UNISONActive is an unofficial blog produced by UNISON activists for UNISON activists. Bringing news, briefings and events from a progressive left perspective.

Saturday, 9 August 2014

Gaza: 'We march for three things. The children, the children, the children.'

#Gaza Edinburgh’s Princes Street came to a halt again this week when marchers stopped and sat for two minutes silence to remember the dead in Gaza. Even onlookers respected the silence and applauded as the demonstrators set off again for Bute House, the official residence of the First Minister of Scotland.

On the 90 minute march, people carried a card, each with the name of one of the 2,000 Palestinians, almost 400 of them children, killed by Israeli forces. It was a poignant and powerful way of highlighting the human cost.

The demands were straightforward: An immediate end to the killing, Israel to lift the siege and to abide by UN resolutions. An end to arms sales to Israel and boycott, divestment and sanctions to bring pressure on the Israeli government. A free Palestine.

Union repression in Colombia - eye witness report

A recent British delegation to Colombia visited imprisoned trade unionist Huber Ballesteros and human rights activist David Rabelo in La Picota prison near Bogota. The TUC's Paul Nowak reports on the visit: 'Meeting Huber and David was in turns both depressing and uplifting. Depressing to see two men, committed to the nascent peace process and progressive political change in Colombia incarcerated unjustly. Uplifting to see that, despite the dreadful conditions in which they are being held, both were clearly focussed on securing justice and are determined to continue to speak out even within the confines of La Picota'

Back Home by Vladimir Mayakovky

Thoughts, go your way home.
depths of the soul and the sea.
In my view,
it is
to be
always serene.
My cabin is the worst
of all cabins -
All night above me
Thuds a smithy of feet.

Thursday, 7 August 2014

Out in the Union

UNISON LGBT activists are an organised presence in most if not all Pride celebrations this summer and.along with other trade unionists, have been prime movers in the growth and success of Pride festivals across the UK over the past decade. Less apparent has been the crucial role played by LGBT trade unionists in securing legal rights since 1999 culminating in the Equality Act 2010 and recent same-sex marriage gains. LGBT trade unionists have played a similar transformative role in the US labour movement and a new book 'Out in the Union: A Labor History of Queer America,' which chronicles the union contribution to the 'growth and success of the modern LGBT rights movement' is reviewed in Dissent magazine:

Tuesday, 5 August 2014

Warsi is right - arms embargo and sanctions on Israel long overdue

If in effect we can have a Tory peer saying we need arms embargoes and sanctions on Israel, is it not time for all UK main political parties to also support the upholding of international rights and agreements that thus far Israel is callously disregarding?
    And it is time for a stronger Labour Party call for sanctions and arms embargoes against the perpetrators of international war crimes and violations of the Geneva convention as argued by Richard Burden MP.

Anna Rose

Sunday, 3 August 2014

Opposing Austerity - organising and action strategies

'UK trade unions have not developed adequate strategies to challenge the acceleration of neoliberal transformation of public services through outsourcing, private finance and privatisation,' writes Dexter Whitfield in a briefing for The Australian Workplace Innovation and Research Centre (WISeR). In a wide ranging analysis of both trade union and political responses to austerity in Europe and North America since 2008, Whitfield concludes that the labour movement has been found wanting and calls for the development of more participative democratic forms of decision making: 'Traditional industrial action, such as one-day strikes and large national demonstrations had an important role in strengthening solidarity and gaining support, but did not significantly change austerity policies'

Gaza under attack! Stop Arming Israel! BDS now!

War on Want has published a 5 point action plan in response to the horrific military onslaught waged by the Israeli Government against the people of Gaza, based on its political analysis that 'Israel can only repeat its murderous assaults on the Palestinian people because of the continued support it receives from Western states. The UK government continues to engage in a two-way arms trade with Israel, despite its blatant violation of human rights and international law. By rewarding Israel for its continued aggression, the UK is complicit in Israel’s Occupation and oppression of the Palestinian people':

In the Morning You Always Come Back by Cesare Pavese

Dawn’s faint breath
breathes with your mouth
at the ends of empty streets.
Gray light your eyes,
sweet drops of dawn
on dark hills.
Your steps and breath
like the wind of dawn
smother houses.
The city shudders,
Stones exhale—
you are life, an awakening.
Star lost
in the light of dawn,
trill of the breeze,
warmth, breath—
the night is done.

You are light and morning.