Wednesday, 17 April 2013

TUSC Candidate for Lawrence Hill to speak at Husting - Thursday 25 April

Easton & Lawrence Hill Neighbourhood Management have invited all candidates, including the Trade Unionist and Socialists Against Cuts candidate for Lawrence Hill Fiona Joyce, to speak at a husting next week. Please go along and ask the other councillors what THEY will do to protect local jobs and services.

Thursday 25 April
6pm to 9pm
City Academy, Russell Town Avenue

Initial Statement on Boston Marathon Tragedy from Socialist Alternative (CWI USA)

The bombings today at the Boston Marathon are an absolute tragedy and a horror that shouldn't happen in Boston or anywhere else in the world. We are all checking in with loved ones in the Boston area. Socialist Alternative would like to express our grief, sympathy and solidarity with all the victims of this attack. 

It is too soon, as we publish this, to say who committed these acts. If this bombing was politically-motivated, then it is an absolute disgrace to be condemned no matter what the ideas of the attackers. These sorts of methods that target ordinary working people have absolutely nothing in common with the work of socialists striving to build a mass movement that can challenge the rule of the 1%, end the chaos of capitalism and change society.

Times of fear and uncertainty can unfortunately lead to scapegoating and attacks on our civil rights. We are against all attacks on immigrants, particularly Arab and Muslim people, as a result of this tragedy. Whatever the religious or ethnic background of the perpetrators of this attack, an entire religious or ethnic group should not be made guilty by association. We are also against any further attacks on our civil liberties which have already been limited by the Patriot Act and other policies. We must not let the government exploit this tragedy by restricting the freedoms and democratic rights that ordinary Americans fought and died for in the past.

Sunday, 14 April 2013

McCluskey Wins UNITE GS election

The full election results are as follows:
Jerry Hicks 79,819 votes
Len McCluskey 144,570 votes
Number of ballot papers found to be invalid 1,412
Total number of valid votes cast 224,389
Turnout 15.2 per cent

Len's statement here:

UnionNews video here:

Monday, 8 April 2013

Margaret Thatcher: Why workers cannot forget

The new Tory-Lib Dem coalition government claims to be heralding in a 'new politics'. But a large layer of workers throughout Britain have recoiled in horror at the prospect of a Tory-dominated government, because of the vivid memories of the devastation caused in the years when Margaret Thatcher was prime minister. Here Robin Clapp, south west Socialist Party secretary, assesses Thatcher's legacy.

She stood in Downing Street after her first election victory in May 1979 and spoke the soothing words of St. Francis of Assisi: "Where there is discord, may we bring harmony. Where there is error, may we bring truth. Where there is doubt, may we bring faith. Where there is despair, may we bring hope."

Nine years later, after a ferocious assault upon the living standards and democratic rights of the working class, the mask of healer had slipped revealing the real face ofMargaret Thatcher. Once again she sought religious guidance, but this time the words came from St Paul: "If a man will not work he shall not eat."

Thatcher's reign was a nightmare for workers. Even before she became leader of the Tory Party in 1975 she earned the title 'milk snatcher' for withdrawing free school milk from school students when she was minister for education....

Read the full article here:

Thatcher’s dead - Now let’s bury her policies

Peter Taaffe Socialist Party general secretary:

“It is a human response to be sad when somebody dies. But many working class people will be celebrating her death because of the absolutely destructive and long lasting effect she had on the lives of millions of working class and poor people. She is seen by many as a kind of modern day Genghis Khan. Elected into office in 1979 she unleashed a ferocious assault on the living standards and democratic rights of working class people. Trade unions were attacked in order to clear the way for the destruction of publically owned industries and the driving down of wages and conditions.

The Socialist Party’s forerunner the Militant Tendency was at the forefront of fighting her rotten policies. We led the famous struggle in Liverpool from 1983-87 as part of the labour council that refused to implement cuts. That council mobilised a mass campaign of trade unionists and working class people in support of the council’s needs budget. That campaign won £60million from the government which was spent on building thousands of new council homes and new facilities for working class communities. One commentator lamented that Militant had given Thatcher a “bloody nose”.

In the late 80s and 90s early we led the struggle against the hated poll tax. This tax would have seen a duke paying the same as a dustman. We initiated the All Britain Anti-Poll Tax Union which led the campaign that led to 18 million people not paying the tax. As a result the tax was revoked. Thatcher made it clear that she resigned as a result of the huge anti-poll tax demonstration on 31st March 1990, which was attended by 250,000.

Thatcher created a number of “mini Thatchers” not just in the Tory party but also in New Labour as well. Tony Blair was her heir just as Cameron and Clegg are now. They are carrying in her work and are in fact going even further than even she dared to go in the savaging of public sector jobs and services.”

Her true legacy is clear to see today in the policies of the ConDem government. They are today’s standard bearers of her neo-liberal ideas. On the day Thatcher has died the rich are about to receive a tax cut and working class people face a new assault in the form of the bedroom tax. At the same time we are seeing an unprecedented assault on jobs and services.”
Dave Nellist, Labour Party MP for Coventry South-West 1983-1992:

“The people I have sympathy for today are those working class people who’s lives have been blighted by her policies. The real tragedy is that while she may be dead herself her ideas are still alive and well in the form of the ConDem coalition and New Labour.

She was a determined fighter for her class, the 1% of very wealthy people at the top of society. The Socialist Party wants to build a movement that does the same for the 99%, working class people. We want to build a mass movement that will take the wealth from the super-rich and that dismantles the project she embarked upon. We want to use that wealth to provide jobs, services and a future for working class people.”

The Socialist Party of England and Wales (formerly known as Militant Tendency) is a campaigning, democratic organisation. We played a leading role on Liverpool Labour council in the 1980’s when it defied Thatcher and refused to implement cuts winning £60 million to spend on jobs and services in the city. We also led the struggle in the late 80’s and early 90s when 18 million people nationwide refused to pay the hated Poll Tax. We fight against all attacks on the rights and living standards of working class people.

Friday, 5 April 2013

Report from TUSC Lawrence Hill Bedroom Tax Meeting

About 30 people gathered on Thursday 4th April 2013 to discuss the campaign against the cuts in Bristol and specifically the hated 'Bedroom Tax' which is set to leave thousands of disabled and vulnerable people homeless. Speakers: Fiona Joyce - TUSC candidate, Lawrence Hill Ward (May 2nd); Mike Roach - Bristol City Council tenant being charged the bedroom tax; and Mark Baker, PCS civil service union executive member and TUSC candidate for Eastville. Chaired by former TUSC candidate for Bristol mayor and TUSC candidate for Ashley ward in 2013, Tom Baldwin.

More pictures here:

Wednesday, 3 April 2013

TUSC Public meeting tomorrow at Barton Hill Settlement - Bin the Bedtoom Tax

TUSC Public Meeting - Bin the Bedroom Tax!
Thursday 4th April 2013
Barton Hill Settlement, 43 Ducie Road, BS5 0AX

Lawrence Hill Trade Union and Socialists Against Cuts (TUSC) are holding a public meeting at the Barton Hill Settlement at 7.30pm on Thursday 4th April entitled "Bin the bedroom tax". Are you affected by the new rules which will mean benefit cuts if you have a spare room? Do you think it is a good idea to help cut benefit bills or an attack on those least able to cope with the economic downturn? Come along and have your say.

Fiona Joyce, TUSC candidate for Lawrence Hill in the May council elections will be speaking among others. All welcome!

Axe the bedroom tax!

By Mary Jackson , TUSC mayoral candidate, Doncaster

Around Britain, there have already been many protests against the so-called 'Bedroom Tax'. This is one of the coalition's most blatantly anti-poor policies and it will certainly be even more hated when it comes in on 1 April.

David Cameron and his multi-millionaire family have four homes, mansions in reality. Tory welfare minister David Freud, who is bringing in this law, owns an eight-bedroom mansion and a £1.9 million London home. These well-housed millionaires want council house and housing association tenants to lose 14% of their housing benefit if they're deemed to have one spare room, 25% if they have two.

We think that 4,822 households in Doncaster will be hit by this spiteful tax, over 3,000 of them with at least one disabled person. The bedroom tax will hit the poorest, low-paid workers, sick, disabled people, pensioners and the unemployed. The government says people should move in to smaller properties but they haven't done their sums.

In Doncaster, it would take an estimated 16 years to re-house those affected... but only if no other households move into that category, if no grown up children leave home, no one dies, no one joins the army. This can only lead to increasing poverty.

Many people just 'can't pay'. Doncaster, like many other areas, already has mass unemployment and deprivation. With 11,521 people on the waiting list for social housing there is a crying need for affordable housing. Rents must be capped, not benefits. We need a massive council house-building programme which will create much needed jobs and would actually cut the housing benefit bill.

There are things councils can do. There's a huge pot of money from the sale of council houses. Ring-fenced, because of legislation brought in by Margaret Thatcher and not repealed during three terms of a Labour government. And nationalising the banking system under democratic workers' control would free up more resources.

I am standing in an election to be Mayor of Doncaster. One of the first things I will do if elected is to look at a legal challenge to release this money to build the houses needed.

But what we need most of all is a campaigning policy of mass resistance. As with the battle that brought down the poll tax it will need organisation to ensure that no tenant is evicted just because she or he is poor and to convince councillors they should refuse to implement the tax, or replace them with those who will fight instead for a mass house-building policy to meet the needs of the people.