Whether a Volt courier or an employee of a multinational company like Amazon, all workers are abused equally. We’ll give you living proof in this week’s edition of A Rough Week under Capitalism.
HATERED IS THE INSTRUMENT OF THE POWER OF CAPITAL
Stanislav Pirošík, a member of the Republican Council of the Socialisti.sk movement, writes: “Nothing ever happens to the masters, but it is always the workers who pay the price. The worst thing we can do is when one victim starts to hate an even bigger victim of the system. We start comparing who is more wronged, living in a bubble and unable to put ourselves in each other’s shoes. Instead of coming together to overcome this rotten system.”
You can read the whole article in Slovak at: https://socialisti.sk/16382/
LIBERAL WHO CRIED: “CATCH THE CONSERVATIVE” (AND VICE VERSA)
Ján Zmeko writes for Socialisti.sk: “What we should be interested in are our own class interests and progress – progressive thinking and reasoning, the essence of which should be, among other things, not to be drawn into the frog wars of (neo)liberals and conservatives, but to be able to stand above the fray and look forward.”
You can read the whole article in Slovak at: https://socialisti.sk/16382/
A COURIER IS NOT A SLAVE
,,Decent pay for all!”, stood written on banners in Prague and Brno. Today a strike of couriers of the delivery company Wolt took place. In Wenceslas Square in Prague, after the first speeches, demonstrators started placing orders on the Wolt app to overwhelm the system. In Brno, despite the rainy weather, the protest had a good turnout of couriers and their supporters. Our secretary was among them.
The impetus for staging the strike was a new upgrade to a food delivery ordering app. The most serious problem with the new system is the financial disadvantage of couriers. Compared to the previous situation, it can reduce their profits by up to about 20%, which is an unsustainable situation with the current state of inflation. This algorithm is intended to increase the revenue of the company alone. The demonstrating couriers point out that there has been a 40% reduction in remuneration in recent years.
We firmly believe that Wolt officials will respond adequately to this protest. However, couriers do not wear rose-tinted glasses and will therefore continue to strike regularly every Saturday until pay conditions are at least back to previous levels.
PRIVATISED HEALTHCARE DOES NOT CARE ABOUT PEOPLE’S HEALTH
In a video for The Intercept, author and journalist Ray Suarez documents the impacts of the U.S. health care organization system and how its prioritization of profits negatively affects people’s health.
Watch the full video on YouTube: https://youtu.be/ttsMzo83oJ4
50th ANNIVERSARY OF THE PARIS ACCORDS
Amiad Horowitz wrote for People’s world:
,,Jan. 27th marks the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Paris Peace Accords, the agreement which ended the American War in Vietnam, or as it is known in the United States, the Vietnam War. From 1955 to 1973, the United States waged one of the harshest wars in modern history against the Vietnamese people, as part of its aggressive Cold War anti-communist foreign policy.
During the war, the U.S. military dropped more bombs than were used in all of World War II (often on civilian targets). It also deployed chemical weapons, napalm, and cluster bombs, and sent hundreds of thousands of draftees to kill or be killed, usually against their will. Millions of Vietnamese people were killed, maimed, and poisoned. The war was illegally spread to Laos and Cambodia, where more death and destruction were spread.
Despite the best efforts of the U.S. government and military, the imperialist attempt to maintain dominance over Vietnam failed. To this day, the U.S. War in Vietnam marks one of the biggest military and foreign policy disasters in the history of the United States.
It also marks one of the great victories of socialism and anti-imperialism. Against all odds, the Vietnamese people were able to defeat the world’s mightiest military, from the world’s richest country. Under the leadership of the Communist Party of Vietnam, foreign imperialism was defeated, and national liberation and unification were achieved.”
You can read the whole article at: https://www.peoplesworld.org/article/50-years-after-paris-peace-accords-vietnam-remembers-victory-over-u-s-imperialism/
WE REMEMBER THOSE WHO FOUGHT FOR OUR FREEDOM
On February 2, 1943, the surrender of the northern cluster of encircled German troops ended the bloodiest battle of World War II, marking a decisive turning point in its future course. We are celebrating the 80th anniversary of the end of the Battle of Stalingrad.
The Battle of Stalingrad brought a level of destruction and killing that was unprecedented in the course of the war so far. In one city two million people lost their lives, 41 685 houses, 244 schools and nurseries, 75 theatres and clubs and 15 hospitals were destroyed. “Build a city elsewhere!” was the verdict of a delegation of Western experts – architects, urban planners and civil engineers – as they looked at the devastation. The city, however, was eventually built almost from the ground up on the same site.
Even in today’s exacerbated international situation, we do not forget the great sacrifices made by the peoples of the former Soviet Union and other allies in the struggle to liberate Europe from Nazi terror. The memory of the victims of past struggles must not become a victim of present ones.
You can read more in a Slovak article: https://zurnal.pravda.sk/spolocnost/clanok/455308-stalingrad-priniesol-nadej-na-porazku-nacistov/?fbclid=IwAR2x3AF6kg4xFarRyhAJhdWJ-0Ss0XTfN6-xwnTB3pZcY1zsFWC7Vcd-ReQ
BRUTAL IMMIGRATION SYSTEM – SUFFERING OF INNOCENT CHILDREN
Isabel Ringrose for the Socialist Worker:
,,Frightened, smuggled and abandoned—this is what happens to hundreds of unaccompanied child refugees in Britain. More than 4,600 children seeking asylum have been kept in six hotels since July 2021, when the Home Office began dumping them here.
But 200 are missing, with 13 of these under 16. Some 76 children are still missing from a hotel in Brighton. There are reports that some were snatched from the streets and dragged into cars. In total 137 unaccompanied children have been reported missing.
Local authorities are the “corporate parent” for children in care and foster care. But while in hotels, waiting to be put on the National Transfer Scheme (NTS) that houses them with local authorities, children slip through the Home Office’s net. The recent statistics paint a sickening picture. But it can be even darker when the Home Office disputes the ages of children and places them in hotels alongside adults.
Maddie Harris is the director of Humans for Rights Network, which works with unaccompanied children whose age is disputed. She explained that the reason children in the hotels go missing is that “they’re not provided with access to safeguarding”.
UNIONS IN THE USA BACK IN ACTION
Eden Clark for Liberation news:
,,On Jan. 11, the National Labor Relations Board ruled against Amazon’s attempt to overturn the historic union victory of the Amazon Labor Union at JFK8 in Staten Island in New York City. The NLRB’s ruling certified the union, which won its election in April 2022. This victory guarantees union workers rights like having a witness at meetings that could lead to discipline, and preventing the company from unilaterally changing working conditions.
The current legal struggle was initiated by Amazon just one week after the union’s election victory on April 1. Amazon has claimed that “both the NLRB and the ALU improperly influenced the outcome of the election and we don’t believe it represents what the majority of our team wants,” Amazon spokesperson Kelly Nantel released in a statement. Their legal challenge attempted to undo the union vote and overturn the union on these grounds.
ALU won a historic and unprecedented victory in April 2022 when they won a union for the 8,000 employees at JFK8 through an election. The union was formed by former and current employees at the JFK8 warehouse and the initial drive for unionization was born from the extreme and dangerous working conditions in Amazon warehouses, as well as the company’s culture of productivity monitoring.
Since then, the ALU has pursued union elections at two other facilities in New York, a warehouse across the street from JFK8, and another warehouse in Albany. In both cases, Amazon successfully defeated the union vote. However, both elections have multiple unfair labor practice charges filed with the NLRB against Amazon.”
THE TIME HAS COME FOR DELIVERIES RESPECTING RIGHTS
We recently informed you about the strike by Wolt couriers, expressing their dissatisfaction with a new application system that will fundamentally disadvantage their pay. The European left is now coming up with an across-the-board solution.
The delivery service makes our daily lives easier. But while we order pizza from the comfort of our homes, custom workers are denied their employment rights. Companies make money from people’s work without taking even basic responsibility for them. A regular contract worker does not have social security and so cannot afford sick leave or paid holidays. He or she is without job security and there is no notice period in the event of firing. Meanwhile, the chances of pooling “employees” are minimal – for example, Uber’s algorithms determine routes so that drivers cannot meet.
However, there is hope for improvement. The European United Left has presented a proposal to create a European directive that would legally anchor the rights of workers on platforms such as Uber, Airbnb and Wolt. There is currently a petition on left.eu to push for this directive. Let’s support workers in their fight for decent working conditions!
You can sign the petition here: https://act.left.eu/page/121054/petition/1
THE POWERFUL CAN AFFORD TO HELP
Michal Gabriš for DiEM25 Slovakia:
“Equality and solidarity are about sharing in a situation where there is a need to share. In functioning countries, progressive taxes are introduced for this purpose. Unfortunately, Slovakia is not one of those functioning countries. In fact, progressive taxes do not exist here. Neither is there real solidarity. Because if there were, something would be introduced, at least temporarily, which has been introduced in Argentina and other countries. A one-off solidarity tax on the wealth of the richest. Because when things are bad, you have to help yourself. If we taxed their wealth at 20%, they would still have 5 billion in assets and the state would have almost 1.5 billion more. In a functioning country, this would be the issue, and it wouldn’t be a question of if, it would be a question of how. Why are we silent and not demanding higher taxation on the richest?”