Thursday, September 6, 2012

News & action No 4

The views expressed in this email and blog are those of the individuals whose name is attached to the posting. They do not represent a collective position of the WLG or the Labour Party.
Dear Comrade

This is the fourth of our (just about) weekly email and blogs and thanks for the comments on the first three. The blog is still in an experimental stage so bear with us if we have some technical problems or we have bored the pants off you. Don’t forget, if you have any information and you think it is the sort of thing that would fit the ethos of the blog and email, send it to us to circulate and post; if you wish to comment please feel free to do so on the blog; and if you are a WLG member, please submit posts.

Next Welsh Labour Grassroots meeting and other forthcoming events

The next WLG meeting will take place on Saturday 8th September at Newport Centre, Kingsway, Newport NP20 1UH, between 11.00 am and 1.00 pm. John Griffiths, AM for Newport East and Welsh Environment minister, will be talking to us about recent developments at the Assembly and the challenges facing Welsh Labour over the coming months. We will also have a discussion about our political priorities, ahead of our AGM. The latter will be taking place at the Welsh Institute of Sport, Sophia Gardens, Cardiff on Saturday, 27th October. Further details will follow soon.

Billy Bragg is bringing Woody Guthrie’s songs back to life at Treorchy’s Park & Dare Theatre on 12th September – 08000147111 to book.
On Friday 14th September, Llandaff Branch Labour Party will be holding a fundraising Barbeque at 6 Heol Harlech, Llandaff, Cardiff CF5 2HX from 7.00pm. Tickets are £5 a head - ring or email Greg Owens on 02920 567676 or to book your place.  There will be a bar and raffle.

On Thursday, 4th October, the PCS general secretary, Mark Serwotka, will be giving the S.O. Davies Memorial Lecture, organised by Merthyr Tydfil Trades Council, at 7.00 pm at Canolfan Soar, Pontmorlais, Merthyr Tydfil CF47 8UB (300 yards from bus and rail stations). There will also be refreshments, live music and a photographic display. Tickets are £2 from Margaret Davies, tel: 07989 791179.

Left Week – Len Arthur
Two bits of news seem to sum up how far and how quickly Britain has become a twisted and inhuman place under the Tories. First, the spectacle of the English education secretary being pleased that the average GCSE results are worse than last year, and now having to admit that pupils have been treated unfairly but not being prepared to do anything about it. Second, ATOS - the organisation that takes a profit from denying the disabled benefits - being a sponsor of the Paralympics; it was tremendous to see Disabled People Against the Cuts (DPAC) exposing this travesty by demonstrating in Cardiff and London. Red Pepper has an excellent article countering the main myths about welfare peddled by the likes of the Daily Mail.
Then the week ended with the attack on London Metropolitan University, which will be the start of attacks on other universities not suited to the rich, through the twisted avenue of appearing to do something about immigration. Please support the university and sign the petition here.

Left Roundup
Two useful conference videos became available this week. There is a lot to look at but they can be speeded up. It makes a change from acres of text. The first is from the European Left conference in Brussels in May and the second is this year’s Marxism conference. A comrade from Portugal has also referred me to this excellent site based, I think, in Cataluña with a collection of videos and photos documenting the aftermath of the crisis.

Left Unity has been the subject of some discussion since David Hind did a piece for Al Jazeera which led to this reply by Richard Seymour aka ‘Lenin’s Tomb’. Quite a number of socialists in Wales have raised these issues, so perhaps it would form a good basis for our discussion piece next week?
Michael Roberts continues to produce sound left analysis on the economy and recently has critiqued the weakness of qualitative easing (printing money) as the main policy of the US, UK and EU.

Left Eye? - Private Eye can be questionable but remains an excellent source of information if you care to dig past the remnants of public school humour. Their articles are not available on the internet but in the latest edition they include:
-      Contrasting Osborne’s writing off £550m of revenue by scrapping the planned rise in road-fuel duty with the Tories’ rail fare rise of RPI+3%.

-      HSBC funnelled $8.9bn dollars into Bernie Madoff’s Ponzi scheme without proper checks and balances.

-      Evidence from the Care Quality Commission reports that demonstrate that private-equity companies are the worst offenders in running poor care homes.

-      Asil Nadir will now spend some considerable time at HM pleasure following his conviction for theft of millions from investors. Recently, the Tory Party promised that, if he was convicted, they would pay back the £440,000 he gave them between 1985 and 1990. Of course, they are now refusing to do so.
Finally, further evidence that we should be very careful of the BBC’s reporting on Israel, which is trying to ignore the existence of Palestinians, as can be seen from the way this interview with Ken Loach was edited. I remember Edward Said making the same point when he spoke in Cardiff some 15 years ago – the most effective way of challenging resistance is to deny it exists.

Labour Party
Here is the UK Labour Party website with all the recent Party statements and a special one on recruiting new members.

Here are two links with draft left motions for the 2012 national conference - here from LRC and here from Left Futures. If any of you are successful in getting these through your branch or constituency please could you let us know so we can report on progress through this email and the blog.

Here is the Welsh Labour website, which still needs keeping up to date; all constituencies have recently had a circular from Carl Sargeant about the importance of the Police Commissioners elections. We are all urged to Contact Welsh Labour on or by contacting our local constituency party secretary to find out how we can help.

20 October must be in every member’s diary to get themselves, family, friends, brothers, sisters, comrades up to London for the TUC ‘A Future That Works’ demonstration. Everyone who wishes to see an end to this Tory government should attend and False Economy have details of transport here. Here also is a link to the Coalition of Resistance leaflets and posters supporting the demonstration.

All the best
Darren Williams WLG Secretary

Len Arthur WLG Assistant Secretary

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