University of Birmingham staff ballot members on strike action.

University of Birmingham staff ballot members on strike action.

Today the University of Birmingham’s academic trade union BUCU, representing over 1,000 members, has released its indicative ballot asking members whether they would be prepared to strike. The dispute covers two key issues – aggressive performance management and disciplinary processes, targeted at staff the University wishes to “manage out”; and workload allocations. The electronic ballot is open for three weeks from Tuesday 28th March.

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A Statement on Zero-Tolerance: Rape Apology

TW: Mentions of rape.

Unfortunately, due to recent discussions in the left-wing sphere, it has become necessary to reiterate something that should go without saying. Rape apology is unacceptable in every form it comes in; be it covering up sexual assault cases, defending those who sexually assault others, asking the victim what they were wearing, asking how much they drank, or any other kind of behaviour that allows rape culture to develop, it is entirely unacceptable.

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Does the left have a problem with anti-Semitism?

The past few weeks have seen the Facebook-Twitter-verse abuzz with claim after claim, statement and counter statement, from the various forces currently aligned in pitched battle over the question of anti-Semitism. Rumblings, coming out of Oxford University’s Labour Students as their co-chair resigned saying that their club seemed ‘generally to have some kind of problem with Jews’, were widely dismissed as right wing manoeuvrings. Then there was the media explosion that threatened to overshadow the huge and unprecedented achievement of Malia Bouattia in becoming the first black Muslim woman to become president of the NUS [1], not to mention her track record as a genuine and committed campaigner for liberation and for Palestinian rights. And now we have the suspensions of Naz Shah, Ken Livingstone, and three Labour Councillors this week. Surely more examples of baseless right wing opportunism?

Unfortunately, there is more to this than such a convenient narrative. Continue reading.

Throwback Thursday: Mikey Kenney and the Albert Street Project

Throwback Thursday: Mikey Kenney and the Albert Street Project

On the 9th of March this year, Birmingham Socialist Students had the great joy of hosting a fundraising night to support the Albert Street Project – a charity organisation that provides meals, clothes and company to the homeless and less fortunate people of Birmingham. The night consisted of live music delivered by the alternative folk performer Mikey Kenney (see his website here), with representatives from Albert Street and many of our own Socialist Students present.

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