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).]

Thursday, 20 December 2007

Update on the Bigot's Playground

I checked the UCU List again at some point after the last posting on the subject. Eight messages had, by that stage, been posted on there since I'd last stopped by, half of which - no less! - were castigating Israel for something or other. We're regaled with the greatest of detail, you understand, when it comes to Jewish wrong-doing - however obscure, you might think, since not even Britain's wrong-doing is accorded this degree of scrutiny, especially not its occupations (plural); and however obviously irrelevant to the core business of UCU. Obvious & malignantly obsessive, that is, to every one other than the boycotters who have made the List their own little bigot's playground for acting out their various messed-up issues.

I find the List is so horrendous & frightening each time I take a look that I need a while to build up resistance to log on again; so I've ended up doing it every three days or so, to keep things as healthy as can be expected in the circumstances.

So toxic is this forum that I quickly stopped allowing these messages to pollute my inbox in real time. I 'graduated' onto the daily option, so that an indecipherable digest would, day in, day out, keep me abreast of what passes for union activism & international solidarity in Boycotting Britannia. When even that was too much, I switched to the weekly option; and now, dear reader, I do it in my own time, when I can face it!

Pretty infrequently, as I said. But last time, when I found those eight new messages, four of which were bashing Israel, that was the last straw and I resolved not to check back again. Effectively, I became unwilling to be an active member of UCU if this is what it takes. Since then, I've been pondering with renewed vigour those perennial questions about my membership in UCU and I've been on the verge of resigning. Nothing out of the ordinary there then!

Today, however, I was catching up over at Harry's Place and the name of one of the List's boycotters-extraordinaire came up so I braved it and logged on, to see what's up. Sure enough: the first two messages I came across concerned - you guessed it - Jewish wrong-doing again (from him, of course). I couldn't be bothered to read the rest - I mean, what's the point?

It's beyond clear that the List has been colonized by boycotters acting out their identity issues & prejudices and every one else is apparently so put off by the spectacle that they are giving the List a very wide berth, just like this BBA was trying to do! In short, the List has been rendered redundant thanks to its having been trifled with by these boycotters and the use they make of it for the purposes of demarcating the boundaries of their sickness.

That being said, despite all this, I still find myself self-berating for having found no better way than this to react to these bullies. I totally agree with one of the valiant anti-boycotters on there, the same heroic academic I quoted in the last post, when he says:

as a Unionist, I cannot and will not abrogate my responsibility to challenge all the spectre of antisemitism wherever it appears, including and especially, in the midst of my own Union

This was in response to the exasperated cry voiced by one amidst what I hope is the silenced multitude of UCU members aghast at the List having been corrupted to serve the boycotters' identity crises & prejudices. At regular intervals, some voice of reason tries to intervene to suggest a separate list be created just for the pleasure of the bully-boycotting-babies wanting to throw their toys out of the pram (invariably when an anti-boycotter rightly raises the issue of antisemitism) so that the rest of the union can get on with its core business.

The expert on antisemitism is right, of course, to flag the important union business which this shameful run of events brings up: if the union is to stand for anything given how bad things have become here in Boycotting Britannia, surely it's to take a firm stand against racism and not allow itself to be overtaken in the waging of the racist campaign which is this bonkers boycott. A campaign which apparently seems to have survived the anti-discrimination & human rights laws which halted the official boycott, existing now in the on-tap outlet which UCU gives for what is effectively bigoted propaganda targeting the familiar scapegoat - since virtually no other wrong-doing gets posted on there, including Britain's own! - sent out courtesy of UCU HQ to a group of academics whose opinions percolate, as they do, through to the rest of society. Judging by what wrong-doing is publicized in this list, it's the familiar target which gets ascribed as the font & essence of all evil. Like I say, pure racist propaganda and this, from a union which prides itself for its anti-racism!


ModernityBlog said...

Please stay in the Union, keep an eye on that List, but detachment is the key

imagine that you are studying a far right message board, with semiliterate, inarticulate skinheads posting, in that case you wouldn't connect to them, you might study them like unusual cockroaches in the night, detached and without empathy

that's the way to remain sane when reading antisemitic filth

good luck,

MB :)

Boycotted British Academic said...

Hi MB,

Thanks - much appreciated! But then there's the challenge of getting detachment from the idea that the far right skinheads work down the corridor from me, sit having lunch across the table from me at the SCR etc!

You're right about having to stay in the union. Thanks for reminding me why I ought to endure this.

Be well,