The Sack Boris campaign – shame about TSSA.

This Londoner has come by a load of ‘Sack Boris’ travel card wallets produced by the Transport Salaried Staff Association. Nowadays, this concerned trade union member checks whether a given union is boycotting Israel before getting involved with their campaign. This trade union member has noticed that the boycott of Israel’s, and no other country’s, workers and produce, is antisemitic. Antisemitic in its singular hyper-scrutiny and antisemitic in its singling out for punishment. So the TSSA has compromised itself badly with an antisemitic thing.

I do not like Ken Livingstone. He has cuddled and comforted antisemitic visitors like Al Qaradawi, he has nurtured oppressive political Islam in London, and he has sneered at Jewish fears. But I’ll be holding my nose and giving him a vote to keep Boris out.

So I’ll be giving out the wallets – but not with any pride.

Sure, they’re all we have – but until this country’s trade union membership understands that they need to support Israeli workers rather than excluding, condemning, and starving them of a market, they’ll remain estranged from a truly ethical labour movement.

EDL, go home

Sometimes marching is show of solidarity for a cause and other times – no matter how much its organisers insist that it’s the innocent enactment of a fundamental civil right – marching is the expression of a threat of force.

With the EDL marching is the latter kind – it’s about asserting control of the streets. They march in neighbourhoods where Muslims live, and their presence is intended (at least by their organisers) to intimidate Muslims – not to mention embarrass councillors who are trying to accommodate the needs of diverse communities including Muslims.

Of course, there are some Muslim groups – namely militant Islamists – who would love to control their neighbourhoods. They deserve the same treatment as the EDL. I’m just not sure what that treatment should be. Public money is very short and the policing bill for the EDL is staggering. It is staggering that a group which purports to be so in love with England could squander public money in this way.

From Searchlight

EDL to march in Barking on 14th January

A website used by the English Defence League has given notice of a march in Barking next Saturday between 1pm and 3pm.

A Metropolitan Police spokesman said: “We are aware of a planned march by the English Defence League (EDL) on Saturday.

“The organisers have been in contact with police. An appropriate policing plan is in place.

“The march is expected to leave from Wakering Road, Barking passing by Barking Railway Station into Ripple Road and finishing at Axe Street.”

The last time the EDL marched in the London Borough of Barking and Dagenham two young south Asian men were beaten so badly they needed hospital treatement. A photographer suffered and assault and a Hope Not Hate campaigner was struck in the face with a banner pole.

It is not known whether any charges have been brought against the thugs responsible for the assaults, who were clearly identifiable, or in respect of a serious attack on a meeting attended by trade unionists and activists from the Labour Party and Unite Against Fascism in the same area earlier last year. On that occasion a large amount of damage was caused to council premises and a health worker received an injury to her arm that needed surgery.

Psychic wages

I think there’s another way to come at ‘economic rationality’ – everybody should earn the same living wage, and any particular shortfall based on individual circumstances be met through benefits. But we’re clearly a while away from that. Meanwhile here’s a good piece I missed at Marc Bousquet’s ‘How the University Works‘ – from it a nice piece of class-based reasoning about why a good society must make the work it needs to be done economically rational for workers to undertake, rather than relying on notions of job satisfaction and personal fulfilment i.e. psychic wages.

“But a labor market arranged around working for love – rather than fair compensation – is actually one of the most sexist, racist and economically discriminatory arrangements possible. From a class point of view, as I emphasize in Gose’s piece and elsewhere: by making the professoriate an economically irrational choice, you stop sorting for the most talented people and begin to sort for the people who can afford to discount their wages. That cuts out most people, period, making the best jobs in the academy largely a preserve for persons with fortunate economic backgrounds or circumstances.  And via the wealth gap, that primary economic discrimination has direct consequences for the racial composition of the faculty. By making it too hard to get a job, too arduous an apprenticeship, too poor of a return on education investment: only the wealthier among us are able to “irrationally choose” to accept psychic wages – and the wealthier among us are disproportionately white, just for starters. All of this has tremendous, documented consequences for the achievement and persistence of students from less advantaged economic circumstances and ethnicities poorly represented among the faculty.”

Read on and think about the Big Society, volunteering, internships, pensions as deferred wages, and the kind of workplace ‘helping’ which props up rotten systems.