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China’s Latest Crackdown on Workers Is Unprecedented

Source: The Nation

Seven worker-activists involved in the independent labor organizations known as “worker centers” have been arrested.

In an unprecedented crackdown on some of China’s most effective independent labor organizations, known as worker centers, seven worker-activists have been detained and held virtually incommunicado in detention facilities in Foshan and Guangzhou.

The detainees include Panyu Dagongzu Service Center staffers Zeng Feiyang and Zhu Xiaomei; former Dagongzu staffers Tang Jian (a k a Beiguo) and Meng Han; Peng Jiayong of the Panyu-based Laborer Mutual Aid Group; He Xiaobo, director of Foshan Nanfeiyan Social Work Services Organization; and Deng Xiaoming of the Haige Workers Center. Beiguo reportedly remains detained, but his whereabouts are unconfirmed as of December 16. read more

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The Rise of Podemos In Spain’s Election Shows How Much Trouble the Establishment Is In

Source: In These Times

From Spain’s “Nueva Política” to Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump, outsider candidates and parties are catching fire, creating new spaces for political revolution.

Sunday night, Spain’s insurgent left party Podemos (“We can”) made history, breaking the country’s two-party control for the first time since the fall of the Franco dictatorship by winning 20.7 percent of the seats in the Spanish parliament. Though Podemos finished third behind Spain’s two establishment parties, Sunday’s results are a victory for an anti-austerity party that less than two years ago was only an idea in the minds of a handful of activists and academics. Podemos supporters and its leader Pablo Iglesias were energized by the outcome. In the plaza outside of Madrid’s Reina Sofia art museum, Iglesias was greeted by thousands of excited Podemos supporters, who waved balloons in the party’s signature purple shade and chanted “Si se puede!” read more

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When the Workers Become the Owners: Taking the Co-op Movement to the Next Level

Source: Truthout

There’s a revolution taking place in the US workforce – but you may not have heard about it.

Around the country, workers are starting businesses that they democratically control and that financially benefit them. These businesses, called worker cooperatives, are owned and governed by the employees. Every worker is a member of the co-op, which gives them one share and one vote in the company’s operations.

Worker cooperatives come in all shapes and sizes. Equal Exchange, a distributor of fair trade chocolate and coffee, has over 100 worker-owners, with a board of directors and co-executive directors, all ultimately accountable to the employees. My own worker cooperative, TESA (The Toolbox for Education and Social Action), has three members, and we operate with a more horizontal, collective governance structure. Cooperative Home Care Associates is a cooperative that has thousands of worker-owners and a traditional management hierarchy. Pedal People is a bicycle-powered trash, recycling and compost removal co-op with roughly 15 members; they all serve on the co-op’s steering committee and make decisions for the company using consensus. read more