UNISONActive is an unofficial blog produced by UNISON activists for UNISON activists. Bringing news, briefings and events from a progressive left perspective.

Saturday, 26 July 2014

International Brigades remembered

The annual commemoration by the IBMT for the 2500 volunteers from Great Britain and Ireland who went to Spain to fight fascism and support democracy between 1936 and 1939, was held at the International Brigades memorial, Jubilee Gardens, South Bank, London on 5th July 2014.
    300 people gathered on London's South Bank to commemorate the men and women from Great Britain and Ireland who went to Spain to support the Spanish Republic - 526 British and Irish volunteers died. They were part of International Brigades - 35,000 men and women from over 50 countries - who went to Spain to support the Spanish Republic, oppose fascism and stand up for democracy.

In my condition by Othman Hussain

In my condition
I lay my heavy head on the pillow of noon
A faceless whirlwind brushes your frail body
I shudder holding my heavy head
waiting for a cause-scream
Things explode in themselves
and become still
so I fall down exhausted in the labyrinth of chaos
swimming in the coma of ignorance.
And in my condition
the evening approaches the dreamers’ expectations
it weaves evil in our sullied space
for a dreamer
who has not drowned as he ought

Friday, 25 July 2014

TUC deplores Gaza attacks and calls for immediate ceasefire

The TUC General Council has agreed a strong policy statement on the murderous Israeli attacks on Gaza - called for an end to the blockade, an immediate, negotiated and total ceasefire, condemned media reporting bias and supported next Saturday's national demonstration in London: 'In the third such attack over a five year period (demonstrating the futility of such attacks in delivering peace), the Israeli armed forces have so far killed over 600 people in Gaza, and the death toll continues to rise. Up to 80% of those killed are women and children – including children playing football on the beach - and many people have been killed going about their daily jobs such as health workers, teachers and journalists. Far more have been injured and over 80,000 have been displaced, and the bombardment of hospitals and other facilities further exacerbates the humanitarian crisis facing the people of Gaza. This amounts to yet more collective punishment of a population suffering the existing blockade, just as Palestinians in the West Bank suffer the occupation of their land and the continuing expansion of illegal settlements which make the prospects for peace ever more bleak.'

The full statement can be read here: http://www.tuc.org.uk/gazajuly2014

Monday, 21 July 2014

Asking difficult referendum questions is essential

Despite some recent press coverage, UNISON's position on the referendum remains one of challenging both sides of the referendum debate on how their plans will create social justice, bring an end to austerity, poverty and health inequality. We want to know what they will do about building social cohesion, a more equal society and a world without nuclear weapons.

The referendum differs from the devolution campaign of the 1990s. There is no 'settled will of the Scottish people'. There is a divide. So, more important that taking positions of Yes or No, is pushing home the difficult questions for both camps and getting answers for our members.

Sunday, 20 July 2014

In our thousands in our millions we support the Palestinians

Over 100,000 people came onto the streets of London, Glasgow and Belfast and other towns across the UK yesterday to protest at the continuing Israeli attacks on the people of Gaza in which over 340 have died including 75 children. In London the names and ages of all the Palestinian children killed
by Israeli air and ground attacks in Gaza in the last 11 days were read out in front of the Israeli embassy

Among the other events across the country, Aberdeen saw campaigners gather for the third consecutive week in St Nicholas Square in a show of solidarity with the people of Gaza. http://aberdeentuc.blogspot.co.uk/2014/07/hundreds-of-voices-raised-in-protest.html

See more photos of protests around the world at http://theworldstandswithpalestine.tumblr.com/

Connecting Cultures by Liz Lochhead

I am talking in our lingua franca.
Tell me, do you drive on the left or right?
Is your football team the Botswana Zebras
Or Indomitable Lions of Cameroon?
Can you take me to Junkanoo
And is there mangrove forest?
Is it true that a lightweight business suit
Is the appropriate city-garb and shaking hands
The usual form of greeting?
Are there frigate birds? Diamonds? Uranium?
What is the climate? Is there a typical hurricane season
Or a wind of change?
How many miles of coastline in your country?
Is the currency the Kenyan shilling or the
Brunei dollar -- or is it also the word for rain or a blessing?
Do you speak the lingua franca?

Communication can mean correspondence,
Or a connecting passage or channel, can mean
A means of imparting and receiving information such as
Speech, digital media, Facebook, the press and cinema.
Communications can mean means of transporting, especially
Troops or supplies.

Commonwealth means
A free association of independent member nations bound by
Friendship, loyalty, the desire for
Democracy, equality, freedom and peace.
Remembering how hard fellow feeling is to summon
When Wealth is what we do not have in Common,
May every individual
And all the peoples in each nation
Work and hope and
Strive for true communication --
Only by a shift and sharing is there any chance
For the Welfare of all our people and Good Governance.

Such words can sound like flagged-up slogans, true.
What we merely say says nothing --
All that matters is what we do.