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Tony Benn (1925-2014)

Acknowledged to be one of the few British politicians who became more left-wing after having actually served in government, former veteran left-wing campaigner Tony Benn has died at home aged 88. Tony was a British Labour Party politician and Member of Parliament (MP) for 50 years, and a Cabinet Minister under Harold Wilson and James Callaghan. His legacy can be seen in postage, in the powerful five questions, the speeches he gave, and his diaries.
posted by Wordshore on Mar 14, 2014 - 84 comments

Bayakou

"The only way to end Haiti’s cholera epidemic is to keep infected waste out of food and water. A subterranean network of pipes, pumping stations, and waste-treatment plants would be the ideal solution, but Haiti’s successive governments have had too little money, power, or will to build massive public works on their own.... International donors have been little help: in one case, the U.S. government, to protest the way an election was conducted, withheld funds to build water and sanitation infrastructure in northern Haiti for more than ten years. From 1990 to 2008, the proportion of Haitians with access to basic sanitation decreased from 26% to 17%. Cholera broke out in 2010. Four years into the epidemic, a trip to the bathroom for most Haitians still means looking for an open field or wading into a public canal at dawn. Those who can afford to, dig cesspools under outhouses. When the cesspools get full, it’s time to call a man like Leon." [more inside]
posted by zarq on Mar 13, 2014 - 11 comments

The right to work for less

"In 1961, the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. called “right to work” a “fraud,” saying that it “provides no ‘rights’ and no ‘works.’ ...Its purpose is to destroy labor unions and the freedom of collective bargaining." -- The Most Dishonest Words in American Politics: 'Right to Work'.
posted by MartinWisse on Jun 11, 2013 - 73 comments

How Social Mobility Got Stuck

"Britain's poor were absolutely and relatively better off until Thatcher was elected in 1979. Since then, the bottom half of society is worse off than it was in 1983." "In 1945, when Thatcher turned 20, the richest 0.01 per cent people in Britain received 123 times the mean national average income. By the time she turned 40 in 1965 that had halved to 62 times, and the year before she came to power, in 1978, it was at its minimum: just 28 times the average income."
posted by marienbad on May 28, 2013 - 107 comments

Incommensurable values

Economists and the theory of politics - "why unions were often well worth any deadweight cost" [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Mar 25, 2013 - 27 comments

Don't try to fight it

Dutch TV presenters volunteer to experience the pain of labour at a birthing center. [more inside]
posted by Iteki on Jan 22, 2013 - 181 comments

That's me in the corner

The findings for England and Wales from the 2011 British Census have now been released. The BBC provides a handy guide to changes by area while The Guardian has a neat infographic and a set of Top 10 Charts. [more inside]
posted by MuffinMan on Dec 13, 2012 - 18 comments

China in Revolt?

"Today, the Chinese working class is fighting. More than thirty years into the Communist Party’s project of market reform, China is undeniably the epicenter of global labor unrest." Eli Friedman from Jacobin
posted by ageispolis on Aug 29, 2012 - 78 comments

'The King's Sex Chair'

"He would sit in this most incredible bath that had a swan-necked mythological figure with a with a lady of his choice, not with water in it, but with champagne in it, and I guess they would both sit there and listen to the sound of his father spinning in his grave.” - on King Edward VII and his voracious appetites, and his favorite mistress, Daisy Warwick. [more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns on Jul 2, 2012 - 48 comments

...what the Communists sneeringly referred to as the “Anarchists' Marching Song”

Why I Wrote Solidarity Forever. "In the pantheon of American labor history there is a very special place for Ralph Chaplin, the man and his work. As the poet laureate of the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW), he is probably remembered best for giving organized labor its fighting them song, Solidarity Forever." [more inside]
posted by Stagger Lee on May 18, 2012 - 27 comments

The Precariat

The 'precariat' "consists of a multitude of insecure people, living bits-and-pieces lives, in and out of short-term jobs, without a narrative of occupational development, including millions of frustrated educated youth who do not like what they see before them, millions of women abused in oppressive labour, growing numbers of criminalised tagged for life, millions being categorised as ‘disabled’ and migrants in their hundreds of millions around the world". [more inside]
posted by hydatius on Mar 4, 2012 - 27 comments

I Think I'm Getting The Black Lung, Pop

The harrowing lives of child miners in the early 1900's. [more inside]
posted by gman on Mar 2, 2012 - 28 comments

Playing for the other Team(sters): Project 59

Today on Rewind a remarkable historical piece that features two American icons who clashed over issues of corruption and misappropriation of funds in the 1950s and 60s. They are Robert Kennedy- former Attorney General of the United States, but at the time Chief Investigator of the Rackets Committee for the United States Senate, and James Hoffa- head of the Teamsters Union. (MP3) [more inside]
posted by infinite intimation on Jan 20, 2012 - 1 comment

#fail #whale #tale

Australia's Qantas Airlines has been left red-faced after an ill-timed public relations campaign and Twitter competition backfired, drawing thousands of angry responses. The contest ran a day after talks with unions broke down, and after Qantas grounded its entire fleet in October. Thousands of passengers were stranded worldwide after the firm halted flights in an attempt to end months of strike action by workers angered by the firm's restructuring plans. The "Qantas Luxury" promotion, launched on 22 November, quickly tapped into customers' ire. ~ BBC
posted by infini on Nov 23, 2011 - 20 comments

Trade Union Poster Design: A Very Mini History

Trade Union Poster Design: A Very Mini History
posted by Fiasco da Gama on Jan 27, 2011 - 3 comments

Ed Miliband wins UK Labour Party leadership contest

In a victory unexpected until the last 24 hours of the race, Ed Miliband has beaten older brother David to win the leadership of the (UK) Labour Party. [more inside]
posted by penguin pie on Sep 25, 2010 - 29 comments

It Couldn't Happen Here

GBH was a seven-part British television drama written by Alan Bleasdale [previously1] [previously2] shown in the summer of 1991 on Channel 4. The protagonists were Michael Murray (played by Robert Lindsay), the Militant Labour leader of a city council in the North of England and Jim Nelson (played by Michael Palin), the headmaster of a school for disturbed children. The series was controversial partly because Murray appeared to be based on Derek Hatton, former Deputy Leader of Liverpool City Council - in an interview in the G.B.H. DVD Bleasdale recounts an accidental meeting with Hatton before the series, who indicates that he has caught wind of Bleasdale's intentions but does not mind as long as the actor playing him is "handsome". [more inside]
posted by KokuRyu on Aug 29, 2010 - 22 comments

And we're off...

Polls open in the UK General Election. This has been one of the closest election campaigns in decades, with all three major parties polling within a few points of each other. [more inside]
posted by ArkhanJG on May 5, 2010 - 591 comments

I agree with Nick: you're no Jack Kennedy.

Yesterday, the leaders of the three largest political parties in the UK engaged in a live televised election debate for the first time in history. Most commentators seem to agree that Nick Clegg, the leader of Britain's perennial third party the Liberal Democrats, made the best impression in yesterday's first of three weekly debates leading up to the general election on May 6. The progressive-leaning Guardian even goes so far as to claim that he is now prime ministerial material.

This being Metafilter you will undoubtedly ask, "how does Cory Doctorow figure into all of this?" Well, he agrees with Nick on the Digital Economy Act. Then again, Nick is agreed with quite a lot.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane on Apr 16, 2010 - 54 comments

To the barricades!

Carlsberg brewery employees are on strike to protest new rules that limit on the job beer drinking to lunch time.
posted by nestor_makhno on Apr 8, 2010 - 63 comments

What happens if David Cameron loses?

Most people assumed the Tories would walk the coming election. But with their poll lead evaporating, what would a Conservative defeat mean for Britain – and David Cameron? What happens if David Cameron loses? [more inside]
posted by Len on Mar 26, 2010 - 70 comments

I bought my baby a red radio

RadioLabour "presents 'The Solidarity Report', a half hour audiocast of international union news every Sunday morning." Main mover and presenter Marc Bélanger describes the journalistic and educational goals of the new service.
posted by Abiezer on Feb 27, 2010 - 4 comments

Sticks and stones can harm your poll ratings

The Observer publish an excerpt of Andrew Rawnsley's new book, in which he alleges that Gordon Brown has been aggressive and volatile in power. Immediately up pops a representative of an organisation called the National Bullying Helpline, which says it has received calls from "inside Downing Street", garnering TV news appearances. However, is the NBH all that it seems? [more inside]
posted by Grangousier on Feb 22, 2010 - 40 comments

Not quite labour

Make your own David Campbell poster. Like so. Or just read a post about the posters.
posted by kenko on Jan 20, 2010 - 139 comments

On use vs. exchange value: we must be careful about what we pretend to be

Asset inflation, price inflation, and the great moderation
Economists as penance have been trying to locate the origins of the great chain of causation that has led us to our present situation -- the worrying conclusion is that problems remain -- imbalances precipitated by a labour supply shock [1,2] and/or (the rise of) machines [1,2] have not gone away and continue to persist in decimating the ('developed world's) middle class, as evidenced by high and rising unemployment, which has led to a crisis in central banking itself. [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Oct 31, 2009 - 31 comments

Crystal Lee Sutton

Crystal Lee Sutton was fired for trying to organise a union. The incident was made into the 1979 film Norma Rae. Last week she died at the age of 68.
posted by Fiasco da Gama on Sep 14, 2009 - 23 comments

On this labour day...

Social mobility, income inequality and wealth disparities. [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Sep 7, 2009 - 54 comments

Reading the Riot Act

Our Sovereign Lord the King chargeth and commandeth all persons, being assembled, immediately to disperse themselves, and peaceably to depart to their habitations, or to their lawful business, upon the pains contained in the act made in the first year of King George, for preventing tumults and riotous assemblies. God Save the King! [more inside]
posted by Jakey on Jan 31, 2009 - 6 comments

PoliticsFilter

It's election season, and the stakes are high. The incumbent party is looking a little frayed, and people are looking for change. The opposition leader (a young chap, who despite being neither gifted, nor black, has likened himself to someone of that definition) is accused of profiting from parliamentary questions about undeclared shareholdings. And forget about your $700 Billion, this election has been rocked by scandal over an undeclared NZ$100,000 donation. Some would suggest that the state of the nation can be read largely through sales of doggy chew toys.
posted by pivotal on Sep 26, 2008 - 20 comments

Kiki and Bubu

Kiki and Bubu! Austrian art collective monochrom presents the adventures of two sock puppets. Part One: Kiki and Bubu and The Shift. "Bubu wants to know why his dad is busy all the time. And Kiki explains him why... because of the neoliberal shift." Part Two: Kiki and Bubu and The Privilege. "Bubu ran into a bunch of liberals and they gave him a book. They said if he doesn't read it, they're going to beat him up. But Bubu can't read! And so Kiki helps..." [Via BB]
posted by homunculus on Jun 7, 2008 - 6 comments

The Coming Collapse of the Middle Class

"The Coming Collapse of the Middle Class" [more inside]
posted by kliuless on May 1, 2008 - 98 comments

Global sweatshop lobby

"In a historically unprecedented visit, the influential Chinese scholar and labor law expert Liu Cheng arrived in Washington, D.C. this week to garner support from US legislators and labor leaders for a law that is pending not before the US Congress but before the National People’s Congress in China."
Global Labor Strategies' recent report Undue Influence has prompted comment that US corporate advocacy in China is retarding democracy. The US-China Business Council rejects this characterization of their lobbying efforts (China Law Blog broadly agrees). Their European counterparts think better compliance and implementation are key to improving protection for Chinese workers.
posted by Abiezer on Apr 6, 2007 - 20 comments

Tame Political Blogs

Official New Labour Blogs The US has got used to the political bloggers, but the Uk's Labour party is now accepting applications from bloggers to be an official blogger at their Annual Conference. They're offering access to all the key speeches and events at Conference and you’ll be blogging from the floor about your experiences and 'special access'. Would a blogger be compromised by this?
posted by quarsan on Aug 9, 2006 - 13 comments

Spectre: Families of bereaved British servicemen to stand against pro-war politicians

"Families of soldiers killed in Iraq launch party to challenge ministers". Reg Keys, father of a British serviceman killed in the Iraq War, stood directly against Tony Blair in his Sedgefield constituency as an independent candidate (see Wikipedia for a brief summary of independent movements in the UK, USA and Canada) in the 2005 UK election, taking 10% of the vote. A founder member of Military Families Against The War, he is also at the centre of a new political movement, Spectre, that aim to stand up to 70 members of bereaved families directly against pro-war government and cabinet members in the 2009 election, and each by-election before then. See also the Guardian's Guide to anti-war websites.
posted by nthdegx on Aug 6, 2006 - 17 comments

Karma karma karma karma chameeeeleeonnn

Britain's New Labour have very short memories!

They are trying to persuade people to vote for them by highlighting exactly how they got in to power themselves as being a fault in the Conservative Party
posted by catchmurray on Apr 19, 2006 - 35 comments

Amir Peretz new leader of Israel's Labour Party

"Tonight was a night of dreams -- dreams of many citizens who have almost given up hope for being part of Israeli society."

A new Prime Minister for Israel? Moroccan Amir Peretz, former head of the Histadrut (Israel's general labour union) supplants Shimon Peres as leader of Israel's Labour with an agenda of social welfare and an end to sectarianism and ethnic tension.
BBC Profile. Jerusalem Post article. Analysis from HaAretz. June 2005 Interview. Biography and Open Letter from Official Website. Peretz's "Ethical Roadmap" for Israel.
posted by ori on Nov 10, 2005 - 13 comments

"Values don't change, but times do"

Tony's Blair's keynote speech to the Labour Party conference today [wmv]. Text summary from Channel 4 news.
posted by nthdegx on Sep 27, 2005 - 19 comments

UK Liberal Democrat councillor Paul Leake chooses his blog over his party

UK politician chooses his blog over his party: Paul Leake, a Liberal Democrat councillor in Durham, was asked by his local party to remove any "controversial" posts from his weblog and to give them the right to vet future posts. Denis Jackson, another Liberal Democrat on Durham City Council, said that the Labour councillors were using the blog to find "lurid headlines". Leake refused, and stepped down from the party. He'll now serve his constituents as an independent. [Via The Political Weblog Project]
posted by tapeguy on Sep 19, 2005 - 3 comments

making millions of unseen workers visible

Portrait of a Textile Worker makes one person among millions of unseen workers visible. Her image was constructed with thirty thousand clothing labels stitched together over two years.
posted by heatherann on Jun 24, 2005 - 7 comments

George Galloway

Highlight of the election coverage: George Galloway is the leader of Respect and won a historic and unexpected victory against the Blairite Oona King, on an anti-war ticket. He was then interviewed by Jeremy Paxman, an increasingly controversial interviewer well known for asking questions absurd numbers of times until they get answered - a technique which arguably backfires here. You might want to watch Galloway's acceptance speech first. [Windows Media. My two cents: Paxman is an egregious cock, more interested in getting his eternally righteous indignation across than any issues.]
posted by Pretty_Generic on May 6, 2005 - 75 comments

It's a basic irony, folks...

I'm amused by today's Editorial in The Sun. It starts off with how a protest vote against Labour may mean 'you could be signing a young person's death warrant' due to the Liberal Democrat party's drugs policy.

The second half of the newspaper's editorial is a tribute to Anthony Wakefield... whose death came, of course, as part of the Blair government's war in Iraq... a basic irony that the newspaper has failed to pick up on. [via Bloggerheads]

For those who don't know, The Sun - which backs Blair, though not like this - is the UK's biggest selling newspaper and is owned by Rupert Murdoch.
posted by tapeguy on May 3, 2005 - 32 comments

Lee and Dan's Excellent Adverts

The truth behind the spin? - three party political broadcasts (.wmv) made by Lee and Dan, the men behind the VW Suicide Bomber advert, and commissioned by the UK's Channel 4
posted by Navek Rednam on Apr 30, 2005 - 10 comments

books, pamphlets, and periodicals

I was wandering around the internets looking for early twentieth century ephemera and look what I found. Digital Dada Library “This page provides links to some of the major Dada-era publications in the International Dada Archive. These books, pamphlets, and periodicals are housed in the Special Collections Department of the University of Iowa Libraries. …Each document has been scanned in its entirety.” EphemeraNow “is a family-friendly Web site dedicated to the commercial art of mid-century America.” The Ephemera Society “is a non-profit body concerned with the collection, preservation, study and educational uses of printed and handwritten ephemera.” and more! For those of you who have complained that this place is getting too “US politics-filter” I give you Glasgow Digital Library Collections which has all sorts of stuff including a great history of the labour movement in Glasgow 1910-1932
posted by Grod on Oct 26, 2004 - 10 comments

I have changed countries only to find I have stepped through the looking glass.

I'm a Democrat for Bush.
Sarah Baxter is a life-long Labour voter in Britain and a registered Democrat in the United States. So how come she wants George W Bush to remain president?
posted by Steve_at_Linnwood on Oct 18, 2004 - 104 comments

Blair in Trouble...

The UK local elections have taken place, and for the first time ever forced the ruling Labour government into third position, with their worst showing in history. Is this just a mid-term blip, or the culmination of the huge Iraq backlash that will topple the government? With Bush in trouble too, will any of the warring leaders be left come November? And can the Big Intervention website topple Blair himself?
posted by wibbler on Jun 11, 2004 - 13 comments

Sailing close to the flame

At what point does a government have to stop and wonder if it's judged the mood correctly?

The UK government manages to bribe a rebel with a cushy job, but not one, not two, but three other MPs walk away from the government in one day. Are things going wrong in the UK?
posted by twine42 on Mar 18, 2003 - 63 comments

Rev. Jackson rallies West Coast dock workers.

Rev. Jackson rallies West Coast dock workers. I'm proud of Jesse for this action. The workers are only averaging $80K per annum and foreman are averaging only $167K per. I'm surprised he didn't try to do the same for the MLBPA.
posted by flatlander on Sep 3, 2002 - 19 comments

The Harvard Crimson

The Harvard Crimson contracts Cambodian sweatshop labor to make its online archives and saves $450,000. Is that the living wage they editorialized for?
posted by benjamin on Jul 24, 2001 - 21 comments

Playing the Willie Horton card?

Playing the Willie Horton card? The Tories' first party election broadcast claims that Labour has released rapists to offend again. Even a former ex-chairman of the party calls the film "disturbing" for its tacit apportioning of blame, and its similarities to the famous ad used by Bush Sr. in 1988. After Labour's positive but anodyne "we've done nice things, and here's Geri Halliwell" broadcast, are we now set for a dirty media war till June 7th?
posted by holgate on May 15, 2001 - 11 comments

Tube drivers strike and the queue system falls apart!

Tube drivers strike and the queue system falls apart! Getting to work was bad enough thanks to strking tube drivers and crack smoking officials at Hammersmith Bus station, now how the hell do I get home?
posted by Foaf on Feb 5, 2001 - 13 comments

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