Coventry Labour MP Fletcher joins anti-Corbyn coup

Coventry Labour MP Fletcher joins anti-Corbyn coup

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Colleen Fletcher MP

Colleen Fletcher, Labour MP for Coventry North East, resigned from her secretarial position today as part of the attempted coup against Jeremy Corbyn. Fletcher, who was Parliamentary Private Secretary (PPS) to Kerry McCarthy MP, shadow secretary of state for environment, food and rural affairs, has also called for Jeremy to resign as Labour leader.

Fletcher’s resignation will have come as a shock to many, not because she was seen as a Corbyn supporter but because they did not realise she had a PPS position to resign from. Despite this, she has resigned in an attempt by the right-wing of the Parliamentary Labour Party to force Jeremy to resign as Labour leader. Like many MPs she is completely out of touch with the daily struggles of the ordinary working people she claims to represent. When heroic junior doctors went on strike in Coventry, with a picket line at Walsgrave Hospital in the heart of her constituency, Fletcher was nowhere to be seen – but when there’s a chance to attack the elected leader of the Labour Party she grabs it with both hands!

Jeremy is rightly resisting these attacks, and his supporters inside and outside the party are building a movement to defend him, including a petition which now has over 200,000 signatures and a demonstration outside Parliament. The Blairite coup has been on the cards since Jeremy became leader, and is now in full voice – we need to come out fighting to defend him.

Nicky Downes, who stood as a Socialist candidate against Fletcher in the 2015 elections, said “There is clear support for Jeremy from the public, with 10,000 people on the streets tonight at a protest in favour of his leadership. Colleen Fletcher has shown her true colours by resigning from the shadow cabinet along with the Blairites. It’s time to deselect her. Coventry needs an MP that will share Jeremy Corbyn’s opposition to austerity and fight for this city.”

A crucial weapon for those who want to defend the leadership of Corbyn and John McDonnell is to demand the reintroduction of mandatory reselection of MPs, meaning that local Labour Party members can hold them to account for their actions. Jeremy could even go further and remove the Labour whip from the plotters who are attempting to remove him!

Labour members and Corbyn supporters in Coventry North East who are angered by Fletcher’s actions should mobilise and pass a motion in their constituency party condemning her actions and demanding she faces reselection before a general election is held.

Jeremy is absolute right to stand up to the plotters and should continue to do so, and fight to defend his leadership in a fresh contest if necessary. We will continue to support his leadership as part of the fight for an anti-austerity party that will represent ordinary people.

Coventry Socialists campaign for a general election – say NO to a Tory coronation!

Coventry Socialists campaign for a general election – say NO to a Tory coronation!

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Signing the petition in support of a general election

In the days following the result of the EU referendum, members and supporters of Coventry Socialist Party have hit the streets to campaign for a general election and an end to the Tories. With the referendum delivering a leave vote, within the space of a couple of hours David Cameron had gone, as the Socialist Party predicted. The Tories now want a coronation with the leadership of the country passed from one former Etonian to another. We think that this is totally undemocratic and believe that there should be a general election now, not in 2020.

Our stalls have been very popular with people signing petitions and taking away leaflets, including supporters of both remain and leave.

The Socialist Party are energetically throwing ourselves in to getting rid of the Tories and stepping up the fight against austerity, racism and the capitalist system. We urge you to get involved in this struggle. Interested? Fill in the form at the end of this article and we will be in touch.

For further analysis click here to read an article from our national website

We are holding an open meeting on Wednesday to discuss the situation after the referendum and how we can get the Tories out.

Wednesday 29th June

7.30pm. Charterhouse Club, David Road

Facebook event

Agree? Then join us! Fill in the form below

Working class revolt against establishment defeats bosses EU at referendum

Working class revolt against establishment defeats bosses EU at referendum

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Coventry votes Leave!

The ruling class across Europe has been dealt a massive blow by the vote of the UK to leave the European Union.

This was a working class revolt against the establishment. UKIP and the Tory right will try to claim this as their own victory, but working people have no interests in common with them.

The first casualty of the referendum result is David Cameron, who has already announced that he will resign by the Tory conference in October. However the Tory Party will want to replace him with a leadership election, not a general election.

Jeremy Corbyn and the trade union movement should demand a general election is held immediately, and take up the frustrations felt by ordinary people at insecure work, zero hour contracts, job losses, cuts and austerity. Corbyn should cut across the racism of the Tories and UKIP by standing on socialist policies and renationalising rail, electricity, gas, post and other key industries.

Cameron out now – not in October!
Kick out the Tories!
General election now!
Fight for socialism!

A referendum day message from Dave Nellist

A referendum day message from Dave Nellist

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Dave Nellist

Please read and share the message below from Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition Chair and Socialist Party member Dave Nellist about today’s EU referendum.

The European Union is Thatcherism being developed on a continental scale, a club for bosses designed to make it harder to fight capitalism.

Isn’t it odd that those who wouldn’t trust the UK Tories an inch somehow go all misty eyed about the undemocratic EU, where laws are made by the 28 heads of EU governments – 27 of which we didn’t elect – 2/3 of them Tories, and all of them in favour of implementing austerity!

The EU really should stand for Employers Union. It hasn’t given us equal pay, paid holiday or maternity rights, unions have had to fight for those things and unions will still have to fight to keep them.

If the EU was really on the side of workers there would be a minimum wage across the continent, something like €13 an hour, so people didn’t have to move thousands of miles to get a decent job. Instead the EU, together with the European Central Bank and the IMF, is implementing brutal austerity against the people of Spain, Portugal, Ireland and especially Greece.

So, if you hate austerity from Westminster or Brussels you get the chance to vote against both today!

Let’s vote Leave and remove an obstacle to nationalisation of rail, post, gas, electricity and steel. But don’t stop there – we need a new internationalism to combat the regional and global problems of poverty, forced migration, wars and global warming, one based on socialist planning and cooperation, not capitalist competition and markets.

And if we get Leave and David Cameron goes, let’s not worry about the debate on who should be the next leader of the Tory Party. Jeremy Corbyn and the unions should demand an immediate General Election so we can replace this Tory government with one on the side of working people!

Coventry Socialist Party will be holding an open meeting on June 29th discussing the aftermath of the referendum.

After the Referendum – now kick out the Tories! 29th June, 7.30, Charterhouse Club,
David Rd, Coventry, CV1 2BW

Hundreds march for LGBT Pride in Coventry

Hundreds march for LGBT Pride in Coventry

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Socialist Party placards at Coventry Pride

Hundreds of people marched through Coventry on Saturday 18th in the city’s first Pride march. In a month when we the massacre in Orlando reminded us of reality of the violence that LGBT+ people face around the world, the march was loud and proud, with marchers chanting “we’re here, we’re queer, we will not live in fear!”

At Fargo Village we were the only political party campaigning, showing our solidarity with LGBT+ people and distributing leaflets and pamphlets against austerity. Pride events are often commercialised, with some LGBT+ organisations telling us to “celebrate” rather than fight for real equality and liberation – but in a world where we face hatred and discrimination every day for being who we are, we know we have a long way to go. To end LGBTphobia and hatred we need to fight for a socialist society.

Seattle Socialist Councilmember Kshama Sawant wrote the below statement in response to Orland0 – we stand in solidarity with our LGBT+ brothers and sisters around the world.

This morning, we were all devastated to learn of the horrific terrorist attack on the LGBTQ community at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida. Our hearts go out to all grieving, most especially to the victims and their families.

This mass murder did not happen in a political and social vacuum. Indeed, we did not even have time to come to terms with this loss before news broke of another would-be mass killer in Los Angeles. Fortunately, his plans to attack L.A. Pride were discovered and stopped. But this kind of bigotry and violence will continue unless we fight it through unified mass movements.

We condemn this monstrous terror attack, allegedly by a man claiming allegiance to ISIS. We must absolutely stand in solidarity with our LGBTQ Sisters and Brothers.

We must also fight back against any scapegoating and Islamophobia.

We have to organize, mobilize, and stand up to violence, hate speech and the many forms of oppression forced down on LGBTQ people and minorities under capitalism.

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Socialist Party stall at Pride

Dave Nellist interview on the EU

Dave Nellist interview on the EU

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Former Coventry Labour MP Dave Nellist was interviewed at Warwick University by RaW media about the Socialist case for leaving the EU. He highlighted the inherently pro-capitalist nature of the EU, and how it could act as a barrier to socialist policies. The interview is below, please listen and share!

Dave Nellist debates the EU with UNISON regional secretary Ravi Subramanian

Dave Nellist debates the EU with UNISON regional secretary Ravi Subramanian

Former Labour MP and Socialist councillor Dave Nellist

Dave Nellist

We are pleased to make available this debate on the EU referendum between Dave Nellist of the Socialist Party/ TUSC and Ravi Subramanian, the West Midlands regional secretary of the public sector union UNISON. The debate took place on BBC Coventry and Warwickshire radio.

Please have a listen by clicking on the Youtube clip below. Agree with Dave? Then fill in the form at the bottom of this post!

 

 

Hundreds attend Coventry vigil for Orlando victims

Hundreds attend Coventry vigil for Orlando victims

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Socialist Party member Dan Crowter speaking at the vigil

Over 150 people attended a vigil in Coventry on Monday in solidarity with the victims of the horrific massacre in Orlando. At least 50 people died when a gunman opened fire in the Pulse nightclub, a local LGBT venue.

Vigils have been held across the UK and around the world, showing a united and defiant response to those who seek to spread hatred, fear and division. This mood was clearly present in Coventry, with defiant speeches urging us not to live in fear.

Coventry TUC President Jane Nellist spoke and expressed solidarity from the trade union movement in Coventry and pledged to fight to cut hate crime in our city.

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Socialist Party member Dan Crowter spoke at the vigil and said “I don’t just want equality under the law, I want liberation.” The only way to achieve that liberation, and to defeat LGBTphobia, Islamophobia and oppression is to fight against the capitalist system that causes it.

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Socialist Party members showing solidarity with Orlando and the LGBT+ community worldwide

Part of the 99 per cent? Why you should vote to leave the EU

Part of the 99 per cent? Why you should vote to leave the EU

For a Socialist Europe

Vote to exit the EU

We publish the following Q and As about why you should vote to leave the EU on Thursday 23rd June. The original article was written by Socialist Party deputy general secretary Hannah Sell and appeared in The Socialist newspaper. Please share on social media, and join our campaign by filling in the form at the bottom of this article. If you would like leaflets to distribute to your friends, family, neighbours, work colleagues etc get in touch!

1) Isn’t it only right-wing Tories and Ukip who want to leave the EU?

No. In the media the referendum campaign has been completely dominated by right-wing, pro-big business politicians. The voice of working class people has not been heard. In fact, however, a number of trade unions – including the militant transport workers’ union the RMT – are campaigning for exit. So is the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) of which the Socialist Party is a part.

Our campaign has nothing in common with the right-wing nationalist politicians who speak for exit in the media. In fact TUSC is running a campaign to demand that none of the official ‘leave’ campaigns receive state funding to peddle their right-wing nationalist reasons for exit.

In the last European referendum campaign, back in 1975, socialists like Tony Benn were prominent campaigners for voting for exit. They understood that the EU (then called the Common Market) was exactly that – an agreement between the different capitalist classes of Europe in order to create the largest possible market and maximise their profits. Since then a succession of EU treaties have further enshrined privatisation and attacks on workers’ rights into the fabric of the EU.

It is only necessary to look at the way the institutions of the EU have treated the people of Greece – forcing endless austerity on them which has lowered incomes by an average of one third and led to mass unemployment – to see that the EU acts in the interests of the 1% not the 99%.

2) You say that the EU enshrines privatisation and attacks on workers’ rights but isn’t it better to stay in and try to reform it?

Some politicians who agree with many of the criticisms of the EU listed above (Green MP Caroline Lucas, for example) say that it is better to stay in the EU and try to reform it. The question they can’t answer, however, is how the EU could be reformed.

Voters across Europe get to vote for MEPs who sit in the European Parliament; but that is an almost completely powerless body. Of course, when socialists are elected to the European Parliament they have been able to use it as a platform to campaign in defence of workers’ rights. But it is not the European Parliament but the European Council that takes the vast majority of EU decisions.

The European Council is made up of the heads of government of the 28 nation states of the EU – the EU really is a capitalists’ club. The governments of Europe have no interest in handing some of their power to the European Parliament.

It can’t be totally excluded that a powerful European-wide mass movement could force them to do so – but a movement that powerful could also achieve far more than the reforming the EU, it could put a socialist federation of Europe on the agenda.

3) But isn’t it more internationalist to be in the EU together with other nations?

The EU is not internationalist. On the contrary, it is ‘Fortress Europe’, doing everything it can – including allowing refugees to drown in the Mediterranean – in order to prevent those fleeing for their lives from Syria and elsewhere being able to enter the EU.

Nor does not it foster European solidarity within the EU; rather it increases tensions between different nations. It is a capitalist project attempting to impose unity between nations from above, in the interests of the capitalist classes of Europe, particularly those from the most powerful nations.

Over the last eight years the institutions of the EU – the hated ‘troika’ – have imposed terrible austerity and privatisation on the economically weaker countries of the EU – above all Greece, but also Portugal, Ireland, Cyprus, Latvia, Romania and others. The governments of these and other EU countries have used EU rules as the excuse for the misery they have imposed on their populations. The inevitable result is an increase of national feelings as people rebel against endless EU austerity.

Real internationalism is workers’ solidarity across Europe. Working class people have huge common interests. We are facing the same fight against low pay, casualisation, cuts and privatisation in every country of Europe. Successful movements in one country would have huge support, and be emulated, across the continent. That is why the institutions of the EU were desperate to force the left-led Syriza government in Greece to its knees in order to demonstrate to workers in other EU countries that there was no alternative to endless austerity.

Under huge pressure from world capitalism the Syriza government capitulated – and is now implementing further savage austerity – to which the Greek working class have responded with general strike action.

But it didn’t have to be that way. If the Syriza government had stood firm and implemented socialist policies it would have been kicked out of the Eurozone, and even the EU. But, by showing a real alternative to austerity, it would have inspired millions of workers across Europe to fight for socialist policies in their own countries.

Socialists are internationalists; we want the maximum possible unity across Europe. But this is only possible on the basis of democratic socialism, eradicating poisonous divisions through real working class internationalism, leading to a voluntary socialist federation across the continent.

4) Doesn’t the EU Social Chapter give workers more rights?

For decades now the majority of trade union leaders in Britain have argued that the European Social Chapter provides important protection for workers in Britain.

In reality the Social Chapter, while it potentially gave some extra legal protection on certain issues, was never much more than a fig leaf to disguise the reality of the European Union as an employers’ union.

What protects workers in Britain – and in other countries – is not the European Social Chapter but our collective strength. If, over the last decades, the trade union leaders had led a determined struggle against austerity and privatisation, we could have won far more than the few crumbs provided by the Social Chapter.

Let’s remember Major’s Tory government was allowed to simply ‘opt out’ of the Social Chapter when it was first introduced. When Labour was elected in 1997 they opted into the Social Chapter. However, Britain’s anti-trade union laws, both the already draconian existing laws and the even more brutal ones currently going through parliament, are not deemed to have contravened the Social Chapter.

And after many years of neo-liberal EU treaties and endless austerity, even the fig leaf of the Social Chapter is now in tatters. EU member states that have been ‘bailed out’ by the troika have suffered the biggest fall in collective bargaining rights in the world. According to the International Labour Organisation (the ILO) collective bargaining rights have fallen by an average of 21% across the ten EU countries hardest hit by the economic crisis, and have fallen by a massive 63% in Romania and 45% in Greece.

5) What would exit mean for workers in Britain who are citizens of other EU countries?

The Socialist Party is campaigning for the right of all those working in Britain to be able to continue to do so with full legal rights. We understand, however, that many workers from other EU countries are worried that a vote to leave might put their rights in danger.

In fact, in the short term their rights would not change. For two years, or until UK has negotiated a leaving deal with the EU, the existing situation would remain.

It is not likely a deal would be negotiated quickly. Losing the referendum would be a disaster for Cameron and would almost certainly mean he would be forced to resign. The Tories could split. It is even possible that they could be forced from power.

There would therefore be plenty of time for the workers’ movement to organise against any threat to EU citizens in Britain. It is possible that – if the government was to fall – a Jeremy Corbyn-led Labour Party could come to power.

It is important therefore that Jeremy Corbyn makes clear that his government would defend the rights of all EU citizens. And of course EU workers who are members of trade unions will have far greater protection in the workplace than they get from EU law.

Even if the Tories remain in power, it is not at all certain that a post-exit government would want to threaten the rights to work in Britain of EU citizens. There are two million British nationals settled in other EU countries who could then be threatened with expulsion from their country of residence.

In addition British capitalism has used super-exploited EU workers as a means to try and lower wages of all workers in Britain. The capitalist class would like this to continue.

However, inside or outside of the EU, the Tory government is attempting to increase the exploitation of EU workers by cutting their rights to claim state benefits. In doing this they are attempting to divide and rule – falsely laying the blame for austerity at the door of migrants.

The workers’ movement needs to counter this by explaining that it is only big business that gains when we are divided. When workers from Eastern Europe are paid less than the rate for the job it is the bosses that gain. The only solution to this is a united struggle for all workers to get the rate for the job – with a £10 hour minimum wage.

This fight also has to defend the right of EU workers to claim benefits when they need to. In fact workers from Eastern Europe are less likely to claim benefits than those who were born here (6.6% compared to 16%) but if those workers don’t have the right to claim when they need to it will make it easier for big business to force them to work for lower wages, strengthening the ‘race to the bottom’ for us all.

6) So if socialists should support leaving the EU why is Jeremy Corbyn voting to remain in?

In the last referendum on Europe, in 1975, Jeremy Corbyn voted for exit. During his leadership campaign last summer he refused to promise to call for a Remain vote, instead suggesting a conference of the workers’ movement to discuss a position.

Once he was elected leader of the Labour Party, however, he came under enormous pressure from the right wing of the Labour Party – and from the capitalist class – to call for a vote for Remain. Shadow Foreign Minister Hilary Benn, before he tried to blackmail Corbyn over Syria, threatened to resign unless Corbyn buckled on the issue of the EU. Unfortunately, he did buckle.

If Jeremy Corbyn was heading up a left exit campaign, it would have transformed the debate. The possibility of Leave winning and the Tories being evicted from power would have been far greater.

Instead, unfortunately, Labour is largely trailing behind the Tories. Alan Johnson MP, who is heading the ‘Labour in for Britain’ campaign, even said that he wanted to prevent Cameron having to resign!

7) Are you saying that – unless we leave the EU – it will never be possible to implement socialist policies in Britain?

No, of course not. The Socialist Party opposes the EU because of its laws and institutions but they could not stop a determined workers’ government supported by a mass movement from carrying out socialist policies. However, they are another hurdle to overcome, with real consequences for the day-to-day struggles to defend working class interests.

Here are a few reasons why you should vote to leave the EU:

  • TTIP is just the latest secret trade deal negotiated by the EU. Like those that have gone before it institutionalises privatisation, including of health services. EU treaties also drive forward privatisation – including of postal services and transport services.
  • EU laws forbid nationalisation (or even state subsidies to companies!). Jeremy Corbyn’s call for renationalisation of the railways which is supported by over 70% of the population, for example, is illegal under EU law.
  • EU treaties have systematically undermined workers’ rights. It promotes zero-hour contracts, low pay and ‘flexible’ working as part of its structural adjustment programme. The posted workers’ directive, for example, does not recognise collective agreements between workers and employers and ‘in a race to the bottom’ allows businesses to employ workers’ on worse pay and conditions than the minimum for the industry concerned in that particular country.
  • EU laws demand permanent austerity from all EU governments. They include strict rules limiting public spending and government borrowing

Agree, and want to help the Socialist campaign for Exit? Fill in the form below!

Dave Nellist on the Sunday Politics – watch here!

Dave Nellist on the Sunday Politics – watch here!

Former Labour MP and Socialist councillor Dave Nellist

Former Labour MP and Socialist councillor Dave Nellist

Dave Nellist, Socialist Party member and national chair of the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) appeared on the BBC Sunday Politics show. Dave makes the socialist case against the EU and also puts the record straight on the view being put forward by some of the big trade unions that it was the EU that gave us our workplace rights.

 Agree with Dave? Then fill in the form at the bottom of this page!