The importance of solidarity to our disputes – Why money matters

We are entering a crucial phase in UCU’s two concurrent disputes. Our second wave of strikes represents an escalation in terms of strike days and the number of members involved in action.

Donate to the fighting fund…

These are disputes about the future of Higher Education. It has become clear to people watching the dispute from the outside what was already obvious to UCU members – that we are challenging the marketisation of education through fighting against its pernicious effects on staff.

Generalise
The stakes are now very high. We will not pursue these disputes to successful conclusions if we fight them in a sectional way which fails to generalise them outwards.… Read on ...

Review – El Norte: The Epic and Forgotten Story of Hispanic North America by Carrie Gibson

When I was at school in the 1950s, we were told in geography lessons that the United States of America had no colonies. Even if one accepts the 13 original British colonies, this neglects the remaining 37 states. No one never seemed to wonder about the origins of names like Nevada, Arizona, Montana, Florida etc., which had originally been Spanish then Mexican before being seized by the US government. This book looks at the history of North America from the point of view of its Spanish speaking inhabitants and makes a useful counterbalance to the normal Anglo-centric historiography

The origins of Texas were particularly myth-laden to those of us who got the story of the Alamo from Walt Disney, Fess Parker and John Wayne.Read on ...

New Year – new struggles

The new Tory government has committed to imposing new anti-strike laws, specifically targeting railway workers. There is now an urgent need for the labour movement to renew campaigning against restrictions on our right to organise and take action.

There is a meeting on 14 January called by trade unions in Islington to plan a campaign against these new proposed laws. Tuesday 14th January, 6-8 pm Islington Town Hall. Sponsored by RMT (Finsbury Park), TSSA, UNISON, NEU, UCU and Islington Trades Union Council

Organising meeting
Free Our Unions will be holding a campaign organising meeting on Wednesday 8 January at 19:00, in the Lambeth Unison offices (Blue Star House, 234-244 Stockwell Road, London SW9 9SP; near Brixton Tube).… Read on ...

No Racism on Campus

The University College Union (UCU) and Stand Up to Racism are launching a #NoRacismOnCampus tour of university campuses in the autumn term.

Our campuses are often at the forefront of the rise in racism we have seen recently. The rights of EU students and university workers are threatened by Johnson’s right wing vision of Brexit. Institutional racism impacts the experience of BAME staff and students. Muslim students are unfairly targeted by the Prevent agenda. And most recently we’ve seen far right groups like Generation Identity attempt to use pseudo-science racist argument to gain a foothold.

This tour of meetings will bring together students and staff to discuss how we can come together to combat this rise in racism and make our campuses racism-free zones.

Real Living Wage for Mitie cleaners

From Mick Cash, RMT General Secretary

I’m writing to you to ask you to support RMT members fighting poverty pay. Network Rail have contracted out the cleaning of six of their stations to an outsourcing company. Our members who clean stations at Edinburgh Waverley, Glasgow Central, Manchester Piccadilly, Liverpool Lime Street, Leeds and Birmingham New Street work for Network Rail but are employed by Mitie Group, one of the biggest outsourcing firms in Britain. At the moment they are paid the National Minimum Wage and they’re fighting to win at least the Real Living Wage.

The treatment of these people is a scandal.Read on ...

 A Jewish Communist in Weimar Germany

Review of
Ralf Hoffrogge, A Jewish Communist in Weimar Germany: The Life of Werner Scholem (1895-1940), Chicago: Haymarket, 2018
by Merilyn Moos

This 600 page book requires a strong interest in revolutionary politics in Germany in the early 1920s. Werner Scholem is a figure rarely heard of in the UK though he was party to the many splits within the KPD (Communist Party) at the very time when a German revolution, post 1919, would have broken the isolation of the Russian revolution and changed twentieth century history. That he fell out with the KPD in the direction of Trotskyism has not helped!… Read on ...

Ariel Settlement University

The motion below has been passed overwhelmingly by Exeter UCU:

Branch notes that Israeli settlements in occupied territory constitute a breach of international law, as is affirmed by (among many others) the British Government, the United Nations (Security Council and General Assembly), the International Court of Justice, the International Committee of the Red Cross, and the High Contracting Parties to the Geneva Convention.

Branch notes therefore that, because Ariel University is built in a settlement, for the University of Exeter to recognise degrees from Ariel University, or to collaborate with Ariel University in any way, would be complicity in the breaking of international law.Read on ...