Coventry protest shows solidarity with Palestine

Coventry protest shows solidarity with Palestine

Palestine protest

Protest in Broadgate

At short notice a protest was called today to show solidarity with Palestinians killed and injured by the Israeli military in Gaza on Friday. You can see more pictures by visiting our Facebook page. The Socialist Party distributed a bulletin which you can download here.

Activists from Palestine, local campaigners, trade unionists and socialists gathered together to ensure that what has taken place did not go unchallenged. Coventry has a long history of showing support for the Palestinian struggle and this will need to be stepped up – the only consistent allies of the Palestinians are ordinary working class people around the world.

The scenes in Gaza have been horrific – at the time of writing at least 16 Palestinians have been killed by bullets fired by the Israeli military, with over 600 injured.

Around 20,000 Palestinians had gathered to commemorate what is known as Land Day, the anniversary of the killing of 6 peaceful Palestinian protestors in 1976 who were taking part in a General Strike against the expropriation of Palestinian land.

Protests are expected to continue for 6 weeks leading up to 15th May – the 70th anniversary of the Naqba (Catastrophe) which saw 750,000 forced to flee from their towns, cities and historic homeland.

The situation in Gaza has continued to deteriorate – 1.9 million Palestinians live in what is in reality the world’s largest open air prison camp – blockaded by land, air and sea by Israel and Egypt. The economy is completely crippled – according to figures from the World Bank, there is 44 per cent unemployment, which rises to 60 per cent for those aged between 15 and 29. Around 80 per cent of people rely on humanitarian aid to survive whilst a staggering 97 per cent of water is not safe for human consumption. Israel controls all movement of goods and people, to and from Gaza. The United Nations has stated that Gaza may not be fit for human habitation within a few years.

In this latest outrage, the Israeli army revealed its deadly intention in dealing with the protest by positioning 100 snipers along the border fence. The Israeli ruling class fear the potential of the mass nature of these protests, hence why they were determined to use such lethal force. They cynically use any Palestinian protest to point to how this allegedly threatens the security of the Israeli population – in reality it is the racist policies of the Israeli government, the occupation and the ongoing oppression of the Palestinians that is the biggest threat to the safety of ordinary Israelis.

Sadly, the latest massacre is not a new occurrence for Palestinians in Gaza. Thousands have been killed and many more wounded by numerous Israeli attacks. Responses to these murderous attacks have ranged from very mild condemnation from the Western powers and institutions, to outright support for the actions of the Israeli government and military.

Further protests around the world  will take place in the coming weeks. The establishment, including the right wing in the Labour Party who discovered their previously never seen before ‘anti-racist’ conscience for about 30 minutes last week, will be silent towards the suffering of the Palestinian masses. It will require the active solidarity of ordinary people, including the hundreds of thousands of Jeremy Corbyn supporters in this country, to ensure the Palestinians are not isolated.

The Socialist Party commits its solidarity to the struggle. At the same time, pointing out with our co-thinkers in the Socialist Struggle Movement in Israel-Palestine, that we need to build a mass movement for socialist change here and in the Middle East; to end the siege of Gaza, the occupation and to build a society that ends all racism and oppression and where national rights and self-determination are guaranteed for all.

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Low paid Teaching Assistants to be made redundant as one Head Teacher’s salary soars

Low paid Teaching Assistants to be made redundant as one Head Teacher’s salary soars

Photo – Rugby Observer

By a Socialist Party member in Rugby

Avon Valley School in Rugby have announced they are to make seven teaching assistants redundant due to consistent cuts to their budget by the Tories.

This comes just a week after it was revealed that the head of Ashlawn School in Rugby is earning £270,000 per year. Head of Ashlawn Lois Reed received a pay rise of around 50% from 2016 to 2017. This places her among the highest paid heads in the country and on £150,000 more than the second highest paid head in the town at Lawrence Sheriff School.

One Rugby resident said Mrs Reed’s pay is obscene particularly at a time when many schools are struggling to balance their budgets.

It’s a question of priorities, do we want our schools adequately funded and staffed in order to provide quality education for our children or do we want fat cat salaries for one head teacher who values the Government’s academy and free school programme above a decent education for all? (As well as being Ashlawn’s head teacher Mrs Reed is also acting CEO & accounting officer for the Transforming Lives Education Trust and is leading the expansion of free schools in the Rugby area.)

The Socialist Party says:

* No to all cuts – defend every school, job, course and service
* Organise campaigns in every area uniting teachers, support staff, parents students and the community
* For a trade union organised national demonstration in defence of education
* Co-ordinated strike action by education workers to stop cuts
* Fight for a fully funded, democratically run, genuinely comprehensive education system

If you agree with us, we urge you to get in touch and help us build a movement to defend education and to fight for socialist change. Please fill in the form below!

Socialists hold successful meeting on IWD

Socialists hold successful meeting on IWD

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Over 35 people attended a Socialist Party Public meeting to celebrate International Women’s day in Coventry last week. The event was chaired by NUT NEC member and Coventry TUC President Jane Nellist (in a personal capacity). Our main speaker was Tessa Warrington, a Socialist Party organiser in the East Midlands who gave a fantastic introductionary speech to a meeting room filled with many working class women involved in different struggles and battles.

Local activists from the WASPI (Women Against State Pension Inequality) campaign updated those present about their struggle. Keep our NHS Public organisers Julie and Vicky Horbury attended and spoke about the local battle to defend the NHS and explaining the crucial role it plays in defending and fighting for women’s rights.

Other speakers spoke about the role working class women and socialists played in winning the right to vote, on fighting for equal pay and maternity and abortion rights. What was clear throughout the contributions is that the ruling class has never granted any rights without the struggle of ordinary people – and it is that struggle to which the Socialist Party is committed to build, and win.

Protesters rally in the snow to support the NHS

Protesters rally in the snow to support the NHS

Following from successful movements and protests across the country Coventry Keep Our NHS Public organised a protest to protect our NHS on the 3rd of March. Protestors, including many Socialist Party members, gathered at the walk in centre on Stoney Stanton Rd and marched towards Broadgate – calling on the government to increase NHS funding and to scrap PFI contracts. Despite the cold and snow, there were over 60 in attendance and there was great support from the general public for the campaign, including many NHS workers.

At Broadgate speakers gave rousing speeches on issues affecting the NHS, explaining how the NHS ‘winter crisis’ is a symptom of poor funding and privatisation, and how the Tories deliberately allow this to continue. The rally was chaired by Jane Nellist, president of Coventry TUC. Vicky Horbury, organiser of the Keep Our NHS Public campaign, highlighted how Coventry’s health centre may be under threat, and how important it is to campaign for the NHS in Coventry.

Steve Score spoke about how campaigns against Tory health service cuts are important and how they can succeed. As chair of the successful campaign to Save Glenfield Children’s Heart Centre his insights were inspiring for protesters and set an example for a successful campaign. He argued that going forward there must be a united movement, and also that trade unions should increase their support of the junior doctors’ struggles. Similarly, Dr Louise Irvine, co-chair of Health Campaigns Together, spoke about leading the successful ‘Save Lewisham Hospital’ campaign, emphasising the importance of uniting patients and staff in mass organisation to challenge Tory plans to ‘downgrade’ the hospital. Raising tens of thousands of pounds, the campaign was able to successfully challenge the Tories plans and resulted in a great victory for local people. Both campaigns prove the importance of uniting patients and staff to effectively oppose the Tory cuts and prove that through organisation campaigns can win.

Alistair Smith, Warwick University lecturer in global sustainable development and UCU member, brought solidarity from the UCU amidst their continuing industrial action. He explained how education and health are both core parts of our society and how individualism has been pushed upon us at the expense of the many. The marketisation of health and education in tandem are symptoms of the same Tory ideology that sacrifices principal for profit. It was encouraging for all to see support and unity from wider movements for the NHS.

Dr Louise Irvine and Jane Nellist speaking at the rally

Socialist Party members also ran a stall, distributing leaflets and selling The Socialist newspaper as well the Socialism Today magazine. The amount of interest shown in our literature reflects the public’s appetite to oppose Tory attacks on the NHS, and that socialist ideas are key to this struggle. The Socialist Party will continue to support the Coventry Keep Our NHS Public campaign and to work with them on future events.

 

Leading Coventry trade unionist urges support for International Women’s Day meeting

Leading Coventry trade unionist urges support for International Women’s Day meeting

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Jane Nellist

Coventry Socialist Party are holding a meeting this week to mark International Women’s Day 2018. The event will take place on Thursday 8th March, 7.30pm at Methodist Hall, Warwick Lane, Coventry City Centre, CV1 2HA. Please visit the Facebook event for more information.

Here Jane Nellist, a prominent socialist trade unionist in the city, explains why she is attending the meeting and why everyone should attend.

“It’s 48 years since the first Women’s Liberation demonstration took place in London on March 6th 1971.  This had a huge impact on me as a 15 year old, reading about the demand for equal pay and equal rights for women.  It gave me confidence. This year we celebrate the 100 year anniversary of the right for some women to vote (all working class women gained the vote 10 years later!).
Whilst women have made huge strides forward thanks to the struggles of women, especially working class women, there is still a long way to go.
As a member of the Socialist Party in Coventry, I will be going to the public meeting on Thursday 8th March, International Women’s Day, at the Methodist Central Hall to discuss how we can take the fight for full rights for women and the real liberation from a class system that still divides and rules us.
The equal pay gap, continuing sexual harassment of women, the cuts to our services- our health, our safety and our children’s services and many more- must be challenged.
But more importantly we have to rid ourselves of capitalism that creates a society where the 99% are forced to endure austerity whilst the 1% continue to cream off vast wealth.
We stand in the shoes of those women and men who have fought and won- the Ford Workers, the women Chainmakers, the working class women in the cotton mills fighting for the vote.
Come and join us on Thursday evening”