Tuesday, 31 March 2015

A model for taking ecosocialism seriously ?

JOINT PRESS CONFERENCE & CAMPAIGN LAUNCH The above parties are pleased to announced that they have decided to work together across the Wigan Borough area at the forthcoming local elections on 6th May, to field a full slate of commonly supported, Left of Labour, anti-austerity candidates in all 25 council wards. Also, if elected to work together on the Council, as well in our communities around all those issues we agree on, as far as this may be possible. It is hoped that the 25 candidates from all four parties will be able to be there, as also the two Green & one Left Unity - Trade Unionists & Socialists parliamentary candidate standing in the Wigan area. Speakers: Will Patterson (Green Party parliamentary candidate for Wigan) Stephen Hall (Left Unity - Trade Unionists & Socialists parliamentary candidate for Leigh) Michael Moulding (Leader, Community Action Party & council candidate Ashton Ward) Shari Holden (TBC - TUSC Against Cuts council candidate Standish & Langtree Ward) 

acknowledgements to Nicole Haydock 


Monday, 30 March 2015

Taxpayers Against Poverty ELECTION SPECIAL


It is the tenants of the UK who have been made to pay for the failures of the banks and the housing market;  and the failure of Parliament to create a just housing policy.  

“Lifting the lid on austerity Britain reveals a perfect storm - and it’s forcing more and more people into poverty.” 

The Charity Commission rapped OXFAM’s knuckles saying they "should have done more to avoid any misperception of political bias". 

TAP is not a charity – our political bias is with and for the poorest tenant citizens of the UK who pay 30% of their income in indirect taxes, pay ever increasing rents and since 2008 have had their benefits reduced and then taxed in April 2013.  


The poster listed zero hours contracts, high prices, unemployment, child care costs 

In fact it understated the depth of poverty inflicted on UK citizens by Parliament in the name of austerity since the collapse of the banks in 2008. OXFAM could have added sanctions, bedroom tax, £500 CAP, council taxation of benefits, ever increasing rents and food banks. 

The consequential impact of shredding benefits on income after rent and council tax have been paid creates unmanageable debt, despair, mental and physical illness  at great cost to NHS, employers and the tenants themselves. 

Women are being denied a healthy diet before they conceive and while they are pregnant so increasing the risks of low birthweight and permanent damage to the mental and physical health of their babies. The cost a healthy diet,  keeping warm and cooking, cannot be met due to ever increasing rents. 

It is the tenants of the UK who have been made to pay for the failures of the banks and the housing market;  and the failure of Parliament to create a just housing policy.  


Based on the 2011 Census data we know that 33.1% of households in England live in rented accommodation (social and private rented) 47.8% in London and 58.2% in Haringey where I live – most of them in Tottenham

The banks caused their own collapse by lending recklessly to home buyers and buy-to-let landords in a housing market in short supply since the 1980s. The price of housing, land values and rents therefore escalated upwards. Home owners and landords got ever wealthier and still do today. 

Parliament caused the rise in the welfare bill by paying out billions in housing benefit to the profit of landords. £22 billion in 2008 and £24 billion last year.  Now help to buy, right to buy, a flood of pension cash and the freedom of landowners to hold the public to ransom before building more homes continue to stoke up the price of a home and therefor the rents of the tenants. 

If you are property tycoon, a home owner or a landlord you are sitting pretty getting wealthier. 

If you are a tenant in Tottenham all you have to look forward to is increasing rents, demolition of your council estate, food banks or eviction out of town because you cannot pay the rent.  

The developers bandwagon is rolling over the security of tenure of the tenants of the UK with the support of the powers that be both local and national. 

​                                                                     from the ​
Rev Paul Nicolson

Taxpayers Against Poverty
No British citizen without an affordable home and an adequate income in work or unemployment. 


Saturday, 28 March 2015

Climate Change, Work, Labour and Trade Unions

Central London BUIRA Seminar:
Climate Change, Work, Labour and Trade Unions, with Professor Fred Steward (Policy Studies Institute, University of Westminster) on Labour and the Green Economy and Dr Paul Hampton (Fire Brigades Union) on Trade unions and climate change in the UK: prisoners of neoliberalism or swords of climate justice?

Followed by round table discussion on what trade unions can do with Sarah Pearce (Unison), Graham Petersen (UCU), Igor Diaz and Jairo Quiroz from the Columbian coal miners’ union SINTRACARBON, and Christine Haigh from Global Justice

Friday 24 April 2015, 10.30am – 13.00pm, followed by buffet lunch
University of Westminster, 35 Marylebone Road, London NW1 5LS
(opposite Madame Tussauds and nearly opposite Baker Street tube)
Room M205
(lunch M206)

For further details and to reserve a place, please contact Linda Clarke (clarkel@wmin.ac.uk)

This regular monthly seminar is about the implications of climate change for work, labour and the trade unions. Fred Steward from the Policy Studies Institute will set a framework for addressing the green economy, labour and governance issues, including the benefits for workers and workplaces of the green policy shift. Paul Hampton from the Fire Brigades Union will examine the response by trade unions in the UK to climate change for over 25 years and the debates, conflicts and contradictions existing between competing union views, including on coal and aviation. He will question how unions frame climate politics, how far they have really engaged with (or accommodated to) the dominant climate politics and to what extent they have articulated their own independent and innovative conception.

The presentations from Fred and Paul will be followed by a panel discussion, including:
·         Graham Petersen, the Environment Co-ordinator of UCU which works closely with the NUS and People & Planet on campaigns in the education sector e.g. on  divestment from fossil fuels as part of an alternative energy strategy’
·         Sarah Pearce from UNISON, who was the TUC’s Green Workplaces Project Leader from 2008 – 2011, supporting union branches to organise and negotiate on environmental issues in the workplace, and is now editor of the TUC’s Green Workplaces Newsletter and setting up a European Green Workplaces Network;
·         Igor Diaz and Jairo Quiroz, officials from the Columbian coal miners’ union Sintracarbon, which organises miners at the Cerrejon coal mine, is working in solidarity with local communities near the mine to resist its expansion, and is starting to engage with issues of climate change.
·         Christine Haigh from Global Justice which links up with unions championing energy democracy.

This seminar is an opportunity to air and discuss these issues in an open forum and consider their implications for industrial relations. Anyone interested is welcome to attend this event. These meetings can be full though so, if you would like to attend and to help forecast catering provision, please Contact: Professor Linda Clarke,  clarkel@wmin.ac.uk or 020350 66528

Thursday, 26 March 2015

Demand Public Railways Now !

Demand Public Railways Now !

Thanks to all the brilliant Bring Back British Rail supporters who donated to our fundraising campaign in February, we are now gearing up for our second
Day of Action for Public Ownership of Our Railways on Wednesday 1 April 2015,

to mark the start of the General Election campaign.


① Join the Re-nationalise ScotRail online action
If you use Facebook or Twitter, please join the online action we’re coordinating to protest the handover of Scotland’s railways to the Dutch state-owned operator Abellio on 1 April 2015. Sign-up via Thunderclap so that the 'Re-nationalise ScotRail' message goes out in unison on11:30am on the day: http://thndr.it/1aZBSYi

② Join the Protest Against Privatisation at your local railway station
April Fools' Day also marks 21 years since the shambolic privatisation of our once world-class railways, which now wastes £1.2billion of taxpayers' money every year. Bring Back British Rail is working with TSSA & Campaign against Climate Change to coordinate protests up-and-down the country calling for public ownership now! See the Facebook event for details of how to get involved: https://www.facebook.com/events/1578579345761156

You can order bulk leaflets by emailing Ricky Jones at: jonesr@tssa.org.uk
Or print your own Bring Back British Rail placards here:

Both the actions above take place as part of the 48 Hours of Action for Public Ownership (on 31 March - 1 April) supported by Action For Rail, People's Assembly Against Austerity, We Own It and other groups around the country.

You have received this email because you are on the Bring Back British Rail mailing list. You will only receive a maximum of five emails a year updating you on key campaign activities and developments.
You can view our email archives here: https://lists.riseup.net/www/arc/bringbackbritishrail
To unsubscribe, please send an email to: bringbackbritishrail-unsubscribe@lists.riseup.net

Stand Up to Racism Day

 with acknowledgements to wembley matters http://wembleymatters.blogspot.co.uk/

Today was Stand Up to Racism Day in London, part of the UN's International Day for the
Elimination of Racial Discrimination. It is celebrated on March 21st because that is the day
in 1960 when 69 people were killed by police who opened fire on an anti-pass laws demonstrators
in Sharpville, South Africa.

Sharpville was an event that seared itself on my memory as it did many of my generation. LINK

It was fitting that in an event  founded on marking the crimes of South African apartheid that
Friends of Al AqsaLINK were in Trafalgar Square collecting messages calling for the end of the
apartheid wall in Israel that separates Palestinians from each other and from Israel.

The public were asked to write a message on the wall which included the statement from
Nelson Mandela: 'Our freedom is incomplete without the freedom of the Palestinian people'.

Rebecca Johnson, Green candidate for Hampstead and Kilburn Stands Up to Racism

Although I marched with the Green Party is was good to see
Brent Anti-Racism Campaign on the march with their much admired banner.

Wednesday, 25 March 2015



On Friday 27th March at Tube stations across London, RMT members and activists will be protesting the closure of Tube ticket offices.

Transport for London has confirmed that it is pressing ahead with closing all London Underground ticket offices and is doing so without consulting passengers or adequately trialing the impact first. This is in order that closed ticket offices can be leased out to retail businesses, a short-sighted step that will exacerbate already dangerously high and rising peak passenger through-flow.

TfL's conduct in ignoring criticism including from workers representatives, the statutory passenger body London Travelwatch and, in the case of ex Silverlink stations, in defiance of legal obligations, is a scandal.

Given the ongoing reduction in staffing levels, and the impending introduction of night time opening of some Tube lines, remaining LUL workers are set to be asked to work anti-social hours frequently. Clearly, LUL's proposals - if enacted - would see the health and well-being of staff suffer as a result of having to often switch between day and night shifts.

On  Friday 27th March the RMT will be protesting TfL's plans. RMT with other concerned organisations, including Hands Off London Transport https://handsofflondontransport.wordpress.com/, will be holding demos and leafleting at stations across the capital.

Activities will be taking place at Bermondsey (7:30am - 10am), Brixton, Camden Town (8 - 10am), Elephant & Castle (4 - 6pm), Gants Hill (4 - 6pm), King's Cross (from 9am), Manor House (from 8am), Oval (8 - 10am), Shepherd's Bush - Central Line (4 - 6pm), Uxbridge (from 4pm) and Whitechapel (8 - 10am) stations.

RMT General Secretary Mick Cash said:

"The fight to stop the closure and smashing up of ticket offices, and the axing of station staff, goes on and Friday's series of demonstrations mark a ramping up of the RMT campaign to stop this cash-led carve up of jobs, services and safety.

"The recent shocking incidents at Clapham South and Baker Street , where a woman and child ended up under trains, shows the importance of a properly staffed railway where services and safety come first.

"The overcrowding at both tube and railway stations proves that transport bosses are trying to squeeze a quart into a pint pot alongside a backdrop of cuts to staffing and basic passenger services. That toxic combination is a recipe for disaster and that is the message we will be taking to the public in Fridays series of London-wide events."

Darren Johnson AM
Green Party Member
London Assembly
City Hall
Queens Walk
London SE1 2AA
020 7983 4388

The Green Party Trade Union Group sends solidarity to all those teachers who will be striking against the threatened forced academisation at St Andrew and St Francis Primary school in Willesden

The Green Party Trade Union Group sends solidarity to all those teachers who will be striking  against the threatened forced academisation at St Andrew and St Francis Primary school in Willesden and the parents of pupils of the school who are supporting them..

The Green Party opposes forced academisations which diminish democratic control of education and offer no proven educational improvement

Railroading through a forced academisation at St Andrew and St Francis represents a further step by central government to enforce its bankrupt education policies, we support those who are resisting this retrograde step,

UCU London Retired Members Branch: April Calender

April Calender

Branch AGM - April 30th

2-4pm Meetings take place in the union office in Carlow Street NW1 7LH, nearest tube Mornington Crescent.

Walk in Epping Forest, Monday 20 April 2015

Meet at Chingford station to start at 12.00 noon.
more details...

Members' Publications

A reminder that we agreed to publicise any publications, talks, etc by branch members that you think my be of interest to others. Let the secretary know (s.cushion23@gmail.com) and it will be included in the next circular.
This month, we have a book launch: Breaking the Silence by Merilyn Moos 23 April 2015 18:00 at  London Met in Holloway Road - it is free but you will need to register here...
more details of the book here...
and a photo exhibition by Dave Binns - Colours of Music 1st April, 4.00pm (open till8.00pm) and 2nd, 3rd and 4th Aprilnoon till 6.00pm at 10 Balmes Road, N1
more details from here...

Egypt Solidarity

Article: Meet Sisi’s British backers
read it here...

Bahrain Update

State Violence in Manama: Four Years On
Download it from here...
UCU London Retired Members Branch: April Calender


Wednesday, 18 March 2015



fb sharer
 2015 is the pivotal year for TTIP. Join us in Manchester for this major national gathering of anti-TTIP groups from around the country, and help build the movement against this dangerous trade deal. The conference will focus on the next steps to get TTIP off the table. This deal will result in over a million lost jobs, tear up the food safety regulations that keep us safe from toxic chemicals and genetically modified ingredients, scrap digital safety laws and throw new banking regulations out of the window. TTIP offers a nightmare vision of the future, and we must resist it. This event will be a major public demonstration of our commitment to a fairer world, and we really hope to see you there.
*Just Added* pre-conference activity -  free walking tour of radical Manchester.
1pm to 6pm Saturday 21 March 2015
Methodist Central Hall, Oldham Street, Manchester M1 1JQ
Speakers include:John Hilary, War on Want
Blanche Jones, 38 Degrees
Lynne Morris, UNISON North West
Julie Ward MEP
Jeronim Capaldo, Tufts University
and many more
Sessions include: TTIP: Difficult Questions|Local Groups Meet-Up | Building the Fightback in Trade Unions | Media & Campaign Skills |More!
Lunch provided by the Real Junk Food Project
Kindly sponsored by Thompsons Solicitors   Thompsons logo - rgb
Our AGM for our membership will take place at 12 noon. More info here.

Tuesday, 17 March 2015

Unite Community action against Benefit sanctions


The Green Party Trade Union group sends its support to the Unite Community action against Benefit sanctions which is taking place on Thursday 19th March 2015. These sanctions can have the consequence of totally impoverishing those upon whom they are inflicted. They can lead to hunger and extreme distress, add further burdens of debt and lead to evictions and homelessness. Sanctions are often inflicted for trivial reasons and are yet another example of how the government’s austerity policies are punishing the poor whilst leaving the rich and privileged unaffected. These sanctions are inhumane and should cease immediately.

Contact http://www.unitetheunion.org/growing-our-union/communitymembership/ to find out about the protests that will be taking place near you and what you can do to support them, further details are also available via the green left blog at http://greenleftblog.blogspot.co.uk/2015/03/demonstrate-19032015-vs-benefit.html

Halifax selection row: Leaked emails reveal Labour’s war with Unite over choice of candidate


acknowledgementas to Alan Wheatley

Sunday, 15 March 2015

Reflections on the Green Party Spring Conference Liverpool 2015

Having joined the Green Party in October at the start of the ‘GreenSurge’ (more than just a really successful hashtag – says Natalie), and getting very active in my local party, I had been eagerly awaiting this years spring conference. This would be my first political conference of any kind, and I was pretty excited.  I was not disappointed.
The feeling of being a part of something on the verge of something big (ish) started from Temple Meads station. I got the first available cheaper offpeak ticket. In a nice illustration of how economic determinants effect human behavior it seemed almost every Green in the South West did the same and our carriage was absolutely packed with Greens. It was quite surreal.
The context of the oft repeated booming membership combined with the highest polling ratings in 20 years (and the slow but steady accumulation of MEPs and councillors over the parliament); ensured the largest ever Green Party Conference met in extremely high spirits. 45% of the attendees where new members (‘GreenSurgers’ as someone suggested) the majority of them energetic and increasingly more radical Young Greens.   With every reason to be happy the mood was incredibly cheerful and everywhere people where making friends over lively debates.
We were immersed in a rich program of speeches, fringes, workshops, training and debates. These were long days starting at 9am and continuing till 8pm, with few breaks and late night socials and drinking lasting long into the small hours. For financial reasons I was sleeping on two pillows with a thin felt like blanket over them on the floor of some else’s hotel – not ideal for recuperation – so got very worn out. What struck me most was the feeling of engagement whilst participating in the party’s democratic policy making process.
The Green Party has by far the most democratic structures of any of the major party’s (though it is not without flaws). Any member can submit policies, they’re then prioritised by members, and any member can then come and vote on them. With such a large number of attendees – many of them new and unfamiliar with standing orders and procedure – this can at times become ungainly.  But the ability of its members to so fully participate in setting the party’s policy and direction is one of the party’s great strengths. If we want to empower ordinary people within our society we have to start with our political organisations.
Politics being an area of life that engenders such strong emotional responses many of the debates were extremely passionately held. But collective decision making under democratic conditions is consensus building, even if the vote doesn’t go your way. We past some potentially very important policy. The highlights for me include:
– Committing all Green PPCs to reject austerity budgets in any post election government (and to do what they can to remove the Conservatives from power whilst not entering any formal coalitions…).
– The commitment to scrap tuition fees and abolish student debt (the chief goals of the student movement as expressed by NCAFC and others).
-The adoption of the NHS reinstatement bill to restore public ownership to the NHS
-The decision to lift the ban on joint candidates (especially in regards to The National Health Action Party)
-The commitment to protect the independent living fund
-The commitment to restoring legal aid and severely reducing (or even eliminating) the cost of taking an employer to a tribunal.
-The plan to build more ‘rolling stock’ (train carriages) and electrify the railways.
-The commitment to public and local cooperative control of energy supply and distribution networks.
-The adoption of ‘Progressive Council Tax’ to fight cuts and inequality until a land tax can be introduced.
-The Safe Space, Anti-harassment, Child Protection and Trans Rights policies. (Shockingly this was only the first ever time a trans person had been able to speak about trans rights at a UK political conference).
We packed so much in its impossible to mention it all.  One particularly interesting development, outside of adopted motions, was the fringe on and establishment of a working group to look into implementing digital democracy (like what Podemos do in Spain) in the party within the next two years.  This would allow members to participate in the conference and policy making process digitally from the comfort of their own homes, increasing access and democracy (and greatly reducing the cost – which was almost too much for me).
The sessions on Green Trade unionism and the Trade Union Group’s AGM were particularly encouraging. Despite being in ‘grave yard’ shifts early on Sunday and Monday morning, these were surprisingly well attended. The usual endearing elderly white males (who have been the stalwarts of trade unionism these past few decades) were joined by younger people, women and a generally more diverse range of people. These are the new people we need to get into the union movement if it is to survive and prosper, and be able to play its vital role in protecting our interests in the workplace. We in the Green Party especially need to get fresh blood into our union organisations if we are to further our relations with the unions and convince them to work with us, to our mutual benefit.
Of course all of our leaders (and many members of the floor) delivered fantastic and usually inspiring speeches. My favorite was Amelia Womak's making the case for a politics rooted in social justice and why we ‘will never make the most vulnerable in our society pay for a crisis of Capitalism’. My own MEP Molly Scott-Cato impressed me more than anyone with her masterful expositions of Green economics (will try and do a post on this later) and her demolition of Andrew Neil’s attempt to bully her and distort our policies:
Though I would have perhaps added to Neil that the majority of the money for the 500,000 Social Homes that comes from local council borrowing is paid off by the rent paid by the new tenants. Thus creating a new wave of secure social provision in the housing market at very little cost. This would have been obvious to Molly and Neil, but should have been spelled out for the benefit of viewers
Caroline and Natalie both spoke exceptionally well. You could tell Natalie had been working on her speech non-stop after her recent episodes of human error. Though maybe slightly over rehearsed she flawlessly made the case for the Green alternative to the economically illiterate and socially damaging austerity of the establishment.
To conclude, like almost everyone there I really enjoyed the Spring Conference, made lots of new fiends, and felt like I’d engaged more with the political process then I’d ever been able to before.  I hope we can all take that enthusiasm back to our homes and campaigns and start building the case for a genuine alternative, sustainable politics.  One based on care and compassion, instead of the limitless greed and selfishness of our current political establishment that is so impoverishing our communities and destroying our environment.
climate action now

Yes that’s me right at the front in the middle in front of ACTION (sort of infront of the T) in the People’s Assembly Top and the colorful knitwear)

Friday, 13 March 2015

***Join us on the 18th March at 6pm, outside Downing St, and don't forget to bring your pots and pans!***

The People's Assembly Against Austerity
Dear Friend
This Budget Day, we are co-ordinating a national day of action across the country, calling for pots and pans protests to take place in every town and city.

Here in London, we will be clamouring outside the door of Downing Street with a firm message: End Austerity Now!

***Join us on the 18th March at 6pm, outside Downing St, and don't forget to bring your pots and pans!***

What's all this noise about?

In Britain, we face a crisis that has seen living standards fall further and for longer than any time since the 19th Century. We cannot and must not let this continue.

Pots and pans are a form of street theatre with deep roots in this country and across the world. For many years, people have taken to the streets to raise merry mayhem when prices rise, wages fall, or governments disappoint.

Our empty pots will symbolise the food and fuel poverty that has led to food banks and a winter fuel crisis. Let's make our message clear, and our voices heard. Let's make 2015 the year we break austerity!

Please do attend with your pots and pans, and invite your friends. Further details on the facebook event page

The People's Assembly Against Austerity