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.
The Tory government quickly put the season of cheer and goodwill out of the way, as they pushed through their Welfare Uprating Bill this week, adding misery to people on low incomes across the UK. Owen Jones does an excellent job on these sniggering millionaire creeps in the Independent and also points out that, whilst Labour voted against, there was opposition to this position in the PLP. Seumas Milne also argues the case for addressing wage inequality, as well as opposing the welfare cuts, in the Guardian. As socialists, we should be absolutely clear that we represent the working class – people whose survival depends on selling their labour, having nothing else of significance to fall back on; about 80% of the population – and not get involved in nasty and hurtful semantics of ‘strivers’ and ‘scroungers’. If Labour was clear about the class it represents, it would in no way be supporting pay freezes and would be arguing to ensure that the rich who caused the crisis should be the only ones to pay for it. Let us be clear: the Tories and the Liberals are declaring class war on us.
In our own way, as WLG we have been talking and thinking through how to relate to these attacks and, in particular, how to respond to the political and economic consequences in Wales. We raised the fightback at the Welsh Labour policy forum on the 8 December and we have prepared a model motion for the March 2013 Welsh Labour conference which has to be taken to branch and constituency meetings in January: the motion is on our blog and can be accessed here. The intention is for the motion to be used to launch debates in branches and constituencies around Wales. Please keep us informed about the debates and whether you were able to win support.
Our next WLG meeting will be a day school on ‘Councils & the Cuts’, which will take place at the Welsh Institute of Sport, Cardiff on Saturday, 26th January (11.00 am - 4.00 pm). The event will consider how Labour councillors can defend their communities from austerity and start to develop new forms of municipal socialism and participatory democracy. Among the speakers will be the eminent socialist writer and activist, Hilary Wainwright. Hilary has recently written an important article on the transformation of state power, which draws on her own experience with the GLC as well as the examples of the Brazilian Workers’ Pary and Syriza in Greece. Welsh Labour Councillors - and all WLG members and supporters – are strongly encouraged to attend.
UAF have called a solidarity demonstration supporting those resisting the Greek fascist party New Dawn at the Greek Embassy in London on Saturday 19 January 2013. Send an email to Secretary Uafwales if you wish to book a seat (£10 return) on the coach transport from Cardiff.
The Pontypridd branch of the Cooperative Party is holding a public meeting on Thursday, 24 January 2013 at 19.00 in the GMB Offices, Morgan St, Pontypridd on the housing and rent crisis in Wales and possible answers. Speakers will be Huw Lewis AM Minister for Housing; Steve Clarke Welsh Tenants; Erika Hands CAB RCT; and Owen Smith MP Shadow Secretary of State for Wales.
Break the Blockade! - A Day & Night of Music, Art & Spoken Word in Support of Freedom for Palestine - will be taking place on January 27th at 5:00pm in the Gwdihŵ Café Bar, 6 Guildford Crescent, Cardiff CF10 2HJ.
The Welsh Labour Annual Women’s Conference will be taking place on Saturday 2 February 2013 – location to be confirmed.
Stop the War international conference in London Saturday 9 February 2013: Confronting War Ten Years On. Speakers include: Tariq Ali, Tony Benn, Victoria Brittain, Jeremy Corbyn, Brian Eno, Lindsey German, Kate Hudson, Owen Jones, Seumas Milne, Salma Yaqoob. details: http://www.tenyearson.org.uk/ .
Michael Roberts, the socialist economist, is as ever excellent, and has posted on his blog recently about the fiscal cliff issues in the US and has a prognosis for 2013 and, more recently, one on the Basel agreement how the banks are not paying for the crisis. They all make a thought provoking read.
From ZCommunications there are two insightful blogs from the US, one gives a blow by blow account of how the ‘fiscal cliff’ deal will hit US workers, and the other provides an insight into how slavery was re-introduced back into the US after the Civil War through the the use of black convicts, and how these chain gangs are now returning in some states.
The latest edition of Red Pepper has some excellent articles covering the neglected and sidelined issues surrounding migration. Here is the editorial, which argues for collective action with migrants over workplace and community issues, as a way of combating racist and divisive ideas. The printed version also includes a ‘myth buster’ in relation to migration, so look out for it being posted on their website.
Sometimes time is not wasted on keeping an eye on Twitter! Here is a fascinating Egyptian article (in English) about the role the town Alexandria plays in the country’s ideological battles. And, if you like to appreciate excellent socialist films, here is a link to the one about the life of Rosa Luxemburg in the original German with subtitles.
The UK Labour Party website is here.
The Welsh Labour website is here.
A number of Labour Party issues and meetings have been covered above but please look at our blog posting of a report from our WLG members who were elected to the National Policy Forum. Over the next weeks it is intended to provide a report on the Welsh Policy Forum that took place just before the holiday, and to assess where Welsh Labour is following the WLG conference for councillors on the 26 January.
All the best
Len Arthur WLG Assistant SecretaryDarren Williams WLG Secretary