From the July-August 2021 issue of News & Letters
by Eugene Walker
Precarious Labor—Salaries below the minimum necessary for food, education, health and housing are the most prevalent in two decades. These jobs include few benefits, lack written contracts and have little social protection. This is not simply a question of living under the COVID-19 pandemic. The increasing trend of precarious labor was evident well before the pandemic hit. Most vulnerable are working women, two-thirds of whom are receiving poverty-level wages. Well over half of the work force today is in the informal economy, with no union and no benefits.
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Zapatistas in Spain—A delegation of Zapatistas has arrived in Spain after an ocean voyage from Mexico. They are being greeted by dozens of social movement organizations. Spain is their first stop on an extensive tour of dozens of European nations, where they will be sharing their experiences in constructing autonomy in Mexico, hoping to strengthen solidarity and relations with autonomy-building movements and organizations. “The Zapatista Tour for Life” begins with the Other Europe.
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The collapse of the Mexico City Metro-line— “The collapse was caused by poor execution of the work. The appropriate or sufficient materials were not used.” This was the preliminary statement of the Norwegian company hired to investigate the tragic accident on May 3, in which 26 people were killed and dozens injured when a subway overpass of line 12 collapsed, sending several subway cars crashing down. Damnificados Unidos de la Ciudad de México (United Victims of Mexico City), formed after the September 2017 earthquake, issued a statement which said in part: “Damnificados Unidos de la Ciudad de México reiterates our total solidarity with the victims and their families due to the fall of line 12 of the subway. Likewise, we denounce the Government of Mexico City for not having been able to guarantee safety in constructions, neither now nor in previous administrations… Those in charge of the work deliberately used less material and of lower quality than promised, and instructed the workers to perform faster and cut costs on the tasks. Those responsible for supervising companies and officials were accomplices. The voracity of construction companies that increase their profit by reducing quality once again cost lives as in the earthquake of September 19, 2017….We cannot continue to allow impunity to prevail in the punishment of those responsible for the loss of human life. We condemn the claim of Marcelo Ebrard, who was head of the government during the construction of the so-called Golden Line, to hold companies and institutions responsible, exempting his own responsibility. Construction companies and supervisors should be sanctioned, but also officials responsible for guaranteeing proper execution, starting with the head of the government…”