Bruce's blog

A virtual picket line - a first in labour history

Submitted by Bruce on Thu, 27/09/2007 - 23:28

I have been on many picket lines in my time but until today they have all taken place in the real world. Today saw the first ever strike and picket to take place in virtual reality. Second Life allows you to create a virtual person (or avatar) and go around doing the sorts of things you supposedly do in your normal life – like going on strike and picketing.

Who is irrational? Reflections of a Northern Rock saver

Submitted by Bruce on Tue, 18/09/2007 - 16:24

I have two accounts with Northern Rock, which together contain most of my savings, so I have been spending much of the last few days thinking about what to do and consulting advisors, Marxist and non-Marxist, about it.

Until yesterday (Monday 18th) I had decided to sit tight in the belief that the government would be forced to do something because of a possible threat to the banking system as a whole, but was planning to join the queues today (Tuesday) to get at least enough of my money out that I wouldn’t face major losses if the bank did go under.

Workers' control and D-Day

Submitted by Bruce on Tue, 28/11/2006 - 19:56

Last night my father told me a story I had never heard before which I would certainly like to know more about. He was talking about his brother-in-law, who at the start of WW2 was in the fire service but was then called up and put as a Lieutenant in an unit designated as part of the Royal Engineers who worked on the Mulberry harbours which were moored off the coast of Normandy and served as the means to get supplies across.

McDonnell campaign launch

Submitted by Bruce on Sat, 09/09/2006 - 15:45

Over 100 people attended the rally to launch John McDonnell's leadership campaign in Manchester last Thursday. The platform included Tony Benn, Alice Mahon and Jeremy Dear, General Secretary of the NUJ.

John McDonnell was eager to dissociate himself from the Blair-Brown punch-up going on simultaneously in Westminster. McDonnell described these events as "contemptible", the product of careerists fearing for their seats or angling for positions in a post-Blair government. "It is appalling that there is no mention of principle or policy at all. It is about naked ambition."

"Carry on putting.. Property is inviolate" says Chavez

Submitted by Bruce on Mon, 04/09/2006 - 01:32

A couple of days ago I read a heart-warming story about how the Mayor of Caracas was going to expropriate several golf courses overlooking the poorer parts of the city and use the land to build decent housing for slum dwellers.

This is not merely elementary social justice. Golf must be the most stupid game ever invented. An excuse for middle-aged men (largely) to pretend to take some exercise while doing deals and 'networking'.

So I was disappointed to read today's Guardian letters page and read this from the 'Ambassador of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela':

How not to remember the Spanish Civil War

Submitted by Bruce on Thu, 20/07/2006 - 00:25

'Today' today had a feature on the 70th anniversary of the Spanish Civil War featuring historian Anthony Beevor and none other than Michael Portillo, who was there so that he could patronise his father who fought on the Republican side as a naïve intellectual. Their conclusion was that the best way to commemorate the Civil War was to forget all about it lest - literally – asking where the dead bodies are buried might destabilise the exemplary European democracy that Spain has become.

Iraqi trade unionist murdered

Submitted by Bruce on Wed, 31/05/2006 - 21:31

Iraqi trade union leader kidnapped, tortured and murdered 30/5/2006

Brussels, 30 March 2006 (ICFTU OnLine): In the latest brutal attack against the Iraqi trade union movement, the General Federation of Iraqi Workers (GFIW) has reported the kidnapping and murder of Thabet Hussein Ali, Head of the General Trade Union for Health Sector Workers, on April 27. Ali was taken by a terrorist group as he was leaving his union's headquarters in Baghdad’s Al-Mansour neighborhood.

Strike wave in Iran / Appeal for Teheran busworkers

Submitted by Bruce on Fri, 14/04/2006 - 20:20

While Ahmedinejad celebrates Iran taking a step towards nuclear weapons and the Pentagon contemplates whether it should use its own nukes to prevent it, the press has paid little attention to social struggles in Iran. Despite the repression of the Teheran busworkers' strike in January and a legal ban on strikes, a wave of strikes has been taking place across the country. Details can be found here.

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