Archive for December, 2005

Ajax: A powerful new tool for trade union activists on the web

Thursday, December 29th, 2005

Ajax was a mythical Greek hero who faught against Troy. Ajax is also a powder you’d use to clean dishes and sinks. And today it is the name of a group of technologies which together create an utterly different experience for users of the world wide web.

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Labour’s year in review – 2005

Thursday, December 22nd, 2005

A version of this article is also online here.
Usually at this time of year, I am asked by Workers Online to review the world geographically, continent by continent, country by country, and point out the highlights of the past year. But this year, I think a different approach might be interesting.

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Reply to Ilan Pappe on Amir Peretz

Thursday, December 22nd, 2005

This letter was published in the London Review of Books.
I was happy to see Ilan Pappe open his article on Amir Peretz (London Review of Books, 15 December 2005) with a quote taken from my interview with the new leader of the Israeli Labour Party.
But there was little else in Pappe’s piece that I would approve of.

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“Ethical Consumer” magazine supports racist boycotts?

Thursday, December 22nd, 2005

To the editor, Ethical Consumer magazine
As a new subscriber, I was looking forward to reading my first issue of Ethical Consumer magazine. Like most of your readers, I try to shop ethically — I buy Fair Trade products when I can, I bank at the Cooperative Bank, I try to buy products from unionized companies. In fact, I do a bit more than that. As the editor of the LabourStart website (http://www.labourstart.org), I help promote such unionized, ethical businesses as No Sweat Apparel and Powells Books, the unionized alternative to Amazon.com
I was intrigued by the title of the feature story in your current (November-December) issue. Entitled “Islamic Boycotts”, my first, instinctive reaction was — why boycott Islamic countries or companies owned by Muslims? Sure, we all oppose dictatorships and terrorism, but I don’t think we should punish entire countries’ economies. I know that I still plan to enjoy the occasional baklava at our local Turkish restaurant.
Imagine my surprise at discovering that subject was not actually Islamic boycotts but Jewish boycotts.

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The 9th annual Labour Website of the Year competition

Thursday, December 15th, 2005

For the ninth year in a row, LabourStart is once again organizing the Labour Website of the Year competition.
The history of that competition reads like a history of trade union use of the Internet.
Back in 1997, the competition involved around seven websites. All of them were based in the USA or the UK except for the winner, the Brussels-based International Federation of Chemical, Energy, Mine and General Workers’ Unions. I think enough time has now passed to admit that very, very few people actually voted in that year’s competition. But a tradition was born.

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The website for union reps that 96% of union reps don’t use

Tuesday, December 6th, 2005

A few years back, the TUC launched a website specifically aimed at union reps. It was called “unionreps.org.uk”. The site has a few features, such as news (including a LabourStart newswire), a directory of resources, and so on. But at its heart, it is a giant discussion forum.

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The last social democrat

Friday, December 2nd, 2005

A trade union leader’s victory marks beginning of class politics in Israel. Workers’ Online runs my analysis of Amir Peretz’s victory.