2016 – a year of growing discontent

2016 – a year of growing discontent

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Marching to defend youth clubs in Coventry

2016 has been a year of growing discontent and anger at the political and economic system across the world. This has been expressed in many different ways – in the UK with the Brexit vote and the re-election of Jeremy Corbyn as Labour leader, in Italy with the referendum vote against Prime Minister Matteo Renzi  and in the US with the election of Donald Trump and the massive protests following his election.

These developments pose challenges, such as the fight for a socialist Brexit in the UK, and building resistance to Trump’s racist and divisive agenda in the US. But they also show the growing anger at the “establishment”, reflected in different ways. A clear anti-austerity message can win people over to a socialist programme.

Here in Coventry there have been campaigns against cuts to local services and the Socialist Party have helped to support these, for example the ongoing battles to save libraries in the city and youth clubs which are so vital for ordinary people in our city. We continued to build opposition to cuts in the health service gaining great support for campaigning to defend the NHS from privatisation and look forward to a big national demonstration on 4th March.

There has also been increasing interest in our socialist ideas in 2016. We held big meetings on the question of Jeremy Corbyn, Trotskyism and the real ideas of the Militant (our forerunner) as well as a public rally putting the socialist case for leaving the EU.

We have been involved in innumerable campaigns and supporting many issues from practical support for workers on strike to honouring the victims of the Orlando massacre and supporting LGBT rights at Coventry Pride.

2017 marks the centenary of the 1917 Russian Revolution, and we will be posting material to mark it. It looks set to be a year of struggle against the Tories, the Blairites, the far-right and the capitalist system as a whole. If you want to join that struggle, fill in the form below!

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100th anniversary of the Russian Revolution – launch of new section on website!

100th anniversary of the Russian Revolution – launch of new section on website

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The new section of the website celebrating the Russian Revolution!

Coventry Socialist Party are pleased to announce the launch of a new section on our website in preparation for the 100th anniversary of the 1917 Russian Revolution. 2017 will see a sustained attack on the ideas of Socialism, Marxism and Bolshevism as the defenders of the capitalist system seek to denounce and denigrate the events of 1917, where working class people took power.

We will be publishing articles to both set the record straight and draw out the historical lessons to be able to apply them to battles against capitalism today. As well as articles we will also be holding public meetings, rallies and discussions to help understand what took place.

The new section can be found on the menu bar of the website (see picture above) and so far contains a welcome and intro, and two further articles. The first is Russia’s 1917 socialist revolution and the second is the editorial from the current issue of Socialism Today.

If you would like to join us or get more information, fill in the form below! We are also happy to give talks and discussions for schools, university societies, community groups and trade union branches. Get in touch!

Xmas greetings from Coventry Socialist Party

Xmas greetings from Coventry Socialist Party

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Protesting against cuts to libraries

Coventry Socialist Party would like to send Xmas greetings to all members and supporters in what has been a busy 2016. We would like to thank all those who have helped us during the year, whether you were one of the 3108 people who voted for us in the Local elections in May, donated to our fighting fund, supported one of our many campaigns or who helped in any other way.

Working class people are continuing to pay the price for the capitalist crisis. The ongoing carnage in the Middle East shows that capitalism is failing people not just in this country, but across the world.

However 2016 has seen alternatives to austerity and the idea of fighting back become more prominent. The re-election of Jeremy Corbyn as Labour leader and the rise of Bernie Sanders in the US shows there is an appetite for anti-corporate policies and anti-establishment movements – as does the rejection of the establishment in the EU referendum.

2017 in Coventry will see continued and deeper threats to our jobs and services. The Socialist Party will be part of the campaigns to defend our services and communities, whilst putting forward the need for a socialist alternative to end the nightmare of capitalism. A key date will be the national demonstration to defend the NHS on 4th March, make sure you are there!

Next year we will also be celebrating the 100th anniversary of the 1917 Russian Revolution, which saw working class people come to power and spark a revolutionary wave across Europe. We will be publishing articles on coventrysocialists.com as well as holding meetings and rallies to celebrate this earth shattering historical event and to learn the lessons for the struggles of today.

So we hope all our members and supporters can take a well earned rest over Christmas and we urge those of you not yet involved with the Socialist Party to make 2017 the year that you take the step to get active!

Help us build the forces of socialism by donating to our fighting fund or by joining the struggle for Socialism!

Watch – Rob Williams defends trade unions taking action on Sky News

Watch – Rob Williams defends trade unions taking action on Sky News

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We are extremely proud to publish this interview conducted by Sky News with Rob Williams, chair of the National Shop Stewards Network (NSSN) and member of the Socialist Party regarding the strikes currently taking place around the country.

The Socialist Party and the NSSN stand fully behind the workers in their disputes and Rob outlines the reasons why. If you agree with Rob and want to get involved fill in the form below!

Education for all – not exam factories

Education for all – not exam factories

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We are pleased to publish the following article by Jane Nellist concerning the situation in our education system. Jane is on the NEC of the National Union of Teachers (NUT) and is currently President of Coventry TUC. The article also appears in the current issue of The Socialist, the Marxist newspaper for workers and youth. It should be read alongside the article ‘What kind of education?’ which also appears in same issue.


Education for all – not exam factories

By Jane Nellist

It is without doubt that our children are the most tested in the world.

Almost from the time a child starts school, they are subjected to a never-ending regime of examinations. This not only impacts on the child, but on the school and the individual teacher, and most importantly on the quality of education.

The costs of these formal tests and exams are a drain on school budgets, with private companies, like Pearson, making huge profits from our education system. Constant switching between exam boards creates huge workloads for teachers, rewriting schemes of work.

The pressure of testing on pupils causes unnecessary stress, resulting in increasing levels of mental health issues. Schools are now more like ‘exam factories’.

Even the Institute of Directors uses this term. Their report in April stated that “this study raises serious concerns that UK education policy is turning our schools into exam factories, squeezing out creativity and the joy of learning at a time when these very attributes are becoming increasingly important.”

With teachers subjected to performance-related pay, it is obvious that ‘teaching to the test’ impacts on the curriculum young people experience. Music, art and drama are being marginalised.

Teachers have always used testing as part of the assessment of their pupils, but it is only one of the tools we use. The increase in the use of publicly reported testing and exams from children as young as seven is more to do with control than good education.

So does it have to be like this?

Well, the simple answer is no. Teachers want to ensure all their pupils can achieve their full potential, whatever their ability. High-stakes testing inevitably means some pupils are more ‘important’ than others. Children with special educational needs, and those more able, can often be sidelined.

‘Pisa’, which looks at the quality of education worldwide, has consistently shown that Finnish children perform well. This is in a country where there are no school inspectors, no league tables, and no exams until the age of 16.

In Germany, while they have introduced national tests, there are no performance league tables and schools are not penalised for poor results.

Of course, parents want to ensure there is accountability. But a recent Ipsos Mori poll on who people trust put teachers on 88%, second only to doctors and nurses – while politicians, who make the decisions about our education system, came in at 15%.

Sats

Parents are becoming increasingly uneasy about the level of testing. Campaigns such as ‘Children are More than a Score’ are gaining wider support for ending Sats.

We need a huge overhaul of education, led by education professionals. We need to rid our system of the present national curriculum, along with Ofsted inspections, Sats and league tables.

Our immediate demands should include a flexible curriculum with more practical learning. It must be a broad and balanced curriculum, with time for the arts, music and more pupil-led innovation, as well as a wide pastoral curriculum including health and sex education for all.

Diagnostic testing and moderated teacher assessment should be at the discretion of the teachers. But a socialist education system would be based on individual and group learning and attainment rather than exams.

Agree with Jane? Fill in the form below!

Angered at JD Sports? Time to get unionised – time to fight for socialism!

Angered at JD Sports? Time to get unionised – time to fight for socialism!

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JD Sports

A Channel 4 investigative report shown tonight has highlighted the horrendous working conditions faced by workers at JD Sports warehouses. The undercover reporter showed how workers are treated in an environment of Sports Direct proportions.

It was shown how workers face daily humiliation and extreme pressure through performance targets and aggressive management practices – being given warnings for having the wrong type of logos on their clothing, chewing gum or even wearing an unacceptable style of wrist watch!

The footage showed massive queues of workers waiting to leave the workplace in a huge queue before being searched by an airport security type system to ensure goods had not been stolen. Unsurprisingly workers were not paid for this meaning in effect they were being paid less than the minimum wage.

This is the nature of modern day capitalism. It is also a warning to all workers – this is how all of us would be treated if the capitalist class and their hirelings in government thought they could get away with it.

Trade unions urgently need to not only highlight these bad practices, they need to organise and prepare for a militant battle to win decent terms and conditions and workers rights in general. But we can’t leave it there. In an economy where profit is the driving force we are always going to be under attack. That is why we need a socialist transformation of society – let’s banish these horrors to the dustbin of history once and for all.

Join the struggle – fill in the form below and we will be in touch

Thousands sign petitions against library and youth service closures

Thousands sign petitions against library and youth service closures

Campaigners ourside the Council house hand in petitions of over 2800 signatures

On Monday anti-cuts campaigners handed in petitions with over 2800 signatures against library and youth service closures.

Sarah Smith from Save Coventry Libraries said “This is a further sign of the massive opposition throughout Coventry to the council’s cuts agenda.”

Almost 800 people signed the “Stop Youth Club Closures” petition initiated by Bailey Evatt, one of the service users.

Bailey Evatt with Dave Nellist

Coventry Council say they have to make cuts, but they don’t – they could use the £95million+ that they have in reserves to fund services to hold the line and buy time to build a campaign to get back the money that the Government has stolen from the people of Coventry.

Campaigners holding a poster created by youth club users