27th October 2014
Fighting racism, building the strikes
THE DISGUSTING racism from defence secretary Michael Fallon about immigrants “swamping” towns in Britain gives a chilling vision of the state of mainstream politics.
Ukip advances and both Tory and Labour leaders bend towards its rotten arguments.
Fallon’s comments are both a throwback to Margaret Thatcher in 1978 (when she deliberately used the word “swamped” to generate a racist debate) and are bound to set off a new and vicious round of anti-immigrant propaganda.
We need to combat Ukip, and the wider racism in society.
That means building Stand Up to Ukip but also encouraging all the struggles that unite workers—and building a left alternative to Labour.
Far too often the union leaders have held back struggle. But there are opportunities we have to grasp.
Unison has called a strike in the NHS in Wales on Monday 10 November from 8.30am till 12 noon and Unison plans another NHS strike in late November in England—and is in discussion with other health unions about the details. This will be another chance to agitate and organise for solidarity and campaigning. And a four day FBU strike begins on Friday. We also need to redouble our efforts to have the local government “deal” thrown out.
The Unite the Resistance conference on 15 November is the focus of all of this.
WE CAN ALL SUPPORT THE FIREFIGHTERS
Firefighters in England have announced a four day strike in the battle against Tory pension theft. The walkout begins at 6pm this Friday, 31 October.
Dozens of comrades did collections/support petitions for the NHS workers for the recent strike. This was very successful in creating a network you can go back to for UtR, sales of SW etc.
●Everyone should try to collect for the firefighters this week (use the attached petition). The money/petition (and if possible a delegation) can then be taken to the picket line at a local fire station at 6pm on Friday. It boosts the firefighters, but it boosts organisation in your workplace too—and you as an activist.
●Every branch should have a discussion about this in their meeting this week, and how we can use this process to build the UtR conference on 15 November.
A collection sheet is available from the UtR website:
All out to build the Unite the Resistance Conference, Saturday 15 November
There is an impressive line up of speakers including Matt Wrack from the FBU and speakers from the St Mungo’s strike. The bakers union BFAWU is sponsoring the workshop on “organising the unorganised” while the anti Bedroom Tax and Benefit Justice federation is hosting with DPAC a special “Stop the War on benefits: What next” session – including speakers from the Focus E15 campaign. Bristol Health Unite is sponsoring a workshop on the NHS. There is also a serious and growing list of sponsors.
The NHS strikes, the mass TUC protests and the action at St Mungo’s were examples of the potential combativity of our side. We now have strike action by firefighters this Friday and health unions could well strike again next month. But the suspension of strikes by local government unions and the victory for Ukip in Clacton show that it’s not all onwards and upwards.
There are thousands of activists who want to see a more consistent fight against the Tories, who want to see solidarity built for workers in struggle like the firefighters and St Mungo’s workers and who want to stand up to racist scapegoating, whether that’s from Tory ministers or from Nigel Farage and Ukip.
The Unite the Resistance conference gives us the chance to pull together some of the best fighters to debate a way forward in the fight against austerity. With just three weeks until the conference it’s crucial that we’re working with local trade unions to arrange cheap transport for the conference, we are checking that every possible local trade union branch and campaign is discussing backing the event and that we are approaching every trade unionist and campaigner we work with about coming.
The conference could play a serious role in helping to pull together a national network involving some of the best fighters. We have to make sure the event succeeds in doing that.
• You can register online at http://uniteresist.org/2014/07/unite-the-resistance-organising-to-win-co...
• For the latest conference flyers and materials, go to http://uniteresist.org/2014/10/latest-materials-for-the-15-november-unit...
• For a list of sponsors go to: http://uniteresist.org/2014/10/sponsorship-for-15-november-unite-the-res...
• Download the model motion at http://uniteresist.org/2014/09/updated-model-motion-for-united-the-resis...
Scotland, Russell Brand & a great public meeting
There is evidence of the political mood all around us. There were three left conferences in Glasgow on Saturday—Solidarity, SSP, Campaign for Socialism (Labour left). There is still a ferment of discussion about how the left should move forward. The turmoil in the Scottish Labour Party after the removal of Johann Lamont—and her comments about the shortcomings of Labour’s leadership—underline the potential and the necessity of a united left-of-Labour challenge at the 2015 election.
Russell Brand screenings about his new book Revolution with Owen Jones saw thousands of people discussing revolution—and they were interested in what we say.
In Manchester – 20 SWs were sold outside the film and a copy of Arguments for Revolution – two new comrades who had joined at the previous night’s district rally helped with the sale. In Brixton we sold 11 SWs. In Wood Green we sold ten SWs using the slogan “Socialist Worker – even better than the Trews”. In Exeter comrades gave out 100 leaflets and sold at least five SWs. At Odeon Covent Garden we sold 13 SWs and a copy of Arguments for Revolution. Bradford comrades sold 12 papers outside the cinema showing.
● Seventy people came to Manchester’s district public meeting on Racism, Islamophobia and Resistance with Weyman Bennett, Carol Duggan and Maz Salim. Comrades report a fantastic atmosphere with lots of non-members and a very multi-racial audience. Four people joined.
And in Portsmouth 26 people came to a public meeting with Charlie Kimber
Stand Up to Ukip will hold a national activists’ meeting on Saturday 8 November in central London. 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. For full details go to http://standuptoukip.org/
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 papers.
Most places had a good start to the term with well-attended meetings. Make sure that your meetings are set up for the rest of term. New titles to think about are:
• Ebola: Why are Africans being left to die?
• Russell Brand calls for an uprising: Can there be a revolution in Britain?
• Are we too late to stop climate change?
• The revolutionary ideas of Karl Marx
• Police, racism, the state and Islamophobia
We can provide artwork for all these suggested meetings.
National Student Demo
Free Education – no cuts, no fees, no debt! Wednesday 19 November, 12noon, central London. This has been backed by NUS nationally. That means every student union can book transport. Check out whether a coach is booked from your university. If there isn’t one yet then try and get one put on by the Students Union. If your SU does not have flyers then please contact the National Student Office.
Understanding Marxism: SWP student and new members event - Sat 29 Nov, Central London
There will be a special day event on Sat 29 November for all new members, student members and those who have joined SWSS.
This is a place for newer members and those around us to come and find 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 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 who we can start to ask.
Please note that although this is not an open public event we would like to encourage any student who has joined SWSS but not yet the SWP to come too so they can find out more about our politics. Sessions will include:
• Can Marxism explain a world in turmoil?
• Iraq, Gaza, Ukraine: What causes wars?
• Sexism, racism and homophobia
• Where does profit come from?
• Russia: From workers power to state capitalism
• What do Marxists mean by class?
• Ukip, Islamophobia and the far right
• The Labour Party, the trade unions and reformism
• Why we need a revolutionary party
Booking form attached. Please print off and use with new members and students in SWSS. For more information or to book over the phone please call either the National Office or Student Office.
The appeal total has reached £60,201. A non-member donated £1,000 this week! They include a message of support: "Keep up the fight Socialist Worker". Our paper continues to be at the heart of the resistance and that is recognised by people around us. Every branch should talk through who we are asking in our periphery, collect at work / outside workplaces, and raise the model motion.
Walthamstow branch is organising collections at workplaces, have identified 20 people they are following up, are putting on a fundraiser about Johnny Cash, having a car boot sale, doing a sponsored walk, and call up people about donating each week. Having an approach like this means they are getting donations in regularly and reached 60% of their target. Get in touch to discuss your branch plans. You can donate through the website, by phone (0207 819 1190), or by post: PO Box 42184, London SW8 2WD. www.socialistworker.co.uk/appeal
50 years a revolutionary: Social evening to celebrate Sarah Cox’s 50 years as a revolutionary socialist with food, drink and entertainment. Saturday 6 December 7-11pm, Paddington Arts, 32 Woodfield Road, London W9 2BE. Tickets £10/£5. All proceeds to SW appeal.
Stop the bombing of Iraq
Bristol had a good Stop the War meeting last week of around 70 people—including lots of new and young people. It shows there is an audience for analysis of what is going on at the moment. The withdrawal from Camp Bastion in Afghanistan will remind many people of the waste and brutality of Britain’s recent wars.
We should discuss with local STW activists what we can do to put across opposition to the war—a street stall, plans for a meeting or whatever fits. A model motion is attached on the bombing of Iraq and Kobane. Please raise it wherever you can.
● 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 www.firstwwdayschool.eventbrite.co.uk. Organised by York Against the War
Booklaunch: Alex Callinicos, Deciphering Capital
Book Launch and Discussion of Alex Callinicos’s new book Deciphering Capital: Marx’s Capital and its Destiny
Alex will be joined by Christopher Arthur and Michael Roberts to discuss his new work and the meeting will be chaired by Gilbert Achcar. Monday, 10 November, 7pm, Khalili Lecture Theatre (KLT) at SOAS. Reserve your place here or call 020 7637 1848
Still the Enemy Within film
Still the Enemy Within is having a huge impact with big audiences and intense debate. The film is a major event and an opportunity to engage with people about the strike, sell SW and make new contacts. Leeds comrades sold 25 papers outside the “Still the enemy within” event on Sunday.
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. Forthcoming screenings include: 28 October, 7pm The Lochgelly Lecture Theatre, Bank Street, Fife; 28 October, 6.30pm, The Grosvenor Cinema, Glasgow; 1 November, 8pm, The Electric Palace, Hastings; 2 November, 8.30pm, The Cameo Cinema, Edinburgh; 2 November, 2.30pm Hippodrome, Community Cinema, Falkirk; 3 November, 7.45pm, The Light House, Wolverhampton; 4 November, 10am, Into Film, Cambridge Arts Picturehouse; 4 November, 6pm, The Showroom Cinema, Sheffield; 6 November, 7.30pm, The Plaza Community Cinema, Sefton, Liverpool; 5 November, 6.15pm, Cinema City, Norwich; 5 November, 8pm, The Plough Arts Centre, Great Torrington; 4 November, 7.30pm Macrobert Cinema, Stirling (Q&A); 6 November, 7.15pm, The Forum Cinema, Hexham
Full details and to book at http://the-enemy-within.org.uk/
Fast Food strikers visit from US
Fast food strikers from America are coming to Britain 13 – 15 November: hosted by Fast Food Rights campaign
The Fast Food Rights campaign has been developing links with the incredible strike movement of fast food workers in the US and as a result will be hosting a delegation of strikers from 13 – 15 November.
Fast Food Rights and the STUC are putting on the first public meeting of the tour in Glasgow. The details are:
Thurs 13 Nov, 7.30pm, Scottish Trades Union Congress, 333 Woodlands Road, Glasgow, G3 6NG: Speakers include Fast Food strikers from the United States, Mark McHugh, BFAWU bakers' union organiser, Dave Moxham, Scottish Trade Union Council (STUC) and Julie Sherry, Fast Food Rights campaign.
Then on Saturday 15 November, the US fast food strikers will be speaking in London at the Unite the Resistance conference in a plenary and in a workshop being run by BFAWU strikers from Hovis in Wigan on the theme of ‘The fight against zero hours contracts and organising the unorganised’.
New 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 now.
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. Order your copies now via the National Office to have them sent out with your papers this week. £3 each, 10 or more £2 each. An order form is attached
● 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 charlie@Swp.org.uk
Build rejection of lousy local government pay proposals
Unison members are being consulted in England and Wales (until 12 November) on the two year 2.2 percent pay “proposal” that led to strikes on 14 October being suspended. There is a growing revolt against the deal with many major branches recommending a no vote. Following a meeting of over 70 local government activist after last the TUC protest in London, a website has been launched for branches and activists to share information on the campaign to reject the rotten LG NJC pay proposals.
Go to http://vote2fightonlgpay.wordpress.com/ You can download materials and email in your branches materials and experiences too. Unison members in Scotland are being consulted on the offer that led to the suspension of their action until 3 November.
The Ritzy: Bosses seek revenge for living wage strikes
Ritzy cinema workers in Brixton, South London, have said that they are “utterly dismayed and saddened” at the announcement of a wave of job losses by Picturehouse Cinemas. This is clearly an attempt at revenge at the strikers who took part in the recent minimum wage dispute.
The workers are calling for solidarity. They are asking for protests emails to be sent to company directors firstname.lastname@example.org and Lyn.email@example.com to complain about the appalling way the company are treating them. You can also send messages via Twitter (@picturehouses). Ritzy Cinema Workers are pledging to fight this outrageous attack. Please send messages of support to the Facebook group: facebook.com/RitzyLivingWage and Twitter @RitzyLivingWage.
Defence Support Group (DSG) workers strike again, Tuesday 28 October
DSG workers at Bovington, Warminster and Colchester will strike tomorrow as part of three weeks of action over an 8 percent pay claim. If it’s at all possible it would be great if local branches can get to the picket lines and rush messages of support to DSGStrike@yahoo.com The striking sites are:
USS pensions action starts 6 November
UCU members in the pre-92 universities will start an assessment boycott in response to the attack on the USS pension scheme. Following a 78 percent vote for strikes and 87 percent vote for action short of strikes the assessment boycott will start on 6 November, the day after the unions’ anti-casualisation day on 5 November.
The action will stop students being set coursework or receiving formal marks and feedback, as well as halting exams. A UCU Left flyer for the universities arguing a strategy to win the dispute is set to be out tomorrow.
PCS Left Unity National Conference
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.
Some useful dates:
Saturday 8 November: SUTU activists’ meeting, London
Saturday 15 November: UtR national conference, London
Sunday 16 November: DTRTP conference
Saturday 29 November: Students’ and new members’ dayschool on Understanding Marxism
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.
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.
More details on website or Facebook pages