Monthly Archives: August 2018
Trident’s replacement will cost at least £205 billion of public money. A staggering figure, particularly when we consider the nuclear weapons system has no real military value and is useless in the face of the real threats we face today, such as terrorism, climate change and cyber-attacks and could be rendered obsolete by new technology. But many try to argue that this investment is worth it because of the jobs the nuclear weapon system sustains.
People’s livelihoods matter. But an objective appraisal of the jobs associated with Trident, Britain’s nuclear weapons system, and its replacement will demonstrate that these are among the most costly jobs ever created. By simply re-directing a proportion of the money allocated to the Trident replacement programme to other industries, it would be possible to create many more, highly specialised and well-paid jobs. This transition programme would directly benefit those currently working on Britain’s nuclear weapons. Society as a whole would benefit from the shift to more productive jobs. And of course, humanity as a whole would benefit from the reduction in the numbers of weapons of mass destruction.
Read report here: Trident-and-Jobs
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.
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’:
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
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!
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
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
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.
An MP-led commission has been set up to examine the impact that automation and AI will have on the jobs market
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.
We need to strengthen anti-war voices and to organise against what our government is doing. Please book your places now.
- 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 email@example.com 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