70 people join lobby of Coventry Council against library closures

70 people join lobby of Coventry Council against library closures

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Lobbying the council – save our libraries!

Around 70 people braved the rain yesterday and joined a lobby of Coventry Labour Council organised by Save Coventry Libraries.

A number of councillors passed the demo and spoke to protesters saying that while they appreciate that libraries are a crucial service, they have no choice but to make cuts and close libraries. Let’s be clear, they do have a choice – the council could use the £84million+ that they have in reserves to fund services for a year, while building a campaign to demand the money back from central Government.

It is unfortunate but not surprising that most of the Labour councillors who voted to close these libraries are opposed to Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership of the Labour Party. It is a sad state of affairs when they spend more time attacking socialists on Twitter than they do defending the jobs and services of people in Coventry!

Save Coventry Libraries is encouraging people to write to their local councillors and MPs and tell them what your libraries mean to you, and that libraries are a necessity and a basic human right, not a luxury.

The campaign has three upcoming events – “Love Willenhall Library day” on Monday July 25th at 1pm, “Love Arena Park Library day” on Saturday July 30th at 12 noon, and a further lobby of Coventry Council on September 6th at 1pm.

Coventry teachers join national NUT strike

Coventry teachers join national NUT strike

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Protesting outside the Department for Education building in Coventry

Today saw members of the National Union of Teachers (NUT) take industrial action against funding cuts to schools, an increasing workload, and schools using unqualified teachers in order in classrooms in order to save money. Members of the NUT say they will continue to take industrial action demanding no more cuts to funding, so they can continue to provide an outstanding education and support for every child to develop and thrive.

Around 80 teachers and other trade unionists protested outside the Department for Education building in Coventry and at Godiva Statue, as well as holding picket lines at schools across the city.

“The 12% reduction in funding to Coventry schools will devastate education in this city. We will see a possible increase of class sizes to 35 and classes taught by unqualified teachers. Teachers will see their workload further increase and it is intolerable now. More and more teachers will leave teaching either by choice or by being made redundant as schools tighten their belts. Parents should be angry that this will impact on their children’s education.” said Nicky Downes, Coventry NUT equalities officer and Socialist Party member.

Since the Tories came into power we have seen attacks on our education, NHS and other public services across the country. Today it was announced that junior doctors have rejected the imposition of a new contract – the next step should be for them to take strike action alongside teachers, as part of the fight against austerity.

Coventry Labour MP Fletcher joins anti-Corbyn coup

Coventry Labour MP Fletcher joins anti-Corbyn coup

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Colleen Fletcher MP

Colleen Fletcher, Labour MP for Coventry North East, resigned from her secretarial position today as part of the attempted coup against Jeremy Corbyn. Fletcher, who was Parliamentary Private Secretary (PPS) to Kerry McCarthy MP, shadow secretary of state for environment, food and rural affairs, has also called for Jeremy to resign as Labour leader.

Fletcher’s resignation will have come as a shock to many, not because she was seen as a Corbyn supporter but because they did not realise she had a PPS position to resign from. Despite this, she has resigned in an attempt by the right-wing of the Parliamentary Labour Party to force Jeremy to resign as Labour leader. Like many MPs she is completely out of touch with the daily struggles of the ordinary working people she claims to represent. When heroic junior doctors went on strike in Coventry, with a picket line at Walsgrave Hospital in the heart of her constituency, Fletcher was nowhere to be seen – but when there’s a chance to attack the elected leader of the Labour Party she grabs it with both hands!

Jeremy is rightly resisting these attacks, and his supporters inside and outside the party are building a movement to defend him, including a petition which now has over 200,000 signatures and a demonstration outside Parliament. The Blairite coup has been on the cards since Jeremy became leader, and is now in full voice – we need to come out fighting to defend him.

Nicky Downes, who stood as a Socialist candidate against Fletcher in the 2015 elections, said “There is clear support for Jeremy from the public, with 10,000 people on the streets tonight at a protest in favour of his leadership. Colleen Fletcher has shown her true colours by resigning from the shadow cabinet along with the Blairites. It’s time to deselect her. Coventry needs an MP that will share Jeremy Corbyn’s opposition to austerity and fight for this city.”

A crucial weapon for those who want to defend the leadership of Corbyn and John McDonnell is to demand the reintroduction of mandatory reselection of MPs, meaning that local Labour Party members can hold them to account for their actions. Jeremy could even go further and remove the Labour whip from the plotters who are attempting to remove him!

Labour members and Corbyn supporters in Coventry North East who are angered by Fletcher’s actions should mobilise and pass a motion in their constituency party condemning her actions and demanding she faces reselection before a general election is held.

Jeremy is absolute right to stand up to the plotters and should continue to do so, and fight to defend his leadership in a fresh contest if necessary. We will continue to support his leadership as part of the fight for an anti-austerity party that will represent ordinary people.

Hundreds march for LGBT Pride in Coventry

Hundreds march for LGBT Pride in Coventry

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Socialist Party placards at Coventry Pride

Hundreds of people marched through Coventry on Saturday 18th in the city’s first Pride march. In a month when we the massacre in Orlando reminded us of reality of the violence that LGBT+ people face around the world, the march was loud and proud, with marchers chanting “we’re here, we’re queer, we will not live in fear!”

At Fargo Village we were the only political party campaigning, showing our solidarity with LGBT+ people and distributing leaflets and pamphlets against austerity. Pride events are often commercialised, with some LGBT+ organisations telling us to “celebrate” rather than fight for real equality and liberation – but in a world where we face hatred and discrimination every day for being who we are, we know we have a long way to go. To end LGBTphobia and hatred we need to fight for a socialist society.

Seattle Socialist Councilmember Kshama Sawant wrote the below statement in response to Orland0 – we stand in solidarity with our LGBT+ brothers and sisters around the world.

This morning, we were all devastated to learn of the horrific terrorist attack on the LGBTQ community at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida. Our hearts go out to all grieving, most especially to the victims and their families.

This mass murder did not happen in a political and social vacuum. Indeed, we did not even have time to come to terms with this loss before news broke of another would-be mass killer in Los Angeles. Fortunately, his plans to attack L.A. Pride were discovered and stopped. But this kind of bigotry and violence will continue unless we fight it through unified mass movements.

We condemn this monstrous terror attack, allegedly by a man claiming allegiance to ISIS. We must absolutely stand in solidarity with our LGBTQ Sisters and Brothers.

We must also fight back against any scapegoating and Islamophobia.

We have to organize, mobilize, and stand up to violence, hate speech and the many forms of oppression forced down on LGBTQ people and minorities under capitalism.

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Socialist Party stall at Pride

Former MP Dave Nellist to make the Socialist case against the EU

Former MP Dave Nellist to make the Socialist case against the EU

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Dave Nellist

Dave Nellist, the former Coventry Labour MP and Socialist Party Councillor will be making the Socialist and left wing case against the European Union in a public meeting taking place in the city.

The meeting, organised by the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC), is part of a nationwide tour of events taking place in over 20 towns and cities across the UK. Other speakers at the meeting include Hannah Sell, the Deputy General Secretary of the Socialist Party, and Doug Nicholls from Trade Unionists Against the EU.

Dave, the National Chair of TUSC, said:

“The EU debate has been reduced in the establishment media to a clash between different wings of the Tory party. It’s Cameron vs Boris, they say – two old Etonians, with another ex-public schoolboy Nigel Farage in the ring too.
But what about if you’re outside the 1% elite? Struggling to get by on low wages, a zero-hour contract maybe, or facing soaring rents and under-funded public services? What are our interests in the debate?
TUSC is arguing for a leave vote in the June EU referendum. We stand in the tradition of people like the late Tony Benn, the left wing Labour MP, and former RMT leader Bob Crow, who was well known for his support for international workers’ solidarity while opposing the EU as a body that was pushing anti-worker and pro-austerity policies. Opposition to the EU was also the position of Jeremy Corbyn, until very recently. As TUSC we are pleased to campaign alongside ASLEF, RMT and BFAWU trade unions in campaigning for an ‘exit left’ vote.
TUSC’s core policies include the renationalisation of the railways, Royal Mail and other privatised public services, industries and utilities; defending the right to asylum and opposing racist immigration controls; and democratic public ownership of the banks and major companies. None of these policies are compatible with the EU treaties. So why should we give a vote of confidence to EU laws and institutions which, as Greece shows, would be used to try and block socialist policies?
TUSC stands for real internationalism. Many of our problems – from economic stagnation, endless wars, the appalling treatment of refugees, to planet-threatening global warming – can only be solved at an international level. If society remains organised as it is today, based on a capitalist economic system that puts private profit first and divided into competing nations, the prospects for humanity will be bleak indeed.
But that’s why we need a socialist Europe, not the ‘Employers’ Union’ that is the EU, with its austerity agenda.
Voting to exit the EU on June 23rd is a step towards defeating a weak and divided Tory government and building a movement that can unite with workers across Europe to fight for a different world.”

The meeting will take place on Thursday 2nd June, 7.30pm, Coventry Methodist Central Hall, Warwick Lane, Coventry City Centre, CV1 2HA.

Coventry lecturers strike for fair pay

Coventry lecturers strike for fair pay

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UCU strikers march through Coventry

Lecturers at Coventry’s universities took strike action today to demand a fair pay deal for staff.

Members of Coventry Socialist Students joined pickets at Coventry University to show solidarity with staff, and speaking on the picket line Kris O’Sullivan spoke about the need for a united struggle of students and lecturers for free education and fair pay.

Speakers at the picket line and at the subsequent strike meeting highlighted the three issues the UCU is striking over; the pay freeze for staff which has now been in place for 9 years, the gender pay gap between male and female academic staff, and the increasing casualisation of staff contracts throughout universities.

The strike will continue tomorrow, and lecturers will then be taking ongoing “work to rule” action as part of the dispute. It is crucial that they unite with students, as well as other workers who are taking action such as junior doctors and teachers. Socialist Students members will continue to support their lecturers!

Student solidarity with lecturers strike

Student solidarity with lecturers strike

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UCU members picketing at Coventry University

Coventry Socialist Students have produced the below statement in solidarity with striking lecturers this week. Please read and share, and support the strike however you can!

This week, the UCU trade union (representing academic and related workers, including many students who teach as postgrads) announced their campaign for fairer pay in higher education. They will be on strike at universities across the country on 25th-26th May, and at the same time beginning to work to rule, which means they will refuse to work overtime, set additional work or undertake any voluntary duties like covering timetabled classes for absent colleagues.

Socialist Students supports the UCU in this strike as the fight for free education cannot be isolated to students alone, but must be linked to lecturers and all workers in FE/HE to fundamentally challenge the neo-liberal race to the bottom policies that are stripping away education.

Coventry University UCU will be picketing outside Graham Sutherland Building, Coventry University from 8.30-10.30 on both the strike days. Please join and show solidarity!

Fight for free education, fight for socialism!