Wednesday, September 26, 2012

News and Action No 6

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 Comrades

As usual, we’ve tried to pull together some interesting sources for this email and blog, which you can access at any time using the web here. The discussion piece this week is more of a strong argument for all socialists to prioritise getting as many people as possible to the TUC’s national demonstration in London on 20 October. 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.

WLG AGM and other forthcoming events
The WLG annual conference and AGM will be taking place at the Welsh Institute of Sport, Sophia Gardens, Cardiff on Saturday, 27th October. The theme will be ‘Austerity and Public Services’ and the speakers will include Mark Drakeford AM. There will be a roundtable discussion about the challenges facing Labour councillors, which will include Cllrs. Siobhan Corria (Cardiff), Gareth Phillips (Bridgend), Jessica Powell (Torfaen) and Mark Whitcutt (Newport). At 2.00 p.m., we will be having a joint session with the Socialist Educational Association, addressed by Cllr. Julia Magill, Cardiff Council cabinet member for education. Please send any motions for debate to by 12.00 noon on Friday, 19th October and also any nominations (including self-nominations) for election to the steering committee (chair, vice-chair, secretary, assistant secretary, treasurer, & nine ordinary members) or as one of our two auditors. Some of us will be going for a drink and a meal after the meeting – all comrades are welcome to come along.

The final WLG meeting of the year will take place on Saturday, 1st December in County Hall, Swansea and our guest speaker will be Mark Seddon, former Labour NEC member and editor of Tribune.
Other events:

On Thursday 27 September, Wales Progressive Co-operators will be holding a pre-meeting for a proposed Co-operative Care Development Forum between 1.00 and 4.00 pm at Cartrefi Cymru 5 Coopers Yard, Curran Road, Cardiff CF10 5NB. Contact David Smith on 01633  266781 for details.

On Thursday, 4th October, the PCS general secretary, Mark Serwotka, will be speaking at two public meetings. Please note that the first of these two meetings has had to be postponed. The first has been organised by PCS and will take place in the Temple of Peace Edward VII Avenue, Cathays Park, Cardiff between 12.30 pm and 1.30 pm (free entry – all welcome). In the evening, Mark 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.

On Monday, 8th October there will be a UNA/Amnesty International public meeting: Yolanda Foster (Amnesty South Asia Desk) on Human Rights in Sri Lanka’. 7.00pm, Temple of Peace, Edward VII Avenue, Cathays Park, Cardiff. Free entry – all welcome.

On Thursday, 11th October, the World Development Movement Cardiff group will be presenting  a free showing of the film, The Yes Men Fix the World, about two political activists/pranksters who lie their way into big business conferences by posing as corporate executives. 7.30pm at The Gate, Keppoch Street, Roath, Cardiff CF24 3JW (meet in the CafĂ© Bar from 7.00pm).

On Tuesday,16th October, CND Cymru will be holding an anti-Trident demo on the steps of the Senedd, Cardiff Bay from 12.00 noon with speakers including Mark Drakeford AM.
London Saturday 20th 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 has details of transport from Wales here. Here is a link to the Coalition of Resistance leaflets with posters supporting the demonstration and the TUC has also produced a number of statements from people about why they are marching.

This resolution supporting the march was passed at the Pontypridd SW branch meeting last week and other branches may wish to take it up:
Pontypridd SW Labour Party branch fully supports the aims and objectives of the 20 October London TUC march for ‘A Future That Works’. The march provides an opportunity to oppose the attacks on the working class being pursued by the Tory government and to show our support for alternative policies that would ensure that we do not pay for the bankers’ crisis. The branch will communicate with every member providing them with information about the purpose of the march, together with details of transport and urge them to attend along with all their families and friends.
Further, the branch will place the same motion to the Pontypridd CLP for the meeting on Friday 21 September, committing the constituency to provide the same information and call to all members, together with an instruction to all other PCLP branches to support the call and work to do all they can to ensure that members, friends and families support the march.

As a follow up to the march the branch will keep in contact with the TUC and other bodies that are coordinating an on-going campaign against the policies of this Tory government so as to ensure, as far as possible, that local Labour Party members can support and have every opportunity for joining in these campaigns.’

Left Week – Len Arthur
Owen Jones in his book Chavs traces the background to the demonization of the working class, rooting it in Thatcherism, the defeat of the trade unions and increased inequality. During the last week we have witnessed how deep this view is amongst the rich of the world. Usually, they keep their class hatred and their belief in continued class war under wraps, so they can dismiss it all as the ‘politics of envy’, but clearly they are feeling the heat and letting their guard slip. Tory Chief Whip Andrew Mitchell revealed what he thought of public sector workers in his much publicised outburst, using language that would have attracted an arrest in another situation. In the US, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney let slip that the 47% (actually nearer 46%) who do not pay Federal taxes – but of course pay many other kinds of taxes – were not worthy of his representation. Then of course Michael Gove, secretary of state for education in England announced, in official language, an exam system that is aimed at raising the barrier against working class children leaving school with qualifications. I’m sure the term sorting the ‘wheat from the chaff’ is used in the bar of the Tory clubs. Being challenged by Leighton Andrews, our Welsh Government education minister over the downgrading of this years’ GCSE results, has rattled his cage and class fury!
The Stop the War Coalition has produced an email newsletter, most of which can be accessed on their website, dealing with the appalling level of troop deaths. Three British soldiers were killed last week and the current rate of US troop deaths is running at one a day. It points out the futility of the war in Afghanistan and argues there should be a complete withdrawal of troops by the end of this year. It goes on to support Paul Flynn, who accused the Tory minister of lying in the Commons and was promptly thrown out for a week. Also included are details of demonstrations around the UK and a petition that we can all sign now.
A trade union weekly news update is produced by the union Unite with lots of useful links; worth keeping an eye on.
Left Roundup
Michael Roberts maintains a superb socialist and Marxist commentary on what is happening in the global economy. Here he openly and, to an extent speculatively, looks at whether capitalism is facing a breakdown that it will be very difficult to recover from. And here, he critically evaluates Ed Miliband’s case for a ‘responsible capitalism’. For a more specific perspective on the increasingly dominant power of US corporations and how they contribute to the economic crisis, here is an article by US socialist Jack Rasmus. Incidentally, this last article is from what is essentially a socialist international cooperative social networking site called Z Communications which you may like to join and support.
The Hope not Hate campaign against the fascists and racists in the UK has produced an analysis of what is now happening with the extreme right and here are the details of the Unite Against Fascism website. The extreme right may seem to be in some disarray, but it is important to remember just how deep their arguments can sit within peoples’ consciousness, regularly given succour by the right wing press such as the Daily Mail. Both at a personal and an organised level it is critical for us as socialists to challenge their dangerous, divisive and inhuman politics.
Left Futures provides an analysis of how many people the Atos ‘assessment’ process could be seen to have been killed by the application of their systems. The information provides a good source of evidence to counter the ‘scrounger’ myths and the need to continue to campaign to support disabled people.
Eoin Clarke on his Green Benches blog, has been digging around in the data again and produced evidence of top Tory donors who have interests that will benefit from the outsourcing and privatisation now taking place in the NHS.
Labour Party
The UK Labour Party website is here. You may have read in the press that Ed Miliband suggested that the next Labour Government should adopt the aim to have a decarbonised power supply in the UK by 2030. It was not a speech but an article written for the Green Alliance which I’ve tracked down here. The suggestion has been well received but, like all these targets, how to we get it to stick and is it sufficient, given the current rate of climate change?
UK Labour policy debates are now reaching a critical pre-conference stage.  Left Futures blog has identified some mixed messages with policy documents coming too late for member consideration and comment, yet it may be possible to detect some radical thinking about Trident. Sometimes these arguments about internal Party democracy and policy can seem like navel gazing, but they are vitally important and should be taken very seriously indeed, if we are to be able to campaign for socialist policies at the next general election.
The Welsh Labour website is here. For us in Wales at the moment there is the question of campaigning and voting in the police commission elections. It is very difficult to drum up enthusiasm for a policy that first surfaced as a UKIP one in 2005! However, the power that these people will hold will be extensive and largely beyond the weak democratic control that currently exists. A low turnout could deliver this power to some very right-wing candidates: a frightening prospect. Should we on the left take these elections more seriously?
Finally, taking forward some of the points made in our discussion about WLG principles and priorities that we started in the last email and blog, Owen Jones wrote in the Independent this week, what can best be described as an appeal to Labour councillors during the next budget round to join the active fightback against this Tory government.

All the best
Darren Williams WLG Secretary

Len Arthur WLG Assistant Secretary

No comments:

Post a Comment