Thursday, August 25, 2011

Gearing up for the next wave of protests

Dar Addustour reports that political activists and youth organizations are gearing up for a demonstration September 9th in Baghdad's Tahrir Square. The protesters assert that the actions on the 9th will return Tahrir Square to the demonstrators and send notice to Nouri al-Maliki and his Cabinet that they need to resign. The 9th is being called "The Dawn of the Liberators" and the protests will kick off at 11:00 p.m. In related news, Al Rafidayn notes that the Sadr bloc is planning to issue an evaluation of Nouri al-Maliki. Per Moqtada al-Sadr, the bloc gave Nouri six months to show improvement in basic services, addressing corruption and other issues raised by the protesters. Last time, Moqtada sided with Nouri in an attempt to bury and derail the protests. His supporters may or may not allow that to be an option this time. Al Mada reports that yesterday Iraqi President Jalal Talabani gave a speech to Nouri al-Maliki and his cabinet, a speech in which he declared that Iraq was 'in bloom.' Other pearls Jalal tossed out included, "We need more facts, not just negatives."

Ali Abdel-Azim (Al Mada) reports that Knights of the State of Law -- a militia associated with Nouri al-Maliki's State of Law -- is causing problems not just in their threats on Kuwait (or their current attempts to take over Nineveh Province -- the Nineveh issue isn't noted in the article) but also in all the time and effort it's causing State of Law to deny that a conspiracy is currently taking place.

Meanwhile Al Mada reports MP Sabah al-Saddi, who serves on the Integrity Commission, is calling out Nouri al-Maliki for disregarding the problemsin the Ministry of Electricity. The minister resigned following questions about various contracts resulted in charges of fraud and corruption. Sabah al-Saadi notes that the Deputy Prime Minister was involved in the scandal and remains in place. al-Saadi states that this is "a continuation of a series of failures to solve the electicity problems" and that Nouri is doling out positions based upon loyalty and not upon qualifications and that the biggest victimin all of this is the Iraqi citizen.

We'll close with this from Bacon's "Fighting the firings" (In These Times):

BERKELEY, CA -- When the current wave of mass firings of immigrant workers started three years ago, they were called "silent raids" in the press. The phrase sought to make firings seem more humane than the workplace raids of the Bush administration. During Bush's eight-year tenure, posses of black-uniformed immigration agents, waving submachine guns, invaded factories across the country and rounded up workers for deportations.
"Silent raids," by contrast, have relied on cooperation between employers and immigration officials. The Department of Homeland Security identifies workers it says have no legal immigration status. Employers then fire them. The silence, then, is the absence of the armed men in black. Paraphrasing Woody Guthrie, they used to rob workers of their jobs with a gun. Now they do it with a fountain pen.
Silence also describes the lack of outcry on behalf of those workers losing their jobs. No delegations of immigrant rights activists have traveled to Washington DC to protest. Unions have said little, even as their own members were fired. And undocumented workers themselves have been afraid. Those working feared losing their jobs. Those already fired worried that immigration agents might come knocking on their doors at night.
Over the last few months, however, a wave of protest is starting to break that silence. In Berkeley, California, workers facing firings at Pacific Steel Castings, the largest steel foundry west of the Mississippi, have sought community support in a fight to keep their jobs. City councils in Oakland and Berkeley have passed resolution asking Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano to back off efforts to force the company to terminate them. Churches and immigrant rights activists have sent her letters with the same demand.

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