Amazon and Boss Bezos Developing New Ways to Control and Abuse Workers
By Don Gross On Feb. 1, Amazon reported its highest ever quarterly profit, bringing in $1.9 billion in profit in the fourth quarter of 2017. The news came a day after it was reported that Amazon had patented wristbands that would track warehouse workers’ movements while they were on the job.
The stunning contrast between these two stories reinforces the fact that Amazon’s massive profits are created by the work of mostly low-paid warehouse workers and delivery drivers who work under slave-like conditions.
On May 1st, on the day of remembrance of workers who died in the struggle for their rights, anarchists in various cities of Belarus conducted actions of agitation calling on the people of Belarus to strike and resist.
Nationwide strikes, led by Brazilian unions protesting against President Michel Temer’s austerity measures, crippled public transport in major cities across the country, while factories, businesses and schools remained closed.
Unions and leftwing organisations called for the general strike on Friday to oppose Temer’s plan to slash pension benefits and other austerity reforms.The strike appeared to be having greatest effect in heavily unionised parts of the economy, including transportation, schools, the post office and some hospital staff.
The CUT union estimated that at least 35 million workers went on strike. On the other hand the establishment GLOBO TV channel incredibly failed to mention the strike on its mid day news.
On the streets, police clashed with demonstrators in several cities, blocking protesters from entering airports and firing tear gas in efforts to free roadways.
Sao Paulo, Brazil’s most populous city and financial powerhouse, was worst hit by the strikes.
Police used tear gas to clear highways of protesters but bus services, the metro and trains all stopped working, bringing the city temporarily to a standstill.
Demonstrators are protesting President Temer’s austerity measures [Ueslei Marcelino/Reuters]
“It is going to be the biggest strike in the history of Brazil,” said Paulo Pereira da Silva, president of trade union group Forca Sindical.
In Rio de Janeiro, protesters lit fires on a major bridge, disrupting commuter traffic, while police used tear gas to force a small crowd of protesters from outside the main bus station.
However, the city appeared to be less affected, with private businesses such as restaurants, cafes and shops opening normally.
In the capital Brasilia and in Belo Horizonte, another major city, the metro systems were completely closed down. Curitiba, the city where Brazil’s huge “Operation Car Wash” anti-corruption investigation is based, was left without bus services.
Temer has said that without severe fiscal discipline and belt tightening, Latin America’s biggest economy will not be able to exit a two-year recession.
The most controversial measure is to raise the retirement age to 65 for men and 62 for women, up from 60 and 55 at present.
The government is also pushing for a liberalisation of labour laws and has succeeded in getting Congress to pass a 20-year spending freeze.
The struggle over austerity comes against a backdrop of worsening conditions for ordinary Brazilians.
The country’s economy shrank 3.8 percent in 2015 and is expected to have contracted a further 3.5 percent in 2016, the most painful recession in a century.
The struggle over austerity comes against a backdrop of worsening conditions for ordinary Brazilians [Ueslei Marcelino/Reuters]
The miserable economic scenario is dovetailing with the country’s worst corruption crisis in history. The “Car Wash” probe has uncovered a massive network of embezzlement and bribery at the heart of Brazil’s economic and political elite.
Eight of Temer’s ministers are under investigation and the president himself has been accused of chairing a meeting where his PMDB party negotiated a $40m bribe from the Odebrecht engineering conglomerate. Temer and his allies deny any wrongdoing.
“Temer does not even want to negotiate,” said Vagner Freitas, national president of the Central Workers Union (CUT), Brazil’s biggest labour confederation, said in a statement.
“He just wants to meet the demands of the businessmen who financed the coup precisely to end social security and legalise the exploitation of workers.”
Temer’s spokesperson Marcio de Freitas rejected the union’s criticism, saying the government was working to undo the economic damage wrought under the Workers Party government, which had the backing of the CUT.
“The inheritance of that was 13 million unemployed,” he said. “The government is carrying out reforms to change this situation, to create jobs and economic growth.”
BY MR. MILITANT NEGRO May 1st is a day of solidarity with other exploited people across the world and within our communities. This is a call to reclaim and rebuild the history and struggle against oppression with an anti-capitalist gathering, celebration and resistance.
This year we will commemorate those who fought with their lives for an 8 hour workday in Chicago over 100 years ago, and the innocent anarchists who lost their lives at the hand of the law.
On May 1st 2017 we will stand against capitalism, colonialism, borders and the state; we will stand for freedom, community and self-determination as we continue the struggles of workers started so many years ago.
Capitalism continues to steal land, life, culture and language from in the name of profit. The empire it has built on stolen land keeps workers under the boot of the bosses, the unemployed under the boot of the state, as our labour increases their profit margins and we merely survive and dream of the lives we can live in our worn-out bodies come retirement.
On May 1st, 2017 we will gather as anti-capitalists against the systems of oppression that commodify our basic needs and force us to work for our daily bread. The food from the fields and trees and the houses on the streets have all been packaged into marketable products and fenced off from all who cannot pay the price. Continue reading “May Day 2017: We Strike Back Against Capitalists”
Last Thursday’s “Day Without Immigrants” work stoppages, which closed hundreds of restaurants, grocery stores, garages, retail shops, and other businesses, offered a taste of the capacity for militant action wielded by immigrant America.
Led in many cities by Latino activists calling for a “huelga general,” (General Strike) the February 16 coast-to-coast walkouts augur well for an even larger set of strikes and demonstrations, including a March 8 “Day Without a Woman” and quite possibly a May Day general strike, already endorsed by one of the Service Employees International Union’s biggest and most active California locals….
IWW strikes Victory in the Lawrence, MA, textile strike in 1912 secured the organization’s reputation for organizing immigrant … The Labor World 09-16-1906 ….. This has been the first major win in Prince Rupert for theI.W.W., Industrial Worker, 10-27-1909.
…The energy and upheaval unleashed by the Trump administration’s assault on Muslims, Latinos, and other immigrants, documented or not, has been directed toward a restoration of their rights and dignity, toward the family reunions and free passage into our country that have been happily broadcast from airports all across the country—and rightly so. Continue reading “How Immigrants Built the US Left—And Can Rebuild It Again”
by Darío Unai, Somonte (Córdoba)
The Andalusian Workers Union /SAT) has occupied the huge Somonte Estate for the third time
Somonte is a farm of 400 hectares located south of Córdoba in where summer temperatures reach 50C. It houses a handful of labourers, a pen of chickens and several million “wingback” mosquitoes infesting the few areas of shade.
Among the dry fields that extend beyond the horizon, the only landmark is the tower of the ultraq modern Abengoa photovoltaic plant projecting in all directions the sunlight of hundreds of reflective panels concentrated on its tip.
The anarchist unions in Andalusia campaign together with the communist SAT
by Jan Rocha … via the ecologist with thanks.. Amidst the turmoil of the presidential impeachment, writes Jan Rocha, right wing members of Brazil’s Congress are set to pass new laws that would build new roads across the Amazon, open up indigenous reserves to industrial exploitation, and create a surge in carbon emissions from burning forests.
see also: US takes control of Brasil as Corrupt Left replaced by US Spies… Brazil’s new president is U.S. [+CIA?] informant http://wp.me/pIJl9-7UJ
The bill’s rapporteur is Senator Blairo Maggi, a soya magnate, who has cleared thousands of hectares of rainforest in his home state of Mato Grosso, and is tipped to be the minister of agriculture in the new government.
Taking advantage of Brazil’s present political turbulence, as the battle to impeach President Dilma Rousseff reaches its climax, reactionary politicians are quietly rolling back environmental and indigenous protection laws in defiance of the country’s commitments under the Paris Agreement.
Neoliberal Capitalist Ecocide
Environmentalists say that if the bill known as PEC 65/2012, now at the Senate committee stage, is approved, it means that major infrastructure projects will be able to go ahead regardless of their impacts on biodiversity, indigenous areas, traditional communities and conservation areas.
Instead of a careful if somewhat slow licensing process which involves scientific assessments including biological, botanical, anthropological and archaeological studies, developers will merely have to present a proposed study of environmental impact to be allowed to begin – without actually having to carry out the study.
And once a project is under way it cannot be cancelled or suspended by the environmental protection agencies.
A chorus of protest – but who’s listening?
Environment organisations, both governmental and non-governmental, have protested strongly at the bill’s implications. For Marilene Ramos, the president of the official agency for the environment and renewable resources, IBAMA, (in Portuguese only) it means Brazil is going in the opposite direction to developed countries and will no longer be able to control infrastructure projects.
teleSUR EnglishIn just 24 hours, the senate-imposed government lead by Michel Temer has lead an assault on a decade of progressive policies. He has eliminated 9 ministries, and some 4,000 public sector jobs will be cut. https://www.facebook.com/telesure
Indigenous leader Nara Baré, of COIAB – the Coordination of Indian organisations in the Brazilian Amazon – said: “Brazil presented targets in Paris but doesn’t do its homework, protecting the forest and us who live in it.”
Carlos Bocuhy, the president of PROAM, an environmental NGO, says the effect of the bill will be to end environmental licensing: “It is completely absurd; it is as though the act of applying for a driving licence entitled you to drive a lorry.”
The Climate Observatory (in Portuguese only) sees the bill as “a bad joke”, even more so in a country that has just suffered the worst environmental disaster in its history, the bursting of a dam of toxic mud in Minas Gerais state on 5th November last year. The calamity destroyed all animal and plant life and a major river nearby, and could be the world’s worst disaster after Chernobyl.
Greenpeace director Marcio Astrini said of the bill that “if it becomes law, it will act as a factory of tragedies.”
Senators’ enormous personal stakes in environmental destruction
Its author, Senator Acir Gurgacz, has a personal interest: his family owns a transport company which would benefit hugely from the paving of the 900 km BR319 highway, linking two Amazon capitals, Porto Velho and Manaus.
At present the project cannot go ahead because IBAMA has embargoed the work, alleging environmental damage. The road runs through conservation areas, indigenous lands and areas of largely unspoiled rainforest.
The bill’s rapporteur is Senator Blairo Maggi, a soya magnate, who has cleared thousands of hectares of rainforest in his home state of Mato Grosso, and is tipped to be the minister of agriculture in the new government that will take over once President Rousseff is suspended from office this week.
Environmentalists are already expressing deep concern about the government planned by vice-president Michel Temer. They note that his policy paper, A bridge to the future, which laid out his plans for government, made no mention of the environment, climate change or the Amazon rainforest
Instead the big farmers’ and ranchers’ lobby, FPA, or Parliamentary Farming Front, presented the president-to-be with a ‘positive agenda’: a list of demands which included the abolition of the ministry of land reform, the halting and revision of the demarcations of indigenous reserves and quilombos (territories inhabited by the descendants of runaway slaves), and more funds for agribusiness, which already enjoys substantial subsidies.
Besides the bill to end environmental licensing, other damaging bills are in the pipeline.
Ignoring local wishes
One, known as PEC 215, has been doing the rounds in Congress for over 15 years, but with the imminent arrival of the new, pro-farmer government it is expected soon to be voted into law. If it is, it will mean that the power to decide further demarcations of indigenous areas – nearly 400 are under consideration – will pass from the executive to the Congress.
With both houses dominated by members of the rural lobby, this is regarded as tantamount to ending demarcations. Another 1,611 quilombo areas will also be affected. The importance of the indigenous and quilombo territories is that they tend to conserve forested areas, instead of clearing them for mechanised agriculture or cattle grazing.
By law certain areas contained within each rural property (which, especially in the Amazon, are often vast) must be left wild. But another measure on the table (bill 4508/16) will allow them to be used for cattle grazing.
Others will permit mining and hydroelectric dams in indigenous areas without any need for permission from their inhabitants. Reducing controls on pesticides – Brazil is the world’s biggest consumer – is yet another target.
The government of Dilma Rousseff has in no way been a model of protection for the environment and indigenous areas, but it seems that the government of Michel Temer is much much worse.
Jan Rocha is a freelance journalist living in Brazil and is a former correspondent there for the BBC World Service and The Guardian. She now writes for Climate News Network where this article was originally published (CC BY-ND).
The first day of the coup of Temer government is worse than any forecast: (rough translation)
A ministry of only men, white, rich, and the vast majority, over who weigh serious charges of corruption and / or attacks against human rights. Something not seen since the dictatorship;
Two initiatives already articulated: approval of outsourcing of labor relations and a constitutional amendment to repeal the earmarking of funds for social programs, health and education;
A minister of justice who considers protest actions to be “guerrilla attacks” who became the PM of Sao Paulo on a ticket to kill the poor and beat up students …..
To complete the symbol chosen for the government. United Order. He who does not march with the “order” to “progress” (as an investor, which is the explicit desire to Temer) will take ‘borrachada’. The symbol immediately evokes the “Brazil, love it or leave it” the dictatorship. ..