Dan Gallin’s Solidarity: A Review

by Paul Garver

gallinbookcover225Dan Gallin’s career as a socialist and union activist now spans more than six decades.   Child of an exiled Romanian diplomat, he was recruited to “Third Camp” Socialism (Socialist Youth League/International Socialist League) as a college student at the University of Kansas in the early 1950’s.  Forced to leave the USA for his political activities, he rejoined his family in Switzerland where he became a Swiss citizen and a member of the Swiss Socialist Party.  Opting to labor in the international workers’ movement rather than the socialist political movement, he joined the staff of the International Union of Food Workers (IUF), which he served as General Secretary from 1968 to 1997.

Solidarity is a collection of 19 of Dan Gallin’s essays, including  two autobiographical articles, three pieces from the late 1950s and early 1960s, one from his tenure as IUF General Secretary, and the  remainder from the last twelve years.  Dan Gallin’s interview by Eric Lee of LabourStart can serve as an introduction to the book.

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Dan Gallin on the international labor movement

by Stuart Elliott

Dan Gallin’s book Solidarity was officially and fittingly launched at the recent LabourStart “Global Crisis, Global Solidarity” conference. Gallin, now in his eighties, is a legendary figure in the international labor movement, having served for many years as General Secretary of the IUF, the international trade union secretariat of food workers union. Gallin transformed, modernized, and democratized the IUF. Unafraid to break new ground, guided by the values of “third camp socialism” he learned in the American Independent Socialist League, he embraced the organization of domestic and informal workers decades ago. Currently, he is  Chair of the Global Labour Institute (GLI), a labor service organization established in 1997 with a secretariat in Geneva, with affiliates in Moscow and New York . In this video, he is introduced by Eric Lee, founding editor of LabourStart.


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Cambodian government shoots strikers, kills five

An urgent message from Eric Lee of LabourStart:

camdbodia_lsOn January 3, 2014, the Cambodian government sent military police to attack a demonstration of striking garment workers.  The police opened fire with AK-47 rifles killing five workers and injuring dozens more.

The government has since banned all demonstrations and used military force to clear the streets. At least 39 workers have been detained and are held in unknown locations. Faced with this brutal repression, the unions have called off the strike and workers are returning to work, although they are continuing to press their demands for an increased minimum wage.

They are no longer on strike — but their struggle continues and they are asking for our help.

Please take a moment to support the campaign demanding that the Cambodian government stop the violence, restore freedom of association and assembly, release the detained workers and drop any charges against them, and resume negotiations for an increase in the minimum wage:

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Firefox OS: What it is – and what it means for you and your union

by Eric Lee

firefoxosbookcover200Back in 1993 I was asked to look into how unions were using computer networks and email.

The result was my 1996 book on the labour movement and the internet — and after that, LabourStart.

Twenty years on and I’ve been looking into how we in the trade union movement use the new communications tools — smartphones and tablets — and the result is a new book I’ve just co-authored with Jeremy Green, “Firefox OS for Activists“.

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How do trade unionists use the net in 2013?

LS_logoThanks to the thousands of you who participated in LabourStart‘s third annual survey of trade union use of the net.
Over 3,000 of you participated this year and as promised, we’re sharing the results with you and your unions.
Here are some highlights of what we learned:

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Danny Glover delivers a blockbuster message about fairness at Nissan

by Eric Lee

Danny Glover, the star of Lethal Weapon and other Hollywood blockbusters, delivered a message to the LabourStart conference which opened yesterday in Sydney, Australia.

I’d like to ask you to take a minute to watch the video:

Then please sign up to the online campaign, here:

Here’s why:

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Stop the crackdown on labour NGOs in China

The Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions has launched a new campaign on LabourStart to demand an end to the crackdown on labour non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in Shenzhen Municipality, in China.

More than 10 labour organizations were pressed to close down and to leave the communities they have been serving for years.

This systematic harassment is weakening those organizations, which have been providing services such as paralegal aid, labour law training and labour policy advocacy to the local migrant communities.

To show your support, please click here. More info below the break.

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Morocco, Tunisia, Egypt – the fight for workers rights intensifies

by Eric Lee

Remember the “Arab Spring”? It was supposed to mean a new era of freedom for workers. But in Morocco, Tunisia and Egypt, union leaders and activists are being jailed and sacked in brutal attempts to crush independent trade unions.

Global unions have launched online campaigns to protest and we need your support and the support of your fellow union members to put pressure on governments and companies in North Africa to begin to respect workers’ rights.

In Morocco, Said Elhairech, the general secretary of the Moroccan dockers union was arrested in Casablanca on false charges, including one relating to national security. Nearly three months later, he’s still being held, denied bail. The International Transport Workers Federation has launched a global campaign to demand his release. Send your message to the Moroccan government today by clicking here.

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Unionists and North Korea

by Eric Lee

Behind the propaganda, the reality is bleak for North Korean workers.

It’s “North Korea Freedom Week” – I’ll be you didn’t know that – and I was able to hear first hand from three North Korean refugees at a meeting at the House of Commons in London on Wednesday just what life is like in that country.   (There were also speakers from other groups, including Amnesty International.)  One of the points made at the meeting was that considering that the human rights situation in North Korea is so poor, perhaps the worst in the world, it is extraordinary how few people raise this issue.  The North Korean regime clearly benefits from the fact that so little attention is paid to violations of human rights there.

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Iran: Stop the execution of Abdolreza Ghanbari


Abdolreza Ghanbari

This solidarity appeal is simple, scary, and most definitely urgent. University trade unionist Abdolreza Ghanbari is facing the death penalty. His only political activity has been as a trade unionist, though the crime he was convicted of is ‘enmity towards god’.

If executed he will be the second Iranian teacher-trade unionist killed for his workplace activism in the past few years. Join the global campaign sponsored by the Education International, the global union federation for education workers, and send a message to the Iranian government telling them that the world is watching and asking that the sentence be commuted.

Take Action Now to Stop the Execution of Abdolreza Ghanbari

Abdolreza Ghanbari, a 44-year-old lecturer of Payam e Nour University, was arrested at his home in Pakdasht on 4 January 2010. He was charged with Moharebeh (enmity towards God) for receiving unsolicited emails from an armed opposition group, to which he does not belong. While in detention at the notorious Evin Prison, Prof. Ghanbari was interrogated for 25 days in a row and forced to confess under duress to unproven charges. Nasrin Sotoudeh was his lawyer until he was himself condemned to a six year sentence in Evin prison for “propaganda against the regime” and “acting against national security”. In 2007, Prof. Ghanbari had already been detained for 120 days and sentenced to a six-month suspension from teaching and exiled from Sari to Pakdasht. Prof. Ghanbari has no known political connections. He was previously involved in teacher union activities until his union ITTA was dissolved in 2007.

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