ModernityBlog

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

Posts Tagged ‘TUC

There In Spirit, 26th March 2011.

leave a comment »

I was there in spirit, but I will leave it to others to give their real impressions, Flesh is very good on the anti-cuts demonstration:

“I was really impressed by all the Labour and labour groups who joined the march without any pomp or circumstance, added their bodies to the many others on the streets, simply trudging (or sometimes shuffling) with their enormous and lovingly stitched banners, without anybody trying to use the occasion as self-publicity fodder. Good people.

Violence drives people away. The thugs who committed acts of violence today did so simply because they enjoy violence. They need to fuck off back to the Bullingdon club or Marlborough or Guildsmiths or wherever they’re from and leave us alone. They’re nothing to do with the 500,000 people who shuffled through London today to protest the Conservative-led government’s cuts (and in many cases, the slightly less punishing but still deep cuts proposed by the opposition).

So I thought it an irresponsible and disheartening mistake for UK Uncut, asked in advance on BBC 2’s Newsnight about anticipated violence on the protest, to change the subject. They should have readily disowned it. Non-violent non-destructive occupations and flashmobs are sufficiently newsworthy without any acts of wanton destruction. To see the anarcho-syndicalist flag flying from the window of Fortum & Mason, and to hear that the atmosphere in there was festive, will make me smile for a good while to come. “

Here’s Jim’s take on events:

“Ed Miliband addressed the crowd from the end platform despite having written Labour’s cuts Manifesto for the last election and Labour councillors up and down the country voting, en masse, for cuts budgets.

In a move designed to annoy the Daily Telegraph UKUncut occupied Fortnum and Masons and there were a number of other peaceful direct actions, mainly against banks, and Anne Summers’ windows were smash in a targeted strike against, um… shops? This led some wags to comment that police were looking for “hardened protesters” and that this was the “climax of the demonstration”.

However, while the smashed windows seem pointless and, frankly, unrepresentative of the feelings of most of those turning out, the continuing direct action, which led to a number of protesters being arrested despite being completely peaceful, are a real benefit. Unlike the Iraq War march where the focus was simply on size it is very good to see that this protest was not just big, but lively and edgy too, with many people reporting a carnival atmosphere. “

Two of Peter Tatchell’s tweets seem to sum up the issues nicely in my mind:

“Ed Miliband admitted Labour would make cuts too. He offered no alternative to the ConDems, apart from cutting later #tuc #ukuncut #26march

Cuts are human rights issue. When social welfare is cut, people suffer. Shame on Cameron/Clegg. Miliband would cut 2 #ukuncut #tuc #26march “

A lot more of people’s experiences on the day can be found on Twitter, using the #26march key word.

Eric Handles The TUC.

with 2 comments

Over at the Guardian, Eric Lee and Benny Weinthal have a typically combative article on the recent boycott gesture at the TUC.

Written by modernityblog

23/09/2009 at 14:49

Mean While In That Theocratic Dictatorship.

with 3 comments

No TUC motion on Iran? Nothing about the fiddled election?

Nothing about the anti-Jewish racist, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad?

Nothing about neo-nazi shindigs in Tehran?

Nothing about the attacks on Mansour Osanloo and other trade unionists?

Nothing about the street protests in Iran?

Nothing about the very nature of the dictatorship in Tehran?

Still, brave Iranians took their fight straight to Ahmadinejad as he was spouting more Holocaust denial, the Guardian reports:

“Iran’s opposition Green movement put on a powerful show of strength today against Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as the hardline president repeated his notorious claim that the Nazi Holocaust was a “lie” designed to justify the existence of Israel.

Tens of thousands of people gathered in central Tehran to shout “death to the dictator” despite a heavy security presence and official warnings to the opposition not to hijack the Quds (Jerusalem) Day rally, the regime’s annual display of solidarity with the Palestinians.

Written by modernityblog

18/09/2009 at 15:14

Boycott The Planets.

with 6 comments

Not known for their love of all things Israeli, some pro-boycotters might want to ignore, forget or even destroy their pet telescopes as Israelis have discovered a new planet.

After which pro-boycotters might want to stop using Google (oh, yes, they use an Israeli developed algorithm), Intel based PCs, Windows XP, etc and a whole lot of useful medical technologies.

But then again that’s not going to happen, many pro-boycotters are happy to perform token gestures but much less likely to let the boycotting of Israelis have a detrimental effect on their own lives, and so it is with the proposed TUC motion.

It is another piece of gesture politics, doesn’t help anyone in the Middle East but it makes Westerners feel good about themselves. How typically indulgent and how quintessentially Western?

Update 1:
Jeffrey Goldberg nails Walt, Bin Laden and Mearsheimer.

Update 2:
Some of my newer readers are having a bit of difficulty understanding my arguments, above

I thought it was self-evident, but it seems I will have to belabour the point. Pity.

I’m not arguing that we don’t know where Israeli products come from.

My point is that most pro-boycotters will happily “boycott” the odd bagel or even some Dead Sea soap, but they won’t inconvenience themselves terribly.

Most pro-boycotters won’t put themselves out, genuinely, because if they were to do that, then they have to stop using so much technology and maybe even the Internet (as a lot of the routers were designed by Israelis).

There is no difficulty finding out what Israeli products are on the market, in fact there are no end of extremist web sites which publish this information.

Instead my point is that Westerners, nice cushy Westerners, should think that every day they make use of the product of Israeli labour, in terms of Google, Microsoft software, Intel chips and other numerous improvements to humanity.

I think pro-boycotters should stop being hypocrites.

But the pro-boycotters will rarely boycott those lovely items, because it would be far too inconvenient, which brings me to my second point that this boycott is largely a gesture, as it doesn’t achieve anything positive.

However, it certainly achieves something negative, which is to stir up hatred towards Israelis and onward towards Jews, but it doesn’t do anything positive for peace in the Middle East.

Thus, if it doesn’t do anything, apart from make people feel very smug then it is a gesture, a very poor gesture, but that’s what it is.

I do wish that Westerners would stop being so hypocritical in this matter, it would be far better to encourage links between Palestinian trade unionists and Israeli ones and build up solidarity between them, not the opposite.

(H/T: The Debate Link)

Written by modernityblog

17/09/2009 at 17:01