Join Socialist Students at Coventry and Warwick!

Join Socialist Students at Coventry and Warwick!

Socialist Students

Socialist Students on the march

By Berkay, Warwick Socialist Students

The surge in the popularity of Corbyn’s policies signifies the revival of socialist ideas within the younger generation. But for the people in the socialist movement this is not a surprise.

The rise of Corbyn and the fight for socialism

After decades of attacks on working-class people, living standards for the majority of people have fallen to low levels. Students have also taken a big hit from these attacks caused by the neo-liberal capitalist agenda. The rocketing tuition fees and sky-high rents, combined with zero-hour contracts, have led to the deterioration of the conditions of students throughout the country. Not only the life for students has worsened, the quality of education has also gone down.

In this respect, it is not a surprise at all to see young people showing interest in the politics of Socialist Students. In fact, this interest was perceived by us prior to the rise of the popularity of Jeremy Corbyn. This was shown by the increasing frequency of student demonstrations over the past couple of years and the increase in student activism. Undoubtedly, the Coventry and Warwick Universities have been a hotspot in the fight for free education in this period.

Students must get organised

And now a new academic year is starting. Campuses are being filled by excited new students who are inspired by socialist ideas. The tide is turning and being organised is more important than ever before. Socialist Students is an organisation attempting to bring positive, socialist change to the society that we all live in. It is a growing group and has started to have much more influence on campuses; it shows a good example to other students with its determination in defending the rights of students.

First meetings of term at both universities

Accordingly, the Socialist Students are holding their first meetings of the year on the week commencing the 2nd October.

The first meeting of the year at Coventry University will be on Monday 2nd October at 18:30 in The Castle Grounds, CV1 2UR.  The meeting will be on socialism, where we will discuss how socialism is possible and why we should fight for it. This discussion will also include many contemporary events such as the recent general election and the rise of Corbyn.

A similar meeting will also be organised on Thursday 5th October at Warwick University. The meeting will begin on 18:00 in H0.03, in the Humanities building. The possibilities of a socialist revolution will be discussed in this session.

These meetings will be an immense opportunity for new students to ask questions and join the discussion with regards to Socialist Students or about socialism, revolution and Marxism in general. Hope to see you in these meetings!

We urge you to get involved in Socialist Students, fill in the form below

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28th September – International Safe Abortion Day

28th September – International Safe Abortion Day

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Women in Ireland campaigning for the right to choose and against austerity

To mark International Safe Abortion Day we are republishing the following article, written by a member of our sister party in Austria.

September 28th is International Safe Abortion Day. The date originates from the Campaña 28 Septiembre, a campaign launched in Latin America and the Caribbean in 1990 for the decriminalization of abortion. The Women’s Global Network for Reproductive Rights made September 28th an international day in 2011, and since then there have been actions around the world every year. In the past few years, the issue of abortion has become increasingly important again.

All the religious fundamentalists, the self-declared “prolife” activists and their co-thinkers in the governments – they were always there, but they seem to have gotten louder and more dangerous in the last years.

The facts: a dangerous situation for women

One out of three women will have an abortion in their lifetime – so it is “one of the most common medical procedures in the world” as Ruth Coppinger, Irish socialist, TD and Campaigner for Women’s rights, correctly says. But internationally, only a minority of states gives legal access to abortion. 25% of all women live in countries where abortion is banned and punished with prison or worse. 40% more live in countries where it is forbidden or only allowed in certain cases, or where access is difficult. And even where it is formally legal, in practice it is often difficult to get access and to get it affordably.

In Austria, a social democratic government made it legally possible to get an abortion in 1975 – but they did not take any steps to actually make sure that access is provided. The head doctor in a hospital can decide if abortions are provided – which means in practice, that hardly any hospital does. This includes public hospitals financed by state money and in those parts of Austria ruled by the Social Democrats. So the reality is that most women in Austria need to travel long distances and pay a lot of money to get an abortion.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), about 22 million unsafe abortions take place every year, more than half of all abortions worldwide. 47,000 to 60,000 women die every year from an unsafe abortion – one woman every seven minutes. Many of these women already have kids, leaving them without a mother, and often without a father, as well. It is estimated that 8.5 million women have long term health problems because of unsafe abortions. It is a fact that banning abortions increases the number of dead and injured women.

The deadly policy of the so called “pro-life” movement

The figures also show that there is no correlation between the number of children per women and access to abortion. In countries with very strict anti-abortion laws, like Malta and Poland, women have 1.38 and 1.29 children on average. Meanwhile, in Sweden and Norway, where abortion is legal but there is a better social situation for women like access to affordable childcare, women have 1.89 and 1.78 children on average.

But there is a correlation between the access to contraception and abortion. The better sex education is in schools, and the easier and cheaper access to contraception is, the smaller the number of unwanted pregnancies and therefore abortions are. Austria, one of the few European countries where young and/or poor people have to pay the full price for contraception, has one of the highest rates of teenage pregnancies, according to experts. This shows the reactionary character of the so-called “pro-life” organizations in Austria: most of them are against sex education and contraception, as well. They stick to an ultra-conservative model of the family and see the role of women purely as giving birth to babies. They are not only linked to the churches and religious organizations, but also to the far-right and fascists. The frequently play down the Holocaust and use anti-Semitism. They argue for the need of more white Christian babies as opposed to refugees and (Muslim) immigrants. In the “pro-life” marches, fascists and Nazis not only take part, but physically attack pro-choice activists. In the US these radical anti-abortion activist not only threaten but actually kill the staff of clinics that provide abortions.

And these are not just some disturbed individuals. This is frequent and rooted in the reactionary character of the whole “pro-life” movement concept. The truth is the so-called “pro-life” movement, financed by churches, conservative and reactionary organizations, is responsible for unwanted pregnancies and for women dying from unsafe abortions. They are killers.

Why are they getting stronger?

If the “pro-life” forces were only some people carrying candles and crosses, they could be ignored. But they influence day-to-day politics. Under their influence, the US representatives at the UN Children’s Summit blocked all formulations that might be interpreted as accepting abortion for very young pregnant girls. In 2012 they registered a European Citizens’ Initiative “One of us” that collected nearly two million signatures in Europe. Their target was to stop EU funding for Planned Parenthood structures. The pressure was so strong that the EU stopped a planned decision of the EU-parliament for a European “right of abortion”. Such a decision would have helped millions of women in places like Poland, where abortion is de facto impossible, or in Malta, where abortion is denied even if the life of the woman is in danger.

Trump, in order to please ultra-conservatives voters, stopped funding for international organizations that help with contraception and dare to mention abortion as an option. This leaves millions of women in Africa and Asia without access to contraception, medical help or condoms to prevent AIDS. The question of abortion also shows how capitalism and its ideological base – although sometimes contradictory – is a barrier for the development of mankind.

In 1980, the first abortion pill was developed – a far easier and cheaper way for women to have an abortion, which can save the lives and health of hundreds of thousands of women, especially of those who have no access to doctors and clinics. But its acceptance and legalization took a very long time in a number of countries, even in those where abortion provided by a doctor is legal. In many countries access is still linked to seeing a doctor, which is unnecessary from a medical point of view. For reactionary forces controlling female bodies and enforcing the traditional family structure is in this case even stronger then the profit interests of the pharmaceutical industry, although it still makes its profit through women buying it illegally and therefore at a higher price.

The growing influence of these fundamentalists reflects economic, and following from this, political change. The traditional family is of extreme importance for the ruling capitalist system. Not only does it provide unpaid labour (mostly from women) but it also stabilizes the ruling system that is increasingly under pressure and questioned by millions of people worldwide. Under capitalism the ruling class generally gives the family the role of helping to reproduce the bourgeois state: producing the next generation of obedient, willing citizens and workers, as well as the model of authority and suppression.

Capitalist politicians are not necessarily all reactionary in relation to their view of women or the family. But the conservative backlash fits into their policy. The “family” is propagated in election campaigns, “women magazines” and the media – maybe sometimes in a more modern style but basically in its traditional form. The politicians cut funds for health, care and education. Women are driven out of the workforce. They once again increasingly have to do all the care work that is cut by neo-liberal policies without pay. If the so called “pro-life” fundamentalists strengthen the idea of the “traditional” family, then this gives the ideological support to the neoliberal policy. In Austria this is reflected by one of their slogans “Die Wirtschaft ist gesünder durch Vater, Mutter, Kinder” (“The economy is healthier with father, mother, and children”).

Worldwide resistance

Historically the struggle for women rights and the struggle of the workers movement cannot be separated. It is true, that a bourgeois women movement exists and was and is often dominant. But the main gains for women were won together, in times of revolution and intense class struggle.

The Russian Revolution in 1917 not only gave women the right to vote, but legalized abortion and made steps towards the socialization of housework (including child care). That these rights were later taken back shows once again the reactionary character of Stalinism. The legalization of abortion in many of the advanced capitalist countries in the 1970s as a result of second wave feminism cannot be isolated from the civil rights movement and an international revolutionary wave. The post war boom that brought millions of women in paid work and made them active parts of the labour movement and of the lively class struggle at that time.

Today again we see a new international wave of struggles by women against sexism and violence, and for women’s rights. Women have fought for their rights, and they have experienced their strength. For a few years we have seen mass protests in India against rape involving women from different ethnic and social backgrounds. In Latin America, “not one more” (“Ni una màs”) is the battle cry of women in several countries against the killing of women. In Poland and Ireland, masses of women have taken to the streets and fought for the right to abortion.

The timing of this new wave is no accident – it goes hand in hand with an increased rejection of capitalism and its family concept and with an increase of class struggle. These struggles are not “side” struggles of minor importance, but must be linked to the class struggle and anti-capitalist movements. The right of women to control their bodies is part of the struggle of humankind to liberate its bodies from capitalist exploitation.

The struggle of the Polish women against the government’s attempt to make abortion completely illegal (it is illegal in most cases already, and access is extremely difficult in the remaining cases) was magnificent – but it stopped at its highpoint and did not go further onto the offensive, demanding easier access to contraception and abortion. It did not organize the tens of thousands on the street but sent them home. This resulted in the government passing another attack on women’s rights – since June 2017, Polish women need a prescription to get the morning-after pill, which makes its use in most cases de facto impossible. Polish socialists have been arguing that the struggle for women rights needs to be organized and have democratic structures that involve supporters and activists in the debates and decisions on what demands to make and steps to take. Beyond this it needs a programme linking the struggle for the right of women’s self-determination over their bodies with the struggle against capitalism, a system that benefits from the suppression of women.

Socialists from the CWI are part of this struggle all over the world from Chile to Ireland, from Poland to India, from the USA to Austria. Several sections and groups of the CWI like in Ireland, Sweden, Belgium, Quebec, Austria and other countries will be active on and around 28 September. We are participating in and organizing campaigns and activities, fighting for a socialist program that includes:

  • Free access to contraception and abortion.
  • A public health service that provides easy access to abortions in every region.
  • A public education system that provides sex education for all.
  • A public social system that provides free child care for all those who want to have children, as well as public housing and good jobs for all women so they can make decisions about having children without economic pressure.

If you agree join the fight for socialist change and to get rid of capitalism, fill in the form below!

New publication: Lessons of October by Leon Trotsky – order your copy now!

New publication: Lessons of October by Leon Trotsky – order your copy now!

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Lessons of October by Leon Trotsky

Coventry Socialist Party are proud to announce the publication of Lessons of October by one of the leaders of the Russian Revolution, Leon Trotsky.

The book, which is being produced by our new publishing house Socialist Books is vital reading for all those looking to change society. One hundred years on from the Russian Revolution, it is critical we learn from our history to be able to apply the lessons to today’s struggle to get rid of capitalism. There is a new introduction included with the book written by Socialist Party Executive Committee member Judy Beishon.

The book costs just £5, and if you are in the Coventry area we can arrange to get a copy to you. If you are outside of Coventry, please order through the Socialist Books website here.  To read more about Lessons of October, see the information below the form.

To reserve your copy fill in the form!


About Lessons of October

The Russian revolution of 1917 removed the brutal tsarist dictatorship and saw workers and peasants take charge of their destiny. The impact was felt around the world, inspiring a wave of revolutionary movements throughout Europe and beyond.

While the new workers’ state successfully defended itself from the invading armies, bent on snuffing out workers’ rule, the western revolutionary movements tragically failed and Russia was left isolated.

In Lessons of October, Leon Trotsky – together with Lenin a leader of the revolution – sought to draw out why the Russian revolution had succeeded, while other revolutionary moments had been missed. In particular, Trotsky looks at the role of the Bolshevik party and offers an insightful and frank examination of the difficulties and successes of developing a political programme offering a way forwards in the midst of the tumultuous and fast-moving events of 1917.

Writing to aid the fight for international socialism, Lessons of October provoked a series of attacks from the developing bureaucracy around Stalin, whose past mistakes Trotsky was exploring. Lessons of October is essential reading to understand the real history of the Bolsheviks and the October revolution, as well as the first-hand experience vital for the fight for socialism today.

Trade unionists speak out against low pay

Trade unionists speak out against low pay

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Coventry TUC campaigning against low pay

An event was held today in Broadgate Square on Saturday to highlight the effects of the Tory pay cap on vital public sector workers in our city. Organised by Coventry TUC, a number of speakers addressed shoppers explaining what pay cuts mean to working class people. Since 2010, many workers have lost thousands of pounds in real terms as the increase in the cost of living outstrips wages.

Across the public and private sector workers lose out whilst those at the top increase their wealth. Already there are cracks in the pay cap, now it is the task of the unions to organise action to not only break the cap, but to put an end to this Tory government.

What is taking place in Catalonia?

What is taking place in Catalonia?

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Mass demonstrations in Catalonia

We are pleased to publish the following articles on the current situation in Catalonia outlining the mass movement that is developing in defense of self-determination and democratic rights. These articles give a good background to the crisis, and give details of the activities of the Marxist organisation Esquerra Revolucionària (Revolutionary Left – the Socialist Party’s sister organisation in Catalonia) and the programme that socialists are fighting for to take the movement forward.

The first is a statement from Esquerra Revolucionària written on 18th September that describes the situation following the 1 million strong march that took place on 11th September. A further article has been issued with the latest developments. Today, the Students Union have issued a call for a student strike on the 28th September to resist the state repression that is taking place.

We urge our readers to follow the events that are developing, and to get in touch to discuss and join activities here in the UK. There is no doubt that capitalism is incapable of satisfying the basic national and democratic rights of ordinary people around the world; it is time to fight for socialism.

If you want to find out more please fill in the form below.

Break the pay cap – join the protest on Saturday

Break the pay cap – join the protest in Saturday

TUC protest

Join the Coventry TUC protest

Coventry Trades Union Council have organised a protest for this Saturday to campaign against the Tory government’s 1 per cent pay cap on public sector workers. Speakers will also highlight the plight of workers in the private sector, who also face attacks and insecurity in the form of zero hour contracts and much more.

Read this article from a recent issue of The Socialist newspaper for further background.

Coventry TUC protest – break the pay cap

12-1pm, Broadgate Square, Coventry

Two surveys; one root cause

Two surveys; one root cause

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Thousands march against austerity

By a socialist trade unionist in Coventry

Two recently released surveys have once again illustrated the situation facing working class people in the UK. They are a stark reminder, if anyone needed it, that life is getting worse not better under the Tories. A survey for the Trades Union Congress (TUC) showed that 1 in 8 workers are skipping meals because of pressure on their incomes, whilst nearly half are concerned about meeting the cost of basic household expenses such as food, gas and electricity. The report from the Institute of Public Policy Research (IPPR) shows similar trends. It states

“Since the 1970s the share of national income which has gone to wages has gradually declined, from 80% to 73%, while the share going to profits has increased. The wage share is now the lowest it has been since the second world war.”

Amongst many other interesting facts and figures, it shows that the UK is experiencing the worst wage stagnation for 150 years and that the country is the most unequal in Europe, with one third of children living in poverty. Shockingly, more of the poor are from households that are in work, rather than out of work.

The report calls for a change in direction in the UK economy including higher taxation, regulation and stronger trade unions. Socialists would support any measures that help narrow the gap between rich and poor and improve the standard of living for ordinary people. However it is also necessary to state clearly that what is needed in the current situation is more than calls for the economy to be nicer and fairer. The cause of the current dire situation for working class people is the capitalist system itself.

Bold socialist policies, including bringing the banks, financial institutions and 150 major corporations in to democratic public ownership are the order of the day. With democratic planning of the vast resources that exist not just in the UK but on a global level, it would be possible for people to be put before profit.

Surveys and reports such as those produced by the TUC and IPPR illustrate the problems we face and are very useful for all those wanting change to provide us with the statistics that help us make our points.

However in the year of the 100th anniversary of the Russian revolution and the 150th anniversary of Das Kapital, we need to study and learn the lessons of history both in terms of how capitalism works and how the workers took power for the first time, in order to ensure socialism is victorious against this crisis ridden system.

Do you agree? Fill in the form below!