UK CAMPUS STRIKES
In autumn 2019, University and Colleges Union (UCU) members on 60 campuses went on strike over pay cuts, job security, wage equality for women, people of color, and disabled workers, and against casualized work, staggering workloads, and the degradation of pensions.
From Nov. 25 2019, UCU members walked out for eight consecutive days, with the support of many students. Our action forced employers to agree to sit down again at the negotiating table.
Our strongest tool is the willingness of UCU to take disruptive action and to build solidarity with students and with other workers and community members.
Our struggle is part of a much bigger political fight against the U.K. government’s ongoing project of austerity and debt-driven privatization and speculation. We will almost certainly need to step back onto the pickets. The struggle continues, internationally!
Samuel Solomon University of Sussex UCU Brighton, United Kingdom
Not voting can register discontent
I’m always bemused when “pundits” plead ignorance as to why such a low percentage of eligible voters in the United States bother to vote, even in presidential elections [“U.S. elections: why do so few vote?” Vol. 40, No 6].
“Bemused,” because the answer is so obvious: that 40 to 45 percent of us, those in that portion of the population the U.S. Census says are only a paycheck away from poverty and homelessness, after working a couple of jobs with no benefits just to keep the wolf from the door, and after fixing meals, cleaning house and helping our kids with their homework, understand that to vote when neither of the two capitalist parties have done anything of real significance for us in our memory is to waste our time; is to act as though we are too stupid to understand the system isn’t concerned with us and will not work to our benefit whether we vote or not.
In this regard, I am reminded of a state in East Germany under Stalin’s rule. Initially the people in that state prided themselves on having the highest voter turn-out of any East German state. This is because, at first, they were excited about the “new socialism,” and the promises Stalin made.
But as time went on and the truth about Stalin’s form of “socialism” became clear for all to see, that same East German state prided itself on being the state with the lowest percentage of voters. That is, they came to realize that the only meaningful way to “participate” in the election was to not vote; that not voting was, in fact, the only way they could register an honest vote.
And so I would say that the poorer classes in America have also discovered that the only way to express their opinion on Election Day is to stay home!
Jim Lafferty, Exec. Director Emeritus, National Lawyers Guild LA, Los Angeles
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