Thursday, 10 December 2015

GLEN HART & CROYDON MOMENTUM

Excellent solidarity demo for Glen Hart yesterday at Clapham Common Tube! (See photos below).

It's a scandal that Glen is being attacked by London Underground management - but it's a great and lasting credit to his union, the RMT, who are backing him so consistently. Glen is an excellent trade unionist who loves his work.

London Underground would show themselves in much better light if they abandoned their vindictive (and totally unsupportable) action against Glen.

LU’s case against Glen is totally unsupportable and without foundation. However, until they see sense, union and political pressure on them will surely grow.
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Good news comes from an excellent Croydon Momentum meeting on Tuesday evening. Friendly and inclusive, the initial discussions are now underway to support and defend Corbyn’s Labour Party.

An underlying theme of all contributions was the need to positively present Corbyn’s policies and what he is trying to achieve. There will be no truck with the campaign of Labour's right-wing - largely sustained through the press because they have so little support on the ground.

A top issue was, needless to say, the Syrian bombing campaign, shamefully supported by 66 Labour MPs. Steve Reed's astonishing decision to ABSTAIN on the bombing campaign vote was discussed. His non-vote followed, as we understand it, a mysterious questionnaire he emailed to constituents - the results of which have not been revealed.

Also covered was the coming budgeting meetings of Croydon’s right-wing Labour council. The Council's policies will increasingly be challenged and key council meetings will be lobbied - and more so as we approach council elections in 2018.

Work will be done on this in conjunction with Croydon Assembly (an initiative of Croydon Trades Council).

All those in attendance, which included Labour Party members, TUSC supporters and others, will be building the fightback for a Labour Party worthy of the name.

Future meetings will be held on the second Tuesday of each month.

Meanwhile, ex-Labour MPs like Gordon Brown and Alistair Darling further expand their bank balances by finding work respectively with Pimco (a global investment firm) and Morgan Stanley (a global investment bank).

No picket lines for them! Who are the REAL "entryists" into the Labour Party?


Friday, 4 December 2015

WHAT NEXT? THINGS ARE MOVING FAST!

Sixty seven so-called Labour MPs voted to add “our” bombs to the rest of them falling on Syrian people.

Needless to say, the despicable Skully and Brake added their votes towards escalating the Middle East conflicts.

Croydon North's New Labour Steve Reed, principled as ever, abstained! On an issue as important as bombing another country, Reed abstains!

The less said about Croydon's two other social-climbers, the better.

Glen Hart, our candidate for Croydon North last year, has written to Reed following his brave abstention. His angry but measured letter can be found HERE.

And those opposed to escalating the war are depicted as “terrorist sympathisers”!

A cheap jibe from a cheap Prime Minister!

The media (including the craven local "Guardian") frames the debate by implying the bombs will fall only on ISIS !

Our views about terrorism can be found on earlier posts on this site. Unlike cheap politicians, our opposition to terrorism (and to war and to military dictatorships) is consistent and principled.

As for Labour, surely Corbyn must ultimately move against those Labour MPs who voted with the Tories on this. But he has suggested that he’s against deselecting these people. Why?

If due process is followed, why can’t a Labour Party reselect its MP? (However, there is a massive bureaucratic mountain to climb under the New Labour constitution).

As we’ve said in these posts before, Momentum's movement behind Corbyn is an excellent development. But there are now two Labour Parties! Corbyn’s and Tristram Hunt’s!

There is a pro-war Labour Party and a pro-peace Party. A pro-austerity party and an anti-austerity party.

These two parties cannot co-exist for very long. It is already clear that the Right is organising with determination against Corbyn - and what he stands for - with full support from the big business press.

We hope that in the new year TUSC and Momentum, in Croydon and Sutton, can meet up to discuss how we can proceed in harmony towards a Labour Party worthy of the name.

The By-election results have been a great boost for Corbyn and Labour’s left - but Labour Party members must make sure their candidates match up to the heightened expectations.

Momentum should not allow itself (in our humble opinion) to become door knockers and leaflet deliverers for candidates who are not fully behind Corbyn.

Would Momentum seek hard to pull out the vote for Reed, for example?

The year 2018 will be the hundredth anniversary of Labour’s adoption of the famous socialist Clause IV - deleted by Blair. Let’s find a way to bring it back!

Saturday, 21 November 2015

WHAT IS SADIQ KHAN DOING?!

He is doing a great disservice to Muslims, and to all workers!
He is lecturing muslim people that they must “wake up to extremism”.
Is he suggesting that they are less aware of the issues than other people? Are they somehow more to blame for what is happening than non-muslims?
Muslims, and non-muslims, are being killed in large numbers by both terrorist bombs AND western governments’ air raids. Around 250,000 people have been killed in Syria alone since the civil war began there. And 6 million people have been made homeless.
He says (according to the press) that muslim people are not tackling “extremist ideas in their midst”. Is he suggesting that their is a wider tolerance of “extremist ideas” amongst muslims and, in ways not spelled out, this is somehow contributing to terrorism?
It suggests he believes that the total devastation of much of the middle east has nothing to do with terrorism!
Unwittingly (to be generous), he is making his own contribution to anti-muslim racist demagogy; echoed and encouraged by the yellow press. But he wants to be elected, so he leans into to the prevailing, poisoned winds.
There is a message that can be read into this, that the failure of muslims to “police their own people" is somehow contributing to the crisis.
Does he not realise that he is lining himself up with the very worst of the “collective punishment” ideologues?
Collective punishment is hardly new. For example, when the French Resistance attacked the Nazi occupiers of their country, in WW2, the Nazis would collectively punish the whole town or village - pour le d├ęcouragement des autres
Although he says otherwise, the inescapable logic of his line of reasoning is that some of the blame for the latest outrages lies at the door of ordinary muslim people! This is despicable. It is scapegoating of the worst kind!
Momentum and Corbyn supporters must not allow themselves to be transformed into a “left cover” for the likes of Khan. These Tory subalterns must be challenged. They have no part to play in the Labour movement. They should go.

Friday, 20 November 2015

ANGER AND SADNESS!

Our heartfelt solidarity goes out to the families and friends of the people killed in Paris by the ultra-right-wing ISIS terrorists. They are cowardly murderers. The consequences of their acts will be dreadful, not only for those directly affected, but also on a much wider front.

Some effects will be felt right here in Sutton and Croydon!

Our opposition to terrorism, as socialists and trade unionists, has reasons additional to the natural human revulsion at the killing of innocents.

The fearful works of terrorists helps set communities against each other; with the help of the yellow corporate press, attempts will be made to stigmatise all muslim people. The consequences for the people of Syria and elsewhere will be similarly horrifying.

Socialism however stands foursquare for unity and solidarity between ALL working people.
Terrorist acts will boost right-wing arguments for strengthening state repression, state snooping, clamp downs and restrictions on immigrants and ethnic minorities. Muslim working people will feel the worst of the consequences of Paris, but all workers will suffer.

For example Irish people were stigmatised by the press for the activities of the IRA during the “troubles”.

Similarly, “Germans" were held responsible for what the Nazis did during World War 2 - even though millions of German people in Socialist and Communist parties, and trade unions, fought tooth and nail to defeat Hitler during the 1920s and 30s.

The terrorist acts in Paris will be a gift for every spittle-flecked ranting demagog.

Those calling for more bombing and military interventions have had their hand strengthened. But of course, that may be exactly what isis wants! (As we write additional bombers are doing their work. And many more innocents will be blasted to pieces).

The leaders of the Labour movement must respond loudly and with an independent voice. We cannot allow the corporate media, the reactionaries and the war mongers to make the running.

Jeremy Corbyn is taking flack simply because he has suggested that we should expose who is financing ISIS and selling it weapons etc. Shamefully some Labour MPs have joined the establishment it attacking him. But he is surely right to pose these vital issues!

Unless we intervene, the only winners in these escalating conflicts and wars will be arms dealers!
EVERY worker has a vital stake in the unity and solidarity of working people. Only united workers and youth can defeat terrorism and reaction and rid the world of the conditions that create poverty, injustice, violence and war.

No to Terrorism!

No to wars of intervention!

Friday, 6 November 2015

MOMENTUM & LOLLIPOP LADIES IN CROYDON

What has to change if Momentum is to succeed?

Following Corbyn’s campaign, thousands of enthused activists want to know how they can participate effectively in left politics; how they can stop the Tories shifting the economic burden onto working people, whilst Tory grandees and their backers accumulate £ Billions.

Will Labour be part of the answer? TUSC will be very happy if it is. But there’s work to be done.

It's early days yet, admittedly. Nonetheless, at present the Labour Party remains solidly Blairite. The vast majority of MPs are austerity apologists; the Party’s constitution is undemocratic; Labour councils up and down the country are mostly Tory subalterns.

You think that’s not true?

A few months ago parents near Woodside Fire Station, just north of Addiscombe, formally petitioned the council. They called on the council to re-instate a lollipop lady to help ensure the safety of children crossing the road.

This was the Council’s response, (Council Report of 19th Oct. Our emphases - in caps).

"We recognise the commitment of School Crossing Patrol Officers across the borough and how highly they are valued by local parents.

However, TOUGH DECISIONS HAVE TO BE MADE ABOUT HOW BEST TO SPEND LIMITED COUNCIL BUDGETS. ...

… There is no statutory requirement for a Council to have any School Crossing Patrol Officers and it is the responsibility of every parent to ensure that their child travels safely to and from school, accompanied as necessary. ...

IN THE CONTEXT OF SIGNIFICANT CUTS TO THE COUNCIL'S BUDGET WE ARE NOT IN A POSITION TO INCREASE THE SERVICE".

Pathetic!

This example is replicated a thousand times in “Labour” councils up and down the country! No red flag, just a white one!

We agree with Nadine Houghton from Momentum (HERE) who said that, "Momentum may hold the key to unlocking the possibilities that this new era of politics represents”.

It may indeed. But Momentum must be more than an uncritical Labour cheerleader. It cannot ignore who the MPs are; who the Labour councillors are; what Labour’s Tory-lite policies might be - and still formally are!

This must change. Otherwise a Labour victory in 2020 will be a sham.

Friday, 30 October 2015

OPPORTUNITY CROYDON?

“Opportunity Croydon” was set up by Croydon’s (pre-Corbyn) Labour Council. It has produced a somewhat milk-and-water interim report on tackling Croydon’s problems.

In many respects it gives good account of the range of burdens bearing on Croydon citizens. But its proposals are very weak, mainly because the Commission seems to take as gospel the Tory/Blairite narrative that, “we must live within our means” and that cuts in publics services are “inevitable".

(Where was this argument when we bailed out the banks with £350 billion?!).

Consequently the Commission's proposals tend to rely on community volunteerism; vague forms of “reaching out” and generally being nicer to each other.

They don’t match up to the scale of the problems Croydon faces.

Take housing. Around 2,500 families are living in temporary accommodation - a problem that’s been getting worse every year since 2009!

The report also tells us that, “the maximum payable in Housing Benefit is only sufficient to cover rents in the lowest 30% of of the private rented sector”. Leaving low and uncertain wages to cover the yawning gap!

But the impact the council could have, if it were to act and intervene decisively, as a Labour council should, is not addressed. The council is let off the hook!

The commission should demand that the council puts the needs of Croydon’s citizens first; not the needs of a Tory government.

Instead of looking for options to fit the Tory agenda, we should demand policies to strike at the heart of the crises affecting Croydon’s workers and youth.

On housing, here are just a few ideas being considered not only by TUSC but by everyone fighting for the interests of labour.

Any solution must have at its heart -
1. building more truly affordable housing;
2. ensuring that existing housing stock is proactively maintained and improved; and
3. ensuring that no houses, flats or buildings remain unused.

And to deliver this?

The council could bring all the independent social housing organisations back under their direct control.

Instead of leaving housing to the tender mercies of “the market”, this would re-establish local democratic control over the housing sector - fully involving tenants, landlords and the wider community.

The council could immediately identify, and if necessary take possession of ALL empty buildings in Croydon that could be used for housing.

The council could set up a "Housing Costs and Quality Agency”.

This agency could immediately cap rents at a much more affordable level. Thereafter it could establish a new rent regime for both private and public sectors going forward.

It could set housing quality standards and pro-actively monitor their implementation and maintenance.

It could ensure that the worst landlords, those failing in their responsibilities, are prosecuted. Tenants also would be expected to conform amenably with their agreed terms. At the same time, the agency would be on hand to help resolve disputes and hopefully avoid prosecutions.

And, not least, with new finance (see below) it could kick-off a new social housing building programme!

In these ways the council once again could become a direct housing services provider - and one that's democratically controlled.

It would no longer be a “facilitator”; no longer proffering inducements and incentives for private sector favours and co-operation. (Although no one would reject approaches from private builders with good ideas).

There is no escaping the fact, of course, that any council taking this road would come up against opposition from the government and its hangers-on.

So fighting hard for this ambitious programme would be crucial and unavoidable - but it would generate widespread community support for the council

Money would be needed. Additional funds could come from the council’s reserves (thats what they’re for) and from borrowing at the extremely competitive rates currently obtainable - especially for capital projects.

And an ambitious programme of work would put money back into the local economy!

We'll be looking at some of the Commissions other proposals - and the council's response.

Saturday, 24 October 2015

HOW CAN CROYDON FIGHT BACK?

An important article in The Croydon Citizen has drawn attention to the continuation of service cuts that Croydon’s right-wing Labour Council is planning - cuts amounting to around £11 million so far.

If agreed, this will pile on more misery for Croydon residents.

We wait to see whether any Labour councillors will vote against - in support of Jeremy Corbyn’s stated strategy that Labour councils should fight back, not meekly pass on Tory policies!

Following Corbyn’s excellent campaign, there are now large numbers of people, both within and beyond the Labour Party, pressing for pro-worker policies and action.

Corbyn’s new Momentum organisation (see previous post) is a very positive development. Corbyn supporters within Labour have a major task to re-democratise the party and help turn it into a champion of the interests of working people.

The Croydon Assembly, meeting on 7th November, similarly has the chance now to help draw Croydon’s trade union movement into the No Cuts battle. Croydon desperately needs a united campaign not only to oppose service cuts, but also to put forward socialist policies that will turn the tide against the government’s pro-rich agenda.

Not unexpectedly, Croydon’s “Opportunity and Fairness Commission”, set up by Croydon Labour, is falling far short of what’s needed. Its interim report, just issued, highlights some of the dreadful conditions faced by so many Croydon residents; but it’s proposals fail to address any of the underlying causes of poverty, homelessness, unemployment.

Instead it offers a mishmash of volunteering and charity-based activity - with much Blair-style talk of “reaching out” and “working together”.

Behind every suggestion, between every line, is an impotent acceptance that, “there is no alternative” to austerity. That, “there is no money”, that, “cuts are unavoidable, and so on. It’s plain to see who sponsored the commission. Its approach overlaps substantially with Croydon Labour’s election manifesto.

Opportunity missed; fairness forsaken.

But in the new year, the council will be setting its new budget.

A Labour council COULD (and should!) be a people’s tribune. It could stand fast against austerity. It could lift spirits and hope by standing firm against service cuts.

At the budget session Labour councillors could announce, “NO! We are setting a budget designed to meet the needs of Croydon’s citizens - not a budget designed to meet Tory austerity!"

The budgeting period next year will offer an opportunity for a united, Croydon-wide campaign to influence councillors - some of whom may be feeling the sharp gusts of Corbyn's wind of change, and who in its wake may be willing to take a stand.

Many new Labour Party members, supporters of Corbyn, will be part of that fightback. We hope so.

Tuesday, 20 October 2015

MOMENTUM’S NEW CAMPAIGN

Momentum’s first big campaign (we understand) will be on the issue of voter registration. Whilst we agree unambiguously about the importance of this issue, we seriously doubt that it was the reason those many tens of thousands of people joined the Corbyn campaign, or joined Labour.

Voter registration is important not least because those most likely not to vote are those most badly affected by Tory (and right-wing Labour) austerity policies.

In our view, though, Momentum should seek to help re-take Labour back from it’s Tory-lite majority MPs and councillors. Something Corbyn seems already to be backing away from, unfortunately.

If it was successful in doing that, and Labour was once again the Party that stood foursquare with workers struggling for jobs and a better life, there would be no need for a registration campaign.

Workers and young people would be banging on Labour’s doors! As they have recently - when Corbyn's campaign offered the prospect of Labour returning to its roots.

Labour would once again be a party worth registering to vote for - and joining and supporting!

Corbyn’s campaign for leadership has already outlined many policies that would, “tilt the balance of power in society back in favour of working people and their families”, (to quote a phrase from a pre-Blair Labour Party manifesto). Those policies should be emblazoned on Momentum’s banner!

Why not, instead, start with a campaign to support the UK steel industry? Closures and thousands of job losses are set for Teesside, Scotland and Scunthorpe! Labour’s policy should be unambiguous: re-nationalise the steel industry! Make it part of a democratically controlled new industrial plan for the UK.

At the rate we are going we may be looking at a future where the UK - once the “workshop of the world” - will cease to manufacture anything very much!!

Tuesday, 13 October 2015

MOMENTUM!

A new left-wing organisation, Momentum, is being built. Tens of thousands have already indicated their support. A branch is being set up in Sutton - see below (nor sure about Croydon yet).

This is a very positive development which we unreservedly celebrate. Momentum’s purpose is to consolidate that enthusiasm and to build on the upsurge in political activity and interest.

Will Momentum help stop the pro-corporate avalanche of austerity and pro-elite policies? We very much hope so; and we will co-operate and participate in a friendly and positive way towards that end.

The enthusiasm of Corbyn's meetings and events arose not because the campaign was vague and “new”. On the contrary, it was because it started trail-blazing policies that at last offered a socialist alternative to Toryism and Blairism! Let’s not lose sight of that.

The campaign’s incredible success so far has been a direct consequence of speaking out about these policies. Policies which, for once, squarely support the interests of working people - such as the renationalisation of energy, the Post Office and the railways, the abolition of tuition fees, ending the privatisation of the NHS, controlling rents, opposing Trident, etc.

These and similar policies were the engine and the power of Corbyn’s campaign. TUSC supports them.

We hope this socialist core will remain at the forefront of Momentum. If so, we think it will deservedly grow in numbers and in influence.

But Momentum will also, we believe, face implacable opposition from the vast majority of existing Labour MPs and from 90% of Labour councillors too - many of the latter, with barely a whimper, are passing on Tory policies and cuts in social spending.

These MPs and councillors will seek to challenge Momentum. They will do it directly, or they will seek to subvert it and steer it well clear of radical politics. We are seeing this already!

TUSC will seek to stand against any right-wing Labour candidates in future elections who do not support Corbyn’s agenda. We cannot give them a free ride. We would encourage Momentum to take a similar view.

We look forward to helping.

Momentum's main website is > www.peoplesmomentum.com

Sutton Momentum’s Facebook page is


Tuesday, 6 October 2015

Dave Nellist on where now after Corbyn!

Here is an excellent and thoughtful speech by Dave Nellist, National Chair of TUSC, speaking at a meeting in Belfast about How Corbyn's victory is changing politics in the UK.

And the view from quite a different perspective lends weight to Dave's points.

Ross McKibbin is an Emeritus Fellow at Oxford University and takes a thoroghly mainstream view of politics. However, writing in the London Review of Books on Corbyn's victory he speaks about the "petulance" and "bewilderment" of the defeated Blairites, "people who believe they are entitled to rule".

Corbyn's support amongst his "colleagues" in the Parliamentary Labour Party, is, he rightly says, almost non-existent. Barely 10 MPs genuinely support him - although others will seek to ingratiate their way in.

McKibbin says, "I don't think they will accept their dethronement lightly. They and their mates in the media will seek continually to undermine Corbyn, and they will not be too scrupulous about it."

Corbyn's main support comes from the new Party members, and also from those like TUSC from outside the Party. He must, in our view, find ways of mobilising and organising that support for the longer haul.

Wednesday, 30 September 2015

The Corbyn “revolution” has severely shaken the Establishment and continues to do so. It is a joy to watch!

But work is well underway now to undermine and discredit his leadership and what he stands for - and to discourage, and demoralise the hundreds of thousands of new Labour Party members.

The  jobs-worths and the Establishment’s little helpers in the Party and in the wider labour movement are busily working away seeking to sabotage Corbyn’s agenda. They want a Party where the membership is merely a passive and obedient audience! - as it was in Blair's day...

Already, according to the Financial Times, a key socialist policy has been abandoned - the re-nationalisation of the money-grubbing energy companies. They, you may recall, nearly had a collective heart attack not long ago when Miliband (remember him?) had the gall to suggest that energy prices might be frozen for a while!

According to the FT (29th Sept), - Lisa Nandy, the shadow energy secretary, dropped the plans during her speech to the Labour conference in Brighton. “Jeremy and I don’t want to nationalise energy,” she said. “We want to do something far more radical. We want to democratise it.”

How thoroughly fatuous. How on earth can these companies be “democratised” whilst they are privately owned by the faceless equivalents of Harold Wilson’s "Gnomes of Z├╝rich”!

Re-nationalisation of the rapacious utilities is a massively popular policy amongst voters - as poll after poll has consistently shown. For good reason. Nationalisation would be vastly more efficient in its use of resources - and a socially owned energy sector could be run as a public service - resulting in smaller (and simpler) energy bills!

Why must pensioners and poorer families be worried about turning on the heat during winter?

But this policy has been abandoned! Already!

This is why the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition will not give an easy ride to right-wing Labour MPs and those similarly bloodless and cynical Labour councillors up and down the country!

As was agreed at the successful TUSC National Conference last weekend, insofar as we are able, we will continue to stand against all Labour candidates who are not with Corbyn; who are not prepared to fight for the people they are supposed to represent. They will not be given a free ride.

In the shape of thousands of new Labour Party members, Corbyn’s agenda has many friends inside the Labour Party. And his agenda has many friends outside the Party too. Those friends are in the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition!

The Labour Party, at last, has a chance not only of becoming a “nice” party, but also of becoming a fighting party - a party supporting working people struggling for a better life.

Sunday, 13 September 2015

WHAT A MARVELLOUS RESULT FOR CORBYN! 

UK politics will never be quite the same again! TUSC wholeheartedly and unreservedly welcomes the result!

Very many thousands of people, young and old, through their enthusiasm and motivation have delivered this result. Hopes everywhere have been raised that at last we might start the push back against the pro-austerity, pro-rich onslaught of the last period.

Some anti-austerity and socialist arguments are beginning already to gain a wider audience. As a result the corporate media is spitting blood and bile. We will see much more of this in the weeks and months ahead.

Many of Corbyn’s policies are, of course, those that TUSC has been pressing forward for some time - against cuts in public expenditure; for the renationalisation of the utilities, Royal Mail, the railways; ending privatisation; opposition to war and conflict abroad, etc. Policies consistently supported by the wider public.

We look forward to continuing our work in friendly partnership with Corbyn’s supporters in building a renewed movement for democratic socialism and a powerful and unflinching working class party.

But the right-wing of the Labour Party will fight back. We don’t yet know what form that will take. It is likely they will bide their time before they act openly - leaving the media to do their dirty work; seeking to undermine Corbyn and his supporters.

He will find he suddenly has many “friends” from Labour’s right-wing who will suddenly rediscover left-sounding phraseology. They will curry favour - there will be much flattery and fawning - especially since Corbyn has said he will be “inclusive”.

However, some Labour MPs have already made plain they will not co-operate. Let’s not forget that Corbyn’s support amongst Labour MPs hitherto has been around 10% at most!

We mustn’t lose sight of the fact that the body of the Labour Party is still pro-austerity. For example, compare Corbyn’s pronouncements with the contents of Labour’s Manifesto!

Labour became an undemocratic, Tory second eleven through a long and painful process which was started in the 1980s with the expulsion of many left wingers - TUSC Chair Dave Nellist (once a Labour MP himself) amongst them.

Will Labour MPs and the thousands of Labour councillors now start fighting back against cuts in social expenditure and privatisations?

Will Labour councils now start refusing to implement Tory cuts and policies? Will Croydon Council, to be specific, lead this process? What will Steve Reed do?

It is clear there is much still to be done. Some of that work will occur within the Labour party no doubt (if its undemocratic structures will permit!). But very much work will take place in the wider Labour movement - and that’s where TUSC comes in.

For TUSC the question is - how can this significant left victory be converted into  long-lasting change; how can it help build a renewed, unflinching working class party that will rid us of the Tories and everything they represent?

FOR ANSWERS, COME TO THE NATIONAL TUSC CONFERENCE IN LONDON ON SATURDAY 26th SEPTEMBER. 

> STUDENT CENTRAL, MALET STREET, WC1E 7HY.

> 11am until 4.30pm.

The opening session, "The role of TUSC in the new situation", will be a chance to assess these issues and what needs to be done after Jeremy Corbyn's success.

A great start has been made.

Big business and its craven representatives within Labour have collectively taken a solid left hook!

It's left them staggering. Let’s follow it through!

For more info - see HERE.

Friday, 28 August 2015

>>>>  STOP THE BNP IN CROYDON! <<<<

Join the anti-BNP demo on SATURDAY 5th SEPT! 


We fully support this demo against the so-called British National Party.

The BNP is not welcome in Croydon!

They are an anti-working class party. They want to divide workers against each other.

This is a gift for Tories who will welcome whatever diverts attention from their austerity policies.

_____________________________________________________

The BNP want to blame “non-white” workers and refugees for what is happening.

But it wasn’t refugees, immigrants or “non-white” workers who tanked the economy!  

THEY aren’t the ones withdrawing vital benefits and pushing people into poverty - Government is doing that!

THEY aren’t holding down wages and conditions - employers are doing that!

THEY aren’t responsible for zero-hour contracts - big business is!

THEY aren’t putting up rents - landlords are!

THEY aren’t privatising the NHS and schools! The Tories are!

THEY aren’t avoiding £Billions in tax (which we have to make up) - big business is doing that!

THEY aren’t blocking truly affordable housing - Government and house builders are doing that!

THEY aren’t cutting essential social services - the Tories and right-wing Labour councils are doing that!

_____________________________________________________

THE BNP ARE THE TORIES’  LITTLE HELPERS.
_____________________________________________________

TUSC STANDS FOR SOLIDARITY IN THE FIGHT FOR A BETTER LIFE FOR ALL


BNP - the Bosses’ Narks Party!

Thursday, 20 August 2015

THE CORBYN CAMPAIGN

Corbyn will need maximum support when he's elected Labour Leader. The vast majority of Labour MPs are hostile to everything he stands for - see yesterday's article about TUSC in the Coventry Telegraph HERE.

In particular, as Dave Nellist says in the article, "his first action [as leader] should be to instruct local Labour councils to halt cuts and direct a strategy to resist austerity".

He will have our unqualified support if he does that!

Already, hundreds of Labour councillors have come out in support of Corbyn, (many who support TUSC). But they constitute only a small percentage of existing Labour councillors - so there's much work to be done!

LABOUR "VALUES"

You would think that a political party would welcome 600,000 new members and supporters, but Labour's right-wing are saying that many of those people don't share' "Labour's values".

But what "values" would they be? Support for free market, big business capitalism?

Compare the clauses below and see which values we might be talking about. New Labour's values are not ours. We believe they are not Corbyn's either.

Clause IV Part 4 (1918) - deleted by Blair and Co.

To secure for the workers by hand or by brain the full fruits of their industry and the most equitable distribution thereof that may be possible upon the basis of the common ownership of the means of production, distribution and exchange, and the best obtainable system of popular administration and control of each industry or service.

Clause IV Part 2A (1995)


A dynamic economy, serving the public interest, in which the enterprise of the market and the rigour of competition are joined with the forces of partnership and co-operation to produce the wealth the nation needs and the opportunity for all to work and prosper with a thriving private sector and high-quality public services where those undertakings essential to the common good are either owned by the public or accountable to them.

Wednesday, 12 August 2015

TUSC and the Corbyn Campaign!

HERE is National TUSC Secretary, Clive Heemskerk, interviewed on the BBC talking about claims that TUSC is "infiltrating" the Labour Party to vote for Jeremy.

If the pro-market right-wing are so concerned about this phenomena, here's an idea for them.

Why don't they (the people who introduced this election system in the first place), why don't they get all their millions of supporters to sign up and vote for Kendal or the other talking heads?

Oh. They don't have as many supporters as Jeremy - despite the support they get from almost the entire corporate media.

Shame.

Thursday, 23 July 2015

LABOUR LEADERSHIP ELECTION!

NEW LOCAL TUSC LEAFLET NOW AVAILABLE!

The leadership election in the Labour Party is again bringing to the foreground the importance of building a socialist political voice for working people.

That, in essence, is the basic platform of Jeremy Corbyn - and polls have suggested he is now a front runner.

Much enthusiasm is, understandably, being generated.

But for it to be truly meaningful, a “rejuvenated” Labour Party would need to go hand-in-hand  with bold, democratic socialist policies; aimed squarely at delivering real and lasting benefits for  workers - combatting head on the propaganda of big business capitalism.

It would, to paraphrase an old Labour Party manifesto, seek plainly to tilt the balance of power in society decisively in favour of working people and their families.

Whether the “renewal” process is successful remains to be seen. The forces of the right - supported enthusiastically by the corporate media and the numerous establishment toadies within the labour movement - are seeking to make sure that any leftward move is halted.

Even master toady, Blair, (for it is he) has been wheeled out to offer his vacuous tuppence-worth.

It would certainly transform the political scene in the UK (and beyond) if Corbyn was elected and he set out in this direction - with the enthusiastic help of socialists inside and (perhaps more importantly) outside Labour.

Given the steady degeneration of New Labour since the 1990s, we remain somewhat sceptical about what he can achieve, however. Nonetheless we wish Jeremy the best of luck.

In the meantime we cannot rely on that process entirely. We must build TUSC as a bulwark of the socialist left, and a growing powerful voice for working class (and middle class) people.

A new local TUSC leaflet is available for general distribution purposes. You can see it if you click - HERE.

Please contact us if you need a wad of them. Use them at meetings, your workplace, family and friends, special events - or simply stand outside a railway station and hand them out! ;-)

Email us at - SuttonCroydonTUSC@gmail.com

Lets raise our voice!

Monday, 20 July 2015

LABOUR COUNCILS - DO SOMETHING!!

The policies of austerity - shamefully not opposed by the dominating right-wing of the Labour Party - are having a devastating effect on local communities.

These are some key facts so far since 2010 - according to the Financial Times today. 

Around 150,000 pensioners have lost access to vital services. (Note these are vital services!)

There has been an 8% cut in child protection spending. That’s child protection!

Per child spending on children’s centres (0 - 4 yr olds) has dropped from £446 in 2010, to £319 in 2013 - a 28% cut.

Factory health and safety inspections in 2009 (in England) numbered around 56,000. By 2009 this had been slashed to around 5,000. A 90% reduction. Fifty three councils have abandoned pro-active inspections altogether!

Here’s a straight quote from the FT - “Children’s social work departments, faced with a surge in referrals after public awareness was raised through a series of abuse scandals, have seen their funds cut by the equivalent of more than £600 for every referred child”.

Overall, there’s been a cut of £18 billion to council budgets - nearly 20% of spending.

And there’s another £9.5 billion of cuts to go before 2020!


WHAT ARE LABOUR COUNCILS DOING ABOUT THIS?!

Instead of breaking the law by organising a fight back, they are instead breaking the law by putting more and more families with children into B&B accommodation for longer than 6 weeks at a time!

From Tory and Liberal councils we might expect nothing but seat warming inactivity and perhaps some occasional hand wringing, but from so-called Labour councils we should expect more. 

Unfortunately - with some very honourable exceptions (being TUSC or left-wing Labour, for example) - most Labour councillors seem not to have a recognisable backbone between the lot of them! 

Why doesn’t Jeremy Corbyn respond to this by calling on all Labour councils to rise up against the cuts to services?  Without this; what is Labour for?


Sunday, 12 July 2015

STEVE REED

We'll be watching and reporting more about Reed (Croydon North) and Scully (Sutton & Cheam) over the coming period. If you have information or insights - do let us know.

New Labour Steve Reed was asking questions in Parliament the other day about “business rate retention” by local authorities.

The argument goes that if councils can retain for themselves more of the rates paid by businesses, this will “incentivise” councils to help businesses grow. Councils will need to implement policies, in competition with each other, that will “attract business investors”.

This is a policy being developed right now by the Tories. But how would it “incentivise” councils?

The idea is old hat. Not only councils, but also Governments themselves around the world are encouraged to compete with each other for the favours of the monied classes and big corporations.

Advertisement are placed in appropriate journals aimed at councils and entire countries. These say, in essence, “Please invest here! Look! - we offer low wages, low or zero business taxes, precious little financial regulation, anti-union laws, no environmental rules. We are a corporate haven! Come and exploit our workforce!”

Cut to the chase - you can make more money for your shareholders if you invest here.

But this approach benefits big business very much more than it does small and medium businesses.

These kind of “incentivisations” - lauded by the Reeds and the Scullys - are much better exploited by big companies - who employ lobbyists, have access to corporate lawyers and planners etc, and who can squeeze the very maximum out of the arrangements - and squeeze out smaller firms.

Take the Sunday trading laws. They are to be abolished, so that Sunday will be like any other day for shopping. The beneficiaries will not be small and medium businesses.

On 6th July the Financial Times said, “George Osborne will offer to rip up the remaining restrictions on Sunday trading in Wednesday’s Budget in a move that will delight big retailers but antagonise corner shops…”.

We are in favour of supporting small and medium businesses. Their main enemy is not TUSC or democratic socialism, but big business!

If we ran Croydon or Sutton council, we would reduce their rates. We would involve them in the planning processes for the improvement of key retail areas so that Big Retail didn’t squeeze them out.

And a nationalised and democratically run banking sector could also (and would) help them by providing safe and accessible loans. In return we would expect them to be equally supportive of their employees.

The question of youth unemployment and youth services should have been the cause for some anger and offered the opportunity for Reed to campaign for solutions to match up to the scale of the issue. See "Youth Fight for Jobs".

Instead, in June, he merely asked the Cabinet Office,  “what steps is the minister taking to ensure that local authority-funded youth services are maintained at their current level”.

At their current level!!! - as though the current level was sufficient!

But then what else can we expect? Labour has swallowed the Tory arguments that we must “cut back”, we must “balance the books".

Floored by Reed's knock-out-blow question, the Tory Minister simply said that it is up councils to sort out this issue - by “promoting innovative delivery models for youth services”.

Wow.

Wednesday, 8 July 2015

SHOP STEWARDS CONFERENCE REPORT

On the day of the Tories' Budget and the major rail dispute, we publish the report of the NSSN Conference last weekend. You can watch the excellent main speakers on YouTube - HERE.

The NSSN website is HERE.

"This was the first NSSN conference since the Tories’ shock election victory and no delegate was left in any doubt as to the challenges we face.

But they also recognised there is no time for mourning. Activists spoke of the necessity of moving swiftly into action and displayed a confidence that a government, supported by just 24% of the population, could be defeated if the unions adopted a bold, radical and fighting agenda.

The morning session – Stop the Tory Union-Busters – was addressed by five union general secretaries or presidents, as well as leading activists from the floor.

The common thread between almost all speakers was that the left trade unions – those affiliated to the NSSN – have to make the running in the coming months.

Matt Wrack, general secretary of firefighters’ union FBU (the NSSN’s newest affiliate), said: “Imagine if the TUC leaders began to go out city by city and town by town making the case against austerity and the case for organising and then called for a general strike – then I think that could receive a huge echo.”

Civil servants union PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka paid tribute to the NSSN for being first on the scene whenever there is a dispute. The NSSN’s ability to mobilise was echoed by other speakers involved in disputes. Candy Udwin, sacked PCS National Gallery activist thanked the NSSN: “It is only because of your support that we are still fighting”.

Mark was adamant “we could stop austerity in its tracks” if the TUC united against our class enemies.

It was a message echoed by the bakers’ union’s Ronnie Draper, the RMT’s Peter Pinkney and the prison officers’ Steve Gillan. Ronnie went back to the tremendous Hovis dispute victory in 2013 that “only happened because you took part”.

Martin Powell-Davies, NUT national executive member, detailed the action taken this year by teachers, school students and community activists which has defeated the attempts to convert five Lewisham schools to academies.

Conference gave a rousing welcome to Marie and Christine from the Glasgow homelessness workers’ dispute who reported on the Labour city council’s attempts to organise a scab workforce to break their 15 week dispute.

They brought news of the success of the Dundee hospital porters’ strike, and the determination it had given them: “We’re not going back until we get what we came out for”.

The author of ‘Blacklisted – The Secret War between Big Business and Union Activists’, Dave Smith, was well received by conference as he was able to give a very serious subject the attention it deserved while making everyone laugh.

The loudest response of the morning was reserved for the RMT’s Jared Wood, speaking from the floor on the London Underground strikes planned for 8 and 9 July – a historic dispute with all four tube unions involved in closing down the complete network.

The NSSN has demonstrated for a number of years that it is a key component in the workers’ movement. It has supporters who hold key positions in many unions and who consistently call for support for all workers and for coordinated action.

This conference saw the NSSN beginning to take the next steps – putting itself centre stage and taking the movement forward if the official bodies fail to respond".

Wednesday, 24 June 2015

NSSN - NATIONAL SHOP STEWARDS NETWORK
CONFERENCE - SATURDAY - 4th JULY - LONDON

David Cameron calls the UK “the aspiration Nation”. It is. 
Where once we had rights to housing, healthcare, education, welfare, decent pay and pensions - now we can only aspire to them!
      - Mark Serwotka, PCS General Secretary.

The trade union movement - six and a half million strong & growing - is, on the industrial plane, working people’s most powerful weapon in the battle against austerity and the Tory pro-big business government.

The Tories know this - which is why they are preparing to further strengthen existing anti-trade union legislation (left untouched by New Labour during its 13 years in power).

We know it too, which is why TUSC’s sister organisation in the trade union movement - the National Shop Stewards Network - is building its own forces and influence.

The NSSN argues for democratic, fighting trade unions to defend jobs, wages and conditions - and to help inspire and organise those workers not currently in a union.

The 9th National Conference is on Saturday, 4th July. It is open not only to union activists, but also to all those seeking to fight back and organise solidarity and support for people in struggle - whether at work or in their communities.

This year the conference has another marvellous array of excellent speakers.

They include

MARK SERWOTKA, PCS General Secretary,

RONNIE DRAPER, BFAWU General Secretary,

MATT WRACK, FBU General Secretary,

STEVE GILLAN, POA General Secretary,

PETER PINKNEY, RMT President,

HELEN PATTISON, Youth Fight for Jobs campaign,

DAVE SMITH, anti-blacklisting campaigner, and

ISAI PRIYA, Tamil Solidarity trade union co-ordinator.

The conference is from 11am – 4.30pm.

The address is - Conway Hall, 25 Red Lion Sq, London, WC1R 4RL

More details can be found on the NSSN website HERE.

Monday, 22 June 2015

SOLIDARITY WITH LOCAL NUJ STRIKE!

We'd like to express our solidarity with our local NUJ members who are on strike to defend jobs and conditions. In Sutton, the picket line can be visited outside the entrance to Quadrant House.

The owners of our friendly "local" south London papers is an international media conglomerate!

We include below, what we said in June last year when a similar strike was underway.

"You might fondly imagine that both are community based papers, concerned for the people of Sutton & Croydon, holding the local powerful to account, and keen to expose local shenanigans in the Council and other places (we are not, of course, implying there are any).

However, both “Guardians” are owned by Newsquest Media Group. The third largest local paper producer in the UK, with 300 titles.

Newsquest itself was set up in 1995 when New York buy-out firm KKR spent £210 million of largely borrowed money to buy UK Reed Regional Newspapers, from Elsevier.

After selling various pieces of this publishing mini-empire and buying various pieces from other media groups, such as Pearsons (who own the Financial Times), the “refreshed” company was sold, in 1999, to Gannett Inc, for £920 million - suggesting a very a tidy profit.

KKR is Kohlberg, Kravis and Roberts. Before they set up their buy-out operation, they all worked for Bear Stearns in New York. That’s the firm that went bust early in 2008, helping precipitate the global financial meltdown.

Gannett Inc is the ultimate owner of the Guardian. Gannett’s fatuous byline (which most firms seem to want to have these days) is, - “Its all within reach.”

Its headquarters are in Virginia, USA. Amongst other things, the corporation owns 43 television stations. Its total assets are worth around 7 billion dollars.

The Sutton Guardian, The Croydon Guardian: as local as any other subsidiary of a global corporate behemoth!"

Sunday, 14 June 2015

ANTI-AUSTERITY DEMO - LONDON


SATURDAY, 20th JUNE, 
12 Noon 

BANK OF ENGLAND!


We have been out on the streets supporting this demo. 

We quickly produced 1,000 leaflets which were eagerly taken up by people in Croydon.

The main text of the leaflet is below. See the leaflet HERE.

"We support this national demo initiated by The People’s Assembly & supported by unions and other organisations.

With barely a quarter of the vote of the electorate, the Tory government has no mandate to impose further cuts in living standards, cuts in vital public services and benefits!

Labour failed to challenge the previous government. Their policies failed to win the votes of workers. Labour offered a pale imitation of Tory policies!

So we now have another pro-rich, pro-big business government!

Trade Unions must urgently take a strong lead to organise the fight back. With over 6 million members (and growing) they are a massive potential force!

Unless the Tories are stopped, we will face 5 more years of cuts in services, benefits, jobs and wages.

Labour now offers precious little for workers. TUSC, with other like-minded people, must therefore continue building a strong working class political voice."


Saturday, 30 May 2015


DATES FOR DIARIES FOR THE BATTLES TO COME!

The details for National Demo on the 20th of June can be found on The People's Assembly website. TUSC will be there in force - look out for our banners.

The NSSN Conference details can be found here




Friday, 22 May 2015

AFTER THE ELECTION!
TUSC LOCAL MEETING - 3rd JUNE, West Croydon, 7.30pm
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Venue: Croydon Voluntary Action Centre, London Road
Right out of West Croydon station & Centre is 200 metres on right
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

SPEAKERS -
Paula Mitchell - TUSC National Steering Committee
with
Glen Hart - TUSC Candidate Croydon North
April Ashley - TUSC Candidate Croydon Central
Pauline Gorman - TUSC Candidate Sutton & Cheam
-----------------------------------------------------------------------

The Tories didn’t win this election. New Labour lost it!

Labour leaders offered little of substance to distinguish Labour from the Tories and LibDems - offering no hope and no concrete programme for improving the lives of the vast majority.

And for their part, the majority of trade union leaders remained shamefully silent during this crucial election - offering no counter-arguments against the daily ravings of the right-wing media. Where were they?!

Their members must organise to elect leaders prepared to organise, inspire and fight back. TUSC supporters with other union activists will be in the forefront of that battle!

Many people are now openly talking about the final demise of New Labour. There can be little doubt that shifting further rightward would finish it off.

So the fight goes on! The Tories have no mandate to impose their pro-rich agenda. Of the total electorate they obtained less than 24%. Even of those who did vote, only one out of three people voted Tory! Hardly a ringing endorsement!

In Croydon, workers and young people can expect precious little from the New Labour council. It is so bereft of ideas that it has asked the Bishop of Croydon to lead a commission to come up with suggestions!

In Sutton and Cheam a tweedledee MP has been replaced by a tweedledum one. And Sutton residents are benighted by a council of faceless and self-important place-seekers. Not a socialist amongst them - yet!

So there is much to be done!

Locally and nationally TUSC supporters will be drawing up a balance sheet of the lessons from the elections. At the same time we will be planning for the fightback over the coming period.

In addition to being an opportunity to ask any basic questions you might have about TUSC, the meeting will consider key issues such as:
* What are the key lessons of the election?
* Why building TUSC is vital - in workplaces, local communities, union branches.
* Building TUSC, right here, right now, in Croydon and Sutton!

Hope to see you!