PSA: Fremantle Update – ‘We Will Not Be Silenced’

by matttbastard

Via Eric Lee @ LabourStart:

The campaign we launched a little more than a week ago in support of low-paid workers in care homes in north London has generated more support than any other campaign we have ever done.

Already, well over 8,100 messages have been sent to the employer. This is even bigger than our 2005 campaign in support of the Gate Gourmet workers, which was a much more widely publicized dispute in the mainstream media.

As we mentioned in this week’s message, the employer reacted swiftly and brutally — first threatening us with a libel action in the English courts and then sacking a union rep.

And then on Thursday, in an unprecedented move, the employer (Fremantle Trust) contacted our internet service provider and demanded that they shut down the campaign or else face a lawsuit themselves.

We were contacted by the legal department of the internet service provider and told that we had until noon on Friday to close down the campaign or else the entire LabourStart site would be shut down.

We worked very hard over those 24 hours to attempt to get our provider to back down, and had the full support of Unison (Britain’s giant public sector union, whose members are at the center of the dispute) but were not successful in doing this before the noon deadline on Friday.

As a result, at 11:59 on Friday we were compelled to shut down the campaigns.

But — we instantly revived the campaign in nine languages on a different server, in a different country, with a new name that reflects our feeling at this time.

The new site is called “We will not be silenced!” and is located, appropriately enough, at

If you have not yet sent off your message of protest to Fremantle, please do so from the new page.

Remember that you can use our system to send out your own message to the chief executive of Fremantle Trust — and you can tell her, if you wish, what you think of this attempt to silence our campaign.

Please also inform all your lists and every trade unionist you know to use the new site to send a loud and clear message to this employer.

If Fremantle Trust were unhappy to receive 8,000 emails, how are they going to feel about getting thousands more in the next few days? Because that is exactly what is going to happen.

We will not be intimidated, we will not be bullied, and we will not be silenced. The campaign continues.


Enjoy your weekend.Eric Lee

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OBL: Taking His Cues From ‘Manufacturing Consent’ and Chairman Kos’ Little Orange Book

by matttbastard

Via Think Progress, which also rounds up a number of other ‘objective lefty Dhimmitude’ accusations that have also been hurled by the right-o-sphere.

Related: In ObWi comments, Hartmut (via uggabugga) points to Powerline’s contribution to the ‘humourous’ smear campaign (biggest bombshell: apparently Bin Laden is angling for a gig as a Kos front-pager! ba-BOOM!) and asks “Is it acceptable to consider that as slightly [controversial]?”

Pshh. Hindrocket (or Brooks) could claim that teh defeatist left-wing-liberal-socialist-Dhimmi-crats have joined AQI in drafting a cookbook on how to best serve baked babies, and Howie Kurtz would still invite him back to Reliable Source the following Sunday.

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File Under: Empty Gestures and Pacific Rim-Jobs

by matttbastard

The Star:

A breakthrough on climate change may have been reached with an agreement by big polluters like the United States and China to commit to the principle of setting a global target to cut greenhouse gases.

It’s unlikely, however, that the 21 Pacific Rim leaders gathered for the APEC summit will reach a consensus on setting a worldwide specific target, Prime Minister Stephen Harper said yesterday.


“Frankly, we are not at the point where we can dictate the target to all the countries of the world,” Harper said in French.

“But I think it is important that the world accept a target, the idea of a target, and the idea of the full participation of all the major emitters.

“That’s the consensus we’re in the midst of pursuing here.”


“Let’s remember … if we can get an international protocol, this is a big, big step. It will be the first time the world has done this. In the Kyoto protocol, nations representing two-thirds of emissions essentially opted out. So we have to do a better job next time.”

How about this for a specific target: we cut Harper’s opportunities to emit hot air, which, in this case especially, has to have increased the average Global temperature by several notches?

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PSA: The Lasting Stain of ‘Democracy’

by matttbastard

Via Feminist Peace Network, the Iraqi government has frozen the assets of the Organization for Women’s Freedom in Iraq (OWFI):

September 6, 2007 Dear Friends and Supporters,

  • OWFI has spoken in a recent report over the CNN about the masses of Iraqi women who are part of human trafficking currently inside and outside Iraq. The report shows OWFI executives challenging the officials who choose to look the other way.
  • OWFI has also challenged the rapists of 7 Iraqi female prisoners who are still free and work in the Iraqi Ministry of Interior.
  • OWFI has initiated a secular youth movement based on Poetry, Music and Art under the name of “Freedom Space”. Hundreds of youth from the so called “Sadre City” are enthusiastic members and some are leaders of this rapidly growing movement.
  • OWFI is still sheltering women who are threatened by honor killing or retaliation from militia members / after these militias kill the males of the family.

As a result, the Iraqi government decided on September 4th to freeze the funds of OWFI in the Iraqi banks so as to paralyze our movement and make our work impossible.

Dear Friends and supporters do not let the intimidation of the Iraqi officials stop you from supporting one of the few freedom initiatives inside Iraq. We are writing you this letter so that you do not send us any funds or donations into our official bank account in Iraq as the government has put its hand on it. As for our activities, do not worry. We will still voice the pains of Iraqi women and keep on creating bigger “freedom spaces”, especially that we run mostly on volunteer will-power.The farce of “Democracy” in Iraq will not sway our determination to a free, secular and egalitarian life for all in Iraq.

Freedom and equality for all,

Yanar Mohammed

As FPN points out, you can still make donations to OWFI (even more vital considering this local development) via their website. Also make sure to read why women’s advocacy groups like OWFI deserve our support.

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“There is enormous inertia—a tyranny of the status quo—in private and especially governmental arrangements. Only a crisis—actual or perceived— produces real change.”

by matttbastard

Regarding the (now-report-free) Petraeus report, and the timing of its delivery to Congress (ie, 9/11 week), Kyle (somewhat despairingly) had this to say:

At this point the true question is, are we over it yet? Has this kind of political tactic finally jumped the shark? Not honest remembrance of 9-11, but the completely cynical and disrespectful political manipulation thereof?

If we aren’t, if it hasn’t, we need to find a way to make it so.

Kyle’s words came to mind as I watched the following short film by Naomi Klein, which debuted this evening at the Toronto International Film Festival (and is timed to coincide with the release of Klein’s latest book, The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism):

With all the Bin Laden video hype overshadowing the upcoming Petraeus Report address, it’s easy to see how the Bush admin continues to utilize the residual ‘shock’ of 9/11 in an attempt to manipulate public opinion (which, it should be noted, hasn’t prevented a majority of Americans from turning against the war effort in Iraq, despite the success the PR efforts of Petraeus and Co. have enjoyed with those in Washington who were charged with ending the carnage). But of course, as Klein’s book points out, the ongoing prosecution of an unwinnable counterinsurgency in the middle of a multi-pronged civil war environment is only one example of the ‘Shock Doctrine’ in action:

From Chile to China to Iraq, torture has been a silent partner in the global free market crusade. But torture is more than a tool used to enforce unwanted policies on rebellious peoples; it is also a metaphor of the shock doctrine’s underlying logic. Torture, or in CIA language “coercive interrogation,” is a set of techniques designed to put prisoners into a state of deep disorientation and shock in order to force them to make concessions against their will. …The shock doctrine mimics this process precisely, attempting to achieve on a mass scale what torture does one on one in the interrogation cell. …The original disaster – the coup, the terrorist attack, the market meltdown, the war, the tsunami, the hurricane – puts the entire population into a state of collective shock. The falling bombs, the bursts of terror, the pounding winds serve to soften up whole societies much as the blaring music and blows in the torture cells soften up prisoners. Like the terrorized prisoner who gives up the names of comrades and renounces his faith, shocked societies often give up things they would otherwise fiercely protect.*

As the film implies, there is hope; we who continue to shine daylight on the follies and foibles of the ruling class, their craven, crass attempts to manipulate and force the mass capitulation of society; we will help “make it so”.

There is so much left to not only fiercely protect, but that must be won back. Too many “concessions against our will”; still so much work to be done. It won’t be easy, and there will continue to be Friedman-sized defeats; but I for one am unwilling to pay the price of inertial apathy.

I repeat: there is hope.

We–I–must not let the lure of cynicism and inevitable outrage fatigue cause us to lose sight of the value in–and the vital necessity of–what we are doing.

[*emphasis and Shock Doctrine quote courtesy friend o’ bastard.logic Godammitkitty, who also deserves a BIG TIME hat tip for the Klein vid and links, and for an amazing and inspiring post]

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