Boris Johnson is a racist – Hope not hate

This is who Boris is. He’s shown us time and again that he has deeply-held racist views. From his time as a journalist when he mocked African children, right through to his race-based attack on Barack Obama during the Brexit referendum. When the media say, “it’s Boris being Boris” they’re playing right into his hands, providing an excuse for his unacceptable actions.

We’ve had enough of this. It’s time to take a stand.

Over the next few days, we’re going to be gathering signatures for our petition to demand the Tories remove the whip. If they don’t, we’re going to get organised in Boris Johnson’s constituency, to get the word out about his disgusting views to key voters in the area who could cost him his seat at the next election.

Time is up on the Boris Johnson “act”. We’ve had enough of his loud-mouthed, unashamed racism. If you agree, sign the petition, spread the word, and look out for news about our campaign in his constituency.

TUC Unemployed Strategies Report

Stand Up For Your Rights Groups:

LUS continues to support and develop community groups around London. Since the last LESE meeting we have delivered training on the latest Universal Credit updates for Waltham Forest Stand Up For Your Rights, Barnet Unite Community and Clapham Foodbank.

We continue to support the development of an Islington SUFYR group and maintain intensive work with the Southwark Know Your Rights group where we recently ran a film event at the BFI for group members plus Southwark and Lambeth Unite Community. The topic was council housing and social cleansing as brilliantly portrayed in the film ‘Dispossession’. There followed a Q and A and some OF those watching were inspired to go on straight afterwards to a lobby of MPS at the House of Commons on this very topic.

Just as important for our groups is the great advocacy and representation work that volunteers do for each other in between meetings. In a recent period of three to four weeks we had a string of successes, including those below (names changed to protect the innocent):

Sara – Won PIP Appeal (backdated at enhanced rates)

Kevin – Won ESA Appeal (from first assessment nil points – awarded Support Group status)

Errol – Won ESA Appeal (from WRAG Group to Support Group backdated with no review for 2 years)

Nick T – Second Work Capability Assessment – maintained status in ESA Support Group

Nick J – Won PIP Appeal

Alan – Won ESA Appeal (from first assessment nil points to Support Group with no review for 2 years)

This is a testimony to the quality of training LUS provides and the efforts of members who are growing in confidence and expertise through their participation in our groups and by hands-on experience.

Strengthening claimants’ participation

Over the last few months, LUS has involved claimants directly in a number of forums aimed at making systemic changes to the Welfare State. They have participated alongside senior officers from major voluntary sector organisations, including Child Poverty Action Group, Disability Rights UK, Refugee Council, The Children’s Society, and Women’s Aid. In July some of our members accompanied me to a seminar on ‘ Strengthening the voice of people with lived experience in campaigns for social change’ where they all made significant contributions. Incidentally this has also led to an encounter with the Joseph Rowntree Foundation who were sufficiently impressed with our work to arrange a day’s visit in September to explore how they might be able to support our claimant-led projects in the future.

The other forums include ‘The Future of Social Security’ which will shortly finalise its guiding principles underpinning what a more humane benefits system would look like (possibly with the aim of a media release in time for the November Budget); and the White Paper committee (to be launched in October) which will develop a Bill for Parliament, taking the guiding principles as the starting point and therefrom developing legislative detail.

From the LUS perspective, one of our key contributions to this process will be recommendations about maximising proper channels of communication, consultation and complaint for claimants in relation to Jobcentre Plus and the DWP in general. This is as ever in line with points 4 and 5 of the Welfare Charter and indeed our own 5-point statement of ‘What We Stand For’:

https://londonunemployedstrategies.com/home/

We have now drawn up a new Claimants Survey on these issues which is aimed primarily at people on Jobseekers Allowance, Employment and Support Allowance and/or Universal Credit. This will be circulated to you separately via the TUC LESE mailing system. Therefore if you know of any eligible people please pass it onto them with a request that it be completed and returned as soon as possible. The collected responses will be collated, analysed and published as per the previous Claimants Survey of 2014. Also importantly the results will feed into the above-mentioned forums and so will add further weight to their campaigns for major change to the benefit (and benefits) of claimants.

Relations with Unite Community and PCS

Inevitably as with the last Survey, when claimants are asked to be open and honest about their experiences of their local Jobcentre and the DWP in general, many will voice strong opinions that in part will include criticisms of local staff. This is why LUS continues to strive to develop links between claimants and the major trades unions that work with or for them – notably Unite Community and PCS. Starting from the standpoint that the pressures upon both claimants and staff have a common cause which we should all unite to fight against, this means that claimants complaints can be dealt with in a way that channels them through a united front against the bureaucracies and politicians that are the root cause of the problem. The recent campaigns connecting PCS staff, claimants and community organisations against Jobcentre closures in Leytonstone and Southall are great examples.

To this end, LUS is keen to continue to provide various forms of training and support to Unite Community branches in London through liaison with the new Regional Coordinator (current incumbent David Condliffe is leaving at the end of August). We have also had confirmation of our attendance at the next All-London PCS/DWP stewards meeting in September where we shall have further discussions about how to build upon the links already established.

NICK PHILLIPS – PROJECT COORDINATOR

3 day cleaners strike at MoJ & RBKC

In an almost unprecedented move cleaners at the Ministry of Justice, Kensington and Chelsea Town halls and 6 privately owned hospital departments and outpatient clinics run by Health Care America, will strike simultaneously for 3 days from 7-9 August demanding the London Living Wage of £10.20 per hour!

That’s 3 days of stirke action at 3 companies and 11 sites!

Please donate to their strike funds here if you can. Any amount will help!
https://www.uvwunion.org.uk/current-campaigns/

Labour Assembly Against Austerity

National conference with: Diane Abbott MP // Jon Trickett MP // Richard Burgon MP // Maya Goodfellow, writer & commentator // Chris Williamson MP // Cllr Alice Perry, Labour NEC member // Dan Carden MP // Seema Chandwani, Labour CAC member // Grace Blakeley, economist & writer // Professor Duncan Bowie, housing expert // Sian Errington, Labour Assembly Against Austerity // Roger McKenzie, UNISON Assistant General Secretary and more special guests to be confirmed

More details to follow – put the date in your diary today!

Confronting racism & fascism: international conference

An international conference to discuss how we can confront the rise of racism and fascism.

Themes and speakers include:
Donald Trump to Tommy Robinson: Halting the growth of the racist right • Opposing Islamophobia & Antisemitism • Windrush – Combating the Hostile Environment • Grenfell – unite against austerity and racism • Refugees Welcome Here

We will soon be announcing initial speakers including anti-racists and anti-fascists campaigners from the US, France, Germany, Austria, Poland, Hungary, Greece, Spain and Italy.

Speakers last year included:
Diane Abbott MP, Shadow Home Secretary • Kate Osamor MP, Shadow DfID Secretary • Lowkey, Rapper • Esa Charles, Father of Rashan Charles • Imam Mohammed Mahmoud, Finsbury Park Mosque • Kevin Courtney, NEU Joint Gen Sec • Dave Ward, CWU Gen Sec • Roger Mckenzie, Unison Ass Gen Sec • Catherine West, Labour MP Hornsey and Wood Green

The racist right are on the march. Trumps election has emboldened the racist and fascist right across Europe.

Far right groups are achieving electoral successes from Italy to Hungary. For the first time in years racists are marching in big numbers on the streets of Britain.

The racist and fascist right are growing off the back of the scapegoating of migrants, refugees and the Muslim Community by mainstream politicians and the media.

Islamophobia has been at the centre of their growth but where the racist right grow racism and Anti-Semitism also soon follow.

Refugees are still drowning in their hundreds in the Mediterranean while fleeing poverty and war.

‘Fortress Europe’ and the reality of the ‘hostile environment’ for migrants is opening up an audience for the racist right to grow.

Institutional racism and austerity blights the lives of black communities in housing, education and in the continuing tragedies of deaths in police custody.

We need to discuss strategies for anti-racism in opposing mobilisations of the far right in the streets, the “hostile environment”, Islamphobia, anti-Semitism and institutional racism.

However we can fight this racist offensive. Jeremy Corbyn, Diane Abbott and John McDonnell represent an anti-racist and anti-austerity leadership of the Labour Party. There are many other progressive forces including trade unions, faith communities and other political parties, that are mobilising against racism.

The far right may be mobilising but we have the strength of the labour, trade union and anti-racist movement to oppose them.

We must discuss how we build on this strength to halt the rise of the racists.

Stop the War’s Annual General Meeting – 8th September

Our Annual General Meeting will take place this year on September 8th in London. It will look at the belligerent policies of the Trump administration, including the development of a new US “national security” strategy and of the new Nuclear Posture Review, which open the possibility of using nuclear weapons in conflicts with non-nuclear countries, and of deploying “smaller” and more precisely targeted “tactical nuclear weapons”. The conference will also look at Britain’s continuing wars.

Stop the War’s AGM is part of the regular democratic process of the Stop the War Coalition and is the place where we decide policy and elect our steering committee for the coming year. It is also a great place to meet fellow campaigners and exchange ideas and practice.

 

The conference is open to all paid up members of Stop the War, who have voting rights. Stop the War’s local groups can send up to 4 delegates each, and affiliated organisations 2 delegates. All have full voting and speaking rights. Groups and affiliates can propose one resolution each. The date for the new members to join and attend the conference is 25th August 2018. Join now so you can attend the conference.

We need to strengthen anti-war voices and to organise against what our government is doing. Please book your places now.

Show your solidarity to TUC Bookmarks bookshop after fascist attack

Far right attack TUC Bookmarks bookshop just days after Tommy Robinson release…
Time to build a mass movement against the racist and fascist right
The last few days have proved just how important it is to build a mass movement against racism and fascism in Britain.
The attack on Saturday by far right extremists on the TUC’s bookshop Bookmarks in Central London shows that these people are gaining in confidence in the wake of Tommy Robinson’s release on bail.
Ex leader of the violent and racist English Defence League and former BNP member Robinson has become a rallying point for the whole of racist right, with money flooding in from the US Alt-right to back him.
Across the spectrum Nazi groups, Alt-right figures, the Democratic Football Lads Alliance (DFLA) and UKIP believe they can build a racist movement in Britain just like their friends in the US and Europe have done.
The ‘free Tommy’ campaign was marked by a rising levels of violence as anti-racists and trade unionists have been attacked by his supporters. Stand Up To Racism has launched an important statement opposing the Robinson and the growth of the far right signed by MP’s, trade unionists, campaigners and faith leaders. You can add your name here please share it widely for others to sign.
Now in true Nazi style they’ve turned on a bookshop! The images of book burnings in Germany from the 1930’s show where all this can end up. TUC General secretary Francis O’Grady said; “This is another sinister reminder of the grwoing confidence of the far right”.
Stand Up To Racism needs your help to beat the far right back. Here’s what you can do:
  • Join Saturday’s solidarity event at Bookmarks this Saturday at 2pm, 1 Bloomsbury Street, WC1B 3QE more event details here Rush messages of support to Bookmarks info@bookmarksbookshop.co.uk and Dave@bookmarksbookshop.co.uk or message on twitter @Bookmarks_books or to their facbook page here 
  • Make a donation to stand Up To Racism to help us organise the fightback against the racist and fascist right – donate here
  • Join Stand Up To Racism here

Notting Hill Carnival – Join the Love Music Hate Racism float

Love Music Hate Racism (LMHR) and the National Education Union (NEU) will be running a float with the Smokey Joe Roadshow on both days of the Notting Hill Carnival; Sunday 26th (T-shirt Day) and Monday 27th (Masquerade aka costume Day).
Carnival began as a celebration of culture to unite the area against racist attacks and our slogan is to ‘party with a purpose’. We want as many people as possible wearing LMHR T-shirts in the precession behind the truck.
On both days from 10 am till midday we will load in behind the Smokey Joe Roadshow truck on the route at Ladbroke Grove (the exact location is yet to be announced and will be released closer to the date), then the procession will set off.
We will dance and walk our way through the route until the event finishes approximately around 7pm, so it’s important that you are fit and in good health to participate as they’re long days.
You can book your T-shirt or costume to join us on the float:
More details will be sent out to those who buy T-shirts but here’s a summary:
  • It’s an all-day event on both days from approx. 10 am to 7 pm.
  • Refreshments can be provided at a small cost beforehand.
  • You can come for one or both days.
  • If you can volunteer for 1 hour during the day it would be a major help.
  • The main collection day for T shirts where we will also customize them is Wednesday

M&S: Don’t keep your staff in the dark over massive cuts

Marks & Spencer announced that they’re planning a massive restructuring, closing 100 stores by 2022.

That potentially puts tens of thousands of jobs at risk. But workers still are in the dark as to whether or how long they will still have jobs. M&S are announcing closures in waves, and keeping staff at other branches in the dark. None of their 70,000 workers know if they’re safe.

That’s just cruel, and no way to treat their loyal workforce. Many have worked for them for years, providing the high standards of customer service that are a hallmark for the company.

Engaging honestly and openly with their staff from the outset could help the company plan better to save jobs and restructure more responsibly.

M&S need to move to fix this now:
• Enter into meaningful consultation with their staff through their union on the restructuring plan. Don’t keep workers in the dark about their futures.
• Give their staff an assurance that they will work with the union to minimise the impact of the restructuring on workers and jobs.

If you work at M&S and are worried about the closure plans, you can contact USDAW at enquiries@usdaw.org.uk.

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