New Internationalist books and publications

Reviews

This book will be a wake up call to all who think we live in a democracy where all are equal before the law. These are big questions for the employers and the police, as well as Labour politicians and union leaders. - Ken Loach, film director.

The book on blacklisting by Phil Chamberlain and Dave Smith could turn out to be one of the most important of 2015. - Rob Evans, journalist for The Guardian, and author of Undercover.

I recommend people read this book. Just by picking up this book, just by reading it, you challenge what I believe to be a state and corporate spying culture that is out of control. - Mark Thomas, comedian.

[Blacklisted] provides the evidence that turned the 'blacklist' from a conspiracy theory into a conspiracy by the construction industry and the state against trade unions. Dave Smith and Phil Chamberlain's book is also the story of those who refused to be broken and isolated...the story of workers who fought back with the basic weapons of our movement: collective organisation and solidarity. - Neil Cafferky, Socialism Today.

This book demonstrates that the suppression of labour rights is an issue as important as it was in the days when union organisers were sent to the colonies. - Jeremy Hardy, comedian.

Dave Smith has been at the forefront of the campaign to expose the loathsome and illegal practice of blacklisting of employees for trade union and political activities for many years. His was a lonely voice at first but has now compelled Parliament and society at large to sit up, listen and condemn the unacceptable practice. This book should be required reading for anyone interested in how big business covertly subverts democracy and trade union rights. Please read it, discuss it and pass it on. - Tommy Sheridan, former member of the Scottish Parliament, and co-convenor of Solidarity.

Blacklisting destroyed the lives of many workers and their families over the years. It took courage and determination to stand up to it and expose its operation. This book makes a significant contribution to telling the truth of the blacklist. - John McDonnell, MP.

Read more reviews

This book lifts the lid on blacklisting and on the decades of denials, lies and deceit by construction employers like Carillion over the shameful treatment and damage to thousands of workers. After years of denial the companies finally admitted that they did it. However it is now time for the employers to give the victims proper justice and pay them the compensation they deserve. These employers must be made to pay the price for their outrageous behaviour towards their fellow citizens. The book also lifts the lid on the lieutenants who organized blacklisting daily for decades, and are still in senior positions in companies and the public sector across the land. They have not even shed crocodile tears for the victims they blacklisted. This book should be read by all activists who can play a vital role in holding the companies and their lieutenants accountable. GMB salute the campaign waged by Dave Smith and the Blacklist Support Group for justice. - Paul Kenny, GMB General Secretary.

Blacklisting workers because of their trade union activities is the archetypal breach of the fundamental human rights of freedom of association. It is no defence that this pernicious and clandestine activity has been conducted by employers for more that two hundred years. But for the Information Commissioner's raid in 2009, blacklisting in the construction industry would today still be conducted by the so-called Consulting Association. The suspicion must be that, aided by modern technology, blacklisting operates in many other industries and in many countries. This book lays bare the disgraceful history of blacklisting in the British construction industry and the appalling effect it had on the victims and their families. If ever a book made a case for basic trade union rights, this is it. - Professor Keith Ewing, and John Hendy QC.

One group that can in no way be accused of failing to respond strongly enough is the Blacklist Support Group ('BSG'), a self-organised rolling protest vehicle which has driven a noisy and inventive campaign in pursuance of an effective law against the practice, demanding fair compensation for victims, and calling out the lack of sanctions for those who participated. In his role as Chair of the BSG, and over the course of a three-year programme of academic enquiry at the University of Bristol, Dave Smith has stared hard into the gloomy world of blacklisting. In this important publication he drags its secrets back into the light. - Daniel Blackburn, MA, barrister, Director, the International Centre for Trade Union Rights, Editor, International Union Rights journal.

Smith and Chamberlain’s forensic investigation provides a searing indictment of the collusion between the state and the construction industry that saw thousands blacklisted. They reveal how objecting to deadly working conditions could get you thrown out of work for good. This masterful book demonstrates how only creative grassroots organising exposed the blacklisters and their cash-dispensing construction cronies. It also reveals this isn’t yesterday’s problem; this life-wrecking human rights scandal persists to this day. Be vigilant and get organised – the blacklisters could still be coming for you. - Rory O'Neill, editor Hazards magazine.

This powerful book shows that blacklisting is more than about union members in one industry but is a human rights scandal which affects us all. The evidence the authors have carefully compiled reveals how everyone from academics in Glasgow, to offshore oil rig workers, to builders in Edinburgh and even a disabled war veteran from Dundee were targeted. We wait to see whether new procurement guidance in Scotland will force the guilty to own up, apologise and pay up but we couldn’t have got this far we have without the diligence of the authors and campaigning work of the trade unions and the real heroes of this story those ordinary men and women in the Blacklist Support Group who refused to give up. Their determination and campaigning is an example to us all. - Neil Findlay, MSP for the Lothians.

The authors deserve our thanks for bringing this secret conspiracy into public focus. - The Justice Gap.

Dave Smith and Phil Chamberlain’s astonishing book Blacklisted combines investigative journalism with campaigning politics to reveal where such an absence will leave us. The bullying, harassment and spying on of workers who stand up for basic rights to organise. - Mark Perryman of Philosophy Football selects his reading for the 2015 General Election Campaign in Compassonline.

An explosive new book has revealed how information uncovered by police spying units was used by corporations to illegally blacklist thousands of UK union members. - Equal Times.

Blacklisted is a credit to the authors Dave Smith and Phil Chamberlain in the fact that it took six years to be published… a must for all trade unionists as a reminder of what we are up against. - Socialist Review.

Blacklisted tells the controversial story of the illegal strategies that transnational construction companies resorted to in their attempt to keep union activists away from their places of work. This is a story of a bitter struggle, in which collusion with the police and security services resulted in victimization, violence and unemployment, with terrible effects on families and communities.

Drawing on first-hand accounts of the workers, Blacklisted reveals how, when major construction projects were unionized, those involved were unlawfully victimized. From the building sites to the High Court, this is a story of ordinary working people taking on some of the most powerful transnational companies in the world.

With a full inquiry promised by the Labour party, the practice of blacklisting is set to become a hot topic in the May general election. The book also reveals how blacklisting extended beyond construction activists to environmental campaigners, journalists, politicians and academics. And it adds an international perspective with related stories from America and Europe.

Read the exclusive extracts that appeared in Saturday The Guardian, 28th February 2015: On the blacklisted: how did the UK’s top building firms get secret information on their workers?

Blacklisted has been shortlisted for the Bread and Roses Award for Radical Publishing 2016.

About the Authors

Dave Smith is a blacklisted union activist from the construction industry, and an award-winning campaigner on human rights, health and safety, anti-fascism and employment rights issues. He currently works as a trade union education tutor.

Phil Chamberlain is an experienced investigative journalist who has written for the Guardian, Observer and the Independent amongst others. He is also a senior lecturer in journalism at the University of the West of England, Bristol.

Past Events

ISBN-13: 978-1-78026-257-4
Dimensions: 216mm x 138mm
Format: Paperback
Page extent: 320
Publication date: March 2015

Date added: December 17, 2014

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  1. #1 Dr Jack Fawbert 18 Dec 14

    This book promises to blow wide open the spurious notion that we live in a democracy and I urge everyone to pre-order a copy.

  2. #2 Kenny Newton 19 Dec 14

    Well done Dave & Phil, as some one whose name appears on the TCA. Like many of those on the data base I would like to see the exposure of those names that have blacklisted 1000s of workers.
    Unfortunately there must be in all employment sectors 1000s upon 1000s know or unknowingly who have been blacklisted & victimised who do not appear on blacklists.
    Lets hope that the outcome of the on going court case sends shock waves to the employing class. And a future government brings about legislation so severe that no employer of labour would dare to fall foul of such legislation.
    All the best to those who have at the for front of the BSG.

  3. #3 steve kelly 20 Jan 15

    The story as told by the people blacklisting has effected is finally going to print ! An essential read well done to Dave Smith and Phil Chamberlain

  4. #4 Dave Smith 02 Feb 15

    Many thanks Jack, Kenny & Steve

    It's taken a long time to finally get the story into the public domain. We think it is an honest piece of investigative journalism and gives a voice to all those blacklisted workers who have suffered over the years

    Hope people enjoy it.

  5. #5 Jimmichoo 16 Mar 15

    This book is clearly written by an academic with absolutely zero knowledge of business and the problems that the companies face every day. Very one sided I'm afraid. There's no smoke without fire comes to mind!

  6. #6 Bizzielizzie 16 Mar 15

    Very disappointed. Was expecting a complete overview of the subject but just got more of the same. Nothing new!

  7. #7 George Smith 01 May 15

    Read the book and it sure did open my eyes to what went on. It is a must read to open peoples eyes to this dreadful practice or these big companies.

  8. #8 tom butler 03 Jun 15

    hello I would like to help in any way with regards to blacklisting especially in Scotland also how do I join gmb union and how much is book about blacklisting?

  9. #9 Robert 30 Jun 15

    Hi!

    This newly published review is likely to be of interest...

    Blacklisted

    Blacklisted: The Secret War Between Big Business and Union Activists. By Dave Smith and Phil Chamberlain. New Internationalist Publications Ltd, 2015, £9.99.

    This is about the industrial, mostly building construction, struggles between workers and the bosses, and their use of spies to inform on union representatives, thus resulting in their victimisation and unemployment.

    It is a story of bitter class conflicts in which the employers were, and are, supported by the police special branches and MI5. Hundreds of building workers, and others, have been blacklisted just for highlighting dangerous conditions on building sites.

    Some of the worst companies, listed by the authors, victimising union members, all in the interest of maximising profits, include the Kier Group, Balfour Beatty, Tarmac, Taylor Woodrow and probably the most notorious of them all, Sir Robert McAlpine, largely responsible for using, and encouraging, such spy outfits as the former Economic League and The Consulting Association (TCA).

    The strength of this book lies in exposing the largely secret war of the bosses; the weakness, however, is the demand by the authors for a public enquiry. And all the TUC demands is that the employers compensate the blacklisted and victimised workers under the rubric |: ‘Own Up! Clean Up! Pay Up!’.
    Nowhere is it suggested that the workers should abolish the system of wage slavery, and the profit motive altogether, which gave rise and gives rise to the blacklisting and victimising in the first place. More’s the pity.
    PEN
    http://bit.ly/1RRJv16

    Needless to say, agreement is not expected and feedback welcomed.

    Yours for a world of free access,

    Robert Stafford
    Internet Committee
    http://www.worldsocialism.org/spgb

  10. #10 Robert 14 Jul 15

    I fear my original e-mail (or your reply) is lost in cyberspace...


    Sent: Wednesday, July 1, 2015 3:44 AM
    Subject: Review


    Blacklisted

    Blacklisted: The Secret War Between Big Business and Union Activists. By Dave Smith and Phil Chamberlain. New Internationalist Publications Ltd, 2015, £9.99.

    This is about the industrial, mostly building construction, struggles between workers and the bosses, and their use of spies to inform on union representatives, thus resulting in their victimisation and unemployment.

    It is a story of bitter class conflicts in which the employers were, and are, supported by the police special branches and MI5. Hundreds of building workers, and others, have been blacklisted just for highlighting dangerous conditions on building sites.

    Some of the worst companies, listed by the authors, victimising union members, all in the interest of maximising profits, include the Kier Group, Balfour Beatty, Tarmac, Taylor Woodrow and probably the most notorious of them all, Sir Robert McAlpine, largely responsible for using, and encouraging, such spy outfits as the former Economic League and The Consulting Association (TCA).

    The strength of this book lies in exposing the largely secret war of the bosses; the weakness, however, is the demand by the authors for a public enquiry. And all the TUC demands is that the employers compensate the blacklisted and victimised workers under the rubric |: ‘Own Up! Clean Up! Pay Up!’.
    Nowhere is it suggested that the workers should abolish the system of wage slavery, and the profit motive altogether, which gave rise and gives rise to the blacklisting and victimising in the first place. More’s the pity.
    PEN
    http://bit.ly/1RRJv16

    Needless to say, agreement is not expected and feedback welcomed.

    Yours for a world of free access,

    Robert Stafford
    Internet Committee
    http://www.worldsocialism.org/spgb

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