Strikes and trade union history

Les Forster, 1919-2016

Author: 

Ann Field

The veteran Glasgow socialist Les Forster died last week, aged 96. Forster was the last survivor of a generation of socialist activists in the West of Scotland who broke with the Communist Party in the early 1950s and struck out to build a non-Stalinist and anti-Stalinist socialist tradition.

The veteran Glasgow socialist Les Forster died last week, aged 96. Forster was the last survivor of a generation of socialist activists in the West of Scotland who broke with the Communist Party in the early 1950s and struck out to build a non-Stalinist and anti-Stalinist socialist tradition.

The AWL, Labour and the Left: 

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When printworkers took on Rupert Murdoch

Author: 

Cathy Nugent

In 1986, Rupert Murdoch, working closely with the Thatcher government, set out to smash the print unions. Knowing how Murdoch did that is essential to understanding how he became a feared and feted establishment figure.

Murdoch began his domination of media business in the UK with the acquisition of the News of the World in 1968, followed by the Sun (1969), then the Times and Sunday Times (1981). Soon after acquiring the Times/Sunday Times, Murdoch pushed through major staffing cuts and a wage freeze.

In 1986, Rupert Murdoch, working closely with the Thatcher government, set out to smash the print unions. Knowing how Murdoch did that is essential to understanding how he became a feared and feted establishment figure.

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The horror of ″the lump″

Author: 

Hugh Edwards

On Saturday 14 November, more than 100 people squeezed into the Three Minute Theatre in Manchester for a very rare showing of “The Lump”.

″The Lump″, a film made for TV in 1967 by socialist Jim Allen, and produced for the BBC by Tony Garnett, is an exposure of the corrupt building industry and the conditions of brutal exploitation and oppression of the workforce.

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“Bottom up not top down”

Author: 

Liam Conway

La Villita (Little Village), West Side Chicago, 2001. Parents demand that a school is built on vacant land. Nineteen go on hunger strike to achieve this goal.

They pledge not to back down until there is justice on the south side of town. Many local people turn out to show solidarity with the hunger strikers. Not only do they win the demand for a school but also a role for teachers, parents and students in the design of the new building.

A review of Chicago: the Great Teachers Strike by Banner Theatre.

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Race, class and the English worker

Author: 

Michael Johnson

A review of Satnam Virdee's Racism, Class and the Racialised Outsider.

Virdee covers two-hundred years of working-class history, but not as we know it. This is history, he says, “through the prism of race”, a contribution towards “unsettling the academic consensus which equates the history and making of the working class in England with the white male worker.”

A review of Satnam Virdee's Racism, Class and the Racialised Outsider.

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Independent Working-Class Education: a world to win

Author: 

Max Munday

Hosted by educationalists and labour movement activists at Northern College on the last weekend of May, the IWCE's "A World To Win" was an excellent event which discussed key moments in the development of trade unionism in this country - from the Combination Acts to modern blacklisting, violent rioting in 1700s Liverpool to the GMB organising in ASDA.

The IWCE project aims to bring Marxism and working-class history back into the labour movement.

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An Eyewitness Account of Norway's General Strike Against the Nazis

Author: 

Norweigan Worker / Labor Action

We present a day-by-day diary of the greatest strike movement which has yet taken place in the Nazi-occupied countries. It was written by a man who. Escaped from Noray. We think that this diary in its simplicity gives a better picture of Europe than ever-so many elaborate articles.It should be remembered, however, that events like this are as yet the exception and that in general the class struggle has not yet taken on such acute form.

A participant's account of the Norwegian General Strike against the occupying Nazis.

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The “precariat” of the 19th century

Author: 

Cathy Nugent

The Newport rising of November 1839, when a few thousand men from the south Wales valleys, many of them armed, marched in protest at working-conditions and for the right to vote, was the subject of a recent BBC documentary presented by actor Michael Sheen.

A review of Michael Sheen’s Valleys Rebellion, BBC2.

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Books on war and revolution

War and revolution has been a theme of 2014. Workers’ Liberty comrades were asked to recommend some books on that theme, all readily available, and ideal for reading over the holiday period.

The German Revolution 1918-23 by Pierre Broué

This book is the most in depth account of a pivotal period of the twentieth century I’ve ever read. It has huge lessons for us today on the united front, transitional demands and the concept of a workers government.

Paul Hampton

Regeneration by Pat Barker

War and revolution has been a theme of 2014. Workers’ Liberty comrades recommend some books on that theme, all readily available, and ideal for reading over the holiday period.

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Big politics, real lives

Author: 

Ed Mustill

It’s tempting to think of the The Village as the BBC’s anti-Downton. Set during roughly in the same time period as everyone’s favourite High Tory soap opera, the two shows were bound to draw comparisons, but they are totally different beasts.

While Downton Abbey approaches the class system of early 20th century England with a sort of Things-Were-Better-Then gentility, at times The Village has been so bleak that it has drawn inevitable criticism for being a cover for lefty, kitchen-sink agitprop.

A review of The Village, the BBC series now available as a DVD box set.

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