Posts Tagged ‘human rights’

Tibet Support Group Grampian was formed in 1993 and is affiliated to the national Free Tibet campaign (formerly Tibet Support Group UK), which had originally been founded in 1987. The group campaigns for a free Tibet with an end to China’s occupation and champions human rights issues. In addition the group promotes the culture of the region.

The Grampian group has close connections with the University of Aberdeen and in 1993 welcomed the Dalai Lama to Aberdeen when he was granted an Honorary Degree.

References: website

Sources: unknown.

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There is a long history of individuals squatting in order to highlight the plight of the homelessness in the UK. There had been squatting in Aberdeen for example just after World War Two.

Starting in the late 1960s a new movement started which quickly spread throughout the UK. There was direct action taken in Aberdeen in 1972/1973 when squatters occupied flats in Nelson Street and George Street. The group of individuals also issued a newsletter called ‘Squatters News’.

References: reports in University of Aberdeen student magazine Brown Elbow (1972/1973).

Sources: unknown.

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The United Troops Out Movement advertised in The Big Print in the late 1970s – early 1980s (although it is not clear whether this was just a contact point or if there was a formal active group in the city).

The national Troops Out Movement campaigned for the withdrawal of British soldiers from Northern Ireland. It was formed in 1973 and is still active today.

Related entries: Aberdeen University Troops Out Society.

References: advert in the Big Print, 1979/1980.

Sources: unknown.

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In the late 1960s there was a movement of community activism and a myriad of organisations were formed such as claimant unions, community workshops and tenants associations. The first claimant union was founded by students in Birmingham in early 1969. Soon, many other groups were formed throughout Britain, and a National Federation of Claimant Unions was established. The Federation Charter stated the aims: the right to adequate income without means test for all people, a free welfare state for all with its services controlled by the people who use it, no secrets and the right to full information and no distinction between so-called ‘deserving’ and ‘un-deserving’. The unions were designed to fill the gap of representation in the trade union movement and they called themselves ‘the Union of the poor’.

The group in Aberdeen was ran from Aberdeen Arts and Community Workshop in Powis Circle and formed by individuals who were receiving assistance and were concerned at the treatment they had received and witnessed. A meeting was therefore convened by leafletting outside the Employment Exchange and Social Security Offices. The role of the union was mainly to fight assistance claims on behalf of its members and to press forward on policy demands stemming from the experience of members.

The group was made up of people receiving Supplementary Benefit and relying on this means tested benefit. Membership was open to this group on benefits but also to unsupported mothers, the sick, the disabled, pensioners and those on low income. The group met at the Trades Union Council offices. They issued a broadsheet called ‘The Penny Rebel’ which was distributed in benefit offices.

Related entries: Aberdeen Unemployment Centre.

References: pamphlet (undated, c.1971) and The Penny Rebel, number 1, 19th February 1971.

Sources: pamphlet and a copy of The Penny Rebel held at the Scottish Radical Library/ACE archive in Edinburgh.

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The Scottish Minorities Group was a national homosexual campaign group founded in Glasgow in 1969. The group had an information centre in Edinburgh from 1975 and introduced Gay Switchboards into Edinburgh in 1972 and Glasgow in 1977. The organisation changed name in 1978 to become The Scottish Homosexual Rights Group and again in 1992 to, Outright Scotland. The organisation continued until around the mid-2000s.

There were members and meetings held in various parts of Scotland, including Aberdeen. The Aberdeen group were part of protests, which also involved the University Gay Society and the Aberdeen Libertarian Socialist Group, when a group of men were refused from being served drinks at the Scotia Bar in Aberdeen.

References: article in Solidarity: For Social Revolution (January 1978) and adverts placed in Gay News (sourced online).

Sources: papers of the national group are held at the National Archives of Scotland and also at the London School of Economics.

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Aberdeen Unemployment Association was one of a number of associations set up after a request from the national Trades Union Congress, which had the intention of countering the influence that was exercised by the Communist Party in another related organisation, The National Unemployed Workers’ Movement (NUWM). The Aberdeen Association was run under the auspices of the Aberdeen Trades & Labour Council (later known as the Aberdeen Trades Council) and was only one of two in Scotland. Although the associations across the country had been set up to counter the NUWM, in Aberdeen, both organisations worked together latterly.

Related entries: Aberdeen Trades Union Council.

References: see below. Also ‘Unity from below: the impact of the Spanish Civil War on Labour and the left in Aberdeen and Dundee 1936 – 1939’ (Malcolm Petrie, Labour History Review, 2014).

Sources: minutes from 1936 – 1941 are held as part of the Aberdeen Trades Union Council archives at the University of Aberdeen Library.

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Aberdeen Cuba Solidarity Campaign was established in 1993 with the support of the Aberdeen Trades Council and is part of the wider Scottish and British Solidarity Campaigns. It was established to provide practical assistance to the people of Cuba through campaigning, fund raising and cultural events.

References: Aberdeen Trades Union Council Annual Reports.

Sources: unknown.

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