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Preview: Industrial Workers of the World - Providence IWW

Industrial Workers of the World - Providence IWW


Sex workers of Rhode Island, unite!

Thu, 05 Nov 2015 00:15:09 +0000

By Andrew Stewart -, November 3, 2015

(image) It is called the oldest line of work in the world and yet it is consistently denied legitimacy. But here in Rhode Island, where prostitution was legal from 1980 until 2009, some local sex workers are re-asserting their agency by organizing a labor union.

“You see women get raped, you see women get murdered,” said Madeira Darling, an organizer, whose name has been changed in this story to protect her identity. “Criminalization itself is violence. It means women can’t seek protection either from the law or from one another. Occasionally you will get guys who think they are in love with you stalking you. And police will often blame sex workers for violence even if they aren’t in criminalized industries.”

Madeira began work as an exotic dancer at age 19 in New York before becoming a dominatrix and relocating to Rhode Island, labor she continues to perform here. She and several of her colleagues are working towards something radically inclusive: the creation of a statewide sex worker labor union.

Interested in creating a truly industrial union, the group is open to allowing all sex workers join her in the effort, reaching out to strippers, escorts, camera/phone workers, porn stars, strip club bouncers, bar workers, masseurs/masseuses, actors, directors, and crew in adult films, and any other laborer in the industry, including the internet workers. As of this point she has contacted four other workers, but hopes that publicizing this effort my grow the ranks.

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Judge orders new trial for Providence Rhode Island IWW Member Alexandra Svoboda

Sun, 09 May 2010 03:48:51 +0000

Disclaimer: This story and its accompanying image are reprinted in accordance with Fair Use guidelines

By Katie Mulvaney - Providence Journal Staff Writer, Friday, May 7, 2010

(image) PROVIDENCE, R.I. -- Superior Court Judge Joseph F. Rodgers Jr. Friday ordered a new trial for the woman accused of assaulting North Providence police officers during a protest in August 2007.

Rodgers ordered a new trial for Alexandra Svoboda on three counts of simple assault on the officers. Rodgers said he did not feel convinced beyond a reasonable doubt that Svoboda had assaulted the officers by striking them with drumsticks during the protest, despite a jury's finding last week that she was guilty on all three counts.

Rodgers did, however, let stand the jury's verdict that 25-year-old Svoboda had resisted arrest while picketing Jacky's Galaxie on Mineral Spring Avenue that hot August day.

Then the union secretary of the Industrial Workers of the World, Svoboda and others were protesting because the restaurant had purchased rice and takeout containers from a New York supply company accused of mistreating its employees.

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Working Class Hero: Alexandra Svoboda - Maimed By Cops, Charged With Felonies

Thu, 09 Oct 2008 01:52:01 +0000

By DANIEL GROSS - Counterpunch, October 8, 2008

A peaceful union march is brutally attacked by police. A union activist’s leg is horribly disfigured and nearly amputated. Maimed possibly for life, she is charged with multiple felony offenses.

The battleground is not the coalfields of Harlan County in the 1930s or 1970s; it's not an example of anti-union violence in Colombia or the Philippines. Our setting is present day Providence, Rhode Island.

On that brilliant Saturday, August 11 of 2007, Alexandra Svoboda didn’t do what she was supposed to do. She didn’t stay home and watch TV. She didn’t go shop at her local Wal-Mart. She didn’t waste away hours on MySpace.

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IWW Rally Marks Bitter Anniversary

Tue, 12 Aug 2008 23:02:34 +0000

(image) From The Providence Journal

By David Scharfenberg

Journal Staff Writer

PROVIDENCE — A year after a confrontation with police officers in North Providence left her with severe leg injuries, union organizer Alexandra Svoboda arrived at a rally yesterday with a cane, a knee brace and a message of defiance.

“This is the true spirit of resistance,” she said. “This is people saying, ‘no.’ ”

Svoboda, secretary of the Providence branch of the Industrial Workers of the World, was among a group of protesters who clashed with the police Aug. 11, 2007, while marching on Jacky’s Galaxie, a pan-Asian restaurant on Mineral Spring Avenue.

Union members were targeting Jacky’s because the eatery purchased rice and takeout containers from Dragon Land Trading, a restaurant supply company in Queens, N.Y., with a reputation for treating its employees poorly.

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Media Files:

Protesters urge ‘justice’

Wed, 29 Aug 2007 09:53:00 +0000

Disclaimer - The opinions of the author do not necessarily match those of the IWW.  The image pictured to the right did not appear in the original article, we have added it here to provide a visual perspective. This article is reposted in accordance to Fair Use guidelines.

By Mark Arsenault and Lynn Arditi - Providence Journal Staff Writers, Monday, August 27, 2007

(image) NORTH PROVIDENCE — Clenched fists raised, close to 200 protesters yesterday denounced the North Providence police and demanded “justice” for a protester seriously injured two weeks ago while demonstrating at an Asian restaurant on Mineral Spring Avenue.

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Rally planned against alleged police brutality

Sat, 25 Aug 2007 17:45:00 +0000

Disclaimer - The opinions of the author do not necessarily match those of the IWW.  This article is reposted in accordance to Fair Use guidelines.

NORTH PROVIDENCE, RI (AP) - A labor group is planning a rally Sunday to protest a scuffle earlier this month with North Providence police.

Local members of the [Industrial] Workers of the World accuse police of attacking 22-year-old Alexandra Svoboda during a protest outside a restaurant.

Police say Svoboda attacked police officers with drum sticks.

Her knee was badly injured during the scuffle.

Pictures taken by those at the rally show it bent at a grotesque angle.

IWW spokesman Mark Bray says the group wants Attorney General Patrick Lynch to drop all criminal charges against Svoboda and other group members.

They also want him to punish the police.

North Providence police have started an internal probe into the incident.

Lynch says prosecutors from his office and State Police will review the findings.

IWW continues organizing and free speech fight in Providence

Mon, 20 Aug 2007 08:43:00 +0000


I.W.W. Victory: Jacky's Galaxy Discontinues Business With Dragonland Trading Inc.

On Thursday August 16, 2007,  "Jacky Ko", members of the Industrial Workers of the World and their respective lawyers appeared in Superior Court in Providence. Under oath, Ko stated that he no longer does, nor will he ever again, knowingly do business with Dragonland. Considering Ko stated this under oath, the IWW considers this sufficient evidence of Ko's divestment.

Furthermore, New Buffet restaurant in Providence confirmed that they have also divested in Dragonland. This is a clear and absolute victory for the IWW, union rank and file at Dragonland and Alexandra Svoboda, who was brutalized on the picket line. Alex will undergo her third surgery tomorrow at RI Hopital and will be operated on at least one more time.

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Second protest march planned

Thu, 16 Aug 2007 07:58:00 +0000

Disclaimer - The opinions of the author do not necessarily match those of the IWW.  The image pictured to the right did not appear in the original article, we have added it here to provide a visual perspective. This article is reposted in accordance to Fair Use guidelines.  

(image) By Richard C. Dujardin - Providence Journal Staff Writer, Thursday, August 16, 2007

NORTH PROVIDENCE — The group that staged Saturday’s protest march in which a 22-year-old woman suffered a broken leg while being arrested by the police has invited members from across the Northeast to join another march down the center of Mineral Spring Avenue to call attention to what it says is the “prevalence of police brutality” in Rhode Island.

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Vicious Police Attack on IWW Solidarity March in Providence, Rhode Island

Wed, 15 Aug 2007 19:04:00 +0000

(image) On Saturday, August 11, 2007, the Providence wobblies organized a march on Jackie's Galaxy, which is a restaurant chain that is being supplied by HWH in New York City, a supplier who is notorious for its slave labor conditions of up to 110 hours per week without basic labor rights (minimum wage and overtime).

Roughly 30-40 wobblies and supporters (including Providence and Boston SDSers) were marching towards Jackie's Galaxy in North Providence when the police began following them en mass. They told the marches to move to the sidewalk, while this was initially ignored, the marchers listened to the police and began slowly moving to the sidewalk.

The police then surrounded the marchers in their squad cars and began getting out. With the police in full force, they began attacking the marchers, one fellow worker, Alex Svoboda, was pinned down by the police during her arrest and suffered a broken and dislocated leg and ruptured blood vessel in the knee. These injuries will require at least two surgeries and extensive rehab and even then may not completely repair the damage. Jason, another wob, was arrested during the police' attack. Ashley, a supporter from Boston, was also severely maced during the attack, suffered chemical burns and required medical treatment.

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Father of injured protest marcher speaks

Tue, 14 Aug 2007 18:49:00 +0000

Disclaimer - The image pictured to the right did not appear in the original article, we have added it here to provide a visual perspective.

(image) By Brandie Jefferson - Providence Journal, August 14, 2007 

The father of a 22-year-old who was injured Saturday during a labor union protest in North Providence has flown in from Nebraska and says his daughter is doing “as well as can be expected.”

Alexandra Svoboda suffered serious injuries after an encounter with the North Providence police during the protest outside a restaurant.

Scott Svoboda said he will not be outside during a planned vigil this afternoon at Rhode Island Hospital, where his daughter is listed as in “good” condition in the Intensive Care Unit.

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