Coventry wins City of Culture 2021 – celebrate working class culture and fight for decent funding  

Coventry wins City of Culture 2021 – celebrate working class culture and fight for decent funding  

Thursday evening brought news that Coventry has been named the City of Culture 2021.

Coventry Socialist Party welcomes the city’s victory and shares with many the hope that this will bring a much needed boost to the city following year after year of austerity cuts.

We believe it is a great chance to celebrate Coventry’s rich history of working class culture and struggle. From the English Civil War to the Poll Tax, Coventry has been a stronghold of resistance. The phrase “sent to Coventry” comes from the treatment Royalist army prisoner got when imprisoned in Coventry, a stronghold of the Parliamentarian forces – who hoisted their banner on what is now Banner Lane and marched down Cromwell Lane to smash the Royalists!
During both World Wars, women workers in Coventry organised in trade unions to fight for better pay and conditions. Fighting workers also ensured decent jobs in Coventry’s factories, making this the richest working class city in the country.
In the 1980s thousands of Coventry people refused to pay the Poll Tax, which was part of the movement that brought down Thatcher. They also elected Dave Nellist, a “Militant” Labour MP, who said in response to the announcement “Hopefully, at least 50% of events can be designed, developed and grown within the city itself.”

Coventry will be receiving increased funding after this announcement – the council should work out a plan for how this can be used to reopen libraries and other facilities that have closed, closures that limit access to culture and opportunities for Coventry people.

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Trump retweets Britain First videos – time to fightback against racism and capitalism!

Trump retweets Britain First videos – time to fightback against racism and capitalism!

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Trump and Jayda Fransen

Donald Trump, the President of the United States of America, has once again hit the headlines for his Twitter activities. On this occasion he has sent the tiny far right grouping Britain First in to raptures by retweeting videos posted by their deputy leader Jayda Fransen. Not surprisingly this has been warmly welcomed by Britain First, who despite having a large social media following struggle to get more than a few dozen people to their ‘national mobilisations’.

Prime Minister Theresa May has said that Trump was wrong to retweet Britain First saying “hateful narratives which peddle lies and stoke tensions”. However no one will forget Theresa May gladly holding hands with Trump, nor the role the Tories and right wing Labour MPs have played in helping to create an atmosphere where the far right can potentially grow.

It is rumoured that Trump will visit the UK some time in 2018. The Socialist Party look forward to being part of the mass movement that will great him in opposition to his agenda that seeks to divide working class people away from the real problem in society, that is the capitalist system that breeds war, racism and poverty in the UK, US and across the world.

Join us to help build a mass socialist movement that will consign Trump, Britain First and their system to the dustbin of history!

DWP to outsource more core work to Capita

DWP to outsource more core work to Capita

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We have received the following article from a Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS) member in Coventry.

“The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) announced on Wednesday 16th November that telephony work for new claims to Income Support and Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) along with general enquiries for Jobseekers Allowance (JSA), would be outsourced to Capita.

This is not the first instance of outsourcing vital DWP work to a private company. JSA claims were handed to Capita in 2012, a move that resulted in a failure to meet targets on processing claims. DWP staff even had to go to Capita to clear the backlog!

The decision to outsource ESA new claims to Capita will be disastrous. A huge proportion of ESA claimants suffer with mental health issues and are therefore more vulnerable. If Capita performs as well as it did with JSA claims, then this is likely to have a severe impact on the wellbeing of those who most need support.

This is already beginning to affect the morale of DWP staff too – with many workers fearing either the prospect of losing their jobs, or the stress of a complete change in the roles in which they have been trained in. There is also the issue of staff feeling like they are ‘worthless’, ‘undervalued’ and not doing an important enough job.

For staff in Poole Contact Centre, this truly is a ‘slap in the face’ – along with the planned closure of the office in February 2018, the DWP will also contract out the Income Support work they do!

The PCS union which represents DWP staff has consistently opposed the privatisation of their work, and campaigns for it to be brought back in-house – the way our public services are meant to be operated!”

The Socialist Party echoes this, and we also call for:

• An end to all privatisation of public services – run them for people, not profit!

• No more benefit cuts or sanctions! For the right to a decent living, and support for those who need it!

• An end to austerity! For a £10 an hour minimum wage now and the scrapping of zero-hours contracts!

Michael Fallon resigns! Time to get the Tories out

Michael Fallon resigns! Time to get the Tories out

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Michael Fallon has resigned – picture from Huffington Post

News has broken this evening that Tory Defence Secretary Michael Fallon has resigned stating that his conduct had ‘fallen short’ of what is expected.

His resignation illustrates once again how weak and fragile the Tory government is – not the ‘strong and stable’ that was promised by Theresa May. The Tories are split over Brexit and are currently relying on the DUP to stay in government. But the Tories won’t just go of their own accord, they need to be forced out.

We need to get them out as soon as possible and campaign for a Corbyn-led Labour government to power on bold socialist policies to fight austerity and capitalism.

A great opportunity to come together and discuss the current situation and what action, programme and policies we need to fight for to get rid of the Tories will come on on 11/12 November at Socialism 2017, a weekend of discussion and debate organised by the Socialist Party. Get your ticket and make sure you are there!

Socialism 2017 – an appeal from Dave Nellist

Socialism 2017 – an appeal from Dave Nellist

Socialism 2017

In 10 days’ time, on the weekend of November 11/12, over a thousand socialists, young people and trade unionists will gather in London at Socialism 2017.

It will be, quite simply, the best two days’ discussion and debate on issues from Catalonia to fighting Donald Trump, from ending low pay to fighting racism.  And in each session and rally there will be leading participants in the struggles that are taking place.

For example, what’s going on in Catalonia? What do socialists think about it all? Juan Ignacio Ramos, General Secretary of Izquierda Revolucionaria (the Socialist Party’s sister organisation in Spain) and Coral Latorre, General Secretary of the Student Union in Catalonia, will be among our keynote speakers.  There will hardly be a better way of getting an up-to-date socialist view of why we believe fighting for an independent socialist Catalan republic, which defends the aspirations of the majority, is part of the fight to change society along socialist lines.

And as well as speakers from Spain we will have internationalists from elsewhere, including leading elected socialists from Ireland and the USA, including Kshama Sawant from Socialist Alternative in Seattle and Paul Murphy from Dublin.

Or take the greatest event in 20th century history when, 100 years ago next week, workers in Russia took power out of the hands of the bosses and the bankers and their political representatives. Today that group of people is rapidly sending our living standards through the floor not to mention warmongering and destroying the environment! So what can we learn from the 1917 Russian Revolution for today? How did Stalinism arise? Would future socialist change inevitably follow the same path?

One issue perhaps above all others will unite the 1000 people at Socialism 2017 – we can’t wait until 2022 for a general election, we need Jeremy Corbyn’s policies now! So how can we best fight for free education, major housebuilding and rent controls, and secure jobs on a £10/hr minimum wage? How we do that will be a central theme of Socialism 2017 where speakers on the struggles of today will include Ian Mearns, leading Corbyn supporting Labour MP; Howard Beckett, Unite assistant general secretary involved in Birmingham bins dispute; Sean Hoyle, RMT president, and Chris Baugh PCS assistant general secretary.

The weekend will have around 40 workshops and forums which will be introduced by a speaker or a panel but each one will include time for everyone to participate, asking questions or making comments – if they wish.  There’s bound to be several that will interest you – the full programme is here.

So why not join a thousand of us in London that weekend or for the Saturday or Sunday?  Whether it’s to learn, to ask questions, to be inspired or to feel the solidarity of knowing your wish for a socialist world is widely shared – you’ll get something special out of Socialism 2017. I hope you can be there with us.

If you would like more information about the event, including travel details, tickets etc get in touch by filling in the form below. If you book now you get 10 per cent off the ticket price! 

Yours in solidarity
Dave Nellist

Public meeting to celebrate 100th Anniversary of the Russian Revolution

Public meeting to celebrate 100th Anniversary of the Russian Revolution

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Coventry Socialist Party are holding a special public meeting on Wednesday 25th October at 7.30pm, to commemorate the 100th Anniversary of the Russian Revolution.

We are very pleased to announce that our main speaker will be former Labour MP Dave Nellist.

The Russian Revolution was the greatest event in human history – it saw the overthrow of Tsarism and the abolition of capitalism with the workers taking power led by the Bolsheviks.

With capitalism currently in a deep crisis and socialism increasingly on the agenda in Britain and around the world we will be looking back at what happened in 1917 and what the lessons are for today’s struggles. This will be an excellent meeting not to be missed!

Wednesday 25th October
Methodist Hall, Coventry, CV1 2HA
Main speaker – Dave Nellist
7.30pm

We have created a dedicated website with articles, background information, timelines and analysis – click here to check it out!

We look forward to seeing you on Wednesday!

Successful ‘Who’s Watching Whom’ conference discusses the fight for justice

Successful ‘Who’s Watching Whom’ conference discusses the fight for justice

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The conference showing solidarity with the Communication Workers Union

By John Smith, PCS trade union rep (the videos of Ricky, Helen, Dave and Chris appear after the report below)

A successful conference was held in Coventry on Saturday entitled ‘Who’s Watching Whom – justice, trade union and democratic rights’. Organised by Coventry TUC and Unite Tom Mann branch, the event drew 115 people through the day.

Many people involved in different unions and campaign groups attended and were able to share their experiences and put forward some concrete points about how this can be fought against across the trade union movement. Some of the unions and campaign groups that also held stalls at the event to raise awareness and solidarity were the Communication Workers Union, Keep Our NHS Public, National Shop Stewards Network, British Pensioners Trade Union Action Association and the campaign against cuts to severely disabled childrens transport.

Ricky Tomlinson (known by millions for his role as Jim Royle in the BBC hit ‘The Royle Family’) was one of the main speakers – describing his victimisation for trade union activism which saw him receive a jail sentence! He gave a very passionate speech which received a standing ovation from the entire room.

Alongside Ricky there was also Dave Smith, author of the book ‘Blacklisted’, who spoke about the blacklisting of trade unionists in the construction industry, and Helen Steel, who spoke about her experience of abuse by an undercover policeman who went so far as to get into a relationship with her before suddenly disappearing – all part of a spying operation targeting political groups and activists.

Chris Baugh, assistant general secretary of the PCS civil servants union spoke about the surveillance of unions by the state and the attempts to sabotage them – and also highlighted the need for action against the public sector pay cap.

There were also examples given of the attempts by the state to also actively work to undermine unions – such as what happened with the CPSA (predecessor of the PCS union) in the 1980s following the election of John Macreadie as general secretary, who was a supporter of the Marxists grouped around the Militant newspaper (forerunner of the Socialist Party).

From the contributions from the speakers and also from people who attended, it was clear that undercover surveillance of unionists and political activists has taken place – contrary to the myth that “it couldn’t happen in Britain”! Indeed, we reported in 2016 the activities of one ‘Carlo Neri’, who the state had placed at tax payers expense in the Socialist Party.

The event was illuminating and inspiring for all who attended. It also helped remind us what we are up against in trying to build fighting, democratic trade unions and ultimately getting rid of capitalism. However the speakers were not pessimistic, on the contrary, all who attended left the conference fired up and with a greater understanding of how the state works and the lengths it will go to. One of the key messages was to ‘keep campaigning’, as the system can be defeated by a mass movement armed with a socialist programme to change society.

We encourage all our readers to check out the videos of the speakers below!