students and staff fight to save esol teaching in tower hamlets

By Alice Robson

Friday 12 June saw hundreds of English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) students, staff and supporters march in East London in protest at major cuts to ESOL announced at Tower Hamlets College.

TH college ESOL protest 2 Continue reading “students and staff fight to save esol teaching in tower hamlets”

report: occupation at london metropolitan university

by David Broder

At 4pm on the afternoon of Monday 11th May around thirty students began an occupation of the sixth floor canteen at the London Met building on Commercial Road in protest at sweeping cuts. Management plan to get rid of 550 posts – some 800 members of staff, one quarter of the indebted university – which will mean severe cutbacks in several subjects, such as the arts and languages.

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UCU members had staged strike action last Thursday (7th May) and although taken by surprise by the student action, several lecturers have joined the occupation. As yet management have refused to talk to the occupiers, but there seems to be strong solidarity between students, lecturers and other staff organised by UNISON, with course cuts and reduced student services the obvious outcome of attacks on the university workforce.

The nursery, key to allowing students with kids to attend London Met, as well as all but two of the libraries are also due to be slashed in order to make up for a purported £15 million budget deficit. Continue reading “report: occupation at london metropolitan university”

the struggle for women’s emancipation today

Liz Leicester, chair of Camden UNISON, spoke to our 9th March London forum on the meaning of International Women’s Day:

First of all, as a socialist I would always say that the struggles of women and the self-activity of women is very much a part of the struggle for the self-emancipation of the whole working class, and I’ve always seen it in that context. That’s where we have to place the issues that are called ‘women’s issues’.

A small quote I think is good, which I think The Commune has published on its website, by Francois Chesnais is “Inequalities and oppression do not exist separately from each other. They translate into concrete realities the way in which this mode of production, capitalism, functions.” For me that’s at the centre of this discussion about women’s issues.

There are some very real and concrete things. There is an estimate, for instance, that women internationally do twice as much unpaid work in the home than they do paid work. That is not unimportant. But women in paid work are still dominated by a patriarchal system as well as class domination, even in countries where some progress has been made, such as this one, in reducing women’s dependence on men. Continue reading “the struggle for women’s emancipation today”

videos of ‘uncaptive minds’ forum on women in the class struggle today

On 9th March The Commune hosted a London forum on the subject of “women in the class struggle today”. The speakers were Liz Leicester (chair, Camden Unison); Sheila Cohen (author, Ramparts of Resistance), Mary Partington (Left Women’s Network) and Clara Osagiede (RMT cleaners’ grade rep). 21 people attended.

Seven videos of the introductory speeches are below. The end of the speeches and the ensuing discussion will appear shortly, and we aim to make such video recordings of our meetings a more regular feature of this website.

Continue reading “videos of ‘uncaptive minds’ forum on women in the class struggle today”

update on 30th march forum

We are pleased to announce an addition to the line-up of speakers for The Commune’s 30th March London forum on “what unions do we have, and what unions do we need?”.

Fabien Liberski is the Convenor and Health & Safety Officer in Southwark Council, and was victimised by his employer with the collusion of UNISON bureaucrats.

He will be speaking alongside Alberto Einstein Durango, a cleaner activist involved in disputes at Schroders and Willis in the City of London, in the face of resistance by the Unite union; and John Moloney, a PCS activist in the Department for Work and Pensions.

The meeting is from 7pm on Monday 30th March at the Lucas Arms, near King’s Cross. Email uncaptiveminds@gmail.com for more info, and see here for a map.

defend joseph stalin!

Frequent readers of The Commune may be surprised to read the above headline.  In fact, we have not decided to abandon reappraising the communist project for a merger with the Communist Party of Great Britain (Marxist-Leninist).   But we do support workers victimised for organising at work, an increasingly common phenomenon nowadays.

Joseph Stalin Bermudez, branch chair of SOAS Unison is battling to keep his job. Stalin a key activist in the justice for cleaners campaign (see more information, including videos of Joseph speaking here) has been suspended and has his disciplinary hearing is on Tuesday.

A mass meeting of SOAS Unison has called for a lobby of the hearing and is calling on trade unionists to offer support. We want to get as many trade union banners and delegations as possible to this event.

Don’t let SOAS management victimise key activists!

9.30am, Tuesday 24 February, SOAS main building, Thornhaugh St, Russel Square

issue 1 of the commune published

We are pleased to announce the publication of the first issue of our newspaper The Commune. You can order a printed copy (£1 per copy + postage and packing) by emailing uncaptiveminds@gmail.com or writing to The Commune, 2nd Floor, 145-157 St John Street, London EC1V 4PY.

click here for pdf, or see individual articles below

nationalisation is no answer for our class! – Editorial part one

the dual crisis of labour and capital – Editorial part two

civil service dispute on ice? – by Steve Ryan, Wrexham PCS

report of pro-choice demo 20th october

are we really fighting in unison? – by James Caspell, Lambeth UNISON

the crisis of capitalism – interview with Andrew Kliman, author of Reclaiming Marx’s Capital

henry paulson’s bureaucratic collectivist fantasy – by Ernie Haberkern

william morris: against ‘state socialism’ – by Terry Liddle

for institutions of workplace democracy – by Gregor Gall, Professor of Industrial Relations, University of Hertfordshire

the class struggle in iran – by David Broder

platform of the international communists

are we really fighting in unison?

By James Caspell

Earlier this year, local government workers in UNISON voted for sustained industrial action in support of their claim to “catch up and match up” their salaries with the level of inflation over the last two years, and reject yet another pay cut being imposed by a Labour Government.

Despite this, after just two days of strike action, UNISON’s national bureaucracy decided to suspend all further threats of industrial action, without consultation, before even entering formal negotiations with the employer, therefore undermining the only tactic we had strong enough to win our demands – the collective withdrawal of our labour power. Continue reading “are we really fighting in unison?”