bnp humiliated in dalkeith

Our comrade in the Republican Communist Network saw the BNP fail to infiltrate an anti-rapist demonstration in Midlothian

Nick Griffin and 5 others i.e. his driver and minders turned up outside Dalkeith Country Park after cancelling their planned rally in Glasgow earlier that day. Their stated aim was to support an intended rally against the presence of, convicted rapist, Robert Greens in our community. It was good that there was little spontaneous support for the BNP despite a lot of media coverage e.g. in The Sun newspaper. There was little visible presence from BNP supporters, one demonstrator counted 17, I thought there were less, but it was hard to tell, all were driven in by car. The BNP website promised 50 Nationalists would turn up and they urged other British nationalists to join them.

The BNP presence was opposed by the majority of the anti-rapist protesters plus about 30-40 local anti-fascists who had been alerted via Midlothian Trades Council. There were groups from Palestinian Solidarity, Unite Against Fascism, current and ex SSP members, trade unionists representing, Unison, EIS, UCATT, and UCU, the local FE college, independent socialists, two members of Socialist Appeal and at least one other Labour Party member. There was no identifiable SNP presence but, we did receive a message from local SNP MSP Colin Beattie supporting Midlothian Trades Council stance, saying there was no place for BNP in Midlothian and that he would have liked to have been there to show his support but had a previous appointment. In the event no councillors, MSPs or our MP were present. Continue reading “bnp humiliated in dalkeith”

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serwotka sellout sets seal on olympic exploitation

By Adam Ford

As women footballers were getting ready to unofficially kick off the London Olympics, the Public and Commercial Services (PCS) union general secretary was preparing to bow to ruling class pressure, and call off a strike of workers in the Border Agency, Criminal Records Bureau, and the Identity and Passport Service. In doing so, darling of the fake left Mark Serwotka was setting the seal on years of collaboration between union officialdom and the London Olympics authorities.

Brendan Barber (TUC), Sebastian Coe (Olympics) and Ed Sweeney (ACAS)

Tomorrow’s aborted strike was originally called as part of a dispute over 8,500 Home Office jobs the PCS say are at risk as a result of government cuts. Had the walkout gone ahead, it would have caused some disruption to last minute Olympics preparations, particularly with spectators, athletes and others in their entourages still arriving in the country.

Serwotka faced a storm of pressure from the right wing abuse over the strike, with the usual papers seizing on the opportunity to bash the supposed “arrogance” of workers choosing to withdraw their labour at a time when it might have most impact. As could be anticipated, the media ‘debate’ weighed heavily on the ‘national pride’ side of the Olympics, and against working class consciousness. Continue reading “serwotka sellout sets seal on olympic exploitation”

all out at preston remploy

Mark Harrison visited Remploy pickets taking part in a national strike this morning

There used to be over 50 workers at the Remploy factory in Preston, now reduced to only 18, each of them was out on the picket line for the second day of their national strike, 100% turn outs were also reported at Heywood and Wigan. Support came from BAE and Rolls-Royce workers as well as teachers, passing council refuse workers and ex-Remploy workers who had taken advantage of previous redundancy packages.

The government has been Orwellian in claiming they are helping disabled people into work whilst sacking them from their jobs. In Preston the workers were shown 6 job opportunities to apply for, each of these positions turned out to already have been filled. One ex-Remploy worker had found work on the railways and promised 20 hours a week of work, only to be told upon arriving for his induction that he was only going to be offered a zero hours contract. Continue reading “all out at preston remploy”

‘sexism in activism’ meeting held in liverpool

By Adam Ford

Earlier this month, a group of about a dozen activists met in the Liverpool Social Centre to talk about the problem of sexism in activism. The event was organised by Angry Women Of Liverpool (AWOL), following a recent discussion of the everyday difficulties women face in groups across the left. But over the past few weeks, the issue has been pushed very much to the forefront locally, due to a number of misogynistic incidents in and around the Liverpool activist ‘scene’. This session was therefore called to discuss exactly why sexism is endemic in groups avowedly committed to equality for all.

As the meeting began, we all introduced ourselves and the organisations we were a part of, before naming women who inspire us. We were then asked to think about the gender balance within our organisations, and we discussed some ideas about what factors might play into the large male to female ratio prevalent in almost all (the notable exceptions being AWOL itself and the News From Nowhere women’s cooperative). Continue reading “‘sexism in activism’ meeting held in liverpool”

deeper into essex: how you are allowed to be in your cities

Sharon Borthwick reviews Annan Minton ‘Ground Control: Fear and happiness in the twenty-first century city’

“Town-scapes are changing. The open-plan city belongs in the past — no more ramblas, no more pedestrian precincts, no more left banks and Latin quarters. We’re moving into the age of security grilles and defensible space. As for living, our surveillance cameras can do that for us. People are locking their doors and switching off their nervous systems.”

A protest against Dow Chemical, a sponsor of the Olympics

This is a J G Ballard character in Cocaine Nights talking, yet it couldn’t be a more fitting quote to go accompany Anna Minton’s, ‘Ground Control: Fear and happiness in the twenty-first century city’, first published in 2009 and reissued this year with a new chapter on the legacy of the Olympics. I kept expecting Minton to quote Ballard at some point in the book, but she is more concerned to give voice to actual people than to characters of dystopian novels. We travel with her on her research, getting off the tube at Canary Wharf, meeting young people and youth workers in Manchester, people in Salford, Edinburgh and London, Town Planners, experts in planning law… Lets take her encounters in, Manchester, our ASBO capital apparently, where the young people have been served an especially raw deal, not allowed into pubs before the age of 25 they are wandering the streets to meet, no clubs or anywhere they can afford to hang out. But here’s the rub, if they are seen congregating together on street corners they are told to go home. The police stop and search the boys for no reason. Dispersal orders are even preventing young children from playing out in the street, one mother saying her daughter was ordered home out of the kebab shop by a cop. AM asks a simple question, what if the money was spent on facilities for them instead of enforcement? Continue reading “deeper into essex: how you are allowed to be in your cities”

where are we and where do we want to be?

Ian Roberts offers his thoughts on our communist network

I write neither as a theorist nor – compared with many communards – a consistent activist.  I’ve participated in the left intermittently since the mid-1960s.  Since I have never belonged to more than three of the myriad groups it includes, I have no specific criticisms other than to observe that the presence of two members of rival groups in the same telephone box would be more likely to result in a fight over holding the receiver, the number to dial and who should speak than a successful call.

I made contact with others in Bradford after being impressed by Commune and its aim of providing an open forum for a broad spectrum of leftist thought as a foundation for action. When we hosted the aggregate in Leeds, our targets were to get agreement on a platform and constitution. The meeting was well chaired, enjoyable and – with give and take – appeared to secure unity on the issues we had hoped to. Its aftermath, however, was dire. My inbox was inundated with theocratic dissent from – and proposed amendments to – what had been agreed. Continue reading “where are we and where do we want to be?”

huge protests force chinese government retreat over pollution

By Adam Ford

Shifang demonstrators squaring off against riot cops earlier in the week

Locals are celebrating in the Chinese city of Shifang today, following the government’s decision to scrap its plans for a copy alloy plant which many feared would poison them. This sensational policy reversal was apparently forced out of the Communist Party dictatorship by rioting, followed by a sit-in in support of those arrested. In making this concession, the regime has shown its vulnerability at a time when the national economy is being hit by the economic crisis in Europe and the US. Continue reading “huge protests force chinese government retreat over pollution”