Tuesday, 30 September 2008

Clare on Bush...

Yet another Bush howler: "it will take some time to restore chaos and order..." – Washington, D.C.; April 13, 2003. He could have been saying it right at the present time.

Probably the only thing i have in common with Georgie boy; we both get our mucking words fuddled up!

Sunday, 28 September 2008

Afghanistan, Pakistan & the Spread of War-Stop the War public meeting

Chris Nineham from the Stop the War Coalition will speak on the recent events in the Afghan conflict, the current political turmoil in Pakistan and the role of the Stop the War movement in combating the imperialist policies of western governments.

Public Meeting.

Date: Sept 30
Time: 5pm

All welcome

SOAS anti-fascist filmshowing agitates 30 new UAF/LMHR activists

This is the very begininning of what was a 50 strong rally at midnight at Camden Town Hall where the votes were being counted. A couple of BNP supporters turned up but soon showed their true fascist colours and were dragged away before they really started putting the boot in.

200 SOAS students attended our filmshowing of the brilliant Shane Meadows film 'This is England'. Inspired by both the film and the Q&A with Alison from Love Music Hate Racism,(LMHR), 30 stayed behind to organise leafletting and a demonstration outside Camden Town Hall.

At our Freshers Fayre yesterday they set up a LMHR society and gathered another 200 members. They will now put on music events at SOAS and will help with national music events.

Yasser Alwan presents: The Liberty of Appearing

The Liberty of Appearing, originally uploaded by solomonsmfield.


You are invited to the Private View of The Liberty of Appearing: photographs of Egyptian working people

Photographer Yasser Alwan, opens his exhibitions at: CHATS PALACE, 42-44 Brooksby's Walk, Hackney E9 6DF, Thursday 2 October. Preview: 7-10pm.

Yasser also opens the exhibition at: The Gallery at Foyles, Charing Cross Road, Friday 7 November, 7.30pm

Yasser will be having a slide show and talk hosted by Dr Nadje Al-Ali, Reader in Gender Studies & Chair, Centre for Gender Studies, SOAS (room details to follow), 13th November, 7pm

The book contains 100 pages and 80 B&W photos and will be on special offer at the openings.

About the Book

"Yasser Alwan's photographs express a profound humanitarian egalitarianism that is rare in the long history of art as a whole and almost unique in the relatively short history of photography."
Dr John Molyneux, Senior Art Theory Lecturer, University of Portsmouth

"These are wonderful photographs. They are very simple, the subjects shine out, and here is humanity without any sentimentality." Red Saunders, photographer & founder Rock Against Racism.


Jewish-israeli teens refuse to join the IDF

From a group on Facebook...."We are a group of Jewish- Israeli teens who are refusing to join the IDF for it has been occupying the Palestinian territories since 1967.

In Israel, the law ruled that every 18 year old- healthy, Jewish, Israeli, teenager is to join the military (this varies between 2-3 years and sometimes more). Our group is refusing for political reasons, standing up against the occupation and declaring: we will not support it!

The Six Day War broke out on June 5th, 1967 and Israel has not left the West Bank since. Gaza strip was conquered too, and military forces still rule the place.

Join our struggle and support our cause. Here we will be available to provide you with more information about the subject. We want and need your support. Sign the petition, join and support us and spread the love we are trying to promote!

We want to end occupation, we want to change the face of the militaristic Israeli society to make it a better place, WE WANT PEACE."

Contact Info: Facebook group

Tel Aviv-Yafo, Israel

See the full letter at Jews for Justice for Palestine

SOAS paycuts and the slippery slope to privatisation

Support IFCELS staff - Stop the cuts

We, the undersigned, staff and students at SOAS are appalled by the treatment meted out to our colleagues in IFCELS by the School’s management. We call on SOAS management to:

  • Reverse the decision to deny IFCELS staff the pay and contract terms agreed with UCU

  • Lift the threat to cut staff jobs or hours in order to make savings

  • Lift the threat to close or privatise IFCELS

We wish to send a message of solidarity to colleagues in IFCELS and pledge our support for them in their fight to defend their jobs and conditions.

Name Department Position

eg. Clare Solomon BA Study of Religion 2nd year student

Return your details to Graham Dyer, SOAS UCU president at the email below

For more information about the campaign email gd1@soas.ac.uk

Most Children Not In Favor Of Child Healthcare

Friday, 26 September 2008

What's behind the world economic meltdown? Chris Bambery

Posted by Ady Cousins on Youtube

Hampstead Town ward by-election results-WE SMASHED THE BNP

The results of the by election are as follows:
Votes cast
Linda Chung
Stephen Dorman British
Stephen Phillips Conservative 1114
Anya Reeve Green 140
Larraine Revah Labour 289

Linda Chung was duly elected borough councillor for Hampstead Town ward. The voter turnout was 36.70%.

87 yr old Jewish Nazi-fighter fights on


Sound quality not great but i think you can read between the lines of what this great anti-fascist campaigner is saying...

So much to say, so little time.

300,00 students returned to London last week and every day we have various freshers fayres. What with the fascist BNP standing in my area, anti-military recruitment stunts, racist student presidents and a million talks to organise and/or speak at my feet have not touched the ground. I will try to get something up tmrw.

In solidarity...Clare

Wednesday, 24 September 2008

Return of the resident rodent

SOAS' resident rodent, originally uploaded by solomonsmfield.

The pesky mite moved so fast i couldn't quite get a clear shot...

A woman asked me if i was going to send the photo to the student newspaper gossip pages. No, i replied, i'm introducing him (i guess it's a him!!) to the new students to remind them not to leave their leftover food all over the floors - our underpaid, overworked cleaners should not have to slave after overpaid, underworked middle class tosspots who expect everyone else to clean up after them...

Family flee 'neo-Nazi' rally in Somerset

Watch coverage at the BBC

A young family fled their Somerset home when hundreds of people, some draped in swastika flags, took over a field near their garden.

Tuesday, 23 September 2008

Can Dialectics Break Bricks?

UK Border Agency given Police powers

There is an article in the free paper 'Metro' today, in the series entitled [ironically so, (see below)] 'Real People', in which a 28 year old Arrest Team Leader from the UK Border Agency describes her work..

Vikki Lacey says, "If I felt sorry for everyone I wouldn't get out of bed. I just have to treat them as cases rather than people".... "The raids are fun. I'm not tied to my desk and every day is different".

Describing how things have changed for the better since the time when, "We were very restricted in what we could do as we had to rely on the police", she tells Metro readers how, "Now we can be more proactive and go out with our own teams".... "I've been trained to use a baton and handcuffs" .... "Sometimes, however, you can get violence".

She explains how the emphasis now is on workplace raids but they still raid people's houses, an action which "We tend to do very early in the morning".

She does not reveal whether she is a member of either the PCS union or the Immigration Officers house 'union'. Of course, some of the people doing this work are indeed PCS members.

Sunday, 21 September 2008

URGENT PROTEST: UCL provost undermines student democracy by allowing military recruiters on campus

Last term UCL Stop the War society had a major victory by passing a motion to ban military recruitment on campus. This year the Students' Union has not allowed the Armed Forces to attend Freshers Fayre.

But the school have stepped in and undermined student democracy by allowing the military to recruit for the 3 days running up to the fayre. They will have full use of the 'Quad'-the main area of the college entrance.

Tomorrow 24th Sept to Wed 26th the uniformed Officer Training Core (OTC) along with other military recruiters ULAS and URNU will be on campus armed with leaflets, poster and videos. Along with promises of parachuting, skydiving and travelling the world, they will be offering students FREE education bursaries to anyone who signs their life away to be experiemented on and potentially to be killed, or at least to be trained to kill others.

The school has said that by not allowing recruitment on campus students would be deprived of funding for (what are now very expensive) degree programmes.

Students who opposed the motion at the previous general meeting have prepared a series of action and protests including lecture announcements and are submitting a motion to the first welcome General Meeting of 2008/9 to overturn the ban. Read more on this at in the London Student

UCL Stop the War society has called a counter protest. Details as follows:

Meet 11am outside UCL Quad.

Call Clare on 07958 034 181 for more details.

We need to fundementally oppose the use of public funds to recruit for illegal wars, to call for the upholding of student decision making bodies and to expose the lies that military recruiters tell to our students.

Please spread the word

Defend Artem-Defend the right to protest

On Friday the 12th Sept Newcastle College invited onto campus the army in order to do a presentation to recruit students with the promise of financial assistance for college and University fees. This time last year the Students’ Union passed a policy against Army recruitment on campus and banned the Army from the fresher’s fair.

Last Friday an emergency protest was organised by students at Newcastle College. Artem and other students went into the presentation to ask simply ‘How many of our students would be killed’? for this he was threatened with security and in the end left of his free will.

The following Monday Artem was told by phone that he was being suspended for a week pending an investigation and a disciplinary hearing on the 22nd Sept.

No other student involved in the protest is being punished for the same activities that Artem carried out. This is simply a way to spread fear and intimidation in order to paralyse any student activism, democracy or accountability.

Those of us who wish to defend our rights to speak out, to vote, to stand in elections or to organise on campus as activists should have the right to do so. Democracy and human rights are not something that you leave at the doorstep of the college but something that you carry with you everywhere you go.

Defend democracy, defend our right to speak out, defend Artem Liebenthal!

What you can do...

1) Email to complain to the college > linda.moore@ncl-coll.ac.uk
2) Email Artem in support > artem_88@web.de
3) Join the protest (details below)
4) Get support from your Students’/Trade Union

Join the protest


(Please bring union banners, delegations etc. etc.)

Loo for two!

Loo for two!, originally uploaded by solomonsmfield.

I know lots of females who really do go to the toilet together so i was mildly amused to find a pub in Manchester provide a service for us to actually wee at the same time too

Testing 'add to blog' function

SANY0324, originally uploaded by solomonsmfield.

.kniwhfguvkjsd vbl;hrgo
v nskjvfiuvo;

SANY0324SANY032429058892@N05solomonsmfield21 Sep '08, 12.12am BST PSTTesting 'add to blog' function.kniwhfguvkjsd vbl;hrgov nskjvfiuvo;skjvbfglkvb.kniwhfguvkjsd vbl;hrgo
v nskjvfiuvo;

Manchester demo photos

ah ha, think i've worked it out...Manchester Stop the War demo 2008

Read Socialist Worker report here

Jews for Justice for Palestine

...and the infamous comrade Florence

Infamous comrade Florence Durrant

Wednesday, 17 September 2008

Would you Adam and Eve it? Tony Blair continues his crusade.

Tony Blair starts a new job tomorrow teaching 'Faith and Globalisation' at Yale university!

According to his office, "The course will explore how faith traditions and globalisation may influence each other and why understanding this mutual process is important in the 21st century."

He will vbe talking about his new position on the American prime time 'Daily Show' with the not too emolient Jon Stewart. I hope he rips him apart. Catch his Sarah Palin interview here.

Tune in tomorrow for Blairs debut performance at 11pm US time. Watch it the day after and COMMENT like mad on Jon's site...

I guess with all his experience in the Middle East, as illegal invader, occupier and then the fricking hilarious 'Peace Envoy', he is well versed in both subjects. What next, George Bush giving LGBT rights lectures?

Almost as funny as the one about the BNP bloke who is the Anti-racism Officer at his uni.

Check out Tony Blairs blog-some more excellent advice from our ex-'leader': "Olympics should be about sports and not politics" he says, mobile phone deals will save Palestine, praise of Saudi's interfaith programs and much, much more...shame he doesn't have a comments function

Tuesday, 16 September 2008

Support the pigs in their fight for the right to strike...

...so we can kick the shit out of them on their picket lines.

Complaining that it will be 'now clearly impossible' to negotiate 'fair pay' in the future with people like Jacqui Smith and Gordon Brown in charge, either the chair of the Metropolitan Police Federation, Peter Smyth, has gone all left-wing on us or he has forgotten what it was like for striking miners under a Tory government.

Amidst their fight for the right to strike they have been told to 'work to rule' at the Labour Party Conference this weekend. They are advised not to feel obliged to do photoshoots or show goodwill; 'would you want to smile or pose with pickpockets who had a hand in your pocket?' said Chris Burrows, chair of the Police Federation.

However, i'm not quite sure how to react to the police going all union-friendly. At the Stop the War demo this Saturday do we salute them or give them extra agro to see if we can get them to go over and above the call of duty? I prefer the later...

Either way, I hope their next demonstration is not headed, once again, by the real fascists. On January 29th, the BNP candidate for Mayor of London lead a 22,500 strong police demo. Unfortunately I was in Berlin otherwise I would have gone to harass them with our very own un-FIT team. I wonder how many copies of the Socialist Worker we sold on this demo?


Jonathon Neal in the Independent on Sunday

Sunday, 7 September 2008.

In a new book on climate change, Jonathan Neale argues that solutions are within reach but the political will is lacking – a mass movement is needed to make governments take the lead.

Hear Jonathon speak st SOAS on Oct 1st, 6pm

Don't know why this silly green & red block is here?...

    Israel cracks down on anti-draft websites

    Israel is to launch a crackdown on organizations that offer advice on how to evade army service amid a wave of young Jews' disappointment.

    Israeli Attorney General Menachem Mazuz ordered on Monday an investigation against the organizations which offer internet advice on evading military service, accusing them of incitement against the army.

    Deputy Attorney General Shai Nitzan claims that the material published by such organizations on the Internet constitutes incitement against the army.

    He said they not only encourage youths to dodge the draft, but also explain in great detail how this can be accomplished, the Yediot Aharonot reported on Monday.

    While opinion polls suggest Israel's young generation is increasingly losing faith to the regime, several organizations are publishing online materials to teach the youth draft dodging tricks.

    "Declaring chronic back or head aches can lower your medical profile, and marking the wrong answers on the psychometric exam certainly decreases the candidate's value for security service, even leading to an automatic discharge from the IDF," one of these websites read.

    The organizations, however, have their own side of story. For example, New Profile organization says Israeli society is a militaristic one and the army is in control of people's life.

    The groups' members accuse the regime of desperately trying to silence them against the freedom of speech.

    They say the army has difficulty in understanding society's realities.

    From Press TV

    Monday, 15 September 2008

    CAIRO protests: We need more reporters and bloggers to go to Abdeen

    Numbers of protestors are increasing. The police “are not attacking us because you are here,” one of the women said. “If you leave, they’ll eat us. They only get scared of the press.”

    The residents are complaining from corruption, nepotism and severe delays that mar the process of the distribution of alternative housing units…“We had enough of your lies! You do not have any integrity.”

    Read comrade Hossam's call for support here

    Photo rights Hossam El-Hamalawy

    Destroy American Imperialism

    Destroy American Imperialism, originally uploaded by solomonsmfield.Some would say that according to Antionio Gramsci's theory of cultural hegemony McDonald's has such power in American culture as well as enormous capital and advertising power in the media that it is ingrained in the American psyche and has come to represent all that is false, plastic and unhealthy about Western consumer culture.

    SOAS eulogises late Imperialist

    On July 23 2008 SOAS (School of Orientali-ist and African Studies) pays homage to deceased academic who helped West steal Iranian oil.

    Ann Katherine Swynford Lambton, OBE FBA, first came to SOAS as a student and later as a teacher.

    Lambton’s interest in the Arab world was sparked in her teens – according to a friend, when she read T. E. Lawrence’s Revolt in the Desert!!!

    She enrolled at SOAS in 1932 after meeting Denison Ross, the orientalist and director of the then still called School of Oriental Studies.

    When Ross then persuaded her to concentrate on the Persian world, she registered for an honours degree course in Persian with subsidiary Arabic.

    Historian Prof. Ervand Abrahamian in his book Khomeinism: Essays on the Islamic Republic records that:

    "The British, determined to undermine Mossadeq from the day he was elected premier, refused to negotiate seriously with him ... Professor Lambton, serving As a Foreign Office consultant, advised as early as November 1951 that the British government should persevere in 'undermining' Mossadeq, refuse to reach agreement with him, and reject American attempts to find a compromise solution. 'The Americans,' she insisted, 'do not have the experience or the psychological insight to understand Persia.'" - Ann Lambton
    So, whilst manangement claim that rumours that SOAS was set up as a training ground for miltary and colonial oppressors are false (fascist Enoch Powel did a degree in Urdu on the premise of becoming embassador in India/Palistan), they do not rule out the fact that they taught and trained generations of imperialists/orientalists. Some things never change.

    John Pilger presents: Breaking the Silence

    'Breaking the Silence' exposes the horrors that imperialistm unleashed upon the Afghan people, and locates this in the broader context of the "war on terror".
    John Pilger will bring the film up to date and answer questions afterwards.

    Tickets cost £8 wages, £5 concessions
    Ticket hotline: 020 7819 1190.

    You can book online at www.swappeal.org.uk or email appeal@socialistworker.co.uk

    Tickets are also available from Bookmarks bookshop,
    1 Bloomsbury Street WC1. Tel 020 7637 1848

    Mugabe and Tsvangerai make a pact on Zim governance

    Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe has signed a historic power-sharing deal with his long-time political rival, opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai.

    The two smiled and shook hands at the ceremony in the capital, Harare, attended by African dignitaries.

    Mr Tsvangirai said the agreement provided the best hope for Zimbabwe and called on President Mugabe to work together to implement the deal.

    Mr Mugabe said he was committed to national unity and would do "his best".

    Read more from the BBC here

    Sunday, 14 September 2008

    Student radicals at national conference

    Ok, so Student Respect is slightly redundant now but this video is great and still relevant anyway.

    We came, we saw, we conquered and we will be back!

    Insanity is hereditary...

    ...you get it from your children

    Pakistan - the beginning of a long expected spillover

    If one had asked anti-war activists, socialists and sympathizers of the left which country were to be the next target of Bush’s ‘war on terror’ Iran would have probably been the answer a year ago. But as even journalists in the mainstream media were preparing for an attack on Iran the events of the last few weeks appear to come out of nowhere.

    As Pakistan has been co-operating with the Bush regime since the beginning of the war on terror it seemed remote that it now would be facing an American invasion. And indeed, it is unprecedented that the USA is moving into an allied country.

    Read the full arcticle at Comrade Mark's blog here

    Wednesday, 10 September 2008

    Disgraceful New Zealand Tourist Board Ad

    Enitiled 'The youngest country on earth', I object to this series of promotional videos on a couple of issues:

    1) That NZ/Aotearoa is only dated since the White folk/long pork colonised it is a crock of Eurocentric bullshit.
    2) Maori's have lived in Aotearoa for centuries longer than Europeans yet the only Maori or even non-white person in the ad is a woman wearing a facial ta moko (tattoo), perfoming the traditional Maori greeting of touching noses (i can't remember the Maori word for this) and living in the wilderness. A crock of Orientalist bullshit.
    3) The scenery is obviously beautiful but these days only rich tourists can afford most of the packaged excursions. There is much more to this beautiful land than mountain climbing and skiing. A crock of (send comments to fill in this blank)__________bullshit.

    Police obstruction of journalists-watch NUJ film

    VIDEO: The NUJ has released a short film highlighting some of the problems faced by journalists covering public demonstrations. Featuring our very own Guy Smallman

    The video was released the day after the TUC in Brighton condemned the erosion of civil liberties and media freedoms in Britain. TUC unions unanimously backed a motion, proposed by the National Union of Journalists, which called for a rethink of government policies that put journalists at risk of imprisonment just for doing their job.

    United against the fascists in Rotherham

    Photo copyright Guy Smallman

    The fascist British National Party (BNP) is on the march again – but we can build a mass movement to stop them in their tracks. That was the message last weekend coming from Rotherham and Stoke-on-Trent, two key targets for the BNP Nazis.

    Some 4,500 young people turned out last Saturday in Rotherham for an indoor carnival against the fascists organised by Love Music Hate Racism (LMHR).

    Meanwhile in Stoke, a coalition of anti-racist organisations is calling on people to demonstrate against a planned BNP “national rally” to be held in the city on Saturday 20 September.

    The Rotherham carnival – LMHR’s largest indoor event to date – was headlined by The Kaiser Chiefs and included sets from Reverend And The Makers, The Courteeners, hip-hop act Fallacy and poet Skint & Demoralised.

    Bands and speakers spoke out against the BNP from the stage and urged the overwhelmingly local and working class audience to get involved in the campaign against the Nazis.

    Campaigners with Rotherham Unite Against Fascism (UAF) plan to build on the carnival by leafleting Brinsworth, one of the two wards in the town with a BNP councillor, this weekend.

    Read more in the Socialist Worker here

    Victory as North London College kick military recruiters off campus

    Read Socialist Worker report here

    Look out for similar campaigns all over the country (SOAS students look for the motion at UGM 3rd October 2008)

    Tuesday, 9 September 2008

    Open meeting: How do we stop the BNP?

    Open meeting: ALL welcome.

    Euromed Cafe, 225 Kentish Town Road, NW3

    Call Clare on 07958 034 181 for more details. I am meeting people beforehand so call me if you want to meet a bit earlier to go together.

    Unite Against Fascism

    When I sent this flyer below to the printers the woman who worked there said her boss had a fit when he saw it in the inbox coz he thought it was FOR the BNP...I asked her whether he would have printed them: 'You must be joking: absolutely NO WAY', she said.

    United Against Fascism We Stand

    Click on this leaflet for 5 lies the BNP tell

    Together to break the siege of Gaza

    The popular campaign committee to break the siege on the Palestinian’s people calls on all free thinkers and human rights supporters to help and participate in sending a clear message to the international community in solidarity with Palestinians.

    This coming Wednesday, the Tenth of Ramadan 10/9/2008, we are organizing a Convoy destined to Rafah crossing lines to break the siege on our brothers and sisters in Palestine.

    If you are able to join us, we urge you please to contact us at below listed info.

    We must stand up for freedom and Justice. We ask you for your help and support.

    For Your donation please contact the Humanitarian Relief Committee: Tel/ 002034255250Mobile /0020168810954

    Direct Donation: Account No. 914 Misr Bank - Abu Abbas branch - Alexandria - Egypt or send cheques & payments to the headquarters of:
    Humanitarian Relief Committee doctors syndicate
    2 Street Mustafa Kamel Smooha - Alexandria - Egypt.

    Please help us spreading the words by:
    * Advertising on your site
    * invite bloggers to participate in this campaign
    * Send short messages on mobile
    * Send emails
    * Send designs for posters invites to break the siege
    *Call law societies to participate
    *Call the human rights activists, writers and journalists to participate through the platforms
    *Invite people of faith to support the call for this campaign
    *If not able to go to the Rafah crossing, organize symbolic event to stand with Palestine.

    Contact:T. 002034255250 Mobile: 0020168810945 E-mail: Cairoconference4@yahoo.com - gaza_2008@ymail.com

    Counsel /Mahmoud El Khodery Dr/Mansour Hassanwww.human-relief.net

    Monday, 8 September 2008

    Unite against the fascist BNP in Hampstead campaign

    The campaign in Hampstead got off to a good start this weekend with leafletting on both Saturday and Sunday covering a big chunk of the ward. The Labour Party had our leaflet on their stall and all the candidates have agreed not to share a platform with the BNP.

    Further leafletting will take place on Tuesday evening meeting at Belsize Park tube at 6:30

    It has been agreed to have a stall in South End Green on Saturday at 12:00. A volunteer is needed to organise this - a table, resources from UAF, leaflets, petition, collection box, etc.

    We also need to leaflet Belsize Park tube, Hampstead tube, and Hampstead overground either in the morning when people are going to work or in the evening when they return. Please let me know your availability for this and I will coordinate.

    We need to get letters into the Ham & High and CNJ - not to long - basically who the BNP are and it does not matter who you vote for get out and vote to keep the BNP out.

    This is the first time the BNP have stood in Camden - the NF did back in the late 70's - but we must not let them get a toe hold here now. That means in the longer term we must be prepared for them standing in other wards when the council elections happen. With this in mind we will be holding an event/meeting after this by-elction with a view of setting up a UAF group in Camden.

    Trade Unions - A motion will be going to Camden Unison Branch Committee on 19th.

    Donations from individuals would also be most welcome

    Could all of you forward this to your contacts, if people e-mail me I will add their names to a distribution list and let me know if you can leaflet tomorrow or do the stall on Saturday.

    'Illicit' settler food sold in UK stores

    Paul Gallagher - The Observer

    Food grown on illegal Israeli settlements in the occupied territories is being sold in Britain, often to customers who assume they are buying goods from Palestinian-owned farms.

    Tesco, Sainsbury's, Waitrose and Somerfield have all admitted sourcing produce from Israeli-owned farms on Palestinian territory but claimed that labelling the goods 'origin: West Bank' gave enough information for the customer to make an informed choice.

    Even rightwing Foreign Secretary David Miliband was concerned enough about the issue to raise it with British officials in Jerusalem during his visit there last November.


    Although we can't overturn capitalism through individuals boycotting certain goods, would a collective campaign like this have an impact. I know that similar campaigns were put in place over South African Apartheid-how does this boycott compare? Answers below please...

    Sunday, 7 September 2008

    Twisted thinking...

    "...I feel lucky every day that in this capitalist society in which we live, one can make one's living doing what one loves."

    Today actress Andrea Risebrough enlightens us on the merits of capitalism. I wonder if her portrayal of Margaret Thatcher in a BBC drama had any influence on ones mind?

    I wonder if Daddy's 3 house keepers think the same.

    Dont bother to read the article in the Independent today...

    Friday, 5 September 2008

    Report back from Justice for cleaners mtg this Tuesday.

    (I feel terrible that i havent written this before, but the meeting was so good and full of ideas and analysis that i am finding it hard to write elegantly enough to do the meeting justice. So, i will keep adding to it...)

    'A victory for one is a victory for all'

    I was so inspired by a meeting at SOAS this week.

    25 cleaners and trade union reps and other activists from various cleaners campaigns attended a meeting at SOAS on Tuesday to discuss victories and strategy. Among us were people from RMT Eurostar, RMT Tubelines cleaners and RMT reps, SOAS Unison, SOAS UCU, SOAS SU, Queen Mary, Royal Mail, Birkbeck College and various other people.

    All three speakers spoke about the confidence their campaigns have gained from having support from other groups and stressed the need to continue building links and extending solidarity. Contributions followed.

    Stalin Vermudez, the SOAS Unison branch chair spoke first. Having worked for 7 cleaning companies he explained how all cleaning companies are cowboys, despite the fact that we had OCEAN managers in the room, he said that they all “exploit their workers and that's why they have managers-to do the dirty work”. After hearing about SOAS's success cleaners at Birkbeck have begun to join the union and a campaign has started to make some headway. Birkbeck management accused SOAS of 'opening a can of worms'.

    In meeting to debate and decide which cleaning company to employ SOAS management said that 'we are known for going out on a limb-we should be leading the way on workers rights'. I doubt whether this was a sincere statement or just to appease me, as Student Union Governing Body member.

    An engineer from Eurostar told us how 74 engineers refused to cross the picket line on the day of OCS cleaners strike action. The engineers are now facing disciplinary action. They now see this disgraceful and illegal move as an 'open door to join the dispute'. They thanked us for all our support on the picket lines and our People Before Profit stunt and leafletting sessions and said they would not have been brave enough to take solidarity action if we had not been there to support them. They said that 'if people can see you fighting others will fight with you'.

    OCS think that cleaners are unorganised and wouldn't fight and have relied on this (assumption?) presumption to prevaricate over the terms and conditions of the contract. Their contract is up for renewal and therefore they have nothing to lose. More planned action is pending the outcome of further scheduled negotiations.

    Tubelines cleaning rep, Philip Mambuliya (??) argued that 'nothing comes to us sitting in our armchair-we have to fight for it'. ... 'if you dont stand for something, you fall for anything.'

    Although Tubelines are very happy with winning the London Living Wage, they are still in the process of negotiating better terms and conditions and of course having to fight against deportations. The TUC have spoken out against the use of immigration controls and have planned a meeting at SOAS on Sunday.

    SOAS's Unison Black members rep reiterated the feeling of the meeting when she said that 'exploitation IS racist. Management bang on about their Equal Opps policies but these are no more than empty promises.'

    Another speaker told how management at their workplace are taught 'how not to get caught discriminating'. After her succesfull campaign she assured us that it is not a mountain to bring the cleaners in-house and how united we could beat these bullies. She spoke about how the Home office raids 50 workplaces per week and that they have a target of 5,000. Many workplaces dont want to organise migrant workers because they are too high maintenance.

    Further, a new law has been introduced, even landlords who dont chek papers are subject to fines of £10,000.

    We all left the meeting feeling confident and ready to take the struggle to another level. We need to opush the campaigns across other campuses and other workplaces in London. and we discussed further action.

    14 new people signed the People Before Profit charter, 10 of us went to the meeting on the Recession at Friends Meeting House and

    Two weeks ago Socialist Worker, through the Freedom Of Information Act, uncovered the story of 2 tube cleaners being deported. Bosses had no issues with workers having no immigration papers

    A victory for one is a victory for all BUT an injury to one is an injury to all

    I found out after that 8 more cleaners from OCS and Birkbeck couldn't find the venue-what a shame, the mtg was great.

    We were suprised but pleased that 2 of the cleaners managers also came. Most of our cleaners are South American, as are the managers, and have faced issues with immigration, non-payment of wages (for 3 months at Christmas), harrasment, victimisation and appaling treatment. 6 months ago, we did a community consultative ballot at which 9 out of 10 students and staff voted to bring the cleaning service in-house. At the ballot box, the said managers came to me and satrted discussing the problems the cleaners have faced and then showed me how they voted-they also voted to bring them in house.

    People Before Profit Charter
    Public Services Not Private Profit Campaign


    SOAS Justice for Cleaners relaunch party.

    Friday Oct 3rd
    SOAS Junior Common Room
    Music, food, dancing, discussion and activists forum,

    ALL welcome-to invite people from all the campaigns

    Mtg room PACKED to fight to Defend Camden NHS

    Thanks to everyone for the fighting spirit of the meeting last night about the plans in South Camden. It was packed to overflowing - sorry to those of you who had to stand or could not get in. This is just a quick note of what was agreed.

    The meeting agreed to campaign against any threat of privatisation of local GPs, and to back GPs and patients if they opposed plans for a Polyclinic or GP led health centre at UCLH.

    We agreed to demand proper consulation from the PCT including a public meeting for local people. The consultation should include other options to improve local services other than moving to UCLH.

    Other suggestions made at the meeting, such as a referendum and a demonstration will be discussed at our next meeting which is:

    Tuesday September 6.30pm in Somers Town Community Centre
    , Ossulston Street, NW1 (down the side of the British Library- different venue because Town Hall not available).

    We will be doing a stall at the Marchmont Community Festival this Saturday.
    Meet at 1pm at the Marchmont Street entrance to the Brunswick centre.

    Future Dates:
    Next NHS London meeting Tue 23 September 10.30-12.30 South side office, 105 Victoria St,SW1

    Public Meeting for North Camden
    Wed 24 September Fleet Community Centre

    Camden Council Health Scrutiny Meeting
    Thurs 25 September 7pm Camden Town Hall

    Camden PCT meeting Monday 29 September 2pm Agm 4pm at St Pancras Hospital

    Wednesday, 3 September 2008

    BBC Arabic service ballot results - 80.6% in favour of strike action

    Today 80% of NUJ members at the BBC Arabic service in Broadcasting House at Oxford Circus voted for strike action.

    Previous BBC strikes involving BBC staff have been confident, angry and vibrant. 'Long live the revolution and death to the management' were chanted in Urdu - 'Inklab Zindabad wa Management murbadad'

    i look forward to the next pickets. Details of which will be posted here as soon as i know.

    I am informed by my sources that this strike is even more significant because the Arabic service has only just been set up (in competetion with Al Jajeera) and a succesful campaign would be a major embarassment for the Beeb.

    Even before th NUJ had time to circulate the results of the ballot, the BBC management panicked and sent a snivelling 2 1/2 page email, trying to explain what the strike action is about, to the ENTIRE workforce....

    In this email management said that 'the reasons for the ballot are unclear'. They claim that they have offered a 'comprehensive package...including shorter night shifts, a 37.5 hour working week, more staff than originally planned and further training and development'.

    They complain that changes to shift patterns would cost them an extra £1.5 million and threaten the closure of other World Service language services in order to pay for this.

    Further, they state that 'BBC Arabic staff are not working longer hours than elsewhere in the BBC' and that 'extra staff would mean that BBC Arabic are better staffed than the other BBC news outlets'.

    They acknowledge that there has been some 'frustration' due to the amount of change in the last 2 years but refute the necessity of strike action claiming that 'any strike action would be unjustifiable'...and would 'jeopordise the high level of esteem BBC Arabic atracts from audiences'.

    Management worry that these demands would lead to hard questions from their funders about all their services.

    In the statement from NUJ to memebers we read: "Ultimately, this dispute is about what's needed to produce quality broadcastig. To be a success, the extension of the BBC's Arabic services to a 24-hour operation must be fully funded..."

    NUJ Broadcasting Organiser stresses that the Arabic Service members have not entered into this strike lightly. They rightly rejected managements calls for an undemocratic e-mail vote, fully aware that distance voting destroys an open and fair debate and ultimately would only produce a result that mangement could accuse of being undemocratic. No one in their right mind should believe that distance voting could provide a reasonable assessment of the rank and file mood.

    NUJ insist that strike action is the only option available to 'ensure that management listen to their concerns'

    Read the NUJ report here

    'Think tanks'...copyleft Naomi Klein

    ... Think Tanks are people who are paid to think by the people who make tanks.

    Pigs publish racist 'Crime Maps'

    How dare they.

    How do they even categorise 'crime' in the first place? Do they record every incident of tax evasion, police brutality, war crime, exploitation, racist/homophobic/sexist oppression, deportation, empty property, over-crowded state school, crimes against the environment and the such like? Do they eckers like...

    These maps only show where poverty and deprivation are at it's worst. Where kids can't get a job coz they are the wrong colour or refuse to work for £2.50. Where schools and housing are so run down that the councils sell them off to private developers for yet another flat-pack high street of Starbigbucks, Costa-lot-coffee and Mc-bloody-Donalds.

    With the police under ever increasing targets to book or arrest a certain number per day, it's no wonder that there is growing resentment to the governments policies of 'getting tough on crime'.

    I know many police officers and ex-officers (my Dad for one) who join the police because they want to help the community. But who soon realise (see the bottom paragraph of this link) that they are not there to solve problems in society but to protect the rich. I have encountered many police who, after years in an innercity area, become more and more racist because all they see is poverty and somehow make the link that minorites are to blame rather than blame the system.

    Eurostar/OCS protest at Oval Cricket ground.

    Last Friday RMT cleaners, activists and Trade Unionists leafletted Oval cricket ground telling OCS to Clean up their Act. OCS, the cleaning contractor for Eurostar, pay £5million corporate sponsorship yet they claim they can't afford to pay their cleaners a living wage.

    No doubt we caused some embarrasment-although i dont usually like to use a moralistic argument today i was forced to. At £400 per ticket. most of those attending probably have no idea what it is like to live on £5-6 per hour. £400 is at least double what cleaners earn for a whole week. Whilst these rich fatcats can afford to take a day of for leisure - most weren't even there to watch the cricket, but to do business deals and rub each others bellies - OCS cleaners are not even entitled to take a day off if sick.

    Most cricket grounds have areas for corporate hospitality of about 5%. At the Oval this is actually 45%. This was certainly reflected in the response we got from the audience. A great majority of the poncy ticket holders would not even acknowledge that we were there let alone take our leaflets. Sporting the middle/upper class uniform of khaki pants, blue & white shirts they looked down at us from under their Panama hats.

    If they didnt take our protest leaflets in their hands, we forced it to go into their ears. We chanted relentlessly that OCS need to 'Clean up their act' and pay their cleaners a decent wage.

    ...more tmrw


    Write to Eurostar to support cleaners strike for London Living Wage

    RMT members working on the Eurostar service for cleaning contractor OCS took 24 hours of strike action on Bank Holiday Monday, 25 August. The RMT cleaners also demonstrated outside the Oval cricket ground on Friday 29 August where OCS sponsors the corporate hospitality stand during the England match.

    The action was supported 100% by the cleaners, with many joining the union as the strike action approached. The vast majority of engineers working directly for Eurostar at the Temple Mills depot also refused to cross the cleaners picket line which left the depot like a ghost town.

    The cleaners are demanding an increase from 6.37 per hour to the 7.45 rate set down as the London Living Wage by the London Mayor. They are also demanding shift and weekend rates, sick pay, a pension scheme and improved holidays.

    The cleaners recognise that it is Eurostar UK Ltd as well as their own employer that is responsible for their poverty pay and poor conditions. So they also intend to supplement their strike action with a series of protests targeting Eurostars hypocrisy in marketing itself as an environmental organisation while enforcing pay misery through sub-contracts.

    Eurostar has promoted a highly successful Tread Lightly environmental marketing campaign in partnership with Friends of the Earth, proclaiming its zero carbon emissions train service, in contrast to the airlines. This appeal to middle class guilt of course totally shrouds Eurostars rank hypocrisy of stamping all over its contract cleaners through poverty pay, a practice that is identical to most airlines.

    Questions also ought to be asked of Friends of the Earths role in jumping into bed with such an exploitative organisation.

    The union will be announcing more strike action next week and more protest actions. In the meantime, their RMT branch is asking supporters to protest direct to Eurostar through its Write to Richard campaign. People are encouraged to email the Eurostar Chief Executive Richard Brown demanding the London Living Wage for cleaners at: richard.brown@eurostar.co.uk using your own words or the model letter below.

    Model letter to: 'richard.brown@eurostar.co.uk'

    Subject: Industrial action by cleaners employed on Eurostar OCS Contract

    Dear Mr Brown,

    I am extremely disappointed to learn that the cleaners on the Eurostar service are currently paid more than 1 per hour below the London Living Wage. I hope that you agree that in order for Eurostar to maintain its image as a progressive and ethical organisation it must ensure that everybody working on the Eurostar service is at least paid at the hourly rate of the London Living Wage.

    The image and reputation of Eurostar is damaged by the double standard of having a Tread Lightly campaign on the environment, while exploiting cleaners through low pay and poor conditions.

    I do hope that your company will take the necessary steps to ensure that it looks after the people working on the service as well as those which have been taken in caring for the environment. I urge you to take the necessary measures to eliminate the poverty pay currently endured by the cleaners at Eurostar.

    Yours sincerely,


    Lenin & the Party part III

    Founding member of the SWP talking abut building the revolutionary party

    Part I can be found here

    Part 2 here

    Tuesday, 2 September 2008

    The Fascist BNP standing in Hampstead. Campaign details coming soon.

    Socialist Worker Guide to Fighting Britains Nazi Party

    Action agreed so far:

    Sunday, Sept 7th, 2pm leafletting the ward. Meet Belsize Park Tube station. Look for the Unite Against Fascism placards

    Tuesday, September 9th, 6.30pm leafletting the ward. Also meet Belsize Park Tube.

    Call Clare 07958 034 181 if you are late or can not find us.


    The fascist British National Party are standing in the Leafy ward of Hampstead on September 25th. Having changed tactics from bover boots and skinheads to pinstripe suits they clearly aim to attract the upper, middle classes of this well-to-do area.

    Nazi parties such as the BNP usually do well if voter turnout is low so we need to do mass campaigning with as broad a team as possible. Please start spreading the news at every meeting you attend and to all your contacts and I'll keep you updated with campaign meetings.

    Read F is for Fascism

    Unite Against Fascism

    On May 1st the BNP won a seat on the London Assembly. We, the SOAS Students' Union, agreed to make Anti-Fascist campaigning one of our priority campaigns for the coming academic year. We booked in a film showing to kick off the campaign and it turns out that the date we have booked is the day before the election in Hampstead. SO, we will do mass leafletting directly afterwards. More details to follow. Please join us to make this as affective as possible.

    SOAS Freshers Event, hosted by LGBT, Women's, Disabled and Black students officers.

    Private showing of Shane Meadows film 'This is England' . An inspiring film, based on the real life experiences of Shane, about a troubled young lad who joins the BNP but finds that they are not all they make themselves out to be.

    Date: September 24th
    Venue: Renoir Cinema
    Time: 2pm

    Meet on SOAS steps at 1.30pm. We will walk round to the cinema with you all.

    Sorry, unusually for a SOAS event, and due to limited space, this event is for SOAS students only.