why the phony war?

London based college worker Siobhan Breathnach writes about the top down nature of the UK public sector pensions dispute

We got notice of the 10th of May strike on a Friday afternoon ten days before, in the middle of an emergency meeting about redundancies. The first response was “They have got to be fucking kidding.” There was a general expression of dismay and disbelief. So what is the problem? Why weren’t we pleased about being called out? Continue reading “why the phony war?”

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you can’t say that! ken livingstone as a barrier to working class organisation

Ollie Sutherland was not impressed by the common call on the left for us to vote labour.

What always strikes me as bizarre about elections is the importance the left places on them. Every few years working people get the chance to choose which part of the ruling class they wish oppress them; as it’s always the ruling class in power after the elections, why do most of the left encourage participation in them? Elections are an ideological cornerstone of capitalist ‘democracy’: that people have control over who governs the country and makes key decisions about society. Therein lies the problem: they give people the illusion of control, when people’s lives and society are actually controlled by their workplace and the economic system – not parliament or City Hall. Continue reading “you can’t say that! ken livingstone as a barrier to working class organisation”

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”

3rd may london forum: should we vote?

Our next London public forum will see a debate on whether we should support candidates for Parliament. The meeting takes place three days before the general election, from 7pm on Monday 3rd May at the Artillery Arms, 102 Bunhill Row, near Old Street.

Many on the revolutionary left and labour movement are advocating the re-election of the Labour government. So should we tag along with Gordon Brown, vote for ‘socialist’ candidates, or have nothing to do with electoral politics? Join the debate. The discussion will be led off by Danny Ryan-Smith (The Commune) and Andrew Fisher (LRC). Continue reading “3rd may london forum: should we vote?”

a future fair for all: ‘blair plus’ for five more years

by David Broder

“Five more years”, the Brown loyalists chanted yesterday as the outgoing Prime Minister launched the Labour Party’s election manifesto. But what would Labour do if re-elected? A future fair for all is supposed to have the answers.

Asked whether the 78-page manifesto was ‘Blairite’, Peter Mandelson told the BBC that the document was in fact ‘Blair-plus’. So what in this document justifies the view common to much of the left that voting for this programme is a “class vote” against the Tories? Continue reading “a future fair for all: ‘blair plus’ for five more years”

no surprises as rat boards sinking ship

by Chris Ford

There is a long history of British trade union leaders becoming Members of Parliament. This has often represented the next step by individuals whose primary concern is the advancement of a cause very dear to their hearts – their own self-interest.

In some cases however there are those who have genuinely sought to take the workers’ struggle in the industrial front into the political arena: individuals with principle who have sought to maintain a loyalty and commitment to the labour movement, such as John McDonnell and Jeremy Corbyn. The coming general election should see a new recruit from union ranks – Jack Dromey, the Deputy General Secretary of UNITE. Continue reading “no surprises as rat boards sinking ship”

a labour of love? cut the union link

editorial of The Commune

As the general election nears, millions are worried by the sweeping public sector cuts planned by all three main parties.

Labour and the Tories’ plans are not the same. Gordon Brown’s government plan a more gradual process of cuts in public service provision and jobs.

However, the intention of this policy is to avoid stalling UK plc’s economic recovery by cutting the budget deficit too fast. It is not borne out of a desire to defend or promote free and high quality public services, still less the jobs of those working for them. Labour’s cuts will not seem too benign or ‘gradual’ to the 20,000 council staff due to be made redundant this spring. Continue reading “a labour of love? cut the union link”