Radical media, politics and culture.


"The Provocation of Precarity"

Patrice Riemens

History has it that when Margaretha of Parma, who was regentess of the Low
Countries on behalf of her brother the Spanish king Philipp II, asked the
Dutch nobility to get tough on their protestant-turning populace, their
retort was that they hardly could do so, given "the precarity of their
position and authority". So the people stood fast, and the nobles were
'precarious'. This was the late sixteenth century.

In the early twenty first century, however, precarity has become a greatly
more common situation, as ever larger number of people are hit by a
not-so-silent 'revolution of the reaction' against the welfare state and
all the promises of long term security it used to stand for. Today,
socialism is for the rich (think tax breaks and 'corporate welfare'),
while the public at large partakes in the thrills of the 'risk society'.
Just read the Wall Street Journal and become convinced that taxes suck big
time and solidarity stinks to high heavens.

Rory McGuire writes:

"NAFTA Is Not The Answer"

Rory McGuire

The outsourcing of jobs is one of the most dangerous policies in United States economic history. Recently, jobs in the high-tech, manufacturing, and agricultural sectors have increasingly been shifted overseas; unfortunately, the United States cannot compete with these lower wages elsewhere in the world.

The ramifications of job outsourcing are clear — as wages in the United States must be lowered to compete, more people find themselves impoverished, there is less hope of climbing the economic and social ladder, and the nation suffers as a whole. The tax base of the nation is reduced, and wide-ranging effects spread to local schools, hospitals, emergency response, and other crucial departments in the form of inadequate funding. Many of these problems can be linked to the signing of the North American Free Trade Agreement, or NAFTA, on January 1, 1994.

"Mormons In Space"

George Caffentzis & Silvia Federici

Space is but Time congealed. An arrangement of Work/Life in integrated sequences. The Earth is another Matter however. So why this urge to get out of Earth? To simultaneously destroy it and transcend it?

Is this capital's nasty little secret: the destruction of the final recalcitrant Body? The in-itself of capitalist functionality, the residue of a billion years of noncapitalist formation . . . why should there be Mountains here, Rivers there and an Ocean exactly here after all?

Midwest Unrest writes:

"Chicago Transit Fare Strike"

Midwest Unrest

December 15, 2004: Fare Strike!

Riders Don't Pay! Workers Don't Collect!

The Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) has slated January 2, 2005 as Doomsday. This is the day services are to be cut by 20%, 1250 jobs are to be terminated and paratransit fares will be increased by 100%. While CTA officials claim the only solution would be extra money from the state, we have been holding CTA president Frank Kruesi and his board responsible. It is the CTA who has known this crisis was coming and has made the decision to dump it on the backs of workers and riders. They are the ones who ignored it as they built their new $119 million Lake Street office. It is also Kruesi and his buddy mayor Daley who are still talking about spending almost 2 billion dollars on a new Circle line, just so rich folks can get from their neighborhoods to the airport a little bit quicker. If there is money for such luxury, there is no excuse for cutting our service, terminating our jobs and raising our fares!

eh writes:

Chavez Meets Workers in Madrid

Emilia Lucena, El Militante

It is nearly five o’clock. A shy autumn sun bathes the
Prado Avenue on our way to the headquarters of the
Workers’ Commissions (CCOO) in Madrid. When we arrive
there are already more than 300 people queuing to get
into the meeting hall. They patiently wait to attend
the meeting with Chavez which is scheduled for 7 pm.

JJ, North Star (A) Collective, FRAC writes:

"Anarchist Review of the Million Worker March"

The Million Worker March is a new beginning for the anti-globalization, anti-war, anti-capitalist, anti-racist and anti-sexist, pro-union, pro-environment and anti-state commons in the US (here on out it will just be called anti-capitalist movement). In the past few years we as a movement have consistently been on the defense. This can be seen when we threw up our resistance to the WTO in Seattle in 99, to the IMF protests in D.C. in 2000, to the Philadelphia protests in 2000, FTAA in Miami in 2003, and many other battles. The momentum was building for a genuine resistance movement but the movement was dealt a backlash on 9/11 and the state buckled down and put our many movements into remission.

"A Brief Recent History of Venezuela's Labor Movement"

Jonah Gindin, Venezuelanalysis.com

When Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez was elected in
1998, inaugurating a process of radical political and
social changes, it looked as though labor might be left
behind. The main labor central, the Confederation of
Venezuelan Workers (CTV) was one of his most avid
critics, and Chávez in turn lashed out verbally against
the CTV on a regular basis.

But the image of Chávez vs
Labor, repeatedly thrown at the unsuspecting casual
observer by the mainstream media, is precisely intended
to mislead. The unpleasant truth is that the CTV has
not adequately represented Venezuelan workers since the
1970s, if not before. The reality of Chávez vs the
CTV, then, does not exclude the active and enthusiastic
participation of a large proportion of Venezuelan
workers in his Bolívarian revolution (named after Latin
American Independence leader Simón Bolívar).

Anonymous Comrade writes "The Mississippi Clarion-Ledger is reporting that an army reserve platoon with members from the southeast United States has been arresested for refusing an order to deliver fuel to a base north of Bagdad."

Platoon Defies Orders in Iraq

Miss. soldier calls home, cites safety concerns

By Jeremy Hudson

A 17-member Army Reserve platoon with troops from Jackson and around the Southeast deployed to Iraq is under arrest for refusing a "suicide mission" to deliver fuel, the troops' relatives said Thursday.

The soldiers refused an order on Wednesday to go to Taji, Iraq — north of Baghdad — because their vehicles were considered "deadlined" or extremely unsafe, said Patricia McCook of Jackson, wife of Sgt. Larry O. McCook.

Sgt. McCook, a deputy at the Hinds County Detention Center, and the 16 other members of the 343rd Quartermaster Company from Rock Hill, S.C., were read their rights and moved from the military barracks into tents, Patricia McCook said her husband told her during a panicked phone call about 5 a.m. Thursday.

Anne Gray writes:

"Precarious Work/Casualisation

Common Struggles of Migrants and Nationals

A Workshop at the London (Alternative/Fringe) ESF

Saturday 16th October 2004

11.00 to 13.00 at the London School of Economics

(Go to room D702, Clement House, street called Aldwych; tube station Holborn)

Admission free both to ESF registrants and others

Migrants, refugees, asylum seekers and sans-papiers have a central thing in common with the established citizens of Europe; they are exploited workers. The session will focus on this central aspect of our lives. It will analyse how the bosses’ strategies to obtain 'disposable’ cheap labour are supported by states’ attempts to 'deregulate’ labour markets, to pressurise unemployed people into accepting unacceptable jobs, and to fortify immigration control. By bringing together the views and experiences of migrants and others, we can develop ways forward which will unite people of different origins to be more effective in their common struggle against exploitation.

hydrarchist writes

Precarity and n/european Identity:
an interview with Alex Foti (Chainworkers)


This interview took place in July 2004 at the Mill Squat in Amsterdam, during the period it was liberated from the destiny of selling 'traditional' Dutch parephenalia to tourists. Merijn Oudenampsen and Gavin Sullivan from the Greenpepper magazine spoke with Milano-based organiser Alex Foti - formerly of the Italian flexwork syndicate ChainWorkers (www.chainworkers.org) - about precarity, european labour conflict, and the spread of new syndicalist modes of subvertised collective action across Neuropa. Alex Foti is guest written editor for the upcoming Precarity issue of the Greenpepper Magazine and will be part of the PrecarityPingPong! launch and critical debate during the London ESF at Middlex University, White Hart Lane Campus, Tottenham on 15 October 2004 between 3:00 – 5:00 pm. See www.greenpeppermagazine.org for details.


GreenPepper: Alex, can you introduce yourself, and the Chainworkers?

Alex Foti: I am a union and media activist from Milan, Italy and have been part of the ChainWorkers CreW since it’s inception in 1999 - 2000. Most noteworthy, we are associated with the MayDay parade - which this year reached its fourth edition, bringing around 100,000 temp workers, partimers freelancers and other types of non-standard workers onto the streets in a joyful (but angry) expression of dissent around sub-standard conditions of work and living. This year the MayDay parade took the form of a major picket line throughout the shopping arteries of Milan. In fact, within the city limits of Milan, no major chain store or retail outfit was open for trading – either because they had become scared by the campaign we had developed in the months prior to MayDay, or because of the flying pickets that 2000-3000 people did in the morning prior to the start of the MayDay parade. This year, the parade was a EuroMayDay parade because it was done together with sisters and brothers in Barcelona, and organised in assemblies that took place throughout Milan, Barcelona, Rome, and (most crucially) Paris - with the participation of the Intermittents: the temp stagehands and part-time actors that recently blocked the Cannes film festival.


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