Archive for February, 2004

Global unions need to speak global languages

Wednesday, February 25th, 2004

In the last few months, LabourStart has added two new languages (Danish and Finnish) to its editions. The online global labour news service is now available in twelve languages. And there are more on the way.
I mention this in passing because it should be obvious that if you want to use the Internet to communicate, and if you are aiming to reach a global audience, surely you will want to do so in as many languages as possible.
But a brief look at the other international labour websites will reveal that we have a very long way to go before we can claim to be speaking to workers in their own languages.

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Are teachers “terrorists”?

Tuesday, February 24th, 2004

I had to read this story twice to be sure it wasn’t a joke.
Yesterday, at a private meeting with U.S. governors in the White House, George Bush’s Secretary of Education, Rod Paige, called the National Education Association — one of America’s two national teachers’ unions, with 2.7 million members — a “terrorist organization”.

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How Internet Radio Can Change the World

Friday, February 13th, 2004

The Wobblies taught the labour movement to sing. I was reminded of this a couple of years ago in the city of Inchon, South Korea. I was part of an international delegation of people from metal workers’ unions and we were paying a courtesy call on the leaders of the Daewoo car workers. At the time, they were holed up in the city’s cathedral, where they had sought asylum from the police.
Each of us was asked to say a few words to the hundreds of Daewoo workers who were encamped on the cathedral grounds. One of those who spoke was a UAW official (and a Wobbly) who grabbed the microphone with a courage which I could never muster and sang “Solidarity Forever”. I’m not sure how much the Korean auto workers understood of the song’s lyrics, or if they knew its history, but I, for one, was deeply touched.
Maybe it was at that moment that the idea for Radio LabourStart gelled in my mind.

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What unions can learn from John Kerry

Sunday, February 8th, 2004

As I write these words, it’s becoming increasingly likely that John Kerry is going to be the Democratic Party’s presidential candidate in 2004. I was looking at Kerry’s website the other day and was struck by how far advanced the U.S. Presidential candidates were in their use of the net.

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