Work Stoppage
Overtime Episode 14 PREVIEW - The Decline of American Unionism - Part 3

Overtime Episode 14 PREVIEW - The Decline of American Unionism - Part 3

April 2, 2022

If you’re not a patron you can get the full episode by visiting patreon.com/workstoppage and support us with $5 a month.

In the final part of our series on the decline of the US labor movement, we reach the End of History.  We discuss major events in US labor since the 90s, including waves of mergers, corporate consolidation, accelerating financialization, NAFTA, and the crash of 2008.  We then get into some common myths about why US labor union membership has declined, as well as about the US economy overall.  We finish off with a call for a rededication to rank and file union democracy and embracing the class struggle, rather than class collaboration.

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Ep 98 - Millions of Strikers Can’t Be Wrong

Ep 98 - Millions of Strikers Can’t Be Wrong

March 31, 2022

It’s another packed episode this week, as the class struggle never stops. First, we follow up with the Minneapolis educators, who have agreed to a new contract, ending their three week strike. Next we do our weekly Starbucks roundup, discussing union busting in Boston and union victories in Mesa, AZ, Seattle, and Knoxville, TN. Another major teachers strike is on, this one in Sacramento, where low wages and awful working conditions low has led to a crisis of short staffing. IBEW technicians have been on strike for a couple weeks now at Chicago’s PBS affiliate, WTTW, where the union is fighting to protect union work from being farmed out to contractors. Finally, we finish up covering the colossal two day general strike in India, where as many as 200 million workers have shut the country down to protest the anti-worker policies of the Modi government.

If you like the show, please support us at patreon.com/workstoppage. We couldn’t do the show without your support, and patrons get access to evergreen Overtime episodes and periodic Shop Floor Discussion episodes on current issues too long to cover in our regular episodes.

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Overtime Episode 13 PREVIEW - The Decline of American Unionism Part 2

Overtime Episode 13 PREVIEW - The Decline of American Unionism Part 2

March 26, 2022

If you’re not a patron you can get the full episode by visiting patreon.com/workstoppage and support us with $5 a month.

In the second part of our series on the decline of the US labor movement, we discuss the impact of business unionism in the 1970s and the 1980s.  We dispel the commonly promoted image that Jimmy Carter was a friend of the working class, and cover some of the many anti-labor actions taken by his administration.  We cover the Reagan years, the PATCO strike, and the rise of Neoliberalism.  Finally we go over the development and spread of Lean Manufacturing and Just-In-Time Logistics, and how those methods of management have come to shape today's labor environment.  Throughout, we show how the class collaborationist ideology of business unionism left the major US labor unions totally unprepared to deal with the assault by business in the 70s and 80s.  In our last episode of the series, we will discuss some of the more recent developments in the 90s and 2000s, some myths and realities of our current labor climate, and what we need to change to rebuild a strong labor movement in the US.

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Ep 97 - Ferries to Nowhere

Ep 97 - Ferries to Nowhere

March 24, 2022

After some discussion about the transition to new leadership at the Teamsters, our first story on this week’s episode of Work Stoppage covers the recent walkouts at 3 Amazon facilities carried out by Amazonians United.  Then we hit the weekly quota of Starbucks coverage discussing the return of Howard Schultz as CEO, the refusal of the company to stop its aggressive union busting campaign, and a strike by Starbucks workers in Kansas City.  Next we discuss an awful story out of the UK, where 800 workers at one of the country’s largest ferry companies, P&O Ferries, were summarily fired by a 3 minute zoom recording with no prior warning.  Also this week, 500 workers at the Richmond oil refinery in the Bay Area have gone on strike over wages not covering soaring costs of living.  Airport workers in Italy refused to continue work this week after discovering that so called “humanitarian aid” they were loading onto a transport plane was in fact weapons being sent by NATO, prompting protests from the workers and their union.  Finally, teachers and education workers in San Francisco staged a 3 day sit in at the headquarters of the Unified School District to protest unpaid wages during a payroll system changeover.

Video of P&O boss laying off workers: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=04lx6GiFyyE 

If you like the show, please support us at patreon.com/workstoppage.  We couldn’t do the show without your support, and patrons get access to evergreen Overtime episodes and periodic Shop Floor Discussion episodes on current issues too long to cover in our regular episodes.

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Overtime Episode 12 PREVIEW - The Decline of American Unionism – Part 1

Overtime Episode 12 PREVIEW - The Decline of American Unionism – Part 1

March 20, 2022

If you’re not a patron you can get the full episode by visiting patreon.com/workstoppage and support us with $5 a month.

In the first episode of a new series, we dig into the primary causes of the ongoing decline of union membership in the US, especially in private industry.  While there are certainly spots of hope in movements like Starbucks Workers United and other grassroots union organizing drives, US labor union density has continued its long 40 year decline.  If we want to rebuild the US labor movement as a fighting movement of the working class, we must understand the root causes of the precarious situation we are in today.  In this episode, we look at some of the foundational issues behind the problems of the US labor movement, like the class collaborationist approach of “business unionism”, the refusal of major unions to address “controversial issues” like racism, sexism, and other forms of oppression, and an abandonment of the struggle for control of the shop floor.  In future episodes, we will look at some of the key moments in the failures of business unionism from the height of raw union membership numbers in the 70s, through the losses of the Reagan era, to the long steady retreats of the Neoliberal 90s to today.

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Ep 96 - Strike Breakin’ Ghost Trucks

Ep 96 - Strike Breakin’ Ghost Trucks

March 17, 2022

Our episode of Work Stoppage starts this week with a reminder that the workers at Amy’s Kitchen have called for a boycott as the company attacks their union efforts.  Our first full story catches up with the Teamsters in Seattle who are now facing attempts by companies to break the strike in the concrete industry by hiring unlabeled “Ghost Trucks” to supply job sites.  Next, Starbucks workers in Denver aren’t waiting for official union recognition to strike against retaliation by the company.  Then, we discuss a recent bill in Florida that would have put new onerous requirements on public unions in an attempt to sap them of resources.  Also this week, in Slovenia 40,000 teachers and other education workers struck to demand living wages and compensation for working through the pandemic.  We also cover recent violence in South Africa, where a leader in the militant Shack Dweller’s Movement was gunned down by armed men connected to the local ruling political party.  Finally, the GMG union held a successful four day strike, the first open ended strike by a digital media outlet, to demand that their healthcare include Trans affirmative care and that their wages keep pace with soaring inflation.

If you like the show, please support us at patreon.com/workstoppage.  We couldn’t do the show without your support, and patrons get access to evergreen Overtime episodes and periodic Shop Floor Discussion episodes on current issues too long to cover in our regular episodes.

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Ep 95 – Union Democracy Gets the Goods

Ep 95 – Union Democracy Gets the Goods

March 11, 2022

After yet another crazy week both in and outside the labor world we’ve got another packed episode for you.  First, we follow up with the workers at REI in Manhattan who have won their union election in a landslide.  Next, the NYT Tech Guild also overwhelmingly won their election, becoming the largest union of tech workers in the US.  Following up our story on the rise of independent unions in Mexico, workers at the Tridonex auto parts factory in Matamoros voted by a large margin to replace their old company union with a new democratic one.  We also discuss organizing efforts by Philly Starbucks workers to fight for covid safety protections after the company dropped its mask mandate for customers, and also touch on 3 more union election victories in Buffalo for the Starbucks Workers United movement.  We cover two stories of workers in Italy: First, tens of thousands of students protested to end the requirement that all high school students perform unpaid labor for private companies in order to graduate after multiple students have died on the job.  Then, thousands of doctors have protested the government’s austerity policies towards primary care physicians and its slow slide towards privatization.  Finally, we cover the massive strike of teachers and education support professionals in Minneapolis.

If you like the show, please support us at patreon.com/workstoppage.  We couldn’t do the show without your support, and patrons get access to evergreen Overtime episodes and periodic Shop Floor Discussion episodes on current issues too long to cover in our regular episodes.

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Follow the pod @WorkStoppagePod on Twitter, John @facebookvillain, and Lina @solidaritybee. 

 

Shop Floor Discussion 2 PREVIEW – Colombian State Violence

Shop Floor Discussion 2 PREVIEW – Colombian State Violence

March 9, 2022

If you’re not a patron you can get the full episode by visiting patreon.com/workstoppage and support us with $5 a month.

We’ve talked about the violence facing labor organizers, human rights defenders, and Indigenous leaders in Colombia on the show before, in the context of last year’s working class uprising.  But we hadn’t really had a chance to give the topic the amount of time it deserves.  Colombia is one of the most dangerous places in the world to be a labor organizer, with hundreds killed in the last few years.  The US neocolonial control of Colombia’s government and economy is largely to blame, as major US corporations like Nestle and Coca-Cola have taken advantage of the Colombian state’s complicity with paramilitary death squads to quash organizing drives at their facilities.  On this Shop Floor Discussion, we get into the history of state/para-state violence in Colombia, the difficulties that presents for labor organizing, and some of the connections to Operation Condor.

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Ep 94 - Working Overtime at the Hershey Prison

Ep 94 - Working Overtime at the Hershey Prison

March 2, 2022

It’s been a busy week in Labor news so we’ve got a jam packed episode of Work Stoppage.  First, we’ve got a few recent victories:  Workers at Coffee Tree Roasters in Pittsburgh won their union election 17-3 and will now be represented by UFCW Local 1776.  Workers at Rich Products’ Jon Donaire ice cream cake plant have ended their four month long strike with three times the wage increase that the company initially offered.  Also, following up our story about gig workers in Canada, Ontario’s labor ministry has ruled that Ontario Uber drivers are in fact employees and gig companies must immediately act to comply with provincial labor law.  In that vein, we also report on a bill in Washington state currently supported by both gig companies and Uber that would permanently misclassify gig workers in exchange for some mild benefits.  Amazon has once again stepped up their repression, having the NYPD arrest several organizers with the Amazon Labor Union, including Christian Smalls, for “trespassing.”  We also discuss the awful working conditions at the Hershey’s candy factory in Stuarts Draft, Virginia, where over 1300 workers are voting on whether to unionize with the BCTGM.  Finally this week, Starbucks workers got another major victory as the workers at a Mesa, Arizona location finally got their ballots counted and won the third successful Starbucks union election.

If you like the show, please support us at patreon.com/workstoppage.  We couldn’t do the show without your support, and patrons get access to evergreen Overtime episodes and periodic Shop Floor Discussion episodes on current issues too long to cover in our regular episodes.

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Ep 93 – Minor Leagues, Major Exploitation

Ep 93 – Minor Leagues, Major Exploitation

February 23, 2022

We start this week’s episode checking in with Starbucks’ latest repressive move against its workers as they’ve fired one of the lead organizers at the first store to unionize in Buffalo. Next, we discuss a recent shady deal by the UFCW to represent Uber drivers in Canada, where the representation costs will be covered by Uber and the UFCW will lobby Canada’s parliament to preserve worker “flexibility.”  Over the past couple weeks there have been huge protests in Haiti, as textile workers in free trade “assembly zone” sweatshops have risen up to demand an increase in the minimum wage.  We also cover the announcement that workers are unionizing with the IWW at Alamo Drafthouse’s flagship location in Austin.  Also this week we discuss the exploitation of minor league baseball players in the context of the ongoing lockout of the players in the majors, and the necessity of solidarity from the major league players.   Finally this week, workers at the Midtown Detroit location of Great Lakes Coffee Roasting Company have launched a strike to demand recognition of their union.

If you like the show, please support us at patreon.com/workstoppage.  We couldn’t do the show without your support, and patrons get access to evergreen Overtime episodes and periodic Shop Floor Discussion episodes on current issues too long to cover in our regular episodes.

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Ep 92 - Unionize Temp Workers!

Ep 92 - Unionize Temp Workers!

February 19, 2022

After making fun of REI’s attempt to make a “progressive" union busting podcast, our episode starts following up with the striking Clover workers in South Africa.  Workers have faced violent attacks from company strikebreakers against their picket lines but are standing strong and expanding their strike activity. Next we cover strikes by healthcare workers in Sri Lanka and Nigeria, where workers have faced salary cuts, unpaid wages, and insufficient PPE.  Since going on strike, both countries’ governments have threatened the striking workers with legal reprisals. Also this week we discuss Amazon’s attempts to hide their covid numbers and how workers at facilities in California have helped expose them.  We also cover a new report documenting rampant wage theft and abuse in the temp worker industry, which is ripe for unionization.  Finally, we’ve got the first of what will hopefully be many union victories at PetSmart, as the workers in Toronto have won their union election to become the first unionized PetSmart of their over 1700 stores across North America.

If you like the show, please support us at patreon.com/workstoppage.  We couldn’t do the show without your support, and patrons get access to evergreen Overtime episodes and periodic Shop Floor Discussion episodes on current issues too long to cover in our regular episodes.

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Shop Floor Discussion 1 PREVIEW – The Freedom Convoy and the Problem of Tailism

Shop Floor Discussion 1 PREVIEW – The Freedom Convoy and the Problem of Tailism

February 14, 2022

If you’re not a patron you can get the full episode by visiting patreon.com/workstoppage and support us with $5 a month.

Sometimes there’s a story in the news that needs a bit more in depth discussion than we can give it on a regular episode.  So we’re starting a new patrons-only series of Shop Floor Discussion episodes to cover them.  For our first longer form discussion, we want to tackle the recent Freedom Convoy protests that have been going on in Canada for the last few weeks.  Hailed as a “working class revolt” by the American right wing (and some on the left), we investigate the actual class character of the protests as well as the response from the Canadian trucking industry and the Teamsters.  This event gives us a good opportunity to discuss how to identify a real working class uprising versus an astroturfed white nationalist protest, as well as a chance to define and discuss tailism and how to avoid it.

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Ep 91 - Company Unions are Fascist Unions

Ep 91 - Company Unions are Fascist Unions

February 10, 2022

We’ve got a packed episode of Work Stoppage this week.  Just before recording Starbucks decided to fire seven of their workers in Memphis for unionizing, in one of the more obvious cases of retaliation we’ve covered.  Thousands of teachers protested last Friday in Puerto Rico over incredibly low wages which force many of them to take second or even third jobs just to make ends meet.  The GOP introduced a bill last week to try and bring back company unions and are trying to disguise it as “pro-worker” legislation, we break down why it’s bullshit.  Target workers organizing for hazard pay have given us a window into how corporations train their managers to be union busters by leaking screencaps of the company’s anti-union training.  Also this week, Amy’s Kitchen, yet another company cultivating a “progressive” image with their line of vegan and non-GMO frozen foods, is trying hard to suppress workers organizing to combat years of labor intensification.  Finally, we cover the victory of workers at a major GM plant in Mexico, who overwhelmingly voted to replace their corrupt company union with one led by rank and file workers.

Fund for fired Memphis Starbucks workers: https://www.gofundme.com/f/support-fired-starbucks-union-leaders-in-memphis

If you like the show, please support us at patreon.com/workstoppage.  We couldn’t do the show without your support, and patrons get access to evergreen Overtime episodes .

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UNLOCKED - The Nature of the State Pt 1

UNLOCKED - The Nature of the State Pt 1

February 8, 2022

Since we've just finished a new patrons-only series on the nature of the state, this time focusing on the repressive state apparatus, we figured it would be a good idea to make the first part of our series on the theory of how the state functions available to all our listeners. This episode gives a window into what we have been going over on the Overtime episodes. 

To support the show and get access to more episodes like this, as well as episodes on labor history and organizing, subscribe over at patreon.com/workstoppage.  We couldn't do the show without the support of our patrons.

Original Description: On this Overtime episode, the first in a series, John, Lina, and Dan take some time to dig into the fundamentals behind our understandings of the nature of the state: what it is, its historical development, how it functions, and how it can be changed. During this first part of our discussion, Dan takes us through the theoretical work and historical analysis on the state by Marx, Engels, and Lenin, how they defined the state, how they foresaw it being abolished in the future, and how we could get from where we are under the domination of the capitalist ruling class, to a real democracy where workers would have state power instead of a tiny rich ruling class. We talk about how their theories apply today, how we see their historical materialist analysis reflected in the US state today, and why their theories remain vital for workers struggles for control of their own lives.

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Ep 90 - Gig Nurses, Lean Railways

Ep 90 - Gig Nurses, Lean Railways

February 5, 2022

This week we begin following up with our friends at Student Workers of Columbia who have finally ratified their first contract after a years’ long struggle for recognition.  Next we discuss the recent developments in the healthcare industry where several companies are attempting to apply the gig model to nursing.  Issues have been brewing in the rail industry for years as companies have slashed workforces to raise profits, and recently 17,000 workers voted to authorize a strike after BNSF unilaterally imposed a draconian attendance policy, but the workers have been blocked from striking by the courts.  We check in on the union drive in Bessemer where ballots for the re-do election go out this week and Amazon’s union busting continues unabated.  Amazon workers are also organizing in NYC, where Amazon Labor Union has re-filed for election at the JFK8 warehouse as the NLRB alleges Amazon’s union busting has broken the law.  Finally, workers have filed for the first union election at REI in Manhattan, as yet another “progressive, liberal company” shows its true colors in refusing voluntary recognition. 

If you like the show, please support us at patreon.com/workstoppage.  We couldn’t do the show without your support, and patrons get access to evergreen Overtime episodes .

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Overtime Episode 11 PREVIEW - The Repressive State Apparatus Pt 4 - The Imperial Boomerang

Overtime Episode 11 PREVIEW - The Repressive State Apparatus Pt 4 - The Imperial Boomerang

February 1, 2022

If you’re not a patron you can get the full episode by visiting patreon.com/workstoppage and support us with $5 a month.

In the final episode of our series on the history of the US repressive state apparatus, we discuss some of its major developments on the homefront during the last 20 years. We cover the massive rise in state surveillance and attacks on the Muslim community in the wake of 9/11. Also the rise of intelligence sharing “Fusion Centers”, pulled straight from the CIA’s coordinating role in Operation Condor. We go over the creation and massive expansion of ICE and the Department of Homeland Security, the vicious repression of Indigenous land and water defenders protesting DAPL, Line 3, and other pipelines, and the string of suspicious deaths of leaders of the uprising in Ferguson. Finally, we close out the series summing up the lessons we can apply in our organizing today from this history, and what inspiration we can draw from the movements that have resisted the repressive apparatus over the last century.

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Ep 89 - There is no Family in Family Dollar

Ep 89 - There is no Family in Family Dollar

January 29, 2022

We start this week’s episode of Work Stoppage following up with the King Sooper’s workers, who have ratified a new contract and ended their strike. Next we check in with the Game Workers Alliance drive at Activision Blizzard King, where Raven Software QA workers have officially filed for union recognition with the NLRB. Also this week, truck drivers at the Port of Los Angeles are fighting their misclassification as independent contractors and hoping to start a movement to re-unionize the entire sector. We discuss a recent investigation by Business Insider that exposed thousands of arbitration settlements for horrific treatment of store managers and employees at Family Dollar. We move to Karnataka, India, where a report from the Workers’ Rights Consortium has revealed tens of millions of dollars in wage theft propping up massive profits in the fast fashion industry. Finally, there’s an actual general strike going on in the concrete industry in Seattle, where the local construction industry has ground to a halt after a consortium of concrete firms refuse to bargain with local Teamsters.

If you like the show, please support us at patreon.com/workstoppage. We couldn’t do the show without your support, and patrons get access to evergreen Overtime episodes.

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Overtime Episode 10 PREVIEW - The Repressive State Apparatus Pt 3 - Guns, Drugs, and NGOs

Overtime Episode 10 PREVIEW - The Repressive State Apparatus Pt 3 - Guns, Drugs, and NGOs

January 24, 2022

If you’re not a patron you can get the full episode by visiting patreon.com/workstoppage and support us with $5 a month.

On the third part of our Overtime series on the history of the US repressive state apparatus, we dive into the long relationship between the CIA and the global drug trade.  From working with the Mafia to break strikes in post-war Europe and protecting their heroin smuggling, to helping the Kuomintang fight China in the 50s funded by opium traffic, to funding a secret war in Laos on the back of the drug trade, the CIA has been involved in drugs since its inception.   Knowing how these operations worked greatly affects how we view the “War on Drugs” here in the US.  We also discuss Operation Cyclone, the US war against the socialist government of Afghanistan, using Mujahedin fighters armed, trained, and paid by the CIA.  Much of the propaganda around the "Brave Mujahedin Fighters of Afghanistan" is still reflected in how our media reports on CIA backed forces in "enemy" countries today.  Finally, we cover the last major foreign operation of the series, the US post-Cold War policy of instigating “Color Revolutions” in countries in Eastern Europe and Central Asia, to install neoliberal Western-friendly governments, and how these tactics and the use of NGOs are seen here in the US as well. 

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Ep 87 – Seafood Super Spreader

Ep 87 – Seafood Super Spreader

January 22, 2022

We start this week’s episode following up with the Republic Services sanitation workers in San Diego, who have ended their month long strike and ratified a new contract.  We discuss the gains and the limitations of the new deal.  We also check in with the massively expanding Starbucks Workers United campaign, which has spread to 26 locations as of this writing and likely more once we release the episode.  For a look at how a more united labor movement is fighting for workers’ safety, we cover a massive teachers strike in France over insufficient covid response, and the actions the strike forced the government to take to meet teachers’ demands.  The entire US service sector gets screwed over with a lack of paid sick leave, but a new report shows how Red Lobster treats its workers particularly badly and forces a majority of them to work sick.  Finally, South Korean workers and farmers held a massive rally in Seoul this past Saturday to demand radical action by the government to solve the crisis of neoliberal austerity.

USPS Covid Test Website: https://special.usps.com/testkits

If you like the show, please support us at patreon.com/workstoppage.  We couldn’t do the show without your support, and patrons get access to evergreen Overtime episodes .

 

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Follow the pod @WorkStoppagePod on Twitter, John @facebookvillain, and Lina @solidaritybee.

Ep 86 - Sooper Strikers

Ep 86 - Sooper Strikers

January 15, 2022

Covid is still raging out of control as the government refuses to handle the pandemic, so our first story this week is a look at some of the ways teachers and now students are fighting for safe learning environments, starting with a sickout by teachers and a strike threat by students in Oakland, California.  Then we follow up with the Student Workers of Columbia, who have reached a tentative agreement to end their 10 week long strike, winning some major gains that the university initially claimed they would never agree to.  Thousands of South African dairy workers have been on strike for almost two months after their employer, Clover, was purchased by a major firm that promised to create jobs but actually ended up slashing them.  Our big story this week is over 8000 grocery workers at King Soopers stores across Colorado striking over poverty wages, no covid protections, and parent company Kroger’s general horrific treatment.  Finally, we’ve got two successful union drives as Image Comics becomes the first unionized shop in the comics industry and Titmouse becomes the first unionized animation shop in the US outside LA.

King Soopers Workers Hardship Fund: https://my.cheddarup.com/c/hardship-fund-for-striking-king-soopers-workers

If you like the show, please support us at patreon.com/workstoppage.  We couldn’t do the show without your support, and patrons get access to evergreen Overtime episodes .

Join the discord: discord.gg/tDvmNzX

Follow the pod @WorkStoppagePod on Twitter, John @facebookvillain, and Lina @solidaritybee.

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