Archive for December, 2006

John Edwards, the net and the renewal of a democratic Left in America

Thursday, December 28th, 2006

Today, former Senator John Edwards announced his candidacy for the Presidency in the 2008 elections. And, you may be asking yourself, why would this even remotely concern me?
After all, practically everything on this website is about two subjects – the labour movement and the Internet, and where they intersect.
So that’s what I want to talk about – how the Edwards campaign may turn out to be one of the great experiments, answering two questions which have preoccupied me for several years:
1) Can the Internet play a real role in promoting social change?
2) Does the trade union movement have a future?


Unions and the web – What’s changed in the last seven years?

Thursday, December 21st, 2006

The short answer is – everything and nothing.
Let’s start with the “everything” part. Back in the twentieth century, unions were reluctant to embrace the net. The majority of union members were not yet online, and the top leadership of many unions was not convinced that the Internet was something unions needed to get involved with.
Fast forward to 2006 and basically every union worth its salt has got a website. Email has become a part of the daily life of nearly every trade union official, at least in the developed countries.
For those of us who’ve been at this for a while, including the editor of this online journal and myself, it is certainly something of a personal triumph every time we hear a union leader speak about how important this new technology is. Some of us had been saying that for many years before anyone listened.
So as we look back at how far unions have come, how ubiquitous the new technology has become, one is tempted to ponder early retirement and rest on one’s proverbial laurels. And yet …


Building support for Migrant Workers

Monday, December 11th, 2006

I’m attending a conference today organized by the Trades Union Congress (TUC) here in London. There seems to be some kind of wireless Internet connection, so if I can, I will blog throughout the day as the conference goes along.


Lebanon 2006: A debacle for Israel?

Saturday, December 2nd, 2006

A quarter century ago, I stood with an American friend at a peace rally in Tel-Aviv. We were both veterans of the anti-Vietnam war movement, and my friend commented how similar had been the trajectories of both the American movement and the Israeli in the wake of the 1982 Lebanon war. The difference, he pointed out, was that what took years to happen in the USA – the steady growth of that movement – happened in Israel over the course of several weeks.


OpenOffice: What are unions waiting for?

Friday, December 1st, 2006

Every union in Britain can start saving money today by abandoning Microsoft Office and switching over to use OpenOffice (