Poll shows that Socialism is on the rise!

Poll shows that Socialism is on the rise!

Socialism Rising

Socialism Rising

After the 2015 General Election many people will be understandably wary of polls, and for good reason.

However a poll released by YouGov certainly makes for interesting, and encouraging reading. A survey of 3905 people showed that British people are keener on Socialism than Capitalism and that 36% of people have a very favourable or somewhat favourable opinion of Socialism compared to 33% who have a very favourable or somewhat favourable opinion of Capitalism.

In the same survey, almost 1 in 5 people described themselves as Socialists.

As ever these poll findings should be treated carefully. No doubt what people understand as Socialism will vary greatly. But what we can say is that this confirms something we have said for a long time, Socialism is far from dead, on the contrary it is on the rise.

Hardly surprising given that it was announced earlier this year that the 62 richest people in the world own as much wealth as half of the world’s population put together.

So if you are one of the growing number of people looking at Socialism as an alternative to global capitalist crisis, why don’t you get in touch to join us or find out more? Change won’t just happen, we have to get organised. Fill in the form below!

 

Ann Lucas told – cut cake, not libraries!

Ann Lucas told – cut cake, not libraries!

12670474_10206160049981875_583588948740110353_n

Protesters highlighting Lucas’ record of cuts

Library campaigners protested against Cllr Ann Lucas at an event last week. Sarah Smith was one of them, and she wrote this report.

February 10th marked the 30th birthday of Central Library, and the guest of honour at the celebration was Cllr Ann Lucas – leader of Coventry City Council. She proudly cut a cake to celebrate – despite her leading the council that’s cutting our libraries!

All libraries are still threatened with closure, and under the current plans almost all libraries other than Central will be closing on a Wednesday and Sunday, and Central will be closing an hour earlier. Willenhall and Arena library are both being moved to cheaper buildings, 35 library jobs will be cut and the mobile library is being scrapped altogether.

We at Save Coventry Libraries went to the event to tell Ann Lucas to cut the cake but not the libraries. We had a peaceful protest to highlight the hypocrisy of Coventry City Council.We were thanked and supported by a number of people in the audience at the event – and we will carry on fighting for our libraries!

Fighting to save Coventry’s last two play centres

Fighting to save Coventry’s last two play centres

edgwick

Campaigners outside Edgwick Play Centre

Parents and children who use Edgwick and Eagle St play centres took to the streets of Coventry on Saturday as part of their campaign to save the City’s last 2 play centres.

The centres face closure as part of the council’s latest cuts.

Speaking outside the council house, Nebiyu one of the children using Eagle Street play centre said “It’s wrong to close play centres. They are somewhere safe to go.”

One Nanny present confirmed that saying that her grandson “suffered bullying at school and the play centre was the only socialising he gets with kids his own age.”

Protest organiser Simon Evans says the campaign will go on. “The support from parents and kids has been marvellous and our local schools including St Elizabeth’s and our local police centre are determined to help us keep this open, and have spoken out with their concerns if they are to be closed.”

Simon’s daughter Kimberly said: “Most of these kids, like me, have made brilliant friends and has helped with socialisation. It’s so sad.”

The play centre provides a service 6 days a week  (3 to 5.30, 10 to 2.30 Saturdays) and the site is used to run a youth club on 3 evenings. George Sands of UNISON says it will mean the loss of more female, part-time jobs. He believes the council plan to hand the building over to a private firm for an under 2’s nursery. “But why can’t both services use the facility?”

Jane Nellist of the NUT, the teachers union, and secretary of Coventry Trades Union Council said that “play is central to children’s development and there should be many more play centres, not none! It cannot be right that in Coventry we will have 2 giant universities and no play centres.” Jane attacked government cuts pointing out that Britain is a rich country but that if play centres were being closed then the money is in the wrong hands.

We urge all readers to support the play centre campaigners.

Simon can be reached at simon_evansuk@yahoo.co.uk

Austerity: how many more protests like this do we have to witness outside the council house?

Playcentrecouncilhouse

Outside the Council House

The Socialist Party supported and will continue to support the protest of the play centre campaigners and believes it is sad that year after year we have seen countless groups of Coventry people campaigning to save services. From schools, disabled workshops, youth clubs, play centres, swimming baths and so many more. When will this be enough for local councils to say enough is enough?

Dave Nellist warmed to this theme. He said it was shameful that we had to see “Kids and parents defending play centres outside the council house and that not one councillor was here. What are councillors there for if not to defend our city and it’s people’s services?”

He added that “…the Council now has £84 million in reserves, and what would it cost to keep these play centres open? £100,000?”

They could be kept open, he argued, while a campaign was built to fight to win back some of the money that the government has stolen from our city.

In the parents own words…  Why a play centre is so important

banner 2

Save our play centres!

Simon Evans: “My children Kimberly, aged 11 and Rhian, aged 7 will be affected by the closure. Kimberly is now at secondary school and her favourite thing to do is to play football, which if not for the play centre, she would rarely be able to do this as she feels unable to join the boys at her school to play, while her girl friends there do not play.

Rhian has built up a lot of confidence since she started going to the play centre. When she first went she would not speak to more than a few children. Now she speaks to several children there, and even joins in with games. I am very concerned with the safety of the park if the play centre closes, as the staff there report any suspicious activity that they witness to the local police.”

Lucy O’Donoghue’s child Saskia goes to the play centre states: “The closure of the play centre will have a very big negative impact on our family. I am a single mum with no transport and limited resources, my daughter is an only child and the play centre provide a safe positive, multicultural, tolerant environment for her to play, trips to go on.”

Lisa Achrar whose children Adriam and Mishara go to the play centre says: “It will mean I would be unable to work to provide for my family”.

Salma Begum, whose child Muhammed goes there says: “There will be nowhere to go. If parents need to go to work they will know that children are safe without having to worry.”

Roxanne Richmond’s whose child Olivia goes there says: “The play centre has a huge impact on Olivia’s social skills and enables her to mix with the children from all sorts of backgrounds and ethnic groups; This enables her to become more confident and has brought her lots of new social skills.”

Lower Stoke by election – Socialist Party statement

Lower Stoke by election – Socialist Party statement

Coventry Socialist Party has decided not to propose nomination of a TUSC candidate in the forthcoming Lower Stoke by-election.

005

Dave Nellist with Lower Stoke Socialist Party campaigner Rob McArdle

Former Coventry councillor Dave Nellist, explained today:

“Socialists in Coventry remain resolutely opposed to the cuts the Labour Council are continuing to pass on.  Such as the £3 million cut to Council Tax support for the city’s poorest.

We now know that over 1400 council jobs have been cut in the last five years, and the council plans to cut 1000 more.  That’s 2,500 young people in Coventry denied the chance of a decent job.  And Councillor Damian Gannon, Cabinet Member for Finance, has said the authority is ‘looking at altering employment terms such as holiday and sickness pay’ of those who remain.

It’s no defence for Labour to say they are responding to national Tory cuts – locally, Labour has doubled its reserves in the last four years from £41m to £84m; it could use a proportion of that to delay cuts whilst launching a campaign to force the government to restore proper funding to the city.

These are the arguments we will continue to put.  But we are conscious that this is the first local by-election since Jeremy Corbyn was elected as the new leader of the Labour Party.

Jeremy Corbyn says the Labour Party will be anti-austerity and we want to work with members of Labour, especially new members, who support that.

Unfortunately TUSC hasn’t yet had the opportunity to sit down with Jeremy to discuss what he can do to get Labour councillors, in Coventry and elsewhere, to refuse to implement Tory cuts.

Or to find out what he thinks council service users, trade unionists, and community campaigners should do in elections if all the likely candidates on the ballot paper are going to carry out the cuts.

So, on this occasion, the Socialist Party has agreed not to stand a candidate, so that there is no artificial obstacle to having that discussion with Jeremy and his supporters.

But time is short. Standing aside in a council by-election is one thing. But in May there will be over 2000 councillors up for election, including 18 seats in Coventry.

We want to have a serious discussion with those in Labour who are serious about fighting the cuts. But the Socialist Party is also clear that any politician who votes for cuts cannot expect to have a free run at the ballot box, no matter what party label they wear.”

 

Today has been named ‘Fat Cat Tuesday’

Today has been named ‘Fat Cat Tuesday’

The_Subsidised_Mineowner

Why? Because it has been revealed that it will have taken top bosses in the UK just 22 hours to ‘earn’ what the average worker would take home in the entire 12 months of 2016.

The reality for many workers is even worse as the High Pay Centre, who conducted the research used the median UK salary of £27,645.  Large numbers of people are on zero hour contracts, or forced in to casualised, part time jobs so even attaining the ‘average’ salary is nothing more than a pipe dream.

This comes at the same time as many workers are struggling to make ends meet due to increased job insecurity, pay that has not kept up with rising prices in recent times and where the pressure of work is causing huge stress and anxiety with the growing obsession with ‘performance targets’.

The figures released today show once again why we need to fight to get rid of this system. Under capitalism, a system driven by profit, obscenities like Fat Cat Tuesday will continue. In reality, every day is a Fat Cat Day for the minority who own and control the wealth. We need a massive fight for better pay. The Socialist Party demands a minimum wage of at least £10 per hour, with no exemptions.

We can look to the United States where a movement heavily influenced by Socialists is gaining ground in the fight for a $15 per hour minimum wage. At the same time, we need to challenge and ultimately replace profit driven capitalism with a socialist society, that puts human need before the profit of a tiny minority. Join us in fighting for socialism!

Our 10 most popular posts in 2015

Our 10 most popular posts in 2015

No evictions here!

No evictions here!

As we move in to 2016, we look back at our 10 most popular posts from 2015. Our website received a record number of views in 2015, and we thank all of those who wrote articles, contributed photographs, or who shared our articles on social media. It makes a big difference!

We have published dozens of articles on a wide variety of issues – from important campaigns in the city and surrounding area such as Save Coventry Libraries, from picket lines when strikes have taken place, the anti Bedroom Tax movement and the struggles of youth and students.

In 2016 we encourage you to connect with us on Facebook and Twitter and to take the next step in the fight for Socialism!

Here are the 10 most popular articles from 2015

  1. TUSC wins nearly 400 votes in Kenilworth
  2. Dave Nellist on the Artist Taxi Driver
  3. Museum staff forced to take pay cut
  4. Over 100 people join Coventry protest against austerity
  5. ‘Either we fight or we lay down and die’ – Protest at Coventry City Link
  6. Dave Nellist outlines the Socialist response to the TTIP deal
  7. Another eviction stopped in Coventry
  8. 2015 elections – Vote Socialist on 7th May
  9. Nellist welcomes left wing victory in Greece
  10. Coventry students demand £10 for uni workers

We wish you a Happy New Year, join us in the struggle for socialism in 2016!

 

 

Xmas greetings from Coventry Socialist Party

Xmas greetings from Coventry Socialist Party

1510371_10155777545320457_323322116741293045_n

One of the protests against cuts earlier in 2015

Coventry Socialist Party would like to send Xmas greetings to all members and supporters in what has been a busy 2015. We would like to thank all those who have helped us during the year, whether you were one of the thousands of people who voted for us in the Local or General elections in May, donated to our fighting fund, supported one of our many campaigns or who helped in any other way.

It has been another challenging year for working class people as capitalist austerity continues to hit ordinary people here in Coventry, across the UK and all over the world.

However 2015 has seen alternatives to austerity and the idea of fighting back become more prominent. The election of Jeremy Corbyn as Labour leader, the rise of PODEMOS in Spain and Bernie Sanders in the US shows there is an appetite for anti-corporate policies and anti-establishment movements.  Not only that, the re-election of Socialist Alternative member Kshama Sawant in Seattle shows there is a growing mood not just for anti-corporate politics but for bold socialist policies to challenge capitalism.  Read this Guardian article where Kshama explains why Socialism is becoming more popular

2016 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.

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

Shocking figures expose poverty pay in Coventry

Shocking figures expose poverty pay in Coventry

Low pay in Coventry

Low pay in Coventry

Figures reported by the Coventry Telegraph today have exposed the extent of low pay in our city.

The report showed that according to government figures around 26,000 people, or nearly 1 in 5 of those in work in 2014, were earning less than the living wage of £7.65 per hour.

Low pay, linked to the proliferation of zero hour contracts and casualised work combined with the recent and future job losses will further exacerbate growing inequality in the city. Tory cuts to tax credits will drag ever more people in to the race to the bottom.

It also exposes the claim from the leadership of Coventry City Council including Labour councillors who boast regularly that Coventry is going to be a ‘top ten city’. A ‘top ten city’, but for whom? Is it a ‘top ten city’ for those 18,000 people who rely on foodbanks or for those trying to survive on less than the living wage (though we would also ask who could actually live on the 2015 living wage rate of £7.85 per hour?) Is it a ‘top ten city’ for those who can’t get decent housing and are driven in to the hands of landlords charging exorbitant rent?

Or is it a top ten city for businesses wanting to make more profit on the back of a low wage workforce who do not know when they working from one week to the next?

We have outlined previously an alternative for Coventry, and what councillors could be doing to lead a fight back in the city. We would encourage people to look at this by clicking here

The situation is only going to get worse as the Council add to over 1,000 people it has already made redundant in the last 5 years with further massive cuts expected to take place in the near future.

It is a far cry from the not so distant past in Coventry. Coventry had one of the highest wage rates in the country. The need to rebuild trade union organisation across the city is paramount. Companies and organisations can’t be allowed to get away with poverty pay and the use of zero hour contracts.

This isn’t just a Coventry problem. Across the country and indeed the world there is a race to the bottom as companies and governments of the 1 per cent attempt to make ordinary people pay for the capitalist economic crisis. The logic of the system is to drive down wages as well the workplace rights of working class people to make more profit. This needs to be challenged – we need a massive fight for a £10 per hour minimum wage, decent and secure jobs and housing for all. This should be linked to the fight to get rid of this crisis ridden capitalist system. If you agree with us, we encourage you to join us

 

 

 

 

Public Meeting – What next after Corbyn’s Victory?

Jeremy Corbyn victory!

* POPULARITY OF ANTI-AUSTERITY IDEAS CONFIRMED

* NOW THE BATTLE TO CREATE AN ANTI-AUSTERITY PARTY BEGINS


 Coventry Socialist Party Public Meeting – all welcome!

After the Labour Party leadership Election…Can Jeremy Corbyn change Labour?..What next after the result?

Thursday 24th September 7.30pm @ Coventry Methodist Central Hall

Warwick Lane, Coventry City Centre, CV1 2HA

Speaker: Dave Nellist

A former ‘Militant’ Labour MP, Coventry Socialist Party Councillor & now National Chair of the Trade Unionist & Socialist Coalition. Dave was expelled from the Labour Party along with thousands of other Militant supporters for their Socialist ideas & views in the early 90’s.

FaceBook Event

Dave Nellist and Jeremy Corbyn marching

Dave Nellist and Jeremy Corbyn marching


This is a historic moment. Nothing will be the same again. For decades Westminster politics has meant nothing but right-wing, pro-big business politics.

A handful of left Labour MPs like Jeremy Corbyn voted against austerity, war and the undermining of democracy but their isolated voices were largely drowned out.

Now the pro-austerity consensus has been smashed with Jeremy Corbyn’s election as leader of the Labour Party with 59.5% of the vote.

The hopes have been raised of millions who want to see a society for the 99% not the 1%.

The election of Jeremy Corbyn, however, is only the beginning. Throughout the election the right wing that dominates the Labour Party and the capitalist media have done everything in their power to try and stop Corbyn winning.

Tens of thousands of people have been ruled out of voting in the leadership election, overwhelmingly Corbyn supporters.

But nothing has worked, on the contrary the attacks on Corbyn from Blair, Brown, Mandelson and the rest have only increased his support.

Deeply disillusioned with the establishment politicians, hundreds of thousands of people have seized the opportunity created by Jeremy Corbyn’s presence on the Labour leadership ballot to begin to create a political voice for their anti-austerity views.

Even ultra-Blairite Liz Kendall was forced to admit that Corbyn had “mobilised and enthused vast numbers of people in a way we haven’t seen for decades.” In the face of that enthusiasm the Labour right has been forced back.

It is ruled out that the Labour right will accept defeat and simply allow the Labour Party to be shifted left by Corbyn and his supporters.

Legal challenges or immediate attempts to launch a coup against Corbyn still cannot be totally ruled out but are not likely given the scale of his victory.
It is clear, however, that the Labour right will attempt to imprison and undermine Corbyn with the aim of removing him as soon as possible.

In doing so they will have the full support of the capitalist establishment. Thatcher considered Blair and New Labour were her greatest success.

Labour had been transformed into a party that could be relied on to act in the interests of the 1%. There will now be a huge campaign, putting what has happened during the election into the shade, to try and once again make sure that the voice of the majority – the working class – is once again extinguished within the Labour Party.

How can onslaught from right be defeated?

Jeremy Corbyn will not be able to defeat the onslaught he will face if he remains isolated within the constraints of the right-wing dominated Labour Party machine.

There are only nine members of the socialist group of MPs of which he is a member. To win he needs to build on the popular movement against austerity that found a voice in his election campaign.

Much of his support has come from the ‘outside’ – new members and registered supporters who were attracted by the hope of something different.

This is a new party in the process of formation. Many of those are a new generation of young people, alongside some returning former members.

As a starting point we would urgently encourage Jeremy Corbyn to organise a huge conference of all those who support him, including the many trade unions – including non-affiliated unions like the RMT, PCS and FBU – which support a fighting anti-austerity programme.

The Socialist Party would participate in such a conference and would encourage all other anti-austerity campaigners to do the same.
Part of the transformation of Labour into a pro-capitalist party has been the complete destruction of the democracy which previously existed.

Labour ‘moderates’ are already bleating that the left would ‘seize the party’s levers of power’ under Corbyn’s leadership.

What they mean by this is “giving more control over policy to the annual conference and the National Executive Committee and less influence to the Parliamentary Labour Party” (The Independent 11.09.15).

In other words restoring some of the party democracy that existed in the past! They are also hysterically attacking any attempt to re-select MPs.

Yet the right to re-select MPs just means the democratic right of a party’s members to replace an MP that has voted against the party’s policies.

That should be uncontroversial. However, it is not a surprise it upsets Labour MPs who have voted for welfare cuts, austerity and war.

Jeremy Corbyn should fight to implement every one of the democratic measures which so terrifies Labour’s right wing, including restoring the collective voice of the organised working class, via the trade unions, within the party.

At the same time the party should be opened up. All those who have been forced out or expelled in the past for fighting against cuts and for socialist ideas should be invited back.

The Corbyn campaign has raised the idea of using social media and virtual democracy to hold policy consultations.

Such methods can play a useful supplementary role but defeating the pro-big business elements that dominate the Labour machine will require mass, active participation.

Socialist ideas popular

The capitalist media has united in insisting that a Corbyn-led Labour Party is unelectable. They will do their best to make it so, but it isn’t true! On the contrary, the latest polling from Lord Ashcroft gives 52% of people agreeing that a ‘radical socialist alternative would be a good thing’.

The population is far to the left of the establishment politicians. For example, 68%, 67% and 66% support renationalisation of the energy companies, the Royal Mail and the railway companies respectively.

The last general election has already shown the popularity of anti-austerity ideas. While ‘austerity-lite’ Labour was almost annihilated in Scotland the SNP, despite implementing austerity policies in Scotland, was able to sweep the board by promising to oppose austerity in Westminster.
Meanwhile, despite hatred for the Con-Dem government, Labour in England and Wales was only able to regain the support of a million of the over four million votes it has lost since 1997.

Disillusioned Labour voters did not, in the overwhelming majority of cases, vote Tory but voted for parties that they saw as protesting against the establishment – or stayed at home and did not vote at all.

Jeremy Corbyn’s calls for nationalisation of rail and the energy companies, a £10 an hour minimum wage, free education, council house building, and repeal of the anti-union laws have already enthused millions.

Nonetheless, the programme Jeremy Corbyn’s campaign has presented in his written programme is actually quite limited.

He has raised the popular idea of a ‘people’s QE’ but has not drawn all the conclusions about what would be necessary to implement such a policy.

He merely calls for ‘meaningful regulation of the banking sector’ rather than for nationalisation of the banks under democratic control, for example.

Part of building a successful movement against austerity would be a democratic discussion on how to permanently defeat it.

Within such a discussion the Socialist Party would argue that would require the need for the nationalisation – under democratic working class control – of the major companies and banks that dominate the economy.

Only in this way would it be possible to begin to build a democratic socialist society planned to meet the needs of the majority instead of having, as at present, a society driven by maximising the profits of the 1%.

For councillors who fight the cuts

Local councils will be a central battleground in the struggle to create an anti-austerity party. Jeremy Corbyn has rightly made the call for councils to stand together and refuse to implement government cuts.

Over 450 councillors have signed up to support Jeremy Corbyn. This is significant, but it is barely 6% of the total number of Labour councillors.

Unfortunately, the majority of Labour candidates in the next year’s council elections will still be pro-austerity.

Council services have already been cut by 39%. We cannot accept Labour councillors continuing to slash more.

The experience of Syriza in Greece, where the leadership of an anti-austerity party capitulated to the pressure of big business and is now implementing austerity, shows that defeating austerity requires a determined struggle.

To accept pro-austerity Labour councillors continuing to slash jobs and services would be to prepare the ground for the defeat of the movement that has begun with Jeremy Corbyn’s election.

The Socialist Party is part of the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) which was co-founded by Bob Crow the late general secretary of the RMT transport workers’ union in order to stand anti-austerity candidates in elections.

TUSC will assist in next year’s council elections, by supporting Labour candidates who clearly pledge to vote against cuts and at the same time standing against those who say they will continue to axe local services.

For a mass party of the working class

Jeremy Corbyn’s victory has lifted the confidence of all those who oppose austerity and has already dealt a blow to the establishment.

However if the right succeed in containing and undermining him the danger is that those drawn around Corbyn’s campaign will become disillusioned and leave.

If he is removed at any stage it is vital that all the conclusions are drawn about the viability of Labour as a vehicle to continue the struggle against austerity.

We urgently need a mass party for the working class that can spearhead a struggle against austerity. The route to this is not straightforward.

But Jeremy Corbyn’s victory and, above all, the mobilisation of hundreds of thousands of anti-austerity young people and workers that have ensured that victory are an important step forward.

Las Iguanas – stop pinching tips!

Las Iguanas – stop pinching tips!

Workers protest against unfair tipping policies

Workers protest against unfair tipping policies

By Jordan Jefferies

Las Iguanas, a Latin American restaurant chain which has recently opened a branch in Coventry, has become the centre of an ongoing dispute over tipping policies. This dispute comes off the back of the restaurant chain increasing its turnover to £48.3million in 2014, compared with £40.9million in the previous financial year.

Las Iguanas implements a tipping policy whereby table staff are required to pay their employers three percent of the table sales they generate per shift. This means that if a waiter serves £150 worth of food but fails to receive £4.50 in tips, they will then be forced to pay the money out of their wage. Even on George Osborne’s so-called “living wage” (assuming you are over 25), this opens up the possibility of staff losing over half an hour’s pay per shift! In London the percentage rises further to 4.4%, another sign of the Conservatives London-centric economy.

The justification Las Iguanas offered when questioned about their tipping policy was that it allowed kitchen workers and the front of house team to share the tips more equitably. However this excuse makes less sense than the overcomplex tipping policy. No clear explanation as to how the policy practically ensures tips are shared equally was offered.

Las Iguanas isn’t the only company that has dubious tipping policies, with many big chain companies deducting a percentage of the tip for “admin costs”. For example, until recently Pizza Express deducted a massive 8% of any credit card tip. According to the Unite union, this meant the company pocketed £1million per year. After a successful campaign by staff put pressure on Pizza Express, they’ve backed down – but companies like Giraffe and Cafe Rouge still take 10% of all the tips collected.

What’s clear is that waiting staff are being put under pressure by big chains; not content with underpaying their staff, they also want a cut of the tips they earn. A wage dictated by the generosity of the person you’re serving isn’t appropriate in the 21st century, especially when a company won’t even let you have that. That’s why it’s important to increase the minimum wage – we demand a wage of £10 an hour now and an end to exploitative zero-hour contracts to give all workers stability and a wage they can live on.