Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Rank & File


In October Haymarket Books are publishing a revised and expanded version of this phenomenally important, classic text by Alice Lynd and Staughton Lynd.

Why is this book so important? Because it provides an oral history account of how men and women forged the American labour movement and of how this was done despite the bureaucracy of the 'official' trade union movement.

If you are particularly interested in how we address the modern challenges of labour movement renewal, discover how labour movements start, from stories by the people that started them.

You will be able to order the new edition of Rank & File from PM Books which is a good place to look for books on the labour movement and left in the US:



Thursday, 14 July 2011

Ruskin College: Education for Transformation


As the end of the academic year nears it was great to spend some time today with TUC students at Ruskin who have just completed the Employment Law Diploma and Heath & Safety courses.

Pictured left is the group of trade union activists who have beneffited from their educational experience at Ruskin; and from whom Ruskin can still claim a live, direct link with the work of trade unions in the UK and internationally.

No form of workers' education no matter how short or even informal can be derided for its ultimate goal of seeking to enable some degree of change or transformation is society.

As Poalo Freire said: "Education either functions as an instrument which is used to facilitate integration of the younger generation into the logic of the present system and bring about conformity or it becomes the practice of freedom, the means by which men and women deal critically and creatively with reality and discover how to participate in the transformation of their world."

At Ruskin I am proud to say that we continue to play a highly active part in facilitating this form of education. Pictured here are colleagues who make the TUC education activity at Ruskin what it is, Rachel Hemstock (TUC Centre Administrator), Tracy Walsh (Tutor on TUC Courses and labour studies BA and MA) and Nigel Williams (TUC Centre Co-ordinator and current student on the Ruskin labour studies MA!).

Even though the future of further and higher education in the UK remains uncertain, it is days like these which remind you of the central importance that education can play in, quite simply, making things happen.

In Solidarity


Thursday, 7 July 2011

Turn the Tide


The phone hacking scandal could prove to be a critical juncture at which to strike definitively at News International and Murdoch.

There is plenty going at the moment and you should see it as your duty to get involved.

Sign up for the protests that are being organised by the new FaceBook group - they are working constructively to chuck high grade oil onto the flames which are licking the heels of those companies which are fleeing the NI stable:!/boycottNOTW#!/boycottNOTW?sk=photos

There is the explictly anti-Murdoch/BSkyB petition at 38 Degree:

Avaaz too are taking the NoW scandal to attempt the BSkyB takeover:

I have even come across Tories (without whom where would Murdoch be?!) attempting to hitch a ride on the boycott wagon!

In Solidarity


Friday, 1 July 2011

This is What Anger Looks Like!


Despite the under-reporting of the fantastic turnout for yesterday's day of action, I am pleased to read this morning the news of concerted strike action across the UK.

I am also pleased to record my own, small contribution to the action in Oxford city centre yesterday where hundreds of trade unionists took over the city centre at lunchtime.

The two pictures here are testimony to the proud throng which bemused tourists and delighted the
locals. Although the ConDems will continue to paint us as a minority, they cannot contain the pure anger that was out on the street yesterday.

I look forward the the planned waves of further action and guarantee you that Ruskin College staff will be there taking a rightful place amongst sisters and brothers of the British labour movement.

In Solidarity.