Party Notes

2nd March 2015

Organise the anti-racists, build for 21 March

IT WAS a very bad weekend for racists, with 3,000 people taking to the streets In Newcastle against Pegida and 700 marching on Ukip’s spring conference in Margate.

Two years ago a big EDL march in Newcastle after the killing of Lee Rigby outnumbered anti-racists. This time we outnumbered them ten to one!

As we said last week, “There is a tidal wave of Islamophobia and racism coming from the top of society—and it will worsen during the election campaign—but there has produced a strong anti-racist reaction from a significant number of people.”

This was the basis for the magnificent mobilisations we saw on Saturday. It is a mood against fascism, against racism, against Ukip and against Islamophobia.
It is the basis for building the 21 March anti-racism demos which can help shift the atmosphere.

Every branch needs a plan to build for 21 March
It’s less than three weeks to the demos! Every branch needs to have a clear plan to build it—and this is particularly important in places where we have a local Stand up to Racism meeting.

There needs to be some thought about a local plan of leafleting to build M21 which the chair at local meetings announces and asks people to sign up to (do a sign-up sheet to circulate).

Of course, there can be flexibility if people make further suggestions, but make sure a number of things are definitely going to happen.

Make sure there are plenty of M21 leaflets and encourage people to take them away to leaflet their workmates friends etc

In addition for SWP members, in London especially where this week we have the Time to Act climate demo on Saturday, we should have a campaigning Socialist Worker sale outside a tube station on Thursday or Friday (or both!).

These should be pitched to comrades as part of building the demo as well as selling an anti-racist, socialist newspaper. Such stalls can help create an anti-racist atmosphere and hand out hundreds of flyers for M21. Last Friday comrades, including two school students, sold 27 papers at Brixton and 20 papers at Warren Street tube.

Also this Friday, every branch should aim to leaflet a Mosque and next Thursday we should leaflet an FE college or university.

At work every comrade in a workplace needs to think about what they can do to build the demo – can you get 4-5 workmates to agree to come out on lunchtime or immediately after work to leaflet inside or outside the workplace or at a local station etc.

Get people who support the demo at work to hold up an ‘I’m Standing Up to Racism’ poster, take picture and send it to the Stand up to Racism facebook page.

Make sure you get your union banner to M21 – it’s officially backed by the TUC and many trade unions.

On 13 March we want comrades (and as many others as possible) to leaflet workplaces and mosques.

There is a brilliant little film on the Hackney Stand Up to Racism and Fascism facebook page which has a great range of people saying why they are demonstrating on 21 March. It has been viewed nearly 2,000 times!

This has been a very good week for the SWP: Among the many highlights, comrades did very well around the firefighters’ strike last Thursday, the Greece debate in London, the demos in Margate and Newcastle, the ISJ school on China (which had 65 at it with excellent discussion and a very good range of speakers).

All of these demonstrate the potential for the party to sell SW, sign people up to Marxism 2015 and to recruit and grow. We need to be present in good numbers in Saturday as part of the Time to Act climate demo (see below)

Stand up to Ukip
The Margate anti-Ukip demo was a big success, with lots of young people among the 700 there, and a real sense of the potential to squeeze Ukip harder. SUTU has called for a day of action with leafleting this weekend.

We are already having an effect in some target atreas. A comrade reports from Heywood and Middleton, which Ukip nearly gained in a recent by-election., “Eleven supporters of Stand Up to UKIP leafleted in Middelton on Saturday. The overall response was similar to Heywood the previous fortnight. A lot of people were friendly, took leaflets, and signed the signup sheet. A number took the trouble to say how pleased they were that we were there leafleting. There were some racists and some UKIP supporters, but in general they didn’t seem that confident.”
●Stand Up to Ukip 4 page Factsheets can be ordered at 500 for £30 or 1,000 at £50 - send to info@standuptoukip.org or post to Stand Up To Ukip, PO Box 72710, London, SW19 9GX.

Time to Act! Climate demo, 7 March
The demonstration has attracted a lot of publicity and will be a chance to raise key issues in the run up to the General Election and the Paris protests in December.

It assembles at Lincoln Inns Fields, London (Holborn tube)
at 12.30am. For full details and transport go to http://www.timetoact2015.org/
Please make sure that comrades from your branch are going on the transport.
We want to make sure that we sell copies of the "One Million Climate Jobs" pamphlet (you can order copies via Bookmarks or the CaCC office) and Socialist Worker. Please contact Amy on amyl@swp.org.uk if you are planning on coming to the demo from outside London.
We will need London branches to send comrades to help with our stalls and sales. We need each London branch to collect the names of five comrades who can be at the assembly point at 11am. Please let Amy know who can come.
Branches might also want to consider having meetings after the demonstration that discuss the climate movement, and how we can stop climate change.

This Changes Everything Conference: Sat 28 March
This will be a major event with big name speakers, as well as Naomi Klein via Skype. Campaign Against Climate Change has backed the event. It is likely to sell out, so comrades MUST book their ticket in advance.

http://thischangeseverything.co/index.html
https://www.facebook.com/events/582535871889953/

Greece and socialist strategy
The meeting last week hosted by International Socialism journal with Syriza central committee member Stathis Kouvelakis and Alex Callinicos was a great success with over 250 present. It showed the thirst for discussion about this crucial issue facing the left in Greece and internationally.
Stathis wrote on Facebook, “The debate on 'Syriza and socialist strategy' I had this evening with Alex Callinicos organised by International Socialism Journal was the most remarkable event of that type I've ever been part of in London. As Alex, I was particularly impressed by the size of the audience, the atmosphere in this ultra-packed room, with people standing even outside in the court and listening through some semi-opened windows. There was a kind of electricity in the air, something I've rarely felt in this kind of events in my entire life. Many thanks Alex, to the ISJ comrades and all those who contributed to this very special evening.”
It is now available on YouTube: www.youtube.com/watch?v=FV2jCTBjlpQ please share! It has already been viewed more than 4,500 times.

Maximus demos and benefit sanctions protests
Today is a DPAC day of action against Maximus and the Work Capacity Assessment. You can follow the action on twitter at @Dis_PPL_Protest or http://dpac.uk.net/ Following it there will be:

Unite national day of action on benefit sanctions, Thursday 19 March
Unite have a day of action outside job centres on Thursday 19 March in many towns and cities across the country.
Some of these are protests, some are stalls. Go here for your local action: http://bit.ly/17K4ylV

Marxism 2015: book early for £5 discount
Book now to get a discount at www.marxismfestival.org.uk
Marxism 2015: Ideas for Revolution
A five day political festival to discuss alternatives for a world in crisis
9-13 July 2015, Central London
Book online today www.marxismfestival.org.uk
Every comrade should book asap – it really helps us to finance and plan the event.
Every branch needs a Marxism organiser. If you have not yet agreed one please do so this week and let us know – it makes a massive difference in terms of getting bookings.
Every comrade should be asked to book for Marxism. Payments can be post-dated and paid in instalments.
But we should also ask non members.
Every comrade and branch should think about how to use the £5 discount offer to sign-up the people we are meeting around the anti-racist and anti-fascist work, the student activity, the firefighters’ strike etc.

Students at Marxism 2015: There are now only a few weeks of term left before Easter.
Therefore it is crucial to do Marxism stalls at your local Uni or 6th Form college. Every branch should be doing these stalls to help build for the 21 March demo – make sure there is Marxism publicity available too.
Get contact details of anyone interested in Marxism – use the attached sheet. Make sure anyone interested is followed up straight away – it can take a few conversations to ensure people are happy with all the practicalities etc.
If you need last year’s timetable to show people let us know and we will send out. Get back to every student you have met since September – on the SWSS lists from Freshers’ Fairs to contacts from meetings.
You can adapt the weekly Marxism email and forward on to these lists. Also call those students you have numbers for.

TUSC election campaigns
TUSC campaigns are underway across Britain with comrades at the centre of election challenges from Aberdeen to Portsmouth.

We are on the verge of reaching our target of 15 SWP members standing as part of more than 100 TUSC parliamentary candidates.

The TUSC election campaign is crucial against austerity and is also part of the battle against racist scapegoating.

We have a google group for TUSC candidates and agents in the SWP. It shares information, experiences, leaflets and answers questions. If you want to be involved, please email charlie@swp.org.uk to be invited.

SWP re-registration
Re-registration is important to engage members with the party’s activities, go through our political perspective and to increase the subscription income so we can be even more effective.

Done properly it works well! From Edinburgh a comrade writes, “Re-registration can be done in formalistic manner of either leaving comrades to re-register themselves or just ticking them off at a branch meeting.
“In Edinburgh we have embarked upon a systematic programme of talking and meeting with every member on our list. There are 73 so this will not be easy. To date 25 have re-registered—all on DD with a total increase of £134 per month. That’s £1,608 per year extra in subs for the party.

“With many comrades this has entailed a long conversation about anything and everything: all wanted to talk about racism and the Scottish referendum result. And in the last couple of weeks we have had conversations about Syriza and the general election here.

“Results include a youth worker raising her subs from £4 to £10 a month, a nursing student with young child raising from £5 to £7, a caretaker from £6 to £7; and a retired comrade from £40-£50. We can talk to people about our activities. For example, was delighted to learn that we have a TUSC candidate standing in his constituency and wants to hand out material for her.”
To re-register yourself, return the form you have been sent or go to https://swp.org.uk/forms/re-registration

Branch meeting titles
Some suggestions: How radical are the Greens?; Syriza and socialist strategy; The Westminster elite: is the old party system dying?; From Selma to Ferguson: the fight for Civil Rights in the US; Do we need system change to stop climate change?; ISIS and counter-revolution: a Marxist analysis; Have women achieved equality?; How can we stop Ukip?; Socialists, TUSC and the general election; Why is Labour so right wing?; Is Marxism still relevant today?; Are we heading for economic recovery—or another slump?

New Socialist Review out this week
This month's issue leads with Weyman Bennett and Christine Buchholz on the strategies we need to confront the various strands of racism and fascism in Europe today.

Sinead Kennedy looks at the apparent contradiction of attacks on abortion rights in an increasingly neoliberal world which claims to encourage "choice".

We interview Ukrainian Marxist Volodymyr Ishchenko about the situation one year on from the Maidan protests. Anne Alexander exposes Egyptian leader Sisi's dodgy economic dealings and Jan Nielsen looks at the transformative effect of the First World War on women's lives. Plus book reviews, columns and culture.
Branch orders will go out with the papers this week - if you want extra copies or to set up a new order phone the office on 020 7819 1176 or email office@socialistreview.org.uk

Defend our NHS
Major Rally bringing together London’s NHS campaigns: next Tuesday, 10 March, 7.30pm
Every health worker/ NHS campaigner comrade in London should get this date in their diary:
DEFEND LONDON’S NHS, SAVE OUR HEALTH SERVICE, VOTE FOR THE NHS, HAMMERSMITH TOWN HALL, King Street W6 9JU, 7.30pm
www.defendlondonsnhs.wordpress.com
Organised by London Keep Our NHS Public Coordinating Committee. Hosted by Save Our Hospitals (Hammersmith & Charing Cross) London
More information or to add your support www.defendlondonsnhs.wordpress.com
Let Julie know if you can make it (julies@swp.org.uk )

Abortion Rights
Abortion Rights is holding its AGM on Saturday 28 March in London. This will be an important meeting after a year of organising against anti-abortion bigots on the streets and in the government.

To attend you need to be a member of AR and you can join and register for the AGM online. Please email judithorr@hotmail.com if you are planning to attend to get details of party caucus
Public meeting at 12 noon, all welcome, AGM at 3pm
Unite the Union, 33 - 37 Moreland Street, EC1V 8BB
http://www.abortionrights.org.uk/

Miners’ strike anniversary: Still the Enemy WIthin
The 30th anniversary of the end of the Great Miners Strike of 1984-5 takes place tomorrow. What better time to see award-winning film Still the Enemy Within. For details of showings in Wallsend, Newport, University of Central Lancashire, Doncaster, Bathgate, Blaenavon, South Elmsall, Huddersfield and Cardiff go to http://the-enemy-within.org.uk/events/

Fast Food Rights
Fast Food Rights planning meeting: This Wednesday 4 March, 6pm, Room P, Portcullis House, Westminster
The BFAWU-led Fast Food Rights campaign is having a planning meeting to discuss and organise for the 15 April global day of action.

At the Unite the Resistance national conference in November, the day of action on 15 April was one of the focuses for 2015. On that day, US fast food workers will have their biggest strike yet, with many other sections of low paid workers joining strikes for $15 an hour and a union.

On the same day, fast food workers and unions will hold protests in over 33 countries. This is a perfect opportunity, in the build up to a highly politically charged general election, to raise demands for a TUC-backed £10 an hour minimum wage now and for workers' rights.

In Glasgow where the campaign has had success, including an 80-strong public meeting backed and hosted by the STUC during the US strikers’ tour, fast food workers have joined the union and a young BFAWU comrade has not only recruited her workmates to the union but also signed them up to Marxism. In Glasgow there is a Fast Food Rights public meeting on 14 March to build for 15 April.

Now regional Fast Food Rights steering groups are being set up around the country to plan actions for 15 April - make sure comrades in your area are involved in the campaign, working with BFAWU bakers' union

Industrial Notes
RMT: London Underground strike starts 9.30pm Saturday night Drivers on London Underground are to go on strike over the sacking of Alex McGuigan following what the RMT says was a flawed alcohol test which resulted in a false result.RMT train operator members will not book on for shifts that commence between 9.30pm on Saturday night until 4am Sunday morning.

Lewisham schools strikes: On Thursday this week, NUT members at the four schools threatened with academy status in Lewisham—Sedgehill, and the three schools in the Prendergast Federation (Hilly Fields, Ladywell Fields and the Vale)—will again be strike. This time they will be joined by members of GMB and the NASUWT.

National rank and file construction meeting – Saturday 7 March A national rank and file construction meeting is being held in Glasgow this Saturday 7 March, 1pm, Jury’s Inn, Glasgow. See the Facebook event here It is being combined with the Blacklist Support Group AGM.

NUJ newspaper summit, Saturday 25 April, Birmingham
The NUJ is holding a ‘major industrial summit’ on the newspaper industry. In the past ten years 5,000 jobs have been lost and 150 titles have been closed. The conference is to address the changes in the industry. Every NUJ member should get along to this important conference. If you are able to go please let us know in the industrial office. Saturday 25 April, 10.30-16.00, at Unite's office, Transport House, 211 Broad Street, Birmingham B15 1AY
London buses: Drivers debate where next for “one rate for the job” campaign Unite is holding a series of meetings with drivers around London to discuss the future of the campaign to win “one rate for the job” across London. We want to keep up the sales at London’s garages.
UCU: Huge funding cuts to adult in education: The government plans to cut the English adult further education budget for 2015/16, once funding for apprenticeships is excluded, by 24 percent.
UCU has launched a petition as part of opposition to the attacks. It’s important this is being circulated as widely as possible. http://www.ucu.org.uk/fefunding

UCU public meeting: Solidarity with the people of Greece Drop the debt – let Greece breathe!
Tuesday 24 March, 7pm, UCL, 26 Bedford Way, Room G03, WC1H 0AP
(Department of Geography) Marina Prentoulis London Syriza and senior lecturer at the University of East Anglia John McDonnell MP for Hayes and Harlington Paul Mackney Greece Solidarity Campaign, chair Liz Lawrence UCU president Sean Vernell UCU London

Unite: Amey maintenance workers start 7 day strike
Amey highway maintenance workers started a one week strike today in their fight for decent pay. This follows four previous strike days. The four depots involved are Breakspear at Hemel Hempstead, Whittlesford in Cambridgeshire, Sandy depot in Bedfordshire and Newport Pagnell in Buckinghamshire.

Calendar 2015
Calendar 2015….
7 March Time to Act climate demo
8 March International Women’s Day
21 March Anti-racism demos London, Glasgow, Cardiff
28 March: This Changes Everything, climate conference
7 May General and council elections
9-13 July: Marxism 2015