Coventry wins City of Culture 2021 – celebrate working class culture and fight for decent funding  

Coventry wins City of Culture 2021 – celebrate working class culture and fight for decent funding  

Thursday evening brought news that Coventry has been named the City of Culture 2021.

Coventry Socialist Party welcomes the city’s victory and shares with many the hope that this will bring a much needed boost to the city following year after year of austerity cuts.

We believe it is a great chance to celebrate Coventry’s rich history of working class culture and struggle. From the English Civil War to the Poll Tax, Coventry has been a stronghold of resistance. The phrase “sent to Coventry” comes from the treatment Royalist army prisoner got when imprisoned in Coventry, a stronghold of the Parliamentarian forces – who hoisted their banner on what is now Banner Lane and marched down Cromwell Lane to smash the Royalists!
During both World Wars, women workers in Coventry organised in trade unions to fight for better pay and conditions. Fighting workers also ensured decent jobs in Coventry’s factories, making this the richest working class city in the country.
In the 1980s thousands of Coventry people refused to pay the Poll Tax, which was part of the movement that brought down Thatcher. They also elected Dave Nellist, a “Militant” Labour MP, who said in response to the announcement “Hopefully, at least 50% of events can be designed, developed and grown within the city itself.”

Coventry will be receiving increased funding after this announcement – the council should work out a plan for how this can be used to reopen libraries and other facilities that have closed, closures that limit access to culture and opportunities for Coventry people.

Advertisements

Trump retweets Britain First videos – time to fightback against racism and capitalism!

Trump retweets Britain First videos – time to fightback against racism and capitalism!

trumpbritainfirst

Trump and Jayda Fransen

Donald Trump, the President of the United States of America, has once again hit the headlines for his Twitter activities. On this occasion he has sent the tiny far right grouping Britain First in to raptures by retweeting videos posted by their deputy leader Jayda Fransen. Not surprisingly this has been warmly welcomed by Britain First, who despite having a large social media following struggle to get more than a few dozen people to their ‘national mobilisations’.

Prime Minister Theresa May has said that Trump was wrong to retweet Britain First saying “hateful narratives which peddle lies and stoke tensions”. However no one will forget Theresa May gladly holding hands with Trump, nor the role the Tories and right wing Labour MPs have played in helping to create an atmosphere where the far right can potentially grow.

It is rumoured that Trump will visit the UK some time in 2018. The Socialist Party look forward to being part of the mass movement that will great him in opposition to his agenda that seeks to divide working class people away from the real problem in society, that is the capitalist system that breeds war, racism and poverty in the UK, US and across the world.

Join us to help build a mass socialist movement that will consign Trump, Britain First and their system to the dustbin of history!

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

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

new publication

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

IMG_20170923_121702_1.jpg

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.

Save Coventry Libraries campaigner speaks as Cheylesmore library set for closure

Save Coventry Libraries campaigner speaks as Cheylesmore library set for closure

10353188_10155242983990457_6349800073063808471_n

Protesters outside Earlsdon Library

We have been sent the following article by Save Coventry Libraries campaigner Sarah Smith.

Cheylesmore Library will be closing on 10/8/2017.  Okay, so it’s earmarked to be re-opening as a community run Library on 4th September; why all the fuss you ask?

First of all, that is a whole three weeks and four days that a community will be without a library; just when it needs it the most, due to it being the summer holidays.

The government and local councils have NOT done a full investigation into the impact of community/volunteer solely ran libraries, however, they do know this, the average life span for a community/volunteer solely ran library is 18 months, where there has been only a handful of exceptions. Therefore when this happens it appears like they aren’t responsible for the closure of the libraries but the community/volunteers are.

Not only do they give up the responsibility to run these libraries, but they also give up responsibility for the safety of you. These volunteers are not CRB checked.  They will not be trained to deal with medical or other emergencies that occur, such as safe guarding issues, etc.

They are not even obliged to even open up the library as in if volunteers don’t turn up to open it then the library just doesn’t open.

Finally…

Council’s across the country do not have to impose the cut backs imposed by central government, they could spend reserves and form a campaign against central government for more money; better still, they could say no, if they wanted to and if our local councillors & MP’s refuse to do this, then maybe it’s time to elect those who will stand up for the people of Coventry.

Join the protest outside Cheylesmore Library on Thursday August 10th at 6pm!

Organising for safe homes in Coventry

Organising for safe homes in Coventry

Image may contain: one or more people, crowd and indoor

On Tuesday 1st August, Coventry Socialist Party held a public meeting in Hillfields about a new campaign for housing safety in Coventry.

Attendees included a number of local residents from tower blocks from a number of different areas of Coventry, all keen not just to highlight their own concerns and experiences but also to get involved and take action in organising a campaign on housing safety – an issue which has really come to the forefront in the wake of the Grenfell tragedy, which has left at least 80 people dead.

There was a very determined tone to the meeting – it was pointed out that what happened at Grenfell was a symptom of a capitalist system that puts profit before people, and holds working class people in complete contempt.

Local residents raised such issues as fire alarms being removed from tower blocks and housing provider Whitefriars charging tenants for repairs – up to £600 in some cases!

One of the main proposals of the meeting – to get local residents organised in tenants’ groups – was well received, with plans now underway to have tenants of three different tower blocks organise door-knocking and petitioning of other residents in their own flats.

The demands mentioned discussed include the fitting of sprinklers in all tower blocks – a recommendation consistently made by coroners following three different tower block fires nationally since 2005. As also mentioned in the meeting, the vital importance of a fully-functioning sprinkler system was starkly shown by the difference between the fire in Grenfell Tower and in a hotel in Dubai – a very similar structure but for a sprinkler system – in 2016. In the latter, nobody was killed.

It was clear that pressure must also be put on local landlords to fully enforce the highest safety standards across all housing in Coventry – private or social – and pressure should be put on local councillors to help tenants organise and fight for our rights. This is far from an impossible demand – Birmingham City Council, owning the majority of tower blocks in the West Midlands, will be carrying out the installation of sprinklers in all tower blocks across the city!

As we have made clear in a previous article, “We cannot afford a system which treats our lives with such contempt, and gives them so little value in comparison to those whose interests it was created solely to represent”. We have to link these issues to the overall demand to bring all housing back under public ownership. This is also linked to our demands to change society along socialist lines: to bring all infrastructure and the economy into the democratic control of working class people. For a society run for people, not profit!

Are you a tower block resident and want to get involved? Fill in the form below!

Hundreds attend #Justice4Daz campaign launch meeting and march

Hundreds attend #Justice4Daz campaign launch meeting and march

The march and rally for Darren Cumberbatch in Nuneaton on Edward Street

Marching for justice in Nuneaton (pic: Coventry Telegraph)

Over 200 people came to the launch meeting of the #Justice4Daz campaign last week, which was set up after Coventry man Darren Cumberbatch died after “contact” with the police – the third black man to die in such circumstances in a month, after Edson da Costa and Rashan Charles. Hundreds also joined a march in Nuneaton on Saturday.

The meeting was chaired by Reverend Desmond Jaddoo, who asked the question on many people’s minds – “why was this healthy 32 year old man torn away from his family and from the community?”

The meeting heard that Darren left his sister Carla’s house on Sunday July 9th “healthy and in great form”, and that the police only informed the family that he was in George Eliot Hospital on Wednesday 12th. Witnesses said he had been “battered” by police, and had black eyes and burns on his body. He told a friend he had been Tasered 9 times.

Speakers at the meeting called for the use of Tasers to be suspended due to concerns about their safety, and for the officers involved in Darren’s death to be suspended immediately. Concerns were also raised about the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC), who were described as “not fit for purpose”.

A speaker from Black Conscious Coventry argued that the problems within the police are systemic and rooted in the capitalist system: “Policing is not there to protect the community, it’s there to protect property and big corporations.”

Hundreds also marched through Nuneaton from the train station to McIntyre House, where Darren was staying, and on to the police station. The march was led by friends and family of Darren. Marchers laid flowers and candles outside McIntyre House.

The march then proceeded to the police station where Darren’s sister, Carla, spoke. Luke, a witness from the night when Darren “came into contact” with police, also spoke: “Something kicked off around 2 o’clock in the morning. I heard him screaming, I heard him shouting. The police were there. He was screaming for help. He was asking, ‘What have I done?’ I heard no reply. I heard tasers – no warning of tasers. I heard CS gas – no warning of CS gas … That night there was something going on that shouldn’t have been going on by police.”

Ryan Rochester, chair of the Coventry branch of the Communication Workers Union (CWU) said: “This happened three weeks ago and we still haven’t had a statement from the police. There is video footage from the incident – when are we going to see it? The longer people have to wait the more doubt there is on the validity of what is going on.”