Tag Archive: campaign for new anti capitalist party


There’s no need for the cuts – the money’s there

This week’s budget will see the mainstream parties and the media agree that there is no alternative to huge cuts in public spending. The only debate is about how fast this should happen. Yet there is plenty of money that could be used to ensure that there are no cuts to vital services. Mark Thomas writing in the Socialist Worker gives us some suggestions:

Close the tax gap

The gap between tax owed and tax paid in Britain could be as much as £120 billion a year, say the Tax Justice Network. This “tax gap” is made up of tax avoidance using legal loopholes, and illegal tax evasion. Even the Revenue & Customs department says that £40 billion of tax is avoided and evaded. In addition, £28 billion in tax owed is still unpaid. But the Tax Justice Network say this “dramatically underestimates” the real figures. It puts the total tax gap at a minimum of £70 billion a year, but say it may be as much as £120 billion. The projected annual tax deficit between the government’s income and spending is likely to be around £170 billion. The Tax Justice Network point out that tax avoidance “shifts the burden of tax payment from capital (and the large companies that utilise it) onto labour, and from the wealthy and self-employed onto employed labour.” The rich should pay much more in tax. But even if they just paid what they currently owe there would be plenty of money for public services.

Cut military spending

Britain’s military budget for this year is approximately £37 billion. Under Labour, military spending has increased 11 percent above inflation since 1997. And the extra costs incurred from the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq aren’t covered by the Ministry of Defence’s budget. The Treasury Reserve pays them. Since 2001, an additional £9.5 billion has been spent on the occupations of these two countries.

Take from the rich

The recession seems to be over for some. Pay outs to shareholders in top companies are set to rise by 18 percent. Top bankers are still raking it in after the government stepped in the bail out the financial industry. Bob Diamond, Barclays bank’s president, boasted a couple of months ago that he wouldn’t accept a bonus this year in response to public anger. Yet Diamond still grabbed more than £22 million in pay last year. Other Barclays employees will share a bonuses of £2.2 billion. Investment bankers at its Barclays Capital division will get an average payment of £95,000.

25th March 2010

CUTS TO EDUCATION EXPOSED

 On Thursday the government announced how cuts to higher education will be distributed between the universities. The long-awaited report confirmed the fears of many that education would be made to pay the price of the £1 trillion given to the rich bankers. The report from the Higher Education Funding Council of England shows that four out of every five universities in England will face real-terms cuts. A total of £573 million in cash cuts (7.23%), have been announced for next year alone. This is nothing short of a catastrophe for education in England.

In order to make the cuts seem less bitter, slight increases have been made to teaching and research funding but this is still a real terms fall. The cuts by and large fall in the ‘capital funding’ bracket – mostly the money that universities are allowed to claim for new buildings. This may not seem like it will immediately effect students, but many university buildings are unfit for purpose and will be replaced by universities using funding from other areas – effectively sacking teachers and replacing them with bricks. This is currently happening at King’s College, where staff are being sacked at the same time as management are forking out £20 million for the grandiose Somerset House on the bank of the river Thames.

Just for profit, not for students
Research funding will be narrowed into a smaller number of ‘elite’ institutions, creating a two-tier system.
The general trend is to give more money to the universities that already have the most, by taking it away from the others. Oxford University’s research funding has increased by £7.1million up to £126million, and a third of the total research fund is distributed to just five key universities – Oxford, Cambridge, UCL, Imperial and Manchester. Less fortunate universities are set to become little more than teaching factories providing degrees aimed at workplace skills with much less funding to develop research practices. But although these richer universities are more protected from the cuts, some are still making academic staff redundant as part of a drive towards “restructuring” – providing only courses that are profitable in the world of business, and deprioritising education that is for the pursuit of knowledge.

Education for the rich
Many university managers want to shift the central funding crisis onto students – by campaigning for higher tuition fees. Shortly after the general election, the review into ‘Higher Education Funding and Student Finance’, headed by ex-BP chief executive Lord Browne, is expected to increase the tuition fee cap from £3,225 per year to £5,000 or even higher.

Some universities such as Oxford are pushing for the cap to be abolished altogether, allowing them to charge whatever they like. Fees have already been shown to put working class students off entering university, and the higher fees proposed are likely to mean that more prestigious universities such as those in the Russell group will become almost exclusively playgrounds of the rich. The combined effect will be that working class students will pay to be trained in careers, while rich students will receive a traditional ‘liberal’ arts and sciences education leading to cultural elitism. This would be a serious regression back in the direction of a Victorian style education.

Stealing our future
But with money, or without it, the HEFCE is threatening to keep higher education well out of reach of thousands of students in Further Education colleges who want to carry on their studies.
Entry quotas have been given to universities, and they will be required to keep within the limits or face financial penalties. At a time when unemployment is so high, many young people are desperate to start earning money, or continue education and are now being denied the opportunity for either, with an estimated seven applicants for every university place this year, leaving youth on the scrap-heap.

Courses cut – exec pay rockets
Many universities have already begun cutting staff and even whole departments. Sussex has lost linguistics, Leeds is losing classics, UCL is cutting language courses and Westminster is slashing IT. The cuts are not just a response to anticipated central government funding cuts, but university managers are cynically using them as an excuse to remove unprofitable courses and academics who perform useful research, but without immediate financial value to businesses.

This is part of the trend towards neo-liberalism in universities where academics have to justify their jobs based on economic value, ignoring the far more important value non-profitable research can have for society. The move towards business-orientated universities has expressed itself in other ways – vice-chancellors have seen their pay increase to a level similar of Britain’s largest national corporations, many earning in excess of £300,000 per annum. At the same time their numbers have increased by a third, meaning a disproportionate amount of money is spent on management while academic jobs are being cut. This is

Britain’s role in the shady European ‘Bologna Process’ plan, which is attacking education across Europe, and has provoked mass uprisings of students from Italy, to Greece, to France, Austria, Germany, Switzerland and many more. The process coordinates efforts by the leaders of 42 countries to standardise universities, allowing them to compete with one another – creating a market in education, where institutions that best serve the needs of business will thrive, whereas the others will be cut back. The global financial crisis seems to mean that the bosses are accelerating the process.

But the current attacks on education are no foregone conclusion, and the movement for education is starting to win victories. Occupations, demonstrations and strikes at Sussex, Leeds and London Met have already won some impressive victories along the way to defeating the cuts, and the similar struggles of our brothers and sisters in Europe show a potential to organise internationally – if we could do that imagine how powerful the student movement would be. The lesson – we need to organise and fight for learning, not profit

Copied from: http://www.workerspower.com
Botom-Of-Post - Protest

Amnesty International Pre-Election Meeting

Amnesty International Pre-Election Meeting

  Time for an Anti-Fascist Defence League!!

The English Defence League (EDL) continue to pose a threat to our cities and towns across the UK with their racist campaign against extremist Islam. EDL demonstrations are both increasing in size and the level of violence.

In Stoke, January, EDL supporters daubed a mosque in racist graffiti. Threats were made to an Asian run taxi service. Asian and Muslim businesses came under attack.
This month, the EDL were able to march on the Houses of Parliament in London, whilst police used violence to break up the antifascist demonstration that was present.
If the EDL marches continue – and there is no reason to think otherwise– sooner or later we will experience attacks on communities on a scale of those seen on the European continent.
We need to organise self-defence for ourselves if we are to protect our own demonstrations and our
communities from fascists and the police, and to stop the EDL in their tracks.

We need to form our own ANTI-FASCIST DEFENCE LEAGUE

Download this Call for an Anti-Fascist Defence League Workers Power AFDL Flyer
Alternative Call for an Anti-Fascist Defence League AFDL (2)

Sussex University Students Union – Letter To Students

The Voice of Anti-Capitalism has obtained a letter from Sussex University Student Union to the students of Sussex. It was sent to students a couple of days before the UCU went on strike on Thursday. The letter urges students to support the UCU strike and we think it is a principled position for all student unions to take.  Sussex has consistently led the student response to the education cuts. Sussex University Student Union – Letter To Students

Links:
Sussex University Occupation (March 12th – 18th:  https://suacs.wordpress.com/2010/03/15/sussex-university-student-occupation-2010-the-full-story/

Round-up of This Student protests against Fees & Cuts. https://suacs.wordpress.com/2010/03/20/322/
Join the F/book page: Guildford Against Fees And Cuts
Botom-Of-Post - Protest

Lift Visa Ban On Palestinian Farmers

24th February, 2010
3 PALESTINIAN FARMERS DENIED VISAS BY THE UK GOVERNMENT FOR FAIRTRADE FORTNIGHT
These farmers, whose olive oil is the only one in the world to carry
the Fairtrade mark, have been invited by a UK social enterprise,
Zaytoun, and were to be accompanied by a leading British NGO.
http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/fairtradefarmersfrompalestine/
www.1948.org.uk

From Guildford Peace & Justice Coalition guildfordpeaceandjustice@talktalk.net

23rd February ‘10

 Treachery and stalinoid bourgeois liberalism in the SWP, Guildford.

I never thought for a minute that the young SUAC (Surrey United Anti-Capitalists) ‘comrade’ in the SWP took his party seriously. He always criticises ‘his’ party, it’s policies and methodology.

His great work in local environmental issues, housing and squatters’ rights- together with his tireless efforts promoting local, anti-capitalist unity- is a contradiction to the opportunism, sectarianism and theoretical vacuity of his party.

The recent expulsions and witch-hunts pervading the SWP have thus far passed Guildford by. Guildford is far enough from London to be out of the eye of the centralised SWP bureaucracy. The unprincipled political manoeuvrings within the SWP have given us in SUAC a great deal of amusement. The ‘crimes’ of those expelled or forced to resign appear petty compared to the Guildford membership’s autonomous disregard for their party’s policies. In Guildford, the two active SWP’ers put their efforts in to building anti-capitalist unity rather than their party’s sectarianism.    

The young comrade in question, Mr X agrees on the need to build up pluralistic Action Committees and Anti-Cap groups similar to our own –supported by a bottom up Anti-Capitalist Party. Being in the SWP however, he refuses to mention the Call for A New Anti-Capitalist Party because his party didn’t think of it first.

With this background in mind, I was shocked at the flagrant use of SWP tactics at this evenings SUAC meeting. Sneaked onto the agenda was Mr X’s proposal that before posters were distributed, they should be agreed by a meeting. This is something I’d insisted on for some time.

After some discussion the meeting decided that in cases where time is short, a minimum Coram of 4 people would be needed to approve a poster. During this debate it became evident that Mr X’s idea of ‘posters’ weren’t actually posters at all.

Mr X had raised objections to pictures on the SUAC Facebook group before. He had described them as “not respectable” and “giving SUAC a violent image”. Mr X thought he would be able to claim at a later date, an agreement regarding the approval of posters gave him a mandate to remove the pictures from the Facebook group. 

Mr X knows very well posters and Facebook pictures are quite different things – But he sought to conflate the two in order to avoid opposition to deleting the Facebook pictures. Mr X’s plan was to delete the Facebook pictures, performing a fate-a comply and claim afterwards the pictures were unapproved posters.

Such underhanded Stalinoid tactics will never succeed or be tolerated.
Names have been changed to protect the guilty

Down with the Stalinoid Triumvirate of Mr X, Mr T and Mr J
All power to the Left Opposition!!!

Download This Here:   Treachery and stalinoid bourgeois liberalism in the SWP, Guildford