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Wednesday, 30 July 2014

The Socialist Way: Gaza is basking in as much wealth as the State of ...

The Socialist Way: Gaza is basking in as much wealth as the State of ...: While Israel has been telling the world that it has the right to defend itself against foreign aggression, arguing that no country sho...

Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Still living at home with your parents ? your not alone

"Nearly two million working young adults aged between 20 and 34 years old in England are still living with their parents according to Shelter, which is urging stronger action to help the ''clipped wing generation'' fly the nest. The charity said data it has taken from the Census shows that there are 1.97 million people in this age group in England who are still living with their parents, accounting for one quarter of all young adults in employment. A survey commissioned by the charity also found that nearly half (48%) of 250 young adults who live with their parents said they do so because they cannot afford to rent or buy their own home. Shelter said its analysis of the Census data uncovered several areas where the proportion of adult children living with their parents is much higher. It named nation's ''clipped wing'' hotspots as Castle Point in Essex where 45% of working 20- to 34-year-olds live with their parents; Knowsley in Merseyside where the figure is 42%; and Solihull where 38% of young working adults still live in the home they grew up in. " I too can add myself to this ever growing list. The rental prices in East Hertfordshire are reidiculous and someone who only works part time with his wages topped up a little by working tax credits paying a rent of 500 pounds a month upwards is simply not a option i can afford. I am blind as some of you may or may not know and i would love to further my independence by gaining my own place. But this is just not possible. If renting is almost impossible dont even think about owning your own place either. I am 26 and have very little chance of getting on the so called propety ladder. help to buy and schemes like these are helpful to some but for many they make no difference at all. "Shelter highlighted the case of a 32-year-old woman named Sarah who lives with her parents in the family home in Croydon. She works in online advertising, but has been living on and off with her parents for the past 10 years while trying to save for a deposit. Sarah said: ''I'm trying really hard to save up and get my own place but today's rollercoaster house prices mean the goal posts keep moving. ''If I move out now the reality is I'll be stuck paying expensive rents for the rest of my life. I know I'm lucky to have a job and somewhere to live, but the thought that I'm going to be living like a teenager into my late 30s or even 40s is really disheartening.'' Campbell Robb, chief executive of Shelter, said: ''The 'clipped wing generation' are finding themselves with no choice but to remain living with mum and dad well into adulthood, as they struggle to find a home of their own... ''Rather than pumping more money into schemes like Help to Buy, we need bolder action that will meet the demand for affordable homes and not inflate prices further. ''From helping small local builders find the finance they need, to investing in a new generation of part rent, part buy homes, the solutions to our housing shortage are there for the taking. " with extracts from an article in todays Daily Telegraph http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/personalfinance/houseprices/10996825/Clipped-wing-generation-still-live-with-mum-and-dad.html

Monday, 28 July 2014

Mythbuster: Israel’s attack on Gaza

This is a great piece By the excellent Tom Walker of red Pepper who takes apart the excuses Israel is using to justify its massacre July 2014 Over at http://www.redpepper.org.uk/mythbuster-israels-attack-on-gaza/ MYTH: The Palestinians started the conflict From looking at some of the media coverage you would think so – but it’s vital to put today's problems in the right historical context. The key date is 1948, when the state of Israel was created by Jewish settlers in Palestine. Fleeing persecution in Europe, they were handed the land by Britain, which held it as a colony at the time. Israeli myth has it that the country was mostly empty at this point. In fact, terror gangs murdered large numbers of Palestinians, and forced others from their land and homes, in order to expand Israel’s territory. Around 400 Palestinian towns and villages were ‘wiped off the map’ or renamed. Israel’s militarised, colonial nature is part of the state’s very foundations, and has continued ever since. Every time the borders of the map are redrawn in Israel’s favour, Israel pushes still further – the areas usually described as ‘settlements’ are in flagrant violation of international law, but nothing is done. New settlements continue to be built in the West Bank today. Most Palestinians, meanwhile, have been left stateless and landless, some living in refugee camps. Jewish people from all over the world have the right to move to Israel, but Palestinians do not have the right to return to their villages or homes. FPRIVATE "TYPE=PICT;ALT=" MYTH: Whatever the history, the problem now is the violence on both sides This is a common position, and allows the speaker to feel very even-handed in their condemnation. There’s a problem though: as I write, hundreds of Palestinians have been killed since the start of the recent offensive. The Israeli death toll, on the other hand, stands at... two – and one of those is thought to be from ‘friendly fire’. This is not new: massively disproportionate death counts have long been a feature of Israel’s attacks on Palestine. In Israel’s 2008–9 invasion of Gaza, an estimated 1,400 Palestinians were killed, compared to 13 Israelis. It is also the case, both then and now, that the majority of the Israeli casualties are military, while most of the Palestinian dead were civilians. Lazily drawing an equals sign between Israel and Palestine ignores that one side is the occupier, and one is being occupied. Right now, one is invading the other! To equate them is as absurd as talking about the US’s invasions of Iraq or Afghanistan by condemning ‘both sides’. If you are against violence, surely you need to focus your anger on the side that is committing the vast majority of the violence? If every death is a tragedy, one side is bearing a far greater weight of tragedy than the other. There can be no peace without justice. MYTH: Israel is defending itself against rockets fired from Gaza The ‘rocket fire’ is a central part of how Israel is justifying its invasion of Gaza – so let’s take a minute to look at the reality of these rockets. Many of them, known as Qassam rockets, are improvised from basic steel parts, fuelled by sugar and fertiliser and with a range of only a few kilometres. More recently there have been the Grad rockets and a few others, old cast-offs from Iran and Syria, with a slightly greater range. To get an idea of the level of ‘threat’ to Israel, have a look at reports of the damage done by Gazan rockets. Again and again you will see the phrase ‘no injuries or damage’. In one case some marks were left on a road. Another caused a small fire in a field. More recently a cat was startled from a tree: Israel, on the other hand, is a US-backed nuclear power with billions to spend on the latest military hardware – including the ‘Iron Dome’ missile defence system which shoots down most Palestinian rockets in any case. Israel’s weapons are capable of massive destruction, it has many more of them, and it uses them constantly, even during supposed ceasefires. There is much talk of Israel’s ‘right to defend itself’ from the Palestinian rockets. But what about Palestine’s right to defend itself from Israel’s infinitely more powerful arsenal? MYTH: The attacks are targeted at ‘terrorists’ and their tunnels This is one of the more transparent of Israel's lies – not least because the list of Palestinian dead shows such incredibly high numbers of children. For example, Peter Beaumont, the Guardian’s correspondent, witnessed four Palestinian children aged between 7 and 11, who were playing on a beach, being killed by Israeli shelling. ‘I’ve seen some truly shocking scenes this morning,' he tweeted later, after the invasion started. ‘A man putting the remains of his two year old son into a shopping bag...' These are not exceptions but the everyday reality of Israel’s victims. Israel attempts to claim that any civilian casualties are the result of Hamas using ‘human shields’, but from its actions it is clear that everywhere in Gaza is a potential target. Israel literally demolished Gaza’s el-Wafa hospital. A hospital is quite obviously not a ‘terrorist tunnel’, yet these were no accidental hits – the building was hit on all floors with up to 20 rockets and shells, then burned down. It is an upside-down world where it is ‘terrorism’ to dig a tunnel but ‘self-defence’ to destroy a hospital. Israel claims that it drops leaflets and makes phone calls so that civilians can evacuate any building or area it is planning to bomb. But the whole of Gaza is under siege, and Israel does not let Palestinians cross the border. Where, exactly, are they supposed to go? MYTH: While Israel can be criticised, it is ‘the only democracy in the Middle East’ Surely if Israel was a democracy, then the Palestinians in the areas it is occupying would have at least basic civil rights and a vote. In fact even the few Palestinians who are allowed to live in Israel itself as citizens are subject to discrimination and harassment. People talk about Israel as if it is a small, vulnerable island surrounded by hostility on all sides, its very existence in need of defending. But it is Palestine, not Israel, whose existence is at risk. It is Palestine that is gradually disappearing from maps. In fact, if it weren’t for the resistance, Palestine might have already passed into the history books, forgotten by the world. What is really meant by the ‘only democracy’ phrase is that Israel is a reliable ally of the US and other Western governments: that Israel is on their side. But their criteria are not ours. We need to target Israel with boycott, divestment and sanctions, and continue to build the global mass movement to free Palestine.

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

The Socialist Way: We need to build and make this the biggest demonst...

The Socialist Way: We need to build and make this the biggest demonst...: Last Saturday, cities and towns across the world demonstrated against Israel's barbaric attack on Gaza. The biggest was in London,...

Standing with the people of Gaza under attack from Israel

Over 260 Palestinians have been killed in the current war “ the overwhelming majority civilians. Two Israelis have also lost their lives. The destruction raining down on the Gaza strip, carried out by the huge US-backed military machine of the Israeli government, is completely disproportionate to the threat faced by homemade rockets fired from Gaza. Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu claims that the war is necessary to guarantee Israelis safety. In reality, this ground invasion will do nothing to make Israelis safer. It is at the expense of many lives, such as the tragic killing of four children playing on a beach. Homes of those accused of killing Israelis have been targeted and destroyed, leaving survivors to search for the dead amongst the rubble. Meanwhile, no such action has been taken against the families of far-right Israeli activists charged with killing Mohammad Abu-Khdeir. Unfortunately, the rockets fired into Israel and the attempted attack on Sufa, within Israel’s current border, have threatened lives and given Israel the excuse it needed to justify a ground invasion of the Gaza strip. These tactics are counter-productive, and will not further the cause of an independent Palestinian state. Just yesterday there was a shelling of a hospital in Gaza killing several injuring many more. The claims by Israel that hamas are hiding their militants amoung civilians is a duvious one at best as even last time in 2008/09 Amnesty international looked into these claims and could find no evidence of this. This conflict, and the ongoing vicious oppression of Palestinians, is rooted in the western quest for domination throughout the Middle East. It is intractable under the present capitalist system, which places profit over people. The spark that ignited this present conflict is the collapse of US-backed peace talks in April, and the formation of a new Palestinian government supported by both main political parties, Hamas and Fatah. Israel had attempted to hold back demands for Palestinian statehood by playing off one party against another; the threat of a united government is the main threat the Israeli government is fighting. Netanyahus government has a policy of expanding into Palestinian areas by supporting new settlements and driving Palestinians off their land. It has no interest in working for a real peace, and for a genuinely independent Palestine. The US, led by Obama, fully backs the right-wing Israeli government as a steady partner in an oil-rich region wracked with war and instability. There are glimpses of how to overcome the situation. Joint protests of Jews and Arabs in Israel has shown the potential for working-class people uniting for an end to the conflict. The recent protests of Arabs within Israel were the largest for a number of years. A recent poll showed that the majority of Palestinians supported demonstrations and mass action over rocket attacks, as the way to win an independent Palestine. The Arab Spring showed what is possible when working people stand up for themselves this way. In 2011, Israel saw a mass movement for public investment in housing, and other social services, which showed the potential for class divisions to open up in Israeli society. The struggle for peace, work and housing can only be won by mass struggle; kicking out the vested interests of the western governments, of big business, and of the right wing parties in Israel and Palestine. I stand fully behind the palestinian people in solidarity and hope there is a end to this conflict sooner rather than later as the casualties pile up.

Monday, 21 July 2014

The Socialist Way: Effectively support Gaza through Boycotts

The Socialist Way: Effectively support Gaza through Boycotts:   Morning comrades and friends all, here is a list of things and products that we can Boycott in support of Gaza and against Israel’s ...

Saturday, 19 July 2014

The character of the labour party and its contradictions

Whilst I was a member of the socialist party I was taught to hate the labour party and that I still do till this day. I was a member of the labour party for at time yet fell out of love with them very quickly indeed in my naive days of not knowing much on politics they seemed the best place to defeat the Tories and indeed they still may be if you solely rely on electoral politics and simply beating the other side. But I have now left the labour party and spent some time in the socialist party formally the militant tendency who were hammered by the Labour party leadership again and again until the main editorial board of the militant paper were expelled. I joined the socialist party hoping for a good analysis of the party I’d just left and on the whole I agreed with a lot of it at first holding a dismissive attitude towards the Labour party . But was the socialist party’s analysis of the labour party correct?? The one they still stand by today which leads them to set up such sectarian projects like the Trade Union and Socialist Coalition due to the fact they have written off the labour party and now consider it a fully capitalist party. But to my mind the Labour party has never been a fully socialist party even the late Tony Benn could recognise this. For militant the predecessor of the socialist party the labour party was always described as a capitalist workers party and indeed I do still think this is the case despite everything. It is very evident to me looking back at Militants history and how it became militant labour and now the socialist party it seems to me from someone now on the outside that Militant and its leadership almost overnight decided the labour party was no longer a mass body of the working class as soon as its main figures were expelled. Almost like a bad ex lover it set upon hating its ex party and throwing all sorts of accusations its way despite following in its old tradition itself. Indeed every time the labour party do not come out and support strikes you will see no end of socialist party and TUSC representatives mostly with the twitter follower ship of Dave Enlist condemning the labour party for not backing strikes. Yet history will show us that the labour party or should I say the leadership of the party are not known for backing strikes and indeed in the biggest strike in British history the famous general strike of 1926 which the likes of the Socialist party heap such inspiration on did not back this strike eithr. Indeed you can look all through history did the labour party which still at the time contained the likes of the Militant back the miners strikes in the 1980’s ?? No they did not and there was not the scorn poured on labour at the time like today. The fact is despite labours awfulness and don’t get me wrong I am not fan of the labour party what so ever and would not think of rejoining at all the analysis of this party is crucial for understanding where we are and where we need to go as a class. The labour party has always had a capitalist leadership and a working class base all be it today it has been hollowed out and its democratic structures eroded. Don’t get me wrong I get all that and is no longer place for mass workers struggle but thinking back to a time when the labour party was ever worth struggle is a fantasy dreamt up by various trotskyists who like to cover being in the labour party by looking to recruit. The union link is key for many if that link ever goes that will be the end but until it is closed off for good which I highly doubt as it keeps up the idea that labour can still be for workers even if it wont ever be now still is a distraction for workers looking to reclaim labour. I don’t believe the labour party to be able to be reclaimed as simply due to the fact it was never ours to reclaim. It’s always been a huge contradiction and to win we must look past the labour party itself for change in my opinion. Lets not beat around the bush Trotsky always said for his followers to join mass organisations of the working class to spread their ideas and gain influence and this was all the militant wherein the labour party for. Any pretence to say they supported the labour party are nonsense they clearly only were a part of it for their own ends as was most Trotskyites who ever join such mass organisations they are in it for themselves over the working class itself and their own eventual goals. They may sell you bullshit but the truth is always out there to find. The labour party will be a feature in the coming period as like it or not it is still about and needs to be dealt with as a organisation whether you see it as a vehicle for change or not it cant be wished away.

Tuesday, 15 July 2014

Rearranging the deckchairs on the titanic

So today we have been treated to a government reshuffle 10 months away from the general election as it stands. Many seem to be crowing about how good it is that the likes of Michael Gove have been demoted and that various others have gone even trade unions like teh NUT celebrating seeing this as a victory. This is certainly not a victory of any sorts. THe policies remain and teh damage is there fora ll to see. one of the most hated figures in the tory ranks, - IDS Iain Duncan-Smith remains at the WP too which sickens me but i never thought he would be one to go he is doing exactly waht the government ask of him and to little resistance it has to be said. So here is a run down of who's gone where and where we should look at for the next year before the coming election and hopefully this will be the last we see of many if not all of these. Prime Minister David Cameron is reshuffling his top team, with details of new appointments and exits being unveiled. William Hague (moved) Mr Hammond has left the Ministry of Defence to become foreign secretary. He has been defence secretary since 2011, having previously held the transport brief. Michael Gove (moved) Mrs Morgan has been made education secretary, taking over from Mr Gove. The former lawyer has been a Treasury minister since 2013, having joined the government a year earlier. She will continue in her role as minister for women. Liz Truss (promoted to Cabinet) Mr Fallon, a Conservative MP since 1983, has been made defence secretary. He is regarded as a trouble-shooter who deals effectively with crises. Previously he held three jobs - as a business minister, minister of state for energy and minister for Portsmouth. Stephen Crabb (promoted to Cabinet) The MP quit his role as immigration minister earlier this year after admitting to having employed an illegal immigrant as a cleaner. He is now back as minister of state in the Department for Work and Pensions. Ken Clarke (out) Mr Paterson will no longer be environment secretary, a post he has held since 2012 when he replaced Caroline Spelman. Prior to that, he had served in the cabinet as Northern Ireland secretary. David Jones (out) Mr Jones has been sacked as Welsh secretary, having been in the cabinet post for two years. He had previously been a more junior minister in the Wales Office. Sir George Young (out) Sir George has resigned as chief whip. He was the leader of the Commons from 2010 to 2012. The 72-year-old North West Hampshire MP is one of the most experienced members of the coalition government, having held office under Margaret Thatcher and John Major. David Willetts (out) Mr Duncan has resigned as international development minister, a post he has held since 2010. Andrew Robathan (out) Mr Robathan has resigned as Northern Ireland minister. He was previously a defence minister until the October 2013 reshuffle. Damian Green (out) Mr Green has resigned as policing minister. He had been immigration minister from 2010 to 2012. Cabinet ministers and others staying in their jobs Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne Home Secretary Theresa May Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith Employment minister Esther McVey (but wi

Monday, 14 July 2014

Jenny Morris: For the first time in the history of modern social...

Jenny Morris: For the first time in the history of modern social...: There was a lot of political consensus on disability policy during the 20 years to 2010.  Over that period, the disability movement gradual...

Sunday, 13 July 2014

J10 and its impact

According the trade unions, over 1,000,000 people took part in yesterday’ public sector strikes, with many participating in marches and rallies across the country. Predictably, the Government claimed that the real figure was less than half of that, with David Cameron claiming the strikes as “illegitimate” and “not causing any disruption”. Government agencies proudly reporting how many of their services & offices remained open, despite the national call-out by several trade unions. This blatant massaging and manipulation of the figures is just another facet of the David Cameron School of falsification. Yes, an office, job centre, call centre, fire station, or school may have opened their doors; however, it is hardly business as usual. Operating a skeleton or token service, run by scabs, whilst 80% of that workplace is on strike, cannot be described as a victory for the employers. It seems that the Government and Tory media think that if a school stays open with just one person manning a telephone, then they can record that as a non-closure. If, as David Cameron claims, that the strikes were a damp squib that didn’t cause any disruption, they why is he providing a statement, and why is he plotting new legislation to attack trade unions? Yes, it would be better if the turnout for a strike ballot was 100%, but for many reasons they rarely are. However, the suggestion that ballots are usually less than 30% is another government falsehood. More importantly than satisfying the legal hurdle of a ballot – is the turnout of the day – as most of those striking vote with their feet, not with a pen. If and when legislation is brought in to set a minimum voting threshold, then I would expect to the number of people voting to rise significantly, and would then anticipate the government ferreting around for a another loophole or hurdle to utilise in their attempts to break trade unions. Oxbridge wanker, multi-millionaire, government ‘union-buster’, and former PPS to a paedophile, Francis Maude, said that “The more unions go on strike, the stronger the case for a change in the law being included in the Conservatives’ general election manifesto next year.” …. The irony of being elected on approximately 35% of those eligible to vote in constituency is apparently lost on Mr Maude. Francis Maude may soon find that he has a more pressing matter at hand should the investigation into child abuse by politicians want to look at his role as PPS to Peter Morrison, and the deal allegedly struck with the Labour Party & Police…

Thursday, 10 July 2014

solidarity with striking J10 workers, their fight is our fight

Adapted from a Workers Liberty leaflet: Up to two million workers will strike on 10 July. Members of unions in local government will strike to oppose a 1% pay offer, and are demanding an increase of at least £1 per hour or to the "Living Wage", £7.65, or £8.80 in London. Other unions involved in the action have their own pay demands. According to the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, the cost of maintaining a decent standard of living in the UK has risen by 46% since 2008, while wages have increased by just 9%. It's the harshest squeeze on real wages in the UK since records began. According to TUC figures, around five million workers in Britain (20% of the total workforce) are paid less than the living wage. The 10 July strike can be the start of a working class counter-offensive challenging the capitalist logic that demands workers pay for the financial crisis. We need a plan, not a day at a time One-off strike days, each followed by a long wait until union leaders report back or call further action, aren't nough. The remedy is not just to convert one-day protest strikes into two-day protest strikes, but to plan continuing action, discussed and decided in advance by union members. This could include limited, selective action as well as all-out strikes and be directed by local strike committees. Local strike committees should continue meeting after 10 July, and the executives of all the striking unions should meet together. After 10th July? Unison's leaders have already talked about further strikes on 9 and 10 September. Unions should liaise with each other in order to pin down the most effective date, and other actions should be planned between now and then - even small, local events like lunchtime rallies, demos and street stalls. NHS workers should be brought into the dispute. Unison should act on its 2014 Health sector conference decision to ballot for strikes over pay. Strike funds should be levied at both local and national level to ensure the lowest-paid workers are supported in taking sustained and escalating action. On strike days every workplace should be picketed, with pickets approaching non-striking workers and attempting to persuade them not to cross. In 2011 some activists held members' meetings with discussion and voting - not just set-piece rallies.' We should organise such meetings this time, as well.

Tuesday, 8 July 2014

The Socialist Way: The May inquiry falls very short and only helps to...

The Socialist Way: The May inquiry falls very short and only helps to...: A soul-searching national inquiry into how authorities may have ignored systematic child abuse in some of Britain's most eminent a...

Monday, 7 July 2014

Building the rank-and-file for July 10

As we get closer to the proposed coordinated public sector strikes on July 10th , debate continues to rage about how best to build for the event. In particular, on the libertarian left there has been much talk of the need to build a new rank-and-file. This has been the subject of recent open meetings all across the left The sad thing is that because of the course worker organisation has taken at least over the last thirty years, these debates must essentially be seen as attempts to revive a practice long-forgotten. In considering how to build from below, for a rank-and-file strong enough to take control of its own struggles, there are a number of obstacles to overcome. The myth of the authoritarian left is that of the “crisis of leadership,” whereby an otherwise directionless or apathetic working class lacks the particular form of top-down control that brings militancy and effective fightback. In fact, the opposite is true: the focus on leaders and top-down organisation, combined with the defeats of the past few decades, has demoralised and disempowered the rank-and-file workforce. As such, the task is not to get “the right leadership,” but to build people’s confidence in their ability to take control of their own struggles and abandon the leadership. A culture of resistance We need to talk up our recent victories including the small ones which go unnotice by much of the left today these can serve to increase the confidence of people to act on their own initiative Building people’s confidence means, ultimately, demonstrating that ordinary people can win on their own terms. Thus, the self-belief required to win victories and the successes that increased confidence feed into one another – though obviously such a cycle has to start small and build up. The fortunate thing is that, as dire as things can often seem, we aren’t starting from scratch. Rank-and-file based organisations and campaigns already exist on a community basis, if not a workplace one, and provide a springboard from which to build something bigger. For example, the IIWGB union involved in the tres caoses campaign I may not have spelt that100% workers victory in london and at ULU with outsourced cleaners who are still in battle who continue to fight for the big win on the living wage making the point that such wins are possible, and making exactly the point that solidarity and direct action work. In a similar vein, the Edinburgh Coalition Against Poverty who involved in a won in a year-long dispute against “workfare” providers A4E. They had been denying an ex-miner his JSA because of his refusal to attend meetings without a rep. A campaign of disruptive solidarity actions here also won the day with the stopped benefits repaid. The point with both cases (and no doubt other examples before them) is that they prove to ordinary people the power of collective action and the protection we get from sticking together. Unlike joining a servicing union, which is as empowering as joining the AA, it is something tangible that can be seen on the ground. The more it happens, the more people are inclined to be part of it. A culture of resistance grows, and you see more and more people acting on their own initiative. Of course, this does not spontaneously transfer to the workplace, especially in the case of a strike by a traditional union. It often seems to be the case that whilst the current escalation in the class struggle has inspired the resistance culture in those who don’t come under the umbrella of traditional organising – the unemployed, agency workers, the UK Uncut movement, and even school pupils, to give just a few examples – those within the strongholds of the trade unions remain the least radical. This comes back to the focus on building “broad lefts” and the “right leadership,” reducing those on the shop floor to little more than chess pieces in other people’s power plays. The unions play their role as the keepers of industrial peace well, and most of the left goes along with it by promoting illusions to the contrary. Hence why, in the midst of uprisings across the world and genuinely radical direct action against state and capital, a one-day strike being initiated entirely within the restrictive parameters of the law is hailed as the possible end of the government by various “revolutionary leaderships” who really ought to know better. It is here that militant workers face one of the more difficult tasks. Not only do we have to build from the ground up, an imposing task in itself given the conditions mentioned earlier, but we have to challenge the existing hierarchies of the union. Circumventing the bureaucracy We should always strive for mass work place meetings with 100% democracy with workers on the job deciding wahte action to be taken at all times ensuring we keep to Recallable delegates, not representatives, where necessary and Local control of strike funds • Rank-and-file controlled strike committees Direct action On which basis, people can learn the power in their own hands and to act on their own initiative. There is a strong libertarian trend within the growing youth movement, and recent disputes over schools becoming private academies on Merseyside have inspired spontaneous mass walkouts by pupils We need to go beyond the one day off for a bit of strike action is fine but any more is a no go. We need to support our fellow worker by a strike fundif any future battles crop up with democratically controlled trust of the hardship fund The current law states we must not go beyond the official line but we must if we are to win. current lines generally consist of the six official pickets recommended by the code of practice. But this is part of the growing disconnect between the working class and the struggles they’re involved in and it is vital that this is challenged. But it needs to also be stated that those who come down wouldn’t be “observers” or “supporters,” for the purposes of nervous officials wanting to keep everything strictly above board. We should be arguing for mass pickets, and those joining the line should take an active role not only in the duty but in deciding on how the action plays out. In other words, we need to mobilise people to act for themselves, not to be led. Propaganda plays a significant role in this, and it will be integral that a message of rank-and-file control gets out there. Even if we discover that thirty years of demobilisation cannot be overcome that easily, the seeds need to be sown now rather than left until the next big struggle that comes along. A culture of ideas The examples given above are just a few ideas. No doubt there is much more that can be done in terms of mobilising people. But I will end by suggesting that one of those things should be to encourage people to take part in the discussions that are going on about how to build for both these strikes and the broader fight. The authoritarian left claims to share the concern to organise at a rank-and-file level. But they do so with the clear intention of building up a broader base of footsoldiers, to be led into battle. As vanguards and revolutionary leaderships, they are above the working class, separate from it by their belief that they should be in charge of it whilst it doesn’t hold the right consciousness. The same, too, with union officials, who talk of “members” and “reps/activists” as though two separate species. For those of us on the libertarian left, and particularly within the anarchist tradition, that cannot be the case. We reject illusions in the existing leadership precisely because we reject formal leadership. We are not seeking to become a replacement vanguard, and we are part of that rank-and-file that needs to take control of its own struggles. This means that we do not debate only amongst our fellow militants and radicals, but that we take part in and seek to recreate the vibrant intellectual culture that was an inherent feature of the working class at the height of its power. The ideas we promote should be strong enough to stand up on their own merits. This being the case, scrutiny and robust debate with other workers who do not necessarily share your viewpoint is no bad thing and is to be encouraged. We can only have a situation where decisions are made by mass meeting if everybody is aware of and part of the discussion on the same issues. Everyone’s viewpoint is equally valid, and unlike the authoritarian left and the trade union bureaucrats we should be seeking not to dominate or steer meetings and discussion but to be a part of it as everyone else. Ultimately, if the aim is to have ordinary people taking action for themselves, then the ideas are the most important part of the equation. We can promote a culture of resistance, but by the nature of the beast we cannot produce a formula or a rigid programme. If people are to take control of their own struggles, they must decide how for themselves. The role of militants within the workplace is simply to be part of that, and to argue and demonstrate that it can be done.

Friday, 4 July 2014

Learning the lessons from the last 4 years of austerity

We simply can’t go on doing the same thing and hoping the results will be different. There is a sort of year 0 approach going on on the left right now in regards to the upcoming public sector strikes on July 10th over pay. A black spot on the left is it it rarely looks back over its own history and analysis’s its own role in the situation and where it went wrong. So as we head into another big strike day in the UK the same bold statements are coming out from various left groups and sources. We must all get out for this day build for July 10th etc etc yet no lessons appear to have been considered since the public sector pensions dispute back in 2011 which saw up to 2 million people take strike action on November 30th. So we not remember the role played by the union tops in the selling out of this dispute the heads of agreement that was made behind member’s backs? Well I do and I did not even take part in the strike action myself. We must warn workers when taking strike action this time around to be aware of their leaders looking for a quick deal and to get away from escalating action as quickly as possible. The last thing a union wants is a dispute it cannot control. The last big dispute was organised top down in a much regimented fashion The way a strike is built is very key when it springs from the bottom up much like the sparks dispute back in 2011 the union finds it far harder to control and a lot more militant action can be built. I do think we are lacking a good rank and file movement to hold union leaders to account and to even go beyond them if need be. Workers should be in control and own their own battles and not leave it up to unelected full time officials of various unions. Failing to learn these lessons and following the same actions and ideas of various left’s is a recipe for further defeats and demoralisation I’m afraid. Lastly I’d like to offerm y full solidarity and support to those taking action on july 10th but this cant be a one off day out on strike furter action must follow and soon.