Sunday, 31 October 2010

The Blogging Revolt

On what I consider a much lighter post of recent times; we have taken this opportunity to introduce some new blogs that have been added to our blog list here on The Socialist Way.

It really is a great joy and of immense satisfaction to write and be a part of running The Socialist Way, and putting into words the important things we feel about the world in which we live, and to share of course some of our ideas and opinions’ with the possibleness of billions of people dotted all around this great globe reading our blog, although that may be over doing expectations a wee bit.

It’s such a buzz to look at the blog globe on the right-hand side of this post and see that we have had visitors from the seven continents and landmasses of the earth, and just to think that man the human race, the pioneers, had to cross the continent on foot taking many years of discovery to arrive at where we are now. Early man left his footprint, his tools here and there; a painting on a cave wall gave an idea and told the story of that journey.

In this modern technological civilization, based in the scientific and industrial progress that man has made, we are able through the medium of cyberspace to reach out and communicate with others on the other side of our planet. Such a wondrous invention is the Internet, but of course let’s be honest its development spurred-on by profit making motives, the psychological feature that arouses this organism that some say is man into action and towards a desired goal; the reason for the action; that which gives purpose and direction to such behaviour is sadly money and profit.

Unfortunately, many people in the industrialised world have become pessimistic about the future – even afraid. The optimism that once existed is now being drained as if through a sieve separating lumps from powdered material and grading particles that don’t conform to the status quo of our existing state of affairs. Shattered by a succession of events and developments that make us very apprehensive for our future and that of our children and their children after them. Two world wars, which they said was for our freedom, now we invade and plunder once again other nations. The invention and deployment of nuclear and biological weapons, the rise and election of fascists to assemblies, a succession of economic crises, the credit crunch, and the seemingly endless catalogue of crime, oppression and brutality around the world have made optimism seem rather naive and this post is anything but light!”

But hold on, there is a light through the darkness, it shines and beams its signal bright transmitted along a narrow path, and of course I speak of the new additions added to our blog list. These are what we consider compatriots and comrades from a rich and varied tradition of socialist and anarchist persuasions with thoughts and views, but with one objective and a rallying creed generally accepted, that it is possible to win a new world for all, a world free from the fetters of production for profit, a world where the sole basis of creating goods and services will be for the satisfaction of human needs, and nothing more. These bloggers follow the time old hunger for freedom, that hunger has never gone away nor will it ever, and I am reminded that around 1381 at the time of The Peasants’ Revolt, John Ball is recorded as saying, at an open meeting, “My friends, things cannot go well in England, nor ever, until everything shall be held in common, when there shall be neither vassal nor lord and all distinctions levelled, when lords shall be no more masters than ourselves.”

So first up is a delightful poet of extreme talent, I spent 2 hours reading and listening to his exceedingly infectious verse in beauty and with an evocation of feeling, and I kid you not a real stimulation that calls up and draws forth upon a particular class of behaviours that resides within us all. The author who I came across on Titter; films and records his own poetry and reads it in a very delightful Yorkshire accent, a soft but distinctive manner of oral expression. 'The World of Sinna Lavva'  carries a unique political massage and I really do recommend more than one visit.

‘Rage against the Coalition’ is a real favourite because it is passionately against the cuts and all that which is austerity. This is how the blog is described: “We are raging about the cuts the 'coalition' is inflicting on us. They are not just unfair and unjust, they are stupid. They will not help our country.

What they will do is ruin lives, wreck the economic recovery and millions of people into poverty.

So this page has been created to give us an outlet for our rage, to give a place to gather all the articles that are written about the cuts impact, all the stories of the people affected and the facts and figures that are involved.

We want to fight against the damage these cuts will inflict and bring the untold stories to the forefront.

People power can work if enough of us get involved and we plan to start right here! 

I think that 'Rage against the Coalition' is just but an example of what is building up in the country in terms of descent and interaction towards cuts which makes Thatcher look a   very pale light coloured blue and highly diluted in comparability to David Cameron, and so perhaps, just perhaps the Con Dem’s won’t be around as long as they think?”

One other very important point is that three of our mentioned bloggers have direct experience with disability, and without any un-necessary details; they are simply a credit to our movement, and I mean the new movement that’s under construction and now coming together.

Third up is a young blogger with plenty of that stuffing we call enthusiasm, so keen is he that he makes even me feel tired, wanting to catch my breath after a across country run. He tweets, blogs and attends all manner of meetings, in away a reminder of myself when I was active in the Labour Party in my own youth many moons ago now.  

His modest but sincere blog is worth a visit as he keeps himself very well informed, and despite what I have already said, I do hope that he will forgive me for mentioning that for someone who is blind his blog 'the way I see things' is a real corker; a very polite young man indeed a credit to himself and his parents.

Our next blog 'Michael Says' is another Labour Party member, who describes himself as being Left of centre and also a member of the Co-operative party. I like Michael’s blog as he comes across as a down to earth and loyal Labour activist of the short I well remember back in the 1970s. I would only be honest and with all due respect to both the above mentioned Labour bloggers in saying that there would be a great many differences between us, politically speaking that is, and not personally for we except on this blog that they are indeed socialists, and have the interests of their class held close to their harts. However the real question is how we are best to serve those interests, if indeed to serve is the operative word, for socialism in its true meaning is not about service or has it ever been. Socialists must strive for a democratic world community without boundaries or frontiers that are based on the ownership of the means of producing and distributing wealth by society as a whole. Socialism is not about the management of this or that council or even about running capitalism for the capitalists, blank out and forget about the deficit and instead think about the working class ownership of all the means of production by the whole community. Wealth should not be produced for sale or profit, but solely to satisfy human needs. This means the end of buying and selling and all the other financial and commercial institutions like money, prices, wages and banks. People will co-operate to produce an abundance of wealth from which they can take freely according to their needs.

Our last blog is the 'Anarchist news dot org' which we like for its informative content and because the one good thing that you can say about anarchists, is that they don’t use people, un-like some not to be mentioned left organisations who love nothing better than to march people up the hill and then back down again without ever achieving anything. Recently ‘Anarchist news dot org’ reproduced on their blog an English translation of a leaflet written by some participants to the current movement against pension reforms in France, here is a snippet that gives a taste of the flavour and commitment of this excellent blog.
“Address to the wage-earners, unemployed and precarious workers of all the countries in the European Union.

We are precarious workers, wage-earners, students or unemployed, currently taking part in the struggle against the pension reform by the Sarkozy government which plans to postpone the legal retirement age and to extend the number of years of contributions to be entitled to a full pension. This measure will lead to the worsening of the living conditions of the precarious sections of the population and a significant progress of the logic of capital valorisation. This is in line with the Thatcherite policies pursued by the French government over the last four years, as in most European countries for the last twenty years of the reign of neo-liberal orthodoxy. This politics of social regression (privatisations, wage freezes, cuts in the public sector and in social spending) is all the more harshly felt because of the 2008–2009 recession (and its trail of mass redundancies) which, far from leading to a revision of the neo-liberal dogmas, was able to justify a new round of austerity plans at the expense of the working class.”   

Well that is finally it, and with just two things left to say, the first being, that the two authors, contributors to The Socialist Way have between ourselves over eighty years experience of agitation and propagation of the socialist case, we would never say that we know or hold all the answers to the many problems that workers throughout the world face today in that daily struggle to bring about an irreversible change in favour of all working people and throughout the world. However what we do know is that nothing will ever change if we don’t start to talk and walk together, for our struggle is not about agreeing but rather about recalculation and recognition, if we can see that our enemy is the whole rotten system of capitalism, then surely we must be able to make one simple calculation – unity. That’s why we will continue on this blog to promote and endeavour to bring together other serous bloggers who have something worthwhile saying, which in-itself is a start. And that brings me conveniently to the photographs accompanying this post; they are of the demonstration that was recently organised by the Camden Trades Council and other local organisations on the very day that the Con Den’s unveiled their packaged gift to the working class, billions in cuts and a deadly attack on our welfare state. I was on that march to Downing Street and I tell you there was a very real atmosphere of unity that night, and that’s what we need to build upon!”

Saturday, 30 October 2010

Vodefone Pay Your Tax Bill Now!"

Today activists from around the country stepped-up the growing campaign against cuts and the government austerity measures that intend to make the poorest in our society pay for the crisis of capitalism. The activists trod on with their endeavours to highlight and demand that Vodefone be made to pay a £6 million Tax Bill.

Direct Action is now being deployed successfully around the country as over 20 Vodefone shops were forced to close when activist’s set-up pickets and blockaded shop entrances, it is being widely reported that the general public have been very supportive of the actions taken as the official media such as the BBC and others have implemented a selective news black-out, we wonder why?”
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‘Spring forward Fall back’

It’s that time of the year again folks; you know when we put our clocks back, Saturday night 2 am to be precise, is the usual time they revert back. So we all get something extra for free, that makes a change then, an extra hour in bed. As a young boy I once asked my father why this was so, he explained, that it had been brought about by the powerful and very rich land owners of years ago, they meant getting their workers into the fields as early as possible, and my father being an ex-horseman and game-keeper knew what he was talking about, and there really was never any reason to question this or him, he also told me of a way to remember this annual event as ‘Spring forward Fall back’.

Through the journey of my many years, I have told this many times, usually the response is one of either, I did not know that, or ‘Spring forward Fall back’ very good, I will remember that!

Just only a couple of days ago I was given much food for thought when having told the story to a group of people, when the mother of a couple of young boys of whom I was basically speaking to, suddenly, spoke up and said, as if we really wanted to know that!” 

Scots the BBC is reporting today are narrowly in favour of the UK switching to British Summer Time all year round.

About 3,000 people took part in the Internet survey by energy firm Npower, as the UK prepares to move the clocks back that one hour this weekend.

Keeping the clocks one hour ahead of GMT would provide more daylight in the evenings, when most people are active.

In the study 53% of respondents were in favour of the idea, while 35% were against and 12% undecided.

The study also found that almost half of Scottish parents believed the change in daylight hours would affect their children's sleep patterns.

And one-third of respondents said it would be harder to get their children to school on Monday.

“Time is free, but it's priceless. You can't
Own it, but you can use it. You can't keep
It, but you can spend it. Once you've lost it
You can never get it back.”

At 0200 BST on 31 October, the UK will move to 0100 GMT 

Post By: Brian Hopper or In the Box

Thursday, 28 October 2010

Hanging Tariq Aziz will be a a brutal barbarous and savage act!

Three years ago I was spending the New Year in Scotland and as they say up there seeing the old out and the new in; and it was on that very New Years Day when the world was first informed that Saddam Husain had been hanged on the first day of Eid ul-Adha, 30 December 2006, despite his wish to be shot (which he felt would be more dignified) The execution was carried out at the strangely named Camp Justice, an Iraqi army base in Kadhimiya, a neighborhood of northeast Baghdad.

The execution was videotaped on a mobile phone and his captors could be heard insulting Saddam. The video was leaked to electronic media and posted on the Internet within hours, becoming the subject of global controversy, it was later claimed by the head guard at the tomb where his body remains that Saddam's body was stabbed six times after the execution.

Now I don’t know about anyone else, but the news of Saddam’s execution and the manner in which it was carried-out has always been a reverberating bone of contention that has laid heavily upon my mind, to put it simply it was nothing more than a barbaric act of political vengeance by the US puppet government in Baghdad and yet another in the litany of war crimes committed by both Bush and Blair since their 2003 invasion.

In recent day’s we the world have now been notified that Tariq Aziz is to hang, you will remember Tariq Aziz who was for decades Iraq’s chief diplomatic representative on the world stage, he voluntarily turned himself in to the US military in 2003. He apparently trusted that his long-standing international reputation—including his diplomatic relations with successive US administrations—would protect him.  

Instead, this ailing 74-year-old man has been subjected to more than seven years of solitary confinement, first by American military jailers and more recently, by Iraqi security forces. When US occupation forces turned Aziz over to the Iraqi government last July he confided to his lawyer, “I am sure they are going to kill me.”

Well he wasn’t wrong then!”

Aziz went through a multiple of trials largely without any legal representation, as lawyers who dared to defend him were threatened with death by Shi’ite militias linked to the US-backed regime, and to top that off the tribunal that handed down the sentence on Aziz was created by a decree issued under the US occupation’s Coalition Provisional Authority for the purpose of trying members of the Ba’athist government that the US invasion overthrew. Its staff was handpicked and paid by the US Embassy in Baghdad. From its inception, this kangaroo court has employed the crudest methods of “victors’ justice.”

If as is expected and Aziz is hanged then make no mistake, this will surely be a brutal barbarous and savage act not befitting humanity in the twenty first century!” 

Tuesday, 26 October 2010

"Quiet the dragons of worry and fear"

The first thoughts that may come into anyone’s head, if you were to ask them have they heard about Iceland, would be, and I do suppose, the volcanic ash-cloud, followed by Iceland the local supermarket up the road, or if their memory is elastic like and stretching back to the 1970s then the cod war.

What they may not know, or have not heard a great deal about is the impact and forceful consequence which the world recession is having on Iceland and its inhabitants. The crises in this particular country is such an unstable situation and a real reflection of the global failure and bankruptcy of capital the so-called pillar of world society; and of which I am not surprised in the least that the world popular press choose and prefer to keep quiet about its (Iceland’s) financial problems, and particularly how they are bearing upon the ordinary people. I suppose you could say: "Quiet the dragons of worry and fear."

The Irish Republic is even closer to us here in the UK, still our press print and edit only what they would like us to read, old habits and all that, die hard I suppose, but they don’t tell us a great deal about what was known until very recently as the Celtic Tiger; unless you read publications such as the Financial Times and the Economist. The point being that most newspapers don’t bother because too much knowledge is a dangerous thing in the wrong heads.

Anyway the Financial Crisis of 2008 is still clouding the Irish economy severely, compounding domestic economic problems related to the collapse of the Irish property bubble. The first country in the EU to officially enter a recession as declared by the Central Statistics Office it was stripped of its AAA credit ranking and downgraded to AA+ by Standard & Poor's ratings agency, due to Ireland's bleak financial outlook and heavy government debt burden. It has recently been predicted that the Irish economy will not significantly recover until 2011 if at all under present world conditions. Ireland has now been linked with other troubled economies in Europe, known as PIIGS. Ireland now has the highest level of household debt relative to disposable income in the developed world at 190%.        

Although this post is about Iceland’s financial crises, still, we can not be blinkered, for there are a great many comparisons to be made with other countries, because the one single problem that they all share and have in common is the leeched imposition of capitalism, a world system that is now in a prolonged economic meltdown, in fact it can be said to have reached a fork in the road that it cannot by-pass or arrest and control it’s outmoded orthodoxy and orientation based upon profit.

The Irish property boom had been fuelled like elsewhere else by massive lending from the greedy banks, and when this collapsed - and lenders were unable to repay - the Irish banking system was plunged into crisis. Yes, this story seems now to be very familiar, an identical world scenario and sequence of events. Well it is, because capitalism is global and no matter what the governments of the world do, they cannot control its (capitalism) vampire thrust and greedy thirst, the physiological need to drink the lifeblood of anything and everything profitable. It destroys and devours, even destroys completely almost all good things in life on mother earth. 

It is this state of mental disturbance, which has seen millions all over the world, lose jobs and homes whilst governments pile in large sums of money to prop the system up; a very rotten system!" Now austerity is the new buzz word following on from that now universal utterance of quantitative easing, used so much by government, bankers and economists alike.

As governments around the world stumble in an ambidextrous, double-dealing and altogether Janus-faced manner it’s the ordinary people that bear the brunt of this world crisis.

These are indeed uncertain times; general strikes in both France and Greece have been reported in the worlds media in an unfaltering and shock the horror of people power manner, painted as being unreasonable and out of control, but what you don’t read is the press considering for a single moment that it may be the system which really is running out of control, as if economic policy has become the disembodied spirit of capitalism.

Three weeks ago I read a report about the people of Iceland which was not wildly reported around the world. It was about demonstrators who had gathered outside Iceland’s parliament in Reykjavik, voicing their anger at home foreclosures in a country clearly aching from the global economic crisis. The protesters threw glass bottles and eggs - one of which ended up in the prime minister's hair - and held up signs that read "A human future!", "We want a government that works for its people", and "Elections now!"  

This came about because a six-month freeze on mortgage repayments put in place by the government expired, triggering the anger of many Icelanders who will fall short on home payments. According to Icelandic housing experts they say that up to nearly 40,000 households are unable to make their mortgage payments.

So what’s the lesson of this story then, well when the banks failed and through there own greed, they are bailed-out, but when mortgage payers through no fault of their own, default, the banks throw them out!”

This takes place everyday and the world over, surely this can’t be right?”

Sunday, 24 October 2010

Don't let London Burn Support the Fire-Fighters!"

Everyday, particularly here in London our fire-fighters will clock-on at work not knowing what a sift will bring forth, their job is beyond a shadow of a doubt a very dangerous occupation. It’s not just a job, "it's the literal truth" they save lives, and on many occasions they lose there's. Can you imagine an occupation where you really don’t know if this is to be your last day, that when you walk out of the door having said you're goodbye’s to the young family and all the time knowing it is possible, you wont see them again. What sort of young men and women are these, we may ask, but the answer is not blowing in the wind. Our fire-fighters like there colleagues in the medical profession do an essential service for the whole community, and I think that they are not thanked or valued enough for there absolute dedicated commitment to us all.

The FBU recently released a report warning of an "unprecedented" rise in fire-fighter deaths, and revealed that nine service members had been killed in the line of duty in adding to the toll of 122 deaths of fire and rescue workers in the last 30 years. Fire-fighters' union leader Matt Wrack once said that losing a colleague is something that touches everyone and is something that fire-fighters never get over."
If I may just say a few things about Matt Wrack before I move on to the real thread of this post, it may or may not be of interest, but I remember Matt when he was a young fire-fighter and a member of the Bethnal Green and Bow constituency Labour Party, he use to attend meetings wearing proudly his fireman’s work-clothing or fatigues. I never had the opportunity unlike his brother (Nick whom I met in Respect), to get to know him personally, but heard him speck back then with a real socialist passion which with his own hard work and commitment has led him to become the leader of today’s fire-fighters, can’t help thinking that we will be hearing a lot more from this outstanding general secretary, and I don’t say things like that often.

Now as we all know the London fire-fighters staged a solid one-day strike yesterday (Saturday) and throughout the capital in regard to an ongoing and now turning nasty dispute with their management and the London Fire Brigade after it sent them all letters of dismissal on 11 August.

London Fire Brigade is proposing to change the start and finish times of duty for its front-line fire-fighters.

By reducing the current 15 hour night shift to 12 hours, and increasing the current 9 hour day shift to 12 hours, therefore providing a longer day shift. So that’s the issues of this dispute in a nutshell. However there is the hidden side to this dust-up which to the public this may not for the time being at least be as obvious at a passing glance, and that’s the hidden agenda and push towards privatisation of the whole service in London. I have to say that this is also about another attempt by the agents of the ruling class to further damage and break trade unions in the UK. One very obnoxious figure that looms large is Conservative member of the London assembly and chairman of the London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority Brian Coleman: He recently is on record as saying: "I have to say, fire-fighters who don't sign the new contract won't be re-employed." Coleman told London radio station LBC: "If it means 'doing a Ronald Reagan' – where he got rid of the air traffic controllers – I've got 948 fire-fighters who voted not to go on strike, together with the non-union members and the officers, I reckon 2,000 will sign their new contract."

Asked if his words were a pledge to sack fire-fighters, Coleman said: "It's as good as – and I'm quite relaxed about that ... We are at the end of our tether now."

So there it is as plain and as clearly revealed as the nose on my face a declaration of class war, and against the most professional and dedicated public servants of them all, who risk their own lives everyday of the year saving others.

So the capital's 5,600 fire-fighters walkout on 23 October, and will do it again on the1 November following a strike ballot in which 79% of FBU members voted in favour of the move.

The London Fire Brigade in response arranged for 27 fire engines to be stationed at strategic locations across the capital. They will be manned by staff trained by private contractor AssetCo which was hired on a five-year contract last summer to provide emergency cover in the event that regular fire crews are unavailable. Now the worrying thing about this is that here is a private company with its foot well and truly through the door, they have evolved from the leasing and asset management subsidiary of British Gas, which as you will know was a publicly owned utility until the Tories got their dirty hands on it last time and sold it off.  And of course, who needs a reminder of that when the extortionate bills that drops through our letter boxes, dose it every time.

I was told by a fire-fighter on the Poplar Fire Station picket line, that AssetCo, lease all the Fire Engines, uniforms and equipment used by the Brigade, that Coleman has been wined and dinned by AssetCo executives’, he has even, and so it is alleged accepted a Christmas hamper worth £500.

This dispute is now being orchestrated and rubbed along by the Tories as a part of their ideological agenda, which I am convinced, includes, finishing the job that Thatcher and the Tories started the last time they were in office, the total liquidation of trade unionism.

We simply cannot allow this to happen, support your fire-fighters, don’t let London burn!”  

Friday, 22 October 2010

My Take on Wednesdays Downing Street Demonstration

I'm rather late in writing this post about Wednesdays Downing Street demonstration, due to ongoing problems with my Broadband provider and British Telecom. Frustrating as it seemed, it nevertheless has given me time to walk over in examination, the significance of this event. The demonstrations called and organised, and let’s name these organisations, and very important that we do so too: Camden NUT, Camden Unison, Camden Trades Council and Holborn a St Pancras Constituency Labour Party. They must all be congratulated and thanked for having the bottle of real fortitude and determination to help draw that very fine line now in the sand. The march organised by a local network and not a national body is very telling of the sate of the Labour and Trade Union Movement. But beside that, the demonstration and build up to it, marks a mood change amongst some sections of our movement at rank and file level. Ordinary members of the trade’s council and other sponsors did for opposition what has been lacking for a very long time, they called on the movement to assemble the resistance; this was reinforced by calls from speakers to form a National Resistance of all groups and traditions. This call it must be noted, did not come from the official leadership of the TUC but rather from activists on the front line. It came from those of us who are under no illusory blight of withering and rotting acceptance that austerity is the only game in town.

There is no misunderstanding; world global capital is in meltdown, the seed of self destruction as only Marx could describe the ending of this rotting system is in a deep crisis globally, this is evident for everyone to see and taste its discernment very soon.

These are times, that in our wildest nightmare its complete horror must now awaken our class. Our movement in the much broader sense of general consciousness and awareness must stand-up and be counted; we can look and take inspiration from the sandy beaches of Dunkirk that my own late grandfather escaped from in 1940, just one of thousands of working class solders that went to defend the then King and country and the British capitalist way. Yes, this is a Dunkirk moment for the British working class and make no mistake about that. After years of un-provoked attacks first by Thatcher, then by New Labours unwillingness to repeal the legal shackles on workers organisation and defence, which have taken there toll, is not in doubt. But this is not the end story or can we ever allow it to be. When the going gets tough, the tough must get going, and that spirit of resistance bequeathed from our history must kick-in now, gentleness or sentimentality is not what I speck of, but barricade and defence of our very own or in a word our communities.

It was important that demonstration on Wednesday, and I was so pleased that so many attended and answered the call and made the event such a colourful, vociferation of protest, and I estimated that there was between four to 6,000 attendees, on a cold but luckily dry autumn evening in Westminster.

The protest lifted spirits and disbursed any apathy lurking; coming together in unity of purpose is the only way to build, galvanise and stimulate to action a roaring campaign.

The march assembled in Lincoln’s Inn Fields and set off to Downing Street, with local and London trade union banners held proudly. But what was really up-lifting for me in any case was the number of young people prepared and making their voices heard through the London Streets, there was a gravitating sense that we were firing the first shot in the defence of welfare, jobs and services. I met many long time friends and comrades of many years standing. It was like the family re-union coming back together for the first time in decades. And for someone who is a sceptic about marching around streets as part of this or that campaign and it has to be said: that on this day it had relevance, the combustion from well greased pistons, plunging and thrusting in motion. It was after all the very day that the Conservative-Liberal Democrat government’s autumn spending review introduced the most savage package of public spending cuts ever seen in Britain. Half a million public-sector jobs will go, and another half million related in the private- sector as a result.  

Spending for welfare benefits will be slashed by a total of £18 billion between the cuts contained in the spending review and those already made in the emergency budget earlier this year. The poor, the old, the unemployed and our children will be punished for the greed of the Bankers, who almost brought about the collapse of their own rotting system.

There was something special I felt about this demonstration, you could see it in the faces of the demonstrators young and in old hands like me, it was so refreshing and up-beat that I wished it went a few more miles further. When we got into Whitehall the police had shut one half to traffic on the opposite side to Downing Street, but at the Cenotaph the barriers were broken and the police were taken by surprise as demonstrators took over that side of the road. The authorities had allowed a stage to be erected for speakers to address the demonstration, the only speech that I listened to was that of Matt Wrack the leader of our fire-fighters on strike this Saturday, Matt called on supporters to join local picket-lines, and I will be joining the Bow Fire Station picket

London buses or walking to the nearest tube station looked totally at a loss or apathetic to say the least, no cars were hooting horns; this says to me that the press have done a good job on the newspaper reading public.

Circumstances, events and public opinion may well change when the cuts start to bite, but we need to get out and educate the many in our communities of what these cuts will mean in reality, we have to hold meetings and generally be seen as we lift the profile of our campaign by telling people that the most savage of spending cuts since the 1930s, will wreck lives of millions by devastating jobs, pay, pensions, NHS, education, transport, postal and other services, it’s that simple!”

A follower on Twitter of The Socialist Way was a little disappointed that the demonstration did not descend into something more along the lines of say France or even Greece when workers were in confrontation with police and even the military. He tweeted the following: but consider how the French do things. Think about how violence is a hallmark of revolution, for good or ill.

Well what can I say in answer to this eager to bring about a swift end to all our entire problems comrade?

Well what I’ve thought about for over thirty years is the hallmark that is capitalism, its exploitation, its destruction and its many wars. I think of revolution as a solution, but that dose not mean violence, against who would the violence be directed, other workers perhaps, like the police in the first instance, the ruling class are clever in using one set of workers against another. The first port of call must be to win the arguments with and amongst our fellow workers, and we must win it with the majority. That is the only way forward, but that’s not to say that civil disobedience or direct action don’t have there place in our armoury!”                       

Monday, 18 October 2010

The Cuts and them morally reprehensible Tories?”

Just who, I was wounding today, elects these vile, foul and morally reprehensible Tories?”

There is only one piece of comfort or relief with this current affliction, and that’s in the knowledge that they were unable at the general election to win an outright majority and govern on their own accord, and then that’s countenanced by the joining at the hips of the orange Lib Dems and the formation of what they call a coalition.

Are there really parts of the UK who are at home and happy with electing representatives of the first and second parties of capitalism? Middle England, or rather middle class Britain such slavering and drivel from the mouths of Westminster bound politicians must sure enough start to fall somewhat short now?

That great illusion of being led to believe you are somehow middle class and better off than others must now be falling apart for thousands; you're post code will not help if you lost your job and are falling behind with the house and credit card repayment, and now it’s about to get worse, just how are you going to stump-up the cash for the kids education, and the absolute nightmare that if they (your children) were to even borrow the money to get through university, they may be in debt for years to the banks or even before securing any suitable employment.

The Prime Minister David Cameron may like to tell us that we are all init together, but this really takes on a whole new meaning!”

Today being Sunday at the time of writing has seen the Chancellor George Osborne on the Andrew Marr Show. Osborne resisted discussing the details of the review, but said he was determined to cut government waste and the ballooning benefit budget to safeguard spending on schools and hospitals. What a load of bollocks, school new builds have been cancelled all over the country, and cuts and savings are being sought in many areas of the NHS.

In the interview, Osborne revealed that those caught making repeated bogus benefit claims would have their welfare payments halted for up to three years. Comparing benefit cheats to muggers robbing taxpayers.

The crackdown, to be formally launched tomorrow, will include mobile hit squads of inspectors sent to problem areas and a "three strikes and you're out" rule will strip repeat offenders of benefits. Osborne told the Marr show the new rules were "perfectly reasonable". He said: "It [benefit] has to go to the people who need it, because the people who pay for it demand no less."

So as we can see, yet again the poorest most venerable sections of our society are being singled-out and attacked.

Here are some Newham facts that we were given at the anti-cuts meeting that I attended the other night:

  • Whilst Child Benefits have been cut for any family where one parent earns more than £44,000 a year, in June 2010, they were frozen for three years for everyone – a cut in real terms.
  • Because Newham has one of the youngest populations in the country, 1,035 families receive Child Benefit (a total of 79,320 children).
  • There are 10,196 people who are claiming Job Seeker Allowance (JSA) in Newham.
  • Nine JSA claimants are competing for each unfilled job vacancy in Newham. Compared with a national average of 5:1.
  • A total of 1,910 people (18.8% of those on JSA) who have been claiming JSA for longer than 12 months in Newham risk the withdrawal of their Housing Benefit.
  • In Newham there are 46 jobs for every 100 people of working age, compared to 94 for London and 83 nationally. People either don’t work or have to travel outside the borough for work.
  • The types of work available to people in Newham are in the service sector (representing 89.9% of all jobs in the borough). Often insecure and temporary (32% are part time), low paid (21% get paid less than £7 an hour) and low skilled (24.2% fail to reach level 4 at key stage 2 – average of English and Maths).
  • 36% of jobs in Newham are in the public sector (this is in the top 10% in the country).
  • Newham Council has already cut £30 million (around 7%0 from this year’s budget. How many more jobs will go if there are further departmental cuts of 25% up to 2015 and a council tax freeze?

Saturday, 16 October 2010

Heavens above the 'French Working Class' putting ideas into our heads!”

There is one thing we can certainly say about the French, ‘they know how to do a strike’ and no mucking with them comrades!”
Strikes continued today and after the October 12 national day of action against French President Nicolas Sarkozy’s pension cuts, with high school students joining striking port, shipyard, oil and transport workers. Police attacked striking high school students in several cities. There were reports of gasoline shortages throughout France.

This is the way to do it!”

Sarkozy has made it clear that he will not back down on the reform that increases the retirement age for a full pension from 65 to 67, and the minimum retirement age from 60 to 62. This will allow the state to assess substantial financial penalties on the many workers forced to retire before the pension age because of health or layoff. According to some estimates, this will produce at least a 15 percent cut in pension spending by the state.

On the down side, Sarkozy expects the unions to keep workers’ protests under control, and allow the cuts to pass, as they did in the 2007-8 pension cut demonstrations and the 2009 strikes against the bank bailout. However, workers demanding industrial action against the cuts are growing increasingly frustrated with the trade unions’ inaction.

In a concession to popular demands for strike action against the cuts, a joint meeting of France’s trade union federations called a further day of action on Tuesday, October 19. The militancy of ordinary trade unionists has begun to push their leaders and this was clearly evident when CFDT leader François Chérèque explained, “People are asking us to continue”.   

However, increasingly large numbers of workers realize that such one-day actions have not halted Sarkozy’s cuts.

It will be interesting to see how the situation develops, and I bet David Cameron peevishly whinges about the images of French workers taking to the streets that are spread across our newspapers and beamed into living rooms; and heavens above, putting ideas into our heads!”     

Building the Anti-Cuts Campaign in Newham Some Thoughts

Had some time to think over the embryonic stage of our campaign in Newham against the proposed government austerity cuts, and I do love using that word ‘austerity,’ although it is nasty.

Now things are beginning to happen around the country, meetings are happening and in some cases hundreds attending. This is all good stuff and a very encouraging start to what I think will be an unprecedented ground swell that will change public opinion and political sentiment. I also hope that it will be driven without leadership secret or hidden but of overt expression.

People power is just that; and the leadership that needs development is the co-operative ability for all to come together in accord and harmony. This is really possible, and I do believe that today’s generation that hugs all ages, grasps the nettle and builds the chain around the mountain can start to win.

There is room for everyone in the campaign against the cuts, it will not take off unless we realise that it must involve everyone, from the pensioner, the young, and the unemployed to the worried student. They all have a cut or two confronting them in the time to come, and if we are able to bring all their combined experience together, then we will have the leadership so lacking in recent times, and it will be people led.

We face a moment in history when leadership or personal triumph of power politics must be rejected for the common good.

The meeting that I attended the other night, started off on the right footing in as much that all planning meetings would be open to all comers, that no one was made this that or the other, this foundation so refreshing and imparting vitality and energy, and if we mean to stay this way, well what will hold us back.

These campaigns, needs its meetings, but let’s not have meetings for the shake of having meetings, they need to have purpose and direction. If it’s a public meeting, fine, there will always be the need to win over others and strengthen our position; but just to many times over the years I’ve attended a public meeting with a big name speechmaking and then nothing more, as if this was the great moment and that was it, and we all went home congratulating ourselves on the great turnout and a triumph in the class struggle, but was it?

We can all be on cloud nine; I’ve been there many times but didn’t change a ruby-red thing. And one other thing I know, although it’s taken me years to learn this one; I don’t hold all the answers or have the best ideas!”

Our community, every community has a reservoir of talent and we need to be able to tap into it.

The reason I write this blog more than anything, is because it gives me the opportunity to workout my own thoughts, and if people read it then that’s a bonus, and bigger still is if they send me a comment or put me right on a thing or two.

Sharing unselfishly, is the key to success and the only way forward.

Building our campaign will be no walk in the park on a Sunday afternoon; it will take commitment, good-natured steady patience and real perseverance. We will need to go where no campaign has gone before; we will have to do some real legwork in our community, talking of which I understand that in Waltham Forest which is a neighbouring East London Borough anti-cuts campaigners are to hold a “walk of shame” today. The walk will be across the borough to protest against cuts to local services. This activity is being organised by the Waltham Forest Anti-Cuts Union and they will hold protests at Leyton Green NHS Clinic, Waltham Forest Magistrates Court, the former St James Street Library building in Walthamstow and the Beaumont estate in Leyton as part of a day of action and we wish them well.

Talking about cuts is the easy part, especially for the veteran campaigner, but the hardest part is educating and raising the issues with the larger community, and lets face it most people at the moment don’t really comprehended the servility and severity or pain that is about to be inflicted, yes we have our work cut-out but its not imposable.

I think I will go and join the Waltham Forest day of action, see you latter!”             

Thursday, 14 October 2010

No to the Cuts in Newham

Next June I think, will be my tenth year as a resident in the great London Borough of Newham, and it really is a great and wonderful place to live, so diverse, rich and cosmopolitan in benevolence and impartiality; that is extended to all races and to all creeds by its citizens as if by habit.

Last night I attended a meeting called to consider the distressful and disgraceful cuts being planed by the Con Dem coalition; cuts that we have read and heard so much about since the general election, and next week, if you didn’t already know, the Chancellor George Osborn will announce through the guise of inter-departmental spending review, were their swinging axe will fall.

We already have a pretty good idea what they plan, or at least those of us who take an interest in the political butcherly of these servants of the ruling class.

In this post it isn’t my intension to go into the finer details of the impending cuts, but to briefly report on last nights meeting which took place in a really lovely Community Centre in Forest Gate, which is just down the road from where I live in Canning Town.

As has always been my own practice over the years; I tend to arrive for a meeting early and sometimes up to an hour early; this helps me get a feel for a particular place and I can spend some quite time in mental meditation; considering what is to be deliberated and turned over, in this case the cuts and how they will impact on the people of Newham and what can we do about them.

The meeting was held at Durning Hall Community Centre in Forest Gate, and I have to say what a lovely facility is the Community Centre, when I arrived having never been there before, I was taken back by the warmth and the ambiance of atmosphere. It was buzzing with activity, a real hub of the community if ever I saw one. It has a community café, a second hand book-stall and children were happily participating in versus activates, I met one young lady and her dad who were attending tap-dancing classes, just a wonderful place and the most impressive Community Centre I had ever had the absolute joy to visit!”

Anyhow, the meeting was attended by about 40 or so people, the majority I would say were old hands and community activists, professional and voluntary. There was a sprinkling of committed trade unionists able to see the full picture, and of course the usual types that one anticipates to encounter at such an event, of start a revolution, that’s members of the SWP and the Socialist Party, the latter being what was better known as the Militant Tendency back in the day.

It really is not my intension to be sectarian because the cuts affect them as much as anyone else, and besides some of them made good contributions providing clarity at times. However having been involved in many campaigns over the years, from the Anti-Nazi-League, Poll Tax and so on. I like many have good and bad experiences of the way some so-called revolutionary organisations operate, and for my part will endeavour to make sure that every voice is heard and listened to, that the fight is not about paper sales or recruiting members to their respective organisations, having said that Sarah Ruiz and Kevin Blowe should be congratulated on organising the meeting, they are not associated or at least to my knowledge to any of the above organisations. Kevin runs the excellent blog Random Blowe and has posted his own report which you can read here.

Well the thing is a line has now been drawn in the sand in Newham, and my feeling is this campaign will go from strength to strength if we all pull together, this is our time it is our communities that are being attacked; they want to destroy the welfare that our grandparents fought for, and the services that were hard-won now need to be defended and improved, and furthermore we need to do this above all else, for our children!”

More about the cuts and Newham tomorrow!"                            

Wednesday, 13 October 2010

Labour Representation (2)

There can be no misunderstanding or doubting the early determination of pioneering trade unionists, associated with Labour Representation. We should always stop to appreciate their commitment driven in the face of a barbaric, evil and exploitative Victorian owning and controlling class.

For only a few decades in the 19th century did British manufactured goods dominated world trade. Most mass manufactured items were produced more efficiently and competitively in Britain than elsewhere. She also had the commercial, financial and political power to edge out rivals at home and abroad. In some industries, most notably textiles, massive changes took place in technology and in the organisation of production causing dramatic productivity growth. This in turn brought a steep decline in prices. In many other sectors more modest organisational improvements coupled with greater specialisation and the employment of cheap labour brought similar, though less dramatic, results. An unprecedented range and variety of products thus came within the grasp of a new mass market both within Britain and overseas. No other country could at first compete so Britain became the workshop of the world.

And it was against this background, a time that Victorians became very much obsessed with the accumulation of wealth and I suppose this explains the building of an exploitative empire hence then: Britannia rules the waves; but let’s not forget that working men, and yes, women laid down the foundations of an expanding trade union movement at this very cornerstone of industrial development.   

Economic historian Arnold Toynbee (in a lecture he gave in 1884) described his then-recent times as:

 “A darker period - a period as disastrous and as terrible as any through which a nation ever passed; disastrous and terrible, because, side by side with a great increase of wealth was seen an enormous increase of pauperism; and production on a vast scale, the result of free competition, led to a rapid alienation of classes and to the degradation of a large body of producers.”

Capitalism was still a comparatively new social system, still in its phase of expansion. By today’s standards, its technology, though immensely productive compared with what went before, was backward being based on coal and iron. On the political side too capitalism was still in its growth stage.

In the1860s working class reform organisations existed; they mushroomed-up in different industrial arrears and attracted much working class support. When I consider this historical development; and let us just travel back to our own time and consider is there not something here that we in the 21st century cannot learn from their development, not so much as seeking reforms but the drive and determination to build organisations that empower workers; organisation with an educational and political acquisition to bring about change?”

More about what short of change latter, but also just consider this: If we want a new start we must first look to the past. The present is too occupied, the future now too obscure.

The 1860s also saw developing pressure from the unions for legislation on a wider range of issues, including safety, employment contracts, the right of trade union organisation, the protection of trade union funds and the extension of the franchise. The Reform Act of 1867, which extended the franchise to sections of the male urban working class, came not from the Liberals but from Disraeli’s Tory Government. It was followed by significant social reforms. The Tories, with their main power base in the countryside, sought widen their support against the Whigs and the Liberals by introducing reforms likely to win sympathy among the working class.

Then in 1867 a number of leading trade unionists issued an appeal for the direct representation of ‘Labour in Parliament’. The appeal not only included the long-standing demands for the extension of the franchise and parliamentary reform but also put forward a programme of claims effecting working class interests. It was, however, in no sense a socialist manifesto.

In the General Election in the following year two trade unionist and a co-operator stood in support of  labour representation. None was elected. In 1868 the Trade Union Congress was formed. It was an indication of the thinking of trade union leaders at the time that the elected executive of the TUC was known as the Parliamentary Committee. It was only many years latter that the title was changed to what is now known as the General Council. And that makes me think that there are always the Generals in the Labour movement, who always hold back the country-dances of the workers.

Part Three coming soon!”

Click here for Labour Representation (1)          

Monday, 11 October 2010

The coalition never had any intension to mend the injured, or to heal the broken tissue in our society

There can be no doubt whatsoever; that we will see under this government a dramatic increase in the numbers of people forced into homelessness. Plans to make cuts in housing benefit may put up to 200.000 people at risk that’s according to the National Housing Federation (NHF).

The NHF, which represents’ housing organisations across the country, claimed that people living in London and the South-East would be hit the hardest and has estimated that up to 34,000 people could lose their homes.

Nationally, the group claims the overall number of people faced with homelessness could be as many as 750, 000.

This of course would be the result of measures announced by rich boy, who has never ever known a single day of hardship in his whole life, the chancellor George Osborn.

I can not put to fine a point on this, for we will see such an explosion of homelessness that will inevitably have such an impact on the lives of so many including children, and that which we know today as society; will cicatrice all that.

Remember David Cameron, giving it the big one about a broken society, about how the family was important and all that otherwise verbal diarrhoea, oh yes, it came out of his mouth just like watery bowel movements. He and his Con Dem coalition never had any intension to mend the injured, or to heal the broken tissue in our society. They work for the love of profit, the followers of a quick buck, a killing to be made when times were good for them, and out of those in need of a home, you could say a vast flowing majority in need, lets remember 9 August 2007 when the bad news from French bank BNP Paribas triggered sharp rise in the cost of credit, and made the financial world realise how serious the situation was.

The roots of the credit crunch.

Defined as "a severe shortage of money or credit". Let us remember that between 2004 and 2006 US interest rates rose from 1% to 5.35%, triggering a slowdown in the US housing market.

Homeowners, many of whom could only barely afford their mortgage payments when interest rates were low, began to default on their mortgages.

The impact of these defaults were felt across the financial system as many of the mortgages had been bundled up and sold on to banks and investors.

Let us remember Northern Rock who relied heavily on the markets, rather than savers' deposits, to fund its mortgage lending. The onset of the credit crunch dried up its funding.
A day later depositors withdraw £1bn in what is the biggest run on a British bank for more than a century.

Let us remember the trillions pumped into the banks and the world economy just like a rhythmic contraction that held up the world of capitalism when through greed it had a massive heart attack as it stood still, heart thumping wildly.

When Osborne, stands up in the House of Commons on the 20th October and tells us were the axe will fall, let’s remember all this and much more!”


Optimism is that really the right word. No I think not, greed among chief financial officers in the Golden Mile of the-city has apparently descended to its lowest level in 18 months, with more than a third believing the economy will slide into a double-dip recession.

The latest CFO survey, carried out by the accountancy group Deloitte, found that optimism had declined for the third-successive quarter despite a "fairly robust" economic recovery – what recovery?”

Meanwhile the first phase of the Government's "radical" welfare reform programme starts today with benefit claimants in Aberdeen starting to be reassessed for their ability to work.

The move comes as new figures lay claim (allegedly) that almost £135 billion has been spent over the past 10 years keeping two million people "on the sick".

Long-term incapacity benefit claimants in Aberdeen and Burnley, Lancashire, will be the first across the country to undergo a new test - the Work Capability Assessment - to see if they are fit for work.

When we see these figures thrown about how much it has cost the country in sickness benefits, let’s just remember the 185 billion pounds it cost to bail-out the banks in less than two years, and the rest.

Sunday, 10 October 2010

“People who are homeless are not social inadequates. They are people without homes.”

Well my last offering seems such a log time ago now; and so much has happened in the intervening time. 

Where on earth do I start?

The Tory conference, the elections to Ed Miliband’s first shadow cabinet, or the fast approaching government cuts. On the 20 October George Osborne will reveal his £82bn worth of public spending cuts. Think the Thatcher years were bad? You ain't seen anything yet, and that reminds me we in Newham we have a public meeting scheduled for this coming week, which I am really looking forward too, and will do my best to post a report.

Last week my gas boiler packed-up, and subsequently I had to have it replaced including the instillation of new radiators throughout the flat, so my flat now looks like it’s been in a battle. I have much more decorating to do now, because the new radiators are much smaller than the old ones, but they tell me, the work men that is; that the new boiler is much more efficient and not as much energy gets wasted, which I am informed used to disappear out through the flue or conduit on the outside wall. However I just can’t stop thinking how hard this winter will prove to be for those on low incomes or benefits and for pensioners in particular. Wherever I go there is an air of desperation that lingers around the east end these days. What with Christmas just around the corner; I really do think that this will be a tough one somehow for parents and children alike.

I was fortunate enough this week to have a peek into the daily struggle, nay, weekly and indeed yearly struggle of a mature single mum trying her hardest to bring up a 12 year old boy, who I must say really is a credit to his mother, always polite whenever I see and talk to him. They live on benefits in a one-up two bedroom maisonette, and she tells me that she hates this time of the year, because the cost of keeping the home warm is a nightmare, and then keeping her son clothed and fed adequately is like stretching a narrow rubber band that’s about to snap. School dinners cost £4 a day, because her son says that those who get free meals are bullied by other children, and the same goes for clothing; it seems today kids have to have the labelled outfits or they are in trouble – well all I can say that things have certainly changed since I was at school, and just look at the way that modern consumerism has a hold on the kids?

Well I intend to have a look a bit closer in the next few weeks, at just how people are managing to keep body and soul together in these very difficult times.

Just one other item that I wish to raise and that's today is National Homeless Day, and although it was my intension to wright a great deal more on this subject if it hadn’t been for the unforeseen topsy-turvydom and chaos of the last week. Oh well never mind let me leave you with this wonderful quotation from a friend and former Director of Shelter, the late Sheila McKechnie.  “People who are homeless are not social inadequates. They are people without homes.”

Sunday, 3 October 2010

Labour Representation (1)

Tower Hamlets Trades Council had real influence all of 25 years ago, it was active in many different campaigns throughout the 1980s when I was a T&G delegate, which is nowadays better known as simply Unite. The monthly meetings were always relatively well attended. The council had representatives sitting on the Greater London Association of Trades Councils, and which for some years I was an elected representative, along with about four others including and would you believe it Charlie Whelan, former spin doctor to Gordon Brown, now turned political influence peddler for the Unite union..

It is said that Whelan had run an effective "stop David Miliband" campaign in the trade union movement; which did it in for the elder brother, and delivered the Crown and laurel foliage worn now on the head of Ed Miliband as an emblem of his victory; well that might be a wee bit of a square peg in a round hole portrayal of how this recent Leadership Election was won and achieved from behind the scenes, and orchestrated, masterminded by the power brokers that now run the Labour and Trade Union Movement.

It has crossed my mind more than once, that with the decline of influence and strength of once a mighty movement in the workplace: for had this not its own advantages, and possibly recognised by some in the top upper crust of a far, far different union movement than say 30 years ago. Back then there was a strong network of shop floor activists and stewards, a different type of leadership even at the top. My own experience was in NUPE which is now absorbed into Unison. My recognition of leaders like Jack Jones, Hugh Scanlon, Alan Fisher, Clive Jenkins and others of that era are very much still vivid and bright in my own memory. This was the time before Mrs Thatcher squeaked into Downing Street with a 30-seat majority in 1979.

Oh and how I can still hear the echoing voices, repeating by a shrivelled reflection of having read the Sun or swallowed rubbish that other Fleet Street titles churned-out to a sometimes gullible working class whom at times fell for the lie, that the unions ran or ruined politically and economically the country!”

Now this post is not particularly or specifically about the organizations that call themselves trade unions, but about working class representation in the political arena, or if you like in the amphitheatre of Westminster, and as we have come to know it through the development of the Labour Party from its forerunner the Labour Representation Committee. 

The concern about the need for parliamentary representation as a political weapon for workers’ interests has deep long roots, bedded in a blood drenched earth of struggle not just for representation but first the right to the franchise, the emancipation (may not be the best word) and winning by degrees, universal suffrage, that right to vote.

I have just decided, that this subject will need to be spread over three separate component posts in order that I am able to build a picture, an argument, and a case with a conclusion that takes on board some of the comments and concerns raised recently by fellow bloggers, Harpymarx and Chris H from Lansbury's Lido. I also promise to explain the so-called advantages of power and unaccountable leverage that trade union leader’s use with impunity, and what I believe to be an impurity in the everyday politics of the Labour Movement.

The Chartist movement, emerged in the second half of the 1830s and developed strongly wide support from the new industrial working class, this development must have shaken the very ground upon which the emerging developing capitalist class phlebotomised.

The Chartists had and promoted a six point Charter, of which the movement took its name, these were manhood suffrage, voting by ballot, annual parliaments, equal electoral districts, the payment of MPs, and the abolition of property qualifications.

Their demands and at such a time of early capitalist development must have had its attractions and seemed very well thought-out, but was there a naivety on the part of the Chartists I do wonder?”

Let’s just capture for a moment the atmosphere of those times: ‘Civilisation works its miracles’, wrote the Frenchman, Alex de Tocqueville, who visited Manchester in 1835, and then proclaimed; ‘and civilised man is turned back almost into a savage.’   

I see this savage, roaming about aimlessly without any destination still today, in search of food, shelter and employment. And further more, well its 2010, and really I am not exaggerating, just look at the thousands that don’t have homes that sleep rough on the streets of our capital city, building workers visiting the dole office and soup kitchens doing brisk business.

So when Chartism declined many attempts were made to revive the movement for workers’ representation and parliamentary reform. The important point to note is the formation of the LRC many years later at the turn of the century was the culmination of many different efforts which we will consider in the next post!” 

Enslavement; time to escape...

Today in Birmingham the Tories open their conference, which may  mark a turning point in the smooth-ride the Con Dem coalition has thus-far received. Now all the party conferences’ run very much along the same lines in the same fashion these days as stage managed events. They have very little to do with democracy, internal or otherwise. But that’s not what interests me about this particular gathering.

For quite a while now, I have been wondering about the organisation that has called itself ‘the right to work’. They tomorrow are staging a March and Demonstration around the general vicinity of the conference, and it is my understanding that many from cities and towns up and down the country will be participating. And we unfeignedly say, good luck and hope that the weather is kind to you all; there is nothing more uncomfortable and miserable than having travelled miles, got up at the crack-of-dawn and then to tramp around the streets in pouring rain, whilst the local constabulary do their level best to keep you away from conference. I know this, for I have been on many a demonstration staged at the governing political party’s conference, and in the pouring rain.

Well let’s not beat about the bush here, what I really want to groan on about is the name, slogan ‘the right to work’. Now no prizes, this is a SWP front it has all the hallmarks of confirmation; for me that’s not the problem, for if they can get people out on the streets and campaign against the government and the austerity program, then good on them.

But let’s get real; what short of a slogan is ‘the right to work’.

I mean did the slaves of Rome stage a demonstration when they were told that their services would no longer be needed? If anything Spartacus would have a thing or so to say about it. His struggle and that of the slaves, often seen as oppressed people fighting for their freedom against a slave-owning aristocracy, has found new meaning for modern writers since the 19th century. The rebellion of Spartacus has proven inspirational to many modern literary and political writers, making Spartacus a folk hero among cultures both ancient and modern.

So I am going to suggest that ‘the right to work’ slogan is really unreasonable and very inappropriate – it puts working people down as being wage slaves, and without an end!”

And please; I am not wishing to be sectarian, this is a political argument of great importance. No one works because (although some do) we really want this form a choice; we work because we have too. And look at what’s happing now; they the government and the boss class want us to work until we drop. Sounds and feels like we are a slave class?”

And don't forget soon we will be made to work for our benefits - that's slavery, the state of being under control!"    

Friday, 1 October 2010

battle cry!”

It’s a real filthy night in Canning Town this evening, rain (at time of writing) continues to bombard with uninterrupted delivery, and it’s been like this for most of the day. I have had the misfortune and been pretty well drenched more than once today. Oh well never mind at least the weekend has arrived; and I plan a calm, silent, quiet affair, just myself the ferret a few books, the computer and the dreaded housework – sounds good or what?”

I’ve just started to read ‘Silvertown’ By Melanie Mcgrath, this has the promise of a really good read; just read the first chapter. Silvertown, it pullulates with stories of life in the docks and pubs and dog tracks of the old East End; this passage is from the books Preface:

 “You could say that Jenny Fulcher led a very ordinary life. She grew up, worked, married and had children. Her life was subject to the usual disquiets and worries. She fretted over her debts. She worried for the future. Every so often, lying in bed in the flat dawn light, she would wonder what the point of all the struggle was. And then she would get up and make a pot of tea and get on with it.”   

In those few lines, came the message that I had desperately been looking for; just get on with it. But, I intend to apply this to the class struggle of today. And as we look towards next week and the conference of those Tories, we will begin to see the ferocity of their intended sledgehammer attack upon our living standards, and the services that make life bearable in our communities, and let’s be clear about this services, that were fought and won over generations, by people committed to breaking the squalid conditions of working people, they fought for the ending of the workhouse, for the provision of honest to good social housing, they insisted that knowledge and education should not be the preserve and property of those with money and the monopoly of all that is best in life. There commitment won and established in the face of real opposition, our National Health Service, a service that was intended to be free and the real envy of the world. So this, just skimming over the surface of welfare which is the Tories once in a lifetime opportunity to take-a-way everything that was won by genuine, sincere and a visionary Labour Movement of a long lost past.

This weekend, I will think personally of how in some small way I can best raise the battle cry!”

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