Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Greece: Call for action for the refugees in Patras

Emergency call for action for the rights of the refugees in Patras, Greece, who are facing a coordinated and escalating effort by the police and local authorities and the deadline to leave their self-made shelters before demolition ends tomorrow.

Today, a demo took place, with the participation of about 1000 afghans, and of course the support of solidarity groups.

In parallel, there is an ongoing e-mail campaign to the authorities, to stop immediately this brutal attack, stop criminalizing the refugees, and start solving the problems with measures of social support.

We hope that you can participate in this campaign.

You can find
a sample letter (and info) at

or alternatively in

use a few minutes of your time for filling in your name/email
the form containing a sample letter
which upon submission
will be automatically sent to
*Mr Sioufas, president of the Greek Parliament dimgsioufas@ parliament. gr
*Mr Katsikopoulos governor
*Mr Fouras , mayor mayor@patras. gr


On the south east side of Europe, at Patras, the first European port to the west, hundreds of young men, some as young as 10 year old have only one wish: they dream of a sea passage taking them over to western Europe. These young men are fleeing their homeland, Afghanistan, a homeland that for the last 28 years is at war. They are trying to escape the war , poverty and authoritarian political regimes. They are looking for better living conditions. After weeks and months of risky journeys they reach Patras. For the last 12 years the refugees that keep coming have faced all at the same time institutional violence, indifference and some times merely tolerance of their existence. The port police have been violent but refugees could "live" at a self made, almost like paper shelter facilities up until they could find a way to go west. The present conditions of the self made "almost like paper' camp are horrible: there are no sanitary facilities, lack of drinking water and no provision of garbage collection. People are hungry and terrified.

In the last week though the refugees have faced a coordinated effort from the police, the central and the local government to move them away from the port. Demolition of their self made shelter facilities has started

The police have given them few days to gather their things. This coming Wednesday the demolition will be completed. People are telling us that they prefer to die than to live under the regime of terror and insecurity. Children have disappeared from the shelter while their relatives from Afghanistan are looking at them frantically. Activists and local people have been trying to help anyway they can but with no available infrastructure this has been extremely hard.

What happens in Patras is part of the same paradoxical situation that has been arisen all over European Union: while the rich countries of European Union become more and more cooperative and move closer to each other, the practical possibility of getting there becomes more and more limited for a large section of the population coming from the third countries. The European Union instead of reacting to increasing emigration efforts with a coherent policy to reflect a belief that each country of the world has control over its resources to take care the needs of its people, the European states are meeting the challenge, above all, by strengthening their borders. Greece has also been affected by the increasing 'harmonization' in European refugee and migration policies, which are shifting 'fencing-in' measures and repression to the centre of attention. Whereas the Greek government has recently shown itself determined to keep refugees/immigrants without papers away from its ports (Patras and Igoymenitsa) that are gates to the west, by all possible means. Police, demolitions, detentions, arrests and abductions can not keep the people wanting to leave their war and poverty torn countries.

We demand humane living conditions for all the refugees and immigrants. We demand freedom of movement of all people. Freedom of movement of all people encompasses different struggles of migration taking place every day throughout Europe : struggles for housing and legalization, struggles against racism and camps, struggles on the workplace, the struggles of women for liberation.

Antiracist Initiative of Thessaloniki

Friday, January 25, 2008

Overseas migration has taken the face of a woman

12/18/2007 | 09:02 PM
With more than 70 percent of Filipinos working abroad belonging to the female gender, it has become obvious that overseas migration has taken on a woman’s face. This has been the situation in the last four years.

When the Philippines adopted its labor export policy in the 1970s, female workers going overseas comprised only 12 percent of the migration pie. The share steadily became bigger, going up to 48.2 percent in 1987, to 55 percent in 1993, and even bigger to 64 percent seven years ago.

Filipino women workers are scattered in 197 countries as domestic helpers, caregivers, entertainers, nurses, clerical and sales workers, and professional and technical employees.

However, the Center for Migrants Advocacy noted that while women comprise more than 70 percent of OFWs, their remittances in 2005 only took up 57 percent of what the men remit.

“This strongly suggests that women migrants work in unskilled, low-paid and unprotected jobs," the CMA said in its “2006 Working Paper on Overseas Migration."

“Migrant women, because of the nature of their work and lowered status, usually end up victims to the more serious problems of migration: physical and sexual abuse, drug dependence, prostitution, mysterious or violent deaths, and trafficking in women. Other migrant women end up on the missing persons list," the CMA said.

“They are the disadvantaged sector," said Rep. Edcel Lagman, senior vice chairman of the special committee on OFWs at the House of Representatives.

Data from the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) reveal that female new hires totaling 205, 206 comprised 72 percent of the deployment in 2005, and most of them are household workers.

The deployment of males totaled 79, 079 or roughly 18 percent of the total, compared to 26 percent in 2004.

In its 2005 report, the POEA attributed the increase in the female OFW deployment to the sizeable increase in the number of household workers which offset the decline in the number of deployed female overseas performing artists (OPAs).

In 2006, POEA reported a ground breaking record in the number of OFWs deployed in 197 destination countries at 1, 062, 567, or 7.5 percent more than the 988, 615 deployed in 2005. The POEA the 2006 deployment record was the highest in 30 years, with corresponding record-breaking remittances of $12.76 billion from $10.69 billion in 2005.

On the average, the POEA facilitated the daily deployment of about 3,000 Filipino workers for overseas jobs. About 60% of those newly deployed are women.

In 2004, the National Statistics Office said the number of female OFWs increased by 13.5 percent while the number of male OFWs increased by 3.1 percent compared to the previous year.

Of the estimated 1.06 million OFWs in 2004, 49.3 percent (524,000) were men while 50.7 percent (539,000) were women.

The increase in the number of female OFWs was observed in all age groups. The bulk of female OFWs (24.3 percent) belonged to the 25-29 age group, while 23.9 percent of male OFWs were 45 years old or older in 2004.

Data from the Center for Migrants and Advocacy (CMA) in 2004 indicated that there are about 2,755 Filipinos who are either in detention centers, under house arrest, or with pending cases in court, in top seven countries of OFW destination – Malaysia, Israel, Japan Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Hong Kong and Kuwait.

Of the 2,755, 470 of them are women. In Israel, 1,028 OFWs are facing legal problems. “Considering that 98 percent of OFWs in Israel are women, it can be assumed that most of those detained are women," a CMA study revealed.

‘3D jobs’

The CMA said female overseas workers are exposed to the “3D jobs" (dirty, dangerous and demeaning), such as domestic work, jobs that are shunned by nationals of receiving countries.

“With cheaper salaries and lesser benefits, most of these jobs are not covered by labor laws and unregulated by the host government," a CMA report said.

Noriel Devanadera, deputy administrator of the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration, said female OFWs, particularly those working as domestic helpers, are considered part of the “vulnerable" sector.

The OWWA has discouraged the posting of OFWs classified under the vulnerable sector, but there is no ban on their deployment. “We ask them handa ka ba not just physically but also emotionally. Once he or she said yes, it’s a go," Devanadera said.

Devanadera assured that the number of abuses is very few. “If you look in terms of number, it’s exceptionally few. However, in terms of seriousness, it is alarming, disappointing and frustrating," he said.

OWWA records revealed that about 80 percent of welfare cases filed involve women OFWs working as domestic helpers.

Labor Secretary Arturo Brion, however, said domestic helpers comprised only 90,000, or less than 10 percent of the 1.083 million OFWs in 2006.

Migrante International, however, said most Filipina migrant workers in the Middle East and Asia are household service workers.

Gov’t strategy

The Philippine government’s found a way to reduce the number of female OFWs, particularly domestic helpers: Change the name to “household service worker" and set a new guideline in their deployment.

The guideline, which was crafted by the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration, was implemented in March 2007. It increased the entry level or minimum salary of household workers to $400 from $200, prescribed a minimum age of 25 years old, and added a requirement to undergo skills training from the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority.

Five months after the new policy was implemented, Brion announced that deployment of domestic helpers in the Middle East dropped by 9 to 10 percent. He did not say if the decline was due to the new policy.

Also, Labor attaché Romeo Young in Oman reported that job requests for household workers decreased to 15 percent of the total job orders during the first quarter of the year. He said job orders in Oman for Filipino workers have shifted from domestic helpers to services and technical workers.

The new policy on household workers has been the subject of several hearings at the House of Representatives, especially under the committee for of OFWs chaired Lagman. After three meetings, the committee failed to come up of with recommendations.

Lagman said the new policy is effective.

In November, Brion announced that the policy has removed the “slave-like" classification of domestic work in Saudi Arabia. He said Filipino domestic workers are now recognized as household service workers who are equipped with a set of skills, training and high school education.

Long history of deployment

In 1975, there were only about 36,000 Filipinos “deployed" in other countries. Two years before the 1986 “People Power" uprising, the number increased to 350,982.

In 1987, the number of OFWs increased by almost 18 percent from 378,214 OFWs in 1986 to 449,271 in 1987.

The biggest increase in the number of Filipinos who decided to work abroad was recorded during the last year in office of President Corazon Aquino in 1991. From 446,095 OFWs in 1990, the number shoots up to 615,019, or by 37.87 percent.

In 1994, the deployment of OFWs doubled to 718,407 compared to 378,214 when Marcos was ousted in 1986.

In 1998, the number of OFWs reached 831,643, then 867,599 in 2001.

In 2002, a year after Gloria Macapagal Arroyo came to power, there were 891,908 OFWs. After four years, in 2006, the number rose to 1.221 million documented workers.

The Commission on Filipinos Overseas estimate Filipinos abroad at 8.233 million, composed of 3.556 million permanent residents, 3.802 million temporary residents, and 874,792 irregular.

Temporary measure becomes permanent

Lagman said the deployment of OFWs was initiated by Marcos in 1974 to serve as a “stop gap" measure to give employment to the people and, at the same time, for the government to earn additional dollars.

“We should remind the government that this (OFW deployment) is not a permanent policy. What is started as stop gap measure during the time of Marcos has become more or less a permanent policy already," Lagman said.

In 2005, POEA Administrator Rosalinda Baldoz said “the exodus of Filipino workers will continue." She said OFW deployment has ceased to be a temporary stop-gap measure. “It has become a permanent fixture of Philippine labor, economic and foreign policy," Baldoz said.

The cost of going abroad

Migrante deplored the “policy" and accused the government of exploiting OFWs to generate revenue. (The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas expects that OFW remittances in 2007 through the banking sector will reach $14.6 billion.)

The group said that aside from remittances, the government earns from migrant workers through charges “every step of the way in the whole migration process."

Migrante said that the government collects about P10,000 from each of first time OFWs.

Expenses for a new OFW includes $100 or its peso equivalent (P4,200 at an exchange rate of P42:$1) as POEA fee; the peso equivalent of $25 OWWA membership fee; and P900 for Medicare.

An OFW has also to spend P2,500 for medical examination; P3,000 for trade test; P500 for passport; P120 for clearance from the National Bureau of Investigation; and P110 for a copy of his or her birth certificate from the National Statistics Office.

“If everyday, 3,000 Filipinos leave to work abroad, this is a whooping P30 million per day. This does not even count the taxes that the government collects from businesses related to migration such as recruitment agencies and finance companies," Migrante said in a statement.

“When the government is in need, they turn to OFWs. However, whenever OFWs are in need, the government turns its back from OFWs," Migrante opined.

Going abroad a necessity

OWWA Administrator Marianito Roque said it is the government’s dream to make overseas employment an option, instead of a necessity.

Roque said sending OFWs abroad is still a stop-gap measure to help those who could not find employment in the country. The temptation, however, of a better pay abroad is a difficult to resist.

Devanadera said Filipinos opt to work abroad not anymore for money.

“Before, working abroad is an economic issue, pero ngayon, it seems that it already became a cultural issue." He said some OFWs are accepting a P10,000 or P7,000 monthly salary for the sake of being called nakapag-abroad. - Fidel Jimenez, GMANews.TV

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Mapuche Political Prisoner Patricia Troncoso in Critical Condition

More than 95 days in Hunger Strike





“Patricia Troncoso who began her fast in early October was taken to the hospital from her jail in the southern city of Angol to treat her deteriorating heath. She and three others were found guilty of “terrorism” for a series of “called” arson attacks on Mapuche lands, but owned by forestry companies. Their first trial ended in a mistrial, while in the second prosecutors used the testimony of an anonymous hooded witness to get a conviction. The four were charged and sentenced under a set of anti-terrorism laws passed during the Pinochet dictatorship. Efforts to reduce their charges from terrorism failed after negotiations broke down between the Mapuche, senators and the government. The Mapuche want prosecutors to stop using the anti-terrorist act. They are also demanding the return of Mapuche lands, currently in the hands of forestry companies be returned to Mapuche communities. The government says it is willing to listen and negotiate but not “under” pressure, now the government is waiting for Patricia Troncoso’s death”.

Help to save the life of Patricia Troncoso

The people mobilising and demanding its rights...achieve victories!

Building solidarity with Latin America and grassroots movements in our region

In Solidarity
Chilean Popular and Indigenous Network
Co-organised with Latin American Solidarity Network (LASNET)
More info: Contact Marisol on 0413 597 315 or write to
lasnet(at) or

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Racist attack in Rome. 250 Rroms risk being burnt to death

Rome. January 4th, 2008. Last night, at about 10 p.m., a devastating fire broke out inside the two sheds of the former Mira Lanza warehouse (each about 500 mts square) in the Marconi area of the city.

250 Rrom citizens had take shelter in the sheds, living in very harsh conditions. The fire broke out suddenly and spread with unprecedented speed throughout the sheds of the derelict warehouses.

Some of the Rroms noticed the flames and gave the alarm, allowing all the families, including 100 children, to make their escape. The fire was obviously a case of arson because it broke out in the same moment in both sheds, which stand many metres apart. It is impossible that the flames spread from one shed to the other. What is more, the speed with which the flames developed and spread and the height of the flames are typical of fires caused by Molotov cocktails.
The survivors of the fire told the authorities it was an incendiary bomb. The online press has not made any reference either to the evidence of an anomalous fire (arson), which developed in the same moment in two separate sheds (and which were not adjacent) or to the witnesses accounts (except for Il Velino, edited by Daniele Capezzone which reports the fire correctly). The presence of gas cylinders inside the sheds shows that the racist assassins intended to cause a massacre. The Rrom families have been transferred to the pavilions of the former Fiera di Roma. from where – it has already been announced – they will soon be ordered to leave. An investigation is underway, but experience teaches us that they are unlikely to reveal the cause of the fire, which was without doubt a case of arson. (further news about the persecution of Rroms in Italy)

Fact Sheet Presents Evidence of Mumia Abu-Jamal’s Innocence

Partisan Defense Committee P.O. Box 99, Canal Street Station, New York, NY 10013


PRESS RELEASE – 2 January 2008

Contact: Kevin Gilroy (212) 406-4252

Just Out! PDC Fact Sheet Presents Evidence of Mumia Abu-Jamal’s Innocence: A Refutation of Murdered by Mumia’s Big Lies in the Service of Legal Lynching

A new fact sheet providing massive evidence of the innocence of Mumia Abu-Jamal was released by the Partisan Defense Committee on 31 December 2007. It is online at and provides a detailed, point-by-point refutation of the book Murdered by Mumia (The Lyons Press, December 2007). The PDC fact sheet exposes the book as “a compendium of myths, falsehoods, misrepresentations and omissions—all aimed at the legal lynching of an innocent man, Mumia Abu-Jamal.”

Mumia is a former Black Panther Party spokesman, targeted by the Feds and cops since the age of 15, who became a supporter of the MOVE organization and a respected journalist known as the “voice of the voiceless.” He was framed up for the 9 December 1981 killing of Police Officer Daniel Faulkner in Philadelphia and sentenced to death explicitly for his political views. With a decision on Mumia’s case by the Third Circuit Court of Appeals due any day, the fight for his freedom is now reaching a critical stage.

Murdered by Mumia, by Michael Smerconish and Maureen Faulkner, Daniel Faulkner’s widow, claims that the records of Mumia’s 1982 trial and pre-trial witness statements “tell the story of how Abu-Jamal murdered my husband.” In fact, the trial records are replete with inconsistencies, unproven assertions, contradictory evidence and all the hallmarks of a racist frame-up. There is no evidence that Mumia shot Daniel Faulkner, and the “facts” claimed in Murdered by Mumia supposedly proving this story do not exist in the trial record. Since the 1982 trial, there has been a growing mountain of new evidence, including the sworn confession of Arnold Beverly that he, not Mumia, killed Faulkner. This evidence proves not only that Mumia is innocent, but that the police and prosecution falsified and suppressed evidence, coerced witnesses and orchestrated a monumental frame-up.

The PDC’s fact sheet was developed in consultation with attorneys Rachel Wolkenstein and Jonathan Piper, who were on Mumia’s legal team from 1995 to 1999. It cites transcripts, including dates and page numbers where testimony appears, from the 1982 trial and pre-trial testimony and 1995-97 post-conviction relief (PCRA) hearings (all designated as “N.T.”--Notes of Testimony), as well as affidavits filed in federal and state courts and police investigation reports (IIR--Investigation Interview Record), and citations from Murdered by Mumia including page numbers.

Journalists, activists, researchers—anyone concerned with uncovering the truth—should also see the July 2006 PDC pamphlet, The Fight to Free Mumia Abu-Jamal—Mumia Is Innocent!, which includes a detailed factual review of the case as well as affidavits and declarations. It is available at

The PDC’s aim is to arm those fighting for Mumia with the facts to refute the mendacity of those who want to execute him. This is part of the PDC’s effort to mobilize mass protest action on Mumia’s behalf that is centered on the social power of the labor movement and is based on the understanding that Mumia Abu-Jamal is an innocent man, the victim of a racist and political frame-up who must be freed now!

# # # # #

The PDC is a class-struggle, non-sectarian legal and social defense organization which champions cases and causes in the interest of the whole of the working people. This purpose is in accordance with the political views of the Spartacist League.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

ATIK for 2008

For 2008 we wish you a lot of fighting power, sunny days and always a smile in your faces.

'Atik-Yeniyil' von azadi

Confederation of workers from Turkey in Europe

Casualty of US aided, Turkish bombing in Iraq

'Rozerin Firat Roj' von azadi

Look into the eyes of this young woman, Rozerin Firat Roj, who has become one of the latest casualties of the US aided, Turkish bombing of the Gabar Mountains with Cobra helicopter gunships, F16 fighter jets and artillery shells. And reflect upon the fact that billions of dollars worth of ammunition and technological weaponry has been deployed to kill her.

Billions of dollars that could of been directed towards housing in Diyarbakir, training for employment for Kurdish youth or given to the poverty stricken Kurdish Councils.

Turkish intellectuals, columnists and 'analysts' are always keen to talk solely, about 'economic' solutions of 'The Kurdish Question', so what do they say about the billions of dollars wasted on bombing our friend above.

At this time of Christmas and Eid when loved ones get together and remember those who are no longer with us, please visit the 'martyrs' site and spare a moment of thought for the latest young Kurdish youths who have lost their lives in the struggle for Kurdish Freedom.

Kurdish youths, who left their homes in Turkey sick of the racism towards themselves and their families.

The same Kurdish youths who are the sons and daughters of the Kurdish refugees from the villages that were burnt down by the Turkish army. Their mothers salvaged what they could from their burnt houses and walked to the nearest city where they lived in poverty.

The youths who have many fathers, brothers, sisters or mothers in Turkish prisons and other relatives who have been killed in extra judicial killings or have faced severe physical and psychological torture.

Look into the eyes of our young friend above and think of the minds of the Turkish Generals who would rather drop laser guided bombs and hunt these young people with Cobra helicopters than accept peace offered time and time again.

And think of the Turkish politicians who wave the Turkish flag more furiously than the other, who applaud the killings and lust for more. And the Turkish nationalists who literally, are foaming at the mouth with unbridled pleasure at the death of our young friend and launch racist tirades at any Kurd who does not join in with their hatred and prejudice.

And then think of the Americans who told us they invaded Iraq to get rid of Saddam Hussain and who now aid Turkey to kill Kurds who want nothing more than peace and freedom.

Look into her eyes and know that the Kurdish Freedom Struggle is a just cause against the most barbaric policy of repression known to any people for so many, long and painful years.

Look into her eyes and ask the question...............why?

Why does the Turkish state continue to deny and refuse any solution to The Kurdish Question?

And then think how much longer can millions of Kurdish people continue to suffer with this?

And then, listen to the deafening and echoing silence of the voices of protest from the international community!

And then, ask yourself a question. Which side are you on?

Austrian service for British racism

"Asylum Airways", run by Austrian aviation consultant Heinz Berger, will operate aircraft for European countries who don't wish to use established airlines for the forced deportation of asylum-seekers, because in many occasions the victims managed to prevent their deportation by not following the order to sit down quietly, but by resisting and shouting for help to the other passengers. In some cases pilots refused to take deportees who were known to be injured or ill.

Bergers planes have specially designed seats so that the "passengers" can be strapped down and restrained by guards. And for sure there won't be any mercyfull passengers on board who might intervene to stop the madness.

Berger has ties to British security firms already active at British airports.

The British Home Office said that 45,000 people had been deported in the first three-quarters of the year 2007. Prisoner numbers have reached record levels of around 80,000 and two prisons in England are being used solely for foreign nationals.

It seems as if the slave ship is out of business for rather technical reasons than any others claimed by western governments. "Asylum Airways" is the modern version of the slave ship!

Die Grafik "" kann nicht angezeigt werden, weil sie Fehler enthält.