Party Notes

23rd March 2015

MARXISM 2015. Only two days left of the special offer!! Book today for Marxism 2015 and get a £5 discount: www.marxismfestival.org.uk Book yourself and tell your friends and workmates.

Socialists and the general election

THERE ARE 37 days to the general election, and there are crucial tasks for the SWP and the wider left. The party’s National Committee met on Sunday and discussed these.
1. There is a deep and long-term political crisis in Britain and in most parts of Europe. This has massively accelerated in the last few years because of the crisis and the sense of corruption and elitism at the top. The major parties have haemorrhaged support. This is the background to the general election uncertainty where two weak and unpopular parties confront each other. Labour goes along with a vast amount of what the Tories say, thereby alienating a section of people who would otherwise vote Labour. The election will not end the turmoil. It will accelerate it.

2. Many voters are looking for alternatives. This is the basis of the rise of the Greens and of Ukip. Anger at the system can be driven to the left or the right. We have to seek to shape it leftwards.

3. Racism and Islamophobia are particularly important issues. The main parties and Ukip use them to divide workers. The demonstrations on 21 March were crucial and we need to build on success.

4. There is a core of committed anti-racists who are horrified by the rise of UKIP and scapegoating. There are also big groups of people (many of them young) around Palestine solidarity, interest in Russell Brand’s ideas, climate change and other questions. These audiences overlap and one merges into another. It is crucial we relate to these groups ideologically and organisationally.

5. Despite the low level of national trade union struggle, there are some disputes which focus a wider mood and raise important political issues. The battle at the National Gallery is one of these. The NHS also continues to generate action. Around 2,000 came to a Defend the NHS march in Leeds at the weekend and last week 2,300 came to an NHS hustings event in Nottingham.

6. Marxism 2015 is more important than ever. It fits with the ideological questioning in society, the search for alternatives and the widespread rejection of capitalism. It is a priority for every comrade.

7. In the immediate term our priorities are:

Stand Up to Ukip
TUSC election campaigns and arguing for a more united left
Building Marxism 2015
Seeking to deepen roots in the workplaces and to focus the anti-austerity feeling that was seen, for example, last week at the Unison special conference.
Strengthening our branch meetings, SW sales and recruitment.

(for details see below)

We also need to build the People’s Assembly demonstration in London on 20 June.

There was a special session on our work around climate change. The day before the NC around 1,000 people took part in the This Changes Everything conference.

This follows the highly successful Time to Act demonstration of over 20,000 initiated by Campaign Against Climate Change. The NC agreed we need to broaden the range of comrades who are confident in the arguments and involved in this work. We need to consider how to engage in events around the Paris governmental climate change conference in December.

No to racism and Islamophobia: demonstrate this Saturday, 4 April
London: Demonstrate against racist Pegida UK rally. Assemble 4pm, Downing Street, London. Called by UAF. If you are coming please email charlie@swp.org.uk
Oxford, No to the EDL exploiting the suffering of victims of abuse - Justice for the victims, don't let the racists divide us. Assemble 12 Noon, Bonn Square, Oxford. called by Oxford UAF.There is leafleting all this week to build the demo, email admin@oxforduaf.org.uk

1. Stand Up To UKIP There are national days of action on the weekend of the 11-12 April. Think what you can do on your area—leafleting, holding anti-UKIP rallies with speakers, putting out local press releases, a Farage pinata! Be creative! Raise the profile of the campaign and engage with the public on why not to vote UKIP. Link up with other activists, people who came on the 21 March demos etc.

In addition, SUTU is asking supporters to leaflet train stations. This was very successful last week with stations done in London and elsewhere. The aim is to leaflet stations that service commuters travelling back to areas which UKIP is targeting ahead of the general election. The next day is Thursday 16 April.

A new general SUTU leaflet and factsheet is now available. To get them email info@standuptoukip.org

A new edition of the Socialist Worker pamphlet, “Ukip the Ugly Face of Politics” is available now. Please phone your orders to 020 7819 1170 or email, charlie@swp.org.uk by 12 noon on Tuesday to order your copies and have them sent with the papers. They are £2 each or five for £9, 10 for £16, 20 for £30.

2. TUSC campaigns:
Lots of the campaigns are now up and running strongly. In Glasgow over 55 comrades have been involved in our various election activities to varying degrees. In Tottenham 42 people were involved over the weekend including lots of non–members. There were two stalls on Saturday in Woolwich with about 15 people helping give out 2,000 leaflets. The Aberdeen campaign held a launch with speakers including the RMT Offshore energy branch secretary.

With just 37 days to go, it’s time to step up our work and involve more comrades. Please note the TUSC TV election broadcast is provisionally scheduled for Friday 17 April with participants including Jenny Sutton, Ayesha Saleem and Unjum Mirza. It is provisionally scheduled to go out at 5.55pm on BBC2, 6.55pm on BBC1, 6.25pm on ITV.

We now have 15 SWP comrades endorsed as MP candidates as part of the 133 TUSC candidates.

They are: Aberdeen North Tyrinne Rutherford; Dundee East Carlo Morelli; Edinburgh East Ayesha Saleem; Glasgow North Angela McCormick; Manchester Gorton; Simon Hickman; Barnsley Central Dave Gibson; Sheffield Brightside & Hillsborough Maxine Bowler; Leeds Central Liz Kitching; Birmingham Perry Barr Robert Punton ; Greenwich & Woolwich Lynne Chamberlain; Doncaster Central: Mehwash Akram; Streatham Unjum Mirza; Tottenham Jenny Sutton; Bristol North West Anne Lemon; Portsmouth North Jon Woods.

If there is not a candidate in your branch’s area, connect with one nearby!

Marxism 2015: book now for £5 discount
Marxism 2015: Racism, resistance and revolution
A five day political festival to discuss alternatives for a world in crisis, 9-13 July 2015, Central London
There are now only two days left of the £5 discount offer . . . so if you have not booked already – please book online today www.marxismfestival.org.uk
We have over 1,100 booking for Marxism already. .. . . . this is a fantastic start! But it is only the start . . . Every branch should aim to maximize the number of bookings they get before the end of the £5 discount offer.

York branch has already booked up the same number of people for Marxism that they took in total last year. Glasgow District aim to do the same by the end of the offer. This is a brilliant achievement and means by July both areas will have far more people coming to Marxism. This will strengthen everything they do after the election.

York and Glasgow have done this by both relating to much wider periphery round anti racism, Palestine, the elections and other campaigns but also by building the SWP and paying close attention to detail to booking people up.

For example in the run up to the 21 March demo, Glasgow comrades sold regularly at 6th form colleges, one of which sent a delegation to the demo. They followed this up with a sale last week where they sold 8 SWs and a student who had bought the paper regularly signed up to Marxism.

The district has already held a fundraising party for Marxism where they raised over £400 to help pay for transport. And at the party two more people booked up.

Their Marxism organisers have done regular ring rounds of comrades and non members, met up with people and fought to have Marxism a central priority in the district.

In the next two days every comrade needs to think about who they can book up to Marxism. Go back over branch lists and contact lists. Set up ring rounds to make sure that no one misses out on the offer.

Think about who we met on the 21 March demo and ask them. Lancaster branch had eight contacts to contact after the demo and are focusing this week on booking them.

Check over student SWSS lists and contact lists from meetings and call anyone who said they were interested in coming. Leeds comrades called through their SWSS lists from the year. As a result four students came to their branch meeting that night. Now they need to try and get some of them to Marxism. Nottingham branch have done weekly sales at Notts Trent Uni.

Last week they sold 21 SWs. They now need to think how to get some students to Marxism. Forward on the Marxism emails designed to give more information and use the Marxism promo video that went out last week. It can be seen on the Marxism website and on FB. If we go all out to build Marxism in the next two days we will be in a better position to have a bigger event come July.

Get your SWP badge!
The classic SWP badge is once again available. It’s a high-quality metal product that could last you a lifetime. The individual badges are £2 each plus 60p postage, or five for £10 post free. Send your order to sarahb@swp.org.uk or phone 020 7819 1190.

Prides 2015
It’s great news that the Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners Pride will lead London Pride on 27 June with miners’ marching bands and the trade union block behind it. This is a real chance to underline that “pride is a protest”. LGSM may also lead other Prides.
1. Please try to pass the attached model motion on LGSM and Pride.
2. Please look at the list of forthcoming Prides below (this list goes up to Marxism 2015). Start planning now for an intervention. We will be doing a placard for Prides and a leaflet. Also order from Bookmarks copies of Laura Miles’ pamphlet Pride, Politics and Protest, a revolutionary guide to LGBT liberation.
Exeter Gay Pride 2015 Saturday 16 May
Birmingham Gay Pride 2015 Saturday 23 May
Bradford Pride 2015 Saturday 30 May
Oxford Gay Pride 2015 Saturday 6 June
Blackpool Gay Pride 2015 Saturday 13 June
Gloucestershire Gay Pride 2015 Saturday 13 June
Swindon & Wiltshire Pride 2015 Sunday 14 June
Cumbria Pride 2015 Saturday 20 June (in Carlisle)
Portsmouth Pride 2015 Saturday 20 June
Edinburgh Pride Saturday 20 June
Suffolk Pride 2015 Saturday 20 June (in Ipswich)
York Pride 2015 Saturday 20 June
Coventry Gay Pride 2015 Saturday 27 June
London Pride 2015 Saturday 27 June
Warwickshire Pride 2015 Saturday 4 July

SWP branch meeting titles
Here are some ideas for branch meetings: The Westminster elite: is the old party system collapsing?; Capitalism vs. climate: Is Naomi Klein right:?; Why are there so many wars in the Middle East?; Putin, Ukraine and the West – are we heading for another Cold War?; France – the resistible rise of Marine Le Pen and the Nazi Front National; How do we stop Ukip?; Immigration: the myths they use to divide us; Islamophobia today: racism and the politics of fear; Are we heading for an economic recovery – or another slump?; Plus it’s worth occasionally having some more theoretical meetings alongside the more topical ones e.g. Is Marxism still relevant? Alienation: why we don’t control our lives; From coal mines to call centres: how has the working class changed?
Every branch/district needs to schedule a post-election public meeting for 13/14 May or 20/21 May.

New Socialist Review out this week
New Socialist Review out this week - pre-election special issue on social policy
As anger grows against the Tories' rote learning, test-based model, NUT activist Jacqui Freeman looks at examples of group and project based models of learning in Australia, Finland and the US.

Glyn Robbins writes on the history of social housing and Lee Humber on how privatisation has led to increased likelihood of abuse in social care homes. Plus why Labour is so weak in the polls, and a report from Greece on the workers' movement since Syriza's election.

This is a great issue to sell at work and among campaigners. Ring us on 020 7819 1176 or email office@socialistreview.org.uk if you would like extra copies sent to you via a branch or in the post.

And we welcome feedback - if you or anyone you sell it to have opinions on the articles, let us know!

Racism, resistance and revolution dayschool
Saturday 30 May, 10.30am-5pm, London. Leaflet attached. Politicians are whipping up a toxic storm against migrants and Muslims. In order to defeat racism, we need to better understand it. This day school will arm SWP members with the politics to win liberation. The event is open to all members of the SWP and the Socialist Worker Student Society, but is particularly aimed at black and Asian comrades. It costs £10 (waged) or £5 (unwaged). To book a place, return the booking form to SWP dayschool, PO box 42184, London SW8 2WD, or email brianr@swp.org.uk

Socialist Worker May day greetings
Rush your solidarity messages to SW for the May day issue. It comes out just before the elections. Send a message against austerity and racism. A letter to union branches, rate sheet and order form are attached. The deadline is 15 April.

National Gallery strike poised to escalate
Union stewards at the National Gallery are recommending to members that they escalate the battle against privatisation and the victimisation of Candy Udwin. This is an intensely political dispute which raises issues of public services.
The Labour Party and the Green Party have issued statements that, in varying ways, are critical of management and calling for talks.
The day of action last week saw solidarity demonstrations in Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester and Cardiff as well as solidarity action in Bristol, Birmingham and Sheffield. See all the support here https://ngnotforsale.wordpress.com/support

If you have not yet had a striker into your union branch/ workplace/ student group/ local campaign meeting etc, send an invite to: noprivatisationatNG@gmail.com
If you have not yet done a collection at work/ raised giving a donation from your union branch, you can send donations to: Sort code 086001 Account no 20169002

New Russell Brand film out 21 April
New Russell Brand film in cinemas 21 April
Russell Brand has a new documentary out on 21 April about the financial crisis, gross inequality and the failure of the political system.

The promotional material says that “Using a mixture of documentary, interviews, archive footage and comedy, Russell Brand takes us from his hometown Grays in Essex to the heart of London ‘City’... revealing the bewildering truth about how the people at the bottom are paying for the luxuries of those at the top.”

There are special preview screenings on Tuesday 21 April, followed by ‘An evening with Russell Brand’ Live event across cinemas nationwide. The film then goes on general release. We should do Socialist Worker stalls – including with TUSC materials – outside showings as we did very successfully in the autumn when Brand’s launch for his book Revolution was live screened at cinemas.

We suggest that every branch leaflets any local showing for a follow up meeting a week later (29/30 April) on Russell Brand’s Emperor’s New Clothes: The system is crisis - what would real democracy look like? We will send out artwork for a flyer next week.

A list of cinemas showing the documentary can be found here: http://www.theemperorsnewclothesfilm.co.uk/

Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS)
Campaigning for Palestine has a new impetus as Israel is increasingly isolated. We want to win a model motion in as many union branches as possible. And we want to set up a group of people who are involved in BDS campaigning. If you want to be part of this, please email charlie@swp,org.uk

We also are involved in the campaign to boycott the Wales v Israel football match on 6 September. Campaigning has already begun in Cardiff over this.
Fix in your mind (and your diary) “6.9 for Palestine”.

Fast Food Rights
Fast Food Rights: 15 April Global day of action as US fast food workers and other low paid workers hold biggest strike yet. The BFAWU Bakers' union-led Fast Food Rights campaign is linking with US fast food workers and fast food unions and campaigns across the world for a global day of action on 15 April. If you are not already involved in organising for 15 April in your area, contact Julie julies@swp.org.uk to get local BFAWU contact details and discuss the day of action in your area.

Details of local protests will be on the Fast Food Rights website later this week, and will be sent out.
Here are links to materials for the day of action (batches of colour materials will be sent out to areas with actions this week): Fast Food Rights 15 April day of action postcard
15 April day of action A5 leaflet
15 April day of action leaflet A4
Fast Food Rights 4 page bulletin

Save our NHS
This Thursday: St Thomas’ hospital health workers hosting meeting to get organised! The Horse and Stables Bar, 124 Westminster Bridge Road, London SE1 7RW, Thursday 2 April 2015 @ 19.30 hrs. NHS worker comrades in London should make every effort to attend this meeting—health workers are hoping to go for a protest in London. First Drink is FREE on production of union card/payslip (Unite or Unison).

People's Convention for the NHS: Saturday 11 April
The People's Convention for the NHS takes place at the Emmanuel Centre in London from 11am-16.30pm and is likely to be a big turnout of activists and campaigners as well as attracting anyone angry about what’s happening to the health service. Contact Julie julies@swp.org.uk) if you can help with the intervention on the day. Supported by organisations including the People's Assembly, Keep our NHS Public, People's Vote for the NHS and a range of trade unions and local NHS campaign organisations, the People's Convention for the NHS aims to unite a broad range of NHS campaigners, trade unions and other groups in defence of our NHS.
Register at Eventbrite page by following this link or by emailing nhsconvention@gmail.com

Industrial Notes
Save Lifelong Learning: demonstrate Saturday 25 April.
The campaign is gearing up to defend Adult Education against a 24 percent cut in funding. UCU London Region has called a national demonstration on Saturday 25 April, assemble 12.30pm King’s College, Strand WC2R 2LS.
* Download the flyer http://uculeft.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/FE_Demo_A5_flyer_4_up-2.pdf
* Sign the petition http://fefunding.org.uk/sign-the-petition/and send it to your work colleagues and friends.

Smurfit Kappa strike to back sacked reps A 48-hour strike is set to go ahead at corrugated packaging company Smurfit Kappa in Northampton on Wednesday and Thursday (1&2 April). This follows the sacking of two senior Unite stewards. Rush messages of support via regional officer Mick.Orpin@unitetheunion.org Picket lines are up from 6am.

Unison homelessness workers’ indefinite strike over pay
Some 70 Glasgow homeless service workers employed by the council are starting an indefinite strike tomorrow, Tuesday 31 March, in a dispute over pay.
The Unison members are striking back against the council's job evaluation scheme which grades workers’ pay unfairly.
They are set to protest outside the social work office on John Street, in the city centre, on Tuesday at 12pm. Rush urgent messages of support to unisonenquiries@glasgowcityunison.org.uk

Defend Clara Osagiede: RMT Tube cleaners’ secretary Clara Osagiede has been sacked by Interserve. She has an appeal on 15 April, backed by the RMT. A leaflet about the case, a petition and a flyer for the appeal lobbyt are attached.

Easter milk strike: Some 100 Leeds milk delivery drivers are set to strike for 72-hours from this Wednesday, 1 April, in a holiday pay and pension benefits dispute.

Bolton uni sacks union activists: Two members of staff, including the UCU branch secretary at the University of Bolton have been sacked for allegedly leaking information to the press about the vice-chancellor.
A major campaign has been launched for their reinstatement. Rush messages of support to mmcmulkin@hotmail.com
More details go www.ucu.org

Unison NEC elections: Elections to Unison’s NEC run from 7 April to 15 May. SWP members are standing as part of a joint left 'Reclaim the union' slate. Following the successful vote to re-open the fight on pay at the Unison Special Local Government conference last week there is a real chance to put forward a serious challenge to the right. Election materials will go out this week for Unison members to use at work. For full list of candidates go to http://reclaimtheunion.blogspot.co.uk/2015/02/blog-post.html?m=1

SWP democracy: Party Council 17 May
There will be a Party Council (two delegates from each branch and student group) on Sunday 17 May in London. We need names of delegates sent to the National Office by Friday 8 May. That is likely to be a busy week (!) so elect your delegates at branch meetings on 22/23 April or 29/30 April. Please book travel early to reduce costs.