What's this blog about?

As a result of a combination of factors, culminating in the shameful UCU boycott-in-waiting of Israel, I've grown alienated & silenced, working here in one of the UK's finest universities all the while feeling like a Boycotted British Academic, alone in facing some dilemmas of the moment. In this generally chilling environment, it's hard to speak out and be heard, and hear others...and I find myself writing this blog.

What's it about? At present, it seems to me like a rather tortured articulation of the state of being silenced & mute, beyond words; struggling for the right even to use them, for a voice which can still be heard. When it started, all those successive boycott motions ago, I'd hoped it would function as a blog forum of support & solidarity amongst academics similarly-situated to BBA, to help us break through the boycott movement's silencing strategies. That hope remains notwithstanding this silence... Perhaps it lives in trying to articulate beyond the filter of these coping mechanisms of old (denial, avoidance, withdrawal); by way of this labour of finding the words, this voice...
[A forum of sorts has also arisen in the blog's comments, in which others have adopted the BBA moniker in case of need (e.g.
and here exposing the racist hate speech which masquerades as UCU solidarity activism).]

Tuesday, 18 September 2007

My Pathetic Protest: An Update

Sorry for going silent. A family member, who relies on me for care, was hospitalized & the stress, on top of trying to manage to work while under the shadow of the boycott, was too much for me.

I just wanted to let y'all know that I've heard NOTHING from UCU regarding my protest re withdrawing from the political fund (see post: A Reluctant New UCU Member) although I did eventually receive a very glossy membership pack from them. As an environmentista, I object to the pack & all the ridiculous waste of resources to communicate absolutely nothing which wasn't already available on the web (I joined on-line) - the membership card would have sufficed and perhaps less paper would also have meant giving less prominence to the boycott issue in the pack's materials (about which more, hopefully, in a forthcoming post).

The pack was especially galling coming without any acknowledgment of my act of protest.

Pathetic. Pathetic to be doing this; pathetic that even this small act is apparently being ignored & overlooked, just as the long & difficult letter I'd sent to UCU soon after the Bournemouth Congress at the end of May, was also apparently dismissed - I eventually received a generic reply which seemed to be addressed to a wide recipient-list (I understand that UCU was inundated with letters of protest) & barely touched on the points I'd raised, including the boycotting effect which motivates this blog.

I'm building up courage, and fighting to create some time & energy, to join up the DAN activist list suggested by someone in a previous post, and perhaps engage in more productive protest (although I hear it can make for a draining & depressing experience, hence the trepidation to join in). We'll see...more updates to follow & hopefully by then I'll know whether or not I'm actually contributing to the UCU's political fund (and therefore effectively funding the boycott campaign)!


Anonymous said...

When I replied to Sally Hunts email, I asked about the political levy, but - surprise, surprise - I didn't get a response. Got a letter from the UCU today about my subscription, perhaps I'd better investigate this!

Anonymous said...

here is my letter to the UCU:


My membership number is X.

I do no wish to pay the politcal fund element, can you please arrange for me pay the adjusted amount, and send me a letter confirming that this has been arranged.

Best regards

Boycotted British Academic said...

Thanks for sharing anonymous! Next time, please adopt a name, even if it's not your real name, so that I can know it's you. I'm assuming you posted twice on this thread: congrats for your letter to UCU. I imagine you won't receive a reply but here's to hoping. Obviously, if I hear anything on this front, I'll post more on here. Thanks for your comment & for visiting this forum/blog - it's good to know I'm not the only one grumbling about the political levy (pathetic as it is!)...

Boycotted British Academic said...

I'm obviously not going to do that promised post about the pack's materials, so just for the record: it contained the latest edition of the UCU magazine which featured the boycott in the main report back from Congress - it was the first item, as if it were the most important, and was given wider coverage than some key union issues, with a big picture of academics each with one nauseating arm raised to vote in favour of this shameful motion. Sally Hunt's editorial also centred on the boycott, and the position she articulates there has been shown to have been untenable given how things turned out (see my blog post of 4th Oct). There was also a big picture of SH accompanying the editorial, which made me feel bad as she looks sweet! But then I fast remembered that it's not I who should feel bad but the boycotters, for making her life a misery, and mine; and that of countless others, all over the world, distracting us from our endeavours (including working towards I/P just peace!) and making many of us face questions we never thought we'd ever have to face again. And they disgraced British academia.

I'll just note that NOTHING was said about Iraq in the whole pack, even though many consider this to be an illegal occupation, way more severe & bloody, and there’s much solidarity work to be done there too. Given the presence of OUR troops and our critical role in that war, it would seem to me that we ought to concentrate our solidarity work there & ensure that's been discharged before having the 'luxury' of focusing on other occupations, however much we may also be implicated in those (and we clearly are in I/P). Anyway, so much for academics speaking out about their occupations, eh?!

pliers1000@hotmail.com said...

This is anonymous - yes I did post twice. Sorry, I've not looked back at this post for a while - my apologies for the delay. You can email me at pliers1000@hotmail.com, I don't want to publish my academic address, as I get enough spam on that already! Anyway, after several prods I managed to get the political levy removed, but only after contacting my treasure. I'm annoyed that they couldn't even be bother to reply to me directly!

Boycotted British Academic said...

Thanks Pliers/Anon! I also didn't check back on this thread until now, to find your kind message. Great news about your 'victory' with UCU administration about the political levy. I think I too managed to get to this stage only the whole thing became moot once the boycott had been halted, so I didn't get to test their resolve in this regard. I rather got the impression it was all a bit too complicated for them to organize! Let's hope there won't be another time for this to be put to the test!

I'll write you an email now so that we can be in touch.

Thanks again for stopping by...