Saturday, February 28, 2015

France: We will be on strike on April 9

Joint statement by  Confédération générale du travail (General Confederation of Labour - CGT), Force Ouvrière (Workers Force - FO) and the Trade Union Solidaires.

February 25, 2015
Original in French here

CGT, FO and Solidaires called for a day of interprofessional national strikes and demonstrations on April 9. 
  • Together, we thus express our rejection of austerity, the destruction of public services, gifts to bosses and shareholders, and the deterioration of our working conditions and life. 
  • Together, we will require a different division of wealth that we produce in our work and are now confiscated by the capitalists.

It is we who make society function!!
These owners, shareholders, professional politicians or annuitants are not the ones who keep society running. What allows us to live together, to produce useful goods at all and all, to share services, share knowledge, etc., is the work of each of us.

The present organization of society rejects some of us into unemployment and insecurity to raise pressure on everyone and we impose increasingly poor working conditions (stress, physical, flexibility, etc.). But since they are not working for us, why do they decide for us?
The capitalists are useless
Last year, the 40 best French listed companies on the Stock Exchange (CAC 40) contributed 56 billion to shareholders. Just from those 40 companies there, a handful of people was divided 56 billion when we are told that unemployment is inevitable, we must work more to earn less than minimum social benefits, retirement pensions, the minimum wage and our wages cannot be increased.

Capitalists invest (part of) their money in companies, we are told? But we forget to tell us that this money comes from ... our labour only! It is ours! And we do we reverse that part through our pay.

0.1% of the profits of the CAC 40 companies is 10 maternity hospitals saved per year!
Organize for 9 April and after!
The strike and protests April 9 are important. Show the strength that we represent! In companies, in government, in the cities, we organize in the coming weeks to discuss and establish our protest notebooks. The national strike on April 9 should also help us to put pressure on those who claim to lead us every day: impose negotiations, based on the balance of forces we will create on 9 April.
Through our decisions to build locally at the base – to determine the success and outcomes of the interprofessional national strike on April 9!


Trade Union Solidaires - Call for Mobilisation on International Women's Day Against the Macron Law

My translation of the Trade Union Solidaires' call for mobilisation against the Macron Law on IWD. The original in French is available here.

8 March 2015: International Day of Women's Rights
A Sunday that Macron will not!

Women's struggles helped win the rights and progress towards equality between women and men. Affected by wage and pension inequality, part-time work, job insecurity, women are mostly in charge of domestic and family tasks. Equality is a long struggle!

For several years, strong attacks against social rights are hitting all employees but women even more: in spite of professional equality laws, and despite the "gender" focus that the current government was supposed to implement on all its laws ... As evidence, the Macron law which provides among other things extension of work on Sundays and expansion of late hours. Which mostly concern women ...

Our Sunday evenings and nights belong to us!

56% of employees who work on Sundays are women (Dares figures, 2012). Majority of employees in retail, young women in poor neighborhoods are particularly affected. In an attempt to trivialise the change - gradually increasing work on Sunday openings from 5 to 12 per year, with up to 52 Sundays in some tourist areas, and establishing night of work between 9 pm and midnight, are true social regressions!

Many of the employees affected by this law (trade, hotels, cleaning) are already experiencing job insecurity, part-timers and low wages. How can we think they are "free" to choose to work on Sunday? The Macron law poses financial gain as decoy rather than imposing wage increases in sectors where wage increases are essential.

Work on Sundays and late night is free time, the time for yourself (time which women sorely lack!), A number of studies show a relationship between atypical schedules and the resurgence of problems in family life and social relations ... Women living alone with children account for almost a quarter of households, and are the ones most affected by the jobs covered by the Act. Extending Sunday work is to take the path of a more unjust society, where women are more precarious and have more difficulties in their professional and personal lives.

The law takes us further down the road of increased flexibility and to the company that "operates" 24 hours a day – 7 days a week ... Each driving the other in a vicious circle, commerce, transportation, child care, etc. .. And it will allow, sooner or later, the opportunity for employers to question the increased pay paid for work on Sundays, allowing to it become a "normal” day.
The Trade Union Solidarity calls for all employees to participate in the mobilizations of 8 March to demand:
  • The end of all inequality, all violence and all forms of discrimination. 
  • Removal of the Macron law!


Sunday, February 22, 2015

Critiquing the Green Left's problematic article on Germaine Greer's transphobia

Below is the letter and critique wrote in response to an article, published in issue #1040 of Green Left Weekly, looking at Germaine Greer's recent transphobic and trans erasing comments during her appearance at the Cambridge Union.

Dear Jemma,

I'm writing as a trans woman, a feminist and a Marxist to express my concern about your recent article addressing Germaine Greer's recent comments regarding transphobia at the Cambridge Union. As I have attached a line-by-line critique of your article, I will try to keep this letter brief.

Before I start - I don't know you or how you identify but from how your article positions people I am assuming you are a white cis woman - if those assumption are incorrect I apologise.

When I first saw your article on Facebook the person sharing it said it was positive that GLW had run an article on the issue. While I agree with that sentiment I had a sinking feeling just from the title alone as it reads like an endorsement of Greer's position. When I read your article I found it hard to follow your argument. I felt that your article misses the intent of Greer's statements - which are to deny the validity of the identities of trans people generally and trans women particular. Greer's historic statements and writings around the nonexistence of trans women and that they are instead “deluded men” “masquerading as women” with object of infiltrating women’s spaces, is a position which has a long tradition within transphobic discourse within feminism and broader society.

span id="fullpost"> While your article attempts to combat Greer's gender essentialism it does so inconsistently and in ways that could be seen as both cissexist and as erasing of the experiences of intersex women. Your article also does not address Greer's obsession with "smelly vaginas", which I think reflects an embracing, on Greer’s part, of misogynistic disgust at women's anatomy.

I think you are correct to say that having or not having a vagina does determine a person's status as a woman. However I don't think it is correct to say that gendered violence against women has nothing to do with vaginas. Indeed much violence against women, including street harassment - is premised on women having vaginas.

The use of statistics to discuss transphobia is problematic both in the casual way it is done but also because it both ignores the everyday transphobia that people experience. In addition to the very real threat of violence there are also difficulties involved in navigating medical system to access assistance in presenting as their affirmed gender this combination results in significant levels of psychological injury amongst trans people.

The discussion of statistics is made more problematic with your argument that men are not responsible for violence against women (including trans women) but instead the system. Beyond reifying the system, such an argument denies the agency of those who commit violence towards women – while this violence is based on men embracing sexists ideologies that legitimate their dominance and entitlement to control women – this adoption of sexist ideology by men is not simply a consequence of the power of ideology but as a consequence of these both experiencing material privilege from the subordinate position of women but also their perception that the liberation of women as threat to their own position.

Ultimately there are a number of sections of the article which while trying to explain the experiences of trans women, which would not be seen by trans women as reflecting their experiences and instead would be seen as examples transmisogyny. It is my opinion that when an article is going buttress it’s argument based on what it is to be a trans woman, that the article needs to be either written by a trans woman or written in close consultation with trans women. If this has been the case then it is really important that it is clearly stated that it is not cis people speaking on behalf of trans people. Otherwise you risk having an article which is patronising and alienating at best and outright transphobic at worst.

I hope that both you and the Green Left staff take this letter in good faith and that you find my comments helpful in addressing issues relating trans issues in the future. I’m happy to discuss the content of both this letter and the critique of the article.

In solidarity

Lisbeth Latham


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Revitalising Labour attempts to reflect on efforts to rebuild the labour movement internationally, emphasising the role that left-wing political currents can play in this process. It welcomes contributions on union struggles, internal renewal processes within the labour movement and the struggle against capitalism and imperialism.

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