Monthly Archives: January 2018

Solidarity with Afrin – Take Action Now

Urgent call for the people of UK, politicians, trade unionists, campaign groups, democrats, intellectuals and all those who take sides with peace, freedom and justice to take immediate action to protest the bombing of Afrin.

Background
On Saturday, 20th January, Turkish war planes launched air strikes on Afrin, one of the three Kurdish cantons in Northern Syria. A ground operation has now begun with the support of the Free Syrian Army.

The Turkish government announced that the operation, cynically dubbed “Olive Branch”, targets the Syrian Kurdish YPG (People’s Protection Units) and ISIS. In fact it is a war being waged on the people of Afrin and sabotages hopes for future peaceful co-existence between the Turks and the Kurds not just inside Turkey but also across the Middle East.

The Syrian government also denies being informed of the military operation targeting Afrin, despite a statement by the Turkish Government that “all parties involved were informed and the operation is being carried out with respect to Syria’s territorial integrity”.

A later statement said 108 targets belonging to Kurdish militants had been hit. The YPG said the strikes were being carried out indiscriminately, and have already killed 9 people, including 6 civilians, and wounded 13 (and rising).

The Turkish government is trying to justify this operation as being for the “protection of the border and security”. In fact, this is a wholly untrue justification of Turkey’s war on the Kurdish population. The real threat to the peoples of Turkey is not its Kurdish neighbours who fought against ISIS and other jihadist gangs in northern Syria and Rojava and built democratic regimes with other peoples of the region.

It is clear that these attacks are not aimed at protecting the security of Turkey because Turkey’s border security is not endangered. Afrin has been the calmest region in the whole Syrian civil war.

Turkey has been waging a war against the Kurdish population in Turkey and has launched these attacks to destroy the Kurdish democratic formations in Northern Syria, considering them as a “bad example”.

The responsibility of the killings lies with Turkey’s ruling AKP government, its leader Erdogan, and those imperialist powers who consent to the attacks. We will not be part of it.

Turkey was placed back on the European Union Human Rights watchlist in April 2017 and has consistently breached Human Rights both within and outside its own jurisdiction. We oppose the UK government’s involvement in arms deals with Turkey and call on our Government to put a stop to these sales.

Solidarity with the People of Turkey (SPOT) calls on the people of the UK, including politicians, trade unionists, campaign groups, democrats, intellectuals and all those who take sides with peace, freedom and justice to take immediate action against these attacks.

Solidarity with the People of Turkey (SPOT)

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http://spotturkey.co.uk/2018/01/21/solidarity-with-afrin/

___________________________
Send a message of protest to the Turkish Government using the email addresses below.
bimer@basbakanlik.gov.tr
embassy.london@mfa.gov.tr

You can also send a letter to your local MP. If you are unsure what to write, you use the letter below. Also you can also find your MP here: https://www.writetothem.com/

Dear MP,

On Saturday, 20th January, Turkish war planes launched air strikes on Afrin, one of the three Kurdish cantons in Northern Syria. This was followed by ground attacks on Sunday with civilian casualties already being reported. We urgently need you, as a Member of Parliament, to take some action to put an end to this bloodshed.

This act of unprovoked warfare by the Turkish state threatens to destablise one of the calmest regions throughout the whole Syrian civil war. Afrin has been a crucial safe haven for people fleeing ISIS in the region, and it must stay that way!

It is clear that the Turkish government’s claim that this war is to protect Turkey’s border and security is simply untrue, and it will have devastating consequences for not just the Kurdish people who will pay with their lives but also the people of Turkey and of the broader region.

The responsibility of the killings lie with Turkey’s ruling AKP government, its leader Erdogan, and those powers who fail to oppose these attacks and take action to influence Turkey to cease its attacks on Afrin with immediate effect.

As a resident of your constituency, I am calling on you to:

raise this issue as a priority with the UK Government,
call for an end to all UK arms sales to Turkey,
publically condemn Turkey’s aggression on the Kurdish regions, and
take any other necessary action to end the bloodshed in Afrin.

Yours sincerely,

 

 

Your name..

Solidarity with People Facing the Emergency in Turkey

I only made it to the second half of the conference by Solidarity for the People of Turkey today, due to having attended SERTUC in the morning, but it was superb and very well attended. Highlights included:

  • Leading trade unionists from the DISK union federation and the GIDA-IS food workers’ union, talking about the extreme repression against workers’ in Turkey today, were strikes have been de facto banned and fewer than half of supposedly recognised trade union agreements as honoured as collective bargains.
  • Politicians from both the major Turkish opposition parties, talking about the government’s effective destruction of democracy since the failed coup of 2016, its passing of anti-democratic legislation by decree without recourse to parliament and its shocking attempt to resolve the Kurdish question in it’s favour by attacking the Kurdish town of Afrin over the border in Syria.
  • Solidarity from British trades unionists like Christine Blower of the NEU/NUT and Bakers’ union leader (and friend of Barnet TUC) Ian Hodson, as well as a message of solidarity from Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, who has raised the issue of human and workers’ rights in Turkey throughout Europe and directly with the government itself.

Trades unionists’ in Britain were urged to raise the issues within their own structures and communities, and there will be a solidarity visit to Turkey on May Day.

SERTUC: Changing the Narrative and Establishing Our Vision of the Future

Today’s meeting of South East Region Trades Union Congress (soon to be renamed TUC in London, East and South England, LESE) was made two exceptionally good addresses from Labour politicians.

The first talk was from Emma Dent Coad MP, who last year went from the elation of winning a shock election victory for Labour in the constituency of Kensington & Chelsea to the horror of the Grenfell Tower fire. Emma, a lifelong resident of the borough, a student of architecture and a Labour councillor for twelve years could not be a better person to take on the K&C Tories. The high-handedness of their council administration was almost comically awful long before the tragedy of Grenfell. This was a council that accused Labour of virtue-signalling when they proposed letting a food-bank have the use of a council property, and then praised food banks as being superior to the welfare state. They were enthusiasts for the most extreme rightwing think tanks that permanently label working-class communities as “broken” by “dependency culture” and propose to fix them through means of pure social cleansing, with madcap plans to relocate Londoners to places as far afield as Hastings and Peterborough, places that they would feel completely lost in.

Emma argued that the ideological assault of the Tories cannot be fought on its own terms, which she likened to a sort of rightwing bullshit bingo. “We must challenge the social determinism of the elites… Keeping us debating in a middle ground does not help those we want to represent… We must change the narrative against the monetisation of housing and use our own language, not the language of the Tories.”. During the discussion, numerous delegates raised the ideological attacks that have come from the media, both against Emma and Labour and, horribly, the Grenfell survivors themselves, who are falsely presented as having in some way benefited from the fire. Emma said that this was part of the ideological offensive, and definitely something that is hardening up right now.

After Emma Dent Coad, we were treated to the first adress to SERTUC by Labour Shadow Chancellor for decades, John McDonnell. John informed us that had had the very great pleasure of speaking to City of London asset managers, and telling them he was absolutely in favour of investment from all investors that pay taxes and recognise unions. What he wanted to talk to us about, though, was PFI and the fallout of the Carillion collapse.

For 20 years, Jeremy and I campaigned against PFI in public services… which is all about making money by ‘sweating the assets’, which means cutting wages and spending.” He explained that the figures, which many people refuse to believe even when presented to them, that the private sector has made services anywhere between 40 and 70% more expensive. He said he had earlier in the week, he’d been discussing Carillion with Royston Bentham, a heroic worker blacklisted by that company for fighting for health and safety at work, just one example of a person who knows only too well working under these conditions are like.

Labour is going to sieze the opportunity presented by this emergency to finally end PFI. Not only will there be no more PFI contracts, but John pledged to bring services back in-house and “re-establish the credentials of direct labour and

Defaced branding is seen outside Carillion’s Royal Liverpool Hospital site in Liverpool, Britain, January 16, 2018. REUTERS/Phil Noble

services. We will end privatisation, full stop.”. The bigger ideas for reforming industry and work included:

  • There will be reform of the financial auditors to put an end to the tax avoidance industry
  • Workers will not just get onto company boards, but there will be a workers’ right to buy to enable people to take ownership of businesses they work in
  • Trade union rights will be fully restored, with the Tory anti-union laws repealed within the first 100 days of the Labour government
  • A ministry of labour will be established that will enable and enforce sectoral bargaining

McDonnell emphasised, particularly in response to discussion from the floor, that a radical Labour government will only succeed if we rebuild the mass labour movement to allow it to survive, and that we need to set ourselves the target of doubling the size of our trade union membership. He rounded up by saying that Labour is holding a potentially ground breaking conference on alternative models of ownership on February the 10th that he urged people to attend, and left us with these words: “We’ve spent a lifetime working towards this, lets sieze the moment!”

Sat 17 Feb – One Day Without Us

Barnet and Haringey More in Common are celebrating the contribution of migrants with a stall on East Finchley High Road and on social media. More info about 1DWU at http://www.1daywithoutus.org/

The purpose is proclaim the message ‘ Proud to be a migrant/Proud to stand with migrants.’  Alternatively, you might choose to bring  messages to the day, depending on your organisational or individual priorities. Celebrating migrants and migration does not preclude protest and there are lots of things to protest against:  The impact of immigration controls on migrant workers; the ‘hostile environment’; the failure to guarantee EU citizens’ rights; restrictions on health care to migrants.  What do you want the country to know about the value that migrants bring to your communities?  What migrant voices and perspectives are being left out of the public debate?   What would you like to highlight and draw attention to?  Why are you proud to be a migrant?  Why are you proud to stand with migrants?

A Follow-Up from the Lucas Plan Conference: Trades Unionists Endorse Defence Diversification

The conference to mark 40 years since the Lucas Plan, in which rank and file workers put together a revolutionary programme for repurposing weapons technology for progressive purposes to both save jobs and help society, has had a superb follow up. A an excerpt is here:

So What Happened to Our Conference Motion 16 The “Lucas Plan”, Arms Conversion and
Socially Useful Production? 1st TUCJCC renamed it Defence, Jobs and Diversification then sent it to TUC Congress 2nd It was accepted onto agenda and heard on Tuesday 12th September PM.

The motion is now the property of the General Council and has been referred to the TUC Economic and Social Department for Action. Their first action will be to consult with those Unions directly affected-we’ll keep you updated with any progression.

In the Meantime?
TUCJCC wanted you to know what had happened with your motion, particularly with the announcement of further job losses in BAE and the potential for further announcements of job losses from supply industries across the UK. They would specifically like you too

  1. Those Trades Union councils covering the area of the BAE job losses already announced to contact the Unions involved and ask how they (and we) could help (if not already involved).
  2. The TUCJCC regional representatives will raise within their own Regional Executives the wider issue of potential job loss within the wider supply chain industries.
  3. Discuss the motion within your own Trades Union Councils and consider how your
    affiliate could encourage both the TUC and Labour Party to act on it.

 

The for a link to the full motion and repot: So What Happened to Our Conference Motion 16-final copy (002)

Against Underhill Ark Academy

The Mayor, Sadiq, passed this back to the local Council. Residents are upset by conservative councillors such as Wendy Prentice who made deeply derogatory comments in public – at Town Hall planning meeting – about the existing local secondary school – TTA – (The Totteridge Academy) (see Facebook link).

Ark Pioneer, is planned to stand across the road from TTA, which is currently achieving good GCSE results and has renewed local backing, as well as spare capacity.

Some residents will go into the office to see the Conservatives. Please support the protest outside the office on:

10th January, SATURDAY. 10.00 am to noon.

Venue: Conservative HQ , High Barnet – 163 Barnet High Road.

Thanks!

From We Own It: Branson’s BIG BAILOUT Thursday 18th JANUARY

8am, Thursday 18th January – online and at Kings Cross station

Virgin Trains East Coast is getting a bailout of up to £2 billion from Chris Grayling, at our expense.

We want to show how ridiculous it is that the public is paying for Virgin and Stagecoach’s mistakes, so we’re holding a ‘fundraiser’ for Richard Branson. Next Thursday morning, let’s make some noise. If we all join together we can build pressure on Chris Grayling to stop the bailout.

1) Join in online

a) Share our facebook event to spread the word to your friends. If you’re not on facebook, share this page by email.

b) If you’re on twitter, sign up for our twitter flashmob(This works by signing up as many people as possible to tweet the same message at exactly the same time – 8am next Thursday. By tweeting hundreds of the same message at the same time we might get our message to trend on twitter. You just have to give it permission to send this tweet, and then forget about it.)

c) And of course, if you haven’t already, sign our petition to Chris Grayling: Stop the bailout of East Coast and bring it into public ownership!

2) Join us at Kings Cross station in London

Join us at 8am on Thursday 18th outside Kings Cross. We’ll supply the buckets and placards! Sign up on facebook or email info@weownit.org.uk to let us know you’re joining. Remember to wrap up warm and wear something red if possible!

Blacklist Support Group statement on Carillion

Carillon admitted in the High Court that they blacklisted workers who complained about safety on their building sites, while at the same time milking public sector contracts for millions. Workers on projects run by Carillon need to be paid and are entitled to their pensions but no more public money should be given to the bosses of the disgraced company. In any civilized society, these people would be facing criminal charges.

When you invite blacklisting human rights abusers to run the NHS and school meals, don’t be surprised when vampire capitalism attempts to suck the taxpayer dry. The government should bail out the NHS not Carillon or their bankers. The government should nationalise Carillon now at the current market value of their shares (nothing) and go further by banning all of the construction companies involved in the blacklisting human rights conspiracy from any publicly funded contracts.

Carillion and the NHS Crisis

The Crisis in our NHS deepens today as leaked memos show that unqualified student health workers are being called upon to step in and help as services continue to fail to deliver. This comes the day after twelve major Trade Unions call on the government to properly fund our NHS.

On top of all that private outsourcing firm Carillion, a major service provider across the transport, construction and health care sectors, faces liquidation this morning after warnings of financial ill health, which could leave thousands of jobs at risk. Most worryingly, quality of care and lives, are also under threat as Carillion is responsible for 200 NHS operating theatres, 11,800 beds and makes 18,500 NHS patient meals a day. 

The timing could not be worse for an NHS dragged to the brink of ruin by a wilful Tory government, ideologically committed to privatisation at any cost. We have to get the #ToriesOut of office now. 

NHS IN CRISIS – FIX IT NOW
Emergency Demonstration
12pm, Saturday 3 February 
Assemble Gower Street Central London WC1

Share and invite your friends here: Facebook Event
Download and submit the Model Motion for support here.

The People’s Assembly and Health Campaigns Together have teamed up again to respond to the worst NHS crisis in history.

We’re calling on everyone; all campaigns and local groups, all round the country – to come down to London and demand proper funding, beds and full staffing levels on fair pay.

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