Archive for June, 2007

No to racist boycotts! Israelis and Palestinians welcome here!

Thursday, June 21st, 2007

Last night, the second largest union in Britain, Unison, voted to call for “an economic, cultural, academic and sporting boycott” of Israel. This follows similar calls by two other unions — the NUJ and UCU.
If you oppose the boycott, please print out this A4 sized full colour poster proclaiming “No to racist boycotts! Israelis and Palestinians welcome here!” and hang it in your workplace and in your home. (The poster is in PDF format.)
And please encourage other opponents of racist boycotts to link to this page and to download the poster themselves.

Unions – If you want to help the Palestinians, don’t boycott Israel

Friday, June 8th, 2007

In the last several weeks, unions in a number of countries have been engaged in a wide-ranging and often acrimonious debate over the subject of boycotting Israel.
In Britain, both the National Union of Journalists and the University and College Union — together representing some 155,000 journalists and university lecturers — have called for a boycott of Israel. At its upcoming conference, the country’s second largest union, the 1.4 million member Unison, is likely to do the same — or else pass a somewhat watered-down version of the call. The unions and professional associations of architects and doctors are considering similar steps.

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Ubuntu and the Unions

Friday, June 8th, 2007

Over the course of the last few weeks, I’ve installed a new operating system on my computer. I no longer use Microsoft Windows XP and instead now use Ubuntu Linux. That’s nice, you may be thinking, but what does that have to do with the trade union movement?
Before I answer that, I should mention that I have access to some privileged information about unions and computer operating systems. As the founding editor of the LabourStart website, I get to look at the statistics. I know how many people visit our site every day, I know what countries they come from and which web browsers they use. And I know which operating systems they are using as well.

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Ubuntu now

Wednesday, June 6th, 2007

200px-Linux_tux_logo.pngI realize that my original plan was to try out Ubuntu Linux using the Wubi dual-boot system, making sure that everything worked and then after a full month, switching over. But I lost patience — having Windows on my disk was slowing me down, consuming scores of gigabytes of space, and forcing me to postpone what was becoming increasingly inevitable.
As a result, I took the decision last night to spend this morning backing up everything I had of value in Windows, and then making a clean install of Ubuntu Linux 7.04. As of a few minutes ago, Linux is the only operating system on my computer.
See my earlier entries to see why I chose Linux in the first place and my experience in two weeks of using it. Below are some notes on the install for anyone considering doing what I’ve done.

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Life after Windows: Day 13

Sunday, June 3rd, 2007

I’ve reached a decision. In another 18 days — on the first day of summer — I will completely shut down Microsoft Windows XP on my computer and move over to using Ubuntu Linux as my sole operating system. I’m waiting 18 more days because I want to be absolutely sure after one month of using Linux that everything works. So far, it all does.

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Life’s a Picnik – free photo-editing software you don’t have to download

Sunday, June 3rd, 2007

Two things are happening to software that should be of interest to trade unionists. First, software that used to cost a great deal of money is now often available completely free of charge. Second, that software – which used to come on CD-ROMs – now is often available for use online, through your web browser.

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“Israel is the cause of all suffering”

Friday, June 1st, 2007

“Their suffering is continuing, and that it is unacceptable. Everyday there are Palestinians arrested, imprisoned for no reason. People are killed on a daily basis. The economic suffering is terrible … absolute despair after nearly 40 years of Israeli occupation which has been supported by the West. … the British worked to bring about the state of Israel, which is the cause of all the suffering of … the Palestinian people.”
From a resolution passed by a British trade union condemning Israel and calling for a boycott?
Not exactly.