What’s happening: Real Media/PMC newsletter #1

Real Media logo and Phoenix Media Co-op logo side by side

Real Media and Phoenix Media Co-op have teamed up to release a regular newsletter. This aims to highlight and amplify the efforts of people struggling for a better world, in the UK and beyond.

Afghanistan: 20 years on

To begin with is a new Real Media interview marking 20 years of occupation in Afghanistan. This comes two months after the chauvinist Taliban retook control of the country.

Maya Evans volunteered for many years with the Afghanistan Peace Project. She visited the country on numerous occasions, working with grassroots groups to amplify the voices of women and children. And in a wide-reaching interview with Real Media, she speaks about the realities of life for poor rural people under the Taliban, the ethnic divisions in the country, and the growth in opium production and associated corruption under the noses of occupying forces. Since the withdrawal of troops, 95% of the population is facing food insecurity, but the UK Home Office is already deporting Afghan refugees on the basis that they face “no real risk or harm”.

Maya’s expert knowledge from a grassroots perspective provides a refreshing view in contrast to the corporate media’s usual reliance on wealthy voices from Kabul.

In other news

  • Dozens of Insulate Britain campaigners blocked roads again on 8 October. They continue to call for government action on home insulation – especially in “the homes of the poorest people”. They insist that the focus of their ongoing efforts is to save people’s lives while encouraging action against the climate crisis.
  • Black Lives Matter and the IWGB union supported Uber drivers striking outside the company’s UK headquarters. The workers insist that Uber’s algorithm discriminates against drivers with darker skin.
  • People in Liverpool hit the streets to highlight their opposition to the upcoming arms fair in the city. There’ll be more protests on 12 October.
  • Palestine Action occupied another arms factory, keeping up its resistance against Israel’s biggest private arms company, Elbit. The group also highlighted campaigners turning a fountain in Liverpool red ahead of the arms fair there. And it occupied the event’s venue.
  • There are petitions, meanwhile, calling for a price freeze of rail fares and for action to close tax loopholes (which have come into focus yet again as a result of the Pandora Papers).
  • There’ll also be a week of action later in the month to try and stop the government from using the NHS as a battleground in its ongoing ‘Hostile Environment’ efforts.

Around the world

  • In response to fascist attacks on Italy’s biggest trade-union federation, Italian unions have called for a mass anti-fascist protest on 16 October.
  • In Peru, an indigenous community began to block a road in resistance against decades of environmental damage due to copper mining. And their pressure certainly attracted corporate attention in the region.
  • Over in the US, there was lots of union action and organising. Kellogg’s workers, for example, were striking for equal pay. School bus drivers in Annapolis have also been organising. Communications workers in California, meanwhile, rallied against unfair labour practices; as did hospital workers in Oregon. And in one of the biggest potential actions, tens of thousands of ‘behind-the-scenes’ workers in Hollywood could soon go on strike.