The first Friday after Thanksgiving in the United States is America’s busiest shopping day in the year. Named “Black Friday” it has become a retail media frenzy. But spare a thought for the low-paid and downtrodden staff (sometimes literally) who have to prepare for the event and cope with the mad rush for bargains. Nowhere is this worse than in Walmart, America’s biggest store chain and well known as an anti-union exploiter of cheap labour. Walmart is famous for the fabulous profits that it provides the Walmart family compared to the low pay and poor benefits that its 1.5 million staff receive. Which is why many of them are joining the union and taking strike action on this shopping holiday.
Published: 28 November 2014
Intro by: TSN Editor
Author: Soteris Vlachos from Socialist Expression in Cyprus
The Movement Against Foreclosures was established in October 2013 as a product of a suddenly deteriorating economic environment. In this environment an ever increasing number of people could not meet their monthly obligation to the banks, and the danger of mass evictions from their partly bought homes prevailed for the first time in the recent history of Cyprus.
The Crisis in Cyprus
The signs of a crisis were present in Cyprus even before the 2008 global financial collapse, but the 2013 haircut of the bank deposits created an unprecedented situation where unemployment increased by almost 300% in less than a year. As a result the number of families that cannot meet their monthly obligations increased dramatically.
The following article was written by Christakis Georgiou just before the European elections last May and formed the basis of his speech to the Historical Materialism Conference just finished in London. It analyses the driving forces behind the development of the European Union from a marxist standpoint and draws conclusions on what position socialists should take today towards the EU.
Published: 13 Nov 2014
Intro by: TSN Editor
At our recent conference in Bratislava we held a session on our document ‘Socialists and the Mass Organisations’. The session was introduced by our website editor, Pat Byrne, and here is a video of Pat’s speech recorded and edited by our Membership Officer, Tim Horvath.
Pat’s speech on Youtube: ‘Socialists and the Mass Organisations‘
For those who can’t access YouTube there is another version available here:
Unfortunately, the synchronisation between video and audio when played back via Vimeo is not perfect but it’s good enough.
Last weekend, the leadership of the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) voted by 33 to 24 to expel one of its largest members, the 350,000 strong National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa. The metalworkers were voicing the growing dissatisfaction in South Africa at the pro-business direction of the African National Congress-led government and the increasing poverty and inequality that has resulted. But the undemocratic expulsion of the metalworkers is not going smoothly. Already a defense campaign has been launched by seven other unions in COSATU to challenge the decision. Below is their first press statement, plus NUMSA’s own defense statement (abridged ).
Press Statement of the Seven Unions in Support of the Metalworkers
- Defend the Congress Of South African Trade Unions
- Defend the National Union of Metal Workers
- Hands Off Zwelinzima Vavi!
- Forward to an Independent, Worker Controlled Federation!
The following highly informative article by Julian Coppens was published a few days ago in the Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal. The article helps to explain the exploding popularity of Podemos and to detail the current debates taking place on how the new Party should be organised. It finishes on how the rise of Podemos has put the fear of god into the Spanish ruling establishment and their panic-stricken responses to it.
Podemos Mass Congress
About 8000 members of the new organisation Podemos packed the Palacio Vistalegre in Madrid on October 18 and 19, 2014, for the final stages of the Citizens’ Assembly “Si se puede” (Yes we can). The assembly, with 150,000 taking part online, discussed draft documents for the foundation of the Spanish state’s newest and fastest growing political force.
Despite wall-to-wall publicity in the most expensive mid-term elections to date, the turn out in this week’s American Congressional mid-term elections produced the lowest participation rate in modern times. Below we carry an article from Michael Roberts which highlights the record low voter turnout in the election and explains why a majority of Americans see no reason to vote Democrat or Republican. However, now that the final figures are in it appears that voter participation was much worse than even Michael assumed – only 33.9% of potential voters actually cast a ballot.