Welcome to 2013! Thanks to everyone who made nominations. Hope it is inspirational for all of us in 2013 and there is certainly lots to be learnt from the choices made. Here’s to the New Year!!
He has constantly and continually hammered both Labour and Con/Dem Governments over their attack on our public services. His members (like local authority workers) have been privatised, marketised and given pariah status as the finance sector has been lauded and rewarded, whilst the public services have been given a deathblow by successive governments. It was Mark Serotka who led the fightback over the Con/Dems attack on public service pensions followed by the other public service trade unions. And he recognised how significant an issue it was for the government. Unfortunately the other trade unions failed to follow his lead, and they are now presiding over their own meltdown as their members are being stripped of their jobs and the public services are melting like the polar icecap.
A Unite member says Let’s hope that in 2013 we see a real fightback by the unions and maybe its time that Prentis, McCluskey et al start listening to Mark Serwotka before its too late!
Film/DVD of the Year… The Snows of Kilmanjaro. A French film with an unusual title that wouldn’t immediately label it as a film about trade unionism and globalisation. Over the last few years the French film industry has led the world in addressing some of the major issues facing many people in the west. Other films worth taking a look at are Army of Crime (about the French Resistance and the influence of other nationalities), Le Havre (about immigrants and the French)and 35 Shots of Rum ( about the African community as metro drivers and fathers).
The Snows is set amongst dockworkers who, facing a declining industry agree through theire trade union, the CGT, to ballot their members for redundancies.
Michel,the local shop steward, picks his name out of the drum and alongside other younger men faces the rest of his life on the dole. But, unlike some of the younger men, he is in his 50s, has had a life of permanent work, paid for his house and has a pension. He has a good relationship with his partner, children and grandchildren, but as the story unfolds, this is not the future that other redundant workers are facing in France, Britain or many other European countries. This is an important film because it reveals the anger that many young people are feeling towards an older generation of trade unionists who are experiencing redundancy but are doing so after a lifetime of not just secure wages, employment rights but also funding of education and welfare benefits. Young people are not just angry with the Con/Dems and the past Labour government but, like the young man in this film, are questioning the way trade unions are collaborating, particularly with Labour councils, to get rid of jobs and services.
George nominated this film: The Snows Of Kilimanjaro by Robert Guediguian is the best, maybe only, socialist film this year”
Demonstration of the Year…. One of the most important issues this year has been the attack on Gaza by the Israeli Government and every time I feature some aspect of the Palestinian struggle on my blog I have had an amazing response, it is a very important issue to you, dear readers. There have been many public responses to the outrageous attacks by the Israelis but the one that has been chosen as the demo of the year took place on 24 November in London.
Gaynor was there:
we managed to have the podium for the speeches set up in the pouring rain right outside the Israeli embassy and they must have heard every word of the speeches bellowed out. It was absolutely pouring down and yet there so many people were, young and old and very wet!! Tony Benn had a very bad chest. I was also late for it and very much enjoyed catching up with the tail end outside the Ritz and seeing peter tatchell chatting to the tail enders and the boat from Gaza. I was inspired as people turned up notwithstanding the ceasefire announcement (pah!) a couple of days earlier and despite the weather, and by the fact that so many of my Jewish friends were pro-same.
Further info see
Website of the Year… the Salford Star…maybe not so well known outside the north west but it should be! Run by Stephen Kingston, it is in the tradition of the local radical press of the 1970s and sits firmly on the side of the working class of Salford. Over the last year it has exposed the villainy of Salford Council and the new Mayor of Salford in their support for the interests of big business against those of the people of Salford. Not just featuring politics, the Star aims to educate and inform its readers about art, history and sport. Always cheeky and sometimes hilarious, it is on its own in trying to address the major issues, including the bankruptcy of local politics, and the struggle by people to hold onto the important things in life, including decent services and jobs.
Salford Star fan…forget Peter Kay and the millionaire comedians… read the Star and the highjinks at Clown Hall, Salford..its funnier and you can make a donation to keep it going!
Book of the Year Sex Race and Class- The Perspective of Winning by Selma James. She addresses the power relations within the working class movement, on how to organise despite and against these power relations, and drawing on the experience of Occupy in London and the US in which the Global Womens Strike has been active.
Christine nominated this book: Selma gives an insight into the political economy of the exploitation of women, producing a theoretical basis for a revolutionary and autonomous womens’ struggle.
Music of the Year… Sarah Gillespie has won a deserved reputation on the basis of the two albums In the Current Climate and Stalking Juliet and her powerful live performances, both solo and with her band. She writes about life, love and politics, including a song about Shaker Amer, How the West was Won. Her next album, now being recorded, will be launched in July 2013.
Michael says; she wowed us at the Manchester Peace Conference social and its heartening to see a performer who is concerned about some of the most vulnerable members of our society.
Campaign of the year ….the fightback by disabled people as the Con/Dem Govt stripped some of the most vulnerable sections of the community of their benefits. Their campaign against Atos (who made the decisions) during the Paralympics was inspiring and they have led the way in the fightback against the Con/Dem Govt.
The Disabled People Against the Cuts’ message for 2013: DPAC will not be resting in any tents in 2013 but fighting with disabled people in the courts, on the streets, online and everywhere we can
Shameful Act of Betrayal of the Year… . The United Nations and Ban ki-Moon for sending into Haiti soldiers from Nepal as peacekeepers who took with them cholera. A reminder that we might believe things are bad in Europe, but that for some countries and peoples oppression means more than losing your job or benefits.
Chris says :Thousands of people died from the disease. Despite the medical evidence the UN will still not admit culpability or compensate some of the poorest people in the world. For more information see this report on the BBC
Most Hopeful Event of the Year…Spanish Miners’ Strike. Nominated by George: The Spanish miners’ strike was inspirational. Its militant nature and tenacious support received in mining communities were exceptional. Yet again, disciplined militant tactics brought employers to the negotiation table and won results. This holds many lessons for the timid and increasingly irrelevant leadership of the TUC, who continue to act as an arbitrator of, rather than a participant of industrial disputes. The heroic struggle of the Spanish Miners provided a militant lesson for the combat of austerity for the peoples of Europe.
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