Wednesday, 30 November 2011

N30: Bristolians strike back against Con-Dems

Huge demonstration in Bristol today. ‎20,000 on Bristol march according to police estimates so likely much higher. Biggest demo in the city since 1932. Socialist Party leaflets calling for the TUC to set another date and continue the fight were snatched up in the thousands. John McInally of PCS went down a storm when he called unequivocally for a new workers' party...

4,000 in Exeter, 4,000 in Truro, 3,000 in Gloucester, 1,000+ in Bath and 2,000 in Taunton. 1,000 in Dorchester and even 500 in Torquay which is a first for that part of Devon. As one woman comment "the peasants are revolting!"

Pictures and in-depth reports to follow soon!

Monday, 28 November 2011

Bristol: TV Licence workers to join November 30 strike

From CWU Website:

Hundreds of workers at TV Licensing employed by Capita will join millions of public sector workers by going on strike next Wednesday, November 30.

This will be the fourth day of strike action that these members of the Communication Workers Union will have taken in a long-running dispute over pay. The majority of them had never been involved in any industrial action before Capita refused to increase a pay offer worth around 2.6%. Capita makes more than £1 million profit every day and last year gave the CEO and other senior executives a 17% pay rise.

Andy Furey, CWU assistant secretary representing Capita members, said: "There are many similarities between what our members are fighting for - a fair pay rise - and the dispute that public sector workers are in - seeking fair and affordable pensions.

"We both face powerful employers who say they can't afford more. In our case the truth is the company makes over £1 million profit every day and gives its senior executives generous pay rises, while in the case of public sector workers the costings by independent parties like ONS show that the government's changes aren't necessary for affordable funding. In both cases there are political and ideological forces at play.

"We're here to speak for people who being treated wrongly. We want to resolve this dispute through negotiation and I'm again appealing to Capita to return to talks to resolve this dispute before Christmas."

Picket lines Wednesday 30th November:

Bristol: 7:30 - 10:30am 100 Temple Street, Bristol, BS98 1TL

Strikers will join the public sector march from College Green to Castle Park in Bristol.

Staff in Bristol and Darwen, and a small number in Glasgow, work in call centre and support roles and will be on strike on Wednesday 30th November. Enforcement officers who work in the field are on strike from 4 - 9pm on 30th November.

Watch live video coverage of previous strikes at both the Bristol and Darwen sites onCWUTV.

Enough is enough! Make N30 the start of a fight to stop all cuts

The Socialist editorial, from The Socialist newspaper, 23 November 2011

This government of millionaires claimed that its programme of savage cuts in public spending would eliminate Britain's structural deficit by 2014-15. Now, as the Socialist predicted, David Cameron has been forced to admit that this is impossible.

The government's assertion that the private sector would fill the gap created by slashing the public sectorhas been shown to be the nonsense it always was. Instead the deepening of the capitalist economic crisis, combined with the surge in unemployment and fall in taxes collected as a result of the public sector cuts, has even raised the prospect of an increase in the deficit.

The Con-Dems, however, are continuing to cut regardless. Only the super-rich are getting better off in Cameron's Britain. In the last year alone directors' pay in FTSE 100 companies grew by 49%. The latest figures from the High Pay Commission show that the gap between the richest and the rest of us is now the highest it has been since Queen Victoria was on the throne!

Meanwhile, government cuts are destroying the lives of millions - of the young, the old, the sick, the disabled - and will mean a lower quality of life for the vast majority of people.

Enough is enough! The time is overdue to stand up and fight back. That is what millions of public sector workers are doing by taking strike action on 30 November (N30) in defence of their pension rights. This is the biggest single day of strike action since 1926 and is terrifying the government.

The government has told public sector workers that they must pay more for their pensions, work longer and get much less on retirement. They say that 'gold-plated public sector pensions are no longer affordable. But as one PCS member tweeted, Tory cabinet minister Francis Maude is set to get a £731,000 pension pay-out and an annual £43,825 pension, while the average PCS member gets £4,200 a year.

N30 is in defence of pensions, but it is also a powerful weapon in the struggle against all cuts. Workers are facing pay cuts, job cuts, having to do interviews to keep jobs that they have worked in for decades, as well as cuts to all the services they rely on. Three million workers on strike will provide a taste to the Con-Dem bullies of who they are messing with. Working class people have huge potential power when they are organised and have a leadership that is ready to fight to win.

The trade unions need to make it clear to the government that N30 is not a token strike but part of a determined strategy to win. The TUC must set the next strike date for further coordinated action - another 24-hour strike or stepping up to 48 hours to make it clear to the government that they are on to a loser. That should be in the next two months.

Further action should also be spread to the private sector. A discussion should be held on making the next 24-hour strike a general strike, including private as well as public sector workers. As a minimum a call must be put out for all industrial action - private and public - to be coordinated. For example, construction electricians are currently balloting over attacks on their national pay deal (with pay cuts of up to 35%) by construction companies who are lining up to receive government bailouts.
Other strikes

National action on the pensions can also be supplemented by strike action in areas facing specific cuts such as the over 21,000 HM Revenue and Customs staff who could strike over privatisation plans.

If a fighting strategy is to be implemented it is essential that decisions on the struggle are not left in the hands of the national trade union leaders. We demand that trade union members have democratic control of the negotiations at every stage.

Within the trade unions we need to begin to build fighting left organisations that struggle to ensure the trade unions fight in their members' interests. One demand of such organisations should be for regular elections of full-time officials and for them to be paid no more than a workers' wage. The National Shop Stewards Network (NSSN) also has an important role to play in bringing together militant trade unionists.

Coordinated strike action has the potential to bring down this rotten Con-Dem government. To succeed in doing this would give huge confidence to millions of workers. However, Labour coming to power would not lead to an end to the attacks workers are facing.

The overwhelming majority of Labour's funding comes from trade unions that are taking part in N30, but it does not represent trade unionists' interests. Ed Balls made it clear at this year's Labour Party conference that a Labour government would also cut public sector workers' pensions, demanding, just like the Con-Dems, that workers work longer, pay more and get less. At local level every single Labour-led council has implemented the Con-Dem cuts. Incredibly, not even one single Labour councillor has voted against a Labour council implementing cuts.

Ed Miliband showed which side he was on when he condemned the 30 June strike. To add insult to injury Ed Miliband was then photographed in parliament laughing over a cup of tea with Cameron and Clegg, while the pickets stood outside. Now he has refused to give support to N30 despite pressure even from the Daily Mirror not to criticise "carers, dinner ladies, council workers, NHS employees, teachers, Jobcentre staff and tax collectors [for] rebelling at being asked to pick up the tab for banksters' bonuses" by taking strike action.

N30 demonstrates the enormous potential industrial power of the organised working class. However, if we don't have a political voice as well, we are fighting with one hand tied behind our backs. We argue that the trade union movement should begin to build a new party - a party that stands in the interests of the majority.

For the last 18 months the Socialist Party has participated in the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) an electoral alliance involving leading militant trade unionists from the RMT, PCS and NUT. TUSC plays an important role, enabling trade unionists, community campaigners and socialists to stand candidates against the pro-austerity consensus of the capitalist parties. However, the potential exists for this to develop on a far wider scale in the coming period. During the strike on 30 June, every call made for trade unionists to stand for election themselves as trade union 'anti-cuts candidates' was cheered to the rafters.

Even if trade union candidates were to initially stand on a limited programme - opposition to all cuts in jobs, pensions, services and benefits, and repeal of the anti-trade union laws - it would mark a major step forward. However, the struggle that public sector workers are currently fighting goes beyond those immediate issues, in reality it is a struggle against the consequences of capitalism today and therefore poses the need for a socialist alternative.

The economic crisis was not caused by working class people; it is a crisis of the capitalist system. The same bankers and financiers who triggered the crisis by gambling vast sums are now demanding that governments bail them out. Not just in Britain, but across Europe, governments are willingly doing the financiers' bidding.

A socialist society would be run in the interests of the millions, not the billionaires. For a start it would nationalise the banking and finance sector - not to prop them up and leave the bankers in charge like New Labour did - but to run them democratically to help meet the needs of the majority. However, that would only be the start.

Capitalism has led to enormous economic destruction. In Britain around 10% of wealth has already been lost as a result of the recession, due to factories and workplaces closing, resulting in 2.62 million and rising officially unemployed. That is why a crucial step towards solving the crisis would be to take the big corporations that dominate Britain's economy into democratic public ownership in order to allow for production to be planned for need and not for profit.

Sunday, 27 November 2011

Fair Pensions For All - All Out On November 30th

BADACA Circular:

23 unions are now joining the strike next Wednesday. Although the primary focus of the strike is public sector pensions, in reality millions of people wil be striking against the government's whole programme of cuts that threatens services and jobs as well as pensions. There will be a huge demonstration in Bristol. Make sure you're part of it. A flyer for the demonstration on November 30th can be downloaded from here. The front of the flyer makes a good poster. Print it out and stick it in your window. See latest updates here and on Facebook here.

Make sure you're on the demonstration and rally - assemble at College Green at 11am before marching to Castle Park.

If you can, go to the BRI for midnight on Tuesday/Wednesday to greet the first strikers as they leave the building. There will then be a candlelit vigil. Some people will meet earlier in the Zero Degrees bar in Park Row before going to the BRI - from 10pm in Zero Degrees

We will be handing out copies of Bristol Fightback on the march. If you can help with this please email as soon as possible

BADACA and unions involved in the strike have stressed to the local media that we see the OccupyBristol camp on College Green as part of our movement against government cuts. Wednesday's demonstration will help put the them even more in the spotlight. Please support them in any way you can. They have appealed in particular for: firewood, blankets, food, money, entertainment, volunteers, campers, arts & crafts materials & wooden boards. Go down to see them. Check out their FaceBook pages here and their website here. Call the camp information line on 07415 139 464. There is more information on the BADACA website here which will be updated regularly. Photos of the camp can be seen here .

While next Wednesday's strike is the most important step so far in the fight against the cuts, there are two important announcements that we need to be aware of - the government will announce details of more cuts for next year and Bristol City Council will publish its draft budget including major cuts to jobs and services from April 2012. BADACA will publish information on these cuts as soon as possible. Look out for this information over the next week or so and join us in the fightback.

On December 14th there wil be a lobby of South Gloucestershire Council, opposing their plans to privatise the Home Care service with the loss of 140 jobs. Please support if you can - details are below.

Kazakhstan: Free Georgii Epshtein!

At 11.30 this morning, Georgii Epshtein, a leading member of the Russian CWI, on a visit to Kazakhstan, was arrested by the police in the office of the “Leave People’s Homes Alone” campaign in Almaty. No explanation was given by the police.

He was first taken to the office of the immigration police of the Bostandykskii region, who refused to explain on what basis he had been arrested and has now been dragged before a court, where he has been charged with breaching the residency rules. It is highly possible the decision will be taken to deport him from the country. Although by law, a Russian citizen has to register with the police on their arrival, which Georgii did, there is no restriction on where in the city they can be at any one time.

Please urgently call either one of the following numbers to demand on what basis Gerogii has been arrested and his immediate release.

Aidis Dunshebaev – the Police inspector responsible for arresting Georgii – mobile number +7 705 555 79 39

Berik Dusenbaevich – Head of the Migration police in the Bostandyskii region +7 727 394 10 14

Or of course the Kazakhstan embassy in your country.

Thursday, 24 November 2011

State intimidation of young protesters

By Dylan Murphy, in The Socialist 24th November 2011

On 14 November, my nephew was arrested after taking part in a protest outside Knowsthorpe incinerator in Leeds against Stericycle. This global waste disposal company has a contract with Harlan Interfauna, the last UK company breeding dogs for research in animal experiments.

Stericycle take the bodies of dogs killed for research purposes from Harlan's laboratories to their incinerators. If Stericycle pulled out of the contract, Harlan would have to build its own incinerators at considerable cost.

My nephew and three other activists chained themselves together and stopped lorries getting into the incinerator. Thepolice arrested them for aggravated trespass, handcuffing them and putting them into a police van.

After two hours in the cells my nephew was arrested again on suspicion of causing intimidation to persons connected to an animal research organisation. Two officers aggressively interviewed him. His solicitor says the police approached this like a terrorism case, with Homicide and Major Enquiries Teams drafted in from Hull.

Six police officers turned my nephew's house upside down, seeking 'evidence' and confiscated an animal rights poster, two computers, three memory sticks and internet router.

Four teenagers face blatant intimidation as the state tries to stifle democratic protests. The labour movement must stand up for them.

Bring Back EMA!

Youth Fight for Jobs (YFJ) is campaigning for the reinstatement of the EMA. This is a small grant of £30 a week for 16-19 year olds in further education. It allows students to pay for their bus fare to school or college and for books and other equipment.

The government says it cannot afford to pay this small amount of money. Yet the banks that were bailed out with billions of public money are still giving their chief executives millions in bonuses. The number of billionaires is increasing as young people are being denied the right to go to education. There has been an estimated 49% drop in the number of students going to college this year as a result of this cut. But this is not the only attack. Those wanting to go to university are being told they will have to pay £9,000 a year. There are now over 1 million young people unemployed. Instead of creating jobs, the government is just going to force people to work for their dole money. We didn’t cause this crisis and so shouldn’t be made to pay for it! YFJ says: we won't be a lost generation!

Southwark Council in London is going to continue to pay EMA to people living in that area. We demand that our local councils do the same. But we don't think that they should just cut other services to pay for it. They should launch a campaign to demand that the government gives them the money!

We are collecting signatures on a petition to give into the council. If we get enough, they will be forced to debate the issue in a full council meeting. We want to organise lobbies and protests of the council to make our voices heard and make them bring back EMA!



NOTTINGHAM - need 5,000 signatures for the city council to debate

LINCOLN - need 3,500 signatures for the county council to debate

DERBY - need 8,500 signatures for the city council to debate

LEICESTER - need 1,500 signatures for the city council to debate



Saturday 10th December
ICC (YMCA) 61B Mansfield Road, Nottingham, NG1 3FN


Saturday 10th December
Community Centre, Croft Street, Lincoln, LN2 5AX


Saturday 3rd December
Lonny Wilsoncroft Community Centre, Stepping Lane, Derby, DE1 1GL


Saturday 3rd December
Room 216, Attenborough Building, University of Leicester, University Road, Leicester, LE1 7RH


- Visit
- Message admins for more info
- Invite your friends to join this group and sign the petitions
- Organise a Youth Fight for Jobs in your local area!

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Egypt Update: Military rulers “agree to form a national salvation government”

No trust in a ‘national salvation’ regime based on the interests of the ruling class, military tops and imperialism - latest from

Reuters news agency reported this afternoon that the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) in Egypt has agreed to “form a national salvation government and will stage presidential elections before July”. The leader of the Wasat Party (a ‘moderate Islamic party) is quoted as saying presidential elections will now be held before July 2012, brought forward from the military’s previous timetable of late 2012 or 2013.

The military regime has been forced to make a partial retreat in the face of mass struggle. This is entirely as a result of the courageous mass protests of youth and workers. But as the CWI has warned from the beginning of the revolutionary movement in Egypt, the masses cannot put any trust in a ‘national unity’ or ‘salvation’ government. This is a trap for working people and youth! It will be made up of elements from the army and various bourgeois parties, possibly including the Muslim Brotherhood, and pro-capitalist politicians. It will primarily act in the vested interests of big business, including the army’s huge wealth.

Scenes today in Tahrir square

The reported concessions by the military regime follow mass protests in Cairo’s Tahrir Square and elsewhere, demanding the military - the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) - relinquishes power. The last four days have seen the biggest challenge to military rule since the overthrow of Mubarak. Scores of people have been killed and hundreds injured in three days of protests. Two people died today in the port city of Ismailia after state forces clashed with some thousands of protesters. Late last night, tens of thousands occupied Tahrir Square after the puppet cabinet of Prime Minister Essam Sharaf announced its offer to resign.

Parliamentary elections were due to start on 28 November and to be staggered over the next three months. Protesters are angry over a draft document setting out principles for a new constitution, under which the military and its budget could be exempted from civilian oversight. The military also intended to delay the presidential election until late 2012 or early 2013.

Under growing pressure from the streets, the SACF leadership held talks with some opposition political leaders today, including the Muslim Brotherhood (MB). The MB’s ‘Freedom and Equality Party’ is expected to do well in elections and refused to take part in today’s protests.
Youth resist state forces

The angry youth on the streets, however, are resisting riot police, troops, rubber bullets, tear gas and ‘birdshot’ and demand the removal of Field Marshal Mohamed Tantawi - who heads the SCAF regime and was defence minister for 20 years under Hosni Mubarak - and that the military cleared out. Under military rule, torture and jailings continued unabated.

The Brotherhood called for the elections to go ahead. They are partly leaning on those sections of the population who are concerned that the protests are bringing chaos to much of Cairo and the city to a standstill, hitting the economy and their livelihoods. They also fear that the protests could actually have lead to the indefinite postponing of elections and democratic rights.

The regime will hope that its reported agreement to form a ‘national salvation government’ and to stage presidential elections before next July will be enough to dissipate the mass street protests. It is unclear which way things will now develop, particularly in the absence of a mass revolutionary socialist opposition. Up to now, during this latest phase of the revolution, the working class has not yet decisively entered the arena of struggle, using its methods of struggle, such as mass strikes and the general strike, which played a crucial role in ousting Mubarak.

But the SCAF’s partial retreat could also encourage the revolutionary youth and workers to push for the removal of the entire regime. According to the AP news agency, the “reported deal was immediately rejected by protesters in Tahrir Square. ‘We are not leaving, he leaves,’ they chanted, referring to Tantawi”.

The regime will hope that its concessions will be enough, at this stage, to see mass protests fall back. The bourgeois opposition, frightened by the developing revolutionary mood in society going beyond their narrow aims, will also want to see the protesters return home, so that they and the generals can start ‘governing’ in the best interests of Egyptian capitalism.

Protests today in Egypt

Build an independent movement that fights for a workers’ government

To win the aims of the revolution – for genuine, lasting democratic rights and real social and economic change - the working class and youth can have no faith in a ‘national salvation’ government of opposition bourgeois politicians and military chiefs but need to build an independent movement that fights for a government of the representatives of workers, small farmers and the poor.

In putting forward a programme to develop the mass struggle, the revolutionary opposition needs to take into account the wider concerns in society mentioned above. There is a danger that the regime and pro-bourgeois opposition forces will be able to rest on broader, more conservative sections of society, potentially isolating Tahrir Square and other protests. Therefore, as well as proposing the demands already outlined on, the CWI supports the building of an independent mass workers’ movement and for the urgent formation of democratic committees in all workplaces, communities and amongst the military rank and file to not only co-ordinate mass resistance to the regime but also to maintain order and supplies, and to act as the basis for a government of workers’ and poor. A workers’ government would crush the remnants of the dictatorship, defend democratic rights and start to meet the economic and social needs of the mass of Egyptians. spoke to Amr, on Monday night, a student activist at the German University in Cairo (GUC), about the situation on the ground and the views of students and workers:

“Our GUC struggle continues [for students’ recognition] but now the main focus is to finish what’s happening in Tahrir Square. Twelve of our fellow GUC students have been injured, so far. There are many students in the Square and protests are taking place at colleges all around Egypt. The students and youth want to teach the police another lesson for their brutal actions against protesters.

“Many layers of Egyptian society are protesting. The clash between the people and the regime is also about the people and capitalism. People are now starting to feel that the ‘parliamentary elections are no real choice and that what is happening in Egypt now is another revolution but this time actually it is against the whole regime and the big capitalists.

“Very clearly the SCAF has to leave office right now. There have been many martyrs over the past 3 days. The police and army are clearly seen carrying out brutal repression. The youth are heroically fighting back with stones. The protesters are getting organised again, to defend themselves against repression. The police and soldiers were captured on cameras killing people and it is very obvious that they are the ones who started the violence.

“An activist who was injured on the 28th January, losing sight in his right eye, also lost sight of his left eye, just two days ago, after he was hit by a rubber bullet.

“On Tuesday 22 November, there will be marches from everywhere in Cairo to Tahrir Square – it is being called ‘saving the revolution day’. Socialists and student activists are calling for a new general strike. We are appealing to the staff at our university for industrial action.

“It is possible that under huge pressure, the SCAF regime will try to put together a ’national unity’ or ’national salvation’ government - a coalition of pro-capitalist forces and with remnants of the old regime – and go for presidential elections. But if this was to happen, I think that young people and workers will come to see that such a regime will represent much of the old regime’s interests and capitalism, and mass opposition will grow.

Tahrir square last night

“The Left is growing, especially after the big strike wave in September - the highest wave since 1919, excluding the last two days of the Mubarak regime. The Left will need to develop, towards a mass alternative for workers, maintaining its independence - in organisation and socialist programme – to show a way out for the working masses and youth.”

Egypt: Protesters and army battle for streets

David Johnson, Socialist Party (CWI England & Wales) and Niall Mulholland, CWI -

Tahrir Square Last Night

Thousands of activists fought running battles with security forces for control of Tahrir Square, Cario, last weekend, and at the start of this week. At least 33 people were killed and over 1,750 injured. There have also been big protest demonstrations in Alexandria, Suez, Mansoura and other cities. Street fighting continued last night in central Cairo, turning parts of the city into “a war zone”. Today, Monday 21 November, clashes are reported as armed state forces try to clear Cairo’s Tahrir Square of protesters.

"The military promised that they would hand over power within six months," one protester said. "Now 10 months have gone by and they still haven’t done it. We feel deceived."

On Friday 18 November, a massive demonstration took place in Tahrir Square – the biggest for several months. The majority taking part in those protests were reportedly supporters of Islamist parties. But in the evening a few hundred youth set up a new occupation on the central roundabout. The state forces launched a brutal attack against the camp early Saturday morning. This led to tens of thousands of protesters returning to the Square to defend their right to protest. “The people demand the overthrow of the regime,” was the slogan chanted, as it had been before the former dictator, Hosni Mubarak, fell earlier this year. Indicating some splits at the top about how to respond to the latest street protests, Culture Minister Emad Abu Ghazi reportedly resigned in protest at the government’s handling of the demonstrators.

The Guardian newspaper (London 21/11/11) described the scene, “By Sunday morning, following 24 hours of fierce street fighting and the conquest of Tahrir by revolutionaries, the furniture of the anti-Mubarak uprising was once again wheeled into place in the capital. Civilian checkpoints dotted the square, corrugated iron sheets were torn down for barricades, and the makeshift field hospital...

“When the military attack finally came, dissolving once and for all any lingering boundaries in protesters’ minds between the army on the one hand and the hated black-clad riot police that symbolised Mubarak’s security apparatus on the other, it was brutal and ephemeral…” But “outnumbered and outfought, the soldiers fled, though not before some had been captured by protesters. Fires blazed in all directions, but Liberation Square – the plaza’s name in Arabic – had once again been liberated, although how long for, no one dares predict.

“’We’ll stay here until we die, or military rule dies,’ said 27-year-old Mahmoud Turg with a matter-of-fact intensity.”

Army clings onto power

Last weekend’s events come after growing anger at the role of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF), which is trying to retain its grip on power. The council, led by Field Marshal Mohamed Tantawi, is supposedly charged with overseeing the country’s transition to democracy after three decades of dictatorial rule under Mr Mubarak.

Elections are to be held on 28 November, but it is becoming clearer to many that the SCAF will do everything to hold onto power, whatever the human toll. Instead of repealing Egypt’s hated emergency laws, the generals have extended it, while protecting their own privileges. An estimated 12,000 people have been brought to military tribunals over the last 10 months, a higher figure than under Mubarak’s 30 years of rule.

Calls for Tantawi’s resignation were heard during the weekend’s protests. The BBC reported that the demands of the protesters “have changed over the course of the weekend”. Crowds gathered last Friday demanded the military set a date for the handover of power but now “they want the military leaders to resign immediately and hand over to a civilian administration.”
The longest continuous street protests since President Hosni Mubarak was removed in February has raised questions over whether elections due to start next week will take place.

Several opposition parties are reported to have stated they will not take part in the coming elections. Mohamed ElBaradei, a pro-capitalist opposition figure, has offered himself to lead a ‘national government of salvation’.

Scenes of demonstrators in Tahrir Square being brutally attacked by police baton charges, tear gas (made in the USA), bird shot and rubber bullets were reminiscent of the days following the January 25th demonstration. It was those demonstrations that began the 18-day movement that forced the former president, Hosni Mubarak, from power.

Over the past few months, there have been deepening and unbearable tensions between the SCAF regime and the masses seeking democratic rights and a better life. Now these deep-seated and mutually incompatible differences have burst asunder, in what many activists are calling “the Second Revolution”. Like other revolutions, the Egyptian revolution is not a single act but a process. The masses fought hard to remove Mubarak at the cost of many lives. After he was overthrown, strikes broke out in many sectors and protests continued by youth, students and other layers. For big swathes of the population, exhausted by struggle and yearning ‘stability’, they put hopes in the new regime to oversee democratic elections and a better life. But now big sections of the population have correctly concluded that the SCAF is an attempt to continue the Mubarak regime in new clothes and that a new revolutionary upsurge is needed to win real and long-lasting democratic rights and fundamental social and economic changes.

In September, there were massive strikes - national strikes of teachers and postal workers, 62,000 Cairo public transport workers - and even low-rank police officers, who were protesting against corruption and privileges of senior officers. Workers were drawing the conclusion that they could not rely on the new government and would only get improved living standards and real democratic rights by organising and taking action.

On 9 October, there were attacks on a Coptic church that led to a protest demonstration of 10,000 to Maspero, the state TV broadcasting centre. The demonstrators were attacked by troops driving armoured cars in to the crowd, killing scores of protestors. Television reports blamed the demonstrators for the violence. Continuing military trials of civilian opponents of the regime have been highlighted by the arrest of blogger Alaa Abd El-Fattah for reporting the role of the military in the Maspero attack.

Meanwhile, Michael Nabil Sanad continues his hunger strike in protest at the three-year prison sentence he received in April. He had written an article accusing the new government of continuing the corruption and anti-democratic practices of Mubarak.

On 27 October, a prisoner, Essam Atta, was horribly tortured to death. The photo of his dead body was a gruesome reminder of Khaled Said, a young blogger killed by two policemen in Alexandria in 2010. The ‘We are all Khaled Said’ Facebook group was one of the movements that called the January 25th demonstration. Many had hoped that such scenes had ended with the end of Mubarak’s rule.

Over the weekend of 19/20 November, there were huge protests in the delta port of Damietta against continuing pollution from the Mopco fertiliser factory. Twenty thousand demonstrators blockaded the port and roads into the city. They were attacked by army and police, with two people killed. At the other end of the country, in Aswan, a mass rally of Nubians protested against the shooting of a Nubian boatman by a policeman.

Same methods of repression as Mubarak regime

These incidents have shown that SCAF are using the same methods of repression as the old regime. This is only to be expected, as these same senior officers served Mubarak for decades. They have massive economic interests, with large companies owned by the armed forces. They are determined to protect these interests, as well as those of the rest of the Egyptian ruling class.

This is why the CWI argued on 11 February, the day of Mubarak’s removal, that the working class and youth should have, “No trust in the military chiefs!” and needed to build an independent movement that fights for “a government of the representatives of workers, small farmers and the poor!”

The forthcoming elections are to the lower house of a parliament that will draw up a new constitution. Two thirds of the seats are elected on a local list basis, with individuals elected to the remaining seats. The election process will strengthen supporters of the old regime, many of whom are running as ‘independents’ or members of the ‘loyal opposition’ parties that Mubarak allowed to give a democratic veneer to his regime.

The government have now declared that the new parliament will not have control over the armed forces, which would continue to control their own budget and policy. After initial outcry, the SCAF ‘compromised’ and said it would be accountable to a National Council. Half would be elected from the parliament and half from SCAF, with the president as chairman. This would leave the armed forces with effective control over themselves.

While Islamists are expected to become the largest bloc in the new parliament, its supporters are divided between several parties. The biggest is the Muslim Brotherhood’s (MB) ‘Freedom and Justice Party’, which claims to model itself on the AKP that forms the Turkish government.

Young Muslim Brotherhood members broke away in frustration at the older leadership, reflecting pressure from youth activists they had worked with following the January 25th revolution. These younger Muslim Brotherhood members were expelled from the Muslim Brotherhood and set up four new parties. Increasing numbers of conservative Islamists support a number of more hard-line Islamic Salafist parties.

The electoral support of the Islamist parties is based on their record of charitable work, filling some of the massive gaps in social support under Mubarak, as well as their record of opposition to Mubarak and perceived lack of corruption. There have been reports of these parties handing out meat and half price medicines at some election rallies. Arguments over candidates’ lists between these different parties have taken place over the past few months. With growing class conflict, some of these Islamist parties will reflect differing class interests.

Revolution hijacked

The demonstrations across Egypt this weekend show an increasing number of youth and workers understand the SCAF is intent on hijacking their revolution. The youth and workers are courageously resisting the army and police on the streets of Cairo and elsewhere. The movement needs to urgently create democratically-elected and run committees of mass struggle and defence against state repression. The army rank and file can be won over, with a firm and decisive appeal to join the uprising. The soldiers’ grievances about low pay, bad conditions and treatment by their senior officers need to be addressed by the mass movement, alongside calling for the right of soldiers to organise a free independent trade union, to form soldiers’ committees and the election of officers. This can help win the rank and file of the army and sections of the police to the side of the masses. Mass workers’ action, including a general strike, to overthrow Field Marshal Mohamed Tantawi, the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces and the whole rotten, brutal regime needs to be organised alongside an offensive to moblise and organise the masses as the basis for a government formed by representatives of workers, the youth, small farmers and the poor that can take immediate action against counter-revolution and for democratic rights, immediate steps to improve living standards and break with capitalism.

The masses are instinctively opposed to a constitution approved or drawn up by the military. The CWI calls for the rapid election of a real democratic parliament, a revolutionary constituent assembly, which not only agrees rules for elections but also a programme to change the conditions of the Egyptian masses. Such a parliament can only be convened – if it is really to represent the majority of the population – under the control of democratic workplace and neighbour committees. Representatives of the workers and poor farmers should form the majority in this parliament or constituent assembly.

Real change in the interests of workers, the poor and the youth requires genuine democratic change. Democratic popular committees in workplaces and neighbourhoods can re-develop or spring up anew in the cauldron of events now taking place on the streets. Such bodies, linking up at city, regional and national level, can form the basis for a revolutionary constituent assembly and a government with a majority of workers and poor.

A workers’ and poor people’s government would introduce genuine democratic reforms, including regular elections for representatives, on average workers’ wages and subject to recall should they act against the interests of workers and the poor. It would also guarantee the right to organise independent trade unions, the right to strike and the right to organise political parties.
These are needed to struggle for decent pay and working conditions, guaranteed jobs, and also decent housing, education, pensions and healthcare. The newly formed independent trade unions need to build their own independent workers’ party to campaign for these ideas.

Such a government would nationalise all the major companies and banks under democratic workers’ control, so that the economy could be planned in the interests of the big majority of the population, instead of being run for benefit of the rich.

The struggle between revolution and counter-revolution continues as the working class strives to complete what it began on January 25th – winning full democratic, social and economic freedoms. A workers’ party putting forward a socialist programme, linked to the daily needs of millions of workers and poor, could gain mass support, and undercut the false alternative of the Muslim Brotherhood. Linking up with workers and youth across the region, such a mass movement could lead to a federation of democratic socialist states, ending poverty, corruption and oppression.

The CWI says:
  • Defend the revolution: Clear out Field Marshal Mohamed Tantawi and the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces
  • No compromise with the old remnants of the regime - No to rule by the military chiefs or the elite.
  • No trust in any new ‘national unity’ regime based on the interests of the ruling class and imperialism
  • For the urgent formation of democratically-elected and run committees of mass struggle and defence against state repression
  • No to sectarianism – For the unity of all workers across religious lines
  • Immediate lifting of the state of emergence. Immediate freeing of all political detainees and prisoners. No prosecution or victimisation of activists in the revolution
  • Full political freedom. Freedom to publish and organise. Democratic control over the state media and opening up of state media to publish the views of all political trends supporting the revolution
  • No restriction of the right to strike and take other industrial action. Full freedom to form trade unions and conduct trade union activity. For democratic, combative trade unions
  • Formation of democratic rank and file committees in the armed forces and police
  • Arrest and trial before popular courts all those involved in the SCAF regime’s repression and corruption. Confiscate the assets of the looters and corrupt.
  • For the immediate elections to a revolutionary constituent assembly supervised by committees of working people, the poor and the youth
  • For a government of representatives of workers, the youth, small farmers and the poor
  • Nationalise the major companies and banks under democratic workers’ control, so that the economy could be planned in the interests of the big majority of the population, instead of being run for benefit of the rich

Sunday, 20 November 2011

List of union ballot results for strike against pension cuts

AEP 64% for strike action

ASPECT 75.1% for strike action

ATL (30 June ballot mandate still valid)

CSP 86% England & Wales for strike action (89.1% Scotland)

FDA 81% for strike action

GMB 83.7% for strike

NAHT 75.8% for strike action

NASUWT 82% for strike action

NUT (30 June ballot mandate still valid)

PCS (30 June ballot mandate still valid)

Prospect 75% for strike action

SCP 85.3% for strike action

SOR 86% for strike action

UCATT 83% for strike action

UCU (30 June ballot mandate still valid)

Unison 82% for strike action

Unite 75% for strike

Friday, 18 November 2011

Occupy Wall Street: Tremble Ye Bankers the People Are Coming

Warren Buffet, one of the richest men in the world said earlier this year that “There has been class warfare going on... and my class isn’t just winning, I mean we’re killing them”.

By Laura Fitzgerald, Socialist Party

The onset of neo-liberal capitalism in the late 1970s that saw a shift away from manufacturing because the rate of profit for the corporations therein had flatlined, towards a finance capitalism in particular, facilitated a huge squeezing of the US working class, dashing the American Dream for the majority and massively increasing the wealth of the tiny minority of super-rich.

The impact of the de-industrialisation of the US has been depicted in the likes of the popular TV series “The Wire”, whereby the hopelessness of the inescapable cycle of poverty, state racism and social decay was illustrated. This process of the impoverishing of the masses and the prospering of the elite has accelerated since the capitalist calamity of an economy fuelled by bubbles, collapsed. Foreclosures of working families’ homes in the US have led to “tent cities” of those made homeless by the greed of private banks.

A great vampire squid

In some US cities that were formerly hubs of a thriving car industry, main streets lay deserted and multi-storey buildings begin to be reclaimed by plant life. This July, a record 45.3 million people in the US were in receipt of food stamps. Meanwhile, a new report has indicated that the top 147 corporations in the world control 40% of the entire world’s wealth, with the likes of investment bank Goldman Sachs that Matt Taibbi in the Rolling Stone described as “a great vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity, relentlessly jamming its blood funnel into anything that smells like money” high on the list.

It is in this context that the small number of protesters who declared that “We are the 99%”, referring to the yawning gap between the top 1% elite and everyone else, and decided to Occupy Wall Street, managed to strike a collective nerve in US society, facilitating a timely discussion about the inbuilt inequality within the capitalist system, and the unacceptable situation facing the mass of working families, students, young people, the unemployed, people of colour and so on within the US at the hands of the dictatorship of the markets and the parasitic rule of banker vampire squids and their suitably spineless, toady politician friends.

Since this action in September, fuelled by terrible state repression of protesters that only swelled the number of occupiers and their determination. Occupy Together has grown, with days of action swelling to 25,000 in New York. Occupations established, albeit very small, symbolic ones in many cases, in 100 cities across the US, and in 900 cities around the world.

Internationalism: Occupy the world

Where the Occupy Together camp has managed to coalesce with existing movements and struggles of young people and workers against austerity, and therefore find broad, active points of support, it has been able to mobilise tens of thousands, like in Chile and in Spain.

The internationalism of Occupy Together illustrates the tremendous potential for struggle and solidarity of young people, workers and the unemployed around the world, as a global struggle is what’s necessary in order to challenge the global rule and domination of the 1% who hold the wealth and therefore the power. The inspiration that the revolutions that have swept the Arab world in 2011 have provided is immense, with the occupation of Tahrir Square in particular a reference point for the tens of thousands of ‘Indignados’ in Greece and Spain, and all of these movements inspiring the Occupy Together wave of occupations.

The level of support that Occupy Wall Street has garnered is significant. According to the Financial Times, 59% of people in the US support the aims of Occupy Wall Street, and in fact even Obama has felt pressure to, disingenuously it must be said, reflect this, mentioning the 1% and the 99% in a speech.

Reaching the working Class

Occupy is twice as popular as the Tea Party, which in its own crazed right-wing manner reflects the malaise caused by the class divide in US society, and this support has been achieved in spite of the multimillionaire owned and controlled right-wing mass media. The potential for radicalised young people, for example, to reach out to the working class and oppressed in the broadest sense is certainly there. The fact that 100 uniformed Iraq veterans marched against the rule of the 1% at an Occupy Wall Street solidarity demonstration with Occupy Oakland which has experienced vicious police brutality, gives a glimpse of this.

Key to the development of Occupy Together will be the extent to which it can reach out to and engage in the fullest sense, the working class as a whole, and the organised working class in particular.

Occupation not enough

There was a spectacular movement early this year in Wisconsin against draconian anti-union legislation, that, whil­e wasn’t on this occasion victorious, illustrated the importance of organised labour and workers as a whole to changing society – there is a reason that states throughout the US are attempting to cut back on legal union rights and that reason is that the 1% fear the latent power of workers, most sharply expressed by strike and general strike action that has the power to immobilise society and the elite’s indescribably cherished profit-garnering ability.
The 48 hour general strike that workers in Greece engaged in in late October illustrates this – during which time the whole of Greek society came to a standstill and half a million workers and young people demonstrated in Athens.

The act of occupation in and of itself is not enough – in Egypt the occupation of Tahrir Square reached out to and emboldened workers who engaged in tenacious strike action which was in fact critical to the fall of the Mubarrak dictatorship.

In Oakland, California, Occupy has taken an important first step in this direction. After the police seriously injured Scott Olsen, a 24 year old Iraq veteran participating in Occupy Oakland, an angry General Assembly held that evening called a general strike for 2 November.

In its press conference to announce the latter, Occupy Oakland referred to the 1946 Oakland General Strike, evoking the proud labour movement tradition in the US and the power of workers engaging in strike action. They correctly saw the need to escalate the protest and looked to workers to take strike action to do so. Many rank and file workers supported the call – enough so to exert pressure on the union leaders to speak positively about the call for a general strike, but unfortunately not to actively call a strike or encourage their members to participate, apart from asking them to apply for a day off work. Therefore what happened on the day was limited, with only small sections of unionised teachers and longshoremen participating. The protest did manage to shut down Oakland port for up to 5 hours.

The example of the Oakland “general strike” illustrates the initial nature of Occupy. In order to be capable of organising a general strike, workers themselves must be at the heart of organising in Occupy, potentially with general assemblies themselves in major workplaces and so on to work as committees of struggle, capable of forcing union leaders to call real action and if such assemblies developed, capable of organising effective action including strike action. However, the positive sentiment from Occupy Oakland towards such a situation, is in and of itself a big plus.

Political alternative needed

The lack of an organised political force that represents the interests of the 99%, workers, unemployed, poor, young people and so on, is a question that must be addressed. Simply put, the Democrats and Republicans represent different wings of the 1%. As the winter kicks in and the difficulties of maintaining camps intensifies, the means by which the anti-corporate, anti-banker ideas that the movement represents can be maintained and organise further and more meaningful action in the future, would be aided by a new party based around such ideas, that could also assist and give confidence to workers in unions attempting to tackle the large conservative bureaucracy at the top that impedes radical action.

The broad based questioning of capitalism by Occupy is welcomed and similarly, the inspiration it takes from the Arab Revolutions. However, there is a major caveat contained in the latter. Only half a revolution has taken place in Egypt and Tunisia, for example. Dictators have been heroically overthrown, but the same system in reality exists, with the same poverty and youth unemployment as before - capitalism.

The rule of profit continues, with the key wealth and key aspects of the economy still in private hands, no genuine democracy has been achieved. In order to break the rule of the 1%, a real challenge to capitalism must be waged. Occupy would be stronger on the basis of a fulsome rejection of capitalism and a vision of an alternative.

Socialist policies, whereby the key wealth in society and means to create wealth is democratically owned and controlled, with real participative democracy at every level, planning the economy according to the needs of the majority, represent such an alternative.

In the likes of Occupy Dame St., Occupy Cork, Occupy Belfast etc., where a small but determined group of people are camping, a major discussion about these ideas would be extremely productive, and could arm the participants to have a major impact on effecting real change, and really challenge the 1%, when a broader section of society get active.

Thursday, 17 November 2011

Unite votes Yes to strike action on 30 November

From Socialist Party notebook:
Members of the union Unite who work in the public sector have voted resoundingly in favour of industrial action to defend their pensions.
Three in four of Unite members who voted have said `yes' to joining the national day of action on November 30.
In Unite's three main aggregate ballots of health, civil service and local authority workers, 75 per cent of Unite members voted in favour of action on a turnout of 31 per cent.

Bristol CWU: TV Licensing strike today and tomorrow

From the CWU Website:

Hundreds of TV Licensing workers employed by Capita will be on strike for a third day tonight and tomorrow in a dispute over pay.

Many workers earn just above the minimum wage while Capita half year profits have increased by 8 per cent to over £1 million a day. Last year board members awarded themselves £1.65m in bonuses and the Chief Executive, Chief Operating Officer, Finance Officer and other senior executives received pay increases of 17 per cent. CWU is asking for a pay rise in line with inflation - which runs at over 5 per cent - but Capita has refused to budge from an offer worth around 2.6 per cent.

Andy Furey, CWU assistant secretary, said: "This is a dispute about fairness. We have a clear case of double standards - one rule for senior executives who award themselves massive pay rises and bonuses and another rule for staff who are expected to suffer with pitifully low rises in pay.

"The truth is that working people are being made to line the pockets of the rich and Capita is a prime example of that. These are honest, hardworking people many of whom have never taken strike action before but are struggling themselves and then seeing their bosses take huge pay rises.

"Three days of strike action is unprecedented and we strongly urge Capita to return to negotiations to resolve this dispute before Christmas."

Alison Langford, Admin Assistant in Operations Support, Darwen, said: "I earn £234 a week BEFORE tax and national insurance. I've never taken strike action before this in my life, but I need a living wage. I was earning this much 30 years ago when I worked in production." Alison has been working for Capita for one year.

Jane Pascal, a part time admin worker in Bristol who has worked for TV Licensing for 15 years said: "We work really hard for Capita. We give a quality service whilst ensuring all their targets are met so why do Capita insist on treating us with such contempt and offering an inadequate pay rise well below inflation whilst giving their Directors a huge pay rise well above inflation? They can afford to give us a decent pay rise seeing as they earn profits of £1,000,000 a day and I feel they are just brushing us under the carpet like we don't matter. Well we are not standing for it, we'll fight for this as long as it takes. It's about time they started to appreciate their hard working staff." Yearly salary of £14,564.

Picket lines Friday 18th November:

Bristol: 7:30 - 10:30am 100 Temple Street, Bristol, BS98 1TL

Darwen: 7:30 - 10:30am India Mill, Bolton Road, Darwen, BB3 1YX

Staff in Bristol and Darwen, and a small number in Glasgow, work in call centre and support roles and will be on strike on Friday 18th November. Enforcement officers who work in the field are on strike from 4pm today, Thursday 17th November.

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

BADACA: Bristol Fightback newsletter - OUT NOW!

Circulated by Bristol & District Anti-Cuts Alliance:

Thanks to everyone who has contributed to the BADACA newspaper 'Bristol Fightback'. It will arrive back from the printers on Monday 14th November and be ready for distribution throughout the city. You can get a preview on our website where it be downloaded as a PDF file here. Please email this link to anyone you know who is interested. We have 10000 printed to deliver. We have plans already in place to deliver them door to door in parts of Bishopston, Bedminster, Easton, Fishponds, Southmead and St Werburghs. If you can help with this and haven't volunteered yet please email as soon as possble. We will also be handing them out in Broadmead with the South West TUC on Saturday 19th December (details below) and on the demonstration on November 30th. Again if you can help on either of these days please email as soon as possble. Please do what you can to make BADACA's name even better known across the city. If you can help in Easton you can just turn up at 7.30pm at Easton Community Centre on Tuesday 15th November.

In the run-up to the public sector strike on November 30th BADACA will be lobbying the full meeting of Bristol City Council on Tuesday 22nd November. Full details next week but put the date in your diary now. Meet at the Council House from 5pm.

Support the OccupyBristol camp as it grows on College Green. Please support them in any way you can. They have appealed in particular for: firewood, blankets, food, money, entertainment, volunteers, campers, arts & crafts materials & wooden boards. Go down to see them. Check out their FaceBook pages here and their website here. Call the camp information line on 07415 139 464. There is more information on the BADACA website here which will be updated regularly. Photos of the camp can be seen here .

Please try to get involved in as many of the activities below as possible and pass the information on to others who may be interested.

If you want more information about anything below, email

More information on BADACA and events can be found at our website and via the link to Facebook from there

If you have events you would like included in a future bulletin please email details to . Our aim is to send out a bulletin every Friday. The deadline for inclusion of events is 5pm on Thursday.

Gaza: Paul Murphy speaks out after detention in Israel

By Paul Murphy MEP, Socialist Party (CWI in Ireland) -

It is great to be finally home after a week of detention in Israeli prisons. From the moment that our boat was violently boarded and nearly sunk by Israeli forces, we were told lie after lie by the Israeli regime. A representative of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs came onto our boat after we were kidnapped in international waters and brought to the Israeli port of Ashdod against our will. She promised that our return home would be expedited, that we would be given phone calls that evening and that we would not be strip searched – all lies.

Within prison, the conditions we faced were very poor. There was a deliberate attempt to keep the truth about the assault on our flotilla from emerging by keeping us isolated with only one three minute phone call to our family in the course of 7 days detention, which was monitored and explicitly told that it could not be political. All of our cameras, laptops and mobile phones were stolen from us by the Israeli military and have still not been returned.

The worst of the conditions in the prison – conscious sleep deprivation, being locked up 21 hours a day, no access to reading or writing material, and prisoners being forced to stand to attention up to five times a night – were improved through a combination of our protest action inside the prison, protests action outside, in Ireland and internationally, including outside Givon prison itself, and the work of the Irish embassy in Israel. Through those actions, we won political prisoner status, including the right to free association and the right to have access to reading material.

Of course, the conditions we faced gave a glimpse of the conditions faced by many Palestinians, in particular those imprisoned in the open air prison camp of Gaza by the Israeli regime. We were fortunate to have running water at all times, unlike 100,000 Palestinians in Gaza. The fact that the Israeli army felt the need to violently attack the boats of peaceful activists trying to break the siege of Gaza and then hold us in detention for a week underlines the criminal nature of their blockade. It is clear that the length of the detention and the conditions on the final evening in particular, where we were held in what could only be described as a hell-hole, were actions designed to forcibly dissuade activists from repeating the attempt to break the blockade. Once again, the Israeli regime has miscalculated –their treatment of us will bolster our commitment in fighting for an end to the oppression of the Palestinian people.

I want to thank everybody in Ireland and internationally for campaigning for our release. Since my release, seeing the videos and pictures of protests around the world, and reading the many messages of support and protest, has brought home the real meaning of and importance of solidarity. It underlines for me the importance of solidarity around the world with the Palestinian people, in assisting in the struggle to end the siege of Gaza and the occupation.

Friday, 11 November 2011

Gaza Solidarity Flotilla: EU Parliament President calls on Israel to free Paul Murphy

Breaking News: 7 detainees to be "released" tomorrow, followed by Paul Murphy MEP on Friday, by CWI Reporters

Today, the European parliament’s president called on Israel to release Paul Murphy MEP, who is along with 20 other protesters, is still detained for trying to break the blockade of the Gaza Strip, last week.

Just an hour or so ago today, it was also reported by an advisor to the European President’s Cabinet, Dariusz Serowka, that the Irish Deputy Ambassador to Israel, Conor Long, confirmed that 7 detainees have been booked on a flight to leave Tel Aviv on 9 November at 8.10am. Long went on to say that the Israeli Mission in Brussels stated Paul Murphy will be put on a flight from Tel Aviv to Dublin on 11 November at 9 05 hours.

The Cabinet of the European Parliament President spokesperson said they were in constant contact with the Israeli authoritites to ensure nothing is done to "block the return of those detained, or cause any difficulties in the process"

These developments follow a storm of international protest at the actions of the Israeli state. It appears the Israeli authorities are at last bending to the international furore. However, more protests are needed, demanding all those detained are actually released, immediately and without delay.

Israeli commandos stormed the Irish vessel, Saoirse (Freedom) and the Canadian ship Tahrir (Liberation) in international waters off Gaza, last Friday. Paul Murphy and the other detainees were effectively kidnapped in international waters by the Israeli forces. The ship was boarded in such a manner as to put their lives at risk and passengers were tasered. Twenty seven passengers and crew aboard the two ships were taken into custody. On arriving in prison their right to a phone call within 24 hours was ignored and the prison authorities used sleep deprivation methods against the protesters. Six protesters were later released on Saturday.

The following interview with one of the released journalists gives a thorough picture of the treatment of the flotilla activists by the Israeli regime:

EU President Jerzy Buzek called on “Israeli authorities to quickly free Paul Murphy and other Europeans detained with him". Buzek said Israeli authorities must "respect the rights" of the detainees.

Fifth day of detention

The detention of Paul Murphy and the other activists from the MV Saoirse and the Tahrir has continued into its fifth day. They were brought before a judge yesterday in accordance with Israeli law, but were returned to their cells.

Their continued detention and the treatment which they have received is politically motivated. The Israeli regime is clearly intent on punishing these activists as severely as possible to deter any further attempts to break the blockade of Gaza.

The GUE/NGL group of Left MEPs in the European Parliament, to which Paul Murphy belongs, have also demanded Paul’s immediate release.

Also today, United Left Alliance TDs (members of the Irish Parliament), including Socialist Party TDs, demanded the Irish government take measures against the illegal and repressive actions of the Israeli government, including the expulsion of the Israeli ambassador.

Keep up the pressure! Send protests letters Israeli embassies and to the Israeli authorities:

Attorney General at the Ministry of Justice
Telephone +97226466521/2
Fax +97226467001

Ministry of Defence Public Relations Department
Phone +97236975540 or +97236975423
Email –

For more background information see previous articles on

Jarrow march 2011 video shown at Socialism 2011

NSSN condemns Police kettling construction electricians

The National Shop Stewards Network (NSSN) condemns the actions of the police yesterday (November 9th) in kettling over 200 construction electricians for well over an hour. Workers, including many in their 50s and 60s, were left standing within a ring of riot police with no access to food, drink or toilet facilities. At the end of this harrowing experience, coming after they had spent most of the day marching, they were subject to a search and, we believe, unlawfully forced to give their names and addresses. No doubt many of these workers will be getting a letter from the Met's new commissioner, warning them off future peaceful protests!

Their crime? After marching in protest at the plans of the big construction companies to smash their Joint Industry Board (JIB) contracts which will cut their wages by up to 35%, they wanted to show solidarity with the many students who have supported their 3-month long campaign by joining their demonstration. Out of the 2,000 workers who took part in the Unite-organised march to the Balfour Beatty site at Blackfriars, about 300 started to make their way up to Fleet Street to wait for the student protest so that they could march with them.

Disgracefully, police converged on these workers and barred the way and were later joined by members of the Met's Territorial Support Group, successor to the notorious Special Patrol Group! Startled by their actions, some managed to push through the lines while the others were stopped and quickly contained. It became clear that the intention was to keep us kettled until the student demonstration had marched past. In a magnificent show of solidarity, we believe led by the Jarrow marchers and other student campaigners, the students stopped their march in an attempt to relieve the electricians' siege. However, such was the overwhelming presence of police on the student protest, it was eventually forced to continue. Finally, the electricians were let out of the kettle but not without being forced to give their personal details. Why? Because the police's commanding officer deemed that a 'breach of the peace' was likely! Reasons given for believing this after an entirely peaceful march included worries of a repetition of the incidents of last year's student demonstrations, that the march, having 'deviated' from its agreed route, was now 'illegal' and even, most scandalously, that the electricians were going to attack the students' demo!

The police may have achieved their aim of stopping significant numbers of these workers from joining the students but if anything their repressive and undemocratic actions have brought home to both groups how the police are being used to attack the rights of protest and assembly. The police action yesterday is the first instance to our knowledge of workers being on the receiving end of the same treatment meted out to students and young people over the last few years, and particularly over the last 12 months.

This is being done in the interests of this government that is making working-class and many middle-class people, young and old, pay for the bankers' crisis and ruthless companies, like Balfour Beatty that has an order book of £15 billion and has made £91 million profits in the last 6 months, yet has given 1600 of its workers notice that they will lose over £200 a month in wages. The NSSN has supported the electricians' protests over the last 3 months, which has grown in support despite the media blackout and we support Unite's strike ballot against Balfours.
Like the students, these workers had a tremendous reception from bystanders in central London, even though the first leg of their march, organised by rank and file electricians, started at the Pinnacle in Bishopsgate at 7am! Buses came from all round the country, with theNewcastle coach leaving at midnight. All unions and anyone who still believes in the freedom of protest and assembly must condemn yesterday's events. On November 30th, 3 million workers will be striking against the ConDems' attacks on public sector pensions. Many of them will be joining rallies and demonstrations. It is clear from yesterday, that the best protection for our civil liberties is to ensure that these demonstrations are numerous, as big as possible and very well stewarded.

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Thousands mark end of Jarrow March

On Saturday 3,000 joined the Jarrow marchers in London to celebrate the end of the 330 mile march. There was overwhelming support from the crowd who had travelled from all over the country. Coaches of workers, students, pensioners and unemployed people arrived at Embankment. We were even joined by 106 year old Hetty Bower who had welcomed the original marchers when they arrived in London 75 years ago. Hundreds clapped and cheered the lively demonstration into Trafalgar Sq. Trade unionists, campaigners and marchers supported the marchers from the platform of the rallies.

The Jarrow marchers would like to thank everyone who has helped make the march a success and supported the march in anyway. The march is over but the fightback against the Con-Dems and their cuts has only just begun. We hope to see you all at the Youth Fight for Jobs meetings around the country over the next few weeks and on the picket lines and demonstrations to support the strikes on 30 November.

Support today's two national demos - Construction workers and students

There are two important demonstrations in London tomorrow, the first is a national construction worker's protest and the second is a nationally organised student demo against cuts and fees, the police are trying to scare people away by threatening to use rubber bullets. If your going to one, you should be able to make the other, and Socialist Party members will be intervening on both including members from the South West. Hope to see you there.

Construction workers' national demonstration
Wednesday 9th November 2011
The Pinnacle building site, Bishopsgate, London

National student demonstration
Wednesday 9th November 2011
Assemble 12 noon
University of London Union, Malet Street, London

Socialist Party MEP Paul Murphy detained by Israeli Army

Flotillas blocked and activists detained – Send protests urgently!

Socialist Party MEP, Paul Murphy, has been detained by the Israeli Army, along with other activists from the MV Saoirse and the Canadian boat the Tahrir.

The boat had been part of the Freedom Waves flotilla that attempted to travel to Gaza in solidarity with the suffering Palestinian people and to deliver humanitarian aid. The blockade is in its fifth year and is illegal. This collective punishment has led to untold hardship for the Palestinian people as vital medical supplies and building material is not allowed through.

A protest has been called for this evening in central Dublin in solidarity with the detained activists.

The CWI appeals to readers to immediately protest to Israeli embassies/authorities, demanding the immediate release of Paul Murphy and all other activists from the Saoirse and Tahrir.

The earlier report from

Israeli warships block Gaza solidarity flotilla
Ship radio communication cut

In next few hours, the Irish ship, ‘Saoirse’ (Freedom), along with a Canadian vessel, are expected to enter Gaza Strip waters to try to break the blockade on the territory that has been imposed by Israeli government since 2007. Paul Murphy, Socialist Party Member of European Parliament (MEP), representing Dublin, is on board the Irish boat and has been sending regular live reports on its progress. However, all communication from the ships, including satellite communication with the press, was cut off last night. The last information we received from Paul was at 7.30pm, yesterday evening, when the flotilla was in international waters, around 200 miles from Gaza.

According to the last report, Israeli warships were seen in the distance and Israeli spotter planes were also observed flying overhead. Crew and passengers on the ship feared for their safety. An Israeli government official told Reuters, on Wednesday, that Israel, "will take whatever measures will be necessary" to maintain its blockade. Nine people were murdered when Israeli commandos stormed the flotilla in May last year.

The Committee for Workers International demands an immediate end to the siege of Gaza. We demand that Israeli authorities allow all communication with the two boats trying to deliver aid and immediately halt its military action against them. We support the emergency demonstration called in support of flotilla that has been called for 6pm today, in Dublin.

The article was published on on 2nd of November by Paul Murch before his detention

Gaza: Socialist MEP Paul Murphy once more en route to break the blockade
Breaking News: New freedom flotilla enters international waters

Paul Murphy MEP, Socialist Party (CWI Ireland)

As news breaks that a new flotilla to reach Gaza has set sail we publish the latest from Paul Murphy MEP who is on the Irish ship.
"Stopped by sabotage of the Irish boat and then the Greek imposed extension of the blockade of Gaza in the summer, I am setting sail again with the Irish Ship to Gaza. The aim remains the same as before – to deliver humanitarian aid to the people of Gaza who are being suffocated by Israel’s blockade, and to raise the issue of the illegal Israeli blockade of Gaza, which amounts to a collective punishment of the people of Gaza.

Since our last attempt, much has changed around the world and in the region, however, unfortunately the conditions of the people of Gaza have not changed a bit. The horrifying figures published by the UN and other international humanitarian and human rights organisations this year remain valid – with roughly 80% of the population relying on international aid in order to survive, 65% of people living below the poverty line, 52% of people being food insecure and an unemployment rate of nearly 40%. There remains a massive shortage of building materials, which means much-needed schools and hospitals are not built, and the drinking water continues to be contaminated and unfit for consumption. Those in need of specialist medical treatment are unable to avail of it because of the unwillingness of the Israeli state to allow in medical equipment."

To read Paul Murphy’s full article posted on his website click here

To visit Paul’s live update feed from the flotilla on his website click here

For previous articles on about Freedom Flotilla Two click here

Thursday, 3 November 2011

Jarrow 2011 Demonstration - Saturday 5 November, 12 noon

The Jarrow marchers have been marching for 5 weeks against youth unemployment.


  • Create jobs
  • Bring back EMA & scrap uni fees
  • Save youth services
  • Scrap workfare
  • Build affordable housing
Welcome the marchers to London at the end of their 330 mile journey

Saturday 5 November, 12 noon @ Embankment, marching toTrafalgar Square

Speakers will include:
Matt Wrack FBU General Secretary
Bob Crow RMT General Secretary
Chris Baugh, PCS Assistant General Secretary
Paul Murphy MEP Socialist Party Ireland
Lizi Gray Great-grandaughter of 1936 marcher
Stephen Hepburn MP for Jarrow
US Occupy Wall Street Activist
Jarrow marchers
Day-Mer Youth
Socialist Party
Young Deacon performing his rap about the riots called ‘Failed by the System’
Ed Marsh NUS
London Slutwalk Activist
Maddy Carty performing her track ‘CONDEMn AGE’
Dennis Skinner MP for Bolsover
+ More!
Transport from Bristol is £5 with coaches leaving From Anchor Broad, (opposite @Bristol) at 8.30am. Contact Tom Baldwin for more info on 07986951527