2012 in Review

Posted: January 15, 2013 in Site announcements
Tags: ,
2012 (film)

2012 (film) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Ok it’s that time again. I’m all in favour of transparency so had better walk the talk with a micro annual report.

Stats for the year just ended:

  • 46 new posts; half as many as in 2011
  • 106 new followers on WordPress and Twitter; almost exactly the same as last year
  • 7090 page views. This is almost double 2011’s 4078, however it’s mostly attributable to there being more content to attract search traffic. By my back-of-the-napkin math, the number of views-per-post was slightly less last year, at 64, than the previous year, at 68. To get that figure I’ve used the number of posts at mid-year as an average.

So it’s a slow old process building these numbers organically. There’s a great quote from the Canadian politician and businessman Martin Shulman who was asked, “What is the best way to make a million dollars?” He replied, “Start with $900,000”. I think the same can be said of web traffic! Anyway I’m not too worried about it. While the visits are gratifying, ultimately this is not a campaign website, I keep writing not to get more traffic but because writing publicly forces me to clarify my thinking on these issues. Hopefully it is getting more readable over time though.

The highlight of 2012 was the LabourStart Conference here in Sydney, which I was involved in. It was great to meet and speak with many people firsthand, including Yiyi Cheng from SACOM, Anita Gardner from IndustriALL and Eric Lee from LabourStart itself.

The biggest learning experience of the year related to the limitations of labour solidarity, in two ways connected with this conference:

Firstly, in the lead-up, LabourStart actively sought the participation of labour organisations that were affiliated with Global Union Federations (with exceptions, notably SACOM). I know for a fact that a number of more grassroots labour organisations wanted to participate but did not have the resources to attend. That’s unavoidable but the result is that the conference was skewed towards what you might call professional unionism. I’m not saying that’s a bad thing, just noting that there were many voices who weren’t heard. At least Asian Women at Work got a speaking spot. To be fair, LabourStart wanted to have a broad appeal but they had reason to be cautious about inflammatory speakers, after unhelpful elements tried to hijack their previous conference in Turkey.

(As an aside, if I was running LabourStart I’d be courting grassroots Asian labour activists wherever possible. Why cling to the ITUC? They are talking about establishing their own news network for affiliates, which would be a competitor to LabourStart in countries where the labour movement is well established … that’s my two cents anyway)

Secondly, and even closer to home, around the time of the conference I was approached by one group lobbying for international students in Australia (who are mostly Asian) for assistance in receiving correct pay. It was heartbreaking but I was not able to assist them in my day job at an Australian union, as it just didn’t fit with our organising model and would have been a distraction at best.

The lesson I’ve learned firsthand is that cross-border co-operation is easier said than done. Apologies to the Swedish metalworkers who I criticised earlier in the year for a similar missed opportunity, I’m sure they tried to make it work.

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