Monday, 30 November 2015



"Stand with the Junior Doctors  and show them our support.. This is our NHS and we will fund it for each other. We will resist the drive to a reduced and underfunded service, and any further drive to privatisation" 
 Romayne Phoenix, Green Party Trade Union Liaison Officer

On Tuesday 1st December Junior Doctors across the UK will commence industrial action against the Governments continued threat of imposition of an unsafe new Contract. This is the last resort in an attempt to prevent the Imposition of a contract that  would endanger, patient care and the NHS for a generation.

Junior Doctors and the BMA (British Medical Association), have not done this lightly.  Doctors have balloted on this action and gained a 98% vote for strike action. This shows how seriously they take the provision of a proper health service. They are united in the hope that this action will protect the NHS for future generations.

The Junior Doctors’ aim is to picket all major hospitals in England on all three days of proposed action: Tuesday 1 December until 8am Wednesday 2 December, Tueday 8  
December & Wednesday 16 December. Pickets will be near the main entrances and will start at 8am, continuing until at least 12.30pm, many pickets will continue in the evening, Along with the pickets there will be parallel “Meet The Doctors” events at these tube stations as well as nearby public spaces.

The Green Party sees the main cause of environmental crisis as being the way businesses and governments treat everyone and everything on the planet as things to be exploited for profit. All Green Party policies aim to bring about major changes in politics and economics The TU group and the Green Party have supported unions in dispute such as the NUT, UCU FBU, PCS RMT,GMB  and Unison. Our elected representatives have fought for workers’ rights from local level to the European Parliament.

The Green Party has consistently opposed anti-union laws and will seek their repeal at the earliest opportunity. The Green Party Trades Union Group is affiliated to the Campaign for the Repeal of the Anti-Trade Union Laws .

Ø     Opposes privatisation and PFI schemes
Ø     Campaigns for fair pay and decent conditions
Ø     Opposes the sale/privatisation of council housing and demands affordable social housing.
Ø     Campaigns for investment in public transport within a publicly controlled, integrated transport system.
Ø     Supports public services such as health and education funded through taxation, with the well off paying their fair share.
Ø     Campaigns for fair trade
Ø     Supports a Basic income for the unwaged which would remove means testing, Job Centre bullying and pressure to take low paid jobs.
Ø     Encourages unorganised, temporary and migrant workers to join a union


Saturday, 28 November 2015




On Tuesday 1st December it is likely that Junior Doctors across the UK will commence industrial action against the Governments continued threat of imposition of an unsafe new Contract.

This industrial action is the last resort for junior doctors in an attempt to prevent the Imposition of a contract that we feel would jeopardize the profession, patient care and the NHS for a generation.

This is not a decision that has been taken lightly and Doctors have united in the hope that this action will protect the NHS for future generations.

Our ballot result of 98% for strike action means that Junior doctors in England have given the BMA a huge mandate to proceed.

Over the last few weeks I have met many of you as individuals or as members of your organisations and on occasion have had the opportunity to speak alongside you at events. As one of the co-ordinators for the imminent strike action in north London the last few days have been incredibly busy and are getting busier still.

I apologise profusely if I have not had the chance to return some of your calls or email in time. It is highly unlikely that I will be able to respond in the next few days either. We still have a logistical mountain to climb!

I am also aware that many of you have had some fruitful contact with other BMA junior doctor’s representatives and activists. This is excellent.

On behalf of the entire BMA we thank you all for your solidarity.

I write to inform you of a few details with regards to the planned action and to invite you to come out and display your support for us on the days of action.

The action will begin with an emergency care-only model, which would see junior doctors provide the same level of service that happens in their given specialty, hospital or GP practice on Christmas Day. It will then escalate to full walk-outs. The action as proposed is:
Emergency care only — from 8amTuesday 1 December to 8am Wednesday 2 December
Full withdrawal of junior doctors' labour — from 8am to 5pmTuesday 8 December
Full withdrawal of junior doctors' labour — from 8am to 5pmWednesday 16 December.
The aim is to picket all major hospitals in England on all three days of proposed action. This means that most major district general hospitals will be included. Pickets will be in the vicinity of the main entrances and will start at 8am, continuing until at least 12.30pm. However, many picket sites will continue into the evening, especially at the larger hospitals.
Please see below for a list of the major hospitals in London. I include the nearest Tube stop to each. Along with the pickets there will be parallel “Meet The Doctors” events at these tube stations as well as nearby public spaces. We will direct you to these public spaces from the picket.
You may have read recently of the ACAS conciliation process which has begun. Our key requirement for a return to negotiation is that Hunt must abandon “imposition”.
Please turn up on the days of action, and give us your support. We will then inform you if other local events are planned on the day. If you are an allied health worker, trade unionist, or campaigner please do consider bringing along the banner representing your organisation, your working uniform or similar. We would appreciate it however if banners in explicit endorsement of specific political parties are not displayed and that any selling of campaign literature such as newspapers is discreet.
On the days of action, please do debate us, educate us and invite us to address your colleagues in your workplace or trade union branch.
In London, Junior doctors will be striking at the following hospitals (as well as at other smaller hospitals within the capital). I list only the London hospitals as this is the geographical area of my involvement. As mentioned at the start of this email. Almost any hospital of any size in England will have a picket and a local event taking place.

St Bartholomew’s Hospital (St Pauls tube)
The Royal London Hospital (Whitechapel tube)
Homerton University Hospital (Homerton Overground)
Whipps Cross University Hospital (Walthamstow Central and Leytonstone
Newham University Hospital
Queen’s Hospital (Romford rail station)
King George (Ilford tube)
Great Ormond Street, (Russel Sq Tube and Holborn Tube)
St Marys, (Paddington Tube)
Northwick Park, (Silver St Rail)
North Middlesex
Barnet, (High Barnet tube)
Royal Free, (Belsize Park tube, Hampstead Heath Overground)
UCH, (Euston Station/tube, Euston Square tube, Warren St tube)
Whittington (Archway tube)
St Georges (Tooting)
St Thomas' (Waterloo)
Guys (London Bridge)
Kings College Hospital (Denmark Hill)
kind regards and Solidarity,

Dr Yannis Gourtsoyannis, BMA Junior Doctors Committee

Thursday, 26 November 2015

GREEN PARTY POLICY ON HOUSING – 10am to 1pm Saturday 5 December, in Camden Town Hall, Euston Road.

GREEN PARTY POLICY ON HOUSING – 10am to 1pm Saturday 5 December, in Camden Town Hall, Euston Road.
Please RSVP for this to Anne Gray so we can ascertain numbers and plan workshops. If you RSVP we will send briefing notes and update on speakers next week. There is no charge though a donation on the day for future venue hire and sandwiches would be much appreciated.

10am registration and intro

10.15 to 11.15 3 main speakers and question/comments:-
Tom Chance – overview of London housing situation and Green Party policy responses

Richard Lee from Just Space – on their challenge to London Plan; problems of targets, densification and forced gentrification, loss of social rent housing

Andrea Carey-Fuller – rent control in private sector

11.15 to 12.15; workshops; participants choose between:-
1) The London Plan and how to fight extension of ‘right to buy’ as well as estate demolitions
2) Rent control in the private sector
3) Housing policies and solutions for singles and non-family groups, including GBLTQ, co-housing, youth in shared housing, supported housing for older people and those with disabilities

12.15-1; report back and wind-up; then lunch

Briefing notes will be sent out to those who RSVP.  We are also hoping to set up a Facebook page shortly - watch this space

Tuesday, 24 November 2015

Junior doctors in England will take industrial action on three dates in December

Junior doctors in England will take industrial action on three dates in December — subject to the outcome of the ballot, which closes on 18 November.
The BMA has taken the extraordinary step of announcing the proposed dates, times and type of action, ahead of the close of the ballot next Wednesday, to minimise the impact on patients and fellow doctors, and allow employers time to prepare.
The action will begin with an emergency care-only model, which would see junior doctors provide the same level of service that happens in their given specialty, hospital or GP practice on Christmas Day. It will then escalate to full walk-outs. The action is proposed as:
  • Emergency care only — from 8am, Tuesday 1 December to 8am Wednesday 2 December
  • Full withdrawal of junior doctors' labour — from 8am to 5pm, Tuesday 8 December
  • Full withdrawal of junior doctors' labour — from 8am to 5pm, Wednesday 16 December.

In an email to all members in England, BMA council chair Mark Porter writes: ‘We are releasing this information at this early stage because we want to give as much notice as possible.
'It sounds like an oxymoron when talking about industrial action, but we genuinely want to minimise any disruption to other NHS staff and, above all, to patients.
'Our dispute is with the Government and our ballot for industrial action is a last resort in the face of their continued intransigence.’

Misleading claim

In his email, Dr Porter also updates members on legal advice the BMA has obtained from John Hendy QC, the leading authority on labour relations law, following suggestions by an NHS trust that the proposed industrial action is in breach of the Trade Union Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992.
‘In short, it is counsel’s opinion that the suggestions made by the trust are seriously misleading.
'The offence to which they have referred only applies when a doctor acts with malice towards the patient concerned and when he or she knows that the probable — not just possible — consequence of their action in breaching their employment contract would be the death or serious injury of the patient concerned,’ Dr Porter writes.
‘This is highly unlikely to apply to any doctor participating in the proposed industrial action. It is also worth noting that no prosecution of the sort suggested by the trust has ever been brought under the act.’
Dr Porter adds that the BMA has been clear what needs to change in the contract proposals but the Government had refused these safeguards.
The unity of the profession, regardless of branch of practice or seniority, underlines the strength of feeling and solidarity in standing with our junior doctor colleagues in defence of patients and our working lives, he says.

Climate Change Demo/ Bahrain Book Launch/Banner Theatre

limate Change Demo
Bahrain Book Launch
Banner Theatre

People's March for Climate, Justice and Jobs

November 29th, branch members meet at 12:30 corner of Oxford Street and Great Cumberland Place, near Marble Arch tube.
Around the world, in major cities, people will be working together to make this the biggest, most poignant demonstration yet, and our unified voice will resonate from London across the globe to call for real action on climate change. more details...

Book launch: Bahrain's Uprising: Resistance and Repression in The Gulf

Drawing on testimonies from those involved, this book provides a voice for the lived experiences of ordinary Bahrainis.
Wednesday 25 Nov 6.30pm
Bookmarks Bookshop,1 Bloomsbury Street, London, WC1B 3QE, Admission £2.00 Payable on door more details...

Chicago, The Great Teachers' Strike

Banner Theatre tell the story of the Chicago Teachers' fight for public education.
Saturday 28th November at 7pm at the Blackheath and Newbridge Working Men's Club, Charlton Road, SE3 7HG. £10/£5.
more details...
Organised by Greenwich and Bexley TUC
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Friday, 20 November 2015

Protest the Autumn Statement- Tories can be defeated!

The People’s Assembly Against Austerity is holding a protest march to Downing Street on November 24, the eve of Osborne’s latest Autumn Statement. It should be strongly supported by all those who are opposed to further cuts and falls in living standards imposed by the Tory Government.
The spin after the last election was that the Tories were reasonable (‘One Nation’), that they were popular, and that they were unassailable. It was a many-sided version of the old lie TINA, There Is No Alternative.
The reality is a viciously right-wing government intends to impose just as deep cuts in 2015 as it did in 2010, £37 billion in both cases. The effect will be broadly the same as a weak recovery is depressed and the economy slides back into stagnation. The overwhelming majority will be worse off.
It is also completely untrue that that the Tories and their policies are popular. They gained just 37% of the vote in May election, the second-lowest vote share for any government in history. The previous austerity Coalition saw its vote fall by 14%- the biggest loss for any government in the modern era. The claim that austerity is popular is also pure fiction. A recent YouGov poll showed just 7% in favour of more or deeper cuts of the type that Osborne plans. The vast majority are opposed to more austerity.
The claim that the Tories are strong is equally untrue. They have already been defeated in the House of Lords, Tory MPs have openly criticised the cuts in working tax credits and Osborne is under pressure to backtrack on this issue at least.
All these claims are made in order to blunt any opposition to the Tories. But the huge successes of the June 20 demo and the march outside the Tory Party conference in Manchester shows that the protest movement is strong and growing. With real opposition to the cuts in Parliament too, the Tories will find themselves increasingly weak and isolated.
But further set-backs for the Tories depend on maintaining the momentum of the anti-austerity movement. That’s why everyone should support the march on Downing Street on November 24. The biggest possible turnout sends a clear message: The Tories and their austerity policy can be defeated!
Michael Burke - People's Assembly Economist

Don't miss this fantastic event in London tomorrow with John McDonnell MP and Yanis Varoufakis Former Greek Finance Minister. Details and tickets here:

Here are the details of  Autumn Statement actions from all over the country. Actions will take place  on the 21st, 24th and 25th of Novemeber. Find your nearest action and join in!
London: Tue 24 November, 6:00pm - March & Rally @Trafalgar Sq and march to Downing St. Facebook event page here
Bristol: Tue 24 November, 5:15pm - More details to follow. Facebook event page here
Birmingham: Wed 25 November, 5:00pm - Assemble outside Waterstone's on Birmingham High Street, FB event page here
Cambridge: Sat 21 November, 12:00pm - Protest @ Cambridge Guildhall.
Cornwall: Wed 25 November, 12:00pm - Protest @ St Nicholas St, Truro TR1 2RN Facebook event page here
Coventry: Wed 25 November, 5.00pm - Protest @ Broadgate, Facebook Event pagehere
Doncaster: Tues 24 November, 12:00pm - Protest @ Mansion House, Facebook event page here
Eastbourne: Sat 21 November, 11:00am - Protest @ Bankers Corner, Facebook event page here  
Leeds: Wed 25 November, 5:00pm - Protest @ Victoria Grdns,
Manchester: Tues 24 November, 5:00pm - Protest @ Market street.
Milton Keynes: Sat 21 November, 12:00pm - Tax Credits Clinic @ Outside Macdonalds, 52 Midsummer Boulevard, FB event here
Newcastle: Tues 24 November, 5:00pm - Protest @ City Library > Newcastle Civic Centre.
Norfolk: Sat 21 November, 1:00pm - Protest @ The Haymarket, Facebook event pagehere
Nottingham: Sat 21 November, 2:00pm - Protest @ Old Market Square. Facebook event page here
Swindon: Tues 24 November, 5:00pm - Protest @ The Crumpled waterfall, Canal Walk, Swindon town centre FB event here
SheffieldWed 25 November, 5:00pm - Protest @ Sheffield Town Hall, Facebook eventhere

The People's Assembly Against Austerity

Sunday, 15 November 2015

The Scottish Green Party Trade Union Group

The Trade Union Group of the Green Party of England and Wales is delighted to hear that the Scottish Green Party is establishing its own Trade Union Group . We regard this as a very positive development, especially in view of the current legal assaults on Trades Unions  proposed by the government. We hope to be able to co-operate and exchange information and ideas with the Scottish Green Party Trade Union Group .

details of GPTU(E&W) can be found on  our blog at and our website at as well as our 2 facebook pages.

Yrs in solidarity Peter Murry, Secretary GPTU(E&W)

Wednesday, 11 November 2015

SERTUC activities and news

SERTUC activities and news  November2015

SERTUC Creative & Leisure Industries Committee

Open meeting, but registration essential, on the impact of the Chancellor of the Exchequer’s 25 November autumn statement on arts and culture Tuesday 8 December 6pm Congress House with Kate Oakley, Professor of Cultural Policy at the University of Leeds, register

SERTUC Construction Campaign Task Group

Open meeting with Show Racism the Red Card Saturday 16 January 2016 11am at Congress House, with Steve Goodsell, regional manager of SE England SRtRC, see here and register at

SERTUC Young Workers’ Network

Are celebrating Young Workers Month with a film and pizza night Saturday 28 November 7pm (venue to be confirmed) showing PRIDEcontact

SERTUC Women's Rights Committee training seminar

Friday 27 November at Unite House London, with TU Bill, Abortion Rights, workshops and comedian… Full agenda here

SERTUC unionlearn conference

SERTUC briefing – the check-off campaign

The threat to check-off for union subscriptions contained in the TU Bill is extremely dangerous and unions are gearing up to respond. We have organised a briefing on Thursday 19 November 2pm with Peter Lockhart, PCS National Organiser. PCS was under particular attack during this year and he will share the lessons learned and pitfalls avoided. Register asap at

SERTUC health & safety reps conference

Trade unions campaigning for better health, safety and well-being at work and in the community Friday 5 February 2016 at Congress House. Registration details here

SERTUC with ACAS conferences - note the dates

·         London Thursday 4 February 2016 with ACAS Chair Brendan Barber, ACAS Chief Conciliation Officer David Prince, Hannah Reed TUC, Pete Lockhart PCS and two more to be confirmed

·         East of England Monday 15 February 2016 with ACAS Chief Conciliation Officer David Prince, Binder Bansel Pattinson & Brewer, Hannah Reed TUC, Professor Richard Saundry Plymouth University


Tracking the Labour Market Recovery

Disputes/union actions

NUT and ATL in Berkshire

The Education Bill: What does it mean for Berkshire children? Saturday 14 November panel discussion (with Steve Madden BBC Berks, Max Hyde NUT, Kim Knappett ATL, Danny Dorling Oxford University, Jo Smith Fair Funding Campaign, Greg Wilton Bracknell Young Teacher3pm Reading, refreshments 5pmBanner Theatre “Chicago, the great teachers strike” 6pm

PCS exhibition: Resilience

An exhibition organised by PCS National Gallery strikers 12 to 22 November at PCS HQ

Trades Council actions

Reading trades council – rebirth…

Relaunch meeting on Tuesday 17 November at 6pm all details here or contact Jan Bastable

Andover trades council – needs your help…

Changes in personal circumstances of the officers means Andover needs an injection of activists – can you help? Please circulate your members/officers in the area and ask them to contact Mo Whyte

Wisbech, March & District trades council

Film "Tony Benn: Will and Testament" Tuesday 17 November 7.30pm Wisbech £5 Q&A after the film, more info

Greater London Association of Trade Union Councils

Conference Saturday 12 December 10am "London against austerity 2: Looking at pay" full info here

East London trades councils

Conference Saturday 14 November 11am "Defeat anti-union laws! Stop austerity" with Steve Hedley RMT, Michelle Cook Unite, Mick Houghton GLATC, Rob Williams NSSN contact 07486 047 978 or 07506 733 392

Other actions/events

Chichester Cinema

The Suffragette Movement and the Arts, all day Saturday 21 November £14/£10

Socialist opposition to the First World War

An exhibition on working class men and women resisting the war opening 8 November Marx Memorial Library

Theatre: United We Stand

Townsend Productions present the story of Des Warren, Ricky Tomlinson and the Shrewsbury Pickets - 2 to 14 November in Peckham

Schools Out UK: LGBT History Month

Theme: Religion, belief and philosophy Thursday 26 November Cambridge, all day and evening

Nicaragua Solidarity Campaign

An afternoon of Nicaraguan films Saturday 21 November 3pm £11.50/£6.50 details here

Whose education is it anyway?

Conference on Saturday 14 November London

Tuesday, 10 November 2015

Rugby Green Party challenge Mark Pawsey MP over Trade Union Rights!

Rugby Green Party (acknowledgements to Roy Sandison)
Rugby Green Party challenge Mark Pawsey MP over Trade Union Rights!
Dear Mark Pawsey
We note you intend to vote for even more attacks on the rights of UK workers with the Trade Union Bill before Parliament and we would ask you reconsider.
As you will be aware their has been their has been relentless attack on workers’ rights and organised labour in the UK for almost four decades which has undermined workers’ legal protections and introduced a series of anti-trade union laws in the UK by consecutive governments making our laws the most severe in the EU.
Rugby Green Party believes such attacks on trade union rights must be challenged as attacks on fundamental human rights.
The Trade Union Bill before parliaments is a direct attack on workers’ rights including the right to organise; the freedom of association; the right to function freely; the right to peaceful protest; the right to strike and the rights on freedom of expression.
One of the proposes is on voting thresholds which will require 50% of workers in a workplace to vote for strike action before it is legitimate. Abstentions, that is those that do not vote either way in the ballot, will be treated as ‘No’ votes.
We note that yourself FAILED to meet this threshold in the recent election in the Rugby Constituency and would ask you not to be hypocritical in voting for such a proposes.
If YOU do we in Rugby Green Party would ask you to immediately resign your seat so that a by election can be called to enable you to meet your own criteria.

Green Party Trade Union group sends its support to NUT strikers at John Roan school

The Green Party Trade Union  group sends its support to NUT strikers at John Roan school (Greenwich). The aims of the John Roan strikers, to restore a reasonable work-life balance and to treat their pupils as more than exam fodder, are totally in line with Green Party policy. This strike for these principled aims, is a positive development. We wish it every success.

for further info re the John Roan dispute see

Dear Peter
many thanks to you and all at the GPTU. We appreciate all messages of support and please pass on our website and twitter details below to all. We really do want to be a source of hope and inspiration to others, as they are to us in their support.   We love our school and our students and we see nothing in these proposed changes that will improve the educational climate or the teaching and learning environment in our school.  At present we are fighting to get our Head Teacher to acknowledge our elected NUT reps in negotiations. Please keep an eye on our campaign and spread the word. 
The John Roan NUT     Twitter:   @thejohnroannut

Monday, 9 November 2015

John McDonnell speech causes violence at Student Protest? #GrantsNotDebts

This is a blog for my musings on Green campaigns and Trade Union activity in and around Bristol as well as the wider political scene nationally.

John McDonnell speech causes violence at Student Protest? #GrantsNotDebts
On Wednesday the 4th of November I got up before 7 on my day off to travel down to London with about 30 others from the University of Bristol to protest the scrapping of maintenance grants, the continued cuts to educations, and demand the abolition of tuition fees.
We got to the beginning rally point just after 12, and mingled with our comrades from across the country and tried to listen to some speeches till the march set off just after half past 1.  Despite occasional outbursts of rain, the protest was good spirited and vibrant.  There were towards 10,000 students and their supporters joining the protest, and although angry over the way this government attacks students and young people in general, over 99% were completely peaceful.

The march was accompanied by a tiny group of about 30 or so ‘Black Bloc’ anarchists.  Periodically throughout the march they let off flares, as is their custom (or so it would seem from the demos I go to). These weren’t much of a nuisance other than to the marchers behind them who had to breath through the smoke.

The march stopped briefly outside the Home Office to chant ‘Say it loud and say it clear, Refugees are welcome here!’ in opposition to the government’s disgraceful treatment of refugees and migrants.  At this point the aforementioned Black Bloc let off some more flares, and threw some paint at the building (and the vast police presence deployed outside to guard it).  After a few minutes the march continued without much incident.

When we got to the department of Business, Innovation, and Skills, the Black Bloc again decided to attack the government building and the police in front of it (after we had stopped for more inaudible speeches further up the road).  This prompted the police to indiscriminately ‘kettle’ everyone still on the march.  As the line of them ran forward to try and get in front of us and block us in (and not just the marchers but also members of the public, including a nurse I talked to who was trying to get to work), everyone ran to try and get past (no one wants to be stuck in a kettle for hours on end). 

 Unfortunately I wasn’t quite quick enough (despite my name) and got trapped just after the last person made it out in-front of me.  After half an hour of being stuck like this, people were getting noticeably frustrated (and I was kicking myself for leaving my book on the bus).  All of a sudden some of the hundreds trapped by the police charged their thin line, and broke through at the middle.

Of course everyone who was trapped by the police, surged forward to escape (again, no one wants to get stuck in a police kettle).  Like a torrent of water sweeping through a broken dam we surged forward with no other aim then to escape the police containment.  At this point, no one really knew what was going on, most people around me seemed to think there was meant to be a rally happening at the end of the march (we hadn’t heard or even been aware of the rally further up the road) and once past the police were trying to get to there.  The police gave chase, and the remnants of the march split up as we tried to avoid them, find the rumoured end rally, or just get back to where our coaches were collecting us.

Predictably the coverage in the press has almost exclusively focused on the frantic scenes outside BIS, and the actions of less than 0.3% of the demonstration.  Almost all of the pictures shown of the demo are of the tiny unrepresentative group of Black Bloc anarchists, their scuffle with the police and the ensuring kerfuffle as the police reacted with disproportionate force (captioned illustratively in the Daily Mail article as ‘Anger’, ‘Chaos’, ‘Out of Hand’ just encase their readers weren’t getting their message).

Or as the Daily Mail reported it ‘Students clash with police as tuition fee protest turns violent after rabble-rousing speech by Labour firebrand John McDonnell’ or even more alarmist in the express ‘London under siege’ (‘Rampaging rioters have taken over the city streets’).  This attempt to link John McDonnell’s speech (present in many of the tabloid press’ reports, most explicitly in the Mail) – which called for a peaceful demonstration and for marchers to ‘remain safe’ – with the violence of the Black Bloc is the most galling part of their manipulation.  The main reason being I was only about 50 or so meters away from John McDonnell and couldn’t hear his small megaphone over the crowd.  The anarchists I saw were further behind (no doubt they don’t have much respect for McDonnell or the Labour party so didn’t want to listen), so had no chance of hearing, and came predetermined to have their ‘fight’ with the police – as they do every year – no matter what anyone said.

I’ve been going to these student protests since 2010 when we were first betrayed by Clegg and his broken promises (as I attempted to immortalise in the picture above), and I know the Daily Mail and the right wing press will report on these demonstrations negatively, no matter what.  They want to discredit any and all protests and movements for change as they know the power they have to transform society and threaten their entrenched power and privilege and that of those they represent.  But what a gift to the right wing press these Black Bloc members must be.  All the better that McDonnell had been there at the beginning to give a speech urging peace that almost no one could hear, so they can not only discredit protesters and the student movement, but also the Left of the Labour party that they so fear and despise.

Had this protest been several times bigger the actions of the tiny Black Bloc would have been far harder to paint as representative of the whole protest.  I respect everyone’s right to join our protests, and I understand the frustrations and feelings that give rise to the actions of the Black Bloc, but by these same actions they’re practically doing the work of the right wing propagandists over at the Mail and other hate filled rags for them.  At the same time they’re helping our enemies to alienate large swathes of the public from the student movement.

A handful of people clad in black pointlessly throwing things at government buildings isn’t really radical, it achieves nothing.  What would be radical is if we had hundreds of thousands of people protesting and blockading the roads outside those government buildings, or even occupying them.  That would get us results.  But the ‘tactics’ of the Black Bloc is actually acting as an obstacle to that happening, and holding our movement back.  Hopefully an obstacle we can overcome.