Tag Archives: UCU

Persons Unknown

Over the past few weeks Class War and LSE’s Lisa Mckenzie in particular have been taking a lot of stick for their choice of target and tactics.  For months Class War and the Women’s Death Brigade have been standing up against the relocation of young teenage mothers by supporting E15 Mums’ campaign, opposing Poor Doors, challenging Gay Pride’s for profit associations with big business and international banking,  and exposing the dodgy deals and marketing of working class women’s bodies for profit at the Jack the Ripper Museum in Cable St.  All pretty straight forward.  Not everyone likes the shouty, irreverent style of the brigade, but its pretty hard to defend kicking out teenage mums, humiliating social housing tenants, censoring gay activists in the name of Pride, or possible shonky negotiations for planning permission.  But then Class War went too far.  They went for the hipster – and the infamous Cereal Killer Café.  Jokes were made on Radio 4 quizzes. Newspapers dug around in activist’s private lives and recreational choices for a few exposes.  Friends of mine argued that these were the wrong targets and the wrong tactics.  I’m not going to get into analysis of cultural capital and bearded entitlement (but honestly doesn’t your face take up enough space already?). But I found it difficult to see the cereal café as the biggest victim in the struggle around austerity.

Fair enough, the other side of that coin is that the bearded cereal sellers might not be your biggest problem either.  In fact you might not have heard about all the grassroots activism that Class War and the Fuck Parade had been doing if they hadn’t annoyed Shoreditch. [disclaimer – I am gluten and lactose free so cereal prices are never going to be my biggest issue]  But the issue of personal taste, and personal tactics really isn’t the problem anymore.  The truth is, it doesn’t matter what your personal political style is.  It doesn’t matter how your particular political form and content sit together.  Because whether you like it or not, whether we like each other’s style or not, we really are all in it together. If we didn’t know that already, the CPS have just made it very clear.

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We better sort out our solidarity pt1

Earlier this month I attended two conferences in a week. Not great planning on my part but it was really interesting to move across geographical locations and organisational structures to ask in essence very similar questions but with very different answers.  The first symposium I attended as a discussant was Rethinking Contemporary British Political History at Queen Mary’s Mile End campus organised by Dr Helen McCarthy. (The second was the Workshop on Voluntary Action and Philanthropy at Frankfurt University which I will write about later)

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FOOTLOOSE AND THE POLITICS OF PLEASURE

This post is based on a speech that I gave as part of UCU industrial action I had proposed that Union members and students shared our two hour strike on 28th January 2014 by watching the 1984 film Footloose. I’m not sure how I got away with it, but I did. Here is how I explained why to those who came to watch the film.

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