Friday, March 21, 2008

Anti-war march in Chicago on the 5th anniversary of the war in Iraq...

Chicago anti-war activist took to the streets for two days of actions March 19th and 20th to mark the 5th anniversary of the war in Iraq. Some of the loudest voices in the Wednesday night march through downtown Chicago were those of the Chicago chapter of Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW). I interviewed the President of the Chicago chapter of IVAW, Aaron Hughes as we marched that night. You can here that interview here…
http://www.archive.org/details/IVAWMarch08

Here are some photos from the march. Aaron is the one in the desert camouflage jacket…


View the rest of the photos here...
http://s207.photobucket.com/albums/bb5/kronstadt2/5th%20Anniversary%20of%20the%20Iraq%20War/

For more info on the IVAW, check out their website...
http://ivaw.org/

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Comcast - The Wal-Mart of the telecommunications industry...


Some have called Comcast the Wal-Mart of the telecommunications industry. The company is notoriously anti-union. According to government statistics, union workers on average earn 30% more than non-union workers. They are also much more likely to have retirement and health care benefits. But Comcast would like to turn this situation on its head. Since they took over AT&T Broadband in 2002, Comcast has consistently discriminated against the union workers they inherited from that merger. Union members at Comcast make 3 to 8 dollars an hour less than their non-union co-workers according to IBEW Local 21, which represents the organized Comcast employees in Chicago. They have also refused to sign a reasonable new contract with its union workers since last Summer. Union Comcast employees have been working without a contract for more than 6 months now.

Poor quality of service and ever increasing rates in many of Chicago’s poorest neighborhoods has convinced many Comcast customers of the need to organize along with the Comcast employees. Area churches, concerned about the impact on Comcast workers and customers in their congregations have also joined in the fight. On last weeks Labor Express Radio program, I interviewed a couple of Comcast workers, and Jerry Rankin, Business Rep. for IBEW Local 21 about the state of the Comcast campaign. You can listen to that program online here…

http://www.archive.org/details/LE3-16-08

Next Sunday’s program will include interviews with community members and pastors of South and West Side churches involved in the campaign.

A group of Chicago alderman, including Ray Suarez, Joe Moore, Leslie Hairston, and Freddrenna Lyle has also taken on the cause of the unionized Comcast workers. Last July, The City Council passed Resolution calling on Comcast to appear before the councils Committee on License and Consumer Protection, to determine if the company is in violation of its franchise agreement with the city of Chicago due to its discrimination against its union workforce. This hearing will be held this coming Wednesday.

Two important events are planned in the next month that organizers are calling on all Chicagoans to participate in…

Monday, March 24th – 7:00 PM – Christian Valley Baptist Church – 1237 S. Homan, Chicago: Rally in support of Comcast workers and customers.
Call Rev. Hood for more details… (773) 527-8514

NOTE DATE CHANGE > April - EXACT DATE TBA – 11:00 AM – City Hall – 121 N. LaSalle: Committee on Consumer License and Protection will decide if Comcast is in violation of its franchise agreement with the city.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Amjad Al-Jawhary of the Iraq Freedom Congress on Labor Express tonight...


Amjad Al-Jawhary has paid a high price for his efforts to organize workers in Iraq. In 1995, Amjad had to flee Iraq and the regime of Saddam Hussein, because of his union organizing work. He took up residence in Toronto Canada, but Amjad stays in close contact with his comrades in Iraq. He travels there frequently, and acts as one of the few voices in the west for the for the Iraqi labor movement.

I aired an interview with Amjad on the Labor Express radio program in June 2005, as the representative of the Federation of Workers Councils and Unions of Iraq (FWCUI) and the Union of the Unemployed in Iraq (UUI). He talked on that program about his many years of struggle - first against the Bathh regime, and than against the U.S. occupation forces - to establish a secular, progressive, democratic nation. Since 2005, the Iraq Freedom Congress (IFC), which includes the aforementioned groups, and many other unions, women’s organizations and student groups, has taken up the leadership of this struggle against religious fundamentalism, ethnic sectarianism and the devastating U.S. military occupation.

The IFC states their mission quite clearly in their founding statement…

“IFC has been formed to encounter the civil abyss in Iraq. Presently, the fabric of the civil society in Iraq has been torn apart under the US occupation and the domination of the Islamic, tribal and political gangsters. People of Iraq have been caught between the two poles of world terrorism of our time- the US state terrorism and the political Islam – forcing their mental and physical well-being to the verge of destruction.”

I interviewed Amjad once again yesterday – this time in the wake of yet another attack on the IFC by U.S. occupation forces. Amjad is now also the IFC’s representative in North America. The interview will air in two parts. The first will be broadcast on tonight’s episode of Labor Express Radio (March 2nd). The second will be aired next week (March 9th). But you can hear the full, largely unedited version of the interview right here…

http://www.archive.org/details/AmjadAl-Jawhary1

In a time of war like now, it is incumbent on workers in the aggressor nation, to reach out in solidarity to the workers of the nation under attack. Workers solidarity is our own defense against the aggressive impulses of the ruling class of all nations. It is our only hope for a peaceful world. Please support the working people of Iraq and perhaps together we can under this brutal farce perpetrated against both our peoples…

http://www.ifcongress.com/English/

http://www.no-ifs.org/