Michael Bradley

Lecturers head back into battle

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Tens of thousands of university workers are set to go on strike this month. Michael Bradley looks at the roots of the dispute and the debates about strategy within the movement.

Tens of thousands of lecturers across Britain, organised by the University and College Union (UCU), are set to come out on strike for up to 14 days in February and March in a dispute over pensions, pay, workload, equalities and casualisation. More than 40,000 workers have already taken part in eight days of strike action last December.

All out to stop the racists from organising

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The Football Lads Alliance (FLA) has now been with us for a year. If at first there was an ambiguity about their message, a year on the Islamophobia and racism at the heart of the project has been laid bare.

It’s now not just Stand Up To Racism (SUTR) and other anti-racists who are sounding the alarm about the group. The Observer and The Times newspapers ran exposures on the FLA while the Premier League has given clubs a warning about the FLA and its extremist links.

Trump, the alt-right and fascism in the US

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The killing of Heather Heyer by a Nazi in Charlottesville provoked horror and fear, but also a magnificent response from anti-racists across the US. Michael Bradley examines the tangled relationship between the far-right and President Trump, and the implications for fighting fascism.

The images of Neo-Nazis marching with burning torches, Swastika banners and Confederate flags through the streets of Charlottesville, Virginia, US, and shouting “Jews will not replace us” were shockingly reminiscent of Nazi Germany.

And the death of the anti-racist Heather Heyer at the hands of white supremacist James Fields and the injuries to 19 demonstrators as he drove into the crowd was a moment of true horror.

Fighting racism today

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The rise of Donald Trump is symbolic of a growing confidence on the populist right. With elections approaching in Europe and Theresa May heading into the Brexit negotiations with the aim of restricting migration, Michael Bradley lays out a plan for the kind of anti-racist movement we need.

The election of Donald Trump has sent shockwaves across the world. For many, Trump’s victory is part of a seamless growth in support for the populist right. His demagogic rants about “building a wall” and protecting US workers by “putting America first” have been reflected by similar figures in country after country.

Bringing politics into the union movement

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The low level of industrial struggle in Britain today is frustratingly at odds with the political radicalisation represented by the election of Jeremy Corbyn as Labour leader. Michael Bradley sets out a strategy to rebuild workers' confidence using our strengths to overcome our weaknesses

Bitterness against years of Tory austerity and the failure of the Labour Party to lead any effective opposition has laid the ground for the election of Jeremy Corbyn as Labour leader. This political earthquake has opened up exciting possibilities for the left.

For Corbyn to join a mass protest in defence of refugees within minutes of being elected and to make his first visit abroad as leader to refugee camps in Calais and Dunkirk is pretty incredible by previous standards.

Trade union density in Britain

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  • According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS) there were 6.5 million trade union members in the UK in 2013. That’s well below the 13.1 million in 1979.
  • Union membership across the UK workforce now stands at 25.6 percent. We also know that the number of union reps is well down from its high point in the mid-1980s.
  • In 2013 in the private sector just 14.4 percent of workers were in a union. But membership in the private sector did rise by 7 percent from 2010 to 2013 — up to 2.6 million members.

People's Assembly: the next steps

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The People's Assembly (PA) recall conference is set to take place on Saturday 15 March with local PAs, affiliated union branches and campaigns able to send delegates. It comes at a time when there is a need to debate the way forward in the battle against austerity. This is an important event for socialists and activists.

The launch meeting in June 2013 drew over 4,000 people while local rallies have drawn hundreds of people. In some places meetings have been the biggest since the anti-war movement was at its height.

After Grangemouth

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The threatened closure of the petrochemical plant at Grangemouth and the aftermath of the dispute have opened up a crucial debate inside the labour movement.

Is it no longer possible, even for a union as strong as Unite with 1.4 million members, to take on big capital and win in the face of neoliberalism? Are multinational companies like Ineos now just too powerful? Do the anti-union laws tie the hands of the unions and make resisting the threat of cuts and closures impossible?

Mind the gap!

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The period since the mass strike on 30 November 2011 has been one of huge frustration for many trade union activists. While the Tory assault develops we have seen almost eighteen months of intermittent strike action, though of course nothing on the scale necessary to stop the attacks.

In the public sector we now see ongoing action by the PCS and possible national action on pay by both of the big teaching unions (NUT and NASUWT). At NUT conference a motion calling for a national strike on 26 June (alongside possible action by the PCS) received support from 30-40 percent of delegates. As it is the two unions will start joint regional action on 27 June in the North West of England.


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