Friday, 21 September 2012

We can beat Con-Dems' austerity: March on 20 October TUC demo

Please come along on the 20th October TUC demonstration. Local travel details can be found here:

John McInally, the national vice-president of the Public and Commercial Services union (PCS) spoke in favour of the resolution calling for general strike action against austerity at the recent TUC Congress. The motion was moved by Steve Gillan, general secretary of the POA prison officers' union, seconded by Bob Crow, leader of the RMT transport union and received overwhelming support. This is John's speech:

The motion calls for coordinated action and 'far-reaching' campaigns, including considering the practicalities of a general strike against the government's austerity programme.

Austerity is a sanitised expression for what is an unremitting class war on our people.

The aim is to achieve, on the basis of the cuts and privatisation programme, the biggest transfer of wealth and power in many generations.

At its core is a 'race to the bottom' that is ripping the heart out of our communities.

It means the driving down of wage levels, massive job cuts, the destruction of the welfare state and the NHS and the public services that provide the basis of a civilised existence for working people.

This unprecedented assault can only proceed because of the poisonous political consensus that exists among the major parties - shamefully including Labour - that says there is no alternative to the market and the barbaric proposition that the acquisition of obscene wealth and profit by a tiny unaccountable elite comes before the needs of millions.

Those millions are crying out for an alternative.

They watch in fear and disgust as one outrage follows another:
The Libor fixing rate affecting millions of workers
Banks laundering drug money
Government-instigated hate campaigns against the disabled and unemployed

30 November [public sector strike] demonstrated the massive strength and potential of our movement.

But rather than building on that tremendous display of class solidarity the abject surrender [by right-wing tradeunion leaders] that followed sent out a message of division, despair and defeatism.

We now have an opportunity to send out a message of hope - loud and clear - that we intend to harness the full strength of our movement and class to stop the austerity programme in its tracks.

The 20 October [TUC demonstration] must be more than another protest march - it must be the platform on which we build coordinated action on the widest possible front across both the public and private sector.

Every union here has a legitimate dispute on pay, pensions, jobs, privatisation or a related issue.

So, let's hear no nonsense about the difficulties or legalities of organising coordinated action.

Let's not fixate about the 'scary words', general strike.

Let us rather sit down together and agree a date for joint action and wider campaigning across the trade union movement as soon as practicably possible after 20 October.

A 24-hour strike as a start to an effective programme of coordinated industrial action and wider campaigning would irrevocably shift the balance of forces in our favour.

How many times must it be said - campaigning works and action gets results.

We have recently won thousands of jobs in the civil service by organising action.

The attacks are increasing, not abating. Millions are waiting for a lead to fight back. Let's provide that lead.

PCS: Press release - Joint strike over transport and environment cuts

20 September 2012
For immediate use

Joint strike over transport and environment cuts

Twelve thousand Public and Commercial Services union members from the transport and environment departments will hold a joint strike tomorrow (21) over cuts and closures that threaten vital services to the public.

Following two months of rolling strikes across the Department for Transport, the union's 8,500 DfT members will be joined by 3,500 from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs in the walkout.

As well as picket lines across the country, members in London will march from 2pm from Smith Square, via Marsham Street, for a rally in Old Palace Yard opposite the Houses of Parliament.

PCS members in the Home Office, facing thousands of job cuts and draconian changes to their terms and conditions, are also expected to join the march.

Among the issues under dispute in the DfT are plans to close almost half of the UK's coastguard stations; the closure of all 39 of the DVLA's local offices and 10 enforcement centres; and cuts and the threat of privatisation in the Driving Standards Agency.

There are similar concerns over job cuts and privatisation in Defra. And all of this comes on top of a pay freeze and the looming threat of the imposition of local or regional pay, which would drive living standards down even further.

DfT members will be on strike all day and Defra members will walk out for three hours from 1.30pm.

PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka said: "Despite all the evidence pointing to the fact that austerity isn't working, this government is ploughing ahead with unnecessary and damaging cuts that will deprive our communities of vital public services.

"As we approach the TUC anti-cuts demonstrations on 20 October and beyond, we believe more co-ordinated industrial action like this will be necessary, not just between civil service departments but across the public sector, if the government refuses to change course on cuts to jobs, pay and pensions."

Monday, 17 September 2012

Socialist Party Public Meeting: Can The Unions Lead The Fight Back?

East Bristol Socialist Party Public Meeting
Can The Unions Lead The Fight Back?

Wed 19th Sept 7:00pm
Stag & Hounds Pub, Old Market, BS2 0EJ 

After the National Shop Stewards Network lobby of the TUC in Brighton, guest speaker Mark Baker from the PCS national executive committee (personal capacity) reviews the TUC congress and the prospects for a successful fight back against the government cuts agenda.

Socialist Party members and supporters meet on Wednesday evenings in the Stag & Hounds Pub, 74 Old Market Street, BS2 0EJ between 7.00pm and 8.30pm.

Once a month on the first Tuesday a city-wide aggregate meeting is held in Cheltenham Road Library, BS6 5QX at 7.30pm, often with a visiting guest speaker.

For any other information about meetings or joining the Socialist Party, call/text Matt on 07936 712 962 or email

Rape is no joke!

One brave woman in the audience of a Daniel Tosh comedy gig heckled “rape jokes are never funny” after he had told several in a row. He responded by asking the audience: “Wouldn’t it be funny if that girl got raped by, like, five guys right now? Like right now? What if a bunch of guys just raped her?”

We’re not laughing. And neither are the 80,000 women who are raped every year in the UK alone. Rape jokes seem to be becoming more and more prevalent – led by high profile comedians like Frankie Boyle and Jimmy Carr, and taking over at open mic nights all over the country.

This ‘comedy’ is lazy and un-intelligent. But it also, combined with prolific violent pornography on the internet, ‘lads mags’ in every corner shop and aggressive sexual imagery in advertising, adds to a culture that accepts, and even glorifies rape and sexual assault.

This is in the context of increasing attacks on women by politicians. Tory justice minister Ken Clarke suggested some types of rape are “less serious” than others. George Galloway claimed that even if the allegations against Julian Assange were true they wouldn’t constitute rape but merely “bad sexual etiquette” because if a woman “goes to bed” with a man they are “already in the sex game”. And its not just a matter of words either – services that support victims of sexual violence are being cut to the bone.

It is estimated that only 15% of rapes are reported to the police. This is partly because of the mixture of emotions many women feel after being attacked. But it also because, given the fact that only 7% of reported rapes result in conviction, women fear not being take seriously. Rape jokes only add to this.

We’ve had enough. Instead of having to make a stand individually, like the brave woman at the Tosh gig, we should challenge this sexism together.

That’s why Socialist Students has set up Rape Is No Joke – a campaign for comedy without misogyny. We want comedians to sign our pledge that they won’t tell rape jokes. We want venues and organisers to agree not to host anyone who does. And we want to educate to begin to tackle the attitude that rape is something to be laughed at. Get involved with the campaign to make rape jokes a thing of the past.

Tuesday, 11 September 2012

BADACA: Save Bristol's care service!

Bristol City Council has passed plans to close most of the city's council run Care Homes and Day Care Centres. This affects the elderly residents of these omes and some of the most vulnerable people in the city. 200 residents face being made homeless by these plans and over 100 care staff could lose their jobs. These are services we could all need in the future so we must do what we can to save them.

Please sign the online petition against the closures and circulate it:

The Bristol and District Anti-Cuts Alliance has also organised events to collect more signatures around the city over the next few weekends. More details of these and of the campaign can be found on their website:

There is also a lobby of the next council meeting on Tues 18th Sept, starting from 5pm at the Council House. Please come down and invite as many people as you can, we need to show the council that the people of Bristol will not stand for this.

Video: Bob Crow speaking at NSSN Lobby, 9th Sept 2012

Thursday, 6 September 2012

NSSN: Lobby the TUC this Sunday – Strike against austerity! - come on the coach from Bristol

All march together on 20 October, then strike together! Join us in demanding the TUC build for a 24 hour general strike against austerity.

Assemble 1pm at The Level park – Union Road, Brighton BN2 for march at 1.30pm to Brighton  Conference Centre and then rally at Metropole Hotel, on the seafront, including Bob Crow, RMT general secretary, Mark Serwotka, PCS general secretary, Steve Gillan, POA general secretary, Remploy reps and more!

Add your own reasons why you think we should be lobbying and striking here! SIGN THE PETION here!
Bristol Coach leaving Bristol at 8am from Anchor Road by @Bristol