Coventry celebrates May Day

Coventry celebrates May Day

Matt Wrack, general secretary of the FBU, addresses Coventry rally

Matt Wrack, general secretary of the FBU, addresses Coventry rally

A lively rally was held in Coventry city centre earlier today to mark May Day – International Workers’ Day. The gathering, which was entitled ‘Shout out against austerity’ and linked the battle against the cuts with the fight to defeat racism, gained support from many unions and organisations in the city. It also attracted attention from Coventry shoppers who stopped to listen to the many excellent speeches.

Emma from the junior doctors

Emma from the junior doctors

Speakers included Matt Wrack, the general secretary of the Fire Brigades Union (FBU), Emma from the junior doctors, Sarah Smith from Save Coventry Libraries, David Kersey from UNISON, Kris O’Sullivan from Youth Fight for Jobs and suspended Labour Party member Darrall Cozens speaking for Momentum.

Kris addressing the crowd

Kris addressing the crowd

Young worker and student Kris O’Sullivan, in bringing solidarity from Youth Fight for Jobs and Socialist Students, outlined how workers and students need to unite against the attacks, whether it be around wages, housing or jobs, in a common fightback.

Coventry against Racism and Fascism

Coventry against Racism and Fascism

A major protest against the plans of the English Defence League to march in Coventry on Saturday 21st May is planned and speakers urged maximum attendance at this event, to show opposition to those that seek to divide working class people.

Jane Nellist, secretary of Coventry TUC with Sarah Smith

Jane Nellist, secretary of Coventry TUC with Sarah Smith

Many speakers made the link between the cuts taking place in our city with the need to fight not only austerity, but the capitalist system that breeds unemployment, racism, homelessness, environmental destruction and an uncertain future for working class people. May Day gives us an opportunity to redouble our efforts to fight for a socialist future across the planet. Socialist Party members gave out hundreds of leaflets advertising the election campaign of the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition and sold 40 copies of the May Day special issue of our weekly newspaper, The Socialist.

 

 

Socialism in the States – Fox News gets schooled

Socialism in the States – Fox News gets schooled

Darletta v Fox News

Darletta v Fox News

We are proud to publish a link to an interview that appeared on Fox News recently, with Socialist Alternative member Darletta Scruggs. It is well worth a watch – and extremely inspiring to see a Socialist put their views across to the millions that have now watched the interview across various media platforms. Agree with Darletta? Then fill in the form  below the video!

Socialist Party statement on the Livingstone suspension

Socialist Party statement on the Livingstone suspension: ‘Slow coup’ against Jeremy Corbyn

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Ken and Jeremy (picture from the Huffington Post)

By Hannah Sell, deputy general secretary of the Socialist Party. Hannah will be speaking at this event in May, in Coventry
The furore around charges of anti-Semitism engulfing the Labour Party is, in reality, an orchestrated and cynical new stage of the campaign by the right-wing pro-capitalist wing of the Labour Party to try and prepare the ground for ditching Jeremy Corbyn at the earliest possible opportunity.

It is not possible to tell what the timescale will be, but this has all the hallmarks of a slow coup.

Iain Watson, the BBC’s Political Correspondent, reports a Labour MP telling him a week before this broke publicly that: “There is a lot more in this anti-Semitism issue – a lot more. And the people we will take out are all close to Corbyn.”

Jeremy Corbyn was elected less than a year ago by a landslide; having enthused hundreds of thousands of people with his anti-austerity policies.

The Blairites were trounced and these 4.5%ers were horrified at the prospect of Labour – a party whose leadership had loyally acted in the interests of big business for decades – being reclaimed by the working class.

Backed to the hilt by big business and the right-wing media, they are dedicating all their time and energy into once again making Labour a party that can be relied on to act in the interests of the 1%.

Compromise no solution

As we have repeatedly warned, no amount of attempts to compromise with the right wing that dominates the parliamentary Labour Party will pacify them.

On the contrary it only emboldens them. Nor are there any limits to the levels they will stoop to. MPs like Jess Phillips, who declared she would happily knife Jeremy Corbyn in the front, or John Mann, who has attempted to discredit Corbyn with the most scurrilous lies since the moment his name appeared on the ballot paper, will be prepared to use any means necessary to achieve their goal.

Hence an attempt is being made to equate criticism of the right-wing Israeli government with anti-Semitism and to smear the whole of the left with the charge.

This has included an outrageous attempt to smear the Militant, now the Socialist Party. The slur was made on Newsnight by former leading SDP member Baroness Neuberger.

She has since admitted that she has ‘no written evidence’ but based her accusation on the reports of ‘personal friends/acquaintances’! In fact Militant (and now the Socialist Party) has always fought against anti-Semitism and all forms of racism, and has a very longstanding position of supporting the right of two states – Israel and Palestine – to exist side by side, which would be possible on a socialist basis.

We have a sister organisation in Israel Palestine that takes the same stance and heroically campaigns against the Israeli government.

Unfortunately, this is not the position of many others on the left. We would criticise Ken Livingstone for his crass remarks mentioning Zionism and Hitler, which were greeted with glee by the right wing because they gave them an opportunity to step up their attack.

However, Jeremy Corbyn made a mistake when, rather than just making clear his disagreement with Livingstone’s remarks, he acceded to the frenzied demands of the right to suspend him from the party.

No action against John Mann

At the same time no action has been taken against John Mann for his brutal public provocation of Livingstone other than a supposed ‘dressing down’ by Rosie Winterton, the right-wing Labour chief whip.

In fact, as the capitalist class’s mouthpiece, the Financial Times (FT), reported, far from being punished, Mann had “Labour MPs…lining up to pat him on the back”.

The FT added that: “One party insider said the row was indeed a proxy for the left-right split within the Labour party. ‘You go to party conference and all the leftwingers are at the Friends of Palestine event and the right are all at the Friends of Israel drinks’.”

They conclude that: “Mr Corbyn is now under pressure from his critics to make a big speech on anti-Semitism with a promise to stamp it out; for the Labour leader, making good on that promise is the politically dangerous part.” The right intend to keep ratcheting up the pressure on Corbyn to denounce all those on the left who have criticised the right wing Israeli government.

Badge of honour

Meanwhile, voting for bombing Iraq or Syria will, in their view, continue to be badges of honour.

It would be a serious mistake for the Labour leadership to retreat in the face of this onslaught. Many of those who were enthused by Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership campaign can see this onslaught for what it is and will be eager to come to his defence.

Outrageously, leaders of Momentum, initially set up to organise those very people, have cravenly gone along with the attacks by the right.

Unfortunately this has been the trend – from refusing to campaign for deselection to attempting to exclude non-Labour Party members, including the Socialist Party, from Momentum.

But by supporting Livingstone’s suspension and demanding he should permanently “exit politics” Jon Lansman, founder of Momentum, has shown he is incapable of organising a movement to effectively defend Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership from the Labour right.

It is urgent that the lessons of this incident are learned. As we have consistently pointed out it will only be possible to defeat the right by mobilising the anti-austerity movement in a mass, democratic movement.

To succeed this cannot be led by those who see the way forward within the narrow and undemocratic constraints of the existing Labour Party and whose approach is for endless compromise with the pro-austerity warmongers that dominate the Parliamentary Labour Party.

Instead it means building a movement – organised on federal lines – that brings together all of those workers, young people and community activists who have been inspired by Jeremy Corbyn and want to see a determined anti-capitalist party. The Socialist Party will do all we can to assist in the building of such a movement.

Remember the dead, fight for the living!

Remember the dead, fight for the living!

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International Workers’ Memorial Day in Coventry

Trade unionists gathered in Coventry today (Thursday) to mark International Workers’ Memorial Day, which is held to ‘Remember the dead, and fight for the living.’

Representatives from several unions and organisations including Coventry TUC, UNISON, British Pensioners and Trade Union Action Association, UCATT, NUT and UNITE addressed the gathering. The deputy lord mayor of Coventry also spoke and attended.

No worker should die or be put in harms way at work. Workplace stress is on the increase which is a major problem as work becomes more pressurised. Strong trade union organisation in the workplace is absolutely critical to enforce health and safety legislation. At the same time, we need to fight for a society that puts people, before profit.

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Listening to the speeches

 

New Labour right-winger imposed in Sherbourne – vote for an anti-austerity candidate

New Labour right-winger imposed in Sherbourne – vote for an anti-austerity candidate

Jim Hensman with Dave Nellist

Jim Hensman with Dave Nellist

Across Coventry, the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition will be standing candidates to put forward the anti-cuts alternative in the local elections on Thursday 5th May.

This includes Sherbourne where we will be standing Jim Hensman. There has been considerable controversy over the imposition of Blairite Lynnette Kelly as the Labour candidate, against the wishes of the members of Sherbourne ward Labour Party. In her election leaflet she says “the Labour Council will continue to work closely with big businesses”. For us this highlights the priorities of leading figures in Coventry Labour Party – they see this as more important than opposing and fighting Tory cuts.

We need Councillors who will actually stand up against the cuts, not just implement them.

TUSC does not want to stand against Labour and will support any Labour candidate that has opposed the cuts or pledges to do so.

As Jeremy Corbyn has said, “Austerity is a political choice, not an economic necessity”.

Unfortunately Blairite Labour councillors nationally have been making the political choice for austerity and expelling Labour councillors who oppose the cuts.

Former councillors like these, together with trade union activists and campaigners from groups like the one fighting the closure of the last two play centres in Coventry, make up the candidates standing for TUSC. Saving the play centres would only cost £100,000. Yet Coventry Labour Council increased their reserves this year by £3 million. The cuts are definitely a political choice – vote TUSC and fight austerity!

The following are extracts from one of our election communications in Sherbourne.

Jim Hensman, our TUSC candidate has lived in the ward for over 40 years


A message to Labour voters in Sherbourne

The Labour candidate is Lynnette Kelly. She was a councillor in Henley ward until 2015 before stepping down in a failed attempt to become a MP in Warwick and Leamington at the last general election.

The local press have reported how she has been imposed on Sherbourne Labour Party by the regional Party machine, against the wishes of the members. The local Labour Party Secretary who opposed her appointment was also suspended without being given any reason. So much for democracy!

When Lynnette was a councillor she voted for cuts, along with the rest of the Labour group. She is a supporter of the Blairite Progress faction which seeks to undermine Jeremy Corbyn. Is this the sort of representative Sherbourne needs? We want Labour to stand up and vote against the cuts in the Council chamber. Not just act like Tories.

Our candidate, Jim Hensman has lived in the ward for over 40 years.  He has a long history of standing up for ordinary people, has been a trade unionist all of his life and was expelled from Labour for standing up for his Socialist views and being a supporter of Dave Nellist.

Unlike the establishment parties, Jim would be a voice on the Council for ordinary people and would oppose and vote against any more cuts to our local services.

Jim says

“The establishment have been shaken to the core by the support for Corbyn and now the Panama tax scandal. The Tories are weak and divided on every issue, and with the news that David Cameron had his nose in the Panama tax trough…We say he has to go!

But Coventry’s Labour Councillors spend more time attacking Corbyn than the Tories and carry on with further devastating cuts. TUSC councillors will fight to defend the jobs and services that we as ordinary people rely on. We need to build a city-wide campaign against the cuts to demand the return of money stolen by central government, whether it was Labour or Conservatives in power.”

The Tories are trying to rob Coventry, and the Labour Council are letting them!

Instead of fighting back, Labour in Coventry have made cuts that any Tory Council would be proud of. The Council have £84 million in reserves, this should be used to fund services and to buy time to build a campaign win back money for our city.

Despite the election of Jeremy Corbyn who is trying to oppose the Tories, your local Labour Council have voted to

  • Close libraries and want to replace staff with unpaid volunteers
  • Shut play centres
  • Make over 1,000 workers redundant over the next few years
  • Close public toilets across the city

Labour signed us up for George Osborne’s West Midlands Combined Authority – Ann Lucas and Co didn’t even want Coventry people to have a vote. Is that because they were afraid about what we would say?

If you would want to help the TUSC campaign in Sherbourne (for eg helping us leaflet, putting up a poster or donating), fill in the form below!

LIVE: Coventry teachers show solidarity with striking junior doctors

LIVE: Coventry teachers show solidarity with striking junior doctors

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NUT joins picket line today at Walsgrave 

The all-out junior doctors strike continued into its second day today, and once again the picket line at Walsgrave hospital in Coventry was well supported. As we highlighted yesterday, the solidarity developing between junior doctors and teachers is crucial – and seeing the Coventry NUT banner on the picket line today is another great example!

Junior doctors go back to work tomorrow, but this dispute is not over – doctors have lodged a legal challenge against the new contracts, but are determined to beat them before they are implemented.

LIVE: Junior doctors strike in Coventry

LIVE: Junior doctors strike in Coventry

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Support the doctors – save our NHS!

Junior doctors have taken all-out strike action today as part of their campaign against the planned imposition of new contracts by hated Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt. Throughout the strike doctors have had fantastic support from the public, including patients, and today is no different!

Despite the fear campaign by right-wing newspapers, the strike is still strong and the doctors are determined to win. The co-operation between the BMA and the teachers union, the NUT, leading to a joint demonstration is hugely important and should develop into a campaign of joint industrial action, to build for a 24-hour general strike!

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