Tag Archive: socialist resistance


Grass Roots Rank and File Launch Conference.

Saturday 12 April 2014. 12pm
Comfort Inn, Opposite New St Station,

Station Street,

Birmingham. B5 4DY.

Following the successful meeting of the Grass Roots Left National Committee in Birmingham on 18 January the launch conference of the new Grass Roots Rank and File now looks to be on a far healthier basis than was feared when Socialist Fight supporters had been reduced to a minority of two in defence of the Constitution and Platform of the GRL as the basis for the new organisation at the AGM of 9 November. Between the two meetings the SWP had split at its December conference and the new organisation, now called the Revolutionary Socialists of the 21st Century, took the majority of the Unite the union faction who had supported Jerry Hicks for general secretary twice. Both the SWP and the SR21C attended the GRL NC and as they were now rivals they sought to accentuate their leftism. It seems now that the new joint Rank and File organisation will be open and democratic and be based on a platform and constitution at least similar to the old GRL one. Both Workers Power and Socialist Resistance had to reverse themselves and now say that standing on Jerry Hicks election points really was minimalist and not enough and they abandoned their charges of ultra leftism against SF. The SWP, of course, continues its opportunist tailending of all the other the TU bureaucracies as Laurence Humphries’s report on the Unite the Resistance conference on page 30 makes clear. In the meantime we hear that fusion discussions between Unite and the Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS), whose Executive is dominated by the SP/CWI, are going to succeed because the government will withdraw check-off facilities from the PCS and so probably bankrupt it. The SP has already approached the United Left, the Unite bureaucracy’s mouthpiece, to ensure that they become ensconced as that bureaucracy’s footstools as well as for the RMT’s Bob Crow.grass-roots-RandF

“Councillors say they are ‘trimming the fat’. However, the fat went years ago and they have been gnawing on the bones ever since”.

 Cuts and closures are already being felt in Surrey, which people usually see as a place of leafy suburbs and stockbrokers. However the county’s less well-known trade union struggles and local, grassroots campaigns are beginning to fight back.

Across Surrey, people are mobilising against the cuts. Brooklands College was saved after a huge local campaign by staff, students, parents and local people. Parents, governors and staff at Shortwood School turned out in their hundreds at public meetings. They organised street stalls and collected a petition of over 1,000 signatures in a campaign to save their school. Working peoples’ creativity and organising ability has shocked the local council.

March 15th saw the launch of  the Save Our Services in Surrey (SOSiS) campaign, sponsored by Surrey Unison. The campaign will coordinate anti-cuts activity, support local campaigns, and bring local trade unionists together to defend jobs and services.

Paul Couchman, Tusc Parliamentary Candidate for Spelthorne, West Surrey and founder of Save Our Services in Surrey said at the launch rally: ”We face threats to close Shortwood infant school in Staines, threats to hundreds of essential bus services, a ‘review’ of fire services with a clear intent to reduce the number of fire stations -and swingeing cuts to community hospital services. -And this is before the county council’s £180 million cuts package over the next few years.”

Paul Couchman is also the secretary of the Surrey County Council Trade Unions (SCCTU), representing all trade unions within the council. They have formally affiliated to the campaign. Speaking at a joint SOSiS and SCCTU lobby of Surrey Council, at Kingston Town Hall on 23rd March, Paul said: “Public sector workers and local communities who need public services, will be asking who to vote for in this year’s general election. Most trades unionists already see that New Labour no longer represents working class people and that whoever wins, the next government will take the axe to public services.”

Richard Jones, Surrey FBU branch secretary spoke at the lobby. He said: “We’ve reached a point where fire crews are turning up at emergencies and having to tell the public that they cannot make a rescue because they have to wait for more staff to turn up. These cuts put lives at risk. We turn up to incidents without enough crew and have to wait for back-up before we can safely enter the building. Fire-fighters are going in understaffed and risking their lives. The public is in danger, fire-fighters are in danger, enough is enough!”

Richard Jones continued: “If these cuts go through, Surrey will be spending less per head of the population on fire services than any county in Britain. It will mean the loss of fire engines and station closures. It’s life or death in the fire services and if these cuts continue the Grim Reaper will be taking up residence in Surrey.”

After the lobby, Paul Couchman told the rally: “We’ve sent a message to the councillors that our public services are vital and we won’t tolerate cuts to them. The politicians spent billions bailing out the bankers, and they want us to pay the price. The local hospital has lost most of its wards including the A&E Dpt, local fire stations face the axe and bus routes are being slashed.”

Paul is Chairman of the Elmbridge Care Homes Campaign. Reffering to the Campaign he said: “We have decided to draw a ‘line in the sand’ and say no more sell-offs. We are fighting to preserve the excellent services provided by the care homes”.
Paul explained the importance of working class people having a political voice, now that New Labour has joined the Tories in cutting and privatising public services. “Its necessary to fight together, trade unions and the community, to maximise the pressure on politicians and councils to fully fund public services.”

Alan Greenspan, head of the US federal reserve during the boom years – once treated as a god by capitalists and now reviled as being responsible for the crisis – recently excused his role by saying: “Unless there is a societal choice to abandon dynamic markets and leverage for some sort of central planning, I fear that preventing bubbles will in the end turn out to be unfeasible. Assuaging their aftermath seems to be the best we can hope for.”

Greenspan is right, capitalism, an unplanned blind system driven by profit and not by social need, will always have periods of crisis like at present. Anxious to restore their profits, the capitalists’ way out of the crisis will always be to try to trample working class people a bit further into the dirt.  All of the things won through struggle – are under attack. The NHS, education – the list is considerable,  The crisis is being used to unravel and dismantle all of those social gains. We’re told that poverty must now increase and that we should meekly accept the growing gap between the richest and the poorest in society. However the public are not fooled.

A Mori survey in the FT showed the public was utterly unconvinced of the need for cuts. Only a quarter believed there’s a need to cut services to reduce the national debt. 50% don’t think cuts are necessary at all -and 48% think more, rather than less, should be spent on public expenditure. The recession is the result of massive market failure. It’s entirely technically and financially feasible to create at least a million new jobs, by investing in insulating homes and public buildings, investing in renewables, through a sustainable publicly run transport system, and utilising the skills and know-how in society for socially useful production. None of this will happen if we leave it to the market.

     http://paulcouchman.com/
     www.ourhomesoursay.org.uk
     http://www.saveourservic.es/
     http://www.surreycountyunison.org.uk/

 
Join Save Our Services in Surrey F/b Group:
http://www.facebook.com/#!/group.php?gid=194817448458&ref=ts  
Join Guildford Against Fees And Cuts F/b Page:
http://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Guildford-Against-Fees-Cuts/167151436659040

The Voice of Anti-Capitalism in Guildford joined Sussex University students for the first day of their occupation.

12th March.
Download our tribute to them below in plain text or text with pictures

Download Word Version of this document with pictures: https://suacs.files.wordpress.com/2010/03/cuts-text-pics.doc
Download Word Version of this document -text only:
https://suacs.files.wordpress.com/2010/03/cuts-text-only.doc

Come to the UCU demonstration against cuts in London on the 20th of March http://www.ucu.org.uk/index.cfm?articleid=3787
Attend the Education Activists’ meeting, Kings College London. 16th March.   https://suacs.files.wordpress.com/2010/03/16th-march-regional-meeting-flyer.pdf

Details of further action: https://suacs.files.wordpress.com/2010/03/cuts-further-action.doc

LINKS: 
Visit our blog https://suacs.wordpress.com/ for the full story to date and further updates.
Or join Guildford Against Fees And Cuts F/b page.

Join the  F/b group: Sussex Stop The Cuts
Or Visit http://www.defendsussex.wordpress.com

Dan Vockins, Sussex NUS addresses a meeting of academics
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G5ar1KjLKME&feature=channel

This is the National Campaign Against Fees and Cuts statement of intent, passed at the National Convention on 6th February.

Statement of Intent
Fees, debt and marketisation are increasingly turning education from a right for all into a privilege for the wealthy. The NCAFC opposes all proposed and existing fees, course cuts, staff redundancies or reductions in education spending. Cuts are compounding 30 years of neo-liberal reforms which are turning our universities and colleges into businesses organised to produce profit and a pliant workforce, not critically thinking people and a better society.
Education can and should be funded not by student fees and taxes on the poor, but by progressive taxation. It should be an emancipator right, free and available to all.

We will fight for:
– A halt to all education cuts, the abolition of all fees and a living grant for every student, in FE and HE. Tax the rich to fund education

– Education not profit: business out of our schools, colleges and universities.

– A mass movement of students, including occupations, direct action and walk-outs from FE and 6th form colleges and schools, against fees and cuts. Solidarity with our lecturers, teachers and workers.

– Fees, cuts and marketisation are affecting all areas of education; schools, FE colleges, adult and part-time education institutions are being hit and must work together in the response. Regional meetings much be concerned with issues affecting all students in different types of education.

– This campaign also recognises that oppressed groups are being scapegoated due to the crisis, and that cuts will affect them the most. This campaign therefore commits itself to opposing all forms of racism including Islamophobia

– We are committed to solidarity and co-operation with Liberation organisations that share these values (including, but not limited to, the autonomous NUS liberation campaigns, all of which have free education policy), and condemn all forms of discrimination. Black, Disabled, LGBT and women students are systematically disadvantaged and discriminated by society and are disproportionately affected by fees and cuts.

– We are an internationalist campaign. We are for solidarity with students and workers across the world in our common struggle against exploitation and oppression. We are opposed to the victimisation of students and education workers over immigration status, as well as all deportations and immigration controls. We are opposed to all imperialist wars, sanctions and occupations: UK troops out of Afghanistan now.

– We will compile a national education activists’ contact database for co-ordinating activites

– We agree to initiate a national boycott of the National Student Survery (NSS) to oppose marketisation of education

– To send representatives to the Bologna process counter-conference on March 11th

– To support the call for a national demonstration outside the Autumn conference of whichever party wins the General Election.

– To support the teach-in at King’s College London on 27th February called by KCL UCU, No Cuts @ King’s and the London Education Activist Network

– Where possible ‘cultural evenings’ will be put on in student unions nationwide with poetry, theatre, music exhibitions and other artictic forms, with guest speakers and performers invited, in opposition to fees and cuts.

– To convene a meeting dedicated to the discussion of a united left slate in the NUS elections. All groups, networks, student unions and individual activists should be able to attend and participate.

– To change our name to the National Campaign Against Fees and Cuts

– That a national convener be elected from each region (North, South, London, East Anglia) to convene a regular open national steering committee with the regional conveners. This national organising meeting be open to all education activists.

N.B. The grammar of the statement is not perfect, as it is based on the original script from the conference; this will be addressed at the next national meeting. Please send corrections to ucl.free.education@gmail.com or againstfeesandcuts@gmail.com

Join the National Campaign Against Fees & Cuts F/b group: http://www.facebook.com/home.php?#!/group.php?gid=108319208229

 NCAFC London Area: 
 http://ncafclondon.wordpress.com/

 27th February: “Teach In” An alternative day of lectures  with speakers and guests. See F/b event. http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=285147785052