[Marxism] Lessons of the abortive AUT boycott

James Daly james.irldaly at ntlworld.com
Sun May 29 07:57:29 MDT 2005

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Louis Proyect" <lnp3 at panix.com>
To: <marxism at lists.econ.utah.edu>
Sent: Saturday, May 28, 2005 4:56 PM
Subject: [Marxism] Lessons of the abortive AUT boycott

Original Message

Counterpunch Weekend Edition
May 28 / 30, 2005
Lessons to be Learned
The Reversal of the AUT Boycott


......Perhaps the most significant aspect of the attempted boycott in 
the first place was its efforts to link the just cause of the 
Palestinian national movement ­ its right to self-determination, for 
return of refugees, and for freedom from racism, exclusionism and 
colonialism practiced by Israel - to the domestic struggles of the 
Western working class, in this case, the struggle of university 
lecturers in the UK. No doubt the enormous mobilization witnessed by 
pro-Zionist forces to help overturn the vote is evidence of the degree 
to which Israel and its allies perceive the strategic threat of 
initiatives like this in the future. This cannot merely be attributed 
to the conspiratorial powers of Zionist lobbies or the arm twisting 
that may or may not have taken place behind closed doors, and which 
are yet to be exposed. Rather, Israel and its allies perceive attempts 
to build an international boycott campaign against them as a strategic 
threat, precisely because it mobilizes a force that has largely been 
absent from the traditional theatre of struggle ­ the working classes 
in the West.

full: http://www.counterpunch.com/haddad05282005.html

J. D. --

With the AUT the Israeli Zionists have a pushover.  In 1972 some of us 
in Queen's University, Belfast tried to get a motion against 
internment without trial passed by the local branch.  We were 
defeated, to foot stamping etc.  That might have seemed a local orange 
triumph, but what followed was more sinister.  The Belfast branch 
successfully lobbied the "national" committee not only to withdraw its 
support for an AGM resolution in support of Angela Davis, but to 
suppress it -- on the grounds that discussion of it might embarrass 
Belfast AUT in its struggle against subversives.

The leopard did not change its spots.  In 1999 a crusading neo liberal 
Vice-Chancellor Bain "targeted" (in his own words), as not likely to 
produce sufficient research for a UK audit, over a hundred staff, of 
whom I was one -- specific predictions and recommendations came to him 
from heads of department!  -- and asked them peremptorily to leave. 
Years of intimidation and appalling stress had preceded this attempted 
illegality, and the cage rattling was too much for many staff, who 
left in misery.  The rest of us thought we really were going to get 
pushed out -- there was no academic tenure in the British system. (As 
a matter-of-fact I over fulfilled the research quota whereas dishonest 
fat academic cats who had tortured us failed spectacularly).

I did not even bother going to the AUT, whose afiliation to the TUC I 
had voted for in the Seventies. They never issued a public statement 
on the Vice-Chancellor's "plan". They never came to me although the 
list was public, but friends who sought help said the best they got 
was sympathetic handholding -- and encouragement to do more research 
(although funds were denied to the "targeted" -- a hoped-for 
self-fulfilling prediction).

James Daly

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