ModernityBlog

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

UCU, A Political Vacuum And Racism.

with 2 comments

You might have supposed that University and College Union’s delegates at their recent Congress would have had a grasp of cause and effect (coming from the educational sector as they do), or at the very least, they should have had some sense of history, but apparently not.

When the UCU’s NEC brought forth a motion disregarding the EUMC’s working definition on antisemitism they seemed to think nothing would occur. That no one would respond. That people would not notice or care.

Because if they did appreciate the dialectic of politics, how their actions would cause immense offence and disquiet, then the UCU’s NEC would have known that consequences must surely follow from their actions.

If they knew that there would be a negative response, and as a result that trade unionism would be weakened and disparaged then the UCU’s NEC are culpable of bringing trade unionism into disrepute. They can’t have believed that this issue existed in a political vacuum. They knew what they were doing and how it would reap a detrimental reaction for trade unionism. The UCU’s NEC are, at the very least, guilty of endangering the continuation of trade unionism within further and higher education.

As the days and weeks pass that is what we are seeing. UCU members are leaving in disgust. UCU’s actions have been shown to be intellectually untenable and reprehensible in the extreme. Trade unionism and UCU has been brought into disrepute by UCU’s institutionalised racism.

Further, Universities may take action because of UCU’s inability to deal with anti-Jewish racism in its own organisation, I despair. The TES has more:

“The Board of Deputies of British Jews has written to vice-chancellors urging them to consider derecognising the University and College Union if it “refuses to address claims of institutional racism”.

The UCU has been criticised by Jewish groups after delegates at its recent congress voted to reject a working definition of anti-Semitism produced by the European Union Monitoring Centre on Racism and Xenophobia.

The UCU motion says that the working definition “confuses criticism of Israeli government policy and actions with genuine anti-Semitism” and “is being used to silence debate about Israel and Palestine on campus”.

The motion, proposed by the UCU’s national executive committee, says the union “will make no use of the definition (eg, in educating members or dealing with internal complaints)”.

The UCU has previously attracted criticism from Jewish groups for motions proposing an academic boycott of Israel, although no such motions were raised at this year’s congress.

Vivian Wineman, president of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, wrote to vice-chancellors on 1 June.

“Following these developments, and in light of UCU’s history of behaviour, we now believe it to be an institutionally racist organisation,” he writes.

Mr Wineman adds that since its formation in 2006, the UCU “has been obsessed with Jews and Israel”.

The boycott debate “has poisoned the atmosphere inside UCU and led to many Jewish members feeling harassed for their beliefs and identities”, he argues.

He adds: “If UCU refuses to address claims of institutional racism, then we would ask that you reconsider whether formal union recognition…is appropriate at all”. “

(H/T: Engage]

2 Responses

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. ‘The Board of Deputies of British Jews has written to vice-chancellors urging them to consider derecognising the University and College Union if it “refuses to address claims of institutional racism”‘.

    Damn those clowns in Congress. Just at a time when UCU are trying to fight unis efforts to downgrade the USS pension scheme – penalising anyone entering employment in the higher education sector – those bastards give employers a golden opportunity to undermine the union as a whole.

    Their obsession with Israel and Jews is not only obnoxious, but it threatens the real fight to protect the livelihoods of UCU members.

    sackcloth and ashes

    09/06/2011 at 18:01

  2. Exactly.

    All of this was foreseeable.

    UCU’s NEC are guilty here, they knew what they were doing and continued to do it, even when it meant UCU would be brought into disrepute.

    It is the membership and staff in colleges & universities that will suffer from the NEC’s pernicious actions.

    modernityblog

    09/06/2011 at 18:39


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: