Wednesday, May 1, 2013

News & Action No 17 - May Day!

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
The next meeting of Welsh Labour Grassroots (WLG) will take place on Saturday, 18th May at the Ogmore Constituency Labour Party Social Club, Bryn Glas, Bryntirion, Bridgend CF31 4ES, 11.00 am – 1.00 pm. This has been changed from the original advertised date of 4th May, to avoid a clash with the Cardiff and Swansea May Day events (see below). The main discussion item will be the future of the health service in Wales. Julian Tudor Hart will talk about the importance of NHS Wales as the last bastion of a truly Bevanite healthcare model, and the threat of privatisation/marketisation, while Tony Beddow will cover the challenge of service reconfiguration. Julian’s concerns are set out in a recent essay on the IWA blog, which comrades are encouraged to read before the meeting.
Some other events coming up, in which you might be interested:
·        Cardiff, Wednesday 1st May: Cymru-Cuba open meeting to discuss the changing situation in Cuba and how we can help. 7.00 pm at the Cayo Arms, Cathedral Road.

·        Cardiff, Thursday, 2nd May: ‘Fighting the Cuts’:  a multimedia cabaret presented by Banner Theatre. 7.15 pm at the Best Western Plus - Maldron Hotel, St Mary Street. Free entry.

·        Cardiff, Saturday 4th May: Cardiff Trades Council May Day March & Rally – assemble 12.00 noon at the southern end of St Mary St, under railway bridge. Rally at 1.00pm at Temple of Peace. Speakers include: Matt Wrack (FBU), Chris Baugh (PCS), Andy Richards (Unite), Amarjite Singh (Wales TUC president).

·        Swansea, Saturday 4th May: Swansea Trades Council May Day rally – 12.00 noon in Castle Square. Speakers include: Geraint Davies MP and Bethan Jenkins AM.

·        Cardiff, Saturday 11th May: Socialist Educational Association open NEC meeting, 1.00pm at Cardiff Central Library. The NEC of the SEA meets around
the country, with all SEA members invited to listen to the debate, join in the discussion, meet NEC members and attend a social event afterwards (drinks, meal etc).

·        Swansea, Saturday 11th May: Socialist Health Association Cymru AGM, 10.00 am –

12.30 pm in Committee Room 3, Swansea Civic Centre, Oystermouth Road, Swansea. Guest speaker: Andrew Davies, former Welsh Government minister and now Chair of the Local Health Board serving Swansea, Neath, Port Talbot, and Bridgend.

·        Cardiff, Saturday 25 May: ‘Ground the Drones - From Wales to Gaza’, a dayschool on drone warfare and building the anti-drones movement in Wales, sponsored by  Cardiff Stop the War, Palestine Solidarity Campaign, CND Cymru etc. 1.00 – 5.00 pm in the Main Building, Cardiff University, Park Place. Speakers include: Rafeef Ziadah (Palestinian activist/War on Want) & Chris Cole (Drones Campaigns Network/Drone Wars UK blog).

·        London, Saturday 22nd June: People’s Assembly Against Austerity:
Left Commentary
Over the last few months, a number of events have reached ‘turning points’ which call for further reflection and discussion by WLG. In Wales budget decisions by the Welsh Government and local authorities have revealed where the reduced funding from the UK government will start to hit services, despite some excellent decisions – such as providing funding to prevent the Council Tax Benefit cuts being passed on to the poorest member of our communities – ‘wriggle-room’ for elected representatives is being increasingly curtailed. The UK Tory government’s benefit cuts, including the ‘Bedroom Tax’, have a direct impact on people in Wales and have started to hit people with a vengeance in April.
Within the Labour Party, the debate over the manifesto for the next general election is reaching a critical stage, close to where specific decisions will have to be made. No sooner had David Miliband departed for the US than Tony Blair returned to the fray, bringing key issues to the surface. Developments such as the death of Thatcher and the deepening of the economic crisis have, at the same time, resulted in renewed debate about neo-liberalism, austerity politics and the importance of developing a socialist alternative. One of the new reflections of this debate has been the emergence of the People’s Assembly Against Austerity and Left Unity.
We have previously referred to the Marxist analysis that Michael Roberts brings to the current economic crisis but he has been particularly acute and relevant over the last few weeks. Also, a comrade in Portugal has drawn attention to a YouTube video of a recent lecture Michael gave on the economic crisis and the Euro. This is lengthy but worth it and puts a voice and face to the diagrams!
Some of Michael Roberts’ recent blog entries cover:
·        how the economists Rogoff and Reinhart got their analysis wrong on the effect of public sector debt and growth (and how the debate has rumbled on);

·        further thoughts on the weaknesses of Keynes and his more radical supporters in getting to grips with the current crisis;

·        And, finally: a serious exposition of the damage caused by Thatcher’s economic policies.
Still on the Thatcher theme: two recent articles – one from John Pilger and the other from John McDonnell – put paid to any pretence that either her government or its successor today had any redeeming features.
The continuing economic and social crisis has stimulated a range of debates and commentaries. The Kilburn Manifesto, initiated by veteran left-wing thinkers, Stuart Hall, Doreen Massey and Michael Rustin, is one version of the attempts to start ‘dig below the surface’ and think long-term about the implications. Another is Newsnight economics editor, Paul Mason’s recent reflections on ‘why it is kicking off everywhere’ which reports on the ways in which some people are fighting back, while also exploring the context. The contrast between the two approaches is interesting.
Our next bulletin and blog will include a discussion of some of these developments.

Darren Williams – WLG Secretary
Len Arthur – WLG Assistant Secretary

No comments:

Post a Comment