Beyond Thatcher : militant testimonies on miners’ struggles and British syndicalism from yesterday and today
This year, Margaret Thatcher’s death reminded us of the economic policies she initiated in Britain and her anti-social and anti-union fights. In the last months, Autre Futur [French syndicalist website and association] wished to go further and to conduct a series of interviews with different British unionists and syndicalists, about these past struggles but also about the present, in order to get a better grasp of issues which have emerged in recent decades.
It has come to our attention that Martin Smith – who resigned from the Socialist Workers Party following rape and sexual harassment allegations – is now based in the Social Work department at Liverpool Hope University. Trigger warning: rape, sexual harassment.
Last week Leonarda Dibrani, a 15 year old school girl, was dragged off a bus during a school trip and deported back to Kosovo by French authorities. The incident has brought fresh attention on the issue of immigration in France and has led around 12,000 students on to the streets to protest in support of Leonarda Dibrani, disrupting or closing over 170 schools across Paris, Marseille, Angers, and Grenoble. Many scuffles have broken out with the police as they have tried to dismantle makeshift barricades.
In this 1997 essay, contemporary educational reform is offered as an illustration of not only the destructive effects of capitalist modernization, but also of the ambiguity of a “libertarian” concept of progress (exemplified by “the recuperable side” of May ‘68) that often only serves to facilitate and justify capitalism’s elimination of traditional structures of human society (customs, family, etc.) that once shielded humanity from the noxious effects of the ongoing realization of capitalism’s “negative utopia” (an “anthropological impossibility”) that reduces humans to “monads” of “enlightened self-interest”.
What we stand for: Worker and student rights and self-organisation / Opposition to casualisation/precarious work / A vision for education / Full funding / Industrial (sector-wide) organising / Actions and campaigns / International contacts / Equality and diversity / Countering bullying, harassment, and discrimination / Research, scholarship and knowledge creation