Former MP Dave Nellist to make the Socialist case against the EU

Former MP Dave Nellist to make the Socialist case against the EU

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Dave Nellist

Dave Nellist, the former Coventry Labour MP and Socialist Party Councillor will be making the Socialist and left wing case against the European Union in a public meeting taking place in the city.

The meeting, organised by the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC), is part of a nationwide tour of events taking place in over 20 towns and cities across the UK. Other speakers at the meeting include Hannah Sell, the Deputy General Secretary of the Socialist Party, and Doug Nicholls from Trade Unionists Against the EU.

Dave, the National Chair of TUSC, said:

“The EU debate has been reduced in the establishment media to a clash between different wings of the Tory party. It’s Cameron vs Boris, they say – two old Etonians, with another ex-public schoolboy Nigel Farage in the ring too.
But what about if you’re outside the 1% elite? Struggling to get by on low wages, a zero-hour contract maybe, or facing soaring rents and under-funded public services? What are our interests in the debate?
TUSC is arguing for a leave vote in the June EU referendum. We stand in the tradition of people like the late Tony Benn, the left wing Labour MP, and former RMT leader Bob Crow, who was well known for his support for international workers’ solidarity while opposing the EU as a body that was pushing anti-worker and pro-austerity policies. Opposition to the EU was also the position of Jeremy Corbyn, until very recently. As TUSC we are pleased to campaign alongside ASLEF, RMT and BFAWU trade unions in campaigning for an ‘exit left’ vote.
TUSC’s core policies include the renationalisation of the railways, Royal Mail and other privatised public services, industries and utilities; defending the right to asylum and opposing racist immigration controls; and democratic public ownership of the banks and major companies. None of these policies are compatible with the EU treaties. So why should we give a vote of confidence to EU laws and institutions which, as Greece shows, would be used to try and block socialist policies?
TUSC stands for real internationalism. Many of our problems – from economic stagnation, endless wars, the appalling treatment of refugees, to planet-threatening global warming – can only be solved at an international level. If society remains organised as it is today, based on a capitalist economic system that puts private profit first and divided into competing nations, the prospects for humanity will be bleak indeed.
But that’s why we need a socialist Europe, not the ‘Employers’ Union’ that is the EU, with its austerity agenda.
Voting to exit the EU on June 23rd is a step towards defeating a weak and divided Tory government and building a movement that can unite with workers across Europe to fight for a different world.”

The meeting will take place on Thursday 2nd June, 7.30pm, Coventry Methodist Central Hall, Warwick Lane, Coventry City Centre, CV1 2HA.

Academies and Free Schools cause chaos in Coventry – local Academy to close

Academies and Free Schools cause chaos in Coventry – local Academy to close

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Save our School banner

We are pleased to carry the article below by Jane Nellist, joint secretary of Coventry National Union of Teachers (NUT) and a member of the national executive of the NUT. She writes in a personal capacity.


Coventry is witnessing the catastrophic consequences of the government’s programme of Academies and Free Schools. This comes at a time when the government is planning for the academisation of all schools!

The day before Year 6 children learnt which secondary school they were to be allocated, it was announced that, in effect, Woodlands Academy would be closing. The ‘consultation’ paper sent to all parents is for the  neighbouring Tile Hill Wood Academy, a girl’s school, to be renamed and designated a co-ed Academy, opening in September 2017, taking the boys from Woodlands in stages, starting with the Y7 in September.

There has been a total destabilisation of schools in the West area of the city with the opening of a Free School, Finham 2 by one of the more successful Academies which is now over-subscribed.   Even the DfE’s own impact assessment identified a detrimental impact on all three secondary schools in the area, all of which are Academies.

The opening of a girls Muslim Free School in the city and a Sikh Free School has also contributed to the fall in numbers across the city for other schools.

The introduction of competition and surplus places is not the way to raise standards.  Only a democratically accountable and planned education system can do this. Strong, well-resourced Local Authorities, working with schools, sharing good practice and supporting each other is a model that we know works.

It’s ironic that we are facing these problems in Coventry for two reasons.  Firstly, Woodlands School was built in 1954 and was one of the original Comprehensive schools built in this country.  A new future for education after the second world war, now a victim of the Tory vision of education!

The second reason is that in 2011, Coventry NUT led a fight, including strike action, to save both Woodlands and Tile Hill from being turned into Academies.

We warned of the problems that would come if they went ahead.  Governors claimed they would get new school buildings and that there would be more funding- neither of which has materialised!  Instead, Woodlands Governors have failed miserably, running up huge debts and the school is in ‘Requires Improvement’.  The school buildings are shoddy and have not benefitted from re-building as they were promised under the ‘Building Schools for the Future’ programme which was shelved by this government.

We are now left with a school closure, our members at risk of losing jobs, pupils who are angry about the way they are being treated and communities feeling let down. In a few years’ time, forecasts show we will be desperate for school places!

You may ask where the DfE is in all of this.  They appear to have abdicated their responsibility completely. The Regional Schools Commissioner, Pank Patel, has hardly instilled any confidence in the process, and is now leaving his role to go back to headship in an Academy! Unions have written to ask for an urgent meeting but have heard nothing.  When they showed up at consultation meetings they failed to answer any questions at all.

We cannot even get simple written answers to questions about redundancy payments for staff.

As the consultation ran over the local elections, both Tories and Labour squabbled over who was to blame. Interestingly, at least one councillor was on the governing body and part of the finance committee– why did they not see the financial crisis coming? The consequences of this delayed any decisions, a re-run of the consultation which has meant that staff, parents and most importantly, pupils were all left in limbo.

As we break up for half term, the final decision has been made, the school will close in September 2017. Tile Hill Wood Academy will be re-named and will become co-ed.

For Woodlands to have been saved it needed a huge investment in resources to pay off the debt and to enhance the school’s buildings.  More importantly, it needed more pupils.

What has been experienced in Coventry isn’t progress- it’s anarchy and it serves no-one well.  Parents are understandably very angry and concerned for their child’s education.

As teachers, we want good local schools that serve our communities.  We have to continue the battle to fight this crazy system and build for a return to the vision of a truly Comprehensive education based on co-operation rather than competition and democratic accountability rather than the anarchy of the market place.

The big question is-will it happen again?  Well of course it will- we are entering into the world of the market for our schools.  That’s why we have to fight against academisation.  We warned about the risks back in 2008 when the first Academy, Grace Academy, replaced Woodway School. The evidence is clear- academisation does not produce better schools.

We shall continue to support our members and the communities that our schools serve.  The fight against the government’s plans for more acdademisation needs to be stepped up.  Lessons need to be learned and we need to galvanise our resolve. Our education system is not for sale and it’s not for giving away!

 

Coventry lecturers strike for fair pay

Coventry lecturers strike for fair pay

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UCU strikers march through Coventry

Lecturers at Coventry’s universities took strike action today to demand a fair pay deal for staff.

Members of Coventry Socialist Students joined pickets at Coventry University to show solidarity with staff, and speaking on the picket line Kris O’Sullivan spoke about the need for a united struggle of students and lecturers for free education and fair pay.

Speakers at the picket line and at the subsequent strike meeting highlighted the three issues the UCU is striking over; the pay freeze for staff which has now been in place for 9 years, the gender pay gap between male and female academic staff, and the increasing casualisation of staff contracts throughout universities.

The strike will continue tomorrow, and lecturers will then be taking ongoing “work to rule” action as part of the dispute. It is crucial that they unite with students, as well as other workers who are taking action such as junior doctors and teachers. Socialist Students members will continue to support their lecturers!

Student solidarity with lecturers strike

Student solidarity with lecturers strike

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UCU members picketing at Coventry University

Coventry Socialist Students have produced the below statement in solidarity with striking lecturers this week. Please read and share, and support the strike however you can!

This week, the UCU trade union (representing academic and related workers, including many students who teach as postgrads) announced their campaign for fairer pay in higher education. They will be on strike at universities across the country on 25th-26th May, and at the same time beginning to work to rule, which means they will refuse to work overtime, set additional work or undertake any voluntary duties like covering timetabled classes for absent colleagues.

Socialist Students supports the UCU in this strike as the fight for free education cannot be isolated to students alone, but must be linked to lecturers and all workers in FE/HE to fundamentally challenge the neo-liberal race to the bottom policies that are stripping away education.

Coventry University UCU will be picketing outside Graham Sutherland Building, Coventry University from 8.30-10.30 on both the strike days. Please join and show solidarity!

Fight for free education, fight for socialism!

Hundreds turn out to oppose EDL in Coventry

Hundreds turn out to oppose EDL in Coventry

Gathering in Broadgate

Gathering in Broadgate

On Saturday 21st May the far right English Defence League came to Coventry with the agenda of dividing communities by trying to scapegoat ethnic and religious minorities for the ills in society, trying to turn worker against worker. However this did not happen. The people of Coventry would not allow it to happen. A counter protest was called by local anti-racists, supported by various campaign groups, trade unions, political organisations and local communities. The people of Coventry combated the EDL’s calls for division with solidarity and unity with hundreds attending the #wearecov demonstration in Broadgate.

The attendance at the #wearecov gathering vastly outnumbered the EDL march and we also won a a victory by denying the EDL access to Broadgate Square, in the centre of the city.

Today was a brilliant effort by all who attended the demonstration and is a solid basis from which to organise future events in the city.

No to racism in Coventry

No to racism in Coventry

Members of the Socialist Party and Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition built for the demonstration in the weeks beforehand and were present today. Party members distributed leaflets, placards and made speeches highlighting the connections between racism and capitalism. This socialist analysis really struck a chord with many participants looking for solutions to racism and the capitalist system itself.

The text of the leaflet we distributed is below. We have quoted Malcolm X who stated

‘You cannot have capitalism without racism’.

If you agree with this, we urge you to fill in the form at the bottom, to join the struggle for socialism!

KICK RACISM OUT OF COVENTRY! FIGHT FOR SOCIALISM!

Unite against racism in Coventry

This Saturday the English Defence League (EDL) have come to Coventry with the intent to divide our communities and attempt to turn workers against each other through the use of racist rhetoric and playing on fearful insecurities. They come to Coventry – a city renowned for its anti-racist culture found in its famous Ska music to its many workers from around the world working side by side –  to try intimidate and put the ills of society at the foot of religious and ethnic minorities.

Far-right have no answers, just ‘simple lies’

During these times of austerity, racism in its many forms, attempts to divide us. Today, as its weak and crumbling mouthpiece, the EDL attempts to shift the blame for austerity cuts on migrants and minorities in society. However it was not Pakistani nurses and Romanian bus drivers that caused the financial crash, and it’s not them pursuing an agenda of cuts and privatisation and attack workers on a daily basis. That role is reserved for exploitative bosses, the Tory government, and merciless capitalism.

Every day workers in Britain face greater exploitation and see vital services, from the NHS to education, being cut by the Conservative government and passed on by Labour councils.

While Britain is being run for the benefit of the 1% at the expense of the 99% this creates understandable and justified anger in society. However the far right try to capitalise on this anger by peddling simple lies being backed up by right-wing tabloids and politicians trying to divide and conquer over the 99% in society.

But what does the likes of the EDL have to offer as an alternative to endless austerity in food bank Britain? Nothing!

The EDL put forward no vision for reversing the cuts that destroy people’s lives, have no plan for housing, jobs, education, vital services but instead do the dirty work of the establishment by distracting people and misguiding the justified anger in society at fellow workers instead of bosses’ politicians.

That is why it is so important for workers and youth to mobilise any time racism and fascism rears its ugly head in society, in order to cut across the vicious lies they put forward and to not let those truly to blame for society’s ills to get away with it.

Socialist Alternative

The EDL and the far-right will be defeated and driven back today, their lies exposed and attempt at division met with solidarity and unity. However racism in society will not just end and pack up its bags and go away. To truly end racism we cannot just merely treat the symptoms of racism – we must eradicate its causes. We must end exploitation, build houses for all, create secure and well paid jobs for all, distribute the £billions of society’s wealth to where it is needed most like health and education not just horded away by the super-rich.

None of this is possible under the current race to bottom of this profit-driven capitalist system.

We need a system that works in the interests of the 99% not the profits of the 1%!

We need socialism!

Malcolm X ‘’You cannot have capitalism without racism’’

Agree? Fill in the form below

Dave Nellist debates TUC leader Frances O’Grady on the EU

Dave Nellist debates TUC leader Frances O’Grady on the EU

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Dave on the Daily Politics

On the Daily Politics today Dave Nellist, former Coventry Labour MP and Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) National Chair, debated the TUC General Secretary France O’Grady on the EU.

The TUC is campaigning for us to stay in the bosses EU, while Dave is leading the Socialist campaign for a leave vote. While Frances O’Grady praised the EU as a defender of workers rights, Dave pointed out that workers won those rights through trade union struggle.

Watch the clip below and please share – and if you want to find out more, come to The Socialist Case Against the EU meeting in Coventry on Thursday June 2nd, 7.30pm at the Methodist Central Hall.

Agree with Dave? Fill in the form below! 

 

Dave Nellist responds to Paul Mason on the EU

Dave Nellist responds to Paul Mason on the EU

Dave Nellist

Dave Nellist, National Chair of TUSC

The below letter from Dave Nellist, former Coventry Labour MP and National Chair of the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC), was carried in the Guardian in response to an article from left-wing journalist Paul Mason on the EU. Mason argued that there is a case for a left-wing anti-EU campaign – “Lexit” – but not now. Dave and TUSC argue that the time for an “exit left” campaign is now!

“Paul Mason outlines several of the powerful, socialist arguments for a Leave vote in the EU referendum (the left-wing case for Brexit, Guardian 16 May).

To Paul’s list could be added the EU drive for market liberalisation, or outright privatisation, of services such as rail, post, energy and water, as well as the threat to a publicly owned NHS that the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership treaty (TTIP) poses.

But having explained how undemocratic and big business orientated the EU is – in effect, Thatcherism on a continental scale – Paul backs down and asks us to accept all that, because exit threatens a change of Tory leader. As if the marginal difference between David Cameron and Boris Johnson, in the context of all Paul has identified, is in any way fundamental.

David Cameron’s government was elected with only 24% support. It’s a government that is, in reality, weak and divided – maintained in office not by its own strength, but the weakness of the opposition, particularly at the top of the trade unions.

A Leave vote would topple David Cameron and further exacerbate the divisions inside the Tory party, not heal them. It could provide a perfect opportunity for Labour to demand not a mere change in Tory leader, but an immediate general election to choose a new government!

I campaigned in the past against the EU alongside labour movement giants like Tony Benn and Bob Crow, and I’m proud that TUSC is carrying on that struggle today, whilst faint hearts fall by the wayside.

Dave Nellist National Chair, Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition”

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Dave with Bob Crow at the launch of the No2EU campaign

If you want to find out more about the Socialist case for leaving the EU, come to “The Socialist Case Against the EU” meeting organised by the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition on Thursday 2nd June, 7.30pm at the Methodist Central Hall.