Give May and the Tories their real P45

Give May and the Tories their real P45

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Theresa May is handed her P45

Today’s speech by Theresa May will go down in history as the one where she was famously handed a P45 by a protestor.

Millions of working class people around the country will have great sympathy with this action; little wonder when May’s Tories continue to cut benefits, refuse to fully break the pay cap, when foodbanks exist in every major town and city throughout the UK and our standard of living is dropping.

The only thing better than this stunt today will be when we can give May her real P45 and the Tories are turfed out of power. We all need to put maximum pressure on the Tories to get them out of office, particularly with the trade unions co-ordinating action on the issue of pay and austerity.

Lets get the Tories out and campaign for Corbyn-led Labour government on socialist policies.

Join us in this struggle and the fight against capitalism

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Brutal state violence in Catalonia – support the general strike and the Catalan people’s right to decide

Brutal state violence in Catalonia – support the general strike and the Catalan people’s right to decide

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The brutal attacks of the ‘Francoist’ Spanish state forces in their attempts to prevent the democratic rights of Catalan working class to vote in the independence referendum on Sunday 1st October has sent shockwaves across the world.

Plastic bullets have been fired on protesters, elderly people have been brutally attacked and around 500 people reported injured so far by the Spanish state forces. A tirade of attacks were launched by the forces this morning and last night to close down polling stations, physically attack and arrest those attempting to defend the referendum and voting process. Trade unions have now called for a general strike this week in response. 

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A general strike in response to this brutal repression has been called for Tuesday 3rd October. Coventry Socialist Party gives its full support and solidarity with the working class and youth of Catalonia engaged in this historic struggle!

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The images emerging from Catalonia only give a glimpse of the tremendous and fearless will of the Catalan working class to take on the Spanish states brutal oppression. 

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The below is part of a statement on today’s events from our sister organisation in Catalonia and Spain Izquierda Revolucionaria/Esquerra Revolucionaria and a link to the full statement. Due to the fast pace of events only a basic translation has been possible, however it explains the position socialists take on the current situation.

Wild Police violence and exemplary resistance from the people of Catalonia!

General strike on 3 October against the repression and the right to decide!

Down with the PP government!

Immediate withdrawal of repression forces!

Thousands of police and civilian guards have deployed savage repression to prevent the right to vote in the referendum of 1 October. Facing a tens of thousands of citizens, families, children and the elderly, stealing the ballot boxes as trophies, the riot police sent by the PP and the state to occupy Catalonia have been met with a massive and exemplary resistance from the people.

Despite the campaign of fear with which for days has attempted to frighten those who want to vote (arrests, millions of fines, records, web closures) the answer is being massive and exemplary in today’s day. This is the way. The mobilization must continue with a major general strike in Catalonia on 3 October and in the following days, and with mass demonstrations of the left fighting and the working class trade unions in the Spanish State. It’s time to break down the PP.

The images of Francoism have returned with all their strength from’s hand and his government of thieves, reactionary and National-Españolista. The heirs of the dictatorship have tried to teach the people of Catalonia a lesson, but what they will reap is a complete failure. The Rage, indignation and fury of millions of young people and workers will grow until they turn into a wall against which Franco’s right and his repressive state will crash against…”

http://www.izquierdarevolucionaria.net/index.php/estado-espanol/catalunya/10782-violencia-policial-salvaje-y-resistencia-ejemplar-del-pueblo-de-catalunya-huelga-general-el-3-de-octubre-contra-la-represion-y-por-el-derecho-a-decidir

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Here is a collection of photos of solidarity protests from other parts of Spain with the people of Catalonia

Here are two recent articles from the last week on the events leading up to the referendum:

Catalonia: Historic student mobilisation against Francoist repression

Spain/Catalonia: One million demonstrate in Barcelona for self-determination referendum

For further background the following extract is from a recent  statement published last week  by our sister organisation – Esquerra Revolucionària:

In an operation reminiscent of the days of the Franco dictatorship, members of the Civil Guard arrested 14 officials of the Catalan government responsible for the organisation of the referendum on 1 October. They have also seized referendum literature and raided printing premises.

Madrid has also moved to take control of the Catalan police force.

In addition there has been the imposition of a massive news blackout; arrests of youth for pasting posters; threats of criminal action against hundreds of mayors who backed the referendum; indiscriminate seizure of records in the headquarters of government buildings and attempts to raid the headquarters of the CUP [Popular Unity Candidacy].

The prohibition of political acts supporting the right to decide in Madrid, Gasteiz and Gijón; the intervention in the finances of the Catalan government by the central government, and the deployment of thousands of police officers in Catalonia to intimidate the population, all amount to the imposition of a state of emergency.

Scandalously, the Psoe leaders support this Francoist offensive against the people of Catalonia.

This is the consequence of Psoe embracing pro-Spanish nationalism for years and merging with the ruling class in all essential matters. The Psoe leaders have not only abandoned a socialist approach to the national question, they are placed alongside Franco, who denied that Catalonia is a nation.

The idea that the referendum represents a ‘coup d’état’ and is an ‘anti-democratic’ imposition against a section of the Catalan population is one of the biggest lies that the media, at the service of the Spanish capitalist class, is trying to sell.

If the state, the PP and the parties that are supporting them are so sure that the supporters of independence are a minority, why not accept the result of the ballot box? Why prevent the vote?

The real reason that explains the closed-mind attitude of the right-wing and the state is not that they defend democracy, but quite the opposite. They deny that the people of Catalonia have a right to decide and make Catalonia a nation.

The PP is a party flooded with cases of corruption. It has savagely cut public education and health and given more than €100 billion to the bankers. It evicts us from our homes and condemns us to precarious jobs and low wages. It supports dictatorships like the Moroccan or Saudi regimes, and encourages the foreign military interventions of imperialism. This party wants to give us lessons in democracy!

The attack on democratic freedoms represents a tremendous threat to the population of all of the territories, and especially for workers, young people and their fighting organisations throughout the Spanish state.

Leadership

Esquerra Revolucionària fully supports the general strike mobilisations being developed in Catalonia, but if we want to defeat the authoritarian assault perpetrated by the central government it must be accompanied by an appeal for the mobilisation of the working class and the youth of the rest of the Spanish state.

A mobilisation of this character is the way to more effectively confront and defeat the PP and its nationalist policies, and win the right of Catalonia to govern itself.

Unfortunately, the parliamentary formations to the left of the social democracy (CUP, Can, Comu, Izquierda Unida in Catalonia), and trade unions, have abandoned the struggle to lead a mass movement. They have failed to fight for a programme that unites the struggle for self-determination with economic and social demands that are being demanded by the majority of the working class, youth and the wider sectors.

It has given the formal leadership of the struggle against the state and the government of the PP to the PDeCAT (Catalan European Democratic Party), allowing these capitalist politicians to appear as victims of the authoritarian politics of the Spanish right wing.

The leaders of the PDeCAT looked for every excuse not to call the referendum. Finally, the pressure of the movement, and prospect of heavy election losses if they did not call a referendum, compelled them to do so.

The repression unleashed from the PP is a shock to millions of workers and young people from working class neighbourhoods of Catalonia.

Right now the conditions are present for many more to join the millions who are already mobilised, ready to defend the referendum, together with the sectors that also want to fight against repression but are suspicious of PDeCAT.

Esquerra Revolucionària calls on all workers and young people in Catalonia to fight for the right to decide their own future, against this authoritarian coup of the PP and the state.

A Catalan socialist republic would generate overwhelming sympathy among workers in the rest of the Spanish state and in all other countries of Europe, opening a path to transformation social and the liberation of all oppressed peoples.

For the right of the Catalonian people to decide!
Down with Rajoy and his Government of austerity! 

For a socialist Catalonia, for a socialist Spain and a socialist world!

Do you agree? Fill in the form below!

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

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.