9th December 2013
Anger and the fightback
How can you further enrage people who are already angry over cuts and poverty and push them into apoplexy? Offering MPs an 11 percent pay rise is a very strong candidate for the task.
This outrage will intensify the feeling about a “recovery for the rich” and the scale of the class divide. It also underlines the need for resistance.
See below for the fightbacks by students and firefighters and a series of important initiatives for the new year.
The death of Nelson Mandela has raised issues about the contribution Mandela made, the hypocrisy of the media and many politicians, and the reality of South Africa today. Socialist Worker’s coverage of Mandela proved very popular and many branches and student groups are having meetings this week as a follow-up.
Comrades in Glasgow sold 62 copies of SW at a Mandela commemoration vigil on Friday.
Strikes by FBU members across England & Wales, 13 & 14 December
The Fire Brigades Union (FBU) has announced its members in England and Wales will strike action again next weekend, Friday 13 and Saturday 14 December, both from 6-10pm, in its dispute over pensions.
FBU members across Scotland, England and Wales have also voted to support action short of a strike (by 86 percent), bringing Scottish FBU members back into the pensions fight.
Attached is a leaflet for the fire stations. It’s really important that we’re getting into the fire stations ahead of Friday and Saturday’s strikes and bringing whatever solidarity we can to the picket lines on Friday and Saturday too.
Universities: no to repression, cops off campus
On Tuesday of last week students across Britain joined picket lines and strike rallies to support HE and FE workers on strike over pay. At many universities including Sussex, Birmingham, Goldsmiths, Sheffield, Exeter, Warwick and in Central London, students occupied university buildings in support of the strikes and against privatisation of education.
Many of these met with severe repression. It is clear that university managements are attempting to use the courts, police, and disciplinary measure to clamp down on student protest.
Support the Sussex Five
Five students have been suspended from Sussex University after taking part in the occupation there. They have been targeted for their role in the occupation and for causing “persistent disruption of the University operation”. It is clear that the Vice Chancellor and Sussex Uni management want to prevent any further action.
Students at Sussex Uni have launched a campaign for the reinstatement of the five. There have already been two demonstrations on campus involving hundreds of students. There is an emergency student union meeting today in the Students Union and a day of action planned for tomorrow. Over 8,000 people have already signed the online petition. Add your name http://www.change.org/en-GB/petitions/professor-michael-farthing-vice-ch...
Please rush messages of protest demanding the lifting of the suspension of the four students to the Vice Chancellor: email@example.com
Send messages of support to firstname.lastname@example.org
Cops off Campus: workers/students sign the petition
Last Wednesday students were forcibly evicted from their occupation of Senate House in Central London. Over 300 students from different colleges at the University of London protested the next day against cops on campus. Police ended the day by arresting 36 people. The University of London had now banned protests on its campus for the next six months.
Please sign and pass on the trade union statement in support of the students and workers arrested. http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/defend-right-to-protest-uni-of-london
Stop the criminalization of protest: SOAS open meeting
Tues 10 Dec, 5-7pm, SOAS JCR, Student Union
Cops off Campus: National Day of Action Wed 11 Dec
London demonstration: Assemble 2pm, ULU, Malet St, London, WC1E 7HY
All SWSS groups should build for this day of action. There will be local actions planned on many campuses as well as the London demo.
London SWSS groups should build for the ULU demo.
Please find attached a SWSS petition to use this week plus flyers to use to build for the day of action – one for London with details of the demo and one for out of London with room to write in details of any action planned.
SWSS Meetings still going strong
Thursday was a busy day at Sussex Uni. The demo of over 400 students to reinstate those suspended was followed by organising meetings for the campaign. Later that evening 35 students came to the SWSS meeting on Can there be a revolution in Britain? After a great debate, one student joined the SWP. 16 came along to the Manchester Uni SWSS meeting on the police while 17 attended the Leeds SWSS meeting on Fracking.
This week, SWSS meetings should be on Nelson Mandela. Artwork attached. Please contact us if you need help getting a speaker
Get organised for next term
A number of Unis have already finished. For many this is their last week of term. Please make sure you have a room booked for your meetings next term. We will send out a list of suggested titles this week so you can get planning your meetings.
Plus, have you organized a UAF event for Holocaust Memorial Day? This should be done with other student societies. If you set it up this term then you can hit the ground running and build for it as soon as you are back.
Anti-fascist, anti-racist demo & rally 22 March
PUT THIS IN YOUR DIARY, START BUILDING FOR IT
■ No to scapegoating of immigrants
■ No to Islamophobia
■ Yes to diversity
Stand up to fascism and racism, rally and demo marking UN Anti-Racism Day, 11am, Saturday 22 March 2014
Central London • Demonstration assembly point tbc
This UAF-initiated event is going to be an important chance to protest against fascism, racism and Islamophopbia. Almost every trade union leader has supported it, as well as major anti-racist groups. Please start to organise now to get there yourself, to raise the demo in your trade union or student union, and to win union backing for transport. There will also be demonstrations in Glasgow and in Wales. You can sign up to the appeal and win other signatories. Email name/position/organisation to email@example.com to add your name to the list of supporters of the Stand up to racism and fascism statement
The appeal for the day says:
A day of action against racism has been called for across Europe to coincide with the UN Anti-Racism Day in 2014, with eyes on the European elections in May.
Already in most European countries parties of the right, centre and even the traditional left are allowing the terrain of these elections to be dominated by racism, xenophobia, anti-Semitism and the scapegoating of minorities – Muslims, immigrants, Roma, Black and Asian communities.
Across Europe the fascist and populist racist right are on the rise. From the violent Golden Dawn in Greece, the anti-Roma Jobbik in Hungary, the Islamophobic Freedom Party of Geert Wilders in the Netherlands to the success of the Front National in France, these currents are encouraging hatred, fear and prejudice in a frightening wave across the continent.
In Britain the far right is hoping for gains in the Euro elections. The British National Party (BNP) is seeking the re-election of Nick Griffin in the North West of England and Andrew Brons is seeking re-election in Yorkshire and the Humber.
The Tories and UKIP look set to try to outdo each other in their calls for draconian ‘anti-immigration’ policies and promoting a ‘Little Englander’ anti-foreign, anti-Europe mentality.
The ‘go-home’ vans sent out by the Home Office over the summer are a sign of things to come. Hostility is already being stirred up towards Bulgarian and Romanian migrant workers who will be able to work here from January.
Such campaigns simply whip up racism in general and induce a ‘blame game’ for falling living standards and squeezed incomes that falls on visible minorities in stepped up discrimination, institutional racism, abuse and violence.
This all encourages currents like the English Defence League, which turn their Islamophobic prejudices into real attempts to terrorise the Muslim population – attacking Mosques, assaulting veiled women, insulting religious sensitivities with vile slogans and throwing pigs’ heads, and organising intimidating marches into Muslim communities.
Following the rising violence of Golden Dawn and the murder of anti-fascist rapper Pavlos Fyssas, (also known as Killah P), the Greek anti-fascist and anti-racist movement has proposed that next year’s UN Day Against Race Discrimination on March 21/22 should be the focus for actions against racism and fascism across Europe.
While there is a real threat that openly racist parties may win the 2014 Euro-elections in some countries, this can be prevented by the widest possible unity against them and the mobilisation of the broadest progressive forces.
Unite Against Fascism has therefore initiated this call for a demonstration and rally to Stand Up to Racism in London on Saturday 22nd March. We endorse this proposal and call on all those of goodwill to join us in a riposte to the rise of racism, to show that migrants are welcome and demonstrate our confidence in a future free of scapegoating and hatred.
Initial signatories and supporters include:
Diane Abbott MP • Peter Hain MP • Emily Thornberry MP • Anas Altikriti CEO The Cordoba Foundation • Richard Bagley The Morning Star Editor • Morris Beckman 43 Group Co-Founder • Natalie Bennett Leader of the Green Party of England and Wales • Christine Blower NUT General Secretary • Dr Mary Bousted ATL General Secretary • Bob Crow RMT General Secretary • Manuel Cortes TSSA General Secretary • Day-Mer Turkish and Kurdish Community Centre • Ronnie Draper Bakers Food and Allied Workers Union General Secretary • Abdullah Faliq Islamic Forum of Europe • Liz Fekete Institute of Race Relations Director • Larry Flanagan Educational Institute of Scotland General Secretary • Don Flyn Director Migrant Rights Network • Glyn Ford Labour MEP Candidate South West England & Gibraltar • Edie Friedman One Society Many Cultures Vice Chair • Gerry Gable Editor Searchlight • Lindsey German Stop the War Coalition Convenor • Steve Gillan POA General Secretary • Frances O’Grady TUC General Secretary • Halkevi Kurdish & Turkish Community Centre • John Hannett USDAW General Secretary • Steve Hart Unite the Union • Billy Hayes CWU General Secretary • Zita Holbourne Black Activists Rising Against The Cuts National Co-Chair / PCS NEC • Kate Hudson CND General Secretary • Sally Hunt UCU General Secretary • Fevzi Hussein Embargoed! Chairperson • Sylvia Ingmire Co-Ordinator / CEO Roma Support Group • Owen Jones Writer and journalist • Chris Keates NASUWT General Secretary • Paul Kenny GMB General Secretary • Bruce Kent VP Pax Christi • Dilowar Khan East London Mosque & London Muslim Centre Executive Director • Aaron Kiely NUS Black Students’ Officer • Mohammed Kozbar British Muslim Initiative • Hugh Lanning Unite Against Fascism Vice Chair • Jon Lansman Left Futures Editor • Max Levitas Cable Street Veteran • Len McCluskey Unite the Union General Secretary • Gloria Mills TUC Race Relations Committee Chair • Gerry Morrissey BECTU General Secretary • Farooq Murad Muslim Council of Britain Secretary General • Steve Murphy UCATT General Secretary • Middlesex Anti-Racist Action• Ged Nichols Accord General Secretary • Parikiaki • Phyllis Opoku-Gyimah UK Black Pride Executive Director • Lord Herman Ouseley • Glenn Page Plaid Cymru Youth Director of Policy and Campaigns • Mike Payne GMB Regional Political Officer Wales & South West Region • Rex Phillips NASUWT Wales Organiser • Dave Prentis UNISON General Secretary • Prodeftiki • Habib Rahman Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants Chief Executive • Andy Richards Regional Secretary Unite Wales • Refugee Workers Cultural Association • Belinda Robertson Regional Womens and Equalities officer Unite Wales • Mark Serwotka PCS General Secretary •Leon Silver East London Central Synagogue President & Tower Hamlets Interfaith Forum Steering Group Member • Balwinder Singh Sikhs Against The EDL • Varinder Singh The Turban Campaign Director • The Sikh Federation UK • Michelle Stanistreet NUJ General Secretary • Mohammad Taj TUC President • Union of Cypriots in Britain • Martin Timpson Merseyside Stop the War • Ava Vidal Stand up Comedian • Rabbi Lee Wax • Matt Wrack FBU General Secretary • Mick Whelan ASLEF General Secretary • Maurice Wren The Refugee Council Chief Executive • Salma Yaqoob • Weyman Bennett and Sabby Dhalu Unite Against Fascism Joint National Secretaries
For the full list of signatories go to http://tinyurl.com/nwxh7kh
Email name/position/organisation to firstname.lastname@example.org to add your name to the list of supporters of the Stand up to racism and fascism statement
The People’s Assembly held a delegate meeting on Saturday, to discuss future initiatives and the re-call PA conference.
The programme of action proposed to the meeting was:
14 December: Day of Action: Can you afford Christmas? The People's Assembly is asking all local groups to hit the high street in protest over falling living standards.
Jan/Feb 2014: Hands off our unions – defend the right to resist National speaking tour with rally in central London at the end of January. Push the petition http://thepeoplesassembly.org.uk/handsoffunions/
3 Feb- 7 Feb: Student week of action – no sell-off of the student loan book
22 February: Women’s assembly
15 March: Re-call People’s Assembly conference (delegate-based), London.
19 March: Budget day protests
22 March: support for UAF-initiated demonstration against fascism, racism, and scapegoating
Solidarity with Greek comrades, Wednesday
This week three members of the Greek Socialist Workers Party (SEK) are to appear in court accused of “defamation” by a lawyer who is in the payroll of a Nazi Golden Dawn MP.
Katerina Thoidou, journalist, Tasos Anastasiades, publisher and Panos Garganas, editor of Ergatiki Allileghii (Workers Solidarity, weekly paper of SEK) are to stand trial because articles in the paper exposed the neo-Nazi inspired campaign against the right of second generation immigrants to Greek citizenship.
At a time when a number of Golden Dawn MPs are in detention for their role in running a criminal organisation, this trial of anti-fascists is an outrage.
It is also an attempt to muzzle Workers Solidarity, the paper of the Greek anti-capitalist left. According to the law, if the three prosecuted comrades are found guilty the minimum fine is 30,000 euros each.
What you can do:
1. Please join us on a picket outside the Greek embassy, 1A Holland Park, London W11 3TP (Holland Park tube) from 1-2pm THIS WEDNESDAY 11 DECEMBER to show solidarity with the comrades facing the court. Bring flags and banners. We will be able to send a picture and message to those who will demonstrate in Greece the next day. If you are coming please email email@example.com
2. Please email a message to firstname.lastname@example.org for the attention of Ambassador Konstantinos Bikas, Embassy of Greece in London protesting at the trial from yourself, fellow workers and any union/student union body you can.
3. Support the campaign against the prosecution financially. Send your financial support to the bank account: National Bank of Greece IBAN: GR8601101620000016261761197 SWIFT (BIC): ETHNGRAA Name: Sifakakis Ioannis (father’s name: Emmanouil) Communication: Iannis Sifakakis e mail email@example.com Tel 00306946093043 or, to avoid bank charges, you can send the money to the National Office and we will get it to the comrades. Please ring us if you want to do this.
Final summaries are taking place in the inquest into the killing of Mark Duggan. Carol Duggan is calling for supporters to be ready to go to the Royal Courts of Justice in the Strand. The jury will retire to consider their verdict tomorrow. We could then have the verdict within days. There will be two hours notice, during which there will be a call for people to come and show support in the public gallery and outside the court. There will also be a vigil at Tottenham Police Station at 7pm on the evening of the verdict.
Socialist Worker sales
On Friday after the news of Nelson Mandela’s death, there was a commemoration of his life in Glasgow. Some15 comrades went along to give out the leaflet from Socialist Worker and sell papers. This resulted in 62 papers being sold! Other Glasgow sales included: Buchanan Street Sat 42 + Motherwell 52 + Coatbridge 33 + Hillhead Fri 8 + Glasgow Uni 8 + Branch meetings 3 + UCU picket lines 6 + UNISON shop stewards’ meeting 10 + UNISON Scottish Local govt meeting 7 + and recorded over 20 useful contacts – That’s 231 papers so far this week!
John in Oxford says: “On the Saturday sale in Oxford this week. We produced a great poster celebrating Nelson Mandela's life and we petitioned around the recent racist scapegoating of the Roma and other ethnic minorities and immigrants by politicians. The two issues linked together seemed to strike a chord and we sold 13 papers, 1 review, and a copy of the Communist Manifesto, as well as getting a £1 donation. We also gave out lots of Charlie Kimber's obituary of Mandela.”
Richard from Nottingham says: “23 SWs sold on Sat sale which included the protest of 100 organised by the NUT against a wave of Ofsted inspections to half Nottingham's secondary schools 2 weeks ago.”
Manchester District: Market Street Sat 42 + Market St Wed 11 papers + SWSS meeting 5 + Wigan branch 8 and 3 SWs at workplaces + Chorlton Sat sale 14 and Chorlton DWP 2 + Bury 27 + Bolton 11 plus 2 at an NHS meeting and 2 SWs were sold at a Pride not Profit protest –A total of 127
Chesterfield sold 43 and 2 Reviews using the TAX THE RICH petition and some Mandela posters and recruited 1 Hackney East 30 Edinburgh 33 + Edinburgh uni 7 North London: Islington Sat 24 + Finsbury Pk Fri 11 + Crouch End Sat 4 + Haringey Council 3 + CONEL cleaners demo 2 West London: Shepherd's Bush Sat sold 28 papers + Ealing Broadway sold 17. Leicester 21 during a very lively sale.
We sold 30 SWs and 20 Grangemouth pamphlets at the South London People’s Assembly of over 150 people on Saturday.
Lecturers’ strikes reports include:
Central London pickets and rally we sold 58 papers and 17 Grangemouth pamphlets. Wigan UCU/UNITE/UNISON pickets and demo 37 SWs Bristol pickets/demo 28 SWs Sheffield pickets/demo 27 SWs Birmingham pickets/demo 20 SW + Joseph Chamberlain College 4 SW
York education strike pickets/demo 25 SWs Liverpool Uni – 20 SWs Glasgow Uni pickets/demo 16 SWs Hammersmith 8 SWs Manchester Uni – 8 SWs Edinburgh Uni – 7 SWs
South Thames College Morden – 6 SWs, three Grangemouth pamphlets
Socialist Worker Christmas Dates
The last issue of Socialist Worker this year will print on
17 December 2013.
The first issue of Socialist Worker in 2014 will print on
7 January 2014.
Socialist Worker Appeal over £100,000
The Appeal has now raised £100,158! Delegations for conference have now been elected. It is worth checking if delegates from your area have contributed to the appeal. If your district has not already done one, make sure there is a social for the week after conference. This could be some food around a comrade's house, a film showing etc.
Thanks to all those who have donated so far. Please make your donation by calling 020 7819 1190, sending a cheque to “SW Appeal” to SW Appeal, PO Box 42184, London SW8 2WD or online at www.socialistworker.co.uk/appeal
Socialist Worker pamphlet “Grangemouth: Where now for the unions?” Order your copies now
With a widespread debate across the movement over the Grangemouth dispute we have produced a Socialist Worker pamphlet to help us intervene in the discussions. Every workplace activist, every SWP branch and district needs to order copies now. They have sold very well.
SWP branches can order ten copies for £4 and 25 copies for £9 and get copies with this week’s papers or pick them up at conference. The attached order form is for use in the movement and includes the cost of postage and packaging (10 for £5 and 25 for £10).
Royal Mail: the union leaders back the deal
The CWU postal executive has now accepted a (slightly amended) version of the deal offered by Royal Mail. If the Royal Mail board do the same then the offer will finally be seen by the membership! There will be a SW leaflet as soon as the details are available.
Crown Post Offices: the dispute continues
There is a series of strikes in different regions over the next ten days.
Stop the closure of Portsmouth naval dockyard, demo Saturday 14 December
Unite the union has called a further demonstration in Portsmouth over the announcement of the closure of the Portsmouth shipyard. Saturday 14 December, assemble at Victory Gate, Queen Street from 11am.
Comrades across the Solent area should be getting onto the demo. Please contact the industrial department if you are available.
Battle coming on London Underground: Please find attached a slightly updated leaflet (now that the ballot has started) for the RMT dispute on London Underground against the huge cuts, restructuring and downbandings announced last month.
The union started its strike ballot across all grades on 3 December and the ballot runs until 10 January.
The attached leaflet puts the argument for strikes. If you travel by tube, please print out a few to have with you to give to tube workers on your journey. Let us know what response you get, and if you sell any papers to tube workers/ make new contacts in the process.
Fair deal for fast food workers, planning meeting (8 January) and day of action (15 February)
John McDonnell MP, Ian Hodson from BFAWU and Unite the Resistance are amongst those initiating a campaign for justice for fast food workers. An initial planning meeting is set for 8 January with a proposal for a day of action in February (proposed date 15 February). If your union branch or campaign group wants to get involved please get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
PCS national fraction meeting, Saturday 18 January.
A pooled fare will be organised but please book your transport early to get cheaper tickets.
Miners’ strike anniversary film
Still the Enemy Within, a documentary on the miners’ strike, is attracting considerable support. Comrades should look at the taster online here http://bit.ly/1gJ5usX and think about how to use the film next year as part of both the party and local movement response to the thirtieth anniversary of the strike.
Bookmarks: go to the new website
Please remember you can order now and pick up books at conference
New Bookmarks Website www.bookmarksbookshop.co.uk
You should have got a copy of the new Bookmarks Winter Brochure with your copy of Socialist Worker recently. If you didn't, and you would like one, please contact the shop and we can send one to you. The brochure is packed full of ideas for books that address the key issues facing activists. And because it is nearly Christmas, there is a great selection of gifts including radical tea-towels, mugs, T-shirts and bags.
To go with the brochure, we have launched a new website. It is now much easier to buy the books you want.
There is a simple to use shopping basket ordering system and you can search easily by name, author or subject matter.
Over the next few months we will make even more improvements to the site but we wanted to make sure it was ready for Christmas.
Please have a look at the website and let us know if you have any feedback. Please encourage your family and friends to use it too. Following last week's Panorama programme on Amazon, there are many people who would like to buy their books from an ethical alternative. Make sure everyone at work or college knows about Bookmarks.
Coming later this month from Bookmarks publications:
Land and Labour: Marxism, Ecology and Human History by Martin Empson, £13.99
You can pre-order copies of this important new book which examines humanity's dynamic relationship with nature from the dawn of civilisation to modern times, for just £12.
Order via email@example.com and quote SW to get the special price. Discounts also available for branch orders.
Bookmarks events at 1 Bloomsbury Street, London, WC1B 3QE. Phone 020 7637 1848 for details or to book.
TONIGHT Final Solutions: Human Nature, Capitalism and Genocide with Sabby Sagall, Monday 9 December, 6.30pm, £2
Sagall draws on the Frankfurt school and Wilhelm Reich to argue that genocide is a product of an ‘irrational’ destructiveness by social classes or communities that have suffered major historical defeats or similar forms of extreme stress. He applies this theoretical framework to four modern genocides – that of the Native Americans, the Armenians, the Jews and the Rwandan Tutsis.
Saturday 21 December, 3pm - Michael Rosen is back at Bookmarks for his popular kids' Christmas event.
For any information about Bookmarks stock, orders or opening hours phone 020 7637 1848 or go to: www.bookmarksbookshop.co.uk or email: firstname.lastname@example.org or write to: Bookmarks, 1 Bloomsbury Street, London, WC1B 3QE.