Lobby the Council Cabinet on Tuesday!

Lobby the Council Cabinet on Tuesday!

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City of Culture – or City of Cuts?

Coventry City Council’s Cabinet will meet on Tuesday 30th August to approve the beginning of the consultation that will see further cuts and closures to the tune of £4 million to libraries, the youth service and children’s centres.

Under the programme called “Connecting Communities” the plans from the Labour Council will further reduce vital public services in our city hitting ordinary people the hardest. Read this report for what we think the Council should be doing instead of passing on the Tory cuts to the people of Coventry.

The campaign group Save Coventry Libraries have called a lobby of the Cabinet meeting. The lobby will begin at 1pm, outside the Council House, Earl Street.

Packed meeting discusses Trotskyism, Corbyn and socialist change

Packed meeting discusses Trotskyism, Corbyn and socialist change

Militant

It was “standing room only” at a packed Coventry Socialist Party public meeting on Thursday 25th August.

People came from all over Coventry to hear Socialist Party General Secretary Peter Taaffe speak on “Trotskyism, the Militant tendency,  the Corbyn insurgency and the struggle for socialist change.

Introducing the meeting former Coventry  Labour MP Dave Nellist put the current attacks on the Socialist Party, formerly Militant, in their historial context.

Peter Taaffe outlined the role of Trotskyism in the 21st century, the role of Militant and its successes in Liverpool and Coventry, how Militant led the campaign against the poll tax which brought down the Thatcher Government, while also discussing the current Corbyn insurgency and the Socialist Party’s role now and in the future.

Peter discussed the role of the Militant leadership in Liverpool City Council in the 1980’s who refused to make cuts, redundancies and closures, instead setting a needs budget with the support of a mass movement of local trade unions and communities against the Tories to fight for the money the city needed. The  council won, with the Thatcher Government providing millions more to Liverpool council, allowing them to build 5000 more houses and created thousands of jobs, with not one job lost!

Compare the fighting stand taken by Liverpool Council who took on Thatcher, building homes and community facilities with Coventry City Council who are closing libraries, public toilets and children’s centres. Quite a contrast!

On the issue of the Poll Tax Peter outlined how it was the Militant that mobilised the mass non-payment which eventually led to the downfall of Thatcher.

Both Dave Nellist in his introduction and Peter in his speech made clear that it was these huge victories of the working class, aided by the leadership of the Militant, that have fuelled the attempts of the establishment and right wing of Labour to whitewash history and attempt to discredit Trotskyism and the history of the Socialist Party.

He also discussed the success of Dave Nellist and the precedent he set as Coventry MP in only taking the average wage of skilled workers within his constituency, with Peter highlighting that you can only represent working people if you’re going through the same struggles they are, which came up within the contributions with many commending him for doing so.

Talking about the role of the Socialist Party after being expelled from the Labour Party, Peter set out how we have been the only 100% anti austerity alternative within politics. While many would agree that the election of Corbyn was a massive victory for the labour movement, this is undermined when the likes of Sadiq Khan aren’t helping those being evicted in Walthamstow by rip off landlords and it is the Socialist Party that is organising occupations and protests to help these people.

However, Peter argued that the Socialist Party would welcome affiliation to the Labour Party similar to that of the Co-operative Party, if the Labour Party was to open up its structures to a more democratic and federal structure and was to become a truly anti-austerity party as Corbyn and the Socialist Party both want.

Following Peter’s remarks there were many interesting contributions from the floor, from Labour voters arguing for deselection of right-wing MP’s and their disgust at Labour councillors passing on Tory cuts to working people. With another attendee stating that “if [he] hadn’t have joined [the SP] last week, [he] definitely would have tonight!”

The discussion brought forward many good contributions and questions for example the campaign for a £10/hr minimum wage and whether this was “idealistic”, to which Peter argued that in reality tax credits are used to subsidize big companies who, whilst making massive profits, say they can’t afford a proper wage for their workers.

The key question for socialists is the question of the system itself, capitalism. We are a very rich country (and world), the problem is the wealth is concentrated at the top. We support all reforms and campaigns that fight for greater equality and for a better life for working class people. At the same time, we point out that we need to get rid of the capitalist system and replace it with socialism.

As well as this there was resounding support for the demand that Coventry City Council should set a no cuts budget and stop the cuts being passed on to working people, and instead building a movement much like the Liverpool council and taking on the Tories instead of doing their job for them, with this tying in to how to further build the movement against austerity.

The meeting highlighted that the attacks on Trotskyism and the Militant have not deterred people, but have increased the interest in our ideas and organisation with the meeting filled with many young people and also people of all ages. They were not put off by the term ‘Trot’ or ‘entryist’ and instead wanted to learn more about it. One union rep from the railways commented afterwards “I have learnt so much today and am definitely looking forward to Socialism 2016 in November!”

Owen Jones is wrong to oppose mandatory reselection

Owen Jones is wrong to oppose mandatory reselection

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Owen Jones

Owen Jones has released a new video where he gives his latest thoughts on the Labour leadership election contest between Jeremy Corbyn and Owen Smith.

Jones has caused considerable controversy in recent weeks with his less than full support for Jeremy Corbyn and is willingness to seek a compromise with the Blairite wing of the Party.

Unfortunately his latest video lives up to his recent form, whilst offering no way forward in the fight for a democratic and socialist Labour Party.

The right wing of the Labour Party, working hand in glove with the establishment media and behind it the capitalist class, is using every trick in the book to try and discredit Corbyn and the movement around him. They are doing this because they fear, quite rightly as it happens, that their domination is being threatened, that their pro neo-liberal (i.e. pro capitalist) orthodoxy is being threatened by the hundreds of thousands, if not millions who are being enthused by the Corbyn campaign.

The very latest attack has come today from Richard Branson in #traingate and whether Corbyn sitting in the gangway of a train was a stunt or not. As many have pointed out, Branson has a material interest in ensuring that Corbyn loses the leadership election – he fears that the renationalisation of the railways and healthcare threatens his enormous wealth and profit. This is just a small example of what Corbyn and any movement that threatens the establishment will face.

We have a situation where Labour MPs have consistently worked to undermine the elected leader, from the staged resignations from the Shadow Cabinet in the wake of Brexit to the heckling in Parliament whilst Corbyn was attacking the Tories. As an aside Jones states that Labour is doing badly in the polls – has he considered that Labour may be down in the polls due to the possible appearance of ‘chaos’ causes by the right wing sabotage of Corbyn’s leadership?

It is truly astounding that in the current context Jones opposes the mandatory reselection of MPs. This should be a basic democratic process in any working class organisation – its representatives should truly represent the views of the membership and be able to be held to account. Significantly UNITE, the largest union in the country voted at is recent conference to support reselection.

Furthermore Jones suggests that there needs to compromise with deputy leader Tom Watson who has been actively opposing Corbyn and leading a McCarthyite Red Scare campaign against current and former members of the Labour Party. Occasionally Jones acknowledges the fact that there is a civil war taking place in the Labour Party, so what is his advice? Bring these enemies of Corbyn back in to the fold! The likes of Watson and the many MPs who support Owen Smith are firmly committed to keeping Labour safe for the establishment, i.e. committed to trying to keep out any progressive, socialist policies and getting rid of Jeremy.  That Jones wants to compromise with these people is a strategy for not ending the civil war, but losing the fight for the direction of the Labour Party.

Jones raises what he thinks are suitable economic policies and slogans. He states that Labour needs to be ‘The party of investment. The party of growth. The party of opportunity.’ Are these enough though to solve the crisis that working class people face?

The Socialist Party believes that we do not need platitudes but firm and bold socialist policies. We do think that Jeremy and John McDonnell need to go further. It is a great step forward that Jeremy today talked about bringing the whole NHS in to public ownership. But let’s not stop there. There needs to be widespread public ownership including of the banks, financial houses and major industries so we can start to plan the economy in the interests of ordinary people, so we can truly get the fair society that everyone in the Corbyn movement wants to see. That means breaking with capitalism and fighting for socialism. We outlined our position in this article.

A fighting, socialist Labour Party could play a key role in that but it won’t be achieved with the strategy put forward by Owen Jones. The time is not for compromise with the representatives of the establishment in the Labour Party, the time is for mandatory reselection and bold socialist policies.

If you agree with us or want to discuss further, please fill in the form below!

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Trotskyism, the Militant tendency and the Corbyn insurgency – Coventry public meeting

Trotskyism, the Militant tendency and the Corbyn insurgency – Coventry public meeting

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A leaflet we have been distributing for the meeting – text below

Thursday 25th August, 7.30pm, Coventry Methodist Central Hall. Warwick Lane, Coventry City Centre, CV1 2HA

The Socialist Party has had a lot of media coverage over the last few weeks, after Labour Deputy Leader Tom Watson claimed that Trotskyists were joining the Labour Party and “twisting young arms” to support Jeremy Corbyn. He then submitted a “dossier” to back up his claims, which included reports from Socialist Party members about events they had spoken at. All these reports showed that, rather than secretly joining the party, we are openly attending events as the Socialist Party and putting forward our views – but this didn’t stop the media widely sharing Watson’s claims. These attacks on the Socialist Party, and our predecessor organisation Militant, show how scared the Labour Party right-wing are of genuine socialist ideas.

We have organised a public meeting in Coventry on Thursday 25th August, with former Militant Editorial Board member and Socialist Party General Secretary Peter Taaffe speaking – as seen on Channel 4 news! If you want to hear about the real ideas of the Socialist Party, rather than media distortions, come to the meeting and find out what we stand for.

The deputy leader of the Labour Party has laid the responsibility of Jeremy Corbyn’s popularity at the feet of supposed Trotskyist infiltrators.

Why has the Labour Party right wing and the media suddenly become interested in the influence of Leon Trotsky; one of the leaders of the Russian revolution who dedicated his life fighting for socialism and against Stalinism?

The Socialist Party proudly stands in the tradition of Trotsky in fighting for the working class and fighting for democratic socialism.

It was the Socialist Party, then Militant, who led the mass non-payment of the poll tax which was scrapped and led to the defeat of Thatcher.

In recent years Socialist Party members have been at the forefront of fights against privatisation, the bedroom tax and attacks on workers and young people.

It is these ideas that the right are scared of and are trying to discredit.

A programme to improve the lives of majority and a strategy to win. We’re fighting for a different kind of society – a socialist society where the world’s resources are controlled and planned for the good of all not for the profits of a few.

Thursday 25th August, 7.30pm, Coventry Methodist Central Hall. Warwick Lane, Coventry City Centre, CV1 2HA

Communication Workers Union backs Jeremy Corbyn

Communication Workers Union backs Jeremy Corbyn

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Jeremy Corbyn with CWU general secretary Dave Ward – pic from BBC

The below article by Coventry Socialist Party and CWU member Lenny Shail was carried in this weeks issue of The Socialist newspaper. The trade unions have a key role in building support for Jeremy. 

A special press conference organised by the Communication Workers Union (CWU) alongside Jeremy Corbyn himself, saw the union announce its official support for Corbyn in the Labour leadership election.

Before the press conference, a special political briefing by CWU general secretary Dave Ward on behalf of the union’s executive committee was given to branch representatives, explaining the unanimous decision of the executive committee to continue support for Corbyn.

Dave highlighted the significance of motion 47 from CWU conference that was passed, which “predicted the attacks” and the need for the union to do everything it could to organise to defend Corbyn against the right-wing Blairites. Motion 47 was moved and seconded by Socialist Party members at the conference in May.

A small number of CWU branch officers in attendance, who were often the main speakers in opposition to any motions calling for an end to the union’s blind support for New Labour before Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership, were the only opposition to the decision.

Brian Kenny from Merseyside branch, before Dave Ward had even spoken, demanded to know why Labour leadership challenger Owen Smith hadn’t been invited. Another branch officer simply reminded the meeting and Brian that the CWU is independent of the Labour Party and can do what it wants in the interests of its members!

It will be of no surprise to many to hear that Brian Kenny also happens to be a Labour councillor in Wirral.

Mobilise for Jeremy Corbyn

Socialist Party members and others at the meeting raised that the immediate task is to mobilise in support of Corbyn’s re-election – pointing to the many #keepcorbyn rallies and meetings that have taken place across the country. But to also consolidate the mass support for Corbyn by organising and preparing to remake Labour as a socialist, working class party that really can be a voice for the 99%.

The scaremongering threats of a Labour split that were raised by the tiny number of Smith supporters were answered simply by one Socialist Party member: ”Let the Blairites go and if they don’t, mandatory re-selection is needed to kick them all out and the same with the cuts-making councillors”.

The need for an overhaul in the democratic structures of the Labour Party and opening up to the workers’ and socialist movement, and a return to a federal structure, was raised and received support.

Socialist Party members speaking at the meeting finished by making the case for a fighting socialist programme of renationalisation of key industries including the whole of the communications industry, workers’ rights, better pay, more affordable housing and defence of the NHS, etc, to inspire and win over the mass of working class to the battle against the Blairites, Tories and austerity itself.

Jeremy Corbyn gave a passionate speech to end the meeting with a call to arms for CWU members to get involved in the fight for his re-election and change the course of the Labour Party.

We very much welcome and support Jeremy’s clear call for Royal Mail to be taken back into public ownership, however it was unfortunate that when asked by the press whether he would support the renationalisation of British Telecom he said that wasn’t being considered.

The Socialist Party supports the complete renationalisation of Royal Mail and BT but we would go further and call for all the main postal and telecommunications industries to be brought under genuine democratic workers’ control and public ownership – to be run in the interests of society as a whole and not the profits of major private communications companies.

Jeremy Corbyn rally in Coventry postponed

Jeremy Corbyn rally in Coventry postponed

Labour leadership contest

Labour leadership candidate Jeremy Corbyn speaks outside the Tyne Theatre and Opera House, Newcastle, during his campaign.

Last week Coventry Momentum announced that Jeremy Corbyn would be speaking at a rally in Coventry on Wednesday 17th August. We reported this and called for people to join the rally and build support for Jeremy’s leadership.

Unfortunately the rally organised by Momentum and the Jeremy For Leader campaign has been cancelled by the organisers, due to a policy launch in London that is due to take place the same evening in London that Jeremy is required to speak at.

However, we still believe a rally in Coventry to mobilise and show the huge support for Jeremy Corbyn and his socialist ideas would be a major boost to the campaign against the right-wing establishment inside the Labour Party.

We hope trade unions in Coventry will organise a “Coventry For Corbyn” rally during the leadership election to continue to build support for Jeremy’s leadership of the Labour Party.

Coventry Socialist Party will continue to campaign on the streets in Coventry in defence of Corbyn and for a socialist programme to fight the cuts and change society. If you’re interested in finding out more or getting involved, fill in the form below!

Successful day of campaigning for Save Coventry Libraries

Successful day of campaigning for Save Coventry Libraries

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Outside Coundon Library – photo by Tara Rutledge

Saturday saw a successful day of action for the Save Coventry Libraries campaign. The “Big Library Sell Off Tour” visited the five libraries that Coventry City Council are planning to close. The Council say that unless volunteers/community groups come forward to run these vital public facilities then they will have no choice but to close them. Campaigners categorically reject this false choice put forward by the Labour Council – particularly when they have £84 million in reserves, and have increased these reserves. In fact they have doubled over the last 5 years!

The Socialist Party asks why don’t councillors use some of the reserves to offset these cuts and work with the people of Coventry to mount a campaign to force the Tory government to properly fund essential local services?

Labour should be opposing these cuts here in Coventry – not voting them through in the Council Chamber. Jeremy Corbyn opposes austerity but the majority of local Labour cllrs spend more time fighting him than they do the Tories!

The campaign visited the following libraries – Coundon, Earlsdon, Finham, Cheylesmore and Caludon Castle.

At each of the five libraries library users were angry and upset that their library could close. We collected many more signatures for our petition and handed out nearly a 1000 leaflets encouraging people to get involved in the campaign. It sent a clear message to Coventry City Council – keep all the libraries council run and fully staffed, with no job losses!

To see more pictures from the “Big Library Sell Off Tour” and to get more information about the campaign visit the Facebook page of Save Coventry Libraries