Tuesday, 31 March 2009


Tuesday, 31 March, 2009 5:29 PM
"derek wall" View contact details
#yiv1898985902 .hmmessage P
#yiv1898985902 {
Tuesday, April 31st 2009. 3 p.m.


* The G20 Alternative Summit must go on! Classes and lectures must go on!
* In only a few hours a petition to Keep UEL Open receives over 1400 signatories from across the world, including well-know academics and writers, e.g. Naomi Klein.
* University is a crucial centre of democracy. Democracy is now the only safe path for the world out of the current multifaceted crisis.

London – Following the decision of the University of East London’s Corporate Management Team to close down the entire university on Wednesday, April 1st and Thursday, April 2nd, staff and students have launched a petition to keep the university open, arguing that they “would feel ashamed of UEL if this institution […] were to become known as the university that had closed its doors to democratic debate and education in times of crisis such as these.”

The University of East London was scheduled to host the G20 Alternative Summit on Wednesday, April 1st, intended as a popular assembly for everyone engaged in current struggles for social justice. Amidst fears over ‘security’ in light of these G20 protest events, management first withdrew its support for the Alternative Summit and subsequently decided to shut down the entire campus for the duration of the G20 summit and protest events, cancelling lectures and classes and shutting the library.

In the petition, staff and students are arguing that such ‘security’ considerations are a “classic excuse for every historic attempt to curtail free speech. Instead of seizing the opportunity to become a common space thriving with creative energies, [the University of East London] plans to become an empty shell for two days.”

The petition states that,

“It is time for the university management to become accountable not only to the government funding bodies, but to the wider public to whom it owes both its livelihood and a duty to fulfill its role as a part of civil society. The past 3 decades have seen public spaces such as universities hollowed out by the state and by corporations, as more and more of our common resources are transformed into sterile commodities, valued only in cash terms. In universities this has led to a policy regime which increasingly sees ‘employability’ in the ‘creative industries’ or in ‘business and finance’ as the only benchmark of success by which a university education can be judged; which sees research separated from teaching; which sees ‘knowledge transfer’ to the commercial sector as the only legitimate destination for the fruits of inquiry."

The signatories to the petition, which include a number of well-known academics from universities across the globe, including writer and activist Naomi Klein, are urging UEL management to “reconsider [their] decisions and take this unique opportunity to open the university as a crucial centre of democracy, since democracy is now the only safe path for the world out of the current multifaceted crisis. We must keep our university open to staff and students, rejecting the claims and ‘risk assessments’ that reproduce fear instead of promoting dialogue. We urge you to take responsibility for enabling the university to act as a truly public space for debate in a time when nobody can doubt that radical new ideas are needed.
Press enquiries:
* Dr Jeremy Gilbert, http://uk.mc250.mail.yahoo.com/mc/compose?to=j.gilbert@uel.ac.uk, +44 (0)7745886735
* Dr Eva Turner, http://uk.mc250.mail.yahoo.com/mc/compose?to=e.turner@uel.ac.uk, +44 (0) 7940537794
*Prof. Massimo De Angelis, http://uk.mc250.mail.yahoo.com/mc/compose?to=m.deangelis@uel.ac.uk, +44 (0) 7951991754
Further information:* http://www.petitiononline.com/openUEL/petition.html; http://www.altg20.org.uk/

Dear all
this petition has been put online for all to sign. Please read it, circulate it and hopefully sign it.

Best Massimo
Massimo De Angelis Professor of Political EconomySchool of Social Sciences, Media and Cultural Studies
University of East London Docklands Campus
4-6 University Way
London E16 2RD
tel: 020 8223 2254
email: m.deangelis@uel.ac.uk
room: EB 1.54-----

URGENT PETITION TO KEEP UEL OPEN DURING G20 SUMMIT THIS IS URGENT!!Please sign immediately at http://www.petitiononline.com/openUEL/petition.html

Friday, 27 March 2009

Farzad Kamangar: New risks and uncertainties

[2009-03-09] Farzad Kamangar: New risks and uncertainties
EI has been informed that Farzad Kamangar (who was sentenced to death on February 25, 2008 on “absolutely zero evidence” according to his lawyer) has been retransferred from Rajaiee Shahr prison to the section 204 of Tehran’s Evin prison. EI is worried about this last development as the reason of this transfer is unclear.

Kamangar’s physical and psychological well-being is another matter of concern. Since the beginning of his detention in July 2006, his physical condition has severely worsened due to the ill-treatment he suffered and the bad sanitary conditions of the wards where he has been detained. He is currently suffering from a serious oral infection which requires all his teeth to be removed.

EI urges the Iranian authorities once again to re-examine the case of Farzad Kamangar through a fair trial complying with the Iranian and international standards. EI also urges the authorities to commute Farzad Kamangar’s death sentence immediately, as no judicial system should run the risk of killing an innocent person. EI also urges the authorities of the Islamic Republic of Iran to take all appropriate measures so that no detainee be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.

EI will continue to monitor Farzad Kamangar’s case closely and looks forward to engaging in a dialogue with the authorities of the Islamic Republic of Iran while simultaneously holding them to high standards of respect for human and trade union rights.

Welfare Rights and Advice

GPTU fringe at 6pm at GPEW Blackpool Conference on 21st march.with

Peter Allen, Advice Worker and a member of UNISON,

Anne Gray (ppc for Haringey) and

Alan Wheatley (GP Disability Spokesperson)

Ann & Alan are authors of "Writing off Workfare:For a Green New Deal, not the Flexible New Deal" (available on http://gptublog.blogspot.com).

Chaired by Andy Hewett, Green ppc for Greenwich.


Peter Allen part 1

Peter Allen part 2

Peter Allen part 3

Alan Wheatley

Anne Gray part 1

Anne Gray part 2

Questions and discussion part 1

Questions and discussion part 2

Tuesday, 24 March 2009

Free university courses for unemployed proposed

Short-term workers and those receiving jobseeker's allowance should have university fees waived in 'enrol for free' scheme, say modern universities group

Anthea Lipsett guardian.co.uk, Tuesday 24 March 2009 10.40 GMT Article history

The unemployed and those on short-term contracts should be allowed to take part-time university courses for free, vice-chancellors urged ministers today.

Jobseeker's allowance claimants and those forced to cut their hours because of the recession face upfront tuition fees of several hundred pounds a year if they decide to study for higher education qualifications part-time.

Million+, the group representing post-92 universities, is arguing that claimants and short-time workers should have their fees waived.

This would cost the government £400m but it estimated that savings on benefits and the extra taxes paid by more skilled employees could produce revenues of £523m.

The ability to enrol in university courses for free should be part of the standard offer available through Jobcentre Plus, the group says.

Pam Tatlow, chief executive of Million+, said: "If the UK is to avoid a cycle of long-term unemployment the government will have to look beyond short training courses if it is to improve the re-employment prospects of those with lower qualifications.

"'Enrol for free' would have the advantage of providing individuals with improved prospects of future employment and earnings.

"It would also have the added advantage of building the high value skills for the economy and society of tomorrow on the basis of investment today.

She said the government would be "foolish" and "unwise" not to fund the initiative.

Sally Hunt, the general secretary of the University and College Union, said: "We strongly believe in the power of education to change people's lives and the government needs to put education at the heart of any plans to help us get out of the recession.

"In tough economic times people need access to qualifications that will really make a difference to their lives and career prospects, and are relevant to their needs.

"There is a lot of government rhetoric about the need for the country to provide high-skilled workers and qualifications.

"'Enrol for free' represents an opportunity for government to clearly demonstrate its commitment to preparing that high-skilled workforce it has told us this country needs."

Aaron Porter, vice-president for higher education at the National Union of Students, said: "In the current economic climate, it is absolutely essential that we provide support to those people who need to learn new skills in order to find work.

"Increasing opportunities to access university for those on job seekers allowance would not only be of great individual benefit, but would also be in the long-term interest of our economy."

Fiona Weir, chief executive of the Gingerbread charity for single parents, said: "Many single parents have aspirations to access higher education and improve their careers.

"This proposal would start to break down the barriers they face in accessing university.

A spokeswoman for the Department of Universities, Industry and Skills said: "We know that the route to long-term recovery is investing in the development of our workforce which is why the government is spending £4.7bn on adult skills this year and has put in place a substantial package of additional training.

"This package includes a further £83m for 75,000 high quality training places in colleges, and £140m to create 35,000 apprenticeship places in 2009-10."

An extra £50m has been made available for universities to help both employers and employees, she added.

Monday, 23 March 2009

College of NW London UCU on strike ,Tue.and Wed. 24 & 25 March, support their picket line

College of NW London UCU on strike ,Tue.and Wed. 24 & 25 March, support their picket line

Friday, 20 March, 2009 6:08 PM

View contact details
"peter murry"
hi Pete

Did u know we're on strike next week Tue.and Wed. 24 & 25 March. See last week copy of Will. & Brent Chronicle.

Its about harmonisation of pay in line with most other colleges nationally except 4 inc. CNWL, who have failed to implement a national agreement since 2004.
Vagg awarded herself a huge pay rise within the last year.

Other colleges have been petitioned for support.

Sen, our new hyperactive (but right on) branch secretary, asked me to contact u to see if you could mobilise any support for a picket at Wills. that coincides with the college's annual 'Industry Day' allegedly to be opened by Lord Young. They're reputedly flying in a helicopter (hire cost £12,000) for the occasion.

Do you think Trades Council and/or Greens would be interested?

We're also looking for musicians to entertain the troops.....

(and artists to capture the occasion in paint?!)



Monday, 16 March 2009

Dan Viesnick withdraws appeal


Having taken expert legal advice and considered the views of others, I have reluctantly decided to withdraw my Aldermaston appeal, due to be heard at the High Court in London this Friday. This is due to fears expressed only very recently by others that parts of the case could set damaging legal precedent in the hands of unsympathetic judges.

I'm very sorry if you are inconvenienced or disappointed by this decision, but I'm afraid I really had no choice in the end.

From: dviesnik

Subject: Dan in High Court Aldermaston appeal, London - new date - Friday 20 March
To: dviesnik@yahoo.co.uk
Date: Thursday, 5 March, 2009, 10:01 PM

Hi folks,

Just to let you all know that my High Court appeal against my conviction in March 2008 for plonking myself down outside Aldermaston Atomic Weapons Establishment for a rest in July 2007, during the Footprints for Peace walk from Dublin to London is going to take place on Friday 20 March (rather than Wed 18 March, as previously stated). The previous date was given to me (in writing) by my solicitor (from Bindmans), but is incorrect, I today have learned. I'm sorry for any inconvenience caused.

I have still not been informed what time the hearing will commence, either by my solicitor or by the court, but my legal team seems to think it would probably start around 10.30am, in which case it would be great to have lots of supporters with banners, musical instruments, etc outside from around 9.30 / 9.45am. I shall invite the press along. The hearing could last half a day or all day - who knows? The law is a law unto itself. I will let you all know when I receive any further information.

If you turn up to court late, look for Viesnik vs Director of Public Prosecutions in the listings.

The address of the court is:

Royal Courts of Justice, The Strand, London. WC2A 2LL (nearest tube: Temple)
Map: http://tinyurl.com/alkzq3


Date: Fri, 30 Jan 2009
From: dviesnik@yahoo.co.uk
Subject: Dan in High Court Aldermaston appeal - Wed 18 March

This is a substantive hearing relating to my sit-down with fellow walkers outside Atomic Weapons Establishment Aldermaston in July 2007 during the Footprints for Peace walk from Dublin to London. I was found guilty last March, at Newbury Mags, of obstructing a highway (access road at Tadley Gate). Support outside and inside court would be great! Hopefully some media will come along, too.


Friday, 13 March 2009

Tolpuddle in London - 25th April 2009

Tolpuddle in London - 25th April 2009

Help mark the 175th anniversary of the Grand Demonstration

In 1834 some 100,000 people joined the Grand Demonstration that marched from Copenhagen Fields to Parliament and on to Kennington Common to demand the release of the Tolpuddle Martyrs. Six Dorset farm workers had been sentenced to seven years' transportation into slavery in Australia for forming a trade union. The attack on early unions had to be challenged.
A 200,000 strong petition was carried shoulder high and many more poured in from all over the country. The demonstration was just the start and the government eventually backed down and gave the six men free pardons.

Join us to remember those who fought for our rights. An afternoon of music, key speakers, procession and banners. Activities for children and young people organised by the Woodcraft Folk, Kate Greenaway Nursery and local schools. All next to the Tolpuddle Martyrs' mural at Edward Square, near King's Cross.

Times are likely to vary slightly
Clocktower, Caledonian Park, Market Road - assemble from noon, entertainment and refreshments.
Plaque to be unveiled by Frances O'Grady TUC Deputy General Secretary, organised by Islington Trades Council.
March to Edward Square at junction of Caledonian Road and Copenhagen Street.
Councillor Stefan Kasprzyk the Mayor of Islington, opens the celebration
Megan Dobney SERTUC Regional Secretary
Martin Carthy, England's pre-eminent traditional folk musician
Alun Howkins, historian tbc
Graham Moore Tolpuddle Man Dorset singer/songwriter
Raised Voices choir
Leon Rosselson, radical singer/songwriter
Emily ThornberryMP for Islington South
Frances O'Grady TUC Deputy General Secretary
Billy Bragg Tolpuddle favourite needs no introduction
More speakers to be confirmed
Northern Celts Band
Come to Tolpuddle,
Nigel Costley, South West TUC Regional Secretary
For more see:
Supported by the South West TUC, Southern and Eastern Region TUC and London Borough of Islington
For more information contact
David Renton davidkrenton@googlemail.com
Megan Dobney, SERTUC, Congress House, Great Russell Street, London WC1B 3LS
mdobney@tuc.org.uk 020 7467 1220
Briefing document (400 words) issued 12 Mar 2009

Saturday, 7 March 2009

Make a stand for a decent state pension

The National Pensioners Convention (NPC) in the UK organises a Pensions’ Action Day on 6 April 2009. After 100 years of the state pension, Britain still has at least 1 in 4 older people living below the official poverty line, and millions more struggling with the rising costs of living. The pensioners of tomorrow also face an uncertain future, as pension funds have lost a lot in the economic crisis and employers reduce the generosity of their occupational pension schemes. That is why all generations need a decent state pension. NPC calls on the government to immediately raise the basic state pension above the poverty level for all pensioners, and increase it every year in line with either average wage rises or inflation. To find out more, please contact NPC at info@npcuk.org or visit:

Friday, 6 March 2009

Adult Learning: the UCU Vision

Adult Learning: the UCU Vision
A one day conference 30th April 2009
Birkbeck College Malet Street WC 1
10am-10.30am Registration
10.15am-10.30am Welcome
Sasha Callaghan UCU President
Master Birkbeck College Professor David Latchman
10.30am-11.00am Adult learning: what is and what is could be
Professor Bob Fryer
11am- 11.30am Adult Learning: the UCU vision
Sally Hunt UCU General Secretary
11.30am-12noon The Inquiry into the Future for Lifelong Learning
Tom Schuller NIACE Director of Inquiry
12noon -1pm Workshops considering the UCU vision
1pm-2pm Lunch
2pm–2.30pm John Denham Secretary of State DIUS
(to be confirmed)
2.30pm-3.30pm Panel: Adult learning in the sectors
FE: to be confirmed
HE: Pam Coare, Director of the Centre for Continuing Education University of Sussex
ACL: Dr Ben Charles Head of Lifelong and Community Learning London Borough of Enfield
Network for Black Professionals: Robin Landman Chief Executive
Workplace Learning: Liz Smith CEO TUC unionlearn
3.30pm-4.00pm An overview
Alan Tuckett Director NIACE

This programme is subject to change both in terms of speakers and timing
Adult Learning: the UCU Vision
A one day conference 30th April 2009
Birkbeck College Malet Street WC 1
Application form
also available for on-line registration on the UCU web site www.ucu.org.uk

NAME: …………………………………………………..
ADDRESS: …………………………………………………..
TEL: …………………………………………………..
FAX: …………………………………………………..
E-MAIL: …………………………………………………..
UCU BRANCH: …………………………………………………..
Mobility ______
Braille ______
BSL Interpretation ______

Other, please specify: _______________________________________________

The event will be running 2 workshop sessions. The morning session will be considering the UCU draft vision for adult learning. These workshops will be ‘mixed’ with participants drawn from all the sectors working in adult learning. The afternoon session will be focused on the sectoral themes discussed in the pervious panel. Please then indicate which workshop you would wish to participate. Please state your order of preference. We will endeavour to ensure you get your 1st choice but we cannot guarantee this as each workshop will have a maximum number depending on the size of room

Afternoon workshops. Please put in order of preference
Higher Education _____
Further Education _____
Adult and community education _____
Equality issues in adult learning _____
Workplace learning _____

Please send completed form to: Dan Taubman UCU 27 Britannia Street London WC1 X9JP by 24th April
Cost: £30 UCU members trade unions, learners/students voluntary organisation All others £50 Cheques made payable to ‘UCU’

Thursday, 5 March 2009


Mark Serwotka of PCS

John Mc Donnell MP

Anne Gray speaks for the Green party

See copies of Ann's speech here and “Writing off workfare:For a Green New Deal, not the Flexible New Deal” by Alan Wheatley and Anne Gray posted on this Blog 30/11/2008


The Green Party is associated with campaigning for action to stop climate change. But it’s not just about that, the Green Party is also about social justice and keeping public services public. The Welfare Reform Bill is NOT about social justice, it’s a charter for INJUSTICE. We already sent the government our criticisms of it at the Green Paper stage (see http://www.greenparty.org.uk/news/workfare-is-not-the-answer.html).

Around 3 million redundant workers, thrown out of their jobs as an indirect result of bankers’ greed, are going to be cannon fodder for the privatised back to work contractors, who will make big profits out of the redundant workers’ misery.

The whole idea that intensive placement services are the solution to unemployment is a bad bosses’ charter anyway. It makes people compete harder with each other for the few vacancies that are left in the economy, and thus reduces labour standards. If that creates new jobs, as the neo-classical economists tell us, it’s only because some employers respond to the availability of cheaper labour. But they only do that if there is demand. Supply side economics just doesn’t work if demand for labour has collapsed. So the government’s solution to rising unemployment just won’t work now.

The Green Party offers three solutions:-

1) Green Party policy is to create new jobs. We brought out the Green New Deal jointly with the New Economics Foundation. (For further details see (http://www.neweconomics.org/gen/z_sys_publicationdetail.aspx?pid=258). ) It’s a plan to create jobs by investment in wind power, solar power, insulation of homes and other buildings, growing more sustainable food, care services, health services, better public services generally. If the government can spend all that money on propping up the banks, why not spend it for jobs that will meet real social needs and help us combat climate change ?

2) We advocate shorter working time. Our Green MEPs have struggled vigorously in the European Parliament to end the UK’s opt out form the 48 hour week. There is a wealth of continental experience, in France, Germany, Denmark and Belgium, about how negotiated reductions in working time can create jobs, by sharing work, through subsidised short time working, extra leave and so on. We need to learn from these and do it.
3) Rather than make conditions for getting JSA tighter, as the government proposes, we should be reducing conditionality. We should be moving in the direction of a guaranteed basic income for everyone, with no conditions, no means testing. The Green Party has been advocating this for years. (See http://younggreens.greenparty.org.uk/AboutUs/Policy/CitizensIncome) A basic income without conditions would mean people could take what part-time and temporary work they could get without losing benefit. At present, if a friend asks you to paint her bathroom, dig an allotment, clear a garden, help in the local pub on a busy night, you can’t, it’s illegal. But unemployed people need to take what they can get and build up to a proper job again gradually. There is so much money now being given out in different kinds of tax credits in addition to JSA, child allowances and the new disability benefits that the government might as well do it, wrap them all up into one benefit. In fact the Parliamentary Select Committee on Work and Pensions suggested this in its 2007 report. It proposed a Single Working Age Benefit. It would save a fortune in administrative costs. But David Freud and his colleagues didn’t listen.

The unemployed need incentives to take part time and temporary work. Our approach is an incentives approach, not a workfare approach. But it is important not to let a basic income, like tax credits, subsidise bad employers and let them get away with low wages. Rather than pulling labour standards down we need to sustain and improve wage levels, and put money into the pockets of the poorest. We need to use the purchasing power of the public sector to ensure a living wage level in all contractors’ work, like the living wage policy the Greens have pushed through in the GLA – all GLA contractors must pay at least £7.45 per hour. We should be doing this sort of thing rather than paying people like Greedy Goodwin a pension worth the JSA of 200 people.

Sunday, 1 March 2009

Maggie's End : April 7 to 18 at the Shaw Theatre in Euston Road

Apologies to non-Londoners but this looks like more fun than last week's Maggie telly. GP-TU stall?

Martin Francis (Brent)
(Rec'd via NUT)

Dear Brother/Sister

My name is Davey Hopper. I am the secretary of the North East area NUM. As you will be aware, it is coming up to the 25th anniversary of the miners strike (March 12) and as the focal point of the commemorations we are bringing the hit play Maggie's End to London.

Maggie's End is a dark comedy that starts with the death of Margaret Thatcher and deals with her being given a state funeral by New Labour (which has been mooted on a number of occasions).

The play is being sponsored by the NUM and nationally by the GMB, UNITE, UNISON and the RMT (see the union logos on the leaflets below).

Maggie's End runs from April 7 to 18 at the Shaw Theatre in Euston Road (next to King's Cross railway station) in London. It will be a fantastic event, with book launches, exhibitions (photos and banners) singers, comedians a brass band and other great attractions. It will be a celebration of the labour movement.

Please forward this email on to your shop stewards/branches/colleagues/family/friends. It would be great to see you there.

I have leaflets and posters if you want them to distribute (see below). Either email me via this email or telephone me on 0777 563 0398.

Davey Hopper

email to: ed.waugh@blueyonder.co.uk