Belabored: General Strike in Palestine

Belabored: General Strike in Palestine

Political economy researcher Riya Al-Sanah joins us from Haifa to talk about this week’s historic general strike.

An empty street in Ramallah, Palestine during the strike. (Anadolu Agency)

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As the bombs continued to fall in Gaza this week, Palestinians across Israel, the West Bank, and Gaza came together for a historic general strike against occupation, state violence, and a regime that exploits their labor while denying them basic rights. The “general strike for dignity and hope” brought together workers in a wide variety of industries and working conditions; Ha’aretz reported that “only 150 of the 65,000 Palestinian construction workers [came] to work in Israel. This paralyzed building sites, causing losses estimated at 130 million shekels (nearly $40 million).” We spoke with Riya Al-Sanah, a researcher on political economy and the author of several reports on workers’ rights and labor issues in Palestine, about the strike and what it felt like on the ground, trade unions in Palestine, and what it all means for the struggle going forward.

We also spoke with Veena Dubal on a potential “sectoral bargaining” deal with Uber and Lyft in New York, and heard an update from Marlena Pellegrino, one of the striking nurses from St. Vincent Hospital in Massachusetts, on the picket line for the eleventh straight week. We consider a new report on what causes wage suppression in the United States, and look at the Fight for $15 strike this week and the ongoing conversation about unemployment benefits. For Argh, we consider Amazon’s dystopian new “AmaZen” wellness program and getting the profits out of care. 

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Sarah: The battle for the future of “gig” work (Vox)

Labor, Gig Companies Said to Be Near Deal in New York (Bloomberg)

Sarah: The Fight for $15 Confronts the ‘Labor Shortage’ Narrative (The American Prospect)

Sarah, with C.M. Lewis: Nurses Are Striking Across the Country Over Patient Safety (The Nation)

Striking St. Vincent Nurses Stand Firm Against Replacement Hiring (Telegram)


General Strike Highlights Israel’s Dependency on Palestinian Workers (Haaretz)

In Pictures: In show of unity, Palestinians go on strike (Al Jazeera)

Riya Al’Sanah on Twitter 

Riya Al’Sanah with Rafeef Ziadah: Palestinian Workers Are Bearing the Brunt of the Pandemic (Jacobin)

Riya Al’Sanah: Workers’ Rights in Crisis: Palestinian workers in Israel and the settlements (ITUC)

Riya Al’Sanah: Exploited and Essential: Palestinian Labour Under COVID-19

Michelle (from 2014): Jerusalem’s Palestinian Neighborhoods Are Under Economic Siege (The Nation)

From 2017: Palestinian Workers Are Now Unionizing in the West Bank (The Nation)

Argh, I wish I’d written that!

Michelle: Robert Kuttner, Capitalism and the Caring Economy (The American Prospect)

Sarah: Edward Ongweso Jr., Amazon’s New ‘AmaZen’ Program Will Show Warehouse Workers Meditation Videos (Vice)