Sorry, you need to enable JavaScript to visit this website.

Workers' Power

There are more enslaved individuals in the world today than during the trans-Atlantic slave trade. Corporations continue to amass greater power and legal rights, to the detriment of workers worldwide and humanity at large.

In both industrialized and non-industrialized nations, trades and salaried careers continue to be chipped away and replaced by precarious informal and contract employment  – from university professors to adjuncts, from unionized carpenters to day laborers. Not coincidentally, the percentage of US workers who belong to labor unions stands at 11.1%, compared to 20.1% in 1983.  This has resulted in loss of worker rights and bargaining power. In the US today, the current federal minimum wage is $7.25 an hour, yet the buying power of this wage has deflated nearly 40% since 2000, leaving workers with a real wage lower than it has been in decades.

At the same time, there are instances of workers winning greater power, higher wages, and benefits. In country after country, sex workers – though still highly oppressed - have organized themselves to be recognized as a legitimate labor force and have won some legal protections. In 2015, the city of Seattle, WA raised the minimum wage to, $15 an hour.

In the US, our favorite assertions of workers-power are those of the Coalition of Immokalee Workers, a small group of immigrant farmworkers from Florida. Recognizing every members as a leader and utilizing brilliant strategy, the Coalition has won wage increases for tomatoes picked, zero-slavery guarantees, and contracts which include a monitor of labor standards and rights. The Coalition has won campaigns against some of the largest grocery and restaurant corporations in the world, including Wal-Mart and McDonald’s.  

Another exciting trend in recent years is the growth of worker cooperatives. Worker ownership creates and sustains jobs, production, and services, and opens possibilities for long-term employment stability. They offer employment with living wages, dignity, transformed social relationships, self-management, and equitable power. Co-ops allow their members to determine what their business will look like, how it will be organized, how much they will pay themselves, and how the work will be done.

While the  worker co-ops and other workers’ movements around the world have not transformed a deeply unjust system, they do point to a way out and offer a glimpse into what economic and social organization, based on democracy and equity, could look like.  

Articles

JUNE 1ST TO OCTOBER 15 – MOBILIZE FOR IMMEDIATE TROOP WITHDRAWAL

Shut-down MINUSTAH and end all occupation of Haiti!

Demilitarize our America!

Reposted from the Haiti No MINUSTAH Solidarity Campaign

Originally posted on May 29, 2016

ACTION ALERT: CALL CONGRESS TO STOP PEANUT DUMPING IN HAITI BY THE U.S. DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE!

Please join the Haitian diaspora in demanding action against this initiative: As part of its “Stocks for Food” program, the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) plans to ship 500 metric tons of peanuts to Haitian schools, which could destroy Haiti’s peanut market and the livelihood and income of 150,000 peanut farmers and their families. This is the latest in a long history of U.S.-sponsored programs which have destabilized Haiti’s agricultural sector, further impoverishing the nation and increasing its dependence on foreign aid. President Clinton had to apologize for one such misguided prog

MST Communiqué: Military police and gunmen attack Landless families, murder two workers

Last Thursday (April 7, 2016) afternoon, families of the Landless Workers’ Movement (MST) organized in the Dom Tomás Balduino Camp, were victims of an ambush by the State Military Police and private security forces of the logging company Araupel.

Justice for Farmers of Kidapawan and Other Victims of State Repression in the Philippines!

The People's Coalition on Food Sovereignty (PCFS) are asking different organizations to kindly add their support to the farmers in Kidapawan, Philippines by adding their organizations name below as signatory to the statement. The farmers were asking for food relief and calamity funds when the police authorities open fire at them killing 3 farmers, 116 injured, 89 missing, and 2 tortured.

Five Community Radio Journalists Suffer Police Harassment in Honduras

The Civic Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras (COPINH) reported that the five journalists and community radio stations are victims of persecution.

The Legacy and Current Growth of Black Cooperatives: An Interview with Jessica Gordon Nembhard

Photo of Mandela Foods Cooperative, courtesy of Jessica Gordon Nembhard.

For National Co-op Month, we present a three-part series from an interview with Jessica Gordon Nembhard. Read the first piece, Black Cooperative Economics During Enslavement, here and the second piece, on how the cooperatives were critical partners to struggles throughout African-American history, here.

When I first became interested in cooperative economics, everybody, Black and white, told me that Black people  just don’t engage in cooperative economics. But that didn’t seem right to me. So I started studying it, talking to people about it, and participating in the US co-op movement. I found there were hardly any Blacks involved, except when they were in agricultural cooperatives in the South. None of the mainstream co-op literature talked about Black co-ops, and yet I was sure that African-Americans must have been involved.

 

East Bay Premiere of Resistencia: The Fight for the Aguan Valley

Resistencia: The Fight for the Aguan Valley
When a 21st century coup d’état overthrows the only president they ever believed in, the farmers take over the plantations. With no plans to ever give them back.

Other Worlds, Friends of the Earth and Food First are co-sponsoring a film screening of Resistencia: The Fight for the Aguan Valley. Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz will introduce the program and Filmmaker Jesse Freeston will lead the post-film discussion.

African Seed & Food Sovereignty

 

Other Worlds brings to you a 7-part article series on African food and seed sovereignty, which will feature interviews with grassroots leaders (mostly women) from Senegal, Mali, Kenya, Zimbabwe and South Africa. Each is working for seed sovereignty and the decolonization of Africa’s food system.