Joint Statement: International brands must act urgently and cease all production in Myanmar

Received via Global Women’s Strike and English Collective of Prostitutes.

Joint Statement

International brands must act urgently and cease all production in Myanmar to weaken the military dictatorship and force them to step down

On February 1st 2021, the military in Myanmar carried out a coup and arrested the elected government members and seized power as the State Administrative Council (SAC). On February 5th, when a general strike and street protest known as the Civil Disobedience Movement (CDM) began, women garment workers were on the frontlines. Some 3,000 women workers came by bus from their factories in the industrial zones to join the protests in Yangon.i Garment workers remain central to the CDM. Millions of people have taken to the streets, risking their lives and their livelihoods, to demand an end to dictatorship and in support of democracy for Myanmar.

Thousands of garment workers (90% women) have been on strike for months. The army and police have responded to the peaceful protests with deadly force, including shooting live rounds into the crowds. Over 1300 people have been killed by the military and police in the past ten months, More than 1,750 have been detained, and raped and tortured in other ways while in custody. Women trade union leaders and workers from the garment industry are among those killed and arrested.ii iii In order to repress the workers’ opposition, military personnel have been deployed at factory gates, and martial law has been imposed in the industrial zones so that protesters are judged by a military tribunal under military law, risking years in prison.

Before 2010 many Western brands were unwilling to operate in Myanmar because they didn’t want to be associated with the draconian working conditions and other atrocities taking place under military rule. Along with 19 other brands, H&M, Primark, Tesco and New Look have signed an industry agreementiv – known as Action, Collaboration, Transformation (ACT) – that commits to ensuring the local factories producing their goods uphold workers’ rights to a living wage, collective bargaining, safety and other guidelines for termination and compensation. ACT has ended operations in Myanmar, but many brands that have signed the agreement, like H&M and Lidl, are still sourcing from Myanmar. This is unacceptable. Now that military rule has returned, the same ruthless conditions are recurring and worker’s rights cannot be ensured – why are brands not pulling out?

Reportedly factory owners and employers are taking advantage of the coup to undermine worker’s rights. Many permanent workers have been sacked and replaced with temporary workers on a daily wage. Employers are also known to be working in collaboration with the army to destroy the trade union movement by informing on trade union activists, providing soldiers with names of trade union members they find problematic or who oppose the military coup and having them arrested. Most trade union organizers are now in hiding, yet still active in the movement.

Despite wages for garment workers in Myanmar being among the lowest in the world, multinational corporations are a significant source of income for the military junta. The cut-make-pack (CMP) garment sector exports for the fiscal year 2020/21 were reported to value US$3.24 billion. The garment industry in Myanmar constitutes US$6bn of annual exports (approx. 30% of all exports).vi Many factories sit on land owned by the military with rent from the factories funding them. In addition to exploiting workers to fund the coup, the military is also widely reported to be exploiting natural resources to further finance their crimes. The destruction of people and destruction of the natural resources go hand in hand.

On September 3, 2021, two of the largest trade unions in Myanmar, the All Burma Federation of Trade Unions (ABFTU) and the Federation of General Workers Myanmar (FGWM) put out a joint statement condemning the actions of the employers and calling on Western brands to stop sourcing their products from Myanmar suppliers.vii Garment workers organised in the Industrial Worker’s Federation of Myanmar (IWFM) as part of the Confederation of Trade Unions of Myanmar are calling for comprehensive economic sanctions.viii

“Together with the Myanmar Labour Alliance, a coalition of 185 organisations including trade unions and students, teachers, health workers, engineers’ networks, strike committees, and youth, women and LGBT networks are calling for comprehensive economic sanctions to remove the military regime and restore democracy, human rights, and workers’ rights in Myanmar as quickly as possible. The brands and their lobbyists must stop insisting that they can stay in the country under these conditions. By staying in the country, they objectively defend and legitimize a terrorist regime.”

Khaing Zar Aung: President of the Industrial Workers Federation of Myanmar (IWFM), an executive committee member of the Confederation of Trade Union Myanmar (CTUM), and a member of the Myanmar Labour Alliance.

Given that over two-thirds of Myanmar’s garment exports are for the UK/EU and US markets,ix we have an opportunity and an obligation to act in solidarity with the garment workers and all those opposing the coup and the military’s crimes in Myanmar.

We, the undersigned, join the trade unions of Myanmar in their call for international brands and retailers to urgently take action:

1.Withdraw from Myanmar to put pressure on the military dictatorship to step down.

2. When withdrawing, consult with Myanmar garment unions for an exit plan to ensure transparency and due compensation to the workers, and contribute humanitarian aid to the workers and people of Myanmar.

3. Publicly join the international condemnation of the military coup in Myanmar and call for democracy to be restored. Actively support the Civil Disobedience Movement, trade unions and the National Unity Government of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar (NUG) in their efforts to stop this brutal military dictatorship.

Issued by Global Women’s Strike and No Sweat

Signed by…

Direct Action: the education of revolutionaries.

Chapter Thirty-One of The Authority of the Boot-Maker by Mal Content.

“Anarchism is neither sectarian nor dogmatic. It’s theory in action. It doesn’t have a pre-determined worldview. It’s a fact that anarchism is manifest historically in all of man’s attitudes, individually or collectively. It’s a force in the march of history itself: the force that pushes it forward.”

– Nestor Makhno: to Francisco Ascaso and Buenaventura Durruti, Paris, 1927.

This, my friends, is where the cop-out ends, once you’ve accepted that there is no one above or below you, you become responsible for everything that happens within your sphere of influence. Who gives governments the power to abuse, torture and kill? It is you. The prison I referred to earlier exists only in the mind, in the collective consciousness, the defeatist attitude that: “nothing can be done”. In fact everything can be done and already is, in this world we built with our hands, eyes and brains. Everything you require to live is provided by your fellow workers, as you provide for them. The intervention of bosses, accountants, academics and politicians only serves to make the process less efficient and pleasant to operate. If we allow these intermediaries to manage our desires they will stifle and kill them. Despite not being noticeably more competent or wise than anyone else they have been elevated above their fellows and it isn’t in their interests to upset the applecart. They will patiently explain why we can’t have what we want, just yet.

“Our people stand for action on the march. It is while going forward that we overtake. Don’t hold them back, even to teach them `the most beautiful theories’ …”

– Francisco Ascaso, quoted by Paz and others.

Direct action is that which seeks its ends without the mediation of a third party; it does not necessarily involve protest, and where it does, is not limited to protesting. Breaking up a fight is direct action, calling the police is not. It can be anything from distributing free food to the needy or recycling old clothes, to strikes, sabotage and factory occupations. This principle demands that those who have most invested in a struggle should direct it, whilst relying on solidarity from others, so priority should be given to projects and organisational forms which give confidence to those who are marginalised or unused to taking action.

Q. How many Anarchists does it take to change a light bulb?

A. None – “The light bulb must change itself!”

– Anon.

Direct action is most popularly associated with the practice of revolutionary syndicalism or industrial unionism, which gained currency at the turn of the last century but lost out to Bolshevism; however the abject failure of political and industrial representation has revived its popularity in this one.

The importance of direct action goes far beyond its immediate goals; it ingrains the habit of taking responsibility, of working with others in a voluntary and horizontal fashion for reasons other than personal reward. It builds confidence and trust, shares skills and teaches by example. A solidarity action that at first glance seems to have only a minor impact, in fact operates on several fronts. It gives satisfaction to the participants, courage to fellow workers who hitherto felt powerless, and issues a warning to the exploiters that their acts have consequences. It helps repair the social cohesion and sense of community that capitalism tries so hard to abolish. Above all every comrade must feel valued and supported, every blow must be returned, until over time a culture of militant solidarity is established, only then can we act coherently in our common interest, and prise power from the exploiter’s grip.

There are many traps into which revolutionaries can fall; relying on the limited vision and experiences of a few people for example, or on the other hand diluting the movement with those who have too much invested in the status quo; falling back on dogma, or abandoning essential principles. It’s a mistake to assume that every oppressed person is ready and able to shake off their oppression, and equally erroneous to wait until conditions are perfect. To transform society we must transform ourselves, we can do it along the way but we have to start now. Lines must be walked between making real improvements to the lives of people in the here and now, and giving in to reformism, we want the earth, but we’ll take it a piece at a time.

“This task of laying the groundwork for the future is, thanks to Direct Action, in no way at odds with the day to day struggle. The tactical superiority of Direct Action rests precisely on its unparalleled plasticity: organisations actively engaged in the practice are not required to confine themselves to beatific waiting for the advent of social changes. They live in the present with all possible combativity, sacrificing neither the present to the future, nor the future to the present. It follows from this, from this capacity for facing up simultaneously to the demands of the moment and those of the future and from this compatibility in the two-pronged task to be carried forward, that the ideal for which they strive, far from being overshadowed or neglected, is thereby clarified, defined and made more discernible.

Which is why it is both inane and false to describe revolutionaries drawing their inspiration from Direct Action methods as “advocates of all-or nothing”. True, they are advocates of wresting EVERYTHING from the bourgeoisie! But, until such time as they will have amassed sufficient strength to carry through this task of general expropriation, they do not rest upon their laurels and miss no chance to win partial improvements which, being achieved at some cost to capitalist privileges, represent a sort of partial expropriation and pave the way to more comprehensive demands.

From which it is plain that Direct Action is the plain and simple fleshing- out of the spirit of revolt: it fleshes out the class struggle, shifting it from the realm of theory and abstraction into the realm of practice and accomplishment. As a result, Direct Action is the class struggle lived on a daily basis, an ongoing attack upon capitalism.”

– Emile Pouget: ‘Direct Action’.

Trans Rights is a Class Issue

Anarchist Communist Group.

On Trans Day of Remembrance (20th November 2021), we remember and honour the lives of trans and gender-diverse people reported murdered in the last 12 months. Trans people around the world face structural, institutional, societal, and direct violence. The violence that trans people face has roots in the policies, laws, and institutional practices of capitalist society.

We have long known the function of gender roles and gender inequality in capitalism, not just in dividing the working class, but also in ensuring the cultural norms that secure the provision of unpaid domestic and care work. Following from this analysis, we add trans people’s struggle against oppression to a structural understanding of oppression in modern society. Indeed, gender nonconformity poses a threat to those patriarchal structures of gender oppression, whereby capitalism benefits from unpaid work in the home that is still, to varying degrees, divided according to traditionalist gender roles.

It is clear that transgender and non-binary people’s experience of inequality, discrimination and violence cannot just be explained with reference to individual prejudice. Structural observation shows that we must also pay attention to the role of capitalist exploitation.

One in three UK employers said in a 2018 survey that they would be less likely to hire a trans person. The retail sector came out even worse, with 47 per cent of employers saying they were unlikely to employ a trans person.

Research in the US has shown that trans people are twice as likely to be living in poverty as the general population , and that work place discrimination affects more than three quarters of transgender people, who disproportionately face such issues as loss of employment due to discrimination, refusal to hire, privacy violations, and extreme levels of unemployment. Of the reported killings of trans and gender-diverse people whose profession was known, worldwide, 58 per cent were sex workers.

From this we can see that transgender people are more likely to be working class, and therefore we must conclude that trans rights is a class issue. And the violence that trans people face is a class issue.

We in the ACG are against all oppressions and inequality both because of the hardship and suffering it causes and because we need to unite as a class if we are to be effective in our struggles. The working class is composed of people of varying sexuality, people with disabilities, those who struggle against the straitjacket of gender categories, people from many ethnic backgrounds.

Divide and rule has long been used as a tool to subjugate us. We in the ACG seek to unite the working class, because our struggles are worth fighting for together, in an integrated fight to seek revolutionary social change and to create a society in which exploitation is abolished and all resources are held in common.

transrespect.org/en/tmm-update-tdor-2021/

UK: Update on the situation of anarchist comrade Toby Shone

Dark Nights.

Toby’s trial began on 6th October at Bristol Crown Court. The charges for administration of 325.nostate.net, funding of terrorism through the website and dissemination of and collection of material useful to terrorists have now been dropped due to lack of evidence.

The other charges of possession of Class A and B drugs with intent to supply, producing a class B drug and a further count of class AA drug possession are still being pursued. At this present time we understand this could carry a jail term of 3-6 years imprisonment.

The Operation Adream that has been unleashed by the British state is an attempt to destroy 325 & its publications, an attack on counter-information that is connected to the repression that has been ramped up on this island since the pandemic and resulting lockdowns, a repression that has always existed, an attack on any form of active revolt here.

We do not believe in guilt and innocence, neither in passivity, only in solidarity that contributes to the continuation of the conflict against the existent.

Strength & Solidarity to anarchist comrade Toby Shone!

Nothing is over, the conflict continues!

Dark Nights Collective

URGENT! On the recent illness of anarchist comrade Francisco Solar and his delicate health situation [Chile]

Chile. In the first months of 2021, Francisco together with other anarchist and subversive prisoners carried out a hunger strike that lasted more than 50 days against the modification of Decree Law 321 and for the immediate release of Marcelo Villarroel.

Originally published by Buscando La Kalle!! Translated by Riot Turtle.

In 2010 Francisco had already put his body as a trench of struggle in another strike of more than 60 days in the framework of the Bombs Case.

It is during the last mobilization that several blood tests were taken from Francisco by the prison administration, including a suspicious situation, where Francisco was urgently admitted to the prison hospital due to the bad results of the blood tests, but a few minutes later the prison guards decided that it was a mistake and sent him back to prison.

After a slow recovery, continuous cramps, excessive thirst, weight loss, Francisco requested medical examinations after being transferred to the prison of Rancagua. It was not until September 22 that these tests were performed and he was urgently hospitalized. The diagnosis: Advanced diabetes with 700 mg/dl of glucose, that is, on the verge of a diabetic coma.

After reaching a minimum stabilization, he was returned to Module 2, where, despite the twice daily doses of insulin administered in a restrictive manner by the doctors-prisoners, he still did not have normal glucose parameters.

A few days later, the comrade began to suffer a significant loss of vision that continues to this day, without receiving any attention, preventing him from reading or other daily activities. The Rancagua Prison, being managed by a private company, includes terrible food and a systematic prohibition on the entry of parcels, so that the prisoners are forced to buy a series of sweets and food that the concessionary company, like a monopoly, sells. This reality, in practice, is nothing more than the aggravation of Francisco’s illness and deterioration of his health.

For the life and health of our comrade, it is urgent that the gendarmerie does not place restrictions to receive parcels that is already being negotiated with a private doctor, the end of the prohibitions and limitations regarding parcels, the facilities for an adequate treatment that will allow him a minimum autonomy inside the prison.

We know that prison seeks to annihilate and diminish the individual, so overcoming the obstacles and impediments placed by the prison bureaucracy can only be done through mobilization, solidarity and mutual support. We hold the Gendarmerie responsible for any further deterioration of the health condition of our comrade.

Solidarity and Agitation for the health of comrade Francisco!

Subversive and anarchist prisoners to the streets!

October 2021

★ GREECE ALERT: TWO ANARCHISTS MEMBERS OF ROUVIKONAS THREATENED WITH A LIFE SENTENCE!

Via Anarchists of London


Alert and call for support before the trial on October 13 2021!

SUPPORT FOR GIORGOS KALAITZIDIS AND NIKOS MATARAGKAS FROM THE ANARCHIST COLLECTIVE – ROUVIKONAS.

A Kafkaesque trial awaits Giorgos and Nikos on October 13th, based on false accusations. This attempted criminalisation of the social movement might result in life imprisonment for these two political activists. Their exemplary group has obviously become too disturbing for the state. A new international mobilisation is necessary.

The facts : On 7 June, 2016, a drug dealer is executed in Athens, in the district of Exarcheia. This execution is claimed by a self-defense collective named “Militia of the People Armed”, which declared that the drug dealer had behaved with threats and violence in Exarcheia, not just towards anarchist members of the social movements, but also towards other inhabitants of the district.#

Three years passed. No member of Rouvikonas is targeted by the investigation. In July 2019, Kyriakos Mitsotakis comes into power and pledges, among other things, to end “by all means” Rouvikonas, renowned all over the country for its actions of solidarity and its resistance clearly unrelated to this kind of action. Eight months later, in march 2020, an investigating judge takes over the case and charges two Rouvikonas activists : Nikos Mataragkas and Giorgos Kalaitzidis, with homicide and  incitement to murder.

But in June 2020, after their hearing at the prosecution, they are both released without bail and the lawsuits are dropped.

In April 2021, although the file against the members of Rouvikonas is empty, the State and its mechanisms of abruptly decide to charge Giorgos and Nikos, based on false accusations and their trial is rescheduled on October 13 2021!

The goal is to also harm the image of Rouvikonas and to criminalise the social movement in Greece – just as the Colonels in power did fifty years ago.

We give our full support to Giorgos Kalaitzidis and Nikos Mataragkas and we demand the immediate termination of the proceedings.

Let’s not let anyone among us be the isolated prey of power.

International Committee of support to Giorgos Kalaitzidis and Nikos Mataragkas

We are calling to reinforce the International Committee of Support: soutien@rouvikfrancophone.net (send your first and last name, and join the signatories).

We also invite people to support them and Rouvikonas financially, as proceedings are not limited to this trial: the group is frequently the subject of legal action (in total and for for now to the next coming months, the legal expenses are expected to amount to over €10,000): https://fr.gofundme.com/f/soutien-giorgos-et-nikos-athnes

Soutien à Giorgos et Nikos à Athènes organisée par Philippe Guillard

POINT INFO LE 23/09/2021. Nous venons de dépasser les 1500 euros !… Philippe Guillard a besoin de votre soutien pour Soutien à Giorgos et Nikos à Athènes

We are at last calling, for those who can, for a rally of support on the day of the trial: Wednesday, October 13th at 9:00 A.M, at the Efeteio Courthouse, 4 Degleri, Athens. Pictures of long-distance actions of support are also welcome.

Acting Locally, Thinking Globally With Rouvikonas Anarchist Collective

[CC: English, Greek, French] Unicorn Riot sat down with Thanos, a member of Rouvikonas (Greek: Ρουβίκωνας) who works as a server for a living.Since 2013, the…

Communique from the AJMAQ Network of Resistances and Rebellions denouncing the disappearance of two Zapatistas in Ocosingo, Chiapas, and the ongoing counter-insurgent war against Zapatista communities.

To the People of the World

To the National Indigenous Congress

To the Indigenous Governing Council

To the National and International Sixth

To the Networks of Resistance and Rebellion

Sisters, brothers, compañeras and compañeroas, we denounce the hypocritical, deceitful, and corrupt discourse of the federal government of Andrés Manuel López Obrador, and the Chiapas state government of Rutilio Escandón Cadenas. They claim to respect the autonomies of Indigenous peoples when in reality they have implemented a series of counterinsurgency actions against the pathways of autonomy taken by the communities of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation and their Support Bases.

Today we want to share that with the permission of the three levels of bad government—municipal, state and federal—two Zapatistas have been kidnapped. The two are members of the Good Government Council “Nuevo Amanecer en Resistencia y Rebeldia por la Vida y la Humanidad” in Caracol 10 “Floreciendo la Semilla Rebelde.”

The two members of the Good Government Council, José Antonio Sánchez Juárez and Sebastián Nuñez Pérez, left at 8am on September 11 from the headquarters of the council in a truck with plate number CW-0001-C. They were in route to another place to carry out a task for the council. When the council didn’t receive any information from the two, they began searching for them, finding their truck in the community of 7 de Febrero, in the municipality of Ocosingo, Chiapas. It is important to mention that 7 de Febrero is the base of the Regional Organization of Coffee Growers of Ocosingo (ORCAO). According to information, the two members of the Good Government Council were detained in what is legitimate EZLN territory, where the Rainbow Cooperative Store is, an expression of the autonomous Zapatista economy. Until now, Tuesday September 14, the Good Government Council has not been able to see the detained, verify their state of health nor their location, for which reason they are disappeared.

For several months now, ORCAO has perpetrated a series of criminal actions against the Support Bases of the EZLN of the autonomous community of Moisés-Gandhi. The most despicable acts took place in August 2020, when they looted, robbed, and burned down the Rainbow Cooperative Autonomous Store, and on November 8, 2020, when they kidnapped the compa Félix López Hernández. On April 12 of this year they also kidnapped two human rights defenders of the Fray Bartolomé de Las Cases Human Rights Center. Again, in September of this year, they continue with their criminal actions. This scale of violence orchestrated from the high levels of the federal government takes place within the context of the EZLN initiative “Travesia por la Vida Capitulo Europa,” an organizing initiative that seeks to expand, in a creative and peaceful manner, the seed of resistance and rebellion for humanity and Mother Earth. That is to say, for life.

We demand the live presentation of the EZLN Support Bases, José Antonio Sánchez Juárez and Sebastián Nuñez Pérez.

End the harassment against the autonomy and life being constructed by the EZLN!

Compañeros, Support Bases: You are not alone! If they touch one, they touch us all!

We call on the compañeros of the Networks of Resistance and Rebellion, adherents of the National and International Sixth, to demand the appearance of the compañeros, members of the Good Government Council.

Red de Resistencias y Rebeldías AJMAQ

IWW WISE-RA Joins The ICL-CIT

IWW WISE-RA 11th September 2021


Fellow Workers,

It gives me great delight to inform you that we are now members of the ICL-CIT, thus strengthening our ties with Fellow Workers and, importantly, other anarcho-syndicalist and revolutionary unions, internationally. For those of you less familiar with this organisation, their project is exactly the same as ours, namely:

Its main goal is to contribute to deep social and economic transformation worldwide.

Our membership to the ICL-CIT will ensure that we remain focused on our project of empowering workers at a grassroots level, while also enabling us to co-ordinate the use of the weapons we have at our disposal in our fight against the forces of capitalism.

If you would like to get involved, please get in touch.

In solidarity,

William Sharkey
Secretary for the IWW (WISE-RA)

The Extemporaneous and a National Initiative

Enlace Zapatista.

ZAPATISTA SIXTH COMMISSION.
Mexico.

July 2021.

To the adherents of the Declaration for Life:
To the Europe from Below and to the Left:
To the National and International Sixth:
To the National Indigenous Congress-Indigenous Governing Council:
To the Networks of Resistance and Rebellion:
To the Collective «Llegó la Hora de los Pueblos«:

 

From: Subcomandante Insurgente Moisés.

Compañeras, compañeroas, compañeros:

Sisters, brothers, and hermanoas:

I greet you in the name of the children, women, them, elders and men of the Zapatista communities, and I communicate to you the following:

First.- We already have a strong Zapatista airborne company of 177 Zapatistas ready. It is made up in its totality by natives of Mayan roots, from the Cho’ol, Tzotzil, Tzeltal, Tojolabal and Castilian languages. We were born in the geography called Mexico. Our ancestors were born and died in these lands. As the Mexican State does not recognize our identity and origin, and tells us that we are “extemporaneous” (so says the Secretary of Foreign Affairs, that we are “extemporaneous” Mexicans), we have decided to baptize  this unit of Listening and Word [Escucha y Palabra] as “The Extemporaneous.”

As we saw in the dictionaries, “extemporaneous” means “that it is  inopportune, inconvenient”, or “that it is inappropriate for the time in which it happens.” In other words, that we are inopportune, inconvenient and inappropriate.

Never before have we been so adequately defined. We are happy that at last

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Zapatista delegation to meet with women, trans, inter and non-binary people at The ZAD in France

Voices in Movement
June 23, 2021. Written by Ñaní Pinto at Avispa Midia, translated by Shantal Montserrat Lopez Victoria.

The “Squadron 421”, the maritime brigade of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN), composed of four women, two men and a non-binary person, left Isla Mujeres, Mexico on May 3 in an old sailboat named “La Montaña”. At 6:10 p.m. (European time) on June 22, they landed in Vigo, one of the main ports of Galicia.

The delegation from La Montaña were greeted by representatives of the so-called “Xira pola Vida” (Tour for Life), made up of several groups from Spain and other delegations from Italy, Germany, Greece, Switzerland, Portugal, Euskalerria, Catalonia, Andalusia, France, Belgium and Mexico.

A welcoming ceremony was held, which included a collective greeting to the rhythm of traditional Galician music. At this event, Marijose, the non-binary member of this brigade, renamed Europe. “On behalf of the women, children, men, elders and, of course, other Zapatistas, I declare that the name of this land, which its natives now call “Europe”, will henceforth be called: SLUMIL K’AJXEMK’OP”, said Marijose, which means, “Tierra Insumisa”, or “Insubordinate Lands” or “Land that does not surrender or falter. ”

The delegation tried to disembark on the Galician coast last Sunday,

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