sheffield Labour Council targets workers and the vulnerable

Barry Biddulph reports on the 550 council jobs to be axed in Sheffield.

Anti-cuts demonstration in Sheffield

Julie Dore, the leader of Sheffield Council, will make council workers and some of the most vulnerable people, who depend on council services, pay for the financial crisis. While Julie Dore sneers in public at protesters with placards, she tells Sheffield Star readers and trade union meetings that she has protected the most vulnerable. This is a dishonest attempt to justify choosing to make cuts, rather than organise to fight the government. The image of the dented shield only makes sense if you have taken part in a battle, not surrendered before the fight has begun.

Continue reading “sheffield Labour Council targets workers and the vulnerable”

the cuts: not just defending the ‘welfare state’

The Sheffield Commune is holding a public meeting on the afternoon of the 30th November public sector strike.

We will be discussing the capitalist state, the cuts and the communist alternative vision for how workers and service users can run public services.

The welfare state: 'ours'?

From 3:30pm on Wednesday 30th November (after the rally/demo) at the Rutland Arms, Brown Street, near the Showroom Cinema. All welcome, plenty of time for debate. Continue reading “the cuts: not just defending the ‘welfare state’”

sheffield anti-cuts: a fairer capitalism?

Barry Biddulph found the Sheffield anti-cuts alliance heavier on top-table speakers than real politics or organisation

The second public meeting of the campaign against the cuts in Sheffield was was far smaller and less representative than the first founding meeting last year, despite the recent demos and strike votes. Less than one hundred people sat in a University lecture room with seats for five hundred, to listen to seven speakers. It was a trade union rally, not a meeting for activists to discuss the socialist alternative to the crisis of capitalism and how to organise to make the transition to  a real movement.

The character of the speeches was very defensive. It was all about keeping what we had. Defending our welfare state against the Nasty Tories as if the Labour Party was not making cuts in Manchester and elsewhere. There was no criticism of the Labour Party or those union leaders reluctant to fight the cuts. The political implication of the speeches was the Labour Party could somehow represent the fight back or to register that there was a trade union fightback. There was no analysis of the economic crisis and no speaker including a Permanent Revolution supporter, mentioned the S word. John McDonnell MP came closest with his call for a new society.   Continue reading “sheffield anti-cuts: a fairer capitalism?”

over a thousand job losses proposed by sheffield lib dem council

David Huckerby reports on job cuts and resistance in Sheffield.

Nick Clegg and local Lib Dem council leader Paul Scivan have claimed that there will be 250 job Losses for 2011/12 at Sheffield city council. However, this does not include the 600 current job vacancies which will not be filled, and another 320 vacancies caused by voluntary redundancies. Nor does the official figure include job losses from the knock-on effect cuts in services will have council contractors. Local unemployment is rising sharply.

A large proportion of the cuts fall unfairly on services to young people, children and families. This is in complete disregard for equality issues or legislation. They are considered to be an easy target for cuts. Connexions will face £2.4 million cuts in 2011/12. The axe will also fall on leisure and culture services. It is proposed that there will be £2.9 million of staff cuts in this service area. Altogether there will be a 15% reduction in council spending in the first year.

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sheffield anti cuts alliance – steering committee meeting, 14/12/10

Barry Biddulph was at the first steering committee meeting of the Sheffield anti-cuts group.

Fifty members of the Sheffield anti cuts campaign gathered in the Sheffield Trades and Labour Club to discuss the way forward for the campaign with their steering committee. One member raised the question of whether the anti cuts organisation was called a campaign or an alliance. A question which illustrated two tendencies in the organisation: Those members who want a grass roots socialist/communism from below approach for an independent militant campaign and the platform of temporary officials – Marion Lloyd of PCS and the Socialist Party, Ben Morris of SWP and NUT and chair Martin Mayer of Unite who were for a top down, large trade union-led alliance of delegates accountable to trade union officials. Essentially, despite differences in their individual positions, they all stand for a radical trades council structure. Continue reading “sheffield anti cuts alliance – steering committee meeting, 14/12/10”

A Report from the Sheffield anti-cuts campaign.

Barry Biddulph attended the public launch meeting of the Sheffield anti-cuts campaign.

I attended the Sheffield anti-cuts campaign public launch meeting on, Wednesday 24th November, at the Novotel Hotel. The Campaign has the support of PCS, UNISON, GMB. CWU, NUT, and NUJ trade unions. However, only about 250 people and eventually about 300 were present out of the huge public sector workforce in Sheffield, showing the weakness of the trade union left and the lack of mass support, particularly for the SWP, and the Socialist Party. Although the two groups’ members were prominent in the meeting and among the speakers. The speakers were Marion Lloyd, Socialist Party, speaking for the civil service union, Ben Morris speaking for the SWP’s Right To Work Campaign and Bill Greenshields, of the Communist Party of Britain, speaking for Peoples Charter. Attendance would have been far less had a number of young students, fresh from the demonstrations, not been present.  Here is my view of the meeting and some notes of the main points made by the speakers, to give a flavour of the politics of the platform. Continue reading “A Report from the Sheffield anti-cuts campaign.”

resist cuts to jobs, services and benefits

A bulletin distributed outside Sheffield Council buildings this morning

Cameron, Osborne and their chum Clegg have declared war on working class people. They are attacking welfare and public sector jobs: 490,000 public jobs will go. The £81 billion cuts are not a neutral economic necessity.   They have been denounced by many leading economists as they risk slowing growth, reducing government income, and therefore making the debt even harder to pay off.  The real agenda?  Thatcher’s old tune: less for the working class, more for the powerful.

the cuts coalition

It is a lie to say that we are standing on the brink of economic ruin or that the money has run out. It is spin to claim that we are ‘all in this together’. Continue reading “resist cuts to jobs, services and benefits”

welfare capitalism and the cuts – sheffield, wednesday 3rd november

The next meeting of the Sheffield communist forum takes place from 7pm on Wednesday 3rd November at the Rutland Arms, 86 Brown Street, S1 2BS. Considering the current historic attacks on the welfare state we will be considering defending ‘welfare capitalism’ and the need for an alternative.

Questions which we hope to discuss:

1 Are the cuts an economic necessity?

2 Will the cuts smash or restructure the Welfare state?

3 Do we simply defend the welfare state?

4 Can trade unions defend jobs and services?

The texts listed below may provide an insight to differing views on this issue.

Essential reading:

Are the cuts Necessary, and does it matter? – Oisín Mac Giollamóir
and subsequent comments.

Other suggestions:

A war on the welfare state – Keith Harvey in Permanent Revolution issue 17 summer 2010.

Where does resistance come from? – Sheila Cohen

In and against the state (1979) – London Edinburgh Weekend Return Group

People over profit – Noam Chomsky

Karl Marx on the nature of trade unions, in Results of the Direct Production Process of Capital Volume 1.

Contradictions of the welfare state – Claus Offe

The future of the capitalist state – Bob Jessop.

Trade unions under capitalism – Tom Clarke and Laurie Clements.

The political Economy of the welfare state – Ian Gough.

Class capital and Social policy – Norman Ginsburg.

State and capital – John Holloway and Sol Picciotto.

Crack Capitalism – John Holloway

Housing and the welfare state – Peter Malpass

All welcome. Email for more details.

Lib Dems to slash council services

Barry Biddulph reports on Sheffield council’s planned cuts

Even before Clegg and Cameron give the detail of their savage cuts in their ironically named ‘spending review’, the Lib Dems’ favourite council Sheffield has put itself in the vanguard of austerity by announcing its intention to unilaterally terminate the contracts of over 8,000 council workers.

The gloves are well and truly off. Up to 40% of the council budget will be slashed in the next three years. Spending is to be reduced by £219 million, 15% going in the first year, starting in April. Front line services will disappear or diminish drastically. Continue reading “Lib Dems to slash council services”

imperialism and the national question – sheffield, tuesday 11th may

The next meeting of the Sheffield communist forum takes place from 7pm on Tuesday 11th May at the Rutland Arms, 86 Brown Street, S1 2BS. We will be discussing imperialism today and a communist understanding of national oppression and the character of national liberationist movements.

All welcome. The texts listed below may provide an insight to differing views on this issue. Email for more details. Continue reading “imperialism and the national question – sheffield, tuesday 11th may”

sheffield communist discussion group, 14th april: alienation

The next Sheffield Communist Discussion Group meeting will be held at 6:30pm, Wednesday 14th April in The Rutland Arms. The topic of the discussion is “Alienation”.

Below is a reading list to give you a general introduction to the topic, but by all means also look elsewhere for further information to enrich the discussion. All welcome, email for more info. Continue reading “sheffield communist discussion group, 14th april: alienation”

public sector unions face turbulent times

by David Huckerby

According to research by the Independent newspaper, 20,000 council workers throughout England, Scotland and Wales face redundancy as forward planning for drastic government cuts take effect. Whatever the outcome of the general election the public sector will face austerity job cuts, cuts in services and attacks on terms and conditions.

Sheffield Council is one of local authorities identified where jobs are threatened. The director of Sheffield Homes, the council’s housing service has raised the spectre of at least forty job cuts in the financial year 2010/11 with more to follow. Over two hundred jobs have been lost in housing in the last few years. A recruitment freeze has been in place for some time. The council is the largest employer in the city so local unemployment is rising. Continue reading “public sector unions face turbulent times”