5th October 2015
100,000 march against the Tories in Manchester & fantastic result at the National Gallery
The hatred of the Tories, and the new confidence flowing from Jeremy Corbyn’s victory, poured onto the streets of Manchester yesterday.
It was a very vibrant and strongly working class mobilisation, with big contingents from the trade unions. The campaign against the anti-union bill has received a massive boost.
Lots of trade unionists now expect the union leaders to do a lot more than just go through the motions of a campaign. The junior doctors’ section of the march was a highlight: a real revolt is taking place.
As news spread through the march about the victory of the National Gallery strikers, people celebrated a sign that we can do more than protest—we can win (see more below).
The same refusal to let the Tories steamroller us for five more years that we saw on the 20 June People’s Assembly demo was there in Manchester—and this time with more organised trade union involvement.
There was also a warm welcome for socialist ideas, and continuing support for solidarity with refugees.
Comrades sold around hundreds of SWs (we are still counting) and we recruited 20 people to the party, with another 22 asking for more information. Corbyn’s win has made it much easier to talk about socialism and issues such as nuclear weapons, where there hasn’t been a serious debate for decades.
The Unite the Resistance post-march rally up to 500 was a big success. For a full report of the day go to http://bit.ly/1iYY20c
The TUC demo must be a launch pad for a militant fightback. There must be strikes and direct action, not just words.
As the SWP we need to continue to engage in joint action through UTR, the People’s Assembly, SUTR and so on with the sort of people who marched yesterday and who are enthused by Corbyn.
And we need a very high level of politics to offer a way forward and explain why we are not in Labour.
1). Be part of building and taking part in Stand up to Racism’s delegation to Calais on 17 October (more details below). There is a big audience who hate the treatment of refugees, applaud their resistance, and want to act in solidarity. A meeting called by Glasgow Campaign to Welcome Refugees and many others at the university saw 350 people come to hear from a delegation to Greece and to organise solidarity.
A Stand Up To Racism meeting in Coventry saw over 40 people come together. Activists across Britain are organising for 17 October.
Do a collection at work, come to Calais and ask others to come. The day will see the delivery of aid and also a joint demo with refugees.
2). Build for the Trade Union Coordinating Group activities against the anti-union bill. The TUCG is a grouping of nine unions, all except BFAWU not affiliated to Labour. It proposes more action than some others. Sell the UTR pamphlet on the anti-union laws and sign people up to the UTR conference on 14 November.
3). Keep pushing in the universities and FE colleges. This is a priority for every branch. Student meetings continue to be a success (see below) and there are lots of people who want to discuss socialist ideas.
4). SWP branch meetings have to be centres of activity, otherwise we are irrelevant. Any branch that did not build strongly for the demo missed out on the chance to connect with a new audience as well as reconnect with more established activists. But our meetings must also be the place where we can discuss the latest attempts to muzzle Corbyn, the importance of the National Gallery strike success, the manoeuvres of the union leaders, a strategy to beat the Trade Union Bill, the background to the refugee crisis, the way to combat climate change, the murderous nature of US imperialism as well as its weaknesses and much more.
Stand Up to Racism Calais solidarity trip
Stand Up To Racism's second solidarity delegation to Calais on Saturday 17 October is gaining momentum.
Public meetings have been taking place to build for the trip including in Coventry where over 40 attended last Wednesday. Convoys from across the country have now confirmed including Manchester, London, Portsmouth, Leicester and Essex.
In Leicester comrades have received a swell of union support for the trip. So far PCS have given £50, GMB £400 in donations and local Unite branches are paying for petrol, Eurotunnel and sending delegates.
Please continue to collect cash donations and see if your local union branches will pass a motion supporting the delegation or pay towards transport costs.
SUTR will be taking a coach from London to Calais on the 17th. Can your union branch make a donation towards the coach or pay for seats? (motion attached) Please bring union and other campaign banners with you on the delegation to show political solidarity with people in the camp.
Travel details for Saturday 17 October delegation to Calais are as follows:
If you are taking a car or van purchase a ticket on the 10.50am (or closest) service ASAP to make sure we can arrive at the same time and please email email@example.com once you have booked so we have an idea of numbers.
You will be able to meet others from the delegation in the Eurotunnel carpark in Folkestone after check-in. Alternatively, you can travel by ferry from Dover but please try to book a service that will arrive before 1pm (French time).
If you are travelling on the ferry via Dover please email firstname.lastname@example.org to co-ordinate plans for a send off from Dover activists who are planning an antiracist day of action in the town on the day. Details for where to meet up in France with the rest of the convoy will be sent out shortly once confirmed with the French organisations.
After Manchester: the next steps vs. TU Bill
The debate over the response to the Tory Trade Union Bill was at the centre of discussions on Sunday’s marvellous protest in Manchester. For many there is a feeling that after years of attacks the election of Jeremy Corbyn opens up new possibilities to resist.
We saw trade union leaders like Mark Serwotka and Matt Wrack start to put forward a strategy for taking on the laws. But there is clearly a big debate about the way forward. Len McCluskey offered Cameron that Unite would accept the new ballot thresholds in return for “secret, secure workplace voting” - click here for McCluskey’s full statement.
The Trade Union Bill is the biggest attack on our right to strike and organise for decades. The third reading of the Bill is going to be in November. We are less than a month away from the TUC mass lobby of parliament against the Trade Union Bill on Monday 2 November. More info here
If we’re to seriously challenge the Trade Union Bill and respond on the scale necessary if the legislation is passed the movement has to up the ante now on a serious scale.
So what do we do now?
Next Tuesday (13 October) the Trade Union Co-ordinating group have called a protest (5pm) and a rally (6pm) at Parliament.
The meeting has a platform including Steve Gillan (POA), Michelle Stanistreet (NUJ), Mark Serwotka (PCS), John McDonnell MP, Caroline Lucas MP, Ian Lavery (NAPO), Hannah Bardell MP, John Hendy QC, Keith Ewing and speakers from Unite the Resistance and the NSSN.
You can download the leaflet here
We need to get the biggest possible turnout in London for next Tuesday’s demo. Outside London we could work with others to organise a solidarity event with the London protest or organise some activity in our own workplaces.
But we also have to go all out to mobilise for the TUC lobby on 2 November. Any group of workers who are in dispute should try to take action on 2 November. In every trade union branch and every possible workplace we should be fighting to get delegations to Central London. The TUC have said make it a mass lobby – let’s make it mass!
The Unite the Resistance “Fight austerity – Defend our unions conference” on Saturday 14 November comes just as the bill is likely to be going through parliament.
It has an impressive line-up including Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell, Green party leader Natalie Bennett, Ian Hodson (BFAWU), Matt Wrack (FBU) Steve Gillan (POA), John Hendy QC, Keith Ewing (Institute of Employment Rights) and reinstated National Gallery rep Candy Udwin.
You can register here and check out the latest line up and workshops here
The appetite for challenging new anti-union laws among activists is clear. Up to 500 came to the Unite the Resistance “Defend our unions” event following the Manchester demo, 350 Unite the Resistance “Fight the anti-union laws” pamphlets were sold on the demo (that’s without what was sold on the transport. That means over 3,000 have been sold so far).
Every activist needs the Unite the Resistance pamphlet to sell at work, order your copies here. Everyone needs to be wearing their “Defend our unions” badges with pride, order here.
Unite the Resistance statement: Defend Corbyn’s anti-austerity policies
The Unite the Resistance statement, initiated with the names of 10 trade union general secretaries, is an important way to bring together those inside and outside of Labour who want to see a fight back against attacks on Corbyn from the Tories, the press and the right.
We should be pushing the statement at work, on social media and raising the model motion backing the statement at work and/or trade union/campaign meetings.
Sign the statement here Take round a hard copy of the statement around work here Download the model motion here
Right-click here to download pictures. To help protect your privacy, Outlook prevented automatic download of this picture from the Internet.
After Freshers Fairs: activity and ideological meetings
We have had a great start to the academic year at Freshers Fairs. Hundreds left their details for SWSS and we had some fantastic sales of SW, and they have not yet ended, with more happening this week.
But Freshers Fairs are just the start. They are not a raid that we do once a year. Instead every branch needs to follow them up with regular stalls and a strategy of finding students work with and recruiting those we can win to revolutionary politics. Make sure you contact all your SWSS contacts asap – by email, text or phone. Crucial to building SWSS on campus is involving students in activity and having political meetings that we can attract students to.
48 students came to the first Manchester University SWSS meeting last week. Sussex SWSS followed up their first very successful meeting with one on Resistance and the Case for Revolution. 28 students came along and took part in a very serious discussion.
In Bristol, where comrades have done a regular stall outside the university for the last year, the branch moved their meeting venue to be nearer the Uni and had a title aimed at students. 16 students came along and took part in a fantastic discussion.
Every branch should think how they can build a meeting that attracts students. Building a successful meeting with students means doing at least one stall per week (the Bristol comrades had done four different stalls, including their Freshers Fairs), postering the area and making sure every student contact is emailed, facebooked, texted and crucially rung where we can. We can provide artwork for meetings. Please find attached artwork for a SWSS meeting on refugees and also for one on “Austerity, racism and war: Resistance and the case for Revolution” and one on, “Corbyn, Labour and the fight against austerity”.
We still want to make sure we get SWSS registered as an official student society. This makes it much easier to book rooms, do stalls and work with others, and will give us a presence on more campuses in the long run.
There are some key events that we should aim to involve students with:
• Solidarity with migrants at Calais, SUTR delegation on 17 Oct. Give collection sheets to students who join SWSS – could they go round their halls of residence or their course? If you have a SUTR meeting organised make sure you advertise it too. Where possible set up a SUTR meeting on campus.
Comrades in Glasgow were part of initiating a meeting held in Glasgow University to welcome refugees and report back from the delegations to Athens and Greece. It was called by a number of organizations including Glasgow Campaign to Welcome Refugees, the Scottish Refugee Council and many others. Around 350 attended the meeting, three-quarters students. The week before SWSS had held a meeting with 60 at it on “Refugees Lives Matter”. Out of this students organised a working group meeting of about 30 to help build for the big public meeting. They approached a number of other societies who got involved including the Refugee and Asylum Seekers society, one of the feminist societies and the LGBT society. They also made a number of demands to the university regarding refugees and are now campaigning round these as well as organising for the SUTR delegation to Calais on the 17 October.
Don't forget 6th forms
Big sales at sixth forms and FE colleges have continued. Every branch should do a weekly college sale. Take demo flyers, SUTR materials and branch meeting leaflets.
If your branch is not doing student work then you are going to miss out. This is a priority for the whole party. Each branch needs a plan of how it is going to relate on a weekly basis to either the local Uni or 6th Form. If you would like further discussion about this please call Amy in the Student Office.
Cadre Schools: There will be a series of cadre schools in the autumn. These are aimed at party members who are playing a key role in our branches or in other areas of our work:
lSouthern England/Wales - Central London on Sunday 18 October from 12 noon.
lNorthern England/The Midlands - Manchester on Saturday 24 October.
To register email email@example.com and put "Southern school" or "Northern school" as the subject line. The pooled fare is £10 waged/£5 unwaged, book cheap transport early.
Peoples March for Climate, Justice & Jobs
Peoples March for Climate, Justice and Jobs: Sun 29 Nov, London (Scotland and Wales, Sat 28 Nov)
Launch of ‘Marxism and Women’s Liberation’
Judith Orr will be launching her new book, Marxism and Women's Liberation, next Monday (12 October), 6.30pm, Room 642, Institute of Education, 20 Bedford Way WC1H 0AL. Hosted by Bookmarks.
Here is a link to the event’s facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/events/570367133115889/
UAF educational trip to Auschwitz, 13-17 Nov
UAF and Love Music Hate Racism are organising a trip to the Nazi concentration camp of Auschwitz in Poland between the 13-17 November with the aim of developing a deeper understanding of the Holocaust and the threat of fascism today. The trip is open to everyone, but we are encouraging students, trade unionists and anti-racist activists in particular to attend. The cost is £200 or £160 for students/concessions. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more info or if you can get your union branch to help sponsor the trip.
New Socialist Review connects!
We're getting great feedback on the Corbyn coverage in October's Review. Joel from Walthamstow reports that they sold two copies at the Whipps Cross hospital sale (along with 10 SW), another couple on the Blackhorse Road tube sale, and others to contacts and branch members, so that they now need more sent this week.
Make sure you pay in any money for Reviews sold on the coaches to Manchester and email us at email@example.com to let us know how it's going.
International Socialism Journal
The autumn issue of the ISJ is now available. In this issue Fran Cetti analyses the Fortress Europe policies that have fuelled the migrant crisis.
Migration will also be a major issue in the forthcoming referendum on Britain’s membership of the EU – Alex Callinicos debates whether socialists should vote Yes or No with the Guardian’s former European editor, John Palmer. Plus: analysis of the Corbyn victory, Joseph Choonara reviews Paul Mason’s new book PostCapitalism and Suzanne Jeffery looks at the prospects for the climate movement ahead of the Paris talks at the end of the year.
To order copies for your branch call Camilla on 0207 819 1177 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Copies will also be sent out to subscribers this week. If you don’t subscribe and would like to use the contact details above or visit isj.org.uk/subscribe
Magnificent Victory at National Gallery
National Gallery strikers were applauded back into work today following a unanimous vote to return to work on Friday. Gallery bosses have agreed to reinstate Candy and although, sadly, privatisation could not be stopped, the PCS union members have guarantees on their terms and conditions and these will be extended to new starters.
It is very clear that this dispute, which involved 111 days of strikes, could not have won without the huge support from across the movement. It is a tremendous victory and the news had a mass resonance on Saturday’s huge demonstration in Manchester.
The SWP can be proud of the role it played supporting the dispute. Here is a message we received from the strikers: “Please could you pass on thanks to the Socialist Workers Party for the brilliant support for our dispute at National Gallery. The coverage in the paper has been great, SWP members are known and liked as the most consistent supporters on the picket line and the party's networks have been crucial in organising solidarity and raising financial support. There was big applause for the SWP when we thanked them at our final strikers meeting.”
Junior doctors: next London demonstration Sat 17 October
The protest starts with speakers at Richmond Terrace SW1A at 2pm, and ends at Parliament Sq at 6pm (subject to GLA approval). Click here to link to the Facebook group which at the time of writing has 12,000 people attending!
John Burgess – nominations run until Friday 9 October
So far socialist activist John Burgess has received 35 officially accepted branch nominations along with the South East Region with 12 more to process and came incredibly close to winning the nomination from the North West Region of Unison on Saturday. We should be fighting down to the wire to boost the number of nominations John receives before the deadline. For updates go to John’s blogsite here
Teesside public meeting to discuss Wilton dispute
This will be held this Wednesday (7 October) at Acklam Green Centre, Stainsby Rd, Middlesbrough TS5 4JS, 7pm.
Barnet Council strike – Wednesday 7 October
Pickets will be up at: Barnet House, from 7 am; Mill Hill Depot, from 6 am; East Finchley Library, from 9 am. Messages of support to email@example.com
Get behind Camden NSL workers
Unison members at NSL in Camden are fighting for a real living wage of £9.50 per hour and against union-busting. Send messages of support to firstname.lastname@example.org
Make out cheques to “Camden Unison hardship” or donate at here via PayPal: Sign and circulate the 38 degrees petition backing the strikers here
UCU Left conference, Saturday 10 October
This takes place against the backdrop of possible fights in both sectors over pay, the Prevent agenda, further attacks on Adult Ed, ESOL etc. Register now here
Lobby for Adult Education & ESOL, Wednesday 14 October
Assemble at 12 noon in Parlt Sq for lobby in committee room 10, 1-3pm. Hosted by UCU London Region and Action for ESOL,