Category Archives: Meeting/Conference

Stand Up to Racism Conference speaks out against Racism Across Europe

By Alfio Bernabei, National Association of Italian Partisans in London

Loud applause at the International Stand Up to Racism Conference in London greeted a message of support to Cécile Kyenge, Italy’s first black minister in 2013, who is currently being sued by Matteo Salvini, Italy’s interior minister.

The message was delivered by the shadow Home Secretary Diane Abbott during the Plenary Session at Friends Meeting House, which was also attended by Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell.

“I was fortunate this week to be in Bruxelles and meet the only black female MEP who has been the subject of awful harassment and abuse and who is now being sued for calling a blatantly racist party leader a racist” said Abbott referring to Matteo Salvini, the League party leader who is also Italy’s Deputy Prime Minister.

Kyenge, currently an MEP, had bananas thrown at her and was likened to an orangutan during her time as Italy’s integration minister. Upon her appointment an MEP with the League, Mario Borghezio, described the administration “a bongo-bongo government”. One of the racist attacks came from Roberto Calderoli, a League senator, who said that whenever he saw pictures of Kyenge “I cannot but think of the features of an orangutan”.

Kyenge is pursuing a legal case against Calderoli and about 10 other Italian politicians over alleged racist slurs and verbal attacks.

“I said publicly several times that the League must distance itself from racism and condemn and penalise it,” Kyenge said. “They not only never did this but people convicted of racist acts are still in positions of authority. If the League doesn’t distance itself it must mean that the party shares the [racist] views.”

Kyenge is being sued for defamation by Salvini for calling his party racist and is due to face trial in the Northern city of Piacenza.

On 12 October, a number of black Labour MPs, including Diane Abbott, wrote a letter to the Guardian newspaper in which they stated “We fully support Cécile and stand with her decision to remove her parliamentary immunity to fight against racism, xenophobia and other forms of intolerance.”

A number of references to Italy as a country in danger of sliding towards a new form of fascism were made during the Stand Up to Racism conference, with one of the speakers, Emma Dent Code MP, quoting as a warning the Italian dictator Benito Mussolini who said in 1935: “Everything within the state, nothing outside the state, nothing against the state.”

Another speaker, Colette Levi,former hidden child from Vichy France, chose to read a poem by Primo Levi, the Italian Holocaust survivor, author of ‘This is a Man’, his account of the year he spent as a prisoner in the Auschwitz concentration camp.

John McDonnell said it’s time to wake up to the scale of the threat we are facing: “500,000 people signed a petition calling for Tommy Robinson release after he was condemned for contempt of court. There were at least 15,000 people to protest outside Downing Street against his jailing. Britain First has 1,900,000 followers on Facebook compared to just over one million for Labour. Three out of the far-right activists with the biggest online reach in the world are British. We cannot allow this to grow within our society. It’s time to mobilize against this threat.”

Agenda for Monthly Meeting on 11th of October 2018, 7pm at Greek Cypriot Brotherhood, Finchley

07:00 PM

1

Attendance and apologies

07:05 PM

2

Review minutes of previous meeting

07:10 PM

3

Matters Arising from the Minutes

07:15 PM

4

Kick out Capita

07:45 PM

5

Antifacism and antiracism

08:05 PM

6

Report from trades council conference

08:20 PM

7

Any Other Business and Delegates Motions

08:30 PM

8

Meeting Ends

Please submit other business to the secretary before 5pm on the 9th.

HOUSING (or the lack of it) IN BARNET – A PUBLIC MEETING

  • There are many evictions in Barnet
    happening now.
  • There are more rough sleepers on
    our streets than we used to see.
  • People are driven to desperation by
    the threat of homelessness.

Are these because of the council’s
housing policies? Are they related to debts caused by
the Bedroom tax? Or the roll out of the Universal
Credit? Are landlords using Section 21 to evict their tenants?

What do we know about these evictions and the housing situation in Barnet? Do we feel comfortable about it? How much do we care? Do we want to get organised as a community to do something to support each other and those among us who find themselves in dire housing situation?

Barnet Alliance for Public Services is hosting:
HOUSING (or the lack of it) IN BARNET – A PUBLIC MEETING
When: 16 October 6.30 pm
Where: The Greek Cypriot Centre, 2 Britannia Rd Finchley N12 9RU
Speakers include:
1. Jasmin Parsons – Our West Hendon, Prospective Parliamentary Candidate
2. Glynn Robins – Defend Council Housing
3. Katya Nasim – London Renters Union
4. Pilgrim Tucker – Radical Housing Network
5. Joe Delaney – Grenfell community campaign
ALL WELCOME!

September Barnet Trades Union Council

At our first meeting back from Summer, we are glad to have a guest speaker. As Barnet Tories threaten to issue a completely anti-democratic ban on groups and individuals who support Palestinian rights from public buildings in the borough, we will be hosting Ben Jamal, the director of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, to talk about the massive attack on Palestinians and solidarity with them.

Agenda:
1 Attendance and apologies
2 Review minutes of previous meeting
3 Matters Arising from the Minutes
4 Ben Jamal from Palestine Solidarity Campaign
5 The crisis of Childrens’ and other services in Barnet

Facebook event here.

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

Book here.

STAND WITH CORBYN – UNITE TO END TORY AUSTERITY
A Labour Assembly Against Austerity Conference
Saturday October 27, 10.00 – 17.00, Student Central, Malet Street, London, WC1E

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.

RALLY! Tories Out Now – Time for a Corbyn Government for the Many not the Few


On the evening of Friday July 27 please join us, John McDonnell, Diane Abbott, Richard Burgon, Marsha De Cordova, Maya Goodfellow, Sean McGovern (Unite Disabled Members Committee,) and other special guests to loudly say this failing and chaotic Tory government has to go!

Please also help us spread the word the rally by RSVPing, sharing and inviting friends on Facebook here.

This rally will open the Arise festival and takes place at Student Central, Malet St, London WC1E 7HY from 7.00pm (registration 6.30pm.) Please note that if you already have a weekend ticket, you are automatically registered for the rally. We hope you can join us at the rally and if possible at all of Arise for a weekend of people powered politics, internationalism and solidarity.

You can get your tickets for the rally only, the whole Arise event or the Saturday only here.

Report from A New Lucas Plan Workshop

Attendees at the Trades Council conference workshop hosted by The New Lucas Plan group heard introductions from John Routley former Lucas Shop Stewards Combine and Steve Schofield researcher for Lessnet (The Local Economic Sustainability and Security Network) and author of Oceans of Work: Arms Conversion revisited. Discussion centred on the original Lucas plan and its relevance for today. By the end there was agreement that with long term planning and investment, particularly in High-Tec growth areas like wind and marine energy, the creation of alternative, sustainable, socially-useful, high skill, high value employment was possible and desirable but only achievable by a Government prepared to invest time, money, with sustained political will and a Labour Leadership that reflects our values-as we now have!

However, success was only possible if there was engagement with defence workers and their Unions and representatives at the very start and heart of the process. They are the ones to identify their needs, capacity and to initiate ideas for the drawing up of practical arms conversion plans whilst protecting skilled employment and pay levels, in the same way that Lucas Aerospace workers did over 40 years ago. It was felt given the sensitivities around this issue Trades Union Council’s, based in their local communities, were well placed to initiate, and develop those discussions locally.

You can see John and Steve’s introductory workshop speeches on https://www.facebook.com/greatermanchester.cnd/videos/804404266416772/.

Following on the film THE PLAN – that came from the bottom up tells the story of those pioneering Lucas workers and the ideas that were the motivation for the Arms Conversion/Defence Diversification motion passed at the TUC Congress in 2017.

Frances O’Grady has written this about the film “Throughout the union movement’s 150-year history, our cause has been to make working lives better. But there are times when we have gone further, we have challenged the very nature and the purpose of the work that we do. The Lucas Plan was created during one of those times. It holds out hope that production can be transformed to create a fairer, greener world. And it is testimony to the wealth of genius to be found on the shop floor. This will be a must-see film for every trade unionist – please support it.”. You can do so by donating through crowdfunding using this link https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/the-plan-community/x/11054043#/ or get more information via http://www.theplandocumentary.com

Of course, a key means in developing any industrial strategy would be the National Investment Bank proposed by John McDonell who has stated that such a bank could support the development of diversification plans in the local economies of areas heavily dependent on the defence industry, in consultation with local Unions and businesses.

In addition, a shadow Defence Diversification agency would also help deliver a future Labour Government’s goals of an ethical foreign policy and secure sustainable jobs, guaranteeing as Jeremy Corbyn said in his 2015 Labour Leadership statement “A just transition for communities whose livelihoods are based in those defence sectors, so that engineering and scientific skills are not lost but transferred into more socially productive industries”.

Building on from the workshop there are a few public meetings taking place on Defence diversification/arms conversion-Labour CND AGM; Parliamentary launch of Nuclear Education Trust report; Labour CND fringe at Unite conference; Yorkshire CND meeting with Fabian Hamilton.

You can continue discussion with both Steve Schofield on steveschofield@phonecoop.coop

And John Routley through john.routley@hotmail.co.uk

Thanks Moz Greenshields workshop chair

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