter issued a report Sept. 8, citing impoverishment and exploitation as the "root cause" of the fast-mounting violence and instability in Ecuador. Following a 12-day visit to the country, De Schutter warned against a purely militarized response to the crisis that ignores social and economic factors. The report states:

Harsh abuses in Eritrea 'national service' program

A report from a UN independent investigator is putting a fresh spotlight on allegations of torture, sexual violence, forced labor, and abusive conditions in Eritrea's system of compulsory, indefinite national service. The investigator noted that Eritrea has ignored repeated calls to ensure legal limits for national service. Since winning independence from Ethiopia three decades ago, Eritrea has been led by President Isaias Afwerki, who has never held an election.

Podcast: flashpoint Niger

In Episode 186 of the CounterVortex podcast, Bill Weinberg examines the coup d'etat in Niger, which now threatens to plunge West Africa into regional war—with potential for escalation involving the Great Powers. Lines are drawn, with the Western-backed ECOWAS demanding the junta cede power, and Russian-backed Mali and Burkina Faso backing the junta up.  Pro-junta demonstrators in Niger's capital, Niamey, wave the Russian flag—probably to express displeasure at US and French neo-colonialism. The Wagner Group, which already has troops in Mali and Burkina Faso, has expressed its support for the junta, and offered fighters to help stabilize the regime. Elements of the tankie pseudo-left in the West are similarly rallying around the junta. Amid this, leaders of the Tuareg resistance in Niger have returned to arms to resist the new regime, and the country's mine workers union is also demanding a return to democratic rule. Listen on SoundCloud or via Patreon.

Syndicate content