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Mac Urata Photography
My May Day thoughts
My May Day thoughts

Where were you and what were you doing on 1 May? I was in London and took part in the May Day march from Clerkenwell Green to Trafalgar Square. 1 May is an annual leave in the CBA that our office staff are covered with and one could be doing almost anything away from work. [...]

Until the bottom of the bucket falls
Until the bottom of the bucket falls

I met a worker in Charleston, South Carolina who had to drive her school bus with a temperature of 102°F. The management often refuses to take drivers off the roster when they are ill, claiming that no substitute is available. A few days later in Pensacola, Florida, another driver employed by the same company told [...]

One step forward, two steps back
One step forward, two steps back

In 2008, repression towards the May Day demonstrators in Istanbul was far too excessive. Riot police attacked protesters with batons and fired pepper spray and water cannon at them as they demanded reopening of Taksim Square. This historic site has been banned from labour events before, during and after the military coup of 1980. I [...]

Sunflowers in March
Sunflowers in March

The spring is around the corner in London. Snow drops and daffodils are blossoming. I saw them in Hyde Park today. However, I did not have the time to take those pictures. Instead, I followed the sunflowers. Those were the men and women who marched the streets of London in solidarity with the people in [...]

Snow in the Valley
Snow in the Valley

It snowed all over Britain yesterday. The first big fall of the season and more than 5cm in my area. There must have been many like me who decided to work from home. The weather forecast was accurate and reliable – we knew in advance that the evening rush-hour could be chaotic with heavier snow. [...]

My photography (2012 selection)
My photography (2012 selection)

I have an old friend from the junior high school days who is a professional photographer based in Denver.  It was more than five years ago but I once gained confidence towards my photography from his words of compliment. He saw my pictures from a protest action in London and said ” I had a [...]

Steve Edwards (1950 – 2012) A tribute
Steve Edwards (1950 - 2012) A tribute

The  ITF is greatly saddened by the tragic and unexpected departure of Steve Edwards. He passed away on 3 December 2012, aged 62, after a short illness. Steve has been based in Maryland, USA  for a decade, first working as an SEIU staff member and later becoming an advisor to the Teamsters Union on their [...]

The times are they a-changin’?
The times are they a-changin'?

It was almost twenty years ago that my Japanese union colleagues and I took out a visiting Chinese counterpart to a professional baseball game in Tokyo. She showed a great interest in the “ōendan”.  “Ōendan” is literally “cheering squad” or “cheering section” and Wikipedia explains it well. It is a Japanese sports rallying team similar [...]

When present turns into past
When present turns into past

This top photo is one of my best shots in 2012 so far. I took it in Kathmandu. As I walked the Durbar Square, I saw this group of local men. It was a showery afternoon and a day before the Janmashtami festival of 9 August. It looked like they were sitting there for hours [...]

Departures
Departures

Just before I made my opening remark at a meeting in Durban, I counted the number of countries that I have visited in the African continent since I started my work 12 years ago. It was seventeen. What I did not mention in my speech was the number of colleagues that I have lost in [...]

When your head and body connect
When your head and body connect

Sort out your head first to solve your body problem. That is my conclusion after successfully reducing 10kg in the past four months. Friedrich Engels once said “Images appear upside down, standing on their head, in the human eye as they pass through a convex lens. It is the nerve system that set them right [...]

Rules and regulations who needs them?
Rules and regulations who needs them?

The Chicago police is known for its aggressive clamp-downs on demos and protests. How will they react to our rally? That was the chat we had as a small group of us strolled to the Navy Pier on the Lake Michigan shoreline. John from the host union was taking his colleagues out for a morning [...]

Workers of the world, unite
Workers of the world, unite

400,000 people poured into the Taksim Square in central Istanbul for the May Day celebration. The top photo captures that massive gathering well. Unfortunately, however, I did not take that picture. I had no clue that you could access to the Taksim Hill Hotel which faces the Square but if I have another opportunity there, [...]

Sitting on the fence (not!)
Sitting on the fence (not!)

“Wow, things have really taken a step forward in Turkey”. This was the comment by my friend Jeff who saw my photos of May Day this year in Istanbul (see below). He and I were there in 2009 when a small number of unionists could enter the Taksim Square. It has been closed on May [...]

A personal decision
A personal decision

When I moved and settled in London from Japan, I soon became responsible for several committees of our federation. Since then, those who are closely involved in the operations would say to me “Are you happy with the outcomes of the meeting?” or “Congratulations. You got what you wanted in the conclusions.” First, I felt [...]

Here comes the sun
Here comes the sun

After walking in the woods on Saturday morning looking for bluebells, I spent the rest of the day and then the whole Sunday in oilseed fields. It proved to be very useful that I checked these locations in advance last week. I wasted no time. During the week, I was anxious to find out the [...]

Mapping out the yellow fields
Mapping out the yellow fields

It was raining just as the weather forecast predicted. After my “mapping” over the Easter weekend, however, I was strongly tempted to take out my car again and go for a drive. Yesterday, I failed to visit a location with oilseed rape because I went to a wrong parking lot. I had further thorough web-search [...]

Colours of April
Colours of April

It was a cloudy morning. I was not sure if I would go out for a walk again with my camera in this weather. You can’t expect much. Last night, I was web-searching for locations near my home where you can find fields of oilseed rape (Brassica napus). I want to add those sceneries of [...]

Books to read

Read the book review by Ingemar Lindberg on Global Restructuring, Labour and the challenges for Transnational Solidarity (Routhledge 2010)

Now published. The Rise and Fall of the Welfare State by Asbjørn Wahl from Pluto Press

Radical East London Walks
*Radical Jewish East End
*Anti-Fascist Footprints
*Spark of Rebellion in Bow and Mile End
For more details, click here
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