Fast food action in US
On 29 November tens of thousands of fast food employees, airport workers, childcare and home care providers, and university graduate students are set to hold the “largest, most disruptive protest” in the US so far. They are demanding a living wage of $15 an hour and the right to unionise.
The strikes and actions will take place in 340 cities across the US and will include civil disobedience at McDonald’s and 20 of the nation’s largest airports.
The actors who record the dialogue for video games in the US are taking strike action over health and safety concerns. The workers, who are members of the union SAG-AFTRA, are demanding time limits on “vocally stressful” recording sessions, as well as a better deal on profit sharing schemes.
Some of the voice actors have been on strike since 21 October. On 22 November they held a “virtual picket line” with members and supporters tweeting and facebooking solidarity messages. It is estimated that only about 25 percent of video games use union voice actors. This is the first strike taken by video game performers.
Sheffield fights for £10
This Christmas many workers face poverty pay and hardship. The contrast between the message of sharing and excess and what companies pay out can lead to despair. That’s why activists in Sheffield are organising a march and rally on Saturday 17 December to demand a real living wage of £10 an hour. Led by the Fast Food Rights campaign, they have the backing of unions including BFAWU, the GMB and the NUT.
Welcome Mr President
Trump hasn’t even taken office yet, but each day since the US election seems to bring a new shock about the already shocking new “leader of the free world”.
The inauguration is on 20 January. Join the protests to Dump Trump, called by Stand Up to Racism. London: 6pm at the US Embassy. Protests will also take place in many other cities across Britain — and the world.
Convoy rides again
Stand Up to Racism is organising a winter convoy to France on Saturday 10 December to show solidarity with refugees. Those in the refugee camp in Calais have seen their homes demolished and face racism from Marine Le Pen and the Front National. SUTR calls for these refugees to be let into Britain.
SUTR is encouraging activists to raise money in workplaces, universities and communities to take over to refugee camps in France on 10 December. On the day in Calais there will be a meeting with volunteers on the ground, refugees, and anti-racists in France. Activists will also be helping out in the distribution centres.
All roads lead to M18
Theresa May is due to trigger the Brexit negotiations by the end of May 2017. Meanwhile, Trump will be officially installed as president and his mate Nigel Farage will be trying to revive his career. Building the anti-racist movement is key. Stand Up to Racism has called a national demonstration on Saturday 18 March to say:
» Refugees welcome
» Black Lives Matter
» No to racism, Islamophobia, antisemitism and fascism
For more details go to standuptoracism.org.uk
Loving us to death
Chancellor Phillip Hammond’s Autumn Statement had a “we’re helping people out” polish but underneath was a commitment to £3.5 billion of austerity already planned.
This is despite admitting that the cuts so far will not hit the targets the previous chancellor had set.
The Tories have ditched the planned rent hike for council tenants, known as “Pay to Stay”. The measure would have hit thousands of people in areas where commercial rents have risen in recent years.
The rest of the Housing Act is still being pushed through, so the fight is on to defend council housing, call for rent controls and demand social housing with secure tenancies.
Italy affects euro fate
As we went to press a political crisis is developing in Italy centred around a referendum on constitutional reform set to take place on 4 December.
If prime minister Matteo Renzi, who is campaigning for a yes vote, loses the referendum, he will be in trouble (see David Cameron for more details).
Wolfgang Munchau writes in the Financial Times that a no vote would “raise questions of Italy’s participation in the eurozone”. GDP per capita in Italy is 3.8 percent below what it was when the euro was launched.
All three opposition parties support leaving the euro. Munchau comments, “On December 5, Europe could wake up to an immediate threat of disintegration.”
Lots and lots of Trots
Last month 20,000 people came to the largest left rally in Argentina for 30 years. Factory workers, university students, teachers, nurses and families attended the rally called by the Left and Workers’ Front (FIT in Spanish), an electoral alliance of far-left organisations, which has achieved strong results in regional elections. Speakers denounced Trump’s election.