Grasshoppers, stonkers and straight eights: on a fragment of Somerset working class history.
On Eric Lee, via Bob:
Eric Lee is standing for the Amnesty International UK Section Board. He has set up a new website to promote his campaign. His manifesto is here. If you are an AI member, please support him, not just because of the Gita Sahgal issue but also because he is a very good and experienced person who would make a good board member. If you haven’t heard of him, you may be familair with the excellent trade union site he created, LabourStart.
Eric Lee’s biography is fascinating [some hyperlinks added – P.]:
Born in New York City in 1955, Eric Lee has been active on the democratic Left for nearly forty years. Initially involved in the anti-Vietnam-war movement, he joined the Young People’s Socialist League, the youth section of the Socialist Party USA, in 1971. He chaired its second largest chapter (at Cornell University) until 1975 and was elected to serve on the organization’s National Executive Committee.
His first jobs were with the trade union movement — working with the United Federation of Teachers’ Youth Vote Project in 1972 and as an intern with the Textile Workers Union of America in 1974. In 1975, he went to work (briefly) for the YPSL, which was by then the youth section of Social Democrats USA. In late 1975, he joined the Democratic Socialist Organizing Committee, chaired by Michael Harrington, and a year later began work on its national staff.
He spent nearly all of 1976 living and working in Israel, on Kibbutz Beit Hashita, where he studied Hebrew and worked in the kibbutz’s olive factory and in its grapefruit orchard.
In 1977 he founded The New International Review, a quarterly journal of democratic socialist theory and analysis. It continued publishing until 1989.
A member of DSOC’s National Board representing its largest chapter (in New York City), he helped organize the opposition in 1980 to the merger between DSOC and New American Movement which resulted in the formation of Democratic Socialists of America.
While living in New York City, he worked for the Mayor’s Office of SRO Housing (1979) and, in 1980, Helsinki Watch (now, Human Rights Watch). He wrote for a wide range of publications including Democratic Left, In These Times and others.
In 1980, he spent 6 weeks living in Toronto where he worked on the successful election campaign of New Democrat Neil Young (no, not that Neil Young). He published several articles on Canadian politics for left publications in the US.
In 1981, he moved to Israel where he became a member of Kibbutz Ein Dor. There, he worked on the shop floor of its wire and cable factory Teldor, milked cows, cared for children, and learned to program computers.[…]
He lectured regularly on political issues at the Givat Haviva center, a kibbutz educational facility, and wrote for a wide range of newspapers and magazines in Hebrew and English, including Davar, Ha’aretz, and the Jerusalem Post. In 1987 he began writing regularly for the daily newspaper Al Hamishmar, covering foreign affairs. In 1990, he was elected a member of the Central Committee of the United Workers Party, Mapam.In 1991, he completed his first book, Saigon to Jerusalem: Conversations with Israel’s Vietnam Veterans, which was published in the United States. It was well-received by critics and sold 4 copies.
In 1993 he began work for the International Federation of Workers Education Associations as founding editor of its quarterly magazine, Workers Education, which was published in English, French and Spanish. Later that year, he published a special edition of the magazine devoted to computer communications and the labour movement.
During the mid 1990s he completed writing his second book, Mole: Stalin and the Okhrana, which despite a foreword from George F. Kennan and a contract from a US publisher, was not published. However, a portion of the book is available online. He intends eventually to find another publisher and bring the book to print.
In 1996, immediately following the election victory of Binyamin “Bibi” Netanyahu, he launched the highly popular (and controversial) BibiWATCH website.
Later that year his third book, The Labour Movement and the Internet: The New Internationalism, was published in Britain by Pluto Press.
In 1997 and again in 1998, he lead the annual “Internet Blackouts” to commemorate (and mourn) Netanyahu’s election victory.
In 1998, he began work in London as the ICT Co-ordinator for Labour and Society International, and launched the LabourStart website. That same year, “The Labour Movement and the Internet” was published in Korean.
In 2000, he ran as an independent labour candidate in the first (and last) elections to the ICANN Board. He placed 4th out of 54 candidates in what the winner called a “strong expression for organized labor”. As part of his campaign, he published his fourth book, The Internet Belongs to Everyone. The book was published in electronic format only — in PDF, HTML, Palm and Microsoft Reader versions.
Since then, he has travelled and written extensively, and has designed dozens of trade union websites in Britain and elsewhere.
In April 2005, Lee published his fifth book, How Internet Radio Can Change the World. The book was published using cutting-edge print-on-demand technology and is primarily being sold online.
For another view — “Lee is one of the most experienced and influential agents of the bourgeoisie in the world labor movement” — go here.