Monday, 25 February 2013

Inspiring History.

Occupy Sandy.
The Christmas Truce.
Hotel Bauen, Buenos Aires.
Bilston Midlothian Camp.
Faslane Peace Camp.
The Abraham Lincoln Brigade.
The Scottish Volunteers in the Spanish Civil War.
Geronimo, Red Cloud,Sitting Bull, Crazy Horse, Occupation of Alcatraz,
Red Clouds War 1866 to 1868.
Sojourner Truth.
Harriet Tubman.
Sylvia Pankhurst
Brian Haw.
Clara Fraser.
Audre Lorde.
Frederick Douglass.
John Brown.
The Soweto Uprising.
The N2 Gateway Occupations .
The Macassar Village Land Occupation in May 2009.
The Abahlali baseMjondolo march on Jacob Zuma in March 2010..
Landless Peoples Movement
 the Western Cape Anti-Eviction Campaign.
Joe Slovo, Cape Town.
The Treatment Action Campaign's largely successful struggle for access to AIDS medication.
The Congo Reform Association.
London Corresponding Society.
Friends of the People in Scotland.
Thomas Muir of Huntershill.
Judi Bari.
Rosa Parks,MLK,Malcolm X,Ella Baker,W. E. B." Du Bois,
Cesar Chavez.
Shays Rebellion 1787
Whiskey Rebellion 1791(George Washington imposed it)
John Fries's Rebellion 1799.
1912 Lawrence Textile Strike
Timex Strike 1993(Scotland)
Calton Weavers Strike(Scotland)
Anne Waldman.
Red Clydeside.
Scottish Insurrection 1820.
Upper Clyde Shipbuilders -Jimmy Reid's Work in(1971)
UK miners' strike (1984–1985)
1926 United Kingdom general strike
Millbank Riot.
The Stonewall riots
The Compton's Cafeteria Riot .
Fed Up Queers.
The Tolpuddle Martyrs
The Warsaw Ghetto Uprising 1943.
Haymarket Martyrs.
Anarchist People of Color
The attempt to sail into Israel in the Mavi marmara.
Battle of Lewes Road.
Battle of Cable Street.
The US Modern School.
The Porteous Riots 1736.
The Diggers.
Revolutionary Catalonia.
The Paris Commune.
Occupation of University of Sussex.
National Hunger March, 1932.
Occupy Wall Street.
IWW activity esp in the UK-even as recently as 2011.
The Harlan County War 1931-1932.
The Liverpool Dockers' Strike 1995 to 1998.
1912 New York City waiters' strike.

Friday, 22 February 2013

Solidarity with Sussex Uni.

Support the ongoing occupation at Sussex Uni against privatisation

by Guest
10:38 am - February 22nd 2013

Share on Tumblr

by Luke Martell
The Sussex University sit-in against privatisation is in its third week. Josie Long and Mark Steel have performed on-site. Will Self and the university’s MP Caroline Lucas have been to speak.
Support has come from Billy Bragg and Frankie Boyle, not to mention professors and public figures worldwide. Owen Jones and Laurie Penny come next week. Even Malcolm Tucker has sent his best wishes!
Sussex University proposes mass outsourcing of 10% of the workforce, 235 individuals, and vital services like security, care of student residences and catering. Every day hundreds are part of the occupation. They hear a stream of lectures by supportive academics from Sussex and elsewhere. And they dance. Affected staff send food, letters, and call in, in contrast to the management claim that the 235 oppose those occupying on their behalf.
The occupation is a last resort. It’s a widespread topic of discussion at Sussex that there’s no meaningful consultation. Adult education has been closed down, a high-prestige research unit moved from its specially designed building, and 112 employees made redundant three years ago. In these cases staff feel discussions with them started after the decisions were made, or not at all.
Staff and student unions feel that managers had decided on outsourcing before talking to them. Meetings seem to be so the management can say they’ve had them, but empty of substance. The sit-in is searching for dialogue. They invited the Vice-Chancellor to their hub for talks. There’s no sign of him yet.
There isn’t much evidence of, well, evidence behind the proposals. The management say there’ll be no redundancies. Yet the 235 have been offered severance and retirement. They say pay and conditions will stay the same. But admit that pensions will be much worse. After staff have transferred, new contractors are free to hire on lower wages and holidays or sack employees.
The management say the change is to free up funds for more students. Yet applications to universities are plummeting because of the eye-watering fees being charged.
Sussex is renowned for community. But outsourcing would create a divided university: its own employees, workers transferred to contractors, transient staff provided by private operators like G4S, and students becoming customers rather than citizens of the university. Services would be accountable to external privateers, not the campus society.
It’s the thin end of the wedge. Outsourcing across universities will follow. It will expand to education where only courses that turn a profit will run. This will restrict learning to the rich and rule out what doesn’t make big bucks. Don’t plan on taking a degree that involves thinking critically. Or support the sit-in, which does.

Luke Martell is Professor of Sociology at Sussex University

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Favourite thing I read today.

"To grab the crowd’s attention," the IWW band often "hid in a doorway while one member dressed in a bowler hat and carrying a briefcase and umbrella, yelled to the crowd, ‘Help! I’ve been robbed!’ The crowd rushed over only to hear, ‘I've been robbed by the capitalist system! Fellow workers ...’ He then launched into a short speech, and the makeshift band stepped out of the doorway and played their songs." 

I love the Wobblies.


Wednesday, 13 February 2013

Why Population as a green issue is a mistake.

Green World is right not to run adverts for Population Matters

Posted on February 13, 2013 by
Someone isn’t happy. Here at Bright Green towers, we received a pretty miffed email from a member of the Green Party complaining about the party magazine – Green World.
They seemed to want us to expose Green World for “censorship”. So, what is the allegation?
Well, it boils down to this: Population Matters – the people who think that the population of the world should be a major element of public debate – wanted to advertise in Green World. The editorial board ruled that they shouldn’t be allowed to, because they support political positions we ought not to support. It seems that those who are cross about this ruling are exercising their right to shout about it. So, let me explain why I disagree with them.
First things first, this isn’t censorship, it’s editing. My right to free speech does not equate to my right to have anything I want published in any magazine I choose just because I am rich enough to buy an advert. The Green Party magazine must, on occasion, refuse to run things it finds problematic.
And Population Matters are problematic. Join the dots marked out by their campaign and you draw an ugly picture of a world where those blamed for environmental problems are not those who do most to cause them, but those who suffer most from their consequences: theirs is the doctrine which blames the unemployed for the recession, the people of Iraq for Saddam Hussein.
But before we get to why they are offensive, let’s look at why they are (mostly) wrong.

A family in Mali
The birth rate in Mali is 6.29 births per woman.
In the USA it is 2.1.
So, if the problem is population, then Mali is where we should start to point our fingers.
But let’s look at another stat: the average person in Mali is responsible for 0.06 tonnes of CO2 per year. The average person in the USA is responsible for 17.
So, the average person in the USA is responsible for about 283 times more carbon than the average person in Mali. To put it another way, the average Mailian family is responsible for 1/136th of the carbon of the average American family.
In this context, complaining about another Malian baby seems foolish.

a family in the USA
Population Matters might respond that yes, this is true, but that if we aspire to a world where Malians have a better quality of life than they do now, then they will each use more resource. And so this will only be possible with a lower population. And largely, they are wrong. It is possible for a society to live well and use less of the world’s finite resources. It just isn’t possible under the current economic system (capitalism).
For many, the certainty that population correlates to consumption comes from the belief that we should learn from ecology: too many rabbits in a garden can eat all of the flowers and then have none left. Each new rabbit means an equal increase in the rate of consumption of flowers. But humans are different. We are the only species with such vast inequality.
But that they are wrong isn’t why the point is somewhat offensive. It is offensive because the implication that we should blame Mali for a problem they do almost nothing to cause, but from which they will suffer more heavily than the richest, is cruel. Talking about population serves to shift blame from the rich in the west (and the capitalist system established by the rich in the west) and onto those who are least to blame.
And when we take a problem largely caused by rich white people, but highlight ways of discussing it which shift the blame onto poor black people, we are perpetuating white power and the racism in our society. This isn’t to say that the people who run Population Matters are intentionally racist – I am sure they are lovely. But just as it is possible for me to accidentally do things which contribute to a sexist society, what they do contributes to a racist, classist society.
It does something else too – something which climate campaigning is all too often guilty of. It shifts blame onto women. As Fiona Ranford has pointed out, it shifts blame onto women.
Now, this is a complex point. Because Population Matters aren’t fools, and they aren’t wilfully cruel. They don’t call for eugenics or one child policies. They call for something that no one could disagree with: women’s empowerment. Or so they say. But, as Fiona’s article explains, you are not empowering women to have more control over their reproduction if you pre-define the outcome of their family planning. This is like telling people they have democracy so long as they vote for you. It may be that fewer children is what women would choose. But we should give them control over their fertility because they ought to have that control – if they want fewer children, or if they want more.
Like people in poorer countries, women are likely to be the main victims of climate change. There are more women farmer. When natural disasters happen, usually, more women and girls die as sexist societies (ie all of them) prioritise help for men and boys, or support for the things men and boys need. And blaming women for this is nothing new: most solutions presented to climate change are domestic – changing lightbulbs, recycling, etc – things which usually mean more work for women. Yet climate change is driven by an economy owned almost entirely by men.
We live in a racist, sexist and classist world. This world props up its racism and its sexism and its classism by encouraging us to blame the victims of oppression for the problems they face. It is the responsibility of all progressives to challenge any voice which supports this process – intentionally, or not. And it is, therefore, for Green World, the only responsible thing to do to refuse advertisements from well meaning groups like Population Matters.