Party Notes

23rd May 2016


Stand up to Racism: London Public Meeting

Refugees Welcome – Keep racism out of the EU referendum, This Wed, 25 May, 6.30pm

Wed 25 May, 6.30pm, Mander Hall, NUT Building (Hamilton House), Mabledon Place, WC1H 9BD.

Speakers: Lord Alf Dubs, Rabbi Lee Wax, New North London Synagogue, Talha Ahmad, Muslim Council of Britain, Colette Levy, Hidden Child of Vichy France, Natalie Bennett, Green Party Leader, Sabby Dhalu and Weyman Bennett, Stand Up to Racism Co-Convenors

Join the Facebook event here Register for free on Eventbrite here

This is an important meeting in the run up to the EU referendum. Branch meetings are cancelled in London to enable comrades to attend and bring other activists.



Marxism Festival 2016: Less than 6 weeks to go!

The new Marxism timetable is now out – if you did not receive this with your papers last week please contact the Marxism office sarahb@swp.org.uk or call 020 7840 5620. More will be sent to every branch this week. We have 1000s so please give out widely!

Building Marxism now has to be central for every branch and comrade. But it is not separate from other areas of work. We want to bring the activists we have met in SUTR, on picket lines, from housing campaigns, on health demos, from building for the Calais Convoy and everything else we are involved in together to discuss how we build resistance and what alternatives there are. There clearly is an audience for socialist ideas – last week over 100 people packed into Sheffield’s rally “Is socialism possible?” while over 150 people came to hear arguments for a Left Exit at the Lexit International London meeting (see reports below).

But nothing is automatic – building Marxism means fighting for every single person to book up. That means winning them to why they would want to come to such an event – discussing the key political questions of the time but also attention to detail – have they got transport, where will they stay etc. If we get Marxism right, it can be a fantastic event that helps arm a much wider layer of members and periphery but also can strengthen your district. Students have to be central to this. Just two or three students who come to Marxism could be the basis of a SWSS group at your local Uni next year. But now is the time to do this – with less than 6 weeks until Marxism starts we have to follow up every single contact and member this week.

Have you looked through the new Marxism timetable?

There is an impressive list of speakers: Tariq Ali on “The American Empire and its discontents”, Natalie Bennett debating “Where next after the EU referendum?” with Joseph Choonara, John Bellamy Foster discussing “The Anthropocene and the global ecological crisis”, Dave Ward from the CWU and Matt Wrack from the FBU on “Trade Unions in the era of Corbynism”, Moazzam Begg speaking at the opening rally, newly elected TDs Richard Boyd Barrett and Brid Smith, Michael Roberts on Robots and Artificial Intelligence, Ilan Pappe on “Israel: the apartheid state”, Stathis Kouvelakis debating Panos Garganos on Syriza and Greece Today . . . . plus many, many more! All of those meetings would be major ones alone never mind as part of an event with 150 different meetings. Remember that people don’t have to come for the full five days – day tickets are available in advance.

Action plan to build Marxism:

- Have you got up to date lists? Make sure you have lists of members plus non members who went last year. If not please call the Marxism office and we can send these out.

- Set up collective ring rounds – they work much better than just allocating names to comrades to call. Ring all members, new and long standing, go through SWSS lists, meeting sign in sheets from the last year, petitions where people have left their numbers, people who have asked for more information etc

- We have mailed out every non member who came to Marxism last year with the new timetable to make ring rounds easier.

- Encourage every member to ask friends, family, workmates and activists to come.

- We will mail out new members the timetable this week. Even if you have not got hold of newer people, try them again now

- Poster the local area – laminated posters with cable ties stay up longer. Ask to put them in shops

- Leave timetables in shops, cafes, bars etc

- Student stalls – Students are still around doing exams at most Uni’s and FE and 6th forms will be around until Marxism itself. Every branch must do a student stall – use a petition, sell SW, give out the Marxism timetable and get contact details to follow up (quickly) of anyone who is interested.

- Have a list of all the big political events in your area and flyer them for Marxism.

If you have not yet booked you can do so here

Or call us on 020 7840 5620

Check out the updated website here and join the facebook group here.



Stand Up to Racism & Convoy to Calais 18 June

Register your transport for the convoy to Calais here

Hundreds more refugees have drowned in the Mediterranean since the EU/Turkey deal, while many others live in appalling conditions in camps from Calais to Greece. We want to make the Convoy to Calais on 18 June a huge demonstration of solidarity with refugees and also send a clear message to the media and politicians that refugees should be let into Britain and not used as scapegoats in the EU referendum.

Collect money for organisations L'Auberge Des Migrants and Care 4 Calais working at the camp. Join the convoy by booking on cars and minibuseshere and email Zak at info@standuptoracism.org.uk once you have booked on.

Every area should organise a convoy mobilising meeting. Meet up with representatives from all organisations backing the 18 June Convoy to co-ordinate building. Organise events to build the convoy and collect money for it, such as workplace collection days and street stalls. What about a joint rally the week beginning 13 June to “see off” the convoy from your town or city. We should be planning now for follow up events after the convoy to report back and plan future Stand up to Racism activities.

Collections and sponsorship: Every comrade should use the collection sheet here. It’s not just about raising money but helps with for taking up the political question of opening the borders into the workplaces and colleges.

Everyone should get sponsored to go, it’s a way of making sure that even if they can’t go people in your workplace, college, campaign and family feel part of building a big anti-racist statement in the run up to the EU referendum.

Don’t forget students . Make sure you approach officers from your local university Students Union. NUS conference last month passed a motion committing NUS to working with SUTR.

Convoy to Calais logistics. These can be found on the SUTR website here and will be updated.

Comrades should get their travel and ferry organised as soon as possible. The Convoy will assemble at 8.30am on Sat 18 June outside Downing Street – It will then drive to Dover for a rally before going to France. In Calais there’s an assembly point so the Convoy can meet organisations on the ground there, deliver solidarity and join refugees for a political rally. You can meet the convoy in Dover or in Calais.

SUTR meetings and events

Every area needs to ensure that they have a Stand Up to Racism meeting planned very soon – Please send details of your SUTR meetings and events to Zak on z.cochrane1@gmail.com

Date for your diary: SUTR conference, Sat 8th October

Friends Meeting House, 173-177 Euston Road, London, NW1 2BJ, 10.30am-4.30pm. This will bring together speakers, organisations and activists from anti racist campaigns

- Unite against Fascism have called a protest at the Austrian Embassy should Nazi Norbert Hofer win the Presidential Election. Thursday 26 May, 6- 7.30pm. More details on Facebook here



SWP rallies: ‘Is Socialism Possible?’

110 people packed into the Sheffield rally last week. This is the biggest SWP meeting in the city for years. Many people who came were brought directly by comrades but a lot came from the publicity round the city too. One comrade described it having an “Almost magical atmosphere - people were chatting before we started, looking at the many campaign stalls, and then rapturous applause and cheers for all the speakers”. Sally Campbell from the CC was followed by a striking member of BFAWU fresh a from picket line, Brid Smith spoke on Ireland and then short but moving contributions from a junior doctor, Doncaster Women's Aid, Orgreave Truth and Justice Campaign, the Rotherham 12 Campaign before Julie Sherry from the CC summed up. At the end 3 people joined the SWP. The SWP rally in Leeds held on Saturday attracted about 65 people. Steve reports that “A great political and comradely atmosphere led to 3 people joining the SWP and a sign up to Marxism”

Jay from Sheffield reports about how their rally was built. This method should be used to build all meetings and Marxism: “We started by compiling lists of names that comrades felt should be approached. We had dedicated branch committees and had the rally as an extended agenda item, at more than one branch. These names were then followed up with phone calls, texts, emails, postering, social media, letters and visits.

Phone Calls : As well as comrades independently contacting people we organised a collective ring round. This helped us to sign people up for Marxism as well as the rally. One useful thing we did was to collect together months of petitions and contact everybody we could.

Texts: Group texts were sent out as well as texts to individuals.

Postering : Several people came to the rally because they'd seen the posters. You can tape the posters in obvious places, but is also worth taping the post cards to lamp posts and crossings.

Social media: As well as creating an event we put up videos of the speakers and articles from Socialist Worker and were able to advertise how the event was looking and the range of speakers/ campaigners. We also created an “Eventbrite” page. This got people there.

Letters to comrades: It really helped to fix the rally in comrades heads and it meant we knew the whole district had flyers.”

This week rallies will take place in

Manchester – Wednesday 25 May

Postcard here poster here (involving Manchester, Wigan & Bolton SWP).

Birmingham - Thursday 26 May

Postcard here poster here (involving Birmingham, Coventry & Black Country SWP).

And then in:

South London – Wednesday 8 June postcard here (involving Brixton, Southwark, Croydon & Tooting).

North/North East London – Thursday 9 June

postcard here and poster here (involving Islington, Haringey, Waltham Forest & Hackney SWP).



#Lexit: The Left Leave Campaign

Last week #Lexit hosted a fantastic meeting in central London on “The internationalist case against the EU”. Over 150 packed into a room to hear from Alex Callinicos, Brid Smith, Lindsey German, Rob Griffiths plus a skype with a Greek speaker, and a speaker from Catalunya. See footage from the meeting here

We need to approach other organisations to ensure that there is a Lexit event in every area. We should talk to RMT, BFAWU and Aslef unions, to Communist Party, Socialist Party and Counterfire where they have members, plus the Indian Workers' Association, Scottish Left Leave, Day-mer (the Kurdish group) and Bangladeshi Workers Council. Once a date and venue are set Lexit can help provide national speakers.

Check out the new RMT/ASLEF/BFAWU statement on why they are for leaving the EU here

Click here to watch the EU debate in Brighton between Caroline Lucas from the Green Party and Tom Hickey from the SWP.



Solidarity with jailed activists in Egypt: Rally this Fri 27 May, 5.30pm, Birkbeck College, London

Egypt Solidarity Initiative alongside Amnesty International, students and trade unionists from central London have organised a protest this Friday. This is to highlight the repression in Egypt which has seen over 100 revolutionary activists and human rights campaigners jailed for 5 years, and hundreds more detained. They join hundreds who have “disappeared” in the last year alone including Cambridge researcher Giulio Regeni. As part of this protests we will mark out a 6 x 10 metre “cell” on the ground and ask 48 people to stand inside it. These figures are based on the reports we have received from Egyptian prison solidarity campaigners about the levels of overcrowding in the cells where detainees are being held.

We want to bring students and trade unionists together for Friday's protest in a visible statement of solidarity with those facing repression in Egypt, and to send a strong message to our own government that we will mobilise in solidarity against the UK’s alliance with Sisi’s dictatorship.

Join the rally Friday 27 May, 5.30pm outside Birkbeck college, Torrington Square (between Birkbeck and SOAS buildings), London WC1E 7JL (closest underground: Russell Square or Goodge Street). More details here

Download a poster / leaflet here
Sign this statement and circulate widely here



Prides and LGBT + work

The Pride season will kick off this Saturday with Birmingham Pride. If you would like to come and be part of the SWP intervention there please contact the National Office who can put you in touch with comrades organising this.

We have leaflets and placards to use on Pride events – please contact the National Office to have these sent up to your district.

Comrades are part of raising money for a Pink Bus to join the Calais Convoy. This is about raising solidarity and building links between LGBT groups and refugees and migrants. The link to the fundraising page is here



Kill the Housing Bill now Axe the Housing Act: National Demo 18 June

This demo will assemble at 12 noon from Hyde Park corner.

Also protest at the London Real Estate Forum, where property developers look for 'deals' with at least eight councils and other public bodies: 14 June 8.30am at Berkeley Square London W1J 5AX - bring children, tents and banners.



Workplace Notes

UCU University pay strike across Britain this Wednesday (25) and Thursday (26 May)

UCU members at universities across Britain will strike this Wednesday and Thursday over pay (they rejected a 1.1 percent offer), the issue of the gender pay gap and to oppose casualization. The strikes are happening just a few days after the unveiling of the government’s White Paper for Higher Education. The White Paper opens the door for the market to let rip across the University sector and removes the £9k cap on fees.

Picket lines will be up from 7.30 – 8am.

A Socialist Worker leaflet for the picket lines will be out on Tuesday morning. A UCU Left flyer (UCU Left is the left grouping in UCU SWP members belong to) can be downloaded here and we should try to get these leaflets to UCU members we know to distribute on the picket line.

In London UCU members will assemble on Wed 25 May at 1.30pm at the Tavistock Square headquarters of UCEA (the employers’ organisation) and then march to Conway Hall for a strike rally with shadow chancellor John McDonnell and Shelly Asquith Vice President of NUS.

Here is a handy list of British universities with campus addresses etc. Please check out what’s in your area here

Defend UCU reps Mark Campbell and David Hardman at London Metropolitan University

London Met’s UCU branch chair Mark Campbell and secretary David Hardman are amongst UCU members made redundant in the latest wave of job cuts at London Met. Messages of support to uculondonmet@mail.coma

Take a solidarity selfie photo with this poster post on their facebook page here

Sign and spread the 38 degrees petition demanding their reinstatement here #savelondonmet #saveourreps

RALLY AT 1PM, London Met Uni this Thursday

Junior Doctors: Build the campaign to reject the deal

Anyone who is in contact with junior doctors--or follows the 64,000 strong 'Junior Doctors Contract Forum' on Facebook--will have got a sense of the reaction to the deal that emerged from talks between Hunt and the BMA last week . For many it has been one of anger. The deal will still impact on junior doctors with childcare, and it remains an attack on unsocial hours, getting rid of the weekend, and reducing the pay supplement for working Saturdays from 50 percent to 37 percent.

These are the key dates over the coming weeks:

31st May - Publication of new contract and supporting materials

3rd June - Junior doctor committee meeting

1st - 17th June - Roadshows to explain the new contract

17th June - 1st July - Member referendum on the offer

6th July - Referendum result

While there is rightly widespread anger at the deal, we should be clear that the only reason there is any deal at all is because the junior doctors' strikes, particularly the most recent full walkout, have put enormous pressure on the Tories and exposed them over the highly political issue of their attacks on the NHS. The public support is behind the junior doctors and the Tories are weak. If the BMA called hard hitting action it could intensify the political crisis for the Tories. If union leaders were to give a proper a lead, there would be potential for the fight in the NHS to spread, from the ballot of ambulance workers for strikes by Unison, GMB and Unite, and from the motion won by our comrade in the BMA for a willingness to ballot GPs for industrial action in a potential dispute over urgent prescriptions for general practices.

We will be sending out an updated leaflet for hospital sales on Thursday . Comrades should aim to get that in (for any sales in the meantime you can use the one sent out last Thursday) along with leaflets for the NHS student bursary national demonstration on 4 June (see below).

Comrades should raise the motion calling for a TUC national day of action in support of the junior doctors. Download the model motion here

Now is a good time to get in touch with any junior doctor contacts locally to discuss what they think, and continue to develop links and solidarity. We should meet up with junior doctors to talk about coming to Marxism 2016. We now have three leading junior doctors confirmed to speak throughout Marxism, alongside leading NHS bursary students. This is a space to continue the strategic discussions with leading activists in what has been one of the most significant disputes we've seen for a while.

March to save the NHS bursary: Saturday 4 June... and a lobby this Wednesday

NHS bursary campaign students have asked the SWP to help get leaflets out around London hospitals. Leaflets for the demo will go out to London branches this week. Please let us know (julies@swp.org.uk ) where your branch is able to cover. Download the PDF leaflet here Assemble: St Thomas’s Hospital, 1pm Facebook Group: nhsbursarycutsforum

Unison has also called a lobby of parliament over the bursary cuts on Wednesday 25 May at 10am: Details here

Steelworkers set to march in London to put pressure on UK government: Wed 25 May

This Wednesday hundreds of steelworkers from across the UK will march in London over Tata Steel. The march, which has been organised by the three main steel unions: Community, Unite and GMB, will start at London's Embankment before walking down Whitehall and past Downing Street. It will finish near the Houses of Parliament. Union members from Tata Steel and several other major steel companies will take part in the event. MPs are being encouraged to come out of the House of Commons and meet with steelworkers on the day. If you are available to go to this demo please contact the Industrial Dept.

Support the strike at the Rio cinema on strike Wednesday 25 May

Members of BECTU will strike over management restructure and threatened job cuts this Wednesday 25 May. A change.org petition is available here More details to follow. Go here for background to the strike.

National Museum Wales, all-out strike continues

Solidarity is crucial for the “Hands off our weekends” strike at the National Museum of Wales. So far 'meet the strikers' solidarity events have taken place in London, Bristol, Liverpool and Derby. Go to their Facebook page here Invite a striker to speak at your meeting. Solidarity donations and collections: Unity Trust Bank Account name: PCS Amgueddfa Cymru 107006 Branch Hardship Fund Account number: 20364700 Sort code: 60-83-01 Or via PayPal. Sign the petition for fair pay at NMW

Manchester bus strike: TOMORROW!

TOMORROW, Tuesday 24 May, up to 700 drivers with First Bus could strike affecting routes across Manchester, Oldham, Rochdale, Salford and Trafford. The drivers, members of Unite, are in dispute over changes to conditions and bargaining procedures.

BFAWU bakers' union members set to strike at Pennine Foods this week

BFAWU bakers' union at Pennine Foods struck in the first of a series of planned fortnightly 48 hour strikes last week. At the packed Sheffield SWP 'Is Socialism Possible rally, they brought their story of stopping 15 trucks and turning them round on the picket line (after picketing 6am - 6pm) and hitting deliveries to M&S .The dispute is over attacks on pay and contracts. This Wednesday, there is a picket of M&S in support of the Pennine Foods strikers. See Facebook page event here. Next strike is next week, on 2 & 3 June. Picket lines: Drake House Cres, Waterthorpe, Sheffield, West Yorkshire S20 7JG:Rush messages of support to: Haroon Rashid haroon.rashid@bfawu.org

CWU major national event in Birmingham, 4 June

CWU Midlands Region National People's Post event, Birmingham 4 June. Keep watching this page for updates on speakers etc.



International Socialism Day School: Sat 15 Oct 2016

The next ISJ day school- “Marxism and Nature” will be on 15 October in London. Speakers include ecosocialist author and activist Ian Angus who is coming from Canada to speak. For more information or to book go to http://isj.org.uk/day-school-marxism-and-nature/ There is also an interview with Ian in the latest Socialist Review http://socialistreview.org.uk/413/entering-age-humans