quarterly aggregate meeting: saturday 11th june

On Saturday 11th June, The Commune will hold our next quarterly aggregate meeting.  The meeting is open to all members and friends of the group who’re interested in organising with us, so if you’re interested in attending, drop us a line at uncaptiveminds@gmail.com.  The aggregate will be held at a central London location between 12 noon and 5pm.

At our last aggregate, the discussion allowed us to share and clarify our views on anti-cuts work, its current shortcomings, and how we might be able to do better.  This time we will be focussing on improving our organisation and paper.  We will be discussing the purpose of the paper, and a proposal to vastly increase its print run and free distribution.  Our decision will be based on a general consideration of how we see our role as communists, and the function of The Commune as an organisation.

building for the june 30th strikes: discussion on monday 9th may

Time: 7pm, Monday 9 May
Location: Freedom Bookshop, Angel Alley, 84b Whitechapel High Street [Map] (near Aldgate East tube)

For the Facebook ‘event’ – click here

30th June 2011 may well turn out to be the most important step forward in a mass fight against public sector cuts.
Hundreds of thousands of workers could be involved in strike action, from as many as four or five different unions including NUT, PCS, UCU and ATL.

Even as we know the strike plans to be inadequate – at the end of term, and just one day (again) – if we want to do more than complain about the union leadership, we need to discuss how to build for the chance of something better happening in the future. Continue reading “building for the june 30th strikes: discussion on monday 9th may”

the unions and the fight against austerity

In an article commissioned by New Left Project for their May Day International collaboration with ZNet and others, Tom Denning considers the current position of the unions in relation to the fight against public sector cuts.

Teachers and school support staff strike together in Tower Hamlets in March: 3,000 filled the streets

On 30th June, up to 750,000 public sector workers, including many members of the UCU, NUT, PCS and ATL unions, perhaps along with Unite health workers, are expected to strike together [1].  The reasons given on the ballot paper will range from pensions to job losses.  But in each case, the root of the indignation is the cuts, which will crush pensions, jobs, pay, services, and the day to day experience of working life.  The strikes follow a demonstration of several hundred thousand in London in March, the first salvo in what promises to be a bitter battle.  Continue reading “the unions and the fight against austerity”

gurgaon, india: news from a special exploitation zone – article and talk at bristol anarchist bookfair

A member of The Commune who has spent time in the Gurgaon industrial zone near Delhi in India, will be talking about the position of the working class there at the Bristol Anarchist Bookfair.  The Anarchist Bookfair will be held at Hamilton House, 80 Stokes Croft, Bristol BS1 3QY on 7th May 2011.  The Bookfair lasts from 10.30am to 6.30pm.  Our comrade’s talk is from 11:30 to 13:00.  Please see the article below for an introduction.

Gurgaon, India: News from a Special Exploitation Zone

Gurgaon, a satellite town in the south of Delhi became the symbol of ‘Shining India’. Many people are dazzled by the glass-fronts of shopping-malls and corporate towers and fail to see the development of a massive industrial working-class behind the facade of ‘post-fordist’ display of consumerism. Together with industrial centres like the Pearl River Delta in China or the Maquiladoras in Northern Mexico the Delhi industrial belt has become a focal point of global working class formation. Continue reading “gurgaon, india: news from a special exploitation zone – article and talk at bristol anarchist bookfair”

time to build a new rank and file?

Meeting to discuss building for June 30th: called by the London group of The Commune.  7pm, Monday 9th May, Freedom Bookshop, Angel Alley, 84b Whitechapel High St.  Map here.  Public sector workers especially welcome!

PCS activist Steve Ryan proposes a new way forward for revolutionaries in the workers’ movement

So the dust has settled after the 26th of March and the chattering classes on the Left now turn to June 30th.

In the past few weeks, several public sector unions have voted to take coordinated strike action over attacks on pensions. Mostly teaching unions, including the usually moderate ATL, they will surely be joined by the PCS after their annual conference in May.

Politics in PCS: not as bad as this photo might suggest

The left is very excited, with talk of millions of workers out and the possibility of pushing the TUC to coordinate action, effectively leading to a general strike.  There is no doubt that the move towards coordinated action is welcome. It has, after all, been a long time coming, given, lest we forget, that the cuts in public services have been going on way before the Condems cosied up. Continue reading “time to build a new rank and file?”

the first funky riot in bristol

Oleg Resin reports from last night’s riot in Bristol

The anger was simmering for quite some time among the Stokes Croft community in Bristol. The people had to put up with a couple of heavy-handed police evictions recently and the hated Tesco store was finally opened a week ago, despite a massive but peacefull campaign. The area is famous for its grafittis and night life now, attracting gentrification and yuppies moving in. Interestingly, the anti-Tesco sentiment became something like a broad resistance platform, uniting the remaining working class people, middle class bohemians and the student population. Continue reading “the first funky riot in bristol”

the art of decadence: in east london

by Joe Thorne

I visited three exhibitions in a relatively small area of East London on Saturday.

The first, at Foto 8, was of photographer Robert Gumpert’s portraits from inside San Fransisco’s jails.  In their own right, the pictures are compelling: dark and confrontational.  Most prisoners square up to the camera blankly, bare chested and thick-muscled.  Tattoos loop around their arms and throats.  But if the pictures are dark, the social reality which they represent is darker.


Continue reading “the art of decadence: in east london”

cuts to childcare in tower hamlets

Do you know any parents or child-care workers in Tower Hamlets who might have views on the cuts?  Please get in touch with feminist.fightback@gmail.com or call Laura on 07890 209479.  Click here to download the first Nursery newsletter as a PDF.

Feminist Fightback are producing a newsletter for child-care workers and parents whose children use child-care services in Tower Hamlets.  It is important that workers and service users communicate with each other and campaign together.  If you can help, please contact Laura on the details above.

meeting with workers’ initiative, poland (london)

7pm, Friday 15th April, Freedom Bookshop, Angel Alley, 84b Whitechapel High Street

Workers’ Initiative is a militant union in Poland with a revolutionary libertarian orientation.  They grew from a loose network of activists to include a number of active committees in workplaces around the country.  The union, which numbers around 500 to 1000 activists, is active in strikes, sit-ins, and other militant activity.  Come and hear from their International Secretary, who will be able to speak about the experience of Workers’ Initiative over the past decade, and the class struggle in Poland.

Click the flyer to view a full size version:

The meeting is organised by Polish comrades of Workers’ Initiative living in London.

what it would take to beat austerity

After seeing our leaflet for March 26th, Red Pepper got in touch and asked us to put together an article which put the argument in slightly extended form.  Here it is.  Strikes and other action must be controlled by workers themselves, argues Tom Denning.

A week on, the feedback from the TUC demonstration seems broadly positive.  To seasoned marchers, it might have seemed like just another trudge along Embankment – but for many it was their first demonstration, and the sheer weight of numbers carried some exhilaration with it. Continue reading “what it would take to beat austerity”

A Debate on Imperialist Intervention in Libya.

Opposition to the military intervention in Libya has been muted in the UK, and positions on the left have been exposed by the tension between support for democratic struggle in the Middle East and a deep distrust of Western motives. This is an edited version of an online discussion between Commune members between 20-25 March, which aimed not at expressing a final position but exploring some of the contradictions.

Continue reading “A Debate on Imperialist Intervention in Libya.”

wild but limited: on what is called the movement “against pension reform” in france

An evaluation, written in late November by the editorial collective of Incendo, on the movement against pension reform in France, which had taken place in the autumn of 2010.  We believe this is published online in English here for the first time.

It was not the October revolution, but nevertheless France has just had one of the most important movements of revolt in recent years. Despite the fact that the strike was really followed in only certain sectors (in refineries, railroads, once more a strike “by proxy”) and despite the relatively low number of workers on strike1 we must take into account the surprising and impressive turnout on the days of demonstrations (whatever we may think of these demonstrations and whatever the demonstrators themselves may think) as well as the determined atmosphere which reigned there. Continue reading “wild but limited: on what is called the movement “against pension reform” in france”

new organs of power: beyond calls for a general strike

David Broder gave this talk at the March 12 London Communist Forum, discussing calls for a general strike.  Mike Macnair’s talk at the same event can be found here.

But is it that simple?

Different sectors are all facing cuts and, of course, it makes sense to want to link up action against them so as to increase their impact – all public sector workers in a sense have the same employer. The government ultimately has some responsibility for keeping the privatised sector running too – railworkers, for example. Continue reading “new organs of power: beyond calls for a general strike”