Crisis in the Middle East: Why We Oppose More Intervention

Monday 28 November | 19:00
Harrow Baptist Church
College Road
HA1 1BA

harrowmeetingAs the crisis in Syria deepens, the British establishment is gearing up for further intervention in Syria. Along with our existing interventions in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and Syria, the rhetoric of further war as a solution to the catastrophic situation in the Middle East is being ramped up.

As the government whip up hysteria around Russia to levels unseen since the Cold War and make horrendous propositions of a direct military confrontation with Russia, it is imperative that we understand why more war is never the solution and organise around it.

We will be joined by Andrew Murray, the current Chief of Staff at Unite the Union and the former Chair of Stop the War Coalition, who will make the case against more intervention in Syria – or anywhere else for that matter.

The event does not require registration and is free to attend, but any voluntary contributions to help with the cost of putting on the meeting are welcome.

Come and join us to discuss the crisis in Syria and the region more widely, as well the risk of escalation into a direct military confrontation between the West and Russia.

Please invite your friends and share the event on https://www.facebook.com/events/1390017794349372/

School Cuts: Barnet Schools set to lose over £20 million

Shock statistics from the government reveal that cuts will force Barnet schools to lose more than £20 million, the equivalent of 555 teachers, by 2020. A new websischoolcutste set up by NUT and ATL, the newly merged education unions, shows the scale of the devastation to schools funding. The new website allows anyone to enter their postcode or the name of their school to get an instant summary of the way the cuts will affect  their own school. Try it here.

I looked at East Barnet School because we know that the headteacher of that school is vehemently opposed to the cuts and is prepared to say so publicly. Check for yourself. His school will be short of £297,517, the equivalent of a per pupil shortfall of £283 or the loss of 7 teachers. But this is not the whole story. The website does not take into account the difficulties which schools are already facing. As the head of East Barnet School told our NUT meeting, he has already set a deficit budget this year. In other words, before the cuts on the website can take effect his school is already in the red.

I think it will be very effective if we have some printouts of the results of all schools in Barnet at the public meeting. The NUT website calls on all to write to their MPs. At our public meeting we can decide whether this is all we can and should do.

Mayor of London Criticises Ark Academy Plans in Underhill

arkSaid Khan, Labour Mayor of London, has voiced criticisms of the controversial Ark Academy, citing its serious planning problems, particularly in terms of location and road access:

A Greater London Authority letter representing the views of Mr Khan, the Mayor of London, and planning report for October 31 state “the proposed school development is ‘inappropriate’ on green belt”.

Full story in the Hendon and Finchley Times here.

Barnet Trades Council urges all Barnet residents concerned about the issues raised to come to the meeting on November the 17th.

More general info here.

Celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Lucas Plan!

 

Veteran trade unionists and younger activists see Nobel prize-nominated plan as inspiration for the future

Leading figures from the left, trade union, environmental and peace movements are coming together at a conference on November 26th with a fresh perspective on tackling current crises, using the ideas of socially useful production pioneered in the Lucas Plan. The Plan, produced by workers at the Lucas Aerospace arms company, showed how jobs could be saved by converting to make products that answer a social need, rather than weapons. See www.lucasplan.org.uk, or the notes below for more information on the Lucas Plan.

The conference will focus on 5 key themes:

  • The Lucas Plan and socially useful production.lucas
  • Arms conversion and peace.
  • Climate change and a socially just transition to sustainability.
  • The threat to skills and livelihoods from automation.
  • Local/community economic and industrial planning.

Linking all these issues is the need to rethink how we can produce what people and society actually need and overcome corporate domination through their control of technology.

Highlights of the conference will include:

  • Talks by Phil Asquith, Brian Salisbury and Mick Cooney (Lucas Aerospace Shop Stewards Combine).
  • Screening of a new film on the Lucas Plan by Steve Sprung.

Contributions from: Chris Baugh (PCS), Suzanne Jeffery (Million Climate Jobs Campaign), Hilary Wainwright (Red Pepper), John McDonnell (tbc), Natalie Bennett, Molly Scott-Cato and Jonathan Essex (Green Party), Philip Pearson (TUC), Romayne Phoenix (People’s Assembly Against Austerity), Mary Pearson (Birmingham Trades Council), Manuel Cortes (TSSA, tbc), Mika Mino-Paluello (Global Justice Now), Philippa Hands (UNISON), Stuart Parkinson (Scientists for Global Responsibility), Dave Elliott (Open University), Liz Corbin (Institute of Making), Tony Simpson (Bertrand Russell Foundation), Dave King (Breaking the Frame), Simon Fairlie (The Land magazine), Karen Leach (Localise West Midlands), Marisol Sandoval (City University), Tom Unterrainer (Bertrand Russell Foundation), John Middleton (Medact), Gail Chester (Feminist Library), plus more speakers to be announced.

The conference on the Lucas Plan 40th anniversary will be held at Birmingham Voluntary Service Council (138 Digbeth, Birmingham, B5 6DR) on November 26, 2016. See www.lucasplan.org.uk. The conference is being organised and sponsored by: former members of the Lucas Aerospace Shop Stewards Combine, Breaking the Frame, PCS, UCU, Million Climate Jobs Campaign, Green Party, Scientists for Global Responsibility, Campaign Against Arms Trade, CND, Left Unity, Quaker Peace and Social Witness, Red Pepper, War on Want and Conference of Socialist Economists

Tickets are £10/£5 concessions: To book for the conference, visit

www.lucasplan.org.uk/tickets. For more information, email info@breakingtheframe.org.uk

BACKGROUND INFO: The Lucas Aerospace Shop Stewards Combine’s Alternative Corporate Plan (‘The Lucas Plan’) was launched in 1976 and became famous worldwide, sparking an international movement for socially useful production and workers’ plans. Facing the threat of redundancies, the Combine collected 150 ideas from shop floor workers about alternative socially useful products that could be produced by the company, instead of relying on military orders. Many of the innovations in the plan, such as hybrid car engines, heat pumps and wind turbines were commercially viable and are now in widespread use. Although the Alternative Plan was rejected by Lucas Aerospace managers, it was instrumental in protecting jobs at Lucas in the 1970s. The Combine was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979 and Mike Cooley received the Right Livelihood Award in 1982. More information about the Plan, including the 53-page summary of the five 200 page volumes, can be found on the conference website, www.lucasplan.org.uk.

Against dictatorship: statement from Solidarity with the People of Turkey

The state of emergency and the so-called ‘fight against terrorism’ in Turkey has been used to silence anybody calling for peace and democracyhdp

Late last night the homes of two joint leaders of the People’s Democratic Party (HDP) were raided and both were arrested alongside 10 other MPs. Turkish police raided the Ankara home of HDP co-leader Selahattin Demirtaş and the house of co-leader Figen Yüksekdağ in Diyarbakır.

Both leaders have been playing a key role in bringing together people of Turkish and Kurdish origin against the war mongering divisive politics of the ruling government. HDP is the third largest party in Turkish parliament, with 59 sitting MPs. MPs are usually immune from prosecution, but the HDP’s immunity was controversially lifted earlier this year.

In the aftermath of the arrests, the Government blocked all access to social media across the country (including twitter, facebook and whatsapp).

Demonstrations have begun taking place in the UK against these latest attacks, with protestors congregating outside the BBC during the early hours of last night and this morning outside Downing Street. Further protests are being planned and updates will be provided in due course.

Supporters are urged to strengthen solidarity by writing to their local MPs, to the Turkish Embassy and to the Turkish Government.

Organisations/Trade Unions/Universities are asked to issue press releases /statements condemning the latest attacks on media freedom and democratically elected MPs.

As SPOT we are calling for an end to the state of emergency and for the release of all the HDP MPs arrested last night, as well as all opposition journalists, writers and academics arrested under the recent purge on opposition media outlets

In solidarity, SPOT (Solidarity with the People of Turkey)

5th of November – Call for Stewards for the Save Libraries March

Keith Martin writes:

Hi supporters of libraries, museums, galleries and all who work in them.

Attached is a letter in today’s Ham and High. It is published too in the Barnet Times and, I hope, in the Barnet Press and Camden New Journal, which has a wrap around publicising the National Libraries, Museums and Galleries demo on 5 November.

For this demo, which starts at 12 noon from The British Library and goes via The British Museum to the National Gallery, we shall have the Metropolitan Brass Band and the speakers include Michael Rosen. The march has a KIDS4LIBRARIES group.

The Metropolitimg_0001an Police are allowing us to march on the roads, but they are stretched for resources marshalling another demo the same day and advised us to recruit our own stewards. This we are doing, and our aim is to have thirty yellow-clad volunteer stewards to maintain all our health and safety.

If you are willing to be one of these thirty stewards, please email me your name and email address (keith.martin18@btinternet.com), and I shall see that you receive a briefing on what is required.

The aim of the demo is to stop the cuts to our library, museum and gallery services, and to save the jobs of all who work in them.

There is a national crisis, and we are determined to achieve these aims.

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