from london to glasgow: primary schools occupied against cuts

by Joe Thorne

Parents faced down four vans of riot cops in Lewisham on Wednesday 24 June, to retain occupation of the Lewisham Bridge Primary School roof.  Two days later, parents re-occupied Wyndford Primary School in Glasgow; and the next day formed a picket line, refusing to allow council officials to move equipment from the school.

The direct action is a response to school closures which have placed children’s education under threat, promising large class sizes, and longer journeys to school, as well as disruption in the short term.  In the case of Lewisham Bridge, the council plans to transfer the pupils to a school under control of a private foundation, removing elected parent governors. Continue reading “from london to glasgow: primary schools occupied against cuts”

the lewisham bridge primary school occupation

by Joe Thorne

Parents of pupils at Lewisham Bridge Primary School, together with supporters, have been in occupation of the school roof since 23rd April, in opposition to Lewisham Council’s plans to demolish the school building, and replace it with a school run by a shadowy guild of wealthy businessmen known as the Worshipful Company of Leather Sellers, which dates back to the beginning of mercantile capitalism in the 14th Century.

Lewisham Bridge Occupation

Continue reading “the lewisham bridge primary school occupation”

the people’s charter: a charter for change? – updated

In recent weeks and months a “People’s Charter” has been elaborated by a commission involving a number of leaders of the trade unions and the left, notably the leadership of the RMT railworkers’ union but also John McDonnell MP, leading officials in other broadly radical trade unions such as the FBU and NUT, and prominent members of Respect and the Communist Party of Britain. This “charter for change” has not yet been finalised, but it appears that its text will be decided upon and then launched at a rally, rather than openly and democratically discussed across wider layers of our movement. We disapprove of the manner in which this project has been carried out, and do not think much of the current raft of “programmes for government action” issued by left groups which say little about what action we ourselves must take and what movement we need to do it.

However, we publish this draft of the document (see below) in the hope that it will provoke discussion and allow dissenting voices in the labour movement like our own to be heard: as always, feel free to post comments and replies. A more thoroughgoing analysis and critique appears in the second issue of The Commune. Continue reading “the people’s charter: a charter for change? – updated”

pcs leadership calls off action over pay

by Steve Ryan, Wrexham PCS

As predicted in the commune the “Left” PCS union has now called off its planned industrial action over pay.

Whilst details are sketchy it seems that the NEC is claiming victory even though they appear not to have achieved any of their aims, most significantly an above-inflation pay rise for all and the de-coupling of progression costs from pay.

Any gains seem to have come from “recyclables”, which, ironically, predominantly stem from job cuts and office closures!

This is a real setback. PCS had a major opportunity to take on the government over the economy and force real concessions at this time of crisis. And it comes hard and fast after the failure of the “Left” NUT to call action. Members were again led to the top of the hill and then left there. This could, and will, be seen as a defeat if not capitulation by what is purportedly one of the most left wing unions. It will send signals to reactionary and conservative forces – but mostly to workers that gains cannot be won.

The answer in PCS is to begin the ardous task of building a rank and file to challenge the leadership and hold them to account – or by-pass them! This in turn should reach out across all unions to build a strong bottom-up organisation that is not just an electoral machine but is genuinely based on fighting for the interests of workers everywhere. There should be total opposition to all job losses, closures and pay freezes, make the bosses pay. Where possible threatened factories, offices etc. should be occupied under workers’ self-management.