Frederick Douglass

"Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did, and it never will. Find out just what people will submit to, and you have found out the exact amount of injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them..." Frederick Douglass

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Mexican Teachers Strike, Protest over Test-Driven Education

Seventy thousand teachers in the Mexican state of Oaxaca struck May 23, demanding better funding for their students. The strike began with a march from four different points to the city’s square, where the educators rallied and then spread out to put pressure on both government and business.

Teachers blockaded government offices and private companies, closed major intersections, and “liberated” the toll booths on the privately owned highway to Mexico City. They also attempted to shut down the airport.

Cameroon riot police block farmer protest

YAOUNDE (Reuters) - Cameroon riot police arrested dozens of farmers and dispersed hundreds of others in the capital on Tuesday to prevent a march of protest over bad roads and low state support for agriculture.

Frustrations have been on the rise in the central African oil and cocoa producer country ahead of an October presidential election, with critics of long-serving President Paul Biya disappointed by what they call a slow pace of reform.

The Middle East counter-revolution by Thierry Meyssan

A lot to digest here. Much of this information is new to me, but an interesting read.

Egypt defends ‘virginity’ tests on female protesters

In yet another sign of the poor treatment of women in Egypt, its military rulers attempted to defend so-called ‘virginity’ tests that had been employed on female protesters during the Army’s attempt to clear out central Cairo in early March. Top military brass officials said the “tests” were to prove these women “were not like my daughter or your’s.”

Union Busting In "Liberated" Iraq

We have just learned that Jamal Abdul-Jabbar, a leader of the Iraqi oil and gas workers union, has been forcibly relocated in an attempt to destroy the union.

Public Banking: An Idea Whose Time Has Come


Is Iceland’s rejection of financial bullying a model for Greece and Ireland?

Good piece.

The Rape Of Greece

The initial round of mass public sector layoffs, wage cuts, and destruction of welfare and social infrastructure programs impoverished wide layers of the Greek population, but failed to satisfy the European banks. They are now demanding control over the country’s economy, with representatives of the ECB, IMF, and EC (the so-called troika) to be placed directly in charge of a privatisation program that will see Greece’s public assets sold off and the proceeds funnelled to the banks.

Morales Faltering In Bolivia

The conspicuous absence of the COB, Bolivia’s national trade union federation, from the government’s official International Workers’ Day celebration on May 1 speaks volumes about the growing fissures in the popular coalition that brought President Evo Morales to power.

Tax on Oil Speculators Introduced in House

Unfortunately, this is typical of the posturing and pandering that goes on in our government. This proposed tx is .01 percent, a penny on every hundred dollars. The first problem is that it is not nearly enough to make a difference, despite what this article claims. Secondly, most of the speculating is done by the big banks, whose trading remains largely unregulated, and who could easily make up for whatever extra costs they incur.

Most likely this tax wouldn't deter predatory speculation. Either the difference will show up in gas prices, or just be assumed by the speculators.

Excluded Workers Congress Convenes International Conference

On May 10-12 in New York, NY, the Excluded Workers Congress convened its first International Conference to strategize the way forward for workers in sectors unprotected by current US labor laws.

Tell Walmart: Intervene Before Labor Activists Are Sentenced to Death

n Bangladesh, the minimum wage for a garment worker is a mere $43 per month. This equals 20 cents an hour– the lowest wage, by far, of any major garment producing country. Walmart is the leading exporter of these garments.

The Protests In Greece

Pictures and video

Journaganda Alert: David Coleman Headley Being Sacrificed With Help From The Loyalist Press

How Do We Know Pakistan Terror Witness Is Telling the Truth? Gee, you think they are trying to tell us something? I particularly enjoyed all that sordid stuff Propublica threw in about his love life.

Headley has worked for at least two US intelligence agencies, and now he's been caught in an act of terror in India. So the question is: Was he acting at the behest of his employer--the US government--when he participated in the horrible attacks in Mumbai, or was he double-crossing them?

A Love Song From Wisconsin To Spain

A little corny maybe, but who cares.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Coverage Of The Protests In Egypt From Blogger

And here's an interview with the blogger:

Burkina Faso: Farmers Refuse To Plant While The Army Mutinees

Soldiers in Burkina Faso have taken part in further protests, firing into the air during the night to press their demands for the payment of allowances.

Residents of the north-eastern town of Dori said at least three people were injured by stray bullets.

May 30 (Bloomberg) -- About 8,000 cotton farmers in Burkina Faso, Africa’s largest producer of the fiber, are refusing to plant the crop for the 2011-12 harvest after their demands for a higher price weren’t met, according to a regional growers’ union.

Public Workers In Botswana Capitulate

Striking civil servants abandoned their request for a sixteen percent increase and agreed to the government's offer of three. Workers stubbornly held out for six weeks, but have now acquiesced. The government has fired about 1,500 and arrested a couple of union leaders, and it worked.[1]

I cannot criticize these people, not after the valiant effort they put forth, but this can only be classified as a epic defeat for organized labor. The government turned up the heat, and workers backed down.

The government agreed to reinstate fired workers, and to prorate the salary increase so lower-paid workers got a larger share.[2]

The deal is being described as tentative by the union in a face-saving canard.



International Day of Action in Solidarity with San Juan Copala, Oaxaca, Mexico

The War On Education, The Scottish Front

he Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (COSLA) is working with the trade union bureaucracy to impose £45 million in wage and benefit cuts on Scottish primary and secondary school teachers and staff.
COSLA’s latest pay proposal includes a two-year pay freeze and a reduction in maternity pay, a significant pay cut given inflating living costs and the hike in National Insurance contributions and Value Added Tax. The deal will also see an end to conserved salaries, which protects the pay levels of senior teachers and will impact around one in 20 teachers, who stand to lose between £4,377 and £10,806 of their yearly salary.

The Revolution Is Postponed Due To Inclement Weather

Almost washed out in Lisbon.

Photos Of Protests In Europe

People's assembly Madrid and at the Bastille in Paris.

Here the demonstration in Athens.

Follow the link for videos of London, Berlin, Lisbon, and Prague demonstrations

People's Assembly Barcelona

These are popular, non-sanctioned (by government) assemblies being held around Spain.

Protesters Retake Plaza In Barcelona

Police retreat.

Egypt’s ruling military council cracks down on freedoms

Meet the new boss...

Today Hossam Al Hamalawy, Reem Maged and Nabil Sharaf El Din were summoned for interrogation at military prosecution ‘C28′ for exposing the military violations and expressing their opinions about SCAF performance in the transitional period.

Hossam Al Hamalawy was a guest speaker in Reem Maged’s TV show “Baladna Bel Masry on the independent TV Channel ON TV. He condemned military trials of civilians and the military police violations that has been going on. That was on the eve of May 27th planned protests. Reem discussed the topic openly and brought more than a point of view, yet this wasn’t enough apparently for SCAF. [Here is exact text of the dialog that is assumed to be the reason they were summoned]

Another Banana Union Leader Assassinated in Guatemala

On May 26, Joel Hernandez Godoy, finance secretary of the banana workers union SITRABI, was shot dead by a gunman on motorcycle while driving to the union headquarters in the town of Morales.
This brutal assassination follows the April 10 murder of SITRABI officer Oscar Humberto Vasquez, killed by two men on a motorcycle in Nueva Chiriqui, Morales.

Yemen army killed 20 protesters 30 May 2011

Bahrain parliamentarians demand treason charges after WikiLeak

Wikileaks comes to the aid of another embattled American ally, here demonizing the Shiite rebels.

You thinking that maybe the US set up these Shiites with whom they met at the embassy?

Anyway, with enemies like Wikileaks, the empire doesn't need friends.

Report: Military coup possible in Greece

Egypt: Hossam el-Hamalawy and Reem Maged called before military judges

Hossam is a Marxist journalist who has been critical of the post-Mubarak military regime.

Greeks vent anger at entire political class

Barcelonans Protest Police Brutality

Some days ago the police in Barcelona cleared the protesters out of the Plaza de Catalunya with batons and rubber bullets. The gathering depicted below was in response to that act of state violence. I'm not very good with Spanish and I know nothing of Catalan, but I was able to understand some of the chants. They begin with "Mad? Now more than ever."

The pretext for the police assault was to clear the streets so the sweeper trucks could get by. The protesters said something to the effect that they would clear the streets of police. Another chant said that it was the police department that needed cleaning.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Manifesto of the Paris Commune

A Short Account of the Commune of Paris of 1871.

Photos Of The Paris Commune Of 1871

Click for photos

List of specific demands from Spain's 15-M movement


Prohibition of any kind of bailout or capital injection to banks: those companies in difficulty should fail or be nationalized to form a public bank under social control.

Raising bank taxes in direct proportion to the social cuts being made in this crisis caused by mismanagement.

Returning all banks that received money from the public coffers to public ownership.

Banning investment of Spanish banks in tax havens.

Regulation of sanctions on speculation and banking malpractice.

Link To Pictures And Videos Of The Police Assault On The Protesters In Barcelona

Botswana strike drags on

A Botswana union leader said on Friday that his arrest on assault charges is part of government attempts to end a month-long civil service strike.

Strike! Members of the Seccion 22 teachers' union in Oaxaca continue with direct actions

"The Egyptian revolution is not over"

Many demonstrators voiced calls for a "second revolution," expressing widespread sentiment that the revolution that brought down Mubarak has not resulted in any fundamental improvement in the conditions of life for the masses of working people, small farmers and agricultural laborers.

The problem with the MB is that most of them work for Western intelligence, and the rest really are Islamic theocrats.

The Muslim Brotherhood adopted a low profile during the movement to bring down Mubarak, with only its youth organization taking an active role in the struggle. Before Friday's protest, however, the Islamist group openly declared its opposition to the demonstrators in a well-publicized statement that criticized "communists and secularists."

The group declared itself "very concerned" by the protest, asking, "Who are the people angry with now?" The statement continued by declaring that the call to protest can "only mean that the anger is directed at the people themselves or at the army." A Muslim Brotherhood spokesman told Al Jazeera that the group opposed the replacement of the ruling SCAF with a civilian council.

#May 27 in Videos and photos : All over Egypt

Nice round-up of the new protests in Egypt by the ever-vigilant Zeinobia.!+Mail

Iranian diplomat detained in Cairo

All diplomats are spies, even the ones who don't know it.

The Secret Wars of the Saudi-Israeli Alliance

Egypt is ruled by a counter-revolutionary military junta. Despite the increasing assertiveness of the Egyptian people, the old regime is still in place. Yet, its foundations are becoming shakier as the Egyptian people become more radical in their demands. 

Like in the Mubarak era, the military regime in Cairo is also allowing sectarianism to spread in Egypt in an effort to create divisions within Egyptian society. In early-2011 when Egyptians stormed government buildings they discovered secret papers that showed that the regime was behind the attacks on Egypt’s Christian community.

Recently, so-called  Salafist extremists have attacked Egyptian minorities including Christians but also Shiite Muslims. Egyptian activists and leaders in the Coptic and Shia community are pointing their fingers at the military junta in Cairo, Israel, and Saudi Arabia.

The Egyptian military junta, Tel Aviv, and the Al-Sauds are all part of an ominous alliance. This grouping is the backbone of the U.S. imperial structure in the Arab World. They are dependent on Washington. They prevail inasmuch as the U.S. remains dominant in Southwest Asia and North Africa.

The Al-Sauds are now working with Washington in Egypt to establish a supposedly Islamic government. This is being done through political parties that the Al-Sauds have funded and helped organize. The new so-called Salafist movements are primary examples of this. It also appears that the Muslim Brotherhood or at least branches of it have been co-opted.

There's a word for this "ominous alliance": capital.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

The Seventy-two Greatest Days in History, Remembering the Paris Commune of 1871

"They were madmen, but they had in them the flame which never dies." Auguste Renoir

May 28th is the 140th anniversary of the defeat of the Paris Commune. It lasted but a pitiful 72 days before it was drowned in blood, yet for subsequent revolutionary movements, its heirs, it is a source of joy, inspiration, and pride. It is said that some tribal cultures were democratic and egalitarian, but in the history of that churning, roiling, swift-flowing current we call civilization; that process that began when our ancient brothers and sisters were compressed by changing climactic conditions into denser and denser settlements along the world's great waterways; that maelstrom which we have all been caught up in for the last 7,000 years; in the history of that continuum, the working people of Paris were the first to throw off their captors and establish an egalitarian society; built upon public consensus; reflexively committed to universal suffrage; and constituted of, by, and for the people. The Communards were the first in the history of our species to be without masters, to be free. It is the stuff dreams are made of.

In a dispute which had its origin in the Spanish succession, France and Prussia went to war. Unfortunately for France, Napoleon III lacked the military cunning of his more famous uncle, and Prussia prevailed. The emperor was captured by Bismark's forces, and a Government of National Defense was convoked in his absence. It failed and was followed by National Assembly headed by Adolphe Thiers. A treaty was signed in which France ceded Alsace-Lorraine. The people of Paris, who had endured great deprivation during the Prussian siege without surrendering the city, were outraged at the capitulation and the humiliating terms.

On March 18th, Thiers ordered Generals Lecomte and Thomas to reclaim the cannon on the hill in the Montmartre neighborhood which had been given to the National Guard to defend the city. This they tried to effect overnight, but were spied by a group of women who sounded the alarm and soon a large number had assembled at the arsenal. The denizens of Paris, already disgusted with Thiers and the Assembly, confronted the generals. In contempt or panic, they ordered their soldiers to fire on the defiant mob. At first one, then another and another refused. The details of what ensued are debated but both generals were killed, and their bodies defiled by a few of the women. A celebration of sorts followed and the mutineers were rewarded--it is said in most generous fashion--by some of the ladies whose lives they had saved. News of the victory at the "Battle of Montmartre" spread quickly and a general uprising commenced. Thiers and the government fled to Versailles leaving the city in the hands of its citizens. Thus was the Paris Commune of 1871 born.

Elections were held immediately and, for the first time in history, working class people were put in high office. The raft of progressive legislation they produced is a triumph of justice, the procedures they created a paean to democracy. Their accomplishments are too great to be enumerated here, it will do to say that in no other society was power shared so broadly, and across the formerly unbreached fortifications of race, class, or gender. The Commune embraced and exalted humanity, all humanity; it extolled contribution and participation. While it did not equalize wealth, the Commune eliminated class privilege. It had done what no other society had: It had scaled the commanding heights of economic power and vanquished the plutocrats. It was a political culture like no other, and without equal.

Tragically, from the moment the Commune burst upon the world, it was surrounded by enemies. The Prussian Army was to the north and east, the newly reconstituted French Army to the west and south. Thiers, with Bismark's connivance, assaulted the city. The stand made by the Communards may be the most heroic defense of a city in history. There are many laudable incidents of impossible bravery; men and women holding their barricades until they'd fired their last bullet, often until the last Communard had fallen. But, inevitably, the Commune succumbed to greater numbers and superior resources.

Thiers had said he would be "pitiless" with the Communards, and made good his boast. For a week thereafter firing squads labored all day. In not a few cases Communards were interred in mass graves still alive, a lucky few to be dug out by comrades in the middle of the night. By the end of the "Bloody week," 30,000 lay slain.

Not many people know about the Commune. For obvious reasons, it has been purged from the meta-narratives of Western history. Yet for generations of revolutionaries it is a seminal event, and, more importantly, a validation. However short-lived, the Commune happened. And if it happened once, it can happen again. And that is the Commune's great bequest to posterity: Revolution is possible. And not just in the febrile minds of day-dreaming utopians, but in this life, and on this earth! However difficult it is to imagine in this age of bourgeois domination, everyday, ordinary, working  people seized power and created the world's first democracy, the world's first society of free equals. The Commune legitimizes the emancipatory aspirations of the world's disenfranchised.

If one undertakes the pilgrimage to Père-Lachaise cemetery, one finds the Mur des Fédérés where the last Communards were martyred. People come from all over the world to honor those who were bold enough to take history into their own hands, who tasted the freedom the rest of us will likely never know. Often it is sufficient merely to utter the phrase Vive la Commune to elicit the greatest affection from complete strangers. One feels a curious sympathy for those one encounters there, an ardent fellowship. It can be a moving experience. On my last trip, I met a Japanese couple and two young men from Serbia. The former spoke English and I share some Italian with the Serbs. I translated. We conversed for about an hour, and I was impressed by how much my four new friends knew about the Commune. I learned a good deal. As we talked, other pilgrims came and went. A few who could speak either language stopped to share a few words of solidarity with us, others just greeted us with Vive la Commune. My companions and I exchanged e-mail addresses and went our separate ways. I ached when I thought I would never see them again. That's how it goes at the Mur des Fédérés.

One morning during the Bloody Week, some French soldiers were frightened by what they took to be an omen. The night before, they had hastily buried a clutch of executed Communards after dusk, and, in the encroaching darkness, hadn't quite managed the job. As they came upon the scene, as if erupted from the ground like a sapling, was a single forearm at the top of which was a clenched fist, the judgement of eternity.

Long live those in whom burns the flame that never dies. Vive la Commune!

Quote O' The Day, May 28, 2011

Statement of the Committee of the Garde National, April 3, 1871, the Commune of Paris:

Workers, do not be deceived. This is the great struggle. It is parasitism versus labor, exploitation versus production that are at stake. If you are tired of vegetating in ignorance and coughing in misery, if you want your sons to be men and not types of animals reared for the factory and the battlefield, if you no longer want your be the instruments of pleasure in the hands of the aristocracy of wealth, if you would like to see the reign of Justice--workers, arise!

India: Repression of Workers’ Struggles in Chhattisgarh

Contract workers in cement plants in Chhattisgarh, organised under the banner of the Chhattisgarh Mukti Morcha (Mazdoor Karyakarta Committee) and its affiliate union, are demanding regularisation of work, due payment of wages and other basic rights denied by the multinational companies operating in the cement industry.

Spain: The ‘Indignant’ and the Paris Commune

This is precisely the reason that the demands of the ‘indignant’ resonate in a way that immediately brings to mind those who, with weapons in hand, came out to defend Parisian women and men during those heroic days in 1871, culminating with the constitution of the first working class government, albeit one restricted to the confines of the city of Paris. A government that lasted barely more than two months and was later smashed by the French army, with the open complicity and cooperation of Bismarck’s troops, which had just inflicted a humiliating defeat on the heirs of Napoleon’s armies. The cruelty against the Parisians who’d dared to storm heaven’s gate and establish a true democracy was terrible: it’s estimated that more than 30,000 members of the Paris Commune were put to the sword, in summary executions without trial. The Commune was drowned in a river of blood, and to atone for its ‘crimes’ the National Assembly decided to build the Sacré Coeur cathedral on the most prominent hilltop in Paris, at Montmartre, with funds collected from public donations throughout France, to honor the Parisians. Only a tiny amount was collected from the martyred city. Paris was defeated, but the Parisians were not brought to their knees.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Egypt: Now overthrow the workplace Mubaraks

Bravo! I agree with every word.

The revolution was against the Mubarak regime but all we’ve managed to do so far is remove Mubarak himself. The ones running the country right now are Mubarak’s generals, who were the backbone of his dictatorship from day one.

Many are therefore disappointed with Egypt’s progress – me less so because I never had high expectations from an army takeover. But two things have changed in Egypt in the past 100 days which give me hope, and both relate to the fact that the revolution is unfinished. The first is that mass strikes are continuing. The second is that workers have taken the step of establishing independent trade unions, which I believe are the silver bullet for any dictatorship.

Attempts are already under way by middle-class activists to place limits on this revolution and ensure it remains only within the realm of formal political institutions. Look at Wael Ghonim’s famous tweet following Mubarak’s overthrow saying “mission accomplished”. I have a lot of respect for Ghonim and what he has done for Egypt but he represents a certain type of middle-class politics where the sentiment is “thank you, now go back to work, invest 100% of your energies into building the new Egypt and don’t make trouble”. . The army and the media echo this line, portraying striking workers as greedy and self-interested.

[Please forgive me if this seems self-serving but perhaps my essay on the subject might be useful:]

A Call For International Action From Barcelona

For us the borders do not exist, the network is ours and the street also! Another world is possible now!

Statement Of Support From The Resistance In Iceland For The Protesters In Spain.

Botswanan Government Goes On The Attack Against Public Sector Workers

Khama's government has fired nearly 2,000 strikers,[1] arrested another union leader,[2] suspended wage negotiations,[3] and is hiring scabs.[4]

Meanwhile, a coalition of humanitarian groups from neighboring South Africa are expressing concern:

Botswana civil society groups told South African partners that the protests were increasingly becoming violent as security forces sought to silence the group by "what ever means possible". Several student protestors in Ramotswa, Molepolole and Mochudi, have been arrested following protest action in response to the absence of teachers.

"Against the backdrop of widespread civic action on the African continent, the situation in Botswana is at risk of flaring beyond the current boycott into a severe crisis," said Watson Hamunakwadi of GCAP-SA.






The Hidden History of Mexico/U.S. Labor Solidarity

Very brief but useful introduction to the subject of the Magonistas and the Mexican Revolution.

After the turn of the century, cross-border solidarity became an important political movement, as Mexicans began migrating to the U.S. as railroad workers, miners and farm laborers. The Flores Magon brothers, on the run from the regime of Porfirio Diaz, began organizing what became the uprising in Cananea and the Liberal Party in the communities of railroad workers in Los Angeles, St. Louis and elsewhere north of the border.

The two were active participants in the radical socialist and anarchist movements of the day, and were associated with the Industrial Workers of the World. After the Cananea rising, J. Edgar Hoover pursued them in his first campaign of organized anti-labor and anti-left repression. The brothers were caught, tried and sent to Leavenworth Federal Prison, where Ricardo died.

Fresh Chile autopsy to solve Allende mystery

Death toll soars in fighting in Yemeni capital

At least 40 people were killed Thursday in bloody battles in Sanaa, the capital city of Yemen, bringing the death toll in four days of fighting between anti-government militiamen and forces loyal to President Ali Abdullah Saleh to more than 100.

Thousands of people were fleeing the city in cars and trucks loaded with personal possessions and furniture, in an effort to avoid a conflict that seems rapidly escalating toward full-blown civil war.

California teachers and students protest against education cuts

Video: Hundreds of Michigan families seek assistance

'Indignant' Greeks to return for second day of protest

US Nation Building In Georgia

G8 pledges $20 billion to foster Arab Spring

The counterrevolution putting its money where its money is.

Most is in the form of loans rather than outright grants, to the two countries in the vanguard of protest movements which have swept the Arab world from the Atlantic to the Gulf. Egypt and Tunisia are planning to hold free elections this year.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy said that on top of $20 billion of credits provided by the World Bank and similar regional lenders dominated by the major powers, there would be as much again from other sources -- $10 billion from oil-rich Gulf Arab states and $10 billion from other governments.

Egypt Health Ministry: Hospitals on High Alert

Apparently the military dictatorship is planning to react violently.

CAIRO: A source within the Egyptian Health Ministry has alerted Bikya Masr’s News Desk that hospitals have been placed on high alert gearing up for what some activists are calling a “Second Revolution” at Tahrir Square on Friday.

One Union Leader Arrested, Others In Hiding After Raid.

[Arrested union leader Basil Mahan Gahé]

The Western Media shamelessly portrayed Laurent Gbagbo as a tyrant, and his rival, Allasane Ouattara, as a democratic reformer. Neither is remotely true. Gbagbo may have been a disappointment to those who supported him, but he was pro-union, and willing to say no to Western capital. That's why he's gone.

Ouattara worked for the Central Bank of West African States (BCEAO by its French acronym) and in April 1990, the wantonly corrupt President Félix Houphouët-Boigny appointed him Chairman of the Interministerial Committee for Coordination of the Stabilization and Economic Recovery Program; while holding that position, Ouattara also remained in his post as BCEAO Governor. He was subsequently named Prime Minister of Côte d'Ivoire by his depraved benefactor Boigny.

The government under his leadership is reverting to form and eliminating threats to itself and the capital which put it in power.

Please consider signing the petition.

Union Leaders Arrested in Bahrain Crackdown

GE to Unions: Drop Dead

Flush with cash and celebrated at the White House, GE said the company would still seek to double workers' costs for health insurance and eliminate new hires' pensions. Bargaining opened yesterday in New York.

Kudos To The Green Mountain State: Health Care Now a Human Right—in Vermont

Democrats Join the Raid On Union Bargaining Rights

Politicians of both parties have been tough on public employees in this recession, balancing state and city budgets through layoffs, wage freezes, furloughs, and benefit cuts. But rarely have labor-backed Democrats targeted the very right of public employees to collectively bargain.

That’s now changing. In Massachusetts, New Jersey, Illinois, and Connecticut, Democratic legislators, eager to save money, are betting they can cut into public employee bargaining rights and still win union backing at election time.

Fed's secret loans to banking giants revealed

Nearly free loans to banks who the Fed knew were going to be bought out (Bear Stearns) or liquidated (Lehmans).

We still don't know the full extent of the Fed's crimes.

Egyptians rally in Tahrir Square for 'second revolution'

Message from the reclaimed camp in Barcelona: We will not be moved

"Today at 7am the Catalan Police surrounded the camp in the Plaça Catalunya, violating our rights in a most flagrant way. Without any warning, with the ridiculous excuse of wanting to clean the square, they have proceeded to destroy all the material created during twelve days of occupation of Plaça Catalunya, dignity square."

Police Batter Protesters In Catalonia Plaza In Barcelona

On the pretext of clearing a path for sweeper trucks, the police in Barcelona charged into group of protesters wielding blunt objects and firing rubber bullets. About 60 were injured.

Here's a link to the graphic video:

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Getting Really Ugly In Botswanan Labor Dispute

The government has arrested two union leaders and charged them with inciting violence.

Two union leaders have been arrested and incarcerated in Serowe for allegedly inciting violence and offering lessons on how to make petrol bombs when addressing the striking public service employees.

Don't know anything about this alleged incident, however if one wanted to get arrested one couldn't have picked a more conspicuous way to incriminate oneself.

[Note: The unions have reduced their pay increase request to 12 percent. The article here linked is inaccurate.]

The government is telling strikers to return to work or no talks. Mighty magnanimous of them: As long as we get what we want, we'll be happy to talk to you and let you know just exactly where you went wrong.

"We also find it unreasonable for the strike to continue considering that the government has made it clear that the demands of the unions cannot be met," [a government official] said.

[Again this article has the wrond pay raise figure.]

Meanwhile, President Khama has had time to pen this take-me-darling-I'm-yours supplication to international capital:

Africa’s desire to integrate into the world economy can be witnessed in a number of ways, one of which is its willingness to alter domestic policies to create conducive business environment to enable integration into the world economy. The structural adjustment policies adopted in post-independent Africa serve as an example of the willingness of African governments, regardless of their successes or short comings, to create an environment that would attract foreign direct investment (FDI) and enhance trade.
Governments throughout Africa have been adjusting policies to better compete for FDI by, amongst others, developing investor friendly immigration laws, offering tax breaks, creation of industrial parks, promoting trade facilitation and protecting property right..

Tax breaks? They can't afford to give pay increases commensurate with inflation to their own, but they are offering sweetheart deals to foreign investors.

Bad News From The BBC 'Replete With Imbalance And Distortion'

It's the best news source in the Anglophone world, which tells us just how worthless the mainstream international media is.

link To Live Video Of Greek Protests

Burkina Faso: People no longer afraid

Great piece about Burkina Faso after the assassination of "the African Che."

In this ‘land of honest men’,[translation of Burkina Faso] discontent has grown over the course of many years to the point where, with the catalyst of 20 February in Koudougou in the country’s Centre-West, the death of a young student protestor at the local police station, Justin Zongo, set things alight. In Burkina Faso’s third city, the youth have since been in a state of electric revolt, confronted by the violent repression of the police, which has led to numerous people in its ranks being killed by bullets and has put a flame under the provincial governorship.  
On the ground, the local authorities are being employed to calm the inacceptable through lies – Zongo’s death was the result of ‘meningitis’! – and simple omissions of responsibility with respect the brutality of the Compaoré regime. The balance is heavier still: further deaths, in addition to the at least 100 injured, some of whom remain in a serious condition. The revolt has spread like wildfire, engulfing Ouagadougou, the capital, and other towns such as Poa and Ouahigouya.

Beyond the privatisation of liberation

Great piece by the great Horace Colman. A sad story, but one full of useful lessons.

Tunisia: The ‘land of free people’

Nice piece.

Political perspectives for Egyptian socialism, by Egyptian Socialist Party

Wisconsin Judge strikes down Governor Walker's collective bargaining law

I don't wish to make light of the grave situation facing Wisconsin public employees, but this is really hysterical. According to the Wisconsin State Journal, Scotty McNuggets and his goons in the legislature failed to give 24 hours notice of the committee hearing, thus invalidating the subsequent bill. It is very hard to imagine that this was anything else than a blunder, as Republicans control the committee in question. I'd hate to be in the governor's shoes: His corporate masters are going to be very angry at him indeed.

This isn't victory, they can just do it all over again. Nevertheless, we can cherish this moment. Oh boy did the Republicans mess up!

FREEDOM MASK, brought to you by Egypt's Supreme Council of the Armed Forces

Greetings from The Supreme Council Of The Armed Forces to dear Egyptians
Now available- for unlimited time”.

Activists Aida ElKashef, Mohamed Fahmy & AbdelRahman Amin were arrested earlier today from downtown Cairo for distributing the above poster and for mobilizing for tomorrow’s mass protests/2nd revolution against military rule...The poster is expressing the oppression and suppression that is still going on in Egypt after the January 25th revolution, after Egypt was officially declared a military dictatorship in the constitutional declaration. Military prosecution of civilians continue, violations of freedom of expression continue and freedom of assembly, along with many other concern.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Government Trolling For Informants At Indymedia Websites

"An article titled 'In the Fight to Make a Better World' recently appeared on several Indymedia websites, including Portland Indymedia. The article began, 

'You read indymedia, chances are you know some protesters who are wanted by the police and the FBI. The good news is that now you can receive a big cash reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of crimanals [sic]. It's easy just a quick call. and if you know more that one person you can get multiple REWARDS up to $2000 for each . for information leading to the arrest of known criminals and subversive group activity.'

Clashes in Italian ports over job cuts

Battle Between Botswanan Government And Striking Civil Servants Heating Up

President Khama rejects meeting with BDP MPs Who Met With Union Leaders, saying he didn't have time. His position is becoming precarious: On the one hand he has to satisfy the Rothschilds and Oppenheimers-his government's partners in the diamond business-and on the other the electorate and some of the their representatives in his government. The latter are considerably less powerful and fearsome than the former.

As usual, those institutions, in this case the UN, which serve the interests of international capital (like the Rothschilds and the Oppenheimers) are doing what they can to demonize the strikers: BOTSWANA: Public sector strike hurts poor

GABORONE, 25 May 2011 (IRIN) - Patients and schoolchildren are emerging as the biggest losers from a strike by public service workers in Botswana which is entering its sixth week.

Close to a 100,000 public servants, including about 1,500 considered essential workers, are staying away from their posts while government and unions tussle over salaries.

Medical practitioners have disregarded warnings by the Botswana Health Professions Council to go back to work or risk being deregistered - with the result that major health centres like the Nyangabgwe Referral Hospital in Francistown and Princess Marina Hospital in the capital, Gaborone, are barely functioning, and smaller clinics have closed completely.

The government is now refusing to talk with union leaders. Sadly, it appears the government's increasingly aggressive tactics have had an effect. The union has reduced it's wage demand from 16 to 12 percent.

"The government considers it unreasonable for the strike to continue, considering that it has made the economic case very clear," cabinet secretary Eric Molale said, reading from the statement.

"Therefore, for the strike to continue indefinitely, as it is -- although by a small minority -- is unreasonable."

The civil servants, who include doctors, nurses and firemen, have scaled back initial demands for a 16 percent salary hike to 12 percent. Inflation in the landlocked southern African country stood at 8.2 percent in March.

Apparently Khama believes that merely "stating" his case and making it "clear" should be sufficient to make the other side acquiesce to his demands.

Meanwhile, the union is setting up a trust fund for its members.

American puppet in jeopardy: Anti-government protests continue in Georgia

What color bogus revolution was this one again?

Spain: Local and regional elections show mass dissatisfaction

Not to put too fine a point on it but People's Party is a better translation for Partido Popular than Popular Party. It is not populist in any sense. (Nor, of course, is it a people's party either.) As WSWS points out, this party has a direct lineage from Franco's goon squad/political party. It is Catholic, conservative, capitalist, authoritarian, legitimist etc.

Other than this minor caveat, this is an excellent synopsis. I just hope that someday, the WSWS will manage to complete an article without invoking their divinity--Trotsky, but I'm not optimistic.

Anti-Americanism rife in Pakistan army institution: Wikileaks

Gee, isn't it fortuitous how wikileaks always seems to come up with a cable or two which melds ever so nicely with our government's latest propaganda campaign.

And Reuters kicked in this nice menacing photo too!

Israel’s Cornered ‘Slaves’ Speak Out

A light to the nations.

JERUSALEM, May 25, 2011 (IPS) - A new Israeli law that would bind migrant workers in nursing or care-giving professions to their employers is raising alarm amidst human rights groups and legal experts, who say that the law infringes upon the workers’ right to dignity and freedom.

Labor’s Hail Mary Pass

This is a maddening time for anyone concerned about the lives of working-class Americans. The frustration and anger that suffused AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka’s declaration last week that labor would distance itself from the Democratic Party was both clear and widely noted. Not so widely noted has been a shift in the organizing strategy of two of labor’s leading institutions — Trumka’s AFL-CIO and the Service Employees International Union — that reflects a belief that the American labor movement may be on the verge of extinction and must radically change its game.

The limits of democracy in NYC schools

Nice piece by Leia Petty.

Protester who heckled Netanyahu in Congress allegedly beaten, arrested at hospital

The 28-year-old Jewish American woman was allegedly tackled by members of the American-Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) during Netanyahu's speech to Congress after she yelled, "stop Israeli war crimes."

The #Spanish Revolution, by Joseba Elola of Madrid's el Pais

Last Tuesday, at about 8pm, something magical took place in Puerta del Sol square, in the heart of the nation’s capital. A few dozen protesters remained after Sunday’s mass demonstration in the name of the Real Democracy Now movement despite the drizzling rain, and police efforts to dislodge them in a surprise dawn raid that morning. Over the next few hours, thousands of young people began to gravitate back towards the square, as word spread by Facebook and Twitter, where they set up a vast camp under tarpaulin sheets, determined to maintain the momentum of Sunday, May 15.

Among them was Jon Aguirre Such. The 26-year-old architecture student and spokesman for Real Democracy Now fought back tears, overjoyed and angry at the same time, as he greeted his returning friends and fellow protesters. This was a dream come true: a generation finally standing up for itself, refusing to pick up the tab for the economic crisis, and expressing outrage at a regional election campaign in which neither of the two main political parties seemed able to offer any real answers.

For Jon, the world had changed on Sunday, May 15, as thousands of people marched through Madrid. That day, as he paused to look back on the human tide pressing toward the Puerta del Sol, he had exclaimed:

“I could cry seeing so many people filled with hope. This is possible. We have just made history. There is no turning back.”

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

French group calls for Spain-style street protests

Spanish protests spread across Europe — in videos

Many short videos of solidarity rallies around Europe.

Photos Of The Spanish Revolt, Courtesy Of

[Indignation isn't enough]
[The orange sign reads: "The ignorance of the citizen gives victory to the tyrants. Read, read, read, read!"]
[Small sign reads: "Mom, this is what you have taught me. Thanks!"]
[The sign on the left says: "Down with the dictatorship of the market."

For more photos follow this link:

Postal union chief thinks mail strike all but inevitable in Canada

Greeks to strike against new measures in June - union

Didacticide Update Washington: 1.9% teacher pay cut

"This isn't the budget any of us would have written, given the choice," House Ways and Means Chairman Ross Hunter said in a prepared statement. "But our job is to make the most responsible decisions we can in these tough times. I think we do that in this budget. It is thoughtful and sustainable."

Dear Ross;

You had a choice! And you made it.

Your job is to make responsible decisions. And you didn't.

Oaxaca Teachers Strike

The union is not making any pay demands, focusing instead on educational and social issues, Chepi said.
Teachers want better uniform allowances for students, computers in all elementary schools and for the state to pay for the electricity used in schools, the union leader said, adding that parents currently pay the utility bills.
Union members also want officials to find Carlos Rene Roman, a teacher who disappeared on March 14, Chepi said.

Let's hope this strike won't be as bloody as the last. And let's hope the US doesn't intrigue against the teachers once again.

Debswana of Botswana Sees 4.6% Increase in 2011 Diamond Output

May 24 (Bloomberg) -- Debswana Diamond Co., a joint venture between the Botswana government and De Beers, plans to increase diamond production by 4.6 percent to 25 million carats this year, said Managing Director Jim Gowans.

The company has sold $1.1 billion of the gems so far, he said today at a meeting in Gaborone, the capital. In 2009, Debswana mined 23.9 million carats that were sold for $2.6 billion, he said.

Tunisia lifts curfew after mass arrests

TUNIS (Reuters) - Tunisia lifted an overnight curfew in the capital on Wednesday saying security had improved since authorities arrested 1,400 people linked to the latest anti-government protests.

Tunisia has been struggling to restore stability and rebuild its economy after the overthrow of authoritarian leader Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali in January in an uprising which provided an inspiration for similar protests across the Arab world.

Tunisian authorities, which used tear gas to disband protests earlier this month, have said old allies of Ben Ali are among those to blame for inciting recent violence.

Aaaaaaaaaah! It's the government who are the revolutionaries, and the protesters the counterrevolutionaries. I had it backwards I guess.

Pushing women back to the zero point in Egypt

Is the new junta worse than Mubarak?

Egyptian Blogger Zeinobia On The Supreme Council of the Armed Forces

I do not want anymore human rights violations nor lame excuses that this is the army way and the army is blind , I am sorry the only blind thing I know is justice.
I want to restore the rights of every civilian toughed by a military with no right in this period including Ali Maher whom we do not know who killed him for real till now.
I do not want a presidential council.
I do not want a coup inside the army because I do not want another Nassers or Salah Salems.
I do not want the practices of the police revived by the military police.
I do not want anymore lies or to see any more hypocrites from the old regime kissing the ass of the army and the SCAF.
I do not want paternal guidance from the generals but I want to hear and to speak with them as areal adults.
I believe in second chances and redemption , again the members of the SCAF got a golden opportunity to correct what happened in 1954
I know the kind of pressure from inside and outside we are facing , it is like a war and unfortunately the SCAF does not understand that we are in the same boat and they are not fighting alone.

The Demands of #May27 Million Man Protest In Egypt

Red Star Over IMF

What would the Chairman say?

The Vultures Circle Egypt

Epson to deliver new products at Cairo ICT

rench companies focus of Cairo ICT 2011

Egypt: The New Born Military Dictatorship

Great piece.

Dubai owner of Tunisie Telecom denounces workers’ strike

What I love about this is how lame the owners' sales line is: If you strike it will deter foreign investment! This is an argument for a strike, not against it.

DUBAI: A part owner of Tunisia’s Tunisie Telecom said in an interview that a planned strike by the company’s workers could have a negative impact on foreign investment in the country. Tunisie Telecom earlier this month announced it was downsizing and reducing their workforce sizably in an effort to boost profit margins.

Labor and democracy: Why is ALEC attacking labor?

Have you met ALEC yet? ALEC is the American Legislative Exchange Council. Basically it is one of the main ways big business drafts legislation for its "friends" in state legislatures to pass. ALEC's private sector board of directors reads like the "Who's Who" of big business...

Strike Updates: Saudi Arabia

Hundreds of thousands of Saudi protesters took to the streets in Riyadh...

My Defense Of Cornel West


Marian Wang's Brief Review Of The Investigations Into The Economic Collapse

As we and many others have noted, no top banking executives have been successfully prosecuted in connection with the financial crisis: Not for making the bad loans that fed the mortgage machine, not for lying about the quality of the mortgages, and not for foreclosing improperly when homeowners struggled to make loan payments.

But there have been many investigations. Some are still pending, others seem to have fallen by the wayside. Here’s our overview of what the banks have been accused of doing at each stage of the mortgage machine.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Spain Update, May 23: Take The Neighborhoods

Some of the protesters are going ahead with the people's assemblies. How the government will react is anyone's guess. What these folks are doing is creating an alternative to the government, a rival power. It's not clear how much support this revolutionary idea has with the general public.

What is impressive though is how well organized they are. The website linked below presents in a great deal of detail on how these assemblies will operate and under what rules. They are quite democratic, inclusive, and "horizontally" structured. This particular methodology is, to my knowledge anyway, unique. It differs from the Russian soviets (note the small "s") and the municipal councils of the Paris Cummunards.

I suspect the government will ignore these assemblies if they are not too large. If people throng to them, then the Spanish government will have to act forcefully. Then it becomes a question of with whom the law enforcement agencies, and perhaps the armed forces, will side.

The neighborhood assemblies will take place during the week, and then the big one will occur sunday in the Puerta del Sol. We'll see what happens.

Spanish Solidarity March In Edinburgh

Some great photos of their march. Here's one of Madrid.

A Shout From Madrid

Botswana Strike Update 2, 5/23

Botswana broke? Budget Crisis?

(IDEX Online News) – Botswana exported $462.5 million worth of polished diamonds in March, a 50.7% year-over-year increase in exports, based on figures released by the Bank of Botswana. This brings the country’s first quarter diamond exports to $1.019 billion, the highest value ever in the first quarter.

Opposition warns of catastrophe.

The president of opposition Botswana National Front (BNF) Duma Boko has warned that the current public service strike could plunge the country into catastrophe if President Ian Khama continues to ignore calls to address workers' grievances.

Addressing striking public servants in Kanye on Friday, Boko said that the recent reports of a Botswana Defence Force (BDF) horse painted "16 percent" [requested raise] at Glen Valley barracks demonstrated the extent of discontent among government employees.

Botswana health sector teeters

Gaborone – The recent decision by the Botswana government to dismiss health workers who defied a court order and joined an indefinite strike by public sector employees could hit the country's fragile health sector hard.
Unions are demanding a 16 percent salary increase but the government says it cannot afford more than five percent.

The fired personnel include doctors, nurses, pharmacists and cleaners who were employed in public hospitals and clinics and had joined the month-old strike.

'We cannot keep people who have decided to go against a court order because that is lawlessness,' said the head of the Directorate of Public Service Management, Festinah Bakwena, in an interview with a local radio station.


The Tunisian Revolution Did Not Come Out Of Nowhere Interview with Sadri Khiari

Great interview. The questions are ridiculous but Khiari does yeoman's work answering them.

Didacticide Update: Michigan And New York

Thousands gather in Michigan to oppose education cuts

Steve, a social studies teacher at a small Michigan school district, which is laying off 48 teachers, told the WSWS, “That we spend more on prisons than education speaks to where the priorities lie. Now they have reduced the cuts to $200 per pupil—but when you’re operating on nothing, how can we take any cuts?
“It’s frustrating. There is an alternate goal with these politics. They created the Emergency Financial Manager, and it seems like they are only good at creating financial emergencies.”

Teachers, parents and students protest school cuts in Yonkers

The CSEA is the other major school union in Yonkers, and 238 of its members have received pink slips. The CSEA has said it wants to wait until the city budget is finalized to make its decision about concessions, as they are doing on the state level with Governor Cuomo’s demands.

Last Tuesday evening, hundreds of protestors gathered outside city hall to demonstrate against these cuts, and about 800 people came to the school board meeting the following night at Saunders Trades and Technical High School. However, before those who had turned out could begin to voice opposition to the planned destruction of education in the city, they were forced to sit through more than an hour of a new charter school’s pitch for guaranteed school funding.

Karly Quintero, a parent and a PTA vice-president, reacted angrily to this provocation. “I think the charter schools are an abomination with these budget cuts in place,” she said. “The charter school funds will be preserved regardless of how deep the layoffs and cutbacks are for the rest of us. Our public schools are taking huge cuts, but the charters ask for and get the same amounts to pay for their needs.”

Socialists in Spain say spread 15 May revolt!

Good piece.

Gunbattle in Yemen as transition deal collapses

Reuters) - Yemeni loyalist forces fought a gunbattle on Monday with opponents of entrenched President Ali Abdullah Saleh one day after he backed out of an accord for him to step down.

The Olympian war on Brazil's poor

Alleged Obama - Netanyahu Rift

As always, Steve Lendman telling it like it is.

The Democrat's Anti-Union Strategy

Major crimes are often committed with multiple accomplices. In a sophisticated bank robbery there stand, behind the vault busters, layers of criminals who act as lookouts, getaway drivers, planners, etc. So, too, in the colossal crime being committed against organized labor across the U.S., where the Republicans act as the vault busters while the Democrats have a less direct -- but equally guilty -- role in this historic attack against working people.

Moroccan police beat up protesters

Botswana Strike Update, 5/23

Can you believe this:

Botswana civil service strike threatens austerity measures
A public workers' strike in Botswana threatens to derail government efforts to rein in spending as it tackles a budget deficit while trying to shore up a nascent economic recovery.

Diamonds account for half of government revenue in Botswana but sales are only starting to recover now after the recession.
Image: Reuters

Imagine the nerve of these civil servants not willing to make human sacrifices of themselves in deference to a balanced budget! The iniquity!

The Minister of Finance Kenneth Matambo said in February that the country's economic growth is expected to slow to 6.8 percent in 2011 before accelerating to 7.1 percent next year.

The on-going strike has a negative impact on all public services, which in turn has deterred private sector businesses who rely on those services.

So let's see, the economy's growth is expected to slow to an impressive 6.8 percent this year, and then rise the next year. Seven percent is red hot growth, and it's been higher than that last year and will again top that mark next year. This is growth that most nations would die for.

And the private sector relies on these public employees.

And the government, whose coffers grow with the economy, are refusing to give civil servants a raise that is commensurate with the rate of inflation.

Why not? It's called class war.

Counterrevolution In Egypt Update, 5/23

Egypt's stock market soars as big banks upgrade its industry; the US and Saudi Arabia invest billions; and Egypt and Kuwait agree to a deal on nuclear energy; this means international capital feels it has successfully stymied Egypt's revolution.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Spain Update 2, May 22, 2011

According to el Periodico (Barcelona), Los Indignados of Puerta del Sol in Madrid have decided to remain encamped for at least one more week.[1] They intend to hold another people's assembly where they will take up the proposals made by the neighborhood assemblies which will occur during the week. This decision to remain in the plaza was put to a vote with workers' groups leading the successful "stay" vote. I have been unable to ascertain just how many will remain encamped and how much support they will have from rank-and-file Spaniards.

Here's the 15m Movement organizing the neighborhood assemblies and suggesting topics for discussion.[2]

As in any mass mobilization such as occurred in Spain recently, rumors are flying as to who is behind the action and in whose interest they act. Here's an article,submitted by someone calling self "anonim" saying that the 15m and Real Democracy Now movements were launched and are controlled by capital.[3]

Anonim declares that these movements were initiated by Spanish oligarchs. He cites Enrique Dans, who he says studied business at elite schools in the US, namely UCLA and Harvard, which are beyond the means of most. Dans then worked for Barclays Bank, and participated in conferences at the highest levels of finance. He also contribute to extremist right-wing media.

Anonim goes on to mention other people at the top of these movements with similar backgrounds.

I can't speak to any of this, but Anonim's information does raise suspicion.

He then goes on to say that an ex-intelligence officer confirmed the rumor adding that the demonstrations, organized on Facebook and Twitter, were run by the ruling party (PSOE). The goal, Anonim concludes, is to channel the growing dissent along a lines acceptable to capital. Essentially, he argues that capital commandeered the protest movements in order to undermine them. He cites information and analysis he found at an anarchist site.[4]

What he contends is plausible. Anyone who's tried to organize any kind of protest event knows that there are alway intelligence officials and law enforcement agents infiltrating the operation. I have no doubt that anything as massive as what we've witnessed in Spain has got the entire covert state apparatus mobilized. the theory is good, but Anonim is short on specifics. And one is left to wonder if this "ex" spook was really an "ex," and if so why he would be divulging such critical information to a radical like anonim. Perhaps anonim is an agent of the state sowing division and distrust among the leadership of the protests movements, and more generally trying to discredit the movements.

Time probably won't tell, that's how it goes in the world of political resistance.





Photos Of Demonstrations In Spain

And lots of them.

Spain Update, May 22, 2011

The Real Democracy Now website is still down.

Class War: Battleground Botswana

[Oops! My bad! The Botswanans are asking for a sixteen percent raise, not fifteen as stated below. Time to see the optometrist for me. Consequently, the math is inaccurate but it's close enough and I'm lazy enough to leave it as it is. My apologies.]

In all the excitement over events in the ME and now Spain, what's been overlooked is the impressive determination of the public sector employees of Botswana. This epic conflict is quickly turning into one of labor's greatest clashes. As you can read below, the government and their sponsors in international capital are trying every means at their disposal to quash the strike. So far, heroically, the civil servants of Botswana have been steadfast.

The issue is, as usual, money. The workers are asking for a fifteen percent wage increase over two years. According to, the rate of inflation in Botswana last year was 7.1 percent. It was a point higher the year previous, and it has never been lower than it is now in the last eight years, but has been as high as twelve percent. Consequently, assuming the best and the inflation rate remains where it is now, were they to get their fifteen percent, their incomes would outpace inflation in the first year and roughly match it in the second. At seven percent annually, the cost of living will be 14.7 percent higher after two years. So at the end of the contract their actual buying power will be the same as when the contract went into effect. They will not have advanced (save again for that first year when their pay would outstrip the estimated rate of inflation), but they will have held their ground. If the rate of inflation ends up being higher, which is quite possible if viewed by long-term trends, then they will actually have lost ground.

The government has offered three percent, which is nothing less than insulting. At that rate, prices will have increased by nearly fifteen percent, and real wages only by only six. In real terms, this would represent a seven or eight percent decrease in buying power at the end of the contract. And again, this is the best case scenario. It is quite likely inflation will be higher.

And so it goes. de Beers, (which was bought by the Rothschild family in the 1800s who still co-own the company through their firm Anglo-American with the Oppenheimers and the government of Botswana) has announced that they have come through the recession quite nicely and are poised to reach full production by 2012. Additionally, de Beers is happy to report that they have found new deposits of diamonds in Botswana. The future is bright for the diamond industry, particularly in Botswana.[1]

And the government is offering public employees a pay increase which is four percent less than lowest-ever-lately rate of inflation!

Below are some articles which I found helpful.

Botswana Wage Talks End Without Accord, Strike Continues

Botswana Police report on the strike:

Meanwhile, four striking workers in Tshane and eight striking workers in Gantsi have been arrested by police for blocking roads with stones and debris. They are likely to taken before court after completion of investigations.

‘Though in some of these incidents some people suffered minor injuries, no deaths or serious injuries were recorded,’ states the report.

Who is who in Govt union salary talks.

Govt. officials hit out at striking medical staff

BOFEPUSU shocked by the appointment of William Patrick Vergeer as a judge

The umbrella public service union, BOFEPUSU, says it is shocked by the appointment of William Patrick Vergeer as a judge at the industrial court. It says Vergeer was part of the legal team that represents DPSM in the current court case. The trade union also Vergeer was a partner at the President and BDP’s law firm, which it says it has now become principal legal advisors to the government.

The government attempts to de-register BOFEPUSU, the federation of civil servants' unions.