Morning Star: ‘Juneteenth’ is our Freedom Day

SARA CALLAWAY AND CRISSIE AMIS FRIDAY, JUNE 19, 2020

Today we will celebrate the anniversary of our emancipation from slavery by joining the Poor People’s Campaign Digital Gathering, write SARA CALLAWAY and CRISSIE AMIS

Coinciding with the anniversary of emanciptaion in the US, a remarkable wave of protests for racial equality has swept the globe

JUNE 19 commemorates the date — Freedom Day — in 1865 when black people in Texas finally heard the Emancipation Proclamation issued two years earlier, which officially ended slavery in the US. 155 years later, the struggle for racial justice continues.

An unprecedented wave of protests has swept the US and the globe since the modern-day police lynching of George Floyd on May 25 went viral.

Many others have been killed since: Breonna Taylor, shot in her own home; Rayshard Brooks, shot in the back; Tony McDade, a trans black man killed in Florida and Oluwatoyin Salau who spoke for the trans justice movement, to name some of the latest. All were some mother’s precious daughter or son.

Inspired by the US Black Lives Matter movement, injustices are being called out everywhere: Africans in France, Maoris in New Zealand, indigenous in Brazil, aborigines in Australia, and many other countries, with massive support from white anti-racists.

In Haiti, peasant organisations said: “Police here act with the same brutality… especially when we demand our rights. We follow our ancestors as we stand in solidarity with the people of the US, particularly the black community.”

In the Middle East, demonstrators carried photos of Iyad Hallaq, the autistic Palestinian man shot by Israeli police, and George Floyd with the words #PalestinianLivesMatter #BlackLivesMatter.

Thousands of US law enforcement officers have trained with Israeli police and military; the knee-to-throat restraint that killed George Floyd is commonly used against Palestinians.

Calls to de-fund and de-militarise the police are now widespread. Los Angeles cut $150m from police budgets to invest in marginalised communities. Minneapolis plans to disband the current force.

In Britain, statues of slavers have been toppled and the government is being called out for its role in slavery, selling tear gas and rubber bullets to US police forces, and complicity with Israel.

Here racism and police violence are also a pandemic. 1,741 deaths in police custody since 1990, at least 500 people of colour.

Calvin Bungisa’s tragic death led to family members being stopped, harassed and treated by police as suspects instead of as a grieving family. Dexter Bristol, a Windrush citizen, collapsed and died after being hounded by immigration officials. A police officer dragged Sarah Reed by her hair, restrained her by the neck while she cried out “I can’t breathe.” In court he was found to have lied about her physically attacking him.

Police also turn up with social workers to take children from their mothers — mostly low-income families, many children of colour, their lives ruined by being snatched from the one who cares for and protects them.

Our immune systems are under attack by everyday violence, bad housing, low wages and the hostile environment. It’s no mystery why Bame people, often key workers, are four times more likely to die of Covid-19.

Women, especially black and immigrant women, put our lives on the line delivering vital care to the public having been told we are “low-skilled,” undeserving of living wages, protective equipment or decent work conditions.

Women do much of the justice and survival work, mostly unrecognised and unwaged: defending families and friends, while resisting institutional violence. Racism doubles our workload.

Like thousands of others, women and men in our network have joined local protests. All of us are angry after years of austerity and a Covid-19 debacle that caused the unnecessary death of tens of thousands. We are all expendable — young, elderly, disabled, especially if we are people of colour. Authorities are more concerned about stock markets than our lives.

It took footballer Marcus Rashford, raised by a single mum, to shame the government into continuing free school meal vouchers for children.

We refuse to beg for scraps. Our labour in the colonies has helped create wealth here for over 500 years. A global Care Income for all carers, starting with mothers, working in the home and on the land, to save people and planet would begin to recognise that debt.

We’ll celebrate Juneteenth by joining the Poor People’s Campaign June 20 Digital Gathering. Not long before his murder, Dr Martin Luther King led the 1968 Poor People’s Campaign against the triple evils of militarism, racism and economic injustice.

Just over 50 years later, the new Poor People’s Campaign (PPC) has picked up this unfinished work, demanding an end to systemic racism, poverty and inequality, ecological devastation, the war economy and militarism.

The PPC aims to unite the 140 million people in the US who are poor and low-come (almost half the US population). 15 million people do not have running water in their homes; and 70 per cent of the poor are women and children.

In Britain even before the pandemic, 1¼ million people were destitute, and 86 per cent of austerity cuts have targeted women, especially single mothers, and people with disabilities. Yet there is always money for expensive and destructive weapons, which kill and maim all living creatures and destroy environments all over the world.

A strong anti-racist, anti-poverty, anti-militarist, climate justice movement in the US is a power for grassroots people everywhere.

More information on events can be found at www.june2020.org.

https://morningstaronline.co.uk/article/%E2%80%98juneteenth%E2%80%99-our-freedom-day

Event: Sat 20 June join Poor People’s Campaign virtual march

The Global Women’s Strike & Payday networks are joining the Poor People’s Campaign virtual march on Washington this Saturday 20 June 2020. Wherever you are, join us!

An unprecedented wave of protests for racial justice has swept the United States and the globe since the modern-day police lynching of George Floyd on 25 May.

In 1968, not long before he was assassinated, Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. led the Poor People’s Campaign against the triple evils of militarism, racism, and economic injustice. Just over 50 years later, the Poor People’s Campaign (PPC): A National Call for Moral Revival has picked up this unfinished work. The new PPC demands an end to: systemic racism, poverty and inequality, ecological devastation, and the war economy and militarism.

The GWS and Payday men’s network in the US is part of this movement and our UK network will be supporting Saturday’s event. In the US, the richest country in the world, 140 million people (almost half the population) are poor or low income; 15 million people do not have running water in their homes; and 70% of the poor are women and children. In the UK, even before the pandemic, 1 ¼ million people were destitute, and 86% of austerity cuts have targeted women, especially single mothers, and people with disabilities. Yet there is always money for the most expensive and destructive weapons, which kill and maim all living creatures and destroy environments all over the world.

A strong antiracist, antipoverty, antimilitarist, climate justice movement in the US to stop this devastation of people and planet is a power for grassroots people everywhere. Join us and others on the international virtual march on Washington by registering immediately at https://www.june2020.org/

Event: June 20: Poor People’s Campaign Digital Mass Gathering!

The Global Women’s Strike and Women of Color in the Global Women’s Strike are national partner organizations with the Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival.  We urge you to join us for the Poor People’s Campaign June 20th Digital Gathering.  In the context of uprisings across the country against police killings of Black people and the devastation of COVID-19, people are coming together across movements to say, ‘Somebody’s hurting our people, and we won’t be silent anymore!’ On Saturday, June 20th, 10am Eastern Time, help make this the largest digital and social media gathering of poor and low-wealth people and people of conscience in US history – RSVP at https://june2020.org/

Statement: 56 Groups: Employers who breach OSH laws and expose workers to Covid-19 must be prosecuted

We, the 56 undersigned organizations, groups and trade unions are concerned about the lack of obvious enforcement and prosecution of employers, contractors, developers including Directors and CEOs when they violate laws meant to ensure worker safety and health, even during this Movement Control Order (MCO) where workers ought to be kept safe from Covid-19.

No Directors, CEOs, Managers and officers responsible have to date been seen to be tried, convicted and even send to prison despite there being so many fatal accidents, injuries and even Covid-19 infections of workers. However from January to March 2020, DOSH reports occupational accidents resulted 1770 in non-permanent disabilities, 65 permanent disabilities and 61 deaths of workers.

The legal obligation of the employer is to ALWAYS provide a safe and healthy environment for workers.

This obligation is not simply about satisfying that workers are disease-free as a condition for the business to begin operation, or for the temporary shutdown of worksites when a Covid-19 infection is detected, or an industrial accident happens. The persons responsible for the non-compliance must be held personally responsible, and there must be prosecution and conviction under the laws that impose legal obligations on employers.

The lack of prosecution, trials and convictions, gives the impression that the government is less concerned about the safety and health of workers.

CIDB’s SOP and Guidelines exist since 22nd April

Eighty eight positive Covid-19 cases have been reported detected at three construction site clusters, one in Selangor and two in Kuala Lumpur (New Straits Times, 26/5/2020). It is disturbing that these cases were detected more than a month after the Construction Industry Development Board (CIDB) announced strict occupational safety and health requirements on 22/4/2020, which covers not just work sites but also worker accommodations.

Even if the construction site is not operational, the employer/contractors still have the legal obligation and duty of care to ensure worker safety and health at worker accommodations.

It is important to note that on 22/4/2020, the Construction Industry Development Board (CIDB), which comes under the Ministry of Works, issued the (1) Prosedur Standard Operasi[Standard Operating Procedures(SOP)], (2) Garis Panduan Amalan Langkah Pencegahan Di Tapak Bina[Guidelines on Preventive Measures Steps at the Construction Site]and (3) Garis Panduan Operasi Centralised Labour Quarters Dan Penginapan Pekerja [Guidelines for the Operation of Centralized Labour Quarters and Worker Accommodations].

The Minister of Works was reported saying, that ‘… Any violation of the SOP may be subject to action under the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases Act 1988 (Act 342) and the Construction Industry Development Board Malaysia Act 1994 (Act 520)…’ (Edge Markets, 22/4/2020).

It may be reasonable to suggest that a worker who shows Covid-19 symptoms and/or tests positive within 14 days of the entry into force of these requirements may have been infected beforehand, but not when its detected more than a month later, meaning they would have been infected in the last 14 days or less.

When infections are detected more than 14 days after 22/4/2020, the presumption would be there was an obvious breach of the law on the part of the employers, contractors, developers and/or their agents. As such, the lack of reported investigation and/or prosecution of these employer, contractor and/or developer perpetrators is most disturbing. Strict enforcement and prosecution is always an important deterrent to ensure workers’ future safety.

A lack of prosecution highlights a possible breach of the 22/4/2020 promise by the Minister of Works, that said that action will be taken in the event of violations.

Non Gazetted Regulations, Guidelines, SOPs — legally unenforceable?

Without being gazetted, there arises the question as to whether a breach or non-compliance of any of these Regulations, Standard Operating Procedures, Guidelines, etc are even legally enforceable, let alone whether the violators of these standards, guidelines or regulations will result in the prosecution and effective conviction of violators.

For the Construction Sector, in addition to the recent SOP and Guidelines, since 2018 CIDB also has Guidelines for Temporary Construction Workers Amenities and Accommodation.

Sadly, it seems that this SOP and Guidelines have not been gazetted under the CIDB Act and this raises the question as to whether employers are legally bound to obey, and whether non-compliance would even lead to prosecution, trial and/or convictions.

It was reported that on 31/5/2020 itself, Construction Industry Development Board (CIDB) inspected 110 construction sites nationwide, and found that only 21 sites were in compliance with the Standard Operating Procedures (SOP). 3 sites were given warnings only, and it was reported that enforcement action were taken against 76 (Berita Harian, 1/6/2020).

However, there was no information whether any of these law-breaking companies, Directors and persons in charge were even charged in court, fined or jailed. This information is crucial for workers, and public perception. A failure of prosecution may be indicative of the hypocrisy of the government.

Right to a safe working environment is a Human Right

“Everyone has the right to life, to work… to just and favourable conditions of work… Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family…” (From the Universal Declaration on Human Rights, UN, 1948).

Article 7 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights which came into effect in 1976 states:

“The States Parties to the present Covenant recognize the right of everyone to the enjoyment of just and favourable conditions of work which ensure, in particular:.. (b) Safe and healthy working conditions;…”

The ILO Constitution sets forth the principle that workers must be protected from sickness, disease and injury arising from their employment.

To date, it seems like almost no employer, contractor or Developer, and their Directors and/or officers have been prosecuted for breaches of the various occupational safety and health laws, including the Occupational Safety and Health Act 1994 (OSHA 1994), Lembaga Pembangunan Industri Pembinaan Malaysia Act 1994 (CIDB Act) and the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases Act 1988 (PACID) during the MCO period in response to Covid-19 pandemic despite there being media reports of many workers being infected by Covid-19 at their workplaces and/or accommodations.

While the Regulations under PACID have all been gazetted, which makes it most clear to everyone, as to what they can or cannot do, it also allows the prosecution, trial and conviction possible, these SOP and Guidelines have not yet been gazetted. Likewise, there are many SOPs, Guidelines and Standards under other laws that deal with the occupational safety and health that have yet to be gazetted.

It is no use if these SOPs, Guidelines, Standards and/or other similar documents are mere recommendations to employers, which may mean that a non-compliance will not attract investigation, prosecution and/or convictions of employers, contractors, developers, their Directors and Managers.

There must be no choice given to employers about what they must do when it comes to issues of occupational safety and health. These obligations must be mandatory as it concerns reducing the risk of sickness, injury and death of workers.

Therefore, we

– Call on Malaysia to disclose the list of employers, contractors, Developers, Directors, CEOs and other officers in charge who have been investigated, charged and convicted for violation of legal obligations of occupational safety and health of workers during this MCO period to combat the spread of Covid-19;

– Call for specific Regulations For Workplaces, And Worker Accommodations to keep workers safe from Covid-19 and/or other infectious diseases;

– Call for the gazetting of all regulations, standards, SOPs, Guidelines and other similar instruments concerning occupational safety and health of workers making them a legal obligation, whereby a non-compliance will result in prosecution. When, it is not gazetted, it may simply be a mere recommendation or advice, where employers may or may not comply with.

– Call for Malaysia to recognize Covid-19 as an occupational disease under the Occupational Safety and Health Act 1994, and all other laws relating to occupational safety and health of workers which will impose obligations on employers to keep workers safe.

– Call for Malaysia to review all laws concerning occupational safety and health which should also result in a more deterrent sentence, especially when injury and death is caused by reason of non-compliance.

– Call for Malaysia to ratify the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, ILO Convention 167 -Safety and Health in Construction Convention, 1988, ILO Convention 155 — Occupational Safety and Health Convention, 1981, and all other Conventions concerning occupational safety and health of workers.

Charles Hector

Apolinar Tolentino

Irene Xavier

N Gopal Kishnam

For and on behalf of the following 55 groups

  • ALIRAN
  • Building and Wood Workers International (BWI) Asia Pacific Region
  • Labour Law Reform Coalition (LLRC)
  • WH4C (Workers Hub For Change)
  • AMMPO-Sentro
  • Association Of Home And Maquila Workers (ATRAHDOM), Guatemala
  • Association of Human Rights Defenders and Promoters-HRDP in Myanmar
  • Bangladesh Group The Netherlands
  • Center for Orang Asli Concerns (COAC)
  • China Labour Bulletin
  • Clean Clothes Campaign(CCC) South East Asian Coalition
  • Electronic Industry Employees Union Western Region Peninsula Malaysia
  • EMPOWER Malaysia (Persatuan Kesedaran Komuniti Selangor)
  • Foreign Spouses Support Group (FSSG)
  • Garment and Allied Workers Union, India
  • Global Women’s Strike
  • IMA Research Foundation, Bangladesh
  • International Black Women For Wages For Housework, United Kingdom
  • Jawatankuasa Solidariti Pekerja
  • Kesatuan Pekerja Atlas Edible Ice Sdn Bhd
  • Electronic Industry Employees Union Southern Region Peninsular Malaysia(EIEUSRPM)/Kesatuan Sekerja Industri Elektronik Wilayah Selatan, Semenanjung Malaysia (KSIEWSSM)
  • KRYSS Network
  • Labour Behind the Label, UK
  • Legal Action for Women, United Kingdom
  • MADPET(Malaysians Against Death Penalty and Torture)
  • Malaysian Physicians for Social Responsibility
  • Malayan Technical Services Union (MTSU)
  • Marvi Rural Development Organization (MRDO), Pakistan
  • Migrant CARE
  • Monitoring the Sustainability of Globalisation (MSN)
  • National Union of Transport Equipment and Allied Industries Workers (NUTEAIW)
  • National Union of Flight Attendants Malaysia(NUFAM)
  • Network of Action for Migrants in Malaysia(NAMM)
  • North South Initiative (NSI)
  • Odhikar, Bangladesh
  • Onward Consulting
  • Parti Sosialis Malaysia(PSM)
  • Persatuan Promosi Hak Asasi Manusia/Society For the Promotion of Human Rights(PROHAM)
  • Persatuan Sahabat Wanita Selangor (PSWS)
  • PKNS KPP
  • Sabah Timber Industry Employees’ Union (STIEU)
  • Sarawak Bank Employees Union (SBEU)
  • Sabah Women’s Action Resource Group (SAWO)
  • Sisters in Islam (SIS)
  • Tenaganita
  • Timber Employees Union of Peninsula Malaysia (TEUPM)
  • Timber Industry Employees Union Sarawak (TIEUS)
  • Union for Civil Liberty(UVL), Thailand
  • Union of Domestic, Maquila, Nexas and Related Workers (SITRADOM), Guatemala
  • Union of Forestry Employees Sarawak (UFES)
  • WH4C (Workers Hub For Change)
  • Women Of Color Global Women’s Strike
  • Workers Assistance Center, Inc., Philippines
  • Workers Empowerment
  • Yokohama Action Research

http://charleshector.blogspot.com/2020/06/protection-of-workers-legal-obligation.html?m=1

https://medium.com/bwi-mlc/56-groups-employers-who-breach-osh-laws-and-expose-workers-to-covid-19-must-be-prosecuted-e5fb99f5ac95

Mansi Vithlani: BLM LONDON PROTESTS

Guest Articles by Guest Writer – 12/06/2020

BLM London Protests

The Stories of those involved:

Written by Greg Kennedy

After the murder of George Floyd by four Minneapolis Police officers and countless other cases of racially motivated hate crimes across the US by citizens and police – the UK stood alongside the United States this weekend in a number of Black Lives Matter protests across the country.

People are demanding action against those responsible for the death of George Floyd and other victims of racism across the US. The UK marches put a spotlight on racism here in our own country with protesters demanding justice for those here in the UK.

Thousands of cardboard signs had plastered across them the names of victims of racism in this country including Stephen Lawrence, Belly Mujinga, Shukri Abdi and more. Many were also critical of the systematic racism in place, the police and those currently in charge of the country. 

LONDON PROTESTS:

The vast majority of the protests that took place in Parliament Square on Saturday were generally peaceful. They included protesters calling for justice, kneeling to show solidarity and marching through the busy roads of London.

The centre of the city came to a halt while the masses passed through – much to the delight of the delayed bus drivers and drivers who smashed their horns in support. Some came out onto the roof of their cars to join in with the crowds. While walking through the protests we noticed one woman who climbed on to the roof of her car. She jumped up and down on it so much that the roof of the car had caved in. A pick-up truck loaded with a heavy sound system also made its way through the crowd blasting Pop Smoke and Tupac tunes. 

MAKING A STATEMENT:

People were climbing on bus stops, traffic lights and statues all in an effort to raise their cardboard message the highest.

Towards the end of the day there was some trouble with the protesters. Police had to control parts of the crowd. However, this seemed to be a tiny minority of those involved in the marches and the protests had largely died down. For the most part of the day the police were barely seen and let the crowd go ahead with no issues. 

RACISM IS ALSO A PANDEMIC’:

Matt Hancock and Cressida Dick, who warned against protests the day before, were made to look clowns. Huge amount of people, more than most had predicted, turned up to support Black Lives Matter in London. Despite the ongoing Pandemic, those who turned up felt this issue was more important. They raised signs that read “Racism is also a pandemic”.

After speaking to many of the protesters, there was a general feeling of anger and frustration with the recent events. However, everyone I spoke to also seemed to feel immensely encouraged and motivated about changing attitudes after seeing the amount of people that had come out to protest. This felt like a significant turning point in Britain. Thousands turned up to support Black Lives Matter – and this was despite the ongoing pandemic. 

THOSE INVOLVED:

We talked to lots of those involved to find out more about why these protests are happening and to hear the stories of some of those calling out racism. 

CRISSIE, ACTIVIST SINCE 1985:
BLM London Protests

“How could anybody stay at home huh?! I’ve been campaigning since 1985 for justice, for black and immigrant people, for asylum seekers, for women in particular because we’re invisible in the social justice movements.

We’ve been making sure our voices are heard because of the terrible thing that happened to not only George Floyd but the other sisters and brothers in the US who for years have been slaughtered and those here in the UK who’ve been killed by police – who then get away with it. 

This kind of crowd that’s come out, as they have all around the world, is a mixture of black and white, immigrant and indigenous. We are all here for one thing and that is to absolutely change this world. 

A combination of Covid, the pandemic of poverty and the pandemic of racism are really a catalyst moment for the movement. I’ve not seen this in the years that I’ve been organising and now we have a real chance to change something.

But the first thing we have to do is stick together and not let anybody steal our grassroots movement because there will be plenty of ambitious politicians or NGO’s who will want to seize this moment for their agenda, but their agenda is not our agenda, our agenda is to change the world, our agenda is to invest in caring and not killing. We can do that by taking back: the military budget, the police budget, the budgets that put us down and slaughter us and jail us and incriminate us. We can take those budgets back into our own hands.

This is a moment where we come together because we are catching the same fire and we have to put it out together!”

UNNAMED, WITH A SIGN THAT READS, “I’M TIRED OF BEING PERCEIVED AS AGGRESSIVE”:
BLM London Protests

“It’s important to be here. I think everybody should be here just so everyone can get equality.

I think as a black man, I’m tired of seeing people of my colour being killed.

Today, seeing this many people around us of all colours of all races coming together for one love one peace – we all bleed the same blood at the end of the day. That’s why I’m here today. 

The sign I made is, ‘I’m tired of being perceived as aggressive’, a lot of the time young black people, especially young black men, are perceived as being aggressive all the time.

People are walking down the street, crossing the road when they see me – just because of my skin colour. I’m sick and tired of it. I want change.

I don’t want to be perceived as someone who is bad. I’m not, I’m a good guy”.

UNNAMED, PROTESTING FOR CHANGE JUST OUTSIDE PARLIAMENT SQUARE:
BLM London Protests

“We are out here to fight the injustice in the justice system all across the board for black people. 

We’ve had enough now it has been going on for far too long. 

People have been ignoring it for far too long. This George Floyd thing has just made it apparent now. It’s in your face, it can’t be denied – we have to do something about it now!

What we need to do is get organised, get someone speaking for the people and take it to the people that can actually make real change. Because right now it is just people in the street.”

NATHAN AND RANNI, SPEAKING UP AGAINST THE SYSTEM IN PLACE:
BLM London Protests

“(Nathan) We are here to support everything that is going on. This type of thing has been going on for years. This is ridiculous now.

It’s not just the fact that this man was killed, it’s the fact that so many more instances of what’s happened have been ignored.

People stand up and they just get put back down. This is what happens when people turn a blind eye and brush it under the rug. This is what happens! People protest and stand up together – that is what matters.

(Ranni) People say that the system is broken, but the system isn’t broken, the system was created against us in the first place.

It needs to be completely reformed so that everyone has equal opportunity because at the moment we don’t have that. We get stood on, we literally get stood on and it needs to change. 

(N) The UK and the US were built on systematic racism. It goes all the way back to slavery. People say the system is broken but it has never changed. That is what we need, massive change. 

People start to get scared because of protests like this and things might get violent but this is what happens when you turn a blind eye to everything that goes on.

(R) This is the safest I’ve ever felt in London. I don’t get why our skin colour is threatening. 

(N) This is the safest I’ve ever felt outside my own house, subconsciously the black community is seen as a threat and I don’t understand why. We’re not threatening people. It’s a ridiculous thing and I’m just hoping there is going to be so much change from this.”

BLACK LIVES MATTER

Links below for ways you can help:

https://linktr.ee/sophieella

CNJ: Death a massive wake-up call

Camden New Journal Letters

Coverage of Mr Cardoso and other deaths in police custody, and CNJ’s marks of respect for anti-racist protest is appreciated.  (Mother of student who died in custody: ‘Black men are dying for no reason’)

Harrowing images of George Floyd’s torture and death by police kneeling on his neck have been a wake-up call, igniting a global movement.

Protests across the US have spread to Europe, Haiti and Latin America, Africa, Australia, and further. In the Middle East, protests against Israeli police killing a young autistic Palestinian man, involved demonstrators carrying photos of Iyad Hallaq and George Floyd, with the words #PalestinianLivesMatter #BlackLivesMatter, and repeated here in London. 

All over the US, thousands of American law enforcement officials have trained in Israel with Israeli police and military, even including the knee-to-throat restaint practiced against Palestinian people.

The UK government is being called out – from its role in slavery, complicity with Israel and the US, and selling riot shields, tear gas and rubber bullets to US police forces. Minneapolis plans to disband the current police force for a transformative system. Calls to defund and de-militarise US police are now widespread.

Racism and police violence are part of the pandemic in the UK, too. As well as 1,741 deaths in police custody, at least 500 people of colour, police also turn up with social workers to take children from their mothers. Many are children of colour, their lives ruined from being snatched from the one who cares for and protects them. Our immune systems are under constant attack by this violence, plus bad housing that no one should live in, low wages, the hostile environment, and other daily racism.  It’s no mystery why BAME people, often key workers, are four times more likely to die of Covid.  

Women and men in our network feel compelled, despite the lock down, to join local protests – crowds of mostly young, multi-racial groups. White people have come to support people of colour but also bring their own grievances.  All of us are angry and determined after years of austerity, with authorities careless of our lives, and more worried about the stock market than the human cost.  It seems all of us are expendable to this government, young and elderly, especially if we are people of colour.

Mothers and other carers are on the front line of this crisis doing unrecognised, unwaged work of coping with discrimination, defending families and friends, and resisting every institutional violence. Women of Colour, immigrant women and Irish women do much of this justice work.

CNJ has covered Calvin Bungisa’s tragic death, and family members being harassed and treated as suspects by police instead of a grieving family. Dexter Bristol, a local Windrush citizen, collapsed and died after immigration officials hounded him for months.  Sarah Reed, a vulnerable young mother, died in suspicious circumstance in Holloway Prison, not long after a police officer attacked her, dragging by her hair, then restraining her by her neck, as she cried out that she couldn’t breathe.  In court he was found to have lied about her physically attacking him. We remember police violence at Orgreave, and Hillsborough, too.

Police are paid to maintain the status quo, crush protest, and crack down on people of colour and anyone who gets out of our boxes.  But a re-energised movement aims for those at the bottom to eliminate the bottom, so all of us move up together.

Sara Callaway

Women of Colour Global Women’s Strike 

25 Wolsey Mews NW5 2DX

Statement: Haiti’s Peasants Stand in Solidarity w US protesters

The Global Women’s Strike works with the Haiti Action Committee (HAC) in support of the grassroots movement for democracy in Haiti.  HAC is distributing the important message below from Haitian peasant organizations who say: ‘We Stand In Solidarity to Demand an End to Police Terror’.
Press Release from
Peasant Organizations in Haiti,
Port-au-Prince May 31, 2020
Haiti Action Committee is honored to distribute this message of solidarity from peasant
organizations in Haiti. It was translated from the original Kreyol version, illustrated below.
 
As the signers so clearly state, “Hand in hand, let’s
struggle together to eradicate racism and injustice.”

From Haiti to the U.S. – One Struggle, One Fight.

We Stand In Solidarity To Demand An End To Police Terror

We strongly denounce the brutal acts of the police against people in the United States who are demonstrating to demand justice for George Floyd, who died tragically at the hands of racist police in Minneapolis on May 25, 2020. We know also that there are many other Black people who are victims at the hands of racist police in the United States. This includes: 1.    Breonna Taylor, who the police in Kentucky killed inside her home. 2.    Ahmaud Arbery in Georgia who was killed by two racist whites connected with the police. 3.    And the list goes on. The police in Haiti act with the same brutality against the Haitian people, especially when we demand our rights guaranteed by the Constitution. Here are the names of some of the people who the police in Haiti assassinated in the past several days:
  1.    May 30, 2020 — Walking Blanc and another young man were shot by the police at about 8:00 p.m. in Kazo (Port-au-Prince) because they were in the street during curfew. 2.    May 22, 2020 — Louis, an employee of the Ministry for Social Affairs, shot by the police while on his way to buy milk for his child. 3.    May 16, 2020 — James, a young man on St. Martin St., shot by a police armored vehicle as he was helping his brother, who had difficulty walking, cross the street. 4.    May 10, 2020 — Two young men killed as a police armored vehicle opened fire on a group of young men on Dechant St. in the area of Pont-Rouge. 5.    We cannot forget Roberto Badio Thelusma, 14 years old. The police shot him in February 2019 as he was helping his mother with her soft drinks business. 6.    And the list goes on. These crimes were committed just in Port-au-Prince alone. It is the police from the US and Canada that train the police of Haiti.

People in the U.S. have always acted in solidarity with the people of Haiti as we struggle to become a country with full respect for human rights. Today, we follow the history of our ancestors as we stand in solidarity with the people of the U.S., particularly the Black community that is subjected to racist attacks and oppression.

Hand in hand, let us struggle together to eradicate racism and injustice.

Signers below are Representatives of Peasant Organizations:

Potoprens: Jeanette Denis, Oswald Jean
SenMak: Frantz Malherbe, Dorain Pierre
Jeremie: Marie Carmelle Destin, Thony François
Lenbe: Paul Godin, Ignace Celestin
Terye Wouj: Marie Rene Janvier, Paul Desmarais
Jan Rabel: Octavius Pierre, Ronald Jacques
Lazil: Kesnel Solitaire, Justin Sanon
Aken: Sonel Piercin, Marc Evalis
Bene: Jean Marc Leger, Sony Sanon
Belade: Pierre Noel

#CareIncomeNow

READ OPEN LETTER TO GOVERNMENTS – A CARE INCOME NOW!
See TRANSLATIONS so far.
ENDORSE here.
List of organizational and individual endorsers.

Watch the webinars From Coronavirus and Beyond: Valuing Caregiving — The Unwaged Work that Protects People and the Environment and Care Income Now! webinar.

Read press coverage and the press statement about the #CareIncomeNow Campaign.

PRESS STATEMENT:

IN RESPONSE TO COVID-19 AND THE CLIMATE EMERGENCY: ORGANIZATIONS AROUND THE WORLD CALL FOR A CARE INCOME NOW!

For more information contact: Global Women’s Strike (India, Ireland, Peru, Thailand, UK, US)
+44 20 7482 2496 or +1 215 848 1120

The Global Women’s Strike and Women of Colour GWS, which have campaigned for financial recognition for unwaged caring work for decades, have joined with the Green New Deal for Europe to urge governments everywhere to provide a Care Income, starting now. This would prioritize and support the work of all those, of every gender, who care for people, for the urban and rural environment, and for the natural world. (This Care Income is quite different from the universal basic income which prioritizes neither caring work nor the climate emergency.)  

So far organizations and individuals from 33 countries, South and North – women’s, human rights defenders, environmentalists, domestic workers, subsistence farmers, disabled people, breastfeeding advocates, anti-rape, anti-deportation, sex workers… have endorsed the Open Letter to Governments.

The drastic measures in response to Covid-19 show that governments can take swift action and find money to deal with “emergencies” – if they want to. But, while they propose to replace some lost wages, there is no relief package for caregivers, only more work.

Everyone can now see how dependent we all are on caring work – in the home, the hospital, the community. Yet this invaluable work, typically performed by women, is mostly unwaged. When waged, it is usually the lowest paid, reflecting the low status governments and corporations place on those who do it, and on the lives and needs of most of those we care for.

Almost 70% of healthcare workers around the world are women.[1] They and other “key workers” risk their own lives to keep people alive in hospitals and care homes, and to see that everyone has access to food and other essentials, in rural and urban areas. For example, of three million people in “high exposure” jobs in the UK– 77% are women and one third (98% women) earn “poverty wages”. A large percentage are on temporary or zero-hours contracts, and are disproportionately people of colour and/or immigrant, often denied services and resources available to others.[2]

But why did it take Covid-19 to get governments to act when we already face a climate emergency as well as growing poverty and inequality, rape and domestic violence, war and displacement on an epidemic scale? If this pandemic teaches anything it is that we cannot go back to economic and social priorities that destroy people and the planet we depend on. The lockdowns are reducing air pollution (which kills an estimated seven million people annually worldwide)[3] and making way for the natural world. We must build on that, not return to the mindless growth that pays us to do work that pollutes and threatens our very survival.

We urge you to report and circulate this vital demand.


[1] https://apps.who.int/iris/bitstream/handle/10665/311314/WHO-HIS-HWF-Gender-WP1-2019.1-eng.pdf?sequence=1&isAllowed=y

[2] Women’s Budget Group on figures supplied by Autonomy.

[3] WHO: https://www.who.int/health-topics/air-pollution#tab=tab_1

Event: Collective online screening of La Ballade des Sans-Papiers

As part of the day of action called by the International Network #PapersForAll

La Ballade des Sans-Papiers

A documentary by Samir Abdallah, Raffaele Ventura

Collective online screening – 30 May 2020 – all day

In 1996, 300 undocumented African migrants – women, men and children – occupied the church of St-Bernard in Paris for weeks, and redefined the struggle of immigrant people. By rejecting the term ‘illegal immigrants’ they demanded ‘Papers for all’ and galvanised an international movement of support. The Sans-Papiers were crucial in establishing that the autonomy of  undocumented immigrants was key to winning the right to stay for all.

That year, Black Women for Wages for Housework* and Payday men’s network met with the Sans-Papiers in Paris and circulated information about their campaign, including by subtitling and screening the film La Ballade des Sans-Papiers in English. We brought Sans-Papiers women organisers to the UK and translated “A Woman Draws the First Lessons”, a powerful introduction to the movement by the Sans-Papiers’ spokeswoman, Madiguène Cissé.

The organising we did was part of the anti-deportation work both organisations, and other groups based at Crossroads Women’s Centre, have been doing since we began.

Watch this film to find out how the Sans-Papiers, led by African women and men, organised autonomously while working with a wide range of supporters — from anti-racist, women’s, community and church groups and celebrities — inspiring immigrants of other nationalities and in other countries to form collectives.  Find out how women sans-papiers organised autonomously from men to keep the fight going: “Each time the movement ran out of steam, the women met and worked out initiatives which re-launched the struggle.”

*(Since 2000, also known as Women of Colour/Global Women’s Strike)

As we send our support to the Sans-papiers and supporters who are taking to the streets in France on 30 May, we invite you to join this collective viewing which documents the  origins of a movement for #PapersForAll which is today spreading like wildfire.

  See the film in French only HERE See the film in French with English subtitles HERE Please send your comments — we want to hear from you and keep in touch!  

Send message of support to the Sans-Papiers in France: marche.des.solidarites@gmail.com

Information on the day of action: www.papersforall.com and http://againstrape.net/

Circulated by Global Women Against Deportation* and Payday men’s network

Contactwomenofcolour@globalwomenstrike.net +44 (0) 7456525227 * GWAD is a coalition of the All African Women’s Group, Legal Action for Women, Women Against Rape, Women of Colour/Global Women’s Strike