Part of the 99 per cent? Why you should vote to leave the EU

Part of the 99 per cent? Why you should vote to leave the EU

For a Socialist Europe

Vote to exit the EU

We publish the following Q and As about why you should vote to leave the EU on Thursday 23rd June. The original article was written by Socialist Party deputy general secretary Hannah Sell and appeared in The Socialist newspaper. Please share on social media, and join our campaign by filling in the form at the bottom of this article. If you would like leaflets to distribute to your friends, family, neighbours, work colleagues etc get in touch!

1) Isn’t it only right-wing Tories and Ukip who want to leave the EU?

No. In the media the referendum campaign has been completely dominated by right-wing, pro-big business politicians. The voice of working class people has not been heard. In fact, however, a number of trade unions – including the militant transport workers’ union the RMT – are campaigning for exit. So is the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) of which the Socialist Party is a part.

Our campaign has nothing in common with the right-wing nationalist politicians who speak for exit in the media. In fact TUSC is running a campaign to demand that none of the official ‘leave’ campaigns receive state funding to peddle their right-wing nationalist reasons for exit.

In the last European referendum campaign, back in 1975, socialists like Tony Benn were prominent campaigners for voting for exit. They understood that the EU (then called the Common Market) was exactly that – an agreement between the different capitalist classes of Europe in order to create the largest possible market and maximise their profits. Since then a succession of EU treaties have further enshrined privatisation and attacks on workers’ rights into the fabric of the EU.

It is only necessary to look at the way the institutions of the EU have treated the people of Greece – forcing endless austerity on them which has lowered incomes by an average of one third and led to mass unemployment – to see that the EU acts in the interests of the 1% not the 99%.

2) You say that the EU enshrines privatisation and attacks on workers’ rights but isn’t it better to stay in and try to reform it?

Some politicians who agree with many of the criticisms of the EU listed above (Green MP Caroline Lucas, for example) say that it is better to stay in the EU and try to reform it. The question they can’t answer, however, is how the EU could be reformed.

Voters across Europe get to vote for MEPs who sit in the European Parliament; but that is an almost completely powerless body. Of course, when socialists are elected to the European Parliament they have been able to use it as a platform to campaign in defence of workers’ rights. But it is not the European Parliament but the European Council that takes the vast majority of EU decisions.

The European Council is made up of the heads of government of the 28 nation states of the EU – the EU really is a capitalists’ club. The governments of Europe have no interest in handing some of their power to the European Parliament.

It can’t be totally excluded that a powerful European-wide mass movement could force them to do so – but a movement that powerful could also achieve far more than the reforming the EU, it could put a socialist federation of Europe on the agenda.

3) But isn’t it more internationalist to be in the EU together with other nations?

The EU is not internationalist. On the contrary, it is ‘Fortress Europe’, doing everything it can – including allowing refugees to drown in the Mediterranean – in order to prevent those fleeing for their lives from Syria and elsewhere being able to enter the EU.

Nor does not it foster European solidarity within the EU; rather it increases tensions between different nations. It is a capitalist project attempting to impose unity between nations from above, in the interests of the capitalist classes of Europe, particularly those from the most powerful nations.

Over the last eight years the institutions of the EU – the hated ‘troika’ – have imposed terrible austerity and privatisation on the economically weaker countries of the EU – above all Greece, but also Portugal, Ireland, Cyprus, Latvia, Romania and others. The governments of these and other EU countries have used EU rules as the excuse for the misery they have imposed on their populations. The inevitable result is an increase of national feelings as people rebel against endless EU austerity.

Real internationalism is workers’ solidarity across Europe. Working class people have huge common interests. We are facing the same fight against low pay, casualisation, cuts and privatisation in every country of Europe. Successful movements in one country would have huge support, and be emulated, across the continent. That is why the institutions of the EU were desperate to force the left-led Syriza government in Greece to its knees in order to demonstrate to workers in other EU countries that there was no alternative to endless austerity.

Under huge pressure from world capitalism the Syriza government capitulated – and is now implementing further savage austerity – to which the Greek working class have responded with general strike action.

But it didn’t have to be that way. If the Syriza government had stood firm and implemented socialist policies it would have been kicked out of the Eurozone, and even the EU. But, by showing a real alternative to austerity, it would have inspired millions of workers across Europe to fight for socialist policies in their own countries.

Socialists are internationalists; we want the maximum possible unity across Europe. But this is only possible on the basis of democratic socialism, eradicating poisonous divisions through real working class internationalism, leading to a voluntary socialist federation across the continent.

4) Doesn’t the EU Social Chapter give workers more rights?

For decades now the majority of trade union leaders in Britain have argued that the European Social Chapter provides important protection for workers in Britain.

In reality the Social Chapter, while it potentially gave some extra legal protection on certain issues, was never much more than a fig leaf to disguise the reality of the European Union as an employers’ union.

What protects workers in Britain – and in other countries – is not the European Social Chapter but our collective strength. If, over the last decades, the trade union leaders had led a determined struggle against austerity and privatisation, we could have won far more than the few crumbs provided by the Social Chapter.

Let’s remember Major’s Tory government was allowed to simply ‘opt out’ of the Social Chapter when it was first introduced. When Labour was elected in 1997 they opted into the Social Chapter. However, Britain’s anti-trade union laws, both the already draconian existing laws and the even more brutal ones currently going through parliament, are not deemed to have contravened the Social Chapter.

And after many years of neo-liberal EU treaties and endless austerity, even the fig leaf of the Social Chapter is now in tatters. EU member states that have been ‘bailed out’ by the troika have suffered the biggest fall in collective bargaining rights in the world. According to the International Labour Organisation (the ILO) collective bargaining rights have fallen by an average of 21% across the ten EU countries hardest hit by the economic crisis, and have fallen by a massive 63% in Romania and 45% in Greece.

5) What would exit mean for workers in Britain who are citizens of other EU countries?

The Socialist Party is campaigning for the right of all those working in Britain to be able to continue to do so with full legal rights. We understand, however, that many workers from other EU countries are worried that a vote to leave might put their rights in danger.

In fact, in the short term their rights would not change. For two years, or until UK has negotiated a leaving deal with the EU, the existing situation would remain.

It is not likely a deal would be negotiated quickly. Losing the referendum would be a disaster for Cameron and would almost certainly mean he would be forced to resign. The Tories could split. It is even possible that they could be forced from power.

There would therefore be plenty of time for the workers’ movement to organise against any threat to EU citizens in Britain. It is possible that – if the government was to fall – a Jeremy Corbyn-led Labour Party could come to power.

It is important therefore that Jeremy Corbyn makes clear that his government would defend the rights of all EU citizens. And of course EU workers who are members of trade unions will have far greater protection in the workplace than they get from EU law.

Even if the Tories remain in power, it is not at all certain that a post-exit government would want to threaten the rights to work in Britain of EU citizens. There are two million British nationals settled in other EU countries who could then be threatened with expulsion from their country of residence.

In addition British capitalism has used super-exploited EU workers as a means to try and lower wages of all workers in Britain. The capitalist class would like this to continue.

However, inside or outside of the EU, the Tory government is attempting to increase the exploitation of EU workers by cutting their rights to claim state benefits. In doing this they are attempting to divide and rule – falsely laying the blame for austerity at the door of migrants.

The workers’ movement needs to counter this by explaining that it is only big business that gains when we are divided. When workers from Eastern Europe are paid less than the rate for the job it is the bosses that gain. The only solution to this is a united struggle for all workers to get the rate for the job – with a £10 hour minimum wage.

This fight also has to defend the right of EU workers to claim benefits when they need to. In fact workers from Eastern Europe are less likely to claim benefits than those who were born here (6.6% compared to 16%) but if those workers don’t have the right to claim when they need to it will make it easier for big business to force them to work for lower wages, strengthening the ‘race to the bottom’ for us all.

6) So if socialists should support leaving the EU why is Jeremy Corbyn voting to remain in?

In the last referendum on Europe, in 1975, Jeremy Corbyn voted for exit. During his leadership campaign last summer he refused to promise to call for a Remain vote, instead suggesting a conference of the workers’ movement to discuss a position.

Once he was elected leader of the Labour Party, however, he came under enormous pressure from the right wing of the Labour Party – and from the capitalist class – to call for a vote for Remain. Shadow Foreign Minister Hilary Benn, before he tried to blackmail Corbyn over Syria, threatened to resign unless Corbyn buckled on the issue of the EU. Unfortunately, he did buckle.

If Jeremy Corbyn was heading up a left exit campaign, it would have transformed the debate. The possibility of Leave winning and the Tories being evicted from power would have been far greater.

Instead, unfortunately, Labour is largely trailing behind the Tories. Alan Johnson MP, who is heading the ‘Labour in for Britain’ campaign, even said that he wanted to prevent Cameron having to resign!

7) Are you saying that – unless we leave the EU – it will never be possible to implement socialist policies in Britain?

No, of course not. The Socialist Party opposes the EU because of its laws and institutions but they could not stop a determined workers’ government supported by a mass movement from carrying out socialist policies. However, they are another hurdle to overcome, with real consequences for the day-to-day struggles to defend working class interests.

Here are a few reasons why you should vote to leave the EU:

  • TTIP is just the latest secret trade deal negotiated by the EU. Like those that have gone before it institutionalises privatisation, including of health services. EU treaties also drive forward privatisation – including of postal services and transport services.
  • EU laws forbid nationalisation (or even state subsidies to companies!). Jeremy Corbyn’s call for renationalisation of the railways which is supported by over 70% of the population, for example, is illegal under EU law.
  • EU treaties have systematically undermined workers’ rights. It promotes zero-hour contracts, low pay and ‘flexible’ working as part of its structural adjustment programme. The posted workers’ directive, for example, does not recognise collective agreements between workers and employers and ‘in a race to the bottom’ allows businesses to employ workers’ on worse pay and conditions than the minimum for the industry concerned in that particular country.
  • EU laws demand permanent austerity from all EU governments. They include strict rules limiting public spending and government borrowing

Agree, and want to help the Socialist campaign for Exit? Fill in the form below!

Nellist battles Farage over EU referendum

Nellist battles Farage over EU referendum

Dave Nellist

Dave Nellist, former Coventry Labour MP and National Chair of TUSC

The Coventry Telegraph recently carried a full page article by Simon Gilbert about the Socialist campaign, led by Dave Nellist, against the EU. Dave has also challenged UKIP leader and former banker Nigel Farage to a debate on the subject. Please read the article below and share!

Former Coventry MP Dave Nellist is taking on Nigel Farage and Boris Johnson in the race to lead the official “out” campaign in the run up to the European Union referendum.

Mr Nellist is fronting the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) campaign to leave the EU – a left-wing alternative to the Vote Leave campaign supported by Tory London mayor Mr Johnson and the Grassroots Out campaign backed by UKIP leader Mr Farage.

All three campaigns have submitted bids to the Electoral Commission who will decide on April 14 which will be chosen as the official campaign.

Ahead of the decision, Mr Nellist has challenged Nigel Farage and Boris Johnson to debate the issues around leaving the EU. Mr Nellist claims their campaigns can not be truly representative of the calls to leave due to what he perceives as vested interests with big businesses.

He said: “The Grassroots and Vote Leave campaigns, epitomised by Nigel Farage and Boris Johnson, are the Tory Party within business.

“Working class people and trade unions have different priorities. If EU constructs prevent a successful British economy for workers, we should be opposed to them.”

He added: “Before the Electoral Commission makes it decision, let’s have a public debate: Who should be the voice of leave?

“Trade unionists and socialists, or bankers, Tories and ex-Tories?

“They can choose the venue – we don’t have to hold it in Port Talbot, Scunthorpe or Redcar if they’re too afraid to venture out of London – but let’s have the debate and see who really represents those millions of working class voters who will vote leave on June 23.”

The rewards for the winning campaign include access to a grant of up to £600,000, an overall spending limit of £7m, campaign broadcasts, free mailshots and free access to meeting rooms.

That has led TUSC to threaten the Electoral Commission with legal action if party bosses feel its bid has not been taken seriously.

Mr Nellist said: “We never make hollow threats. We have a large range of legal talent.

“We will have to wait and see how the process goes. We applied to have a verbal hearing with the Electoral Commission to make our submission, but that was turned down.

“They are considering our paper application along with the other two campaigns.”

Asked if he understood there might be some surprise at left-wing campaign to leave the EU, Mr Nellist said there was a long-running history of socialist opposition to EU membership.

He said: “I led the no campaign in Coventry during 1975. The Labour Party was opposed to the EU until the mid 1980s.

“If Tony Benn and Bob Crow were still with us, they would have led a trade union out presence.”

He added: “The view of most union leaderships is to stay, not to leave. But there will be significant sections who are against it at times like when they see it’s not possible for the British government to nationalise the steel industry because EU legislation says that would be state aid.”

Asked if he thought TUSC would have the resources to effectively deliver a national out campaign, Mr Nellist said: “We are the sixth biggest party in Britain.

“We stand in 125 towns and cities. If we were designated as the leave campaign, with the £600,000 funding that would follow, we could design and deliver leaflets to the vast majority of homes in the country. We are capable of doing campaigns of that size.”

He added that the party planned to run a left wing exit campaign even if they were not chosen as the official voice of Brexit.

EU referendum – new section of website launched!

EU referendum – new section on website launched!

Access the EU resources section

Access the EU resources section

Coventry Socialists are pleased to announce the launching of a new section on our website. The section will be added to over the coming weeks and months and will contain vital resources for those looking for which way to vote in the referendum due to take place on Thursday 23rd June, 2016. It provides some important background  and arguments on the Socialist case for a Leave vote.

The section can be accessed by navigating to the Menu bar at the top of the website.

 

Nellist and left wing trade unionists oppose the EU and say no public money should go to UKIP and Tory campaigns

Nellist and left wing union leaders oppose the EU and say no public money should go to UKIP and Tory campaigns

Dave Nellist

Dave Nellist, National Chair of TUSC

The following letter from Dave Nellist and leading left wing trade unionists appeared in The Guardian newspaper today. The original can be read here

‘Now the referendum has been called , the Electoral Commission has the power to designate who shall be the “official” Remain and Leave campaigns, giving these organisations both political authority and millions of pounds of public resources. We call on the commission not to give taxpayers’ money to the Tory and Ukip-dominated Vote Leave, Leave.EU or Grassroots Out campaigns, or any amalgam of them, in the forthcoming EU referendum. The commission does not have to choose an official campaign at all, if there is not one organisation that adequately represents those supporting a particular outcome to the referendum.

We believe there are millions of trade unionists, young people, anti-austerity campaigners and working-class voters, whose opposition to the big business-dominated EU would not be represented by these organisations.

We condemn the mainstream media for promoting Ukip, Tory and other pro-austerity and racist establishment politicians and organisations as the only exit voices. We call on the Electoral Commission to recognise that a significant proportion of those who will vote against the EU do so because they support basic socialist policies of workers’ rights, public ownership, and opposition to austerity and racism.’
Dave Nellist Ex-Labour MP and chair of the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition
Janice Godrich President, PCS civil servants union
Sean Hoyle President, RMT transport workers union
John McInally National vice-president, PCS
Peter Pinkney RMT President 2013-2015
Paul McDonnell RMT national executive committee
John Reid RMT NEC
Dave Auger Unison public sector workers union NEC
April Ashley Unison NEC
Roger Bannister Unison NEC
Hugo Pierre Unison NEC
Karen Reissman Unison NEC
Polly Smith Unison NEC
Pete Glover National Union of Teachers NEC
Jane Nellist NUT NEC
Stefan Simms NUT NEC
Chas Berry Napo national vice-chair
Alan Gibson National Union of Journalists NEC
Elenor Haven PCS NEC
Marianne Owens PCS NEC
Paul Williams PCS NEC
Carlo Morelli University and College Union NEC
Richard McEwan UCU NEC
Sean Wallis UCU NEC
Saira Weiner UCU NEC
Mike Forster Unison local government service group executive (SGE)
Huw Williams Unison local government SGE
Gary Freeman Unison health SGE

 

Thank you for voting Socialist!

Thank you for voting Socialist!

Vote TUSC!

We’d like to thank all the people across Coventry who voted against austerity and for a socialist alternative yesterday. TUSC candidates received 4388 votes in the council elections and 3052 in the three parliamentary seats – a total of 7440 votes for Socialist candidates.

A full analysis of the election results will follow. TUSC candidates will continue our campaigns against the cuts, and we urge you to get involved!

Did you vote TUSC? Let us know! 

Dave Nellist outlines the socialist view on the HSBC tax evasion scandal

 

Dave Nellist outlines the socialist view on the HSBC tax evasion scandal

Dave Nellist

Dave Nellist

Over recent days we have received dozens of emails from residents of the Coventry North West constituency regarding the HSBC tax evasion scandal. The emails were sent to all candidates that have announced they are standing in the General Election via the 38 Degrees campaign website. The Socialist Party welcomes the opportunity to state our position on this, and if you agree with our response please fill in the form at the bottom of the article. Remember nothing will change unless we get organised!

The email that was sent to us is below, followed by the response from Dave Nellist

Dear Dave Nellist, Parvez Akhtar, and Mr Geoffrey Robinson MP,

I’m concerned about the recent revelations that HSBC has been helping the super-rich dodge their tax, and that the government has not been acting to stop this.

As a prospective parliamentary candidate in my area, can you let me know what you pledge to do to crack down on tax dodging and prevent scandals like HSBC from happening again?

Response from Dave

It is an absolute disgrace that these individuals and companies have behaved in this way, whilst at the same time ordinary people in Coventry and across the country face austerity cuts that will see levels of public spending taking back to the 1930s.

We only have to pose the question that if these millionaires and billionaires had paid their taxes, how many of the cuts that are due to take place in Coventry could be avoided? For example our libraries, lollipop ladies, community and children’s centres which are all under threat to name just a few key services.

The rich have got away for this for far too long, little surprise perhaps when successive governments have been so friendly to big business at the expense of the majority of us. As we have seen there are a number of Tory donors who have been caught up in this, and of course Labour have come out recently and said they are “furiously, passionately, aggressively pro-business”, so I do not think they can be trusted to act.

Linked to this is the ability to collect tax. In the last few years the government has axed between 38,000 and 40,000 jobs in Revenues and Customs as it carries out its swingeing cuts in the public sector. It has also closed tax offices meaning HMRC no longer has an network of local offices to provide advice and ensure tax compliance across the UK. How can any present or future government (Labour or Conservative) say they are serious about collecting tax and stopping the obscene tax avoidance if it sacks the very people who are able to collect it?

The Socialist Party, which is standing as part of the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition in this election, will support and demand measures that close all tax loopholes and tax havens.  We will fight for the rich to pay more tax and would support any measures such as a ‘Robin Hood / Tobin’ tax. We will also campaign for the cutbacks in Revenue and Customs to be reversed to enable tax dodgers to be pursued. We also think we do not have a progressive tax system in this country, which is something we would fight for.

However we think there are also wider issues here. 

I suspect the only thing that makes HSBC different, is that they got caught! The whole banking system is rotten, based on gambling and speculation. If I put £5 on a horse in the 3.30, and it came in last, you would not be expected to refund my gambling. But that’s what the banks have got away with. Unprecedented gambling and speculation which spectacularly crashed in 2008, and triggered the recession that so many ordinary people are still suffering from. The whole banking system needs reorganising and rationally planning. But you can’t plan what you don’t control, and you don’t control what you don’t own. Large amounts of Lloyds and the Royal Bank of Scotland are in public ownership, but not under democratic control. Nationalisation should be extended to the whole banking system and tight regulation then enforced in the interests of the millions not the millionaires.

Britain is not a poor country as this scandal illustrates. The problem is we have an economic system, backed up by the main establishment parties, which means vast wealth is concentrated at the very top. The key point is that the minority at the top own and control this wealth, whilst most of us struggle to get by. We think we need a radical change, whereby ownership and control of the main resources in society are put in the hands of ordinary people, and human need (such as the NHS, decent housing and free education) are put before private greed.

Thank you for contacting us and taking the time to read this response. I would encourage you to come to our election launch on Wednesday 25th February, 7.30pm at the Methodist Hall, bottom of Hertford Street where I and others will outline the socialist challenge in this election.

If you want to read more about our campaigns and policies please visit the websites at the bottom of this email, and if you would like to talk about the issues I have raised please call our campaign hotline on 07530 429441 or feel free to respond to this email.

Kind regards

Dave Nellist

www.coventrysocialists.com

www.tusc.org.uk

www.socialistparty.org.uk

Nellist to take fight to ‘Westminster establishment’

Nellist to take fight to ‘Westminster establishment’

Dave Nellist

Dave Nellist

Yesterday it was announced on the website of the Coventry Telegraph that Socialist Party member Dave Nellist will be standing at the General Election in the Coventry North West constituency.

We are pleased to carry the full press release below. Our campaign will be unlike any other political party in this election. We will be taking a socialist and anti-austerity message to the people of Coventry North West. We will be saying that ordinary people did not cause this capitalist crisis and should not be made to pay for it.

Over the coming weeks we will be announcing details of Trade Unionist and Socialist candidates for the other two parliamentary seats, as well as for all 18 wards in the Council elections due on the same day.

 To make this as effective as possible we need your help

 We urge you to consider if you can help with the following –

  • Attend our election launch meeting on Weds 25th February, 7.30pm, Methodist Hall, Coventry City Centre (event page here)
  • Take leaflets to give to your neighbours, colleagues, friends, family – help us deliver leaflets in your area
  • Organise a meeting in your area of people who are interested in the campaign. If you are in a trade union or community group would you like Dave to address your meeting?
  • Make a donation, no matter how big or small. To get our message across costs money. We have no big business backers!
  • Display a poster in your window
  • Spread the word on social media (starting with sharing this article!)

There are many other ways you can help, get in touch by filling in the form at the bottom of this page if you can help or to get more information. We would also encourage you to join the Socialist Party. Nothing will ever change unless we get organised! To apply click here

FULL PRESS RELEASE

Nellist to take election fight to the “Westminster establishment”

The Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) has announced that former Labour MP, Mr Dave Nellist, will contest the Coventry North West seat in May’s general election. TUSC was co-founded in 2010 by the late Bob Crow of the transport union, RMT, together with the Socialist Party and other socialist groups, to provide an electoral alternative for those opposing austerity. Mr Nellist, a former Labour MP and Socialist Party councillor in the city, said:

“If they win the general election the Tories intend to increase the pain of austerity. But Labour are no real alternative, as they have also signed up to similar levels of cuts. Frankly, it makes little difference which big party you vote for. What Coventry needs is an MP who will oppose austerity from whichever party it comes, and stand up for local people against the Westminster establishment.”

Mr Nellist believes TUSC offers a radical alternative to all the major parties in the general election. Key policies he intends to highlight in the election campaign include:

  • a 50% increase in the minimum wage to £10 an hour, so work pays without recourse to means tested benefits;
  • ending zero hour contracts and introducing new employment laws to give guaranteed hours and rights at work to all;
  • a major increase in building of affordable houses;
  • compulsory registration of private landlords and a cap on rents;
  • restoration of funding to local councils so essential services can be publicly provided again;
  • abolition of the bedroom tax, reversing cuts to benefits and restoring the real value of pensions;
  • tax the rich and end tax avoidance of wealthy corporations and individuals;
  • bring banks into genuine public ownership and under democratic control, instead of rewarding bankers with bonuses;
  • bring privatised public services and utilities, including rail, post and energy, back into public ownership;
  • for a democratic socialist society run in the interests of people not millionaires and based on democratic public ownership of major companies and banks so that production and services can be planned to meet the needs of all and to protect the environment.

Asked whether he would rather be fighting the sitting MP, Geoffrey Robinson, or the still to be totally quashed rumours that Tony Blair’s son, Euan, is still being lined up for the seat, Mr Nellist said:

“The last thing the people of Coventry North West need is an establishment lackey from the political classes parachuted in to our city. But whoever the Labour candidate is, I won’t need a map or a chauffeur to get around the constituency, because I live here.”

Mr Nellist, who was the Labour MP for Coventry South East from 1983 to 1992, was expelled from the Labour Party for his socialist views and consistent opposition to Tory policies such as the Poll Tax.  He famously only took the same wage as a skilled factory worker in Coventry, a commitment he has again made if elected.

Mr Nellist said today:

“People say that all the establishment parties are the same. They are right. If elected I intend only to take the average wage of a skilled worker in the city – less than half the wage MPs currently get. I’ve always believed MPs should be prepared to live exactly the same as ordinary people in ordinary jobs – not on a wage that insulates or isolates them from day-to-day problems.”

ENDS

GET INVOLVED, CONTACT US FOR MORE INFORMATION AND TO HELP!

As Russell Brand prepares to take on Farage…time to build the fight for socialist revolution

As Russell Brand prepares to take on Farage…time to build the fight for socialist revolution!

Brand

Brand

Many people across the UK are waiting in eager anticipation for the battle between Russell Brand and Nigel Farage on Thursday night’s BBC Question Time programme (11 December).

Over the recent period Russell Brand has been an outspoken critic of austerity and the political establishment where all three parties, Tory, Labour and Lib Dem, believe ordinary people should pay for the crisis. The 99% suffer at the hands of global capitalism and the 1% at the top continue to prosper. Brand’s series of shows, ‘The Trews’, have become popular as an expression of anger against the system, while his book, simply titled ‘Revolution’, captures the growing mood for change in society.

Meanwhile Farage has falsely painted himself as an opponent of the same political establishment, which is rich considering he is of true right-wing banking stock and would carry out even worse austerity given half the chance. UKIP, despite how it portrays itself, is very much part of the capitalist system, and part of the problem. For example, its two new MPs were recruited from the Conservative Party!

Fire minister Penny Mordaunt is also on the Question Time panel; three days after the latest firefighters’ strike in defence of pensions see the following footage of the demonstration in Buckinghamshire to defend sacked firefighter Ricky Matthews.

However the debate pans out on Thursday night, the Socialist Party is dedicated to fighting for revolutionary change and putting working people in control. There are sufficient resources in Britain and worldwide for us all to lead much better and fulfilled lives but under the status quo it is in fact the outmoded capitalist system which is holding us back.

If you agree with Russell’s call for a revolution and want to fight for socialism we need to make sure it is not just a pipe dream but that collectively we make it a reality.

The time to act is now – The Revolution needs you! Join us in the Socialist Party and our sister parties worldwide in 45 countries as part of the Committee for a Workers’ International, and let us make it happen!

If you are interested in joining with us to build a revolutionary socialist force in Britain and across the globe fill in the form below and we will be in touch.

Help more people read this article, share on FB, Twitter, email etc!

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Former Labour councillor in Cheylesmore defects to UKIP

Former Labour councillor in Cheylesmore defects to UKIP

Former Labour councillor with his new UKIP colleagues. Picture from website of Coventry Telegraph

Former Labour councillor with his new UKIP colleagues. Picture from website of Coventry Telegraph

News came out today that Harjinder Singh Sehmi a former Labour Party councillor in Cheylesmore ward has joined Ukip. Whilst hardly on the scale of recent defections from the Tory Party, it once again raises the question of how best to combat Ukip. Below we reproduce an article from a recent issue of ‘The Socialist’ newspaper including comment from Dave Nellist, that outlines what we believe to be the best way to not only fight Ukip, but all of the austerity parties. If you agree, why not join us? Click here

Tories and Labour in crisis after Ukip win

By Claire Laker-Mansfield

Cameron and Miliband woke up on 10 October with a common sense of dread. Both their parties have been left reeling at the results of byelections in which Ukip has dealt them a hefty blow to the face. Both party leaders are now facing calls from some of their MPs to stand down before the 2015 general election.

For the Tory party, a landslide victory for their defector, Douglas Carswell (who won 60% of the vote), has no doubt left more backbenchers tempted to jump ship. But it’s perhaps Labour that has been the most visibly shocked. Ukip can no longer be written off as a ‘Tory problem’.

In Heywood and Middleton, a former Labour stronghold, Ukip came within inches of taking a seat. Just over 600 votes separated Farage’s party from a second (and potentially even more significant) victory.

These results have sent shivers down spines – including those of many ordinary workers and young people. But the three main parties all bear responsibility for the rising tide of the populist right. The trade union leaders who have held back from acting to build a new party have actually furthered this process. Five years of austerity have devastated the lives of already hard-pressed communities in Clacton and Heywood alike.

The cowardly ‘opposition’ of Miliband’s Labour offers nothing close to a coherent alternative, while competing with the Con-Dems over spending cuts.

Ukip enjoys playing on the fears of working class people – particularly those about immigration, while diverting blame over collapsing living standards from the bankers, big business and the super-rich. But underlying these fears is a deep sense of insecurity. It’s insecurity about jobs, stretched services, a race-to-the-bottom in pay and working conditions, and a dearth of (actually) affordable housing.

There is an overwhelming need for a new, mass party for the working class – a party which could offer people genuine hope.

Pro-cuts

This would be a party which, like 72% of Ukip’s voters, supports measures such as re-nationalising Britain’s railways. A party which, rather than aping the reactionary sentiments of ex-city slickers like Carswell, would offer an end to cuts and a minimum wage of £10 an hour; a party that would stand with workers as they fight to resist the onslaught and secure better wages and conditions.

The anti-establishment image that Ukip has worked so hard to adopt needs to be shattered. This is the same Ukip that helped organise a minuscule ‘pro-cuts’ rally designed to counter 2011’s trade union anti-austerity march, which attracted more than 500,000 people.

It’s the same Ukip whose deputy leader – Paul Nuttall – wrote in comments now deleted from his website that “the very existence of the NHS stifles competition”.

Ukip leader Nigel Farage may enjoy the odd pint but, as a privately educated ex-banker, his ordinary bloke act is pretty superficial. Ukip is a pro-cuts party for ‘the 1%’.

In the week following this humiliating by-election result for Labour, millions of workers were on strike against low pay. If Miliband had any backbone, he would respond to this electoral setback with bold support for the strikes, announce measures that would take some of the enormous wealth concentrated in the hands of the 0.1% super-rich and use it to fund wage increases, job creation and investment in our public services.

Instead of fighting for socialist policies to solve the economic and social crisis facing workers, Miliband and Labour continue to shift to the right and echo Ukip’s divide and rule, anti-immigrant agenda – the politics of despair.

Those who prefer the politics of hope should get involved with Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC – see below), and help build a vibrant, democratic, mass party based on struggle and the organisations of the working class – a real alternative.

‘We need a new party’

Dave Nellist

Dave Nellist

By Dave Nellist

In losing thousands of votes in the Heywood and Middleton byelection, Labour has nobody to blame but itself.

Labour has spent the last 20 years assuming working class voters had nowhere else to go, so their problems, and they themselves, could be safely ignored. That attitude lost Labour four million working class voters between 1997 and 2010.

Now Ukip is harnessing the anger of those who feel you can’t get a fag paper between the establishment parties, and that specifically Labour is part of the problem, not the solution.

But Ukip itself is not the answer. It’s run by a public school educated ex-banker, staffed by people who worship Mrs Thatcher, and funded by multimillionaires who think the Tories have gone soft.

We urgently need a new party, but one that is rooted in the communities and organisations of the working class, with a programme of socialist demands to answer working people’s problems.

The Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) is helping to build such a new party. Visit http://www.tusc.org.uk