Archive for March, 2011

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Wednesday, March 30th, 2011

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What does global solidarity look like? Notes for a panel discussion

Tuesday, March 29th, 2011
The following are my notes for a panel discussion on global solidarity at the UALE conference in New Orleans, 24 March 2011.
LabourStart’s extensive experience
We have been at this since 1998
At first, we just linked to union campaigns
By 2002, we had in place our own system – very similar to what Avaaz
and others now use
Since then we’ve run probably close to 100 campaigns at the request of unions
These campaigns are multilingual, integrate into our news, are
syndicated, and are promoted primarily through our mailing list of
70,000 — which is, in turn, built through the campaigns
We’ve had a number of successes – I will talk about only one of them at the end
What we have learned … (more…)

Israel, the Middle East and the International Trade Union Movement – notes for a lecture

Wednesday, March 23rd, 2011
The following are my notes for a talk given at the headquarters of the American Federation of Teachers in Washington, DC on 23 March 2011.
What I will talk about today:
The bad news
The good news
Where do we go from here
The bad news (more…)

Activism vs Slacktivism: notes for a debate

Monday, March 21st, 2011
The following are my notes for the debate on Activism vs Slacktivism held in Oxford on 21 March 2011.
I want to talk about three things.
First, about the question itself, about whether we should be using online tools and their role in social change.
Second, about the part of this debate that has nothing to do with technology – about the role of organizations vs loose networks and spontaneity.
And third, about the case of Joanne Delaney. (more…)

How Twitter is like a horse

Thursday, March 10th, 2011
This article appeared in Solidarity.
Later this month I’ve been invited to debate some of the leading online campaigners in Britain on the role of new media in the revolutions taking place in Middle East.
The organisers are calling it “Activism vs Slacktivism” and no, I don’t understand what that means either.  But I do know the organisations that will be up on the podium with me – including Amnesty International and Oxfam.
I was invited because I’d written something in the Guardian recently challenging the idea that what happened in Egypt could be called “the Twitter revolution”. (more…)

South Africa: Unions are wrong to cheer on the UJ boycott

Wednesday, March 9th, 2011
South Africa’s unions are cheering on the decision by the University of Johannesburg to cut ties with an Israeli academic institution.
In a statement issued last week, the municipal workers union (SAMWU) said that it “encourages all other South African Universities and academic institutions to refuse to deal with any institution that openly supports Israeli apartheid and or oppression of fellow human beings … We will make sure those academic institutions in this country, which have ties with Israeli institutions immediately begin talks to end these relationships.”
And SAMWU is not alone.  As they point out in their statement, “the COSATU led Coalition for a Free Palestine has already begun discussions to work out ways and means to give practical support to UJ.”
This is an unfortunate development rooted in ignorance.
It will do nothing to improve the prospects for an Israeli-Palestinian peace.
But it will further undermine the increasingly negative image of COSATU – and its growing isolation – in the international labour movement.