Party Notes

13th October 2014

Politics in turmoil, Ukip and strikes

BRITISH POLITICS is on a knife-edge. We have seen the rise of Ukip and the panicked calls from the major parties for more racist clampdowns on immigrants. This is a serious challenge.

At the same time today across much of England we saw fantastic NHS picket lines where the healthworkers’ strike focused anger at the Tories and austerity. What a difference a bit of struggle makes! For a round up go to

Reports are still coming in, but look at Manchester, where comrades sold 73 papers. “Pickets at Manchester Royal Infirmary were big today. Some 200 - 300 people protested, with pickets at all 28 entrances. They were joined by banners from Manchester TUC and Unison GMPTE, plus delegations from other workplaces.

“We got £20 appeal donation from someone we took along, got three people who gave their details to join the SWP, and seven names for UtR conference to follow up. We signed one person up for UtR conference.

“About 30 pickets at Salford Hospital. We sold three papers and got seven people signed up for coach to TUC demo, as well as three names for UtR.

“At Bolton hospital, they ran out of 400 bacon rolls. One comrade sold 25 papers.”

And in Scotland the political ferment continues with the debate centred mainly not on Ukip but on whether the SNP or a left alternative is needed to supplant Labour.

At the weekend some 10,000 people came to a rally initiated by Tommy Sheridan, we sold 486 SWs and recruited four people.

The three party British political set-up is cracking apart. The ensuing turmoil can be dragged leftwards or rightwards.

The greater the resistance in the streets and the workplaces, the greater the chance of blocking austerity, and the stronger the chance for a fightback against racism and scapegoating.

This is why the decision to shelve strikes in local government and on the London Underground last week not only set back the fight against austerity but also removed one of the crucial elements that can overcome division.

There is deep anger against the politicians and the longest fall in living standards since records began (see And today the headlines read “FTSE100 directors' earnings soar 21 percent amid longest squeeze on staff pay”!

We need everyone out on the demonstrations called by the TUC and STUC on Saturday to carry the message that we need more struggle, we need to combat Ukip, we need a much more united left—and we need a socialist alternative..

Saturday 18 October: TUC’s Britain needs a pay rise demo, London, 11am, Embankment and

STUC’s A Just Scotland: decent work, dignified lives, Glasgow Green 10am.

A Socialist Worker leaflet for use on the day will be out on Thursday. We need to make sure that we have comrades on all local transport and that we are pushing really hard to get people signed up for the Unite the Resistance conference on Saturday 15 November. For the latest list of transport go to


Combating Ukip

As our press release last week said, “There could not be a starker example of the state of British politics—or a more urgent wake-up call for the left and trade unions.

“The grinding assault on living standards and the immense gulf between the traditional parties and voters has created the conditions for new forces to emerge. In Scotland during the referendum campaign the space was filled by an exciting and vibrant social movement that stressed social change and improvements in people's lives.

“In England the major parties' demonisation of immigrants and the utter failure of Labour to offer a fighting alternative to the Tories has enabled Ukip to pose as an opponent of the Westminster elite and the friend of the working class….

“We will work with others in Stand Up to Ukip to combat Ukip's racist lies and toxic policies. But we also need an alternative to Labour that offers hope to those who are suffering from the government's attacks and who see nothing from Ed Miliband that will seriously change things for the better.

“We must confront Ukip's racism, not follow it. The main parties have created the conditions for Ukip to prosper. If they now go further down the road of attacking immigrants then Ukip will grow again. And the left outside the Labour Party has to get its act together. It is too fragmented, and too divided. We need to work towards greater unity in time for the general election and the council elections in 2015.

"We need more action from the trade unions to defend jobs, improve pay and reverse the decline in living standards. We should join the marches on 18 October called by the TUC and the STUC.

“But they but must be followed by sustained strikes to unite workers in a battle to improve their lives, give hope and push back the racists."

A concrete example of how we can combine class issues and having a go at Ukip comes from Chesterfield where a comrade reports. “On Saturday morning we turned up to our usual spot in town only to find Ukip had set up a stall there.

“After telling them they were on our pitch, which we use 52 weeks of the year, we set up next to them. By now there were nine comrades ready for the sale and we went for it.

“For 2 hours solid, Jane and James took turns on the loud hailer inviting people to sign our petition in support of the NHS strikers and also to have a go at Ukip.

“People flocked to our stall, and in response Ukip ended up saying 'we will not privatise the NHS' which we said were lies.

“We had a great response, selling 32 copies of the Socialist Worker and collecting £70.00 for the NHS strikers’ breakfast. And we well and truly pissed UKIP off.”

Stand Up to Ukip produced a statement about the reason’s behind Ukip’s advance and is organising to build SUTU and for future by-elections and the general election. SUTU will hold a national activist meeting next month. It is particularly aimed at those in UKIP target seats during the general election, and for those who currently have a big UKIP presence in their area. Save the date: Sunday 9 November, Central London. For full details go to

The new Socialist Worker pamphlet Ukip: the ugly face of politics has proved very popular. Order some for your branch now. An order form is attached. You can ring the national office on 020 7819 1170 to order. If you order before 12 noon on Tuesday you will receive them with this week’s SWs

After the NHS action, local gvt and UTR

After NHS action…what’s on and what’s not

Hundreds of thousands of local government workers were set to strike tomorrow, until action was suspended by all three unions, Unison, Unite and the GMB.

The strike has been suspended for little more than a re-packaging of the 1 percent offer that the unions initially rejected. There is a great of deal of anger from activists across the unions at the decision.

A campaign is developing inside Unison to campaign for a rejection of the “proposal” from local government employers. The Manchester Unison branch will discuss a motion today arguing for a campaign across the union to reject. Every branch should back this or similar motions.

A statement has been launched by Tower Hamlets Unison. We should be getting as many Unison members as possible to sign.

UCU members in FE colleges strike Tuesday 14 October: We have just heard that this strike has been cancelled due to a legal challenge (grrr). A SW leaflet will be sent out as soon as possible.

PCS members in civil service strike Wednesday 15 October: On Wednesday tens of thousands of civil service workers will strike against the 1 percent “pay cut” offered by the government. This means that there will be picket lines at government ministries, museums, job centres, MoD sites, law courts, magistrates’ courts etc. A Socialist Worker leaflet for the strike will be out tomorrow lunchtime.

• Photo op from 11.30am - 12.00 noon, Wednesday 15 October, assemble at Old Palace Yard (opposite Parliament) from 11.30am

Unite the Resistance conference, Saturday 15 November

The strikes by health workers, college lecturers and civil service workers and the retreat over local government pay action shows just why the Unite the Resistance conference is so important. There are thousands of workers who want to see a consistent fight against the Tories, who don’t want to wait for Labour, who want to build solidarity for workers in struggle and who want to oppose division and scapegoating of migrants. We want as many of them at the conference as possible.

The need to build networks that can push the unions to fight couldn’t be clearer after last weeks decision by Unison, Unite and the GMB to suspend strike action. We’ve got a duty to try to pull the fighting elements together.

On every picket line we should be getting names and emails for Unite the Resistance and pushing hard to get people signed up for the conference.

• You can register online at

• Download conference flyer at

• Download the model motion at

Scotland—the left must seize the time

Over 250 people came to Marxism in Scotland on Saturday and there were some excellent debates and a high level of politics. Ten people, joined the SWP. The next day we were very involved in the Hope Over Fear event in Glasgow which involved around 10,000 people. We sold 486 SWs and recruited four people.

There are crucial debates on the left taking pace. We will continue to push for a united left which leaves behind the divisions of the past.

Freshers’ fairs SWSS meetings and after . . .

Last week saw the last few freshers’ fairs take place. At Oxford University, comrades booked a stall inside the fair and involved local branch members. As a result 255 left their details for SWSS.

Following on from our success at freshers’ fairs, every branch needs a plan for regular student work. At the very least there should be a weekly campaign stall where we sell SW and also lots of postering round the Uni and student area.

In addition, think how students can be involved in everything we are doing. For example, this week each area should be building for the TUC demo “Britain needs a pay rise” on campus. This is backed by NUS.

Or think about how to get STWC activities happening on campus where students can come together, petition and leaflet against the war on Iraq.

Every area needs to combine mass publicity with attention to detail. Posters attract people and help build a big meeting. It is worth going round every day and postering all round the campus. But each area needs to make sure that every student contact is followed up.

Regular emails and texts should be sent but crucially ring those that left their number. Meet up with students who want to. Get them involved doing things on campus from the postering to STWC leafleting, from banner making for a demo to a SWSS campaign stall.

SWSS meetings – at the heart of building on campus

where we have student members we should be aiming to have weekly SWSS meetings.

There is a real audience for ideas and a desire for discussion on campus. Over 30 students came to the third meeting of the term at Sussex University on “What is the socialist alternative?” while 24 students came to the third Manchester SWSS meeting on the same topic. 32 came to a meeting on Iraq at Kingston University and 26 to a meeting at Glasgow Uni on Palestine.

In addition Caledonian University in Glasgow had their own meeting on Palestine to which 19 students came along. In places where we have SWSS groups and are holding larger meetings aim to have an organizing meeting earlier on in the week so that students can come and be involved in discussions about building on campus and be part of the organization too.

Where we are building from the outside think about how meetings can be set up that will attract students. Newcastle held their first SWSS meeting in a room in a teashop near the Uni campus. It was so successful they followed up the next week with another meeting that students came to. In York they have booked a room on campus but are having meetings every other week. Similarly at BCU in Birmingham comrades are organising meetings every other week.

• At every SWSS meeting, big or small, get the chair to take questions first. It is great that comrades are involved helping build on campus but it is a good idea to let students speak first and then come in with shorter points as the meeting gets going.

National Student Demo for Education: Wed 19th Nov

This has been backed by NUS and there is publicity available.

FE Colleges: Don’t forget your local FE and Sixth Form. In particular, any area that does not have a university like Hackney, Waltham Forest, Chesterfield and Barnsley should be doing a weekly stall at their local college. This week take down the petition on UKIP, with our stickers, materials and pamphlet. SW is great to take with all the coverage it has on Iraq and Syria. We had a good start to the year at colleges but want to maintain a regular presence.

Please let us know how it is going in your area and if you need any more student materials.

SWP student and new members event: Sat 29 Nov, Central London

Understanding Marxism

There will be a special day event on Saturday 29 November for all new members, student members and those who have joined SWSS.

This will be a place for newer members and those around us to come and found out more about our politics and Marxist ideas.

We want to encourage as many people to come as possible and for branches to use it as a place to bring any new students that are coming round them.

Where possible please do not have book District Aggregates for this date. Tickets are £10 waged/£5 unwaged/students.

We would like to encourage districts to book up and pay for cheap transport to this event. But where necessary we will refund transport costs. We don’t want lack of money to stop people coming.

Every branch should make a list of new members and students (including those who have joined SWSS) who we can start to ask. Please ring 020 7819 1170 or 020 7819 1178 for details and to book.

Sessions will include:

• Why Marxism?

• Iraq, Gaza, Ukraine: What causes wars?

Marxism and imperialism

• Sexism, racism and homophobia

How can Marxism explain oppression?

• Where does profit come from?

An introduction to Marxist economics

• Russia: From workers power to state capitalism

Understanding the Russian revolution

• What do Marxists mean by class?

Why the working class?

• Ukip, Islamophobia and the far right

Fighting racism and fascism today

• The Labour Party, the Trade Unions and reformism

How does change happen?

• Why we need a revolutionary party

Stop the bombing of Iraq

For the background to the crisis in Iraq go to which is Alex Callinicos’s The multiple crises of imperialism from the forthcoming Journal.

The British and US government have confirmed they have “trainer” troops in Iraq. We have a job of education, analysis and persuasion around the war—although changes on the ground in Iraq can shift the atmosphere quickly. There is a growing realisation that air strikes won’t stop Islamic State and this may lead to further calls for ground troops. We have to work with others in STW to discuss activities such as stalls and activists’ meetings that can lead to a public meeting to discuss the bombing and how we can stop it.

Middle East in Crisis: Why bombs are not the solution with Anne Alexander, Monday 13 October 7.30pm

Rumi's Cave, 26 Willesden Lane

London NW6 7ST

Iraq: How to stop the spread of war

Tuesday 21 October 7-9pm, Scott Room - Oxford House

Derbyshire Street, London E2 6HG

One Hundred Years of War conference –

Saturday 25 October 12pm - 5pm

Bishopsgate Institute, London

York First World War Day-school: the Anti-war Perspective Saturday 1st November 10.00-4.45pm

Sessions on causes, strikes, revolution, women, conscientious objectors, Middle East, Ireland, war poets and trench songs. Speakers include Lindsey German and Donny Gluckstein. Tickets available from Organised by York Against the War

Hong Kong, back the protests

With the resurgence of protest in Hong Kong, please sign and circulate this petition which has won wide support in the trade union movement including signatures from Christine Blower General Secretary—National Union of Teachers, Kevin Courtney—Deputy General Secretary National Union of Teachers, Mohammad Taj—member of the Executive Council of Unite The Union, Betty Joseph—NUT National Exec, Anne Lemon—NUT National Exec

New International Socialism out. Order now.

The autumn issue of International Socialism (144) is due out in print and online towards the end of this week. The journal includes analysis by Keir McKechnie of the Scottish referendum and articles on South Africa, Ukraine, climate change, Lise Vogel and women’s liberation and the current debates around Lenin’s legacy. Plus book reviews and feedback. Alex Callinicos’s analysis article discusses the multiple crises facing the imperialist system today and is already available online here:

To order copies of the journal for your branch fill in and return the attached form or call Camilla on 0207 819 1177.

Student groups should also take copies to sell at SWSS meetings and on stalls and use the journal to arm new student members with the arguments.

Russell Brand, revolution and a cinema near you!

Russell Brand on Revolution… at a cinema near you!

Over 200 cinemas around Britain are scheduled to show a live link up with Russell Brand discussing his new book Revolution with Owen Jones on Thursday 23 October. Most screenings are due to start at 7pm.

The Guardian has a list of the cinemas screening the event:

These are likely to be well attended. Brand argues “We are living in a sequin-encrusted virtual prison where an economic elite can hog along in plump luxury – destroying the planet as they go. We must stop this. Our initial targets are corporate tax evaders, environmental desecraters and perpetrators of the drug war against the sick and poor. The biggest obstacle to Revolution is your belief that it's impossible. So start believing…”

We should do SW stalls outside as many as possible. As well as SW, Socialist Review and the ISJ we should also have copies of Arguments for Revolution on sale—available from Bookmarks on 020 637 1848.

Why not hold a branch meeting the following week on ‘Is revolution possible in Britain?’ and leaflet local screenings? Artwork for a meeting is attached.

Still the Enemy Within film

Still the Enemy Within is having a huge impact with big audiences and intense debate.

In Brynmawr 200 ex-miners, families and supporters staged a march to a cinema to see the Welsh premiere.

In Stratford, east London’s showing, comrades sold 16 SWs and recruited a person to the party.

The film is a major event and an opportunity to engage with people about the strike, sell SW and make new contacts. Copies of the pamphlet 1984, the miners’ and the strike that could have won are available from Bookmarks. Phone 020 7637 1848. In addition we still have copies of the SW special on the miners’ strike. Phone circulation to have some copies sent on 020 7819 1171. Make sure you are at your local showing including:

THE BARBICAN, LONDON, 14TH OCTOBER @ 6.30PM The Barbican Cinema, The Barbican Centre, London


Three extra screenings added due to popular demand

MON 13TH/TUES 14TH/WED 15TH OCTOBER @2.15PM The Market hall Brynmawr

CHAPTER ARTS CINEMA, CARDIFF, 14TH OCTOBER @ 6.00PM, Chaper Arts Cinema Cardiff

BRADFORD MEDIA MUSEUM, 15TH OCT@ 5.30pm The Bradford Media Museum

SHORTWAVE CINEMA, LONDON, 16TH OCTOBER@8.30 The Shortwave Cinema, South Bermondsey, London


16TH OCTOBER @ 6.00pm The Ultimate Picture Palace, Oxford


19TH OCTOBER@ 3PM Cambridge Arts Pirturehouse


20TH OCTOBER@ 6.15pm Komedia Cinema Brighton


21ST October@7.30pm The Cube Cinema, Bristol


22ND OCTOBER @6.00PM, The Tyneside Cinema, Newcastle


23RD OCTOBER@ 8.30PM FACT Arts venue and Cinema Liverpool


24TH OCTOBER@ 7PM The Moston Small Cinema, Miners Community Arts and Music Centre, Manchester


25TH OCTOBER@7.30pm, The Assembly Room, Barnsley

Special event sponsored by Barnsley Trades Council in partnership with 'Experience Barnsley'


26TH OCTOBER @ 4.00PM The Hyde Park Picture House


27TH OCTOBER @6.15PM City Screen, York Picturehouse


28TH OCTOBER@ 7PM The Lochgelly Lecture Theatre, Bank Street, Fife

Full details and to book at

Care UK

The Care UK strikers in Doncaster will end their current three week strike next Monday, 20 October.

Find out the latest from their Facebook page:

An updated collection sheet is available here:

Rush messages of support/ Invite speakers from the dispute:

Cheques can be made payable to: “Doncaster, District & Bassetlaw Health Branch” and sent to:

Jenkinson House, White Rose Way, Doncaster, DN4 5GJ

Your Choice Barnet: Barnet Unison has initiated an important meeting in parliament on ‘The Crisis in social care’ at 6pm on Tuesday 21 October. A video advert is available here: It is a joint meeting with the Care UK strikers.

SW appeal—over £40,000

The appeal has now raised £43,150. Thanks to everyone who has donated so far.

With the strikes this week and the demonstrations on Saturday, now is a good time to start collecting for the Socialist Worker Appeal at workplaces.

The paper has consistently been on the side of those fighting to defend jobs, pay, pensions and the NHS. We have argued for solidarity on picket lines and collections where strikes have been called, and we have given a voice to the anger of union members when their leaders have called off action.

We have also been consistent in opposing the racist lies of Ukip and others who seek to divide our class. Many workers see our paper on demonstrations and where we sell both inside and outside workplaces and have a lot of respect for it, even if they don’t agree with everything we say.

Use the attached collection sheet over the next few weeks, but especially on the coaches to Saturday’s demonstrations.

You may also see comrades on the demonstrations that you have not yet had the chance to talk to – make sure you explain to them why we are asking for two days pay from each comrade and have the leaflets with you to collect payment. Let the Appeal office know of any successes you have.

Don’t forget to also raise the model motion for union branches to donate to the appeal.

You can donate through the website, in the office on 0207 819 1190, or by post to PO Box 42184, London SW8 2WD.

Palestine pamphlet and badge

New pamphlet - Palestine: Resistance, Revolution and the Struggle for Freedom by Anne Alexander, Phil Marfleet, John Rose and Tom Hickey, £3 out this weekend.

The events in Gaza this summer prompted the biggest demonstrations we've seen in this country in solidarity with the Palestinians. Some of our leading comrades on the Palestine issue have put together this new pamphlet, detailing the history of the struggle for freedom, as well as giving concrete ideas on how to campaign on campuses and in trade unions.

Think about all the new people who have been involved in the protests and meetings and make sure you go back to them with the pamphlet.

Order your copies now via the National Office and pick them up on the TUC demo this Saturday or at National Committee on Sunday. £3 each, 10 for £20 or 20 for £30.

Palestine badge. Get yours now—they are very popular. It’s a 32mm badge. They are 50p each or 10 for £3. Phone 020 7819 1170 or email

Radical housing conference

This Thursday and Friday in London there is a radical housing conference: Cities for People, Not for Profit! It’s being organised as a counter conference to the world’s largest property fair at Olympia, MIPIM. Housing is increasing reaching crisis levels especially in London. Speakers at the counter conference include Focus E15, Natalie Bennett from the Green Party and Eileen Short from DCH. It’ being held at 67 Guilford Street off Russell Square WC1N 1DF and runs from 3-8pm on Thursday 16 October and 10.30am-4pm on Friday 17 October.

Opening protest – #BlockBoris:Wednesday 15 October from 9am. Meet outside Kensington tube, Olympia Way, W14 0NE

For details go to

Contact Mark Thomas at the national office (0207 819 1170 or is you plan to go.

Occupy Democracy

Campaigners are occupying Parliament Square in London from the 17 – 26 October, “to begin a fight for a real democracy”. It begins at 5pm on Friday 17 October with an overnight vigil to mark the UN Day for the Eradication of Poverty. Speakers at the vigil include: John Hillary (War on Want), Ruth London (Fuel Poverty Action), Keith Hebden (End Hunger Fast), Kofi Mawuli Klu (Pan-African Reparations Coalition in Europe). Plus “speakers corner” including Jamie Kelsey-Fry (New Internationalist).

For full details go to

If you are going please email

Workplace notes

Back St Mungo’s Broadway seven day strike-from Friday 17 October: Unite members at St Mungo’s (from the Unite Housing Workers Branch) are to launch seven days of strikes in defence of terms and conditions and union rights. The strike begins at 8 am on Friday 17 October. Please send solidarity messages to There are St Mungo’s Broadway sites across London

The branch will post details of picket lines and we’ll get information out as soon as possible.

Unite: Support DSG workers, on strike this week

Workers at Defence Support Group (DSG), the ministry of defence equipment repair agency sites across the country are set to take action in support of an 8 percent pay claim. They have been offered just 1 percent. Donnington, Sealand, Stirling, Catterick, Bovington, Warminster and Colchester will all strike on Wednesday 15 October, with Donnington and Sealand out again on Thursday 16 October and more strikes to follow next week (Stirling & Catterick 23 October) and the week after (Bovington, Warminster, Colchester 28 October).

Please rush messages of support to:

PCS: Garston Call Centre strike 13-17 October

Around 150 PCS members based in Garston Call Centre in South Liverpool are to strike for five days from 13-17 October in the fight to keep the site open. This follows two well supported one day strikes in May and June of this year.

Messages of support:

Brighton & Hove Cityclean strike again 16-17, 20 October: The refuse and recycling drivers at Brighton & Hove Cityclean will strike on Thursday 16th, Friday 17th and Monday 20th October in the on-going dispute over driver supervisory and responsibility allowances. The action will be from 00.01am until 23.59 pm on each of the three days and will run in conjunction with a continuing work to rule

Left Unity National Conference and timetable of events.

PCS Left Unity will be electing its candidates to stand for the NEC along with determining LU policy.

Each year LU comrades are invited to participate in its internal democratic process by nominating candidates and submitting motions to the national conference through area meetings. Once all nominations have been received each LU member will be sent a ballot paper and conference agenda to determine who our candidates will be in next years PCS elections and to mandate your delegates attending the LU national conference.

UCU Left conference 25 October: The UCU Left has its conference on Saturday 25 October. John McDonnell and Andrew McGettigan are amongst the speakers at Birkbeck in Central London.

With UCU members set to strike in FE on 14 October, a ballot planned in HE over pensions and the ongoing assault on post 16-education it’s an important time to pull the some of the best activists in the union together.

A flyer for the event is attached. You can register online at

Calendar 2014

Some useful dates:

Wednesday 15 October: PCS strike, England and Wales

Saturday 18 October: TUC demo “Britain needs a pay rise”. 11am Blackfriars Embankment, London. Also STUC A Just Scotland March and Rally 10am, Glasgow Green.

Saturday 25 October: United Family and Friends march, 12 noon, Trafalgar Square

Saturday 15 November: UtR national conference, London

Sunday 16 November: DTRTP conference

Bookmarks news

Black History Month

October is Black History Month so we are offering a very special deal to branches on Say It Loud: Marxism & The Fight Against Racism. For October only, if you buy three of more copies you can get a discount of 50% and free postage. Get your orders in quickly and make sure the book is at every meeting throughout the month.

Student bookstall packs

We have updated the SWSS bookstall packs with new publications. The packs are designed to kick start a SWSS bookstall and contain all the basic Bookmarks publications and are offered at a very large discount. You can order a small pack for £30 or a large pack for £60. Call us today for more information.

Bookmarks event this Thursday

Concretopia: A Journey Around the Rebuilding of Postwar Britain with John Grindrod, 16 October, 6.30pm

More details on website or Facebook pages