Daily Times - Site Edition
|Wednesday, May 02, 2007|
South Korea hosts its first joint May Day
CHANGWON: Workers from the two Koreas called for the reunification of their divided homeland Tuesday when they held the first joint May Day celebration in South Korea.
Some 2,000 workers, including 60 northerners, waved “unification flags” during the May Day rally at the southern industrial city of Changwon.
It was the first time since the 1950-1953 Korean War that North Korean workers had visited South Korea for the joint May 1 international labour festival. The two Koreas, following an inter-Korean peace summit in 2000, had joint May Day celebrations in 2001 and 2004 -both in North Korea.
The North Korean men in business suits and women in traditional gowns mingled with their southern peers during the May Day ceremony which featured a rally, music concert and soccer match.
“Many people say reunification is not easy, but each step taken by labourers will lay a great foundation for the reunification,” Lee Young-Duk, head of the South’s Federation of Korean Trade Unions, said.
“Let the workers from the North and the South bring together their passion ... for a reunified fatherland,” the North’s delegate Lee Chung-Bok said.
The North’s team led by Won Hyong Guk, vice-chairman of the Central Committee of the General Federation of Trade Unions of Korea, flew into Changwon Sunday and returns home Wednesday.
Meanwhile tens of thousands of people across Russia called for higher salaries and pensions on Tuesday in May Day demonstrations that for the most part carefully avoided criticism of the Kremlin.
Russian state television showed crowds gathering in cities from Vladivostok to Moscow.
Demonstrators, mostly organised by the trade unions, Communist Party, and pro-Kremlin parties, waved multi-coloured balloons and blue or red flags.
“We demand dignified work, dignified life, and dignified time off,” Mikhail Shmakov, head of the federation of independent trade unions, said on state-run Vesti 24 television. About 25,000 union members gathered in central Moscow, more than 20,000 in the Siberian city of Omsk, and more than 80,000 in Yakutia, also in Siberia, Interfax quoted police as saying. agencies.
Demostrations in Istanbul on May Day
1,000 detained as İstanbul paralyzed on May Day
Turkish police detained more than 1,000 left-wing demonstrators while at least 23 protestors were injured in Istanbul on Tuesday as they tried to protest the May Day anniversary of a mass shooting 30 years ago.
Taksim Square has traditionally been off limits to May Day protesters since 1980, but police on Tuesday allowed a few hundred demonstrators to lay red carnations at the square, where unidentified gunmen opened fire on tens of thousands of demonstrators during a May Day gathering in 1977. The incident left 34 people dead, most of whom were killed in a stampede.
The police allowed some access to the square following violent clashes in one section of the city, near İnönu Stadium in Beşiktaş, to calm tension. Following the incidents at İnönü Stadium, health workers’ union leader Doğan Halis said: “We do not deserve this -- Turkey does not deserve this. You are giving a shameful image of Turkey -- that of the military coups of 1971 and 1980,” in a brief speech that ended with officers bundling him into a police vehicle.
Others trying to access Taksim clashed with the riot police who replied back firing tear gas and using water canons. The police chased small pockets of protesters out of the square, detaining some and leading them away. One group of several dozen marched in a cluster toward the square, but quickly turned back, gasping from the effects of tear gas.
At one point, the police opened fire into the air to disperse the crowd. Police surrounded a larger group of several hundred in the square, near the five-star Marmara Hotel, popular with tourists and businessmen. The protesters raised their fists and denounced Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, chanting, “Resign!” Some demonstrators were heard demanding Governor Muammer Güler’s resignation.
A few held aloft black anarchist flags. A police helicopter circled overhead and police deployed several armored vehicles in the square.
Speaking to the press at his union’s headquarters in the afternoon, Confederation of Revolutionary Workers’ Unions (DİSK) President Süleyman Çelebi said his union had realized its purpose in Taksim, asserting his belief that Taksim had now become a “May Day area.” He said DİSK’s primary aim was to commemorate the 36 deaths of the bloody May Day in 1977 in a peaceful demonstration but that the police had prevented it.
Stressing that a large number of people were prohibited from entering the square, Çelebi likened Tuesday in İstanbul to an “open-air prison.” He also alleged that a large number of people were arrested and treated roughly.
Çelebi said the police had raided the headquarters of the Turkish Union of Engineers and Architects Chambers (TMMOB) and detained the administrators inside the building. “It was total chaos in İstanbul. Had we been allowed [to celebrate in Taksim], we would have held our ceremony and dispersed. However, the implementation in İstanbul created an obstacle for the entire city. People had a hard time getting to their jobs. This is why Governor Muammer Güler should resign.”
Confederation of Public Unions (KESK) leader İsmail Hakkı Tombul, TMMOB leader Mehmet Soğancı, Turkish Doctors’ Union (TTB) leader Gencay Gürsoy and Turkish Dentists’ Union (TDB) leader Celal Korkut Yıldırım were also present at the press conference.
Six union leaders from DİSK, including their secretary-general Musa Cam, were among those arrested Tuesday. Elsewhere in İstanbul, there were clashes between protesters and police in the Okmeydanı and Dolapdere districts. Demonstrators in Okmeydanı set an automobile on fire.
Earlier in the morning, busloads of demonstrators coming from other towns and who were prevented from crossing the Bosphorus Bridge to join the rally on the European side, gathered in an area know as the Mustafa Kemal neighborhood in Ümraniye, on the Asian side, police said.
Other buses were stopped at toll booths on the skirts of İstanbul’s motorway from Ankara, and DİSK said police were forcing many of them back to the capital. Another May Day rally in İstanbul, held in Kadıköy Square on the Asian side of the city and organized by the TÜRK-İŞ labor confederation, went ahead without incident.
Authorities enforced a strict security clampdown in the center of İstanbul to prevent May Day rallies, which often attract tens of thousands of people and sometimes turn violent. Forty-one schools were shut down in the area for the day, anticipating clashes with protesters or members of outlawed leftist groups who often clash with police during May Day rallies in Turkey.
Authorities earlier briefly barred live broadcasts from the square, ordering TV trucks not to set up their satellite dishes for security reasons, but broadcasts were allowed later in the afternoon. Around 5,000 riot police, reinforced with armored personnel carriers, were seen on guard in the square as snipers took positions on rooftops. Some 17,000 police were deployed in Istanbul to cope with the demonstrations, officials said.
Public transport was paralyzed in the sprawling city of more than 12 million as the authorities blocked roads, cancelled ferry services and closed metro stations in a bid to cope with two crowds of demonstrators on either side of the Bosporus.
The traffic gridlock caused by the clampdown even forced the İstanbul stock exchange to start trading later than usual.
Governor under fire
İstanbul Governor Güler was severely criticized for shutting down parts of the city on the Web sites of all of Turkey’s major newspapers. The Web site of the Hürriyet daily referred to Güler as the “Dictator of İstanbul” and started a cyber campaign for its readers to demand his resignation.
Copyright © 2005 Journal of Turkish Weekly http://www.turkishweekly.net/news.php?id=44762
Bush declares May Day "Loyalty Day", Workers Scoff
Loyalty Day, 2007
A Proclamation by the President of the United States of America
America was founded by patriots who risked their lives to bring freedom to our Nation. Today, our citizens are grateful for our Founding Fathers and confident in the principles that lead us forward. On Loyalty Day, we celebrate the blessings of freedom and remember our responsibility to continue our legacy of liberty.
Our Nation has never been united simply by blood, birth, or soil, but instead has always been united by the ideals that move us beyond our background and teach us what it means to be Americans. We believe deeply in freedom and self-government, values embodied in our cherished documents and defended by our troops over the course of generations. Our citizens hold the truths of our founding close to their hearts and demonstrate their loyalty in countless ways. We are inspired by the patriotic service of the men and women who wear our Nation's uniform with honor and decency. The military spouses and families who stand by their loved ones represent the best of the American spirit, and we are profoundly grateful for their sacrifice. Our country is strengthened by the millions of volunteers who show deep compassion toward their neighbors in need. All citizens can express their loyalty to the United States by flying the flag, participating in our democracy, and learning more about our country's grand story of courage and simple dream of dignity.
The Congress, by Public Law 85-529, as amended, has designated May 1 of each year as "Loyalty Day." This Loyalty Day, and throughout the year, I ask all Americans to join me in reaffirming our allegiance to our Nation.
NOW, THEREFORE, I, GEORGE W. BUSH, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim May 1, 2007, as Loyalty Day. I call upon the people of the United States to participate in this national observance and to display the flag of the United States on Loyalty Day as a symbol of pride in our Nation.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this thirtieth day of April, in the year of our Lord two thousand seven, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-first.
GEORGE W. BUSH
Human Rights Watch: Wal-Mart Denies Basic Workers’ Rights
U.S. workers are being denied the freedom to form unions and to live a more secure and better life by weak labor laws and rabidly anti-union employers such as Wal-Mart. While many American companies take advantage of our nation’s labor laws to prevent workers from joining a union, Wal-Mart stands out for the sheer magnitude and aggressiveness of its anti-union activity, according to a report released today by Human Rights Watch (HRW).
Discounting Rights: Wal-Mart’s Violation of U.S. Workers’ Right to Freedom of Association says many of Wal-Mart’s anti-union tactics are legal, but when combined, they prevent workers from freely deciding to join a union. Some of the giant retailer’s actions violate weak labor laws, HRW says. The report recommends passage of the Employee Free Choice Act as a key way to improve protections for workers at Wal-Mart and across the country. Says Carol Pier, senior researcher for HRW:
Wal-Mart workers have virtually no chance to organize because they’re up against unfair U.S. labor laws and a giant company that will do just about anything to keep unions out. The one-two punch devastates workers’ right to form and join unions.
The report says it is no accident that none of the employees of the nation’s largest employer—1.3 million workers in nearly 4,000 stores—are represented by a union. The company begins to indoctrinate workers and managers against unions from the first day on the job, HRW says. HRW cites the following examples demonstrating how Wal-Mart keeps unions out:
- Managers receive explicit instructions on keeping out unions, including a “Manager’s Toolbox,” a self-described guide for managers on “how to remain union free in the event union organizers choose your facility as their next target.”
- Managers are required to report to Wal-Mart’s Union Hotline if employees try to form a union. The company then dispatches its Labor Relations Team to thwart the employees’ decision.
- Employees trying to form a union are “strongly urged to attend” captive audience meetings where unions are bashed.
- Wal-Mart has sent managers to illegally spy on workers. According to former workers and managers at one store, the company ordered surveillance cameras to monitor union supporters.
AFL-CIO President John Sweeney says Wal-Mart’s actions hurt entire communities. “After all, the best anti-poverty device in our nation is a union card.”
Wal-Mart clearly doesn’t want to have to hear its own workers’ voices and does not want to have to have to engage in collective bargaining with them. Our nation needs the Employee Free Choice Act to level the playing field and give workers a fair shot to bargain with Wal-Mart for a better life.
“Wal-Mart should change its anti-union behavior,” says Pier.
When companies like Wal-Mart can regularly violate U.S. workers’ right to organize, they threaten a fundamental right and one that government is duty-bound to uphold.
When it breaks the law, Wal-Mart only gets a slap on the wrist, the report says. This is not the first time HRW has slammed weak U.S. labor laws. In 2000, the group issued a report that showed U.S. workers lack the most fundamental internationally recognized human rights at the workplace—the basic freedom to organize, bargain and strike. At that time, HRW said U.S. labor law is stacked against employees who wish to organize a union, allowing employers to intimidate and coerce workers not to unionize.
The U.S. House passed the Employee Free Choice Act on March 1. The bill, S. 1041, is now in the U.S. Senate. If passed, the Employee Free Choice Act would increase penalties for labor law violations and help restore workers’ freedom to choose a union without employer interference.
You can take action now to help workers make a free choice to join a union. Click here to urge your senators to support the Employee Free Choice Act.
SA Seattle Protests Military Recruitment at School Board Meeting
We created quite a stir at the Seattle School Board meeting Wednesday, keeping the pressure on the School Board which we generated two weeks ago in the city wide walkout of 800 students against the war in Iraq.
Students and community activists spoke forcefully throughout the one hour public comment period, and were frequently interrupted with loud applause. We explained why military recruiters have no place in our schools and demanded the School Board implement its existing policy restricting recruiters access to schools, close the loopholes recruiters have found, and send the federal government a letter protesting the “No Child Left Behind Act” and the military recruiters’ presence in our schools. Many also spoke against the School Boards plans to shut down seven schools next year, demanding money for education rather than the war!
Our action was covered by one of the main local TV news programs, Komo TV, as one of their main news stories (though as usual full of inaccuracies and misstatements)
(also attached is a picture from Komo from the protest)
However, once again the Board members basically failed to discuss or respond publicly to the issues we raised in an all too familiar pattern, as we saw the Board also ignore the issues raised at this meeting by dozens of parents, teachers, and community activists from African American Academy over the recent imposition of a new principal without the agreement of the local school. We received many promises that the issue of military recruitment is being discussed and worked on, but it is clear that the School Board will need to feel more pressure from students, parents, teachers and the antiwar movement to finally force them to take meaningful action.
Brief additional internal report on our intervention
We had 12 people from Socialist Alternative and YAWR at the meeting, plus some other community activists. While this was not great, we knew we were only going to get a relatively small turnout when we called the follow up action as many members said they wouldn’t be able to go and we didn’t have the resources to do a major mobilization of YAWR students.
But despite our small numbers, our intervention went really well as we had an impact far larger then our numbers, and rallied support from many other people in the audience, particularly the large crowd of 30-40, predominantly black parents, teachers, students and community from a local high school called the African American Academy.
We got 4 new people to sign up on our Socialist Alternative sign up sheet (1 of whom said he wanted to join) and built connections with a number of important parent and community activists. The protest also definitely helped to strengthen a YAWR group that is developing on the “Eastside”, a suburb right outside Seattle, brought several of them closer to Socialist Alternative, and helped consolidate several of our new members.
More than 1,000 Afghan students protested to
demand the withdrawal of US troops
Karzai says killings 'unacceptable'
May 2, 2007
Hamid Karzai, the president of Afghanistan, has said he
is enraged at the killing of scores of civilians by
Western forces hunting Taliban fighters in Afghanistan.
Karzai summoned the US ambassador and Nato's senior
commander to his presidential palace in Kabul on
Wednesday to tell them that the death of civilians is
"not acceptable anymore".
He said: "We can no longer accept civilian casualties
the way they occur. It's becoming heavy for us."
Karzai's complaints followed a spate of high-profile
incidents in which local people accused US and other
Western troops of killing large numbers of Afghan
About 50 civilians have reportedly been killed in raids
by US-led coalition troops in the past week, sparking
four days of anti-American and anti-Karzai protests
around the country.
The US army recognised that civilian deaths had occured
in the raids and said that more than 136 Taliban
fighters were killed in the clashes.
In the latest incident, the governor of Kandahar said
that Afghan and Nato forces killed 13 people, including
two women, during clash with suspected Taliban in the
southern province on Wednesday .
Hamidullah Tarzi, a former government minister, said
the current small protests were not yet a major problem
for Karzai, but they would become more serious if
"Now that has been eroded and that is not a good sign.
That may have future repercussions," he said.
Karzai said he had repeatedly told US and Nato
commanders to co-ordinate their anti-Taliban raids with
his government, stop searching civilian houses and
exercise caution to avoid civilian deaths.
Karzai said: "Unfortunately, that co-operation and co-
ordination as we tried it has not given us the result
of what we want.
"That is something that must be changed, must be
corrected or the consequences will be bad for all of
In addition to protests over civilian deaths, Karzai
faces rising dissatisfaction over the lack of
development and rampant corruption in the country since
the Taliban were ousted from power in 2001.
The Afghan president said on Wednesday that he is
working to reshuffle his cabinet.
Senior members of the Afghan government are trying to
curb the president's powers and have formed a political
party to push for the creation of a new post of prime
minister, who would take some of the powers held by
Some pro-Karzai members of parliament have said the
dissidents should leave the government if they want to
oppose the president.
Karzai said: "The government as a whole should be
reformed. Efforts are under way in this regard."
He did not say which ministers would be affected by
changes to the government.
The National Front Party, formed last month, wants
provincial governors and mayors to be elected, which
would remove from the president an important lever of
power in a country where central control has often been
As president and commander-in-chief of the armed
forces, Karzai chooses his cabinet, although ministers
have to be endorsed by parliament. He also appoints
governors and mayors.
Opposition politicians have called for a loya jirga,
Afghanistan's traditional grand assembly of tribal
chieftains and elders, to amend the constitution.
Los Angeles: Police Attack May Day Demonstration with Tear Gas and Rubber Bullets.
LOS ANGELES, May 1, 2007 – An otherwise peaceful day of demonstrations throughout the city ended violently when the LAPD attacked the May Day march and rally in MacArthur Park today. A large rally numbering in the tens of 1,000s was driven from the park and the streets around the park. Families with young children were forced to flee as the police fired hundreds of rounds of rubber bullets and tear gas into the crowd. There are reports of many injuries, including journalists with a TV news crew. Some who have been hospitalized from their injuries. Witnesses report beatings with batons and many injuries from rubber bullets. The first incident of police violence occurred at Wilshire & Parkview when police drove a row of motorcycles head on into the march. A brief scuffle broke out but the situation was diffused. It was the incident at 7th and Alvarado that sparked the police attack, which resulted in the complete clearing of the park and scattered street fights with police in the neighboring area.
Police Terror in the Park
Immigrant groups decry police tactics
Several injured at LA rally; chief promises probe
Police used batons to control a crowd at MacArthur Park that had gathered at an immigrant rights march Tuesday in Los Angeles. Two investigations into police actions are planned. (RICK LOOMIS/LOS ANGELES TIMES VIA ASSOCIATED PRESS)
LOS ANGELES -- Police Chief William J. Bratton said yesterday that some of the police tactics used to clear immigration protesters from a park were inappropriate, as news videos showed officers striking people with batons and firing rubber bullets into crowds that included children.
Images showed police hitting a television cameraman to the ground and shoving people who were walking away from officers at Tuesday's demonstration. Some injured people were seen in the videos, including a Hispanic man with bleeding welt s on his stomach and back.
The Police Commission, a five-member board appointed by the mayor, has opened its own investigation, said panel spokeswoman Tami Catania.
Officers who violated department policy could receive discipline ranging from written warnings to dismissal .
Andre Birotte, the department's inspector general, said his office was trying to determine what officers said to disperse the crowd and whether the order was in Spanish -- the native language of most of the protesters.
Rally organizers denounced the police actions as brutal and unnecessary, and expressed concern over what the clash could mean for an immigration rights movement known for its peaceful rallies.
The clash at MacArthur Park started after 6 p.m. when police tried to disperse demonstrators who had moved off the sidewalk onto the street. Authorities said several of the few thousand people still at the rally threw rocks and bottles at officers, who fired rubber bullets and used batons to push the crowd back onto the sidewalk.Several people, including about a dozen officers, were hurt. About 10 people were taken to hospitals for treatment of injuries , authorities said. None of the injuries was believed to be serious. At least one person was arrested, but police have not released a name.
may day 2007
The CWI and socialistworld.net send warm May Day greetings to the workers, youth and oppressed of the world.
CWI statement, Monday 30 April 2007
Five thousand march to link all the struggles of the oppressed
Marcus Kollbrunner, Socialismo Revolucionário (CWI Brazil), São Paulo, Thursday 3 May 2007
Campaign against war and oppression gets a boost
United Socialist Party, Sri Lanka, Thursday 3 May 2007
Trade Union Rights Campaign Pakistan (TURCP) organised and participated in activities across Pakistan in more than 40 towns and cities.
Khalid Bhatti, International secretary, TURCP, Thursday 3 May 2007
Dagga Tolar and other Democratic Socialist Movement (CWI Nigeria) members detained by State security service.
Campaign for Democratic and Workers’ Rights, Nigeria, Thursday 3 May 2007
CWI leaflet distributed in Arabic in Beirut on Mayday
socialistworld.net, Thursday 3 May 2007
CWI Sweden launches new national petition
Per-Ake Westerlund, Rättvisepartiet Socialisterna (RS, CWI Sweden), Stockholm, Thursday 3 May 2007
But socialist opposition makes impact
Rob Jones, Socialist Alternative (CWI), Moscow, Thursday 3 May 2007
Wake Up the Earth Festival
The 29th Annual Wake Up The Earth Festival will take place on Saturday, May 5, 2007 (raindate Saturday, May 12, 2007) at the Southwest Corridor Park, adjacent to the Stony Brook T stop.
Parade: 11:00am from Curtis Hall
Festival: 12:00-5:00pm on the Southwest Corridor
After Party: 8:00pm-1:00am at Spontaneous Celebrations! Food, Dancing, Karaoke, Cash Bar!
Title: Cambridge, MAWHEN:May 5th, 2:00pm
WHERE:MIT, Building 26, Room 100, 77 Mass. Ave. Cambridge, MA.
DESCRIPTION: "Remembering Tomorrow: From SDS to Life After Capitalism" Featuring: Noam Chomsky and Michael Albert in conversation with Amy Goodman. Co-sponsored by MIT Arab Students Organization, MIT Western Hemisphere Project, Seven Stories Press, ZMag and ZNet
For directions see: http://whereis.
TICKETS: FREE, Donations Accepted
MORE INFO:Contact: Ria Julien of Seven Stories Press at: 646-842-2774; riajulien@gmail.
Youth Peace Conferences
Teen Empowerment's 15th annual Boston Youth Peace Conference, One Moment, One Mind, For Change, will be Saturday, May 19, at Roxbury Community College. To get a flavor of the Peace Conference, scroll down for links to videos from the 2006 conference. For tickets ($3) or more information, contact our Boston office. This year we can admit no more than 500 people, so get your tickets today!
Late yesterday (Wednesday) all the DSM comrades and
other Nigerian activists who had been detained by the
State Security Service (SSS) were released.
None of those who had been held were charged with any
criminal offence, while they were held in detention
the SSS simply carried out the “usual” political
questioning of asking them “who are your friends?”,
“what are you planning to do?”
The DSM is preparing a report of the May 1 rallies
held around the country. One thing is already clear;
at practically every venue the SSS attempted to
confiscate all political material and, in a number of
cases, opposition politicians and journalists were
beaten up by the police and SSS.
The Nigerian comrades thank all those who protested at
Friday, May 18, 7-9pm JAMAICA PLAIN, MA 'Ending the War: Peace Movement Leaders Ask, Which Way Forward?' at the Central Congregational Church, email@example.com, or . $10 donation requested, but no one will be turned away for lack of funds. Open to the public. . The Greater Boston Stop the Wars Coalition invites you to a discussion of the way forward with presentations by Joe Gerson (AFSC), Anne Miller (NH Peace Action), Dorotea Manuela (Boston Rose Parks Human Rights Day Committee), and Eljeer Hawkins (Socialist Alternative). Informal reception to follow. For more info: