13th April 2015
Fighting for an alternative & challenging racism
‘NOT A SINGLE PENNY’ was how the Daily Mirror summed up Labour’s key manifesto pledge to cut government deficit every year and rule out any “unfunded” spending. Emphasing Labour’s “budget responsibly” is hardly likely to inspire millions of people looking for an end to years of austerity and squeezed living standards.
But equally the Tories campaign is starting to smack of desperation – veering from personal attacks on Ed Miliband as a “back stabber” to promising to spend more on the NHS but also raising the inheritance tax threshold for the richest home owners.
No wonder the Financial Times calls this the most unpredictable election of a generation – if anything that’s an underestimate. In Scotland, support for the SNP is growing according to the latest polls. Scottish Labour faces the prospect of following the same fate as Pasok, the Greek Labour Party, into near total electoral eclipse.
All of this – and the threat of Ukip – is producing a ferment of debate as people search for and weigh up alternatives. The SWP has two key ways of intervening and trying to shape this debate:
1) TUSC campaigns – these are getting an echo and drawing in non-SWP members. In Barnsley over 30 people, the majority not in the SWP, have been part of the campaign so far and South Yorkshire FBU decided to donate to Dave Gibson, the TUSC candidate over Dan Jarvis, the Labour candidate for Barnsley Central.
In Tottenham there we 25 people out on Saturday and 20 on Sunday – nearly every house in the constituency has now had the TUSC tabloid broadsheet for Jenny Sutton’s campaign. Branches that don’t have a TUSC candidate in either the general or local elections should twin with the nearest area that does and plan to join some activity.
2) Stand Up to Ukip – last weekend’s days of action for SUTU went down very (see below for some reports). We need to build on this momentum.
After the election, we should go for branch/district SWP meetings on Fighting racism and austerity: Where next after the elections? Contact the national office on 020 819 1170 for a speaker. The meetings should be on either 13-14 May or 20-21 May.
This Friday 16 April: TUSC’s TV election broadcast will be screened with participants including Jenny Sutton, Ayesha Saleem and Unjum Mirza. Its showing at: BBC2, 5.55pm: BBC1, 6.55pm: ITV, 6.25pm: Channel 4, 7.55pm.
It is very important that there are follow-up events this Saturday and Sunday – after all, around 3 million people are likely to watch the broadcast, so plans stalls etc for this weekend.
Stand Up to Ukip
Saturday saw a successful Stand Up To UKIP day of action. Many groups across the country mobilised for this by holding stalls in towns and city centres and intervening at hustings where UKIP were speaking.
In Bromley, south east London, 20 people from Stand Up To UKIP and DPAC held a lively protest outside a UKIP shop that has recently opened in the area. In Canvey Island, Essex, where Nigel Farage was addressing a crowd, around 30 people joined a SUTU protest. Sheffield Stand Up To UKIP have released a video celebrating diversity and promoting the campaign.
SUTU leafleting Commuter Stations - Thursday 16 April
London Bridge 5.30pm-7pm, meet Tooley Street entrance.
King’s Cross/St Pancras 5.30pm-7pm, meet outside the entrance to platform 11-13, located around the back between London King's Cross and St. Pancras (Battle Bridge Place). Liverpool Street 5.30pm-7pm, meet at Bishopsgate entrance above the escalators.
SUTU groups outside London should think about leafleting stations if UKIP are standing locally or in nearby towns and cities where people may be commuting from.
Final SUTU Weekend of Action - 2-3 May
SUTU are asking groups to support one of several campaigns where UKIP have a strong chance of taking the seat. Thanet South, where Nigel Farage is standing, Rochester and Strood and Clacton-On-Sea (where they have sitting MPs) and Rotherham, Gt. Yarmouth and Dudley North. If you are unable to get to any of these seats then SUTU would ask for groups to be out on a final push against UKIP in their local campaigns.
●More SUTU A5 leaflets are being printed this week and are available at £15 for 1000 or SUTU 4 page factsheets can be ordered at 500 for £30 or 1,000 at £50 via to email@example.com or post to Stand Up To Ukip, PO Box 72710, London, SW19 9GX
●A new edition of the Socialist Worker pamphlet, “Ukip the Ugly Face of Politics” is available now. Please phone your orders to 020 7819 1170 or email, firstname.lastname@example.org by 12 noon on Tuesday to order your copies and have them sent with the papers. They are £2 each or five for £9, 10 for £16, 20 for £30.
New Russell Brand film out 21 April
New Russell Brand film in cinemas 21 April
Russell Brand has a new documentary out on 21 April about the financial crisis, gross inequality and the failure of the political system.
There are special preview screenings on Tuesday 21 April, followed by ‘An evening with Russell Brand’ Live event across cinemas nationwide. The film then goes on general release. We should do Socialist Worker stalls – including with TUSC materials – outside showings as we did very successfully in the autumn when Brand’s launch for his book Revolution was live screened at cinemas.
We suggest that every branch leaflets any local showing for a follow up meeting a week later (29/30 April) on Russell Brand’s Emperor’s New Clothes: The system in crisis - what would real democracy look like? (artwork attached – use www.pdfescape.com to add your branch details). A list of cinemas showing the documentary can be found here: http://www.theemperorsnewclothesfilm.co.uk/
Peoples Assembly End Austerity Now demo
The Peoples Assembly End Austerity Now national demo on 20 June is a key date. The PA say coaches have already been booked from Bristol, Cardiff, Swindon, Doncaster, Leeds, Manchester, Newcastle and York.
There is a London wide activist meeting to help start building the demo this Thursday 16 April:
Thursday 16 April, 6:30pm, Unite London and Eastern Region, 33-37 Moreland Street London EC1V 8BB
(Nearest Tubes: Angel / Old Street). London SWP branches should try and send someone along to this.
Defend Student Occupiers
University of the Arts (UAL) students occupying the reception area at Central Saint Martins in protest against cuts to further education courses are being taken to court on Tuesday 14 April at 10am by University management.
15 people have been named on the injunction, 7 of whom are student elected union reps, and are facing legal costs against them. If the possession order and injunction are granted, the occupation could be forcibly evicted by police and bailiffs, and students could be banned from protesting at UAL in the future. Show your solidarity by joining the demonstration at the Royal Court of Justice and send messages of support to: Tuesday, 10am, Royal Court of Justice, Rolls Building, 18 Bream's Buildings, London, EC4A 1AY. Messages of support to email@example.com
Speakers at Marxism 2015 include:
• Michael Roberts on "Marxism and Crisis Theory: Making Sense of the Long Recession".
• Anne Alexander and Sami Ramidani on “Who are ISIS?”
• Hassan Mahamdallie on Islamophobia: the othering of Britains Muslims
• Peter Hain on his new book “Back to the future of Socialism”
• Ghada Karmi on the future for Palestine
• Darcus Howe and his biographers Paul Field and Robin Bunce on his political Life
• Kevin Doogan on “Zero hours contracts: Underestimated or exaggerated?”
• Judith Orr on Marxism and Women’s liberation
• Siobhan Brown on her new “Rebels Guide to Eleanor Marx”
• Gilbert Achcar and Phil Marfleet on “The Arab uprisings: results and prospects”
• Sean Sayers on the “Idea of Communism”
• Christine Buccholz on Pegida
• Ian Hodson and Ronnie Draper from the Bakers Union on the Fast Food Rights campaign
• Susan Rosenthal on “Mental Illness: A disorder of capitalism?”
• Richard House on “Failed at four: against the school testing regime”
• Lucia Pradella on Marx’s theory of imperialism and its contemporary relevance
• Dave Randall on music and politics
• Alan Gibbons on “Dusty Springfield, Sex, Art and the Sixties”
A highlight of Marxism of Marxism on Sat 11 July will be: Syriza in power: whither Greece? With Stathis Kouvelakis and Alex Callinicos The election of Syriza poses some key questions for the left. Stathis Kouvelakis (member of Syriza Central committee) and Alex Callinicos will follow up their previous debate hosted by the International Socialist Journal in February on Syriza and Socialist Strategy. Watch their debate at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FV2jCTBjlpQ
New Publicity - out this week
We will be sending out a new 6 page flyer this week with the papers. It will highlight some of the themes of Marxism and also speakers. This is to use in the run up to the General Election. We hope to have the provisional timetable out for the end of May. Please make sure you pick up the new flyers and start getting them out.
We have had a great start to building Marxism: Glasgow, York, Doncaster and Plymouth have now all signed up more people already than their total bookings last year! Many others are ahead of where they were last year at this point.
But we can’t lose momentum. For Marxism to be bigger than last year to have to keep fighting for bookings. There are a number of ways to do this:
• SWP Members. The majority of members are NOT booked for Marxism yet. We want to increase the number of our members who come this year, in particular get newer members to come. This will require some longer conversations, especially for comrades who have not been before. As well as describing what the event actually is, discussing practicalities like accommodation, transport, food and money are crucial. Make Marxism part of the re-registration ring rounds and strategy.
• Students: Will be back at most Unis, colleges and 6th Forms next week. Make sure you have regular SWP stalls to campaign over racism and UKIP in the run up to the election and to promote Marxism. Every branch should have some way of finding students to come to Marxism from their area.
• Contacts and periphery: Make sure anyone who leaves their details as interested is followed up quickly. Every branch should brainstorm who they can ask to come – think of all the anti racist activists, trade unionists, anti war activists we have met and invite them to come
• Workplaces: Every comrade should think who to ask from work. It doesn’t matter if you don’t sell SW openly yet – you can still show workmates the Marxism publicity. Or do what a comrade did in a college and send round the publicity with a cover letter (attached) through internal mail.
London Marxism Meeting: Mon 20 April. 7pm, Central London
This meeting is for all London Marxism organisers, Branch Secretaries and NC members. It is to discuss how we build Marxism in London. Every branch needs to send at least one person, if not more and we like as many London NC members to come too. Email Amy on firstname.lastname@example.org for more info and to confirm if you can come.
Racism, resistance and revolution dayschool
Saturday 30 May, 10.30am-5pm, London. Leaflet attached. Politicians are whipping up a toxic storm against migrants and Muslims. In order to defeat racism, we need to better understand it. This day school will arm SWP members with the politics to win liberation. The event is open to all members of the SWP and the Socialist Worker Student Society, but is particularly aimed at black and Asian comrades. It costs £10 (waged) or £5 (unwaged). To book a place, return the booking form to SWP dayschool, PO box 42184, London SW8 2WD, or email email@example.com
Fast Food Rights global day of action
This Wednesday there will be Fast Food Rights actions across Britain as part of a day of global solidarity with US fast food workers. Thousands of them are striking again, as part of a 90,000 strong US-wide strike in the ongoing battle for $15 an hour and a union.
See the list below of where actions are taking place and make sure comrades locally get involved if we are not already. London: 10.30am, McDonald’s Marble Arch (called by Unite, backed by BFAWU/ Fast Food Rights) 5.30 – 6.30pm, McDonald’s on Whitehall. Plus Glasgow, Sheffield, Manchester, Leeds, Darlington, Southampton, Leicester, Birmingham, Cardiff, Swansea, Ipswich, Huddersfield, Barnsley (23 April). For a full list and details etc, go to: https://fastfoodrights.wordpress.com/
Materials are attached. Colour placards are being sent out to areas with protests over the next couple days, either with the papers or via parcelforce. Make sure there is a plan to get them made and brought onto the demo. An important element of the protests is making them globally visible to show solidarity with the US strikers -
*TAKE PICTURES AND TWEET with #FastFoodGlobal #JoinAUnion #HungryForJustice #April15. If you can’t tweet, email pictures to firstname.lastname@example.org
National Gallery to strike again 20-24 April and 1 May
National Gallery strikers on tour: Invite a speaker and help organise support in your town (particularly from 20-24 April). Could you organise a leafleting session or collection where you work and invite strikers to join you? Email requests via the campaign noprivatisationatNG@gmail.com and get in touch with the industrial office.
National solidarity collection day Friday 24 April - Financial help is crucial - Make a donation to the strike fund The strikers are calling for a national collection day outside/ inside workplaces on Friday 24 April – comrades should move to get this set up straight away. Send union branch cheques to the address below. Donate to Sort code 086001 Account no 20169002 or cheques to PCS Culture Media& Sport Association c/o PCS North West Region, Jack Jones House,1 Islington, Liverpool L3 8EG.
Write to the Gallery Trustees
Email the chair email@example.com or here https://bit.ly/NGgetty
Ask your MP to support the campaign and back Early Day Motions 300 and 796. Email your MP here https://bit.ly/noprivatisation_natgallery
Download poster bit.ly/noprivatisation Share your photo #Noprivatisation #ReinstateCandy
Sign and share the petition – make it 50,000!
Demand Candy Udwin’s reinstatement
Join the mailing list or facebook page
Email noprivatisationatNG@gmail.com or www.facebook.com/nonationalgalleryprivatisation
Save Adult Education national demo, Sat 25 April
London Region UCU has called a national protest against the huge cuts to adult education on Sat 25 April, assembling 12.30pm, Lewisham and Southwark College, 25 The Cut (Waterloo campus), SE1 8LF. Where ever we can it would be great to get the leaflet for the demo (link below) to as many UCU members and into as many FE colleges as possible. http://uculeft.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/April-25-UCU-Demo-revised-...
Unison NEC elections 7 April-15 May
Important elections for the Unison National Executive are underway and run until 15 May. SWP members are standing as part of the Reclaim the Union group as left candidates. More leaflets for Unison members will be out this week.
Greenwich College: more action starts on Wed 15 April
Greenwich College UCU members will take part in a series of strikes against cuts in holidays, increase in the teaching week, on the spot lesson observations and performance related pay on Wed 15 April, Tues 21 April, Thurs 23 April, Wed 29 April and Fri 1 May. Send messages of support to UCU branch chair firstname.lastname@example.org
More strikes at Smurfit Kappa from Fri 17 April
A four day strike by Unite members at corrugated packaging company Smurfit Kappa in Northampton will start next Friday (17 April) over the sacking of two senior stewards. The four day stoppage will start at 5.50am on Friday.
Rush messages of support to email@example.com
Stand up for Education events in your area
There are a series of Stand up for Education events and Question Times being organised by the NUT across England & Wales. Have a look and make sure that you are up to date with what’s happening in your area.
“Vote for justice” rally, 23 April
A major rally to defend Legal aid is being held on 23 April at Westminster Central Hall. To download leaflets go to https://justiceallianceuk.wordpress.com/vote-for-justice/
It’s great news that the Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners banner will lead London Pride on 27 June with miners’ marching bands and the trade union block behind it. This is a real chance to underline that “pride is a protest”. LGSM may also lead other Prides.
●Please try to pass the attached model motion on LGSM and Pride.
● A list of forthcoming Prides is below. Start planning now for an intervention. We will be doing a placard for Prides and a leaflet. Also order from Bookmarks copies of Laura Miles’ pamphlet Pride, Politics and Protest, a revolutionary guide to LGBT liberation.
Exeter Gay Pride 2015 Saturday 16 May; Birmingham Gay Pride 2015 Saturday 23 May; Bradford Pride 2015 Saturday 30 May; Oxford Gay Pride 2015 Saturday 6 June; Blackpool Gay Pride 2015 Saturday 13 June; Gloucestershire Gay Pride 2015 Saturday 13 June; Swindon & Wiltshire Pride 2015 Sunday 14 June; Cumbria Pride 2015 Saturday 20 June (in Carlisle); Portsmouth Pride 2015 Saturday 20 June; Edinburgh Pride Saturday 20 June; Suffolk Pride 2015 Saturday 20 June (in Ipswich); York Pride 2015 Saturday 20 June; Coventry Gay Pride 2015 Saturday 27 June; London Pride 2015 Saturday 27 June; Warwickshire Pride 2015 Saturday 4 July
Socialist Worker May day greetings
Rush your solidarity messages to SW for the May Day issue. Send a message against austerity and racism. A letter to union branches, rate sheet and order form are attached. The deadline is this Wednesday.
New ISJ out this week
The new issue of International Socialism journal is out this week. The journal features an interview with Panos Garganas on the balance of forces in Greece and articles by Jim Wolfreys on the Charlie Hebdo massacre and the culture of republican “secularism” in France and Hassan Mahamdallie on Islamophobia and the left. Megan Trudell discusses racism in the US and the #BlackLivesMatter movement that has sprung up to oppose it, Sheila McGregor reviews Heather Brown’s book on Marx and gender and our discussion of the state of the organised working class continues with rejoinders to Simon Joyce’s article “why are there so few strikes?” in our previous issue.
Copies of the journal can be sent out to branches with papers next Tues 21 April. To order yours, use the form at http://swp.org.uk/resource/1235 or call 0207 819 1177. You can also subscribe as an individual at www.isj.org.uk.
Special pre-election offer!
In the run up to the general election, everyone should read the brilliant book by Paul Foot, The Vote: How it was won & how it was undermined. Usually priced at £13.99, the book is on special offer at £9.99. Branches can get an additional discount when ordering.
Bookmarks at union conferences Last week Bookmarks ran very successful stalls at NUT and NASUWT conferences. In the coming weeks we will be at CWU, GMB, PCS and FBU conferences. If you are going, please make sure to visit the Bookmarks stall and to bring other members of your delegations. If you can help us get a stall at other events, please contact the shop.
Tuesday 14 April: How Corrupt is Britain? With David Whyte and Hilary Wainwright
Tuesday 21 April: Blacklisted with Dave Smith, 6.30pm, £2
Monday 11 May Detroit 67: The Year That Changed Soul with Stuart Cosgrove
Tuesday 26 May: Mitchell Abidor & Ian Birchall introduce A Socialist History of the French Revolution by Jean Jaurès
All events start at 6.30pm, £2, Bookmarks Bookshop, WC1B 3QE