Estelle Cooch

Strikes, soccer and sanctions: an interview with Mahmoud Sarsak

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Mahmoud Sarsak is a professional footballer who was arrested in 2009 and imprisoned in Israel for three years without charge. In April 2012 he joined the coordinated hunger strikes by Palestinian political prisoners. Riya Al'Sanah and Estelle Cooch interviewed him for Socialist Review.


Can you explain a bit about who you are and what you have been part of?

My name is Mahmoud Kemal Sarsak. I'm 26 years old and I was previously a player in the national Palestinian football team and I am now a released Palestinian prisoner. I was arrested on 22 July 2009 while travelling to join my new club at the time - Balata Youth in the West Bank. The Israeli secret services said they did not have enough evidence to send me to trial so I was held unlawfully for three years without charge.

Everyday Revolutions

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Marina Sitrin

On the nights of the 19th and 20th of December 2001 hundreds of thousands of Argentinians joined what became known as the "cacerolazo". At the height of the Argentinian debt crisis they flooded onto the streets around the Casa Rosada (the presidential palace) famously banging pots and pans, until within the space of a fortnight a series of five governments had resigned.

Strikes, independence and indignados

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Rafel Sanchis and Estelle Cooch spoke to David Fernández, an MP for the Catalan parliament, about the origins and politics of the anti-capitalist coalition, CUP, and its relationship to the wider movement

An important feature of the crisis in Europe has been the rise of radical left political formations in Greece, France and elsewhere. In last November's elections to the Catalan parliament, an anti-capitalist and pro-independence coalition, the CUP (Candidatura d'Unitat Popular, or Popular Unity Candidates), got three MPs elected.

The 2012 elections were the first time that the CUP has decided to run for Catalan parliamentary elections. Why was this?

Poses

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Yolanda Dominguez

In the centre of Madrid, about two metres from the metro, stands a woman, legs splayed across the pavement, two fingers stuffed inside her mouth, eyes glazed over, staring intently across a busy road. She is part of a new project by the Spanish artist Yolanda Dominguez called "Poses".

For about a decade Dominguez has worked on projects that challenge conceptions of gender and sexuality. Her work has also been at the forefront of challenging the worst of the racism that has emerged in the art world after the September 11 attacks.

China playing ketchup

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To better understand the dynamics underlying the current economic crisis you wouldn't always think to start with tomatoes.

Yet in a landmark case last month the EU it was ruled that tomato puree grown and packaged in China could be labelled as "produced in Italy" on the proviso that Italian water or salt was added somewhere in Europe. The case became hugely controversial, partly as a debating point in the Italian elections, but mainly because of the meteoric rise of China's tomato industry.

The land of Selectivia

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The Financial Times is not always known as the home of radical research, but now and then it publishes some home truths that have the Tories quaking in their boots.

In a short piece in the FT Data section Chris Cook looked at the myths surrounding grammar schools. To do so he imagined a whole new region called "Selectivia". Despite sounding suspiciously like a "good-bacteria" filled yoghurt drink, Selectivia was a land of unequal opportunities and unhappy children. Cook collated data from the four counties of the UK where the Eleven Plus exam is still most widely taken: Kent, Lincolnshire, Medway and Buckinghamshire.

Indonesia's strike economy

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He has been compared to Barack Obama. Lean, suave and confident, the new governor of Jakarta Joko Widodo (nicknamed Jokowi) has proved not only "yes we can", but "yes he will".

Sending shockwaves across Indonesia, Jokowi recently raised the minimum wage by 44 percent. Such a move would be controversial anywhere, but Jakarta is the most populous city in south East Asia. It is not just a testing ground for Indonesia, but for the whole region.

Not lovin' it

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Managers of McDonalds and other fast food restaurants were not "lovin' it" in New York last month when hundreds of employees walked out in protests against working conditions and low pay.

It is estimated about 200 workers went on strike on 29 November in the fast food industry, which has, in the past, been notoriously difficult to unionise. Interestingly the average age of the workers is over 28. Most have families to support and have been reticent to take action. What made it even more significant was that the walkouts followed hundreds of "Black Friday" actions against supermarket giant Walmart alongside work stoppages at Los Angeles airport and California ports.

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