Janine's blog

Picket This Bigot!

Comrades up in Manchester are organising a picket and counter-rally when David Coleman speaks at an event in the city on May 17 2007. Coleman - a professor at Oxford University - is a nasty piece of work, founder of the odious MigrationWatch, which poses as some kind of academic research think-tank, but is in reality simply a purveyor of hatred against immigrants and foreigners generally.

Issues and Campaigns: 

Farooq Tariq arrested

Letter from Labour Party Pakistan

The General Secretary of the Labour Party Pakistan, comrade Farooq Tariq was arrested from his Lahore office by a heavy contingent of Punjab Police at 1:30 p.m on Friday 4 May. He has been taken to Garhi Shahu police station, Lahore, where he is being detained.

Around the world: 

CWU's Dave Ward Leaves Labour's Executive

Copied below is a report from the Observer. Ward claims that there is a "conflict of interest" between fighting government policy and sitting on Labour's NEC. Is there?! Back in the 1970s, the Labour Party NEC called a national demonstration against the then Labour government's policy, so presumably the entire body was acting out a conflict of interest! No, it wasn't - it was representing the interests of the labour movement against a government that was betraying those interests.

Trade Unions: 

Sign to Stop Ticket Office Closures

Click here to sign the petition I have set up on the 10 Downing Street website, objecting to Tube ticket office closures.

And just to reassure you that I don't actually think that a petition alone will stop these closures, here is a set of campaign proposals that I and a couple of other activists are circulating in the RMT:

Trade Unions: 

RMT and TUC to part company?

There has been some talk in the RMT about parting company with the TUC, which seems to be based on three main factors:

  • A looming dispute over RMT's forthcoming merger with OILC;
  • Fear that the new merged T&G/Amicus super-union will dominate the TUC;
  • The fact that the TUC is generally crap.

I want to argue here against those who have been advocating splitting from the TUC.

Trade Unions: 

Diane Abbott and the Labour leadership election

Yesterday it seemed that any remaining hope that Diane Abbott MP might support John McDonnell's campaign for the Labour leadership had been extinguished. In the '60 Second Interview' in the 18 April edition of the Metro, she was asked who she supports for Labour leader and replied "Gordon without a second's hesitation".

The AWL, Labour and the Left: 

Sleep Deprivation

Here at Jblog HQ, we are suffering from sleep deprivation, due to the announcements from our neighbouring railway station. Loud and lengthy announcements to the zero people on the platform would be comical if it weren't actually a breach of my peace.

Gender Equality Duty

Under new legislation, the Gender Equality Duty comes into force on 6th April (this Friday). It compels all public authorities to promote gender equality and eliminate sex discrimination. The theory goes that instead of depending on individuals making complaints about sex discrimination, the duty places the legal responsibility on public authorities to demonstrate that they treat men and women fairly.

Issues and Campaigns: 

Trade Unions: 

Railworkers 4 McDonnell

If you think it's been a bit quiet here on JBlog for the last few days, it's not just because of jetlag following my conference binge of the last few weeks.

It's also because my blogging attentions have been preoccupied elsewhere, namely at the Rail4John blog. Check it out for news, reports, publicity materials etc for railworkers (in any and all rail unions) supporting Mr. McDonnell's bid for the Labour leadership.

The AWL, Labour and the Left: 

Trade Unions: 

Women's TUC: Lone Working, Single Parents, TUC Women's Committee election

On the final morning, Community moved a resolution about single staffing in betting shops, concerned at threats and assaults against women working alone, and about employers not allowing women to leave work if a domestic emergency arose as the shop would have to close. Several supporting speakers outlined the dangers and stresses of lone working in their industries, including RMT delegate Ruth Strong (pictured).

International Women's Day: Past, Present, Future

March 8th each year is International Women’s Day. It is celebrated across the globe, and is a day for campaigners to draw attention to women’s continued second-class citizenship and need for equality. However, it is also celebrated by the very same governments and corporations that contribute to women’s unequal rights.

Here, I look at the roots of the Day in socialist and trade union action, and call for a revival of a Day of protest rather than complacency.

How International Women's Day began, how it has developed and what it should mean for the left today.

Issues and Campaigns: 

Marxist Theory and History: 

Trident: Taking The TUC Tops To Task

This morning, we were treated to an address by TUC General Secretary Brendan Barber. There are various little things he said that I could pick on and slag off, but I won't, because it was the overall message that bugged me. Basically, after listing the Labour government's bountiful gifts to workers, Brendan told us at length about how oppressed and badly treated women workers are. The thing is, brother, we know that. What we want to know is: what are you doing about it?!

Issues and Campaigns: 

Trade Unions: 

Does Anyone Know Where The March Is?

Regular readers of this blog will be familiar with my efforts to get the TUC to organise an annual march for working-class women's rights around the time of International Women's Day each year. These efforts have proceeded along a road full of pitfalls, with the TUC bureaucracy taking an agreed policy for a national demonstration and smothering it into a small-scale rally held at this very conference. On Thursday afternoon I got up and had a go about the TUC's sabotage of the event. Here's what I said; what was said in reply; and a report of the rally-not-march itself.

Women's TUC: John McDonnell, Sexual Harassment, Sweatshops, Women's Representation and More

Thursday morning, down to the conference fresh and early, giving out John McDonnell's new women's manifesto and leaflets for the Labour Representation Committee fringe meeting at lunchtime. First business in conference was the NUT's resolution on Sexist Language, Sexist Bullying and Sexual Harassment. It was very ably seconded by RMT's Jackie Darby, who spelt out the range of sexist abuse that railway workers are subjected to in the course of duty. As Jackie rightly said, "The craven attitude of management to tackling sexual harassment is the single most serious obstacle to eliminating it from the workplace ... Our employers must be made to take sexual harassment seriously, as it seriously affects us in our working lives. It compromises us and oppresses us. We won't put up with it."

The AWL, Labour and the Left: 

Trade Unions: 

Women Fight Back Against TUC Childcare Sell-Out

The TUC General Council has sabotaged childcare provision at TUC events by two appalling decisions - one, to refuse a proposal to provide childcare outside formal conference hours to enable parents to attend fringe meetings, social events etc; two, to change its own previous practice and bar school-age kids from creches at TUC events during term time.

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