Foreign Parts. German and Austrian Actors on the British Stage 1933-1960

Review of Richard Dove’s ‘Foreign Parts. German and Austrian Actors on the British Stage 1933-1960’, Leganda, by Merilyn Moos

This is a detailed study of five German and Austrian actors who fled Nazism: Lucie Mannheim, Gerhard Hinze, Friedrich Valk and Lilly Kahn, banned from the German stage either for being Communists or Jews, who came to Britain. Dove discusses their roles pre- and post- exile and successfully sheds light on many of the wider issues surrounding becoming a refugee from Nazism.… Read on ...

Racism is on the rise across Europe

In Britain, politicians and the media scapegoat migrants and refugees. They are blamed for lowering wages and inadequate public services, when, in reality, the blame lies with austerity.

EU nationals are used as bargaining chips in Brexit negotiations. Black and Asian people continue to face discrimination and everyday institutional racism.

Of all the countries in Europe, Britain took in the lowest number of asylum seekers by head of population: less than 0.1% .compared to, for example, Sweden with almost 2% and Austria with 1%.… Read on ...

Save Kensington and Chelsea College

Things are looking up in the campaign to Save Kensington and Chelsea College, as these two reports from FE Week show:

Milton promises to find ‘the right solution’ for ‘precious’ Kensington and Chelsea College

The furore surrounding the future of a west London college in the shadow of the Grenfell Tower has made it to the House of Commons, after the skills minister promised to find the “right solution” for a “precious” community asset today.… Read on ...

Bexley/Greenwich Against Road Crossings (BARC)

Campaign to oppose Thames bridges at Gallions Reach and Belvedere –we may just have a victory!
BARC is a local community group formed in opposition to the building of large ‘road’ bridges planned in South-East London. In 2015 Transport for London (TfL) and Bexley Council wanted to build new tolled road bridges across the Thames at Gallions Reach and Belvedere – two large residential areas in South-East London. These were not intended to be ‘cozy’ little crossings for local traffic: the Belvedere bridge was to be 4 lanes and more akin to an urban motorway than a picturesque route across the Thames.… Read on ...

Early Day Motion on Bahrain

Hajar Mansoor Hasan (second from right), targeted by authorities in retribution for the human rights work of her son-in-law, Sayed al-Wadaei

SENTENCES HANDED DOWN TO RELATIVES OF HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDER MR ALWADAEI AND SITUATION IN BAHRAIN

This is the title of Early Day Motion 509 that we would like to urge your MP to sign. It can be read here on the Parliament website…

And here is the page through which anyone who needs to can find their MP’s contact details https://www.parliament.uk/mps-lords-and-offices/mps/

If you would like to have a model letter to send you MP, can we suggest the following:
I write to express concern for the treatment of prominent UK-based Bahraini activist and Director of Advocacy at the Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy (BIRD), Sayed Ahmed Alwadaei and that of his family, and urge you to sign EDM 509 to draw the government’s attention to the matter.Read on ...

Do Not Let Afrin Become Another Kobane

Urgent Statement by academics and activists

We, the undersigned academics and human rights activists, insist that the leaders of Russia, Iran, and the U.S. ensure that the sovereignty of Syrian borders is not breached by Turkey and that the people of Afrin in Syria, be allowed to live in peace.

Afrin, whose population is predominantly Kurdish, is one of the most stable and secure regions in Syria. With very little international aid, Afrin has taken in so many Syrian refugees in the last five years that its population has doubled to 400,000.… Read on ...

HAITI : Caribbean Dignity Unbowed.

Release from the University of the West Indies – Office of Professor Hilary Beckles – Historian – Vice Chancellor

The democratic, nation-building debt the American nation owes the Caribbean, and the Haitian nation in particular that resides at its core, is not expected to be repaid but must be respected. Any nation without a nominal notion of its own making can never comprehend the forces that fashion it origins.

Haiti’s Caribbean vision illuminated America’s way out of its colonial darkness.… Read on ...

NHS IN CRISIS – FIX IT NOW

March and Demonstration
12pm, Saturday 3 February 
Assemble Gower Street Central London WC16

The NHS Winter Crisis has now descended into a perpetual year round  crisis. A crisis that has brought staff to their knees and patients languishing and even dying in overcrowded waiting rooms and hospital corridors.

It doesn’t have to be this way.

It is time this Government stops blaming patients, nurses, doctors, immigrants, flu and the elderly for their shortcomings. It’s time they start listening to the country who is sick of empty promises from the mouths of cowardly politicians. … Read on ...

Cat-Gut Jim the Fiddler

Ned Corvan’s Life & Songs 
By Dave Harker 
Wisecrack Publications,
2017, £20.00
ISBN 978-0995741812

The mid-nineteenth century is both very near and very remote, as we realise in this study of Ned Corvan (sometimes spelt Corven). The society depicted here is only two lifespans away – my grandmother (who went into the mill aged eight – factory at 6.00 a.m., school in the afternoon) was born into the world of Corvan’s children. Yet the differences, in physical experience and in ways of thinking, are immense.… Read on ...

16 days in 16 ways

16 days of activism against gender based violence is an international campaign that organises at all levels, including the United Nations, Governments, NGOs and trade unions.

It’s initiated by The Centre for Women’s Global Leadership, a feminist human rights organisation. The activism period is 25 November (International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women) – 10 December (International Human Rights Day).

UCU is supporting this campaign and will be using this period to focus on our priorities and suggest 16 ways in which branches and members can get involved.

Read on ...

Strike for USS

UCU’s higher education committee has agreed to launch an industrial action ballot in the dispute over the future of USS. They have said serious and sustained industrial action is required in the face of damaging proposals from the employers which would effectively destroy the pension scheme.

  • USS pensions already LOWER than school teachers and ‘new’ university academics
  • employers can afford to pay more but REFUSE
  • latest proposals end guaranteed pensions and REDUCE retirement income for all.
Read on ...

‘Unfinished Portrait’ by Miriam Frank

Miriam Frank’s mother fled Germany to escape the Nazis. This is a story of how Miriam’s mother was forced to move from one country after another as fascism came biting at her heels; mother and daughter moved from Spain to France, finally ending up in New Zealand via Mexico. Miriam was born into exile. Even when theoretically settled in New Zealand, Miriam found an emotional chasm between her and the other girls, though many became her friends.Read on ...

The expulsion of Moshe Machover from the Labour Party

“This branch deplores the decision to expel Emeritus Professor and distinguished mathematician Moshe Machover from the Labour Party for alleged ‘anti-semitism’.
Moshe is an Israeli citizen of Jewish heritage who has been a life-long critic of Zionism and of Israel which he has defined as a ‘settler/colon state’.
He is a life-long socialist and committed opponent of all forms of racism.
We consider this expulsion to be an example of attempts to re-define anti-semitism so as to include all critics of Zionism and of Israel.… Read on ...

Defend USS Pensions

Currently, there is a consultation of UCU members in pre-92 universities on their willingness to undertake industrial action to stop the destruction of the USS pension scheme. Carlo Morelli and Marion Hersh, members of the UCU Joint Negotiating Committee for USS,  make the case for voting YES for action to defend pensions.

THE THREAT

USS is consulting with employers and has suggested closing the Defined Benefits (DB) pension scheme and replacing it by a fully Defined Contributions (DC) scheme or significantly reducing the threshold e.g.… Read on ...

Support the precarious workers rally on Wednesday September 27th

London Region UCU is supporting the precarious labour protest on Wednesday 27th September, the day of the Uber employment status appeal at the Employment Appeal Tribunal.

9-11am Employment Tribunal, EC4Y 0DS London

The case against Uber brought by two trade unionists could have wide ranging consequences for all workers in the so-called gig economy.

As the media spotlight will focus heavily on this trial, this protest is a way of turning some of that media interest to other precarious workers’ struggles happening now in the UK.… Read on ...

Arrest and detention of Three Relatives of Sayed Ahmed AlWadaei

Sayed Ahmed AlWadaei

United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) released a document expressing “grave concern” to the Bahraini government at the allegations of arbitrary arrest and detention of three relatives of Sayed Ahmed AlWadaei, as well as death threats and treatment amounting to torture.

Security officers arrested AlWadaei’s brother-in-law Sayed Nazar AlWadaei, mother-in-law Hajar Mansoor Hasan, and maternal cousin Mahmood Marzooq Mansoor in March 2017. They were reportedly targeted in relation to Sayed Ahmed AlWadaei’s human rights work.… Read on ...

Who stole the town hall?

In this provocative new book, Peter Latham argues that the UK Conservative Government’s devolution agenda conceals their real intention: to complete the privatisation of local government and other public services.
Using illustrative examples from across the UK, including the so-called ‘Northern Powerhouse’ and the Midlands, the book explains the far-reaching implications of the reorganisation of local government that is already affecting vital public services, including education, health, housing and policing.
Proposing an overhaul of the taxation system to include land value taxation, a wealth tax and more progressive income tax to fund an increase in directly provided services, the author argues that a new basis for federal, regional and local democracy is vital.… Read on ...

Branch Statements

The following UCU London Retired Members Branch statements were written on our behalf by David Binns

  1. Mahdi Abu Dheeb Released, Repression Continues
  2. Bahrain Trade Union Breakthrough, UCU initiated Joint Statement published (29th September 2015)
  3. Bahrain: unions launch campaign against UK failure to act on abuses (24th September 2015)
  4. More on Mahdi Abu Dheeb: News from Amnesty (5th September 2015)
  5. Support Early Day Motion 241 (11th August 2015)
  6. Solidarity with the Teachers of Bahrain: News from Education International (8 July 2015)
  7. UCU Congress debates call for an international union led inquiry into repression in Bahrain (22nd May 2015)
  8. Oppose Opening of British Base in Bahrain!
Read on ...

Nikolaus Wachsmann, ‘A History of the Nazi Concentration Camps’

Wasserman, in this minutely researched tome, addresses many of the myths and misconceptions that have grown up over who were the victims of Nazism as well as the contradictory and shifting impulses behind the concentration camps. An earlier paradigm: to understand the Nazis as primarily focused on destroying Communists and the left (a perspective which was also dominant in E. Germany) has shifted in the last decades to a focus on the extermination of ‘Jews’. This review will focus on these narratives, rather than the minute and distressing details of how the CCs operated or attempt to provide an explanatory framework for why the Holocaust happened (which anyway is not Wachsmann’s objective).Read on ...

Iran: Release teacher union leader Esmail Abdi

Esmail Abdi, leader of the Tehran branch of the Iranian Teachers’ Trade Association, was unjustly sentenced to six years’ imprisonment by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Court.
The February 22 verdict came eight months after he was arrested while en route to Armenia to obtain a travel visa to attend Education International’s World Congress in Ottawa, Canada. In custody since his arrest, Abdi was charged with “gathering and colluding with intent to harm public order” and “propaganda against the system.” His colleagues say that these charges were prompted by his legitimate trade union activities and leadership role.… Read on ...

Two contrasting reviews

We have just received notice of two reviews of Steve Cushion’s book “The Hidden History of the Cuban Revolution“.

One from “Solidarity”, the newspaper of “Workers Liberty”, the other from “Special Warfare” which styles itself “The Professional Bulletin of US Army Special Operations”.
The first  says that “He reproduces the hackneyed Stalinist version of events“, while the US Army journal says “Perhaps Cushion’s most significant contribution is the detailed account of organized labor that fought the Batista regime in parallel to the guerrillas“.… Read on ...