Tag Archives: Italy

Global Climate Movement Warns Nations Have Just 6 Months to End Fossil Fuel Finance

“The pandemic has shown that governments can rapidly mobilize massive sums of public money,” says one campaigner. “This is the moment to do it, and accelerate the transition.”

By Brett Wilkins  Published 5-19-2022 by Common Dreams

Clean energy advocates march in an anti-fossil fuel protest in San Francisco. (Photo: Greenbelt Alliance/flickr/cc)

More than 120 civil society groups from around the world on Thursday warned that nations have only six months left to meet a collective commitment made at last year’s United Nations Climate Conference to end public financing of fossil fuels.

The organizations detailed steps nations must take as soon as possible to comply with their obligations under the Glasgow Statement on International Public Support for the Clean Energy Transition, a product of last year’s COP26 summit. Continue reading

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Workers Mark May Day With Pro-Labor Protests Worldwide

“It’s a May Day of social and civil commitment for peace and labor,” said Daniela Fumarola, head of Italy’s CISL union.

By Jessica Corbett  Published 5-1-2022 by Common Dreams

Immigrants and allies marching in Washington DC on May 1, 2022. Photo: United We Dream/Twitter

Workers and labor rights advocates across the globe came together Sunday for demonstrations marking International Workers’ Day, or May Day.

Organizers held about 250 actions across France, many pressuring newly reelected French President Emmanuel Macron to ditch his plan to raise the retirement age from 62 to 65. Reuters reported that “marchers carried banners reading ‘Retirement Before Arthritis,’ ‘Retirement at 60, Freeze Prices,’ and ‘Macron, Get Out.'” Continue reading

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‘We Are Fighting Back’: Global Black Friday Strikes and Protests Seek to #MakeAmazonPay

“We are workers and activists divided by geography and our role in the global economy but united in our commitment to Make Amazon Pay fair wages, its taxes, and for its impact on the planet.”

By Kenny Stancil.  Published 11-25-2021 by Common Dreams

Workers at the FRA3 Amazon datacenter in Frankfurt, Germany. Photo: Amazon Workers International/Twitter

On Black Friday, more than 70 labor unions and progressive advocacy groups shut down workplaces and hit the streets in cities around the globe to demand—on Amazon’s most profitable day of the year—that the sprawling tech and logistics corporation pay a living wage to its employees and a fair share of taxes to compensate the societies in which it operates.

“From oil refineries, to factories, to warehouses, to data centers, to corporate offices in countries across the world, workers and activists are rising up in strikes, protests, and actions to Make Amazon Pay,” reads the campaign’s website. While the international coalition held its first Black Friday day of action 12 months ago, opposition to Amazon’s abuses has only grown since then, and work stoppages and rallies targeting the e-commerce giant were expected in at least 20 countries on every inhabited continent this year.

According to the Make Amazon Pay coalition, planned actions include:

  • In Kathmandu, Nepal, organizers from the UNICOME Nepal and UNI Nepal Liaison Council will protest in defense of Amazon suppliers and their rights to decent conditions;
  • In Berlin, Germany, warehouse workers will march on the site of Amazon’s HQ to launch the Amazon Workers Against Surveillance;
  • In Toronto, Canada, postal workers and the Warehouse Worker Resource Center will march on the Brampton Amazon facility to demand better wages;
  • In Buenos Aires, Argentina, activists will take action at the Axion oil refinery against Amazon’s services to fossil fuel corporations like BP; and
  • In Warsaw, Poland, a broad coalition of unions and environmentalists will take to the streets to protest Amazon’s worker repression and arbitrary firings at its warehouses.

Sharan Burrow, general secretary of the International Trade Union Confederation, said Friday that people worldwide are demonstrating “to end corporate impunity, to end the scandal of [Amazon’s] monopoly power.”

“They pay little or no tax, yet their obscene wealth is actually untrammeled,” Burrow continued. She emphasized the need to “stan[d] with Amazon workers every day” and thanked unions for their solidarity.

Amazon is headquartered in the United States, but its reach is global—with a massive workforce of roughly 1.3 million people, excluding countless others employed by the company’s subcontractors, and a carbon footprint larger than two-thirds of the world’s countries. Resistance to one of the most powerful corporate empires in history—founded by Jeff Bezos, currently the second-richest person on the planet—is also transnational.

“Amazon is everywhere, involved in almost every step of the global economy, but we are too,” explains the coalition, which includes Progressive International, UNI Global Union, Amazon Workers International, and dozens of other trade unions and civil society organizations working to stamp out inequality, tax evasion, and climate injustice.

“At every link in this chain of abuse, we are fighting back,” the coalition says. “We are workers and activists divided by geography and our role in the global economy but united in our commitment to Make Amazon Pay fair wages, its taxes, and for its impact on the planet.”

Campaigners from the United Kingdom, Spain, Italy, Argentina, Bangladesh, Germany, Cambodia, and Poland described how “Amazon just doesn’t give a shit”—exploiting workers and consumers, despoiling the environment, dodging taxes, and using its ill-gotten gains to wield enormous, anti-democratic influence over lawmakers.

The Covid-19 pandemic, in particular, “has exposed how Amazon places profits ahead of workers, society, and our planet,” the Make Amazon Pay coalition notes on its website.

Last year, for instance, Amazon became a trillion-dollar corporation. According to a video on the coalition’s website, “Amazon’s wealth has increased so much during the pandemic that its owners could pay all 1.3 million of its employees a $690,000 Covid bonus and still be as rich as they were in 2020.”

Bezos—who paid a 1.1% true tax rate between 2006 and 2018, according to a June report from ProPublica—also became the first individual to amass a personal fortune of more than $200 billion. He surpassed that figure in August 2020, just a few months after he eliminated the short-lived hazard pay of Amazon employees, who have continued toiling at great risk to their own health.

In addition, Amazon’s union-busting tactics were on full display earlier this year in Bessemer, Alabama during a drive organized by the Retail Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU).

Union organizers at the Bessemer warehouse came up short in the April election, but an official at the National Labor Relations Board has recommended invalidating those results and mandating a new vote after RWDSU filed nearly two dozen complaints alleging that Amazon illegally threatened employees with loss of pay and benefits, installed and surveilled an unlawful ballot collection box, and expelled pro-union workers from so-called “captive audience” meetings during which management argued against unionization.

In addition to ruthlessly squashing unionization efforts, Amazon denies governments revenue “through its world-beating efforts at tax dodging,” says the Make Amazon Pay Coalition.

“Like all major corporations, Amazon’s success would be impossible without the public institutions that citizens built together over generations,” the coalition stresses. “But instead of giving back to the societies that helped it grow,” the e-commerce giant “paid just 1.2% tax in the U.S.” in 2019, “up from 0% the two previous years.”

As far as pollution goes, the coalition points out, “Amazon’s growing delivery and cloud computer businesses are accelerating global climate breakdown.”

Bezos, meanwhile, said in July—immediately following his first suborbital flight, which he admitted was paid for by Amazon workers—that he thinks it would be a good idea to relocate industrial production to outer space, threatening, however unrealistically, to push capitalism’s detrimental impacts beyond Earth’s atmosphere.

A study published earlier this month found that “the emissions from a single billionaire spaceflight would exceed the lifetime emissions of someone in the poorest billion people” in the world.

Highlighting Amazon’s environmental destruction here on planet Earth, Extinction Rebellion blocked a total of 15 fulfillment centers throughout Europe on Black Friday, in solidarity with striking workers.

In its list of demands, the Make Amazon Pay coalition says that it is fighting for better pay for Amazon’s workers—”in line with the increasing wealth of the corporation, including hazard pay and premium pay for peak times”—as well as improved working conditions and benefits, such as paid sick leave “so that no worker has to choose between their health or their job.”

The coalition also seeks to protect Amazon workers’ rights to organize as well as unions’ rights to promote the interests of employees—without fear of surveillance and retaliation, throughout the company’s global supply chains.

In addition, the campaign is pushing for Amazon to commit to zero emissions by 2030 and to eliminate “tax abuse through profit shifting, loopholes, and the use of tax havens,” among other demands to safeguard consumers’ data.

“Amazon is not alone in these bad practices,” the coalition acknowledges, “but it sits at the heart of a failed system that drives the inequality, climate breakdown, and democratic decay that scar our age.”

This work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0)
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Near-Record Temps and Deadly Fires Engulf Southern Europe

“Everything is going to burn. Our land, our animals, and our house.”

By Andrea Germanos, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 8-2-2021

A wildfire in Turkey. Photo: Khaled Bedouin/Twitter

Southern Europe continues to bake and burn under intense heat Monday as scores of fires have forced evacuations and caused mass destruction across Italy, Greece, and Turkey.

“We are facing the worst heat wave since 1987,” Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said Monday, referring to week-long soaring temperatures that year which claimed over 1,000 lives. Continue reading

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G7 Countries Reach Deal on 15% Global Minimum Tax Rate for Multinational Corporations

One critic of the agreement said that “by settling for anything less than a 25% tax rate, the G7 is telling their citizens and the world that they’re willing to keep the race to the bottom alive and kicking.”

By Jake Johnson, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 6-5-2021

U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen at the World Bank 2021 Spring Meetings. Phpto: World Bank/flickr/CC

Representatives from seven of the world’s wealthiest nations reached an agreement on Saturday to support a global minimum tax rate of at least 15% for multinational companies, a move aimed at curbing the use of tax havens and ending the decades-long race to the bottom on corporate taxation.

The deal struck by the U.S., Japan, Germany, France, the U.K., Italy, and Canada still faces a long road to implementation, but Saturday’s development marks substantial progress toward a global accord that could allow governments to raise revenue from corporate giants notorious for shifting operations and profits overseas to avoid taxes. Continue reading

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‘Saving Lives Is Never a Crime’: Aid Groups Reject Charges Over Mediterranean Refugee Rescue Missions

“This is a political declaration of intent to criminalize solidarity, and it has a deadly consequence: people die, when they could be saved,” said the crew of the vessel Iuventa.

By Andrea Germanos, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 3-5-2021

“This is a political declaration of intent to criminalize solidarity, and it has a deadly consequence: people die, when they could be saved,” the Iuventa crew said. (Photo: Iuventa10.org)

Humanitarian organizations are rejecting what they say is an attempt to criminalize lifesaving aid to migrants and refugees at sea after Italian prosecutors charged three groups with aiding and abetting illegal immigration through their rescue operations in the Mediterranean.

Over 20 people are facing up to 20 years in prison.

The sea has been ominously dubbed a refugee graveyard as frequent shipwrecks of vessels crossing from Libya, as well as a drop in rescue missions, have claimed scores of lives. The United Nations says that in 2020 alone hundreds died along the route. Continue reading

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7 ways women of colour resisted racism this year

Women are leading anti-racist activism around the world, from Black Brazilians running for election to Germany’s migrant rights movement. #12DaysofResistance

By Sophia Seawell  Published 12-30-2020 by openDemocracy

Anti-Racism Protest in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia. June 8, 2020. Photo: Andrew Mercer/Wikimedia Commons/CC

The murder of George Floyd in May this year triggered uprisings against and conversations about racism in countries across the world. It felt as though the Black Lives Matter movement – founded in 2013 by three Black women in the US – had gone global on an unprecedented scale.

And while racism is an issue that transcends borders (White supremacy was, after all, a colonial project), it takes on different forms in different contexts. What constitutes racism in Canada may look quite different from racism in India or Brazil. Continue reading

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‘Can Anybody Still Deny That We Are Facing a Dramatic Emergency?’ Asks UN Chief at Climate Summit

“If we don’t change course,” he warned, “we may be headed for a catastrophic temperature rise of more than 3 degrees this century.”

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 12-12-2020

The Orroral Valley Fire viewed from Tuggeranong, Australia on the evening of January 20, 2020. Photo: Nick-D/CC

World leaders aren’t doing enough to address the human-caused climate crisis.

That seemed to be the main message of United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres’ speech on Saturday at the Climate Ambition Summit 2020, hosted by the U.N., the United Kingdom, and France in partnership with Chile and Italy to mark the fifth anniversary of the Paris agreement.

“Paris promised to limit temperature rise to as close to 1.5 degrees as possible. But the commitments made in Paris were far from enough to get there. And even those commitments are not being met,” Guterres said. “Carbon dioxide levels are at record highs. Today, we are 1.2 degrees hotter than before the industrial revolution. If we don’t change course, we may be headed for a catastrophic temperature rise of more than 3 degrees this century.” Continue reading

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Calling for End of ‘Shadow Pandemic,’ Rallies Across Globe to Mark International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women

“Men’s violence against women is also a pandemic—one that pre-dates the virus and will outlive it.”

By Julia Conley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 11-25-2020

Activists and policymakers around the world on Wednesday marked the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women and kicked off 16 days of activism against gender-based violence, with advocates holding rallies as global leaders took steps toward fighting what many have called the “shadow pandemic” of violence against women.

The rallies were held as experts reiterated warnings that were first issued when economic shutdowns began in many countries around the world due to the coronavirus pandemic: As many families have been largely confined to their homes this year to mitigate the spread of Covid-19, reports of violence by men against women have skyrocketed. Continue reading

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Why the US has nuclear weapons in Turkey – and may try to put the bombs away

A B-61 bomb, like the ones stored at the US Incirlik Airbase in Turkey. Flickr/Kelly Michals, CC BY-SA

Miles A. Pomper, Middlebury

As the Syrian crisis pits Turkish troops against former U.S.-allied Kurdish forces, Pentagon officials have been reviewing plans to remove 50 nuclear bombs stored at a U.S air base in Turkey.

A congressional directive to the Pentagon to quickly assess alternative homes for U.S. “personnel and assets” currently stationed at Incirlik Air Base is part of a broader bipartisan bill, still being debated, that proposes sanctions against Turkey. President Donald Trump has been forced to issue public reassurances that the weapons are secure. Continue reading

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