Iain Duncan Smith has attempted to appeal to the Left with today’s argument that the EU and “uncontrolled immigration” has caused a downward pressure on wages. Despite being at the forefront of taking from the have nots and giving to the haves for years, he’s now blaming the EU.
This month marks the centenary of the great 1912 East End Jewish tailors’ strike, which saw 13,000 immigrant sweatshop workers walk out on strike. Three weeks later, on 25 May 1912, the bosses capitulated – they’d won.
Following the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Cable Street, it is important to remember not just the day itself, but where it came from. The most important thing about what happened on that day was how the other major East End community – the largely Irish dockers – came out in solidarity with the Jewish community in Whitechapel. The roots of this solidarity lie in the strikes of the Great Unrest period more than 20 years before.
Speakers: Donnacha DeLong (chair), Chetna Yuvraj, student occupier, Andy Littlechild, RMT activist,Zoe Stavri, activist with UK Uncut and Andy Meinke, activist in the Legal Defence and Monitoring Group and Freedom Press worker.
I wrote this last week and sent it to the Independent as a right to reply piece. I got no answer. Of course, since I wrote it, the Project Griffin “report anarchists to the police” stuff has come out – more on that later.
Before I go to bed, here’s another plug for my piece on Open Democracy – Unions, why not harness the power of the media? It’s got everything, a bit of syndicalist history, a look ahead to J30, slagging off Labour as well as the Condems and a call to arms to the media to improve their communications to the public. Enjoy!
The super-fast radicalisation of the student demonstrations caught everyone by surprise. Direct action is on the agenda again and it’s coming from a group people discounted as being “the children of Thatcher” and dismissed as being fundamentally consumerist and non-radical.
A few months ago, I wrote a comment piece for the Guardian’s website outlining an alternative plan for Royal Mail. Instead of privatising it or keeping in its current hierarchical nationalised form, I argued that it should be put into true public ownership with the workers in control.
It could become the People’s Post, owned by everyone in Britain and controlled by its employees.
Read the rest of my article on The Guardian’s Comment is Free section.
Last year at the Anarchist Conference, there was general consensus that a proposal to do something big to mark 2012 was a good idea. No, not because of the Olympics, but because it’s the centenary of the Jewish tailor’s strike in London’s East End that was the high point of anarcho-syndicalist Rudolf Rocker’s influence in the UK.
As I thought about it, I looked into the period between 1910 and 1914, known as the Great Unrest, when syndicalism was a major force for change in the UK. I realised how ignored this part of the history of these islands (Ireland, at the time, still being part of the UK) has become.