“Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.” Abraham Lincoln

Archive for June 2008

Meryem Özsögüt

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Trade unionists in Turkey face many problems, not least the state apparatus willing and capable of repressing and incarcerating activists, Labourstart highlights the case of Meryem Özsögüt:

“Ms. Meryem Özsögüt, trade union leader and management board member of PSI’s affiliate SES in Turkey (the trade union of public employees in health and social services) was arrested on the morning of 8 January following her participation in a press conference on 14 December 2007 to denounce the killing by the police of activist Kevser Mizrak. Ms Özsögüt’s attendance at the press conference was the result of a fax message received by her trade union, requesting that the union participate in the press conference.

PSI understands that at no time before or during this press conference did the police or other authorities issue a warning that such a gathering or activity was viewed as ‘illegal. Several other people who were arrested at or around the same time as Ms Özsögüt, ostensibly for the same reasons, have since been released.

However, Ms Özsögüt remains in custody and her trial has now been postponed several times. PSI remains convinced that the arrest of Ms Özsögüt was motivated solely by her activities as a trade union leader. Her continued detention in one of Turkey’s notorious “F-Type”, or small group isolation prisons, is further evidence of the Turkish Government’s hostility to trade unionists and its determination to use whatever means at its disposal to repress the legitimate activities of trade unions in Turkey.

A response by the Turkish government to PSI’s letters of protest claims that Ms Özsögüt was arrested in connection with “being a member of a terrorist organisation” and “for making propaganda in favour of the terrorist organisation”. PSI calls on the Turkish government to secure the immediate release of Ms Özsögüt, to take any necessary steps to guarantee her safety and to abide by the international norms ratified by Turkey. “

Written by modernityblog

30/06/2008 at 15:06

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A Gay Middle East?

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OK, not exactly, but Mystical Politics covers Gay Pride in Jerusalem 2008:

“The parade this year seemed to me to have more younger people, and fewer of the liberal Jerusalemite pro-human rights crowd than last year. There was a hearty representation of Hadash, the Israel communist party, as well as of Meretz (a left-wing Zionist party). The communists in particular chanted very loudly for the whole length of the march. There were also representatives of Bat-Kol, an organization for religious lesbians which I hadn’t heard of before. People also came from other cities – Tel Aviv, Haifa, Beersheva – in organized groups to support their Jerusalemite kin.”

Written by modernityblog

29/06/2008 at 21:56

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Bigot Generator.

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Not that you’d want one, but on the Web you will occasionally see the embodiment of bigotry and stupidity, it happens on all web sites including HP.

So instead of reading those web sites just take a look at this particular piece of code, which generates some really nauseating comments, one after another.

I thought this was fairly typical of that kind of mindless rubbish:

“Added: Friday, 27 June, 2008, 19:59 GMT

Lets see now! I’m not being racist but Frenc hfrmers are creating muslim no-go areas. True patriots must elect Boris Johnson as prime minister. FACT!!!!


Recommended by 241 people

Sign in to recommend comments Alert a Moderator”

Just press the New button to see more 😦

Written by modernityblog

27/06/2008 at 21:49

Posted in Uncategorized

A Greener Haltemprice and Howden?

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David Davis’s ploy to call a by-election on the issue of 42 days detention was a spectacular political move, it outflanked new Labour and mystified his Tory colleagues, but his actions probably have more to do with internal Tory party politics than any sudden conversion to the politics of libertarianism.

After all Davis is happy for people to be locked up for 28 days, but suddenly balks at 42? Not exactly highly principled.

This by-elections is a prime opportunity for opponents of incarceration without charge to bring up Davis’s less than spectacular record. He faces some 25 candidates, including the Green, Shan Oakes.

I can’t say I am particularly enthused by the Greens but it seems that Ms. Oakes has a fair record as a teacher and campaigner, and I wish anyone well that opposes the Tories.

Update via Liberal Conspiracy: David Icke is running!

The Beeb has the full list (so far):

“Grace Christine Astley – Independent
David Laurence Bishop – Church of the Militant Elvis Party
Ronnie Carroll – Make Politicians History
Mad Cow-Girl – The Official Monster Raving Loony Party
David Craig – Independent
Herbert Winford Crossman – Independent
Tess Culnane – National Front Britain for the British
Thomas Faithful Darwood – Independent
David Michael Davis – Conservative
Tony Farnon – Independent
Eamonn “Fitzy” Fitzpatrick – Independent
Christopher Mark Foren – Independent
Gemma Dawn Garrett – Miss Great Britain Party
George Hargreaves – Christian Party
Hamish Howitt – Freedom 4 Choice
David Icke – No party listed
John Nicholson – Independent
Shan Oakes – Green Party
David Pinder – The New Party
Joanne Robinson – English Democrats: Putting England First
Jill Saward – Independent
Norman Scarth – Independent
Walter Edward Sweeney – Independent
Christopher John Talbot – Socialist Equality Party
John Randle Upex – Independent
Greg Wood – Independent”

Written by modernityblog

26/06/2008 at 22:30

Posted in Uncategorized

Saluting Israel.

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For anyone in London at the weekend, this is a must see event and guaranteed to get up the noses of fascists and their ilk:

Salute to Israel and for more information.

Written by modernityblog

26/06/2008 at 19:19

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Cleaning Up Puke.

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The cleaners on London’s Tube have a lot to content with, the detritus of humanity as puke, vomit and excrement, for all of that they are paid a pittance with poor service conditions.

They are going on strike on the 26th June 2008 and the 1st to 2nd July, justifiably so in my book, as their demands are very moderate:

At least £7.20 per hour, the minimum London living wage set by the GLA last year;
Full sick pay;
Final Salary Pensions;
28 days annual leave plus bank holidays (at the moment some cleaners only two weeks);
Free travel;
An end to third party sackings – this is the practice of cleaners being dismissed with no disciplinary hearing or right of appeal at the order of parties other than the employer.

For more information, see the Tubeworker blog

There is even a Facebook group.

I hope they post on YouTube too.

(Hat Tip: Stroppy)

Written by modernityblog

26/06/2008 at 02:12

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United Campaign.

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This campaign deserves our fullest support:

An Introduction to the United Campaign

The United Campaign believes the current anti-trade union laws introduced by the Conservatives between 1979 and 1995 must be repealed. These laws are repressive and illegal and should be replaced with a framework of positive rights.

Tony Blair wrote on 31st March 1997, the changes his Government introduced, “would leave British law the most restrictive on trade unions in the western world.” Believe him in this.

Labour laws now are worse than they were over 100 years ago. And changes in the world of work – with the fragmentation of organisations and the growth of non-standard work contracts – mean that the situation has continued to deteriorate for working people over the last quarter of a century.

Positive legislation in the field of industrial relations is required – laws which will protect trade unions from legal attacks, allow them to operate democratically and protect their members; laws which restore and extend collective bargaining, give each worker the right to strike and be represented by a union, protect workers against exploitation and provide the basis for a fairer and more just society.

Aims of the United Campaign

The United Campaign to Repeal the Anti-Trade Union Laws was founded on the 28th March 1998 at a Conference of 700 trade unionists, from General Secretaries to shop stewards. It was established to be a united non-sectarian trade union based campaign. Presently we have 24 national Unions affiliated to the Campaign and hundreds of trade union branches and regional bodies as well as individual members.

The objectives of the Campaign are set out below.

i. To secure the repeal of all anti-trade union laws.
ii. To secure the introduction of new laws which enshrine instead:
a. the rights of workers, without penalisation, to take industrial action (including solidarity action and action to secure recognition) and to be represented by their unions; and
b. the rights of unions to draw up their own constitution free from state and employer interference and to be recognised by employers for collective bargaining where workers so wish it; so fulfilling the Uk’s international law obligations under UN Covenants, the ILO Conventions, and the Social Charter of the Council of Europe.
iii. To support workers and unions penalised or threatened by the anti-union laws or which adopt a policy of non-compliance with those laws.
iv. To do anything lawful intended to further these objects or ancillary to the furtherance of them.

The latest edition of the United Campaign’s newsletter is now available [PDF}

Written by modernityblog

25/06/2008 at 18:09

Posted in Uncategorized