A river that needs crossing political and tech blogs - On the political side, there is arrogance and ignorance, on the geek side there is naivety and over- complexity

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Entries with tag nujdm .

A personal perspective of trade union organising - the NUJ DM


Some feeling about my personal experience of old school democratic trade unionism.

Friday Night

Had an interesting, disquieting conversation tonight at a social event after the work of the NUJ delegate meeting. I had been visiting the delegate meeting room every so often to dip in to try and engage with the process, and each time I had failed, due to bad sound, complex and obscure timing, and the opaque and ritualistic language used. Being me I looked around for a space were I could help out and found the students making media about the event – joined in there and worked with different students to make and distribute 6 video reports that day.

Back to the conversation in the bar, the overly serious youthfull man I was talking to, seemed surprised and a bit disapproving of my action. His convincing argument was that I had been mandated and “paid” to participate in the DM process, travel, accommodation and food being covered by the union. Its a strange feeling for a horizontal like me am I obliged to do work through this process?

Am more interested if the traditional union is flexible enough to work with a diversity of strategy as the current one is simply inappropriate for many people’s view of a contemporary union. As I see it my “work” at the DM is to see if I can work in this space and perhaps more importantly can this space work with me and people like me. The old problematic divide between the horizontal and the virticalist, think, the NUJ might be one of the few union's that has wiggle space, we will see.


I'try again to engage with what am now appreciating is "power politics" the ritualistic fight for notice, resources and power. After a nights sleep, understanding, of my own aversion, and the democratic nature of this anti-consensuses process. Today it is the funding debate, get up early to be there on time, lets try and make it work as good to respect the attempt.

Going better, helps to talk to my fellow delegate sitting next to me. Much of the noise has the flavourer of sectarian infighting. By asking members you CAN find your way around the process. But its a Q. of motivation to engage and stay engaged. Is this the best we can do as the left?

Life at London new media and independent broadcasting (NUJ)

Reflections on looking around the room at the 2012 NUJ DM conference - The union is by far the most democratic I have found, but this democracy is embedded in a deeply ingrained bureaucratic tradition. The is the establishment who have to keep the day to day of the union, there largely invisible agenda is hidden by the need to keep the whole thing running. Then the are a group pushing an agenda that is clearly rejected by the majority of the union that takes up a lot of time, they then feel victimised and build conspiracy around what seams to be mostly inefficiency. If they were building “transparency” I would support them much more actively if they were constructing... The problem is that they criticizes and add bureaucracy to a already over bureaucratic union.

The outcome of all this is much smoke and noise with little accountability, so as a newcomer you are put in the uncomfortable position of largely supporting the powers that be. And the root needs for change and renewal are lost from the conversation and decisions of the union. 

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