Tag Archives: Spain

The time for a four-day week has arrived

A new experiment from Iceland confirms what many of us have long suspected: reducing working hours improves wellbeing and productivity

By Jack Kellam.  Published 7-8-2021 by openDemocracy

Photo: Rawpixel Ltd/flickr/CC

Over the past six years, Iceland has been quietly conducting a major economic experiment. More than 2,500 public sector employees – representing over 1% of the country’s entire working population – reduced their working hours from 40 hours per week to 35 or 36 hours, with no loss of pay.

Trials of shorter working weeks are not new: in recent years a number of ‘four-day week’ experiments have taken place around the world – from Microsoft’s trial in Japan to Unilever’s experiment in New Zealand. But Iceland’s two trials, which took place between 2015 and 2021 among employees of the country’s national government and Reykjavík City Council, are unparalleled in terms of scale and scope. Progress was meticulously monitored by Icelandic researchers, which generated an unrivalled amount of evidence on the impact of shorter working hours. This week the key findings were published in a joint report published by Alda (Association for Sustainable Democracy) and Autonomy. Continue reading

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Afghans left to pick up the pieces of the West’s failed war

As the Taliban rapidly expand in the shadow of US and NATO allies’ retreat, has anyone considered the impact on innocent civilians?

By Paul Rogers.  Published 7-3-2021 by openDemocracy

Photo: Piqsels

Military leaders in the United States and Britain, as well as allied countries, now accept that they have lost their war with the Taliban.

When US President Joe Biden confirmed his predecessor Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw from Afghanistan, this was tacit acceptance of a position that is rarely stated so bluntly in public. Although General Austin S Miller, the US commander in Afghanistan, came close this week when he admitted it was worrisome that as his troops pull out, there has been a rapid loss of districts throughout the country to the Taliban. Continue reading

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US and Israel Vote ‘No’ as 184 Nations Condemn American Blockade of Cuba

“The U.N. vote… on Cuba was a chance for President Biden to show global leadership,” said CodePink co-founder Medea Benjamin. “He failed miserably.”

By Brett Wilkins, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 6-23-2021

New York City, April 2021. Photo: The All-Nite Images/flickr/CC

Peace and human rights advocates joined the United Nations General Assembly Wednesday in their annual condemnation of the United States’ disastrous economic embargo against Cuba.

For the 29th straight year, the members of the General Assembly voted overwhelmingly in favor of a resolution demanding an end to the 60-year U.S. economic blockade on Cuba. This year, 184 nations voted in favor of the resolution, while the U.S. and Israel voted against it. Three nations—Brazil, Colombia, and Ukraine—abstained. 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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Unlike US, Europe picks top judges with bipartisan approval to create ideologically balanced high courts

Demonstrators outside the U.S. Capitol on Sept. 21 called on the Republican-controlled Senate not to confirm a new justice until the next president is in office. Alex Edelman/AFP via Getty Images

David Orentlicher, University of Nevada, Las Vegas

Filling Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s seat on the Supreme Court immediately sparked a bitter partisan fight.

But choosing judges for the nation’s highest court doesn’t have to be so polarizing.

In some European countries, judicial appointments are designed to ensure the court’s ideological balance, and the entire process, from nomination to confirmation, is generally not seen as partisan. By choice and by law, high court justices in those places work together to render consensus-based decisions. Continue reading

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On Prime Day Workers and Consumers Both Let Amazon Know It’s Far From Prime

Despite Amazon’s history of union-busting activities and employee mistreatment in the United States, the company has struggled to cope with the activities of Europe’s organized workers’ movements.

By Elliott Gabriel. Published 7-18-2018 by MintPress News

Amazon Prime Day chaos as warehouse workers go on strike. Screenshot: YouTube

Amazon’s flagship annual sales event, Prime Day, encountered a tangle of difficulties starting Monday as aggrieved workers, boycotts, and a range of technical glitches brought new attention to the online retailer’s troubled internal regime.

For four years now, Prime Day has grown as the company’s top promotional event, bringing billions in revenue on a level comparable only to the holiday season’s Black Friday. For the past several weeks, the company has promoted the event widely across its site and various online media. The promotion is a 36-hour event. Continue reading

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Half a Million March in Massive Uprising Against Spanish Plan to Overtake Catalonia

Catalans poured into the streets of Barcelona Saturday following the Spanish prime minister announcement that he would move to take control of their region

By Julia Conley, staff writer for CommonDreams. Published 10-21-2017

Catalans did not take the news that Spanish Prime Minister will move to impose direct rule on their region quietly on Saturday. Nearly half a million people marched in Barcelona soon after the prime minister’s press conference.

Carles Puigdemont, president of Catalonia, joined the demonstration before a planned speech responding to Mariano Rajoy’s statement that pending the approval of the senate, which his party controls, he would remove the Catalan government from power and call for a special election in the coming months.

The protesters chanted, “Freedom!” and “Rajoy, Rajoy, so you know we are leaving!” Continue reading

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More Than 700 Injured as Spanish Police Try to Prevent Catalan Independence Vote

The Spanish government’s “unjustified use of violence,” says regional leader Carles Puigdemont, “will not stop the will of the Catalan people.”

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 10-1-2017

Police beating firemen in Girona. Photo: Gerry Lynch/Twitter

Update:

As of Sunday afternoon, more than 760 people were injured in Catalonia after Spanish police clashed with voters who attempted to cast votes for the region’s independence referendum, which Madrid has deemed unconstitutional, Reuters reports.

Despite the reports of violence, Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy praised the police force for its actions in Catalonia Sunday.

Alarming photos and videos continued to circulate on social media into the evening:

Earlier:

Catalan officials say Spanish police have injured more than 330 people who tried to vote during Catalonia’s independence referendum on Sunday.

Madrid has declared the vote unconstitutional, but Catalan citizens and members of the regional government have vowed to move forward with it. In recent days they have protested by the thousands, and even occupied more than 160 local schools that were set to serve as polling stations, in attempts to avoid the national police’s promise to prevent voting.

The BBC reports:

Police officers are preventing people from voting, and seizing ballot papers and boxes at polling stations. In the regional capital Barcelona, police used batons and fired rubber bullets during pro-referendum protests.

Catalan emergency services said they had treated 38 people who were injured when police pushed back crowds of voters and forced their way into polling stations. The Spanish interior ministry said 11 police officers had been injured.

Catalan firefighters even battled with police officers on Sunday, trying to protect voters from the national police. Videos of their exchanges quickly circulated on Twitter:

As police continue to seize ballot materials, Catalan government officials are allowing voters to print their own ballot papers and use any open polling station if theirs is shut down. Ballot papers simply as voters “Do you want Catalonia to become an independent state in the form of a republic?” and instruct them to check a box for “Yes” or “No.”

The regional government leader Carles Puigdemont condemned violence by the national police and Guardia Civil, who were sent to Catalonia to help with Madrid’s effort to stop the vote.

“The unjustified use of violence,” Puigdemont said, “by the Spanish state will not stop the will of the Catalan people.”

Several public figures outside of Spain turned to social media on Sunday to condemn the violence:

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License

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US Inequality Crisis Worst in Industrialized World. Trump Will Make It Worse.

If the policies favored by the Trump administration—including massive tax cuts for the rich and reductions in spending on Medicaid and education—go into effect, the U.S. will only fall further in the global rankings

By Jake Johnson, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 7-17-2017

“Policymaking processes dominated by elites undermine democracy,” Max Lawson and Matthew Martin write. (Photo: Dean Chahim/Flickr/cc)

The United States is already the most unequal industrialized nation in the world, and a new report published on Monday shows that President Donald Trump’s agenda would only make matters worse.

“The Commitment to Reducing Inequality Index,” developed by Oxfam in partnership with Development Finance International (DFI), uses several factors to “measure the commitment of governments to reducing the gap between the rich and the poor.”

Compared to other wealthy nations, the report concludes, the U.S. is doing “very badly” in the fight against income and wealth inequality. Continue reading

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The ‘terrorism’ of puppets: Spain’s crackdown on dissent

The arrest of two Spanish puppeteers accused of “promoting terrorism” in a play reveals the violence of the state in a way that satire never could.

By Peter Gelderoos. Published 2-11-2016 by ROAR Magazine

Demonstration in Madrid demanding the release of the two puppeteers on February 6. Photo: Revolution News

Demonstration in Madrid demanding the release of the two puppeteers on February 6. Photo: Revolution News

Farce and satire have been tools for criticizing authority figures since time immemorial, eroding their inflated social status, and bringing them back down to earth. But when the ruling class is limited only by their own courts and their own laws, they can surpass the cruelest farcical caricatures of unreasonable authority to make sure that when the curtain falls, no one is laughing.

The two puppeteers imprisoned for promoting terrorism in Spain last weekend might see the irony in their situation, but they are probably not smiling.

Raúl García and Alfonso Lázaro were performing a theater piece about government frame-ups during the Carnival celebrations in Madrid last Friday, February 5. In a sort of Punch and Judy routine, a witch puppet battled it out with a landlord, a judge, a nun, and the police. Continue reading

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