Margaret Thatcher is dead - Now let's bury her policies
A Socialist Party press release
Peter Taaffe Socialist Party general secretary said:
It is a human response to be sad when somebody dies. But many working class people will be celebrating her death because of the absolutely destructive and long lasting effect she had on the lives of millions of working class and poor people.
She is seen by many as a kind of modern day Genghis Khan. Elected into office in 1979 she unleashed a ferocious assault on the living standards and democratic rights of working class people.Trade unions were attacked in order to clear the way for the destruction of publically owned industries and the driving down of wages and conditions.The Socialist Party's forerunner the Militant Tendency was at the forefront of fighting her rotten policies.
We led the famous 1983-87 struggle in Liverpool as part of the Labour council that refused to implement cuts.That council mobilised a mass campaign of trade unionists and working class people in support of the council's 'needs' budget.That campaign won £60 million from the government which was spent on building thousands of new council homes and new facilities for working class communities. One commentator lamented that Militant had given Thatcher a "bloody nose".
In the late 1980s and early 1990s we led the struggle against the hated poll tax. This tax would have seen a duke paying the same as a dustman.We initiated the All Britain Anti-Poll Tax Union which led the campaign that led to 18 million people not paying the tax.As a result the tax was revoked. Thatcher made it clear that she resigned as a result of the huge anti-poll tax demonstration on 31st March 1990, which was attended by 250,000.
Thatcher created a number of 'mini Thatchers' not just in the Tory party but also in New Labour as well. Tony Blair was her heir just as Cameron and Clegg are now. They are carrying out her work and are in fact going even further than even she dared to go in the savaging of public sector jobs and services.
Her true legacy is clear to see today in the policies of the Con-Dem government. They are today's standard bearers of her neoliberal ideas. On the day Thatcher has died the rich are about to receive a tax cut and working class people face a new assault in the form of the bedroom tax. At the same time we are seeing an unprecedented assault on jobs and services.
Dave Nellist, Labour Party MP for Coventry South-East 1983-1992 and a Socialist Party spokesperson said:
The people I have sympathy for today are those working class people who's lives have been blighted by her policies. The real tragedy is that while she may be dead herself her ideas are still alive and well in the form of the Con-Dem coalition and New Labour. She was a determined fighter for her class, the 1% of very wealthy people at the top of society. The SocialistParty wants to build a movement that does the same for the 99%, working class people. We want to build a mass movement that will take the wealth from the super-rich and that dismantles the project she embarked upon. We want to use that wealth to provide jobs, services and a future for working class people.
Coventry Labour Council votes to implement Tory Cuts
At the meeting of the Full Council (26.02.13) both Labour and Tory councillors passed a budget that will enforce more misery on our city
Protestors attempt to persuade Jim O'Boyle (Lab, St Michaels - centre of pic with hat) to stand up to the Tories.
We need an alternative to blind-alley capitalism... socialism!
It is little over a month since Tory Chancellor George Osborne stood at the dispatch box to deliver his autumn budget statement.
He prefaced that vicious onslaught on the poorest - both in and out of work - with a claim that then, at best, looked foolish, and now looks ridiculous: "the British economy is healing".
Even in that speech he had to admit that the government's targets on deficit reduction would not be met and that cutswould continue until 2018.
But he claimed that measures taken by the Con-Dems, chiefly brutal austerity, meant the economy is "on track".
Hardly a day passes, however, without a slew of evidence in the news to the contrary. The National Institute of Economic and Social Research predicted the economy shrank by 0.3% in the last three months of 2012.
That followed 'growth' of 0.9% in 2011. Predictions for a triple-dip recession abound.
In September Prime Minister David Cameron called for a "radical pro-growth agenda" and promised government support to building projects.
But the latest Office for National Statistics figures for construction output in November showed that there was a 3.4% decline month on month and a 9.8% decline from the same period a year ago.
The Construction Products Association revised its forecast for 2013 construction output to a 2% decline.
The ONS also reported a slump in manufacturing and production. Manufacturing, which makes up 10% of the economy, contracted by 0.3% in November.
And now all three major credit ratings agencies have given official warnings that Britain can expect to be stripped of its AAA rating. Maintaining this was one of Osborne's main priorities.
The retail sector is shedding high street brands. Comet's announced closure in December was followed by Jessops and now HMV. This equates to an estimated 11,000 jobs.
The Wall Street Journal, commenting on Britain, reported that retail bosses expect more of the same in 2013. "Constrained shoppers remain under pressure from rising inflation and are searching out bargains and saving up for special occasions, which will make the already competitive landscape even more cut-throat, putting sales and profits under increasing pressure."
This is just a small sample of the figures which show that, as the Socialist has explained, British capitalism is in a blind alley.
The best it can hope for is to keep 'bumping along the bottom' as it has since the autumn of 2010.
And all the Con-Dems' measures, far from being a 'healing salve', massively exacerbate the situation.
What the WSJ calls "constrained shoppers" are working class and middle class people who face attacks on their living standards on all fronts - public sector pay freezes, in reality pay cuts, job cuts, low pay, benefit cuts and an insecure future.
Reality of poverty
Independent journalist Charlie Cooper had a taste of what some of the cuts have meant when he spent a week living on £175.
According to the Resolution Foundation, that is the average income of someone at the 'bottom end' of the UK's "low-to-middle income bracket", which comprises eleven million UK adults.
He found the experience left him "tired, irritable and, yes, hungry". It also gave him some insight into the poverty that exists in Britain and the precarious and depressing situation faced by those suffering it.
Cooper went to a food bank: "One woman who visited yesterday has two-month old twins. She was referred to the food bank by the children's centre she attends. When she arrived for the first time, she wasn't even wearing any shoes."
So while the Tories try to paint those suffering at the hands of their cold cruel cuts as 'skivers' and 'shirkers' the reality is that:
a) With 486,000 vacancies and more than two and a half million unemployed, including 900,000 who have been unemployed for more than a year, there are obviously fewer jobs than there are people searching for them;
b) There is a huge and growing problem of underemployment - 1.4 million work part-time because they can't find full-time jobs, and many full-time workers want more hours to achieve a living wage;
And c) those who have a job work some of the longest hours in Europe and contribute nearly two billion hours of unpaid overtime, the equivalent of a million full-time jobs according to the TUC.
It is unsurprising that, given these figures, the New Economic Foundation think tank has suggested that we all work fewer hours to create more jobs.
This idea, sharing out the work, has long been part of the Socialist Party's programme - with one important proviso - no loss of pay.
How would they pay for it? George Monbiot points out that there is no shortage of cash out there: "in 2012, the world's 100 richest people became $241 billion richer.
"They are now worth $1.9 trillion: just a little less than the entire output of the United Kingdom."
In Britain it's estimated that there is £800 billion sitting in the bank vaults of the big corporations as they see no easy profit in spending it. A one-off 50% levy on that idle wealth would go some way to covering the bill.
A government determined to act on behalf of ordinary people, ie not the super-rich, banksters and speculators as this lot does, could utilise such a policy immediately.
And it would make a huge impact towards easing the suffering of unemployment, borne particularly by young people.
It would also put money in 'constrained shoppers' pockets leading to greater spending and tax income.
Building a mass movement and a new mass workers' party that emblazons these policies on its banner, combined with a programme of nationalising utilities, banks and the commanding heights of the economy under democratic control and management of the working class, as well as expanding public services to meet all our needs, would be a good start to fighting for an alternative to blind-alley capitalism - a socialist society.
Large TUC demo opens new phase in the struggle against austerity
Workers travelled from across Britain to London today to express their fury at the Con-Dem government's vicious cuts in living standards.
The Trades Union Congress (TUC), which organised this march against austerity, estimates that over 150,000 attended in London, along with tens of thousands in Glasgow and Belfast.
The mood of the demonstrators was different to the previous TUC march 18 months ago. The reality of the cuts, combined with the experience of the previous year's struggle, has lead to a greater awareness of both the urgency of a fightback, and for it to go beyond demonstrating and onto the industrial plane.
While massive, this was nonetheless a smaller demonstration than on 26 March 2011 - when over half a million took to the streets.
Without doubt, having experienced the capitulation of the leadership of the TUC in the battle against pensions, some workers stayed away because they doubted that this demonstration would be the launch pad for an escalation of the battle against the Con-Dems.
The many who attended, however, came determined to make sure that it was more than a 'parade'.
Len McCluskey, general secretary of the union Unite, got the overwhelming endorsement of the crowd when he asked all those who supported the organising of a general strike to raise their hands.
Bob Crow, general secretary of the RMT and seconder of the motion to 'consider a general strike' that was passed at the recent TUC congress, got massive applause when he called for a 24-hour general strike (see video below).
Mark Serwotka, general secretary of the PCS union, also called for coordination of strike action across the trade union movement.
Huge support was received for the campaign by the Socialist Party and the National Shop Stewards Network (NSSN) to demand that the TUC name a day for a 24-hour general strike and then launch a massive campaign to mobilise the working class behind this call.
In contrast to the enthusiastic reception given to leaders calling for general strike action, Labour leader Ed Miliband was booed by many in the crowd when he talked about the need for any government to make cuts, including Labour.
This demonstration opened a new phase in the war against austerity, giving a glimpse of a more hardened and militant working class.
There was a widespread interest in socialist ideas, with many applying to join the Socialist Party.
Hannah Sell - Deputy General Secretary of the Socialist Party
More reports, analysis and photos to follow
Coventry teachers and trade unionists protest at Ofqual
On the same day as education secretary Michael Gove announced his education counter-reforms, Coventry National Union of Teachers (NUT) members and fellow trade unionists protested against the rigging of GCSE exams by Ofqual due to government pressure. Jane Nellist, joint secretary of Coventry NUT said:
"We called this lobby of teachers parents and young people to send a message to Ofqual, which has its offices in Coventry, that they must put right this wrong and re-grade those papers to restore the integrity of our exam system and the hopes of those young people.
However, with Gove's plan for O-levels we see that this is just a way of devaluing our exam system. This is a massive educational mistake and will set us back years."
Support Remploy Workers on Strike to defend jobs!
(July 19, 2012)
Coventry Socialist Party members were out today (Thursday 19 July) supporting Remploy workers on strike at the Coventry factory. Part of a national strike across the country to prevent the closure of 27 factories. Below is the text from the leafelt Socialist Party memmbers handed out and some initial photos of the strong picket in Coventry. A more detailed report will be posted shortly.
Support Remploy workers - Strikes Thursdays 19 July and 26 July
On Thursday 19 July and 26 July Remploy workers across the country will be taking action to prevent the closure of 27 factories. The whole trade union movement should mobilise to support Remploy workers fighting to save the factories. Maria Miller “Remploy killer”, Tory Minister for Disabled People has announced the closure of 27 factories, but this vicious government wants to close all 34 factories and hand the work over to its business friends.
Defend the welfare state
This is one of the most brutal attacks on disabled workers, but it is also an attack on the whole trade union movement. Remploy was set up to provide real, useful work for disabled workers as an important element of the welfare state which workers had fought to establish after the war to protect us all from the effects of unemployment and poverty.The Con Dem coalition government wants to break up the welfare state and throw us back to the conditions of the 1930s. The closure of all the Remploy factories is a key part of that process and the trade union movement, campaigning to defend the welfare state must rally to support the strike action of Remploy workers.
Socialist Party supports:
« Full support from the whole trade union movement for Remploy workers
« Open the books to disclose exactly how much the directors have been paid since 2005
« Keep all Remploy factories open
« Implement the Remploy unions plan to save the business
« For a government campaign to encourage public procurement of Remploy prodcuts
« For a 24 hour general strike to stop the Con Dem government cuts
There is an alternative
Successive governments have ignored hundreds of well thought-out ideas put forward by Remploy workers.Remploy would be completely viable if it were properly managed. The directors and senior management are vastly overstaffed and overpaid. While the number of shop floor workers has fallen by over two thirds to 2,500, the number of senior managers has nearly doubled to 400! And their pay differential has doubled. Remploy trade union officials have identified that £30 million a year could be saved if this bloated bureaucracy were cut back.The cost to the Department of Work and Pensions of all the Remploy factories would be far less than the cost of benefits if Remploy workers were unemployed. Instead the government wants to close the whole company down.
The overpaid management has sought to undermine the company from the beginning, turning away work which could be undertaken by the factories. EU regulations were used to prevent Remploy factories carrying out work for councils and other public bodies and when these were relaxed the much of the work never returned partly due to the Remploy management.The attacks on Remploy and its workers began under the previous Tory government and continued under the last Labour government. 30 Remploy factories closed at end of March 2008 in a "week of shame" for the Labour Government. Most of those workers made redundant are still not working. What chance of work will workers have who are sacked now during this economic slump?
Dave Nellist on the picket line supporting the Remploy workers on strike.
Campaigning against threat of Housing Benefit cut to under 25s
Socialist Party members were out campaigning this weekend across Coventry and Rugby against the latest threat from the ConDem government of millionaires, to remove housing benefit for under 25s.
The comments from the public school toff David Cameron last week, condemning young people who choose to live as independent adults rather than with their parents throughout their early twenties. Stink of an out of touch Prime Minister unable to understand the lives of those not lucky enough to have his own hyper-privileged millionaire background.
The ConDems want to cut £155 billion from the elderly, young people, workers and families - but the wealth of the richest 1000 people in Britain rose by more than that in the last 3 years alone!
With millions unemployed, rents going through the roof, cuts to wages, jobs and services, and a wholesale attack to our NHS, it’s clear this government and other establishment parties like New Labour - who support austerity and the cuts agenda - are made up of the rich elite, for the rich elite, who are determined to hammer the rest of us.
If you want do something about it – come to the Coventry Socialist Party public meeting this week.
Join the fightback! Join the Socialist Party!
WE'RE NOT ALL IN THIS TOGETHER! - BUT WHAT CAN WE DO ABOUT IT?
A Coventry Socialist Party public meeting.
7.30, Thursday 5th July @ The Albany Pub, Albany Road, Earlsdon, CV5 6JU
Thank you to all Socialist Alternative voters!
The Socialist Party would like to thank all of our voters who came out to support us in the local elections. We ran an excellent campaign. Unfortunately we narrowly lost our seat in St Michaels by just 204 votes. We fought hard and ran Labour very close. Dave Nellist and the Socialist Party will not be going away! We increased our vote across the city and came 3rd in terms of total votes cast across Coventry - increasing our share of the vote by 1.66%, up to 5.35%. We will post more reports and analysis in the coming days and weeks. The fight goes on!
Join the Socialist Party and help us build and even stronger organisation to fight back against the cuts!
Tories stand for the 1%... We need a voice for the 99%!
Only one week after the government's budget of new, swingeing cuts in jobs and services, accompanied by huge tax breaks for the rich and big business, it's been revealed that super-rich Tory party donors had earlier wined and dined with the prime minister, David Cameron. This 'cash for access' expose is just another example of the rottenness of the capitalist political system and how the establishment parties are completely intertwined with big business, as Coventry Socialist Party councillor Dave Nellist explains.
'Cam dine with me' is secret influence. Millions of pounds change hands and, I have no doubt, favours for millionaires ensue. Just look at the cut in the top rate of income tax and the cut in corporation tax for example.
I'm not surprised it still goes on - capitalist politics is not about organising society and its resources to benefit the majority; it's about a thin privileged layer - the 1% - buying individual influence for measures to benefit individuals, a tiny minority - and done at the expense of the 99%.
But four dinners in Downing Street, or even one at Chequers, isn't only what is really rotten in politics.
There's a thousand more ties from the playing fields of Eton, via Oxbridge, to the Bar and the boardroom, where the tiny minority who rule the country mix and form allegiances. As David Cameron said: "I have known most of those attending for many years".
That layer of capitalist politicians have a loyalty to a system that brings wealth and security to a tiny fraction of the country - at the expense of poverty and insecurity for millions. That's what needs challenging.
And Labour, with its ties to business interests, involving so many ex-Cabinet ministers in directorships and lobbying firms, is little different.
Trade unions should break with labour and instead discuss funding a radical socialist alternative - the trade unionist and socialist coalition - that condemns the corruption and patronage in parliament and big business.
He who pays the piper...
A handful of the guests at four dinner parties at Number 10 had given £18 million to the Tory party - and also, apparently, money to climate change deniers and eurosceptics. They included hedge fund traders, oil traders and the odd billionaire city businessman.
According to Tory MP Andrew Tyrie: "Prior to 1997 about 6% of public companies made donations to the Conservative party, but 50% of knighthoods and peerages went to the directors of companies who made such donations. A coincidence? I doubt it."
But was it much different under Labour? As the party progressively embraced Tory and big business policies, particularly in the 1990s, so did it ape their fundraising methods.
Labour Party conference stopped being 'a parliament for the labour and trade union movement' and filled up with corporate sponsors paying thousands of pounds for seats at dinner tables with Labour leaders in what used to be called "a specially designed commercial package for business visitors to conference". One such company donating £36,000 for dinner tickets and conference tables, was Enron - the company involved in the world's largest securities fraud!
‘LANDLORDS FROM HELL’
St Michaels’ socialist councillor,
Dave Nellist fights them
New Labour picks
letting agent as candidate!
See below the Latest leaflet for St Michaels ward in Coventry.
Coventry Socialist Party Councillor Dave Nellist
Interviewed for BBC Politics TV piece on the anniversary of the start of 1984-85 miners'strike.
Socialist Party member and Youth Fight for Jobs campaigner on Newsnight
The Socialist Party has been at the forefront of the campaign against the slave labour Workfare schemes. We urge you to consider joining us! Click here to join
Coventry protest against slave labour
No to Workfare!
Join the 'Name and Shame' tour
Saturday 25th Feb
meet 12pm outside Tescos in City Centre
Organised by the Youth Fight for Jobs and Education campaign
Join Youth Fight for Jobs as we take you on a tour round Coventry's potential 'Workhouses'.
Visit the Facebook page - click here Gasp with horror and recoil in shock as we name and shame to the public and workers which retailers will be taking on JSA claiments in return for their benefit payments.
Say no to slave Labour Workfare! Fight for real Jobs!
meet by Tesco Express at Shelton Square in Coventry City Centre 07530 429 441
THE MODERN DAY BLIGHT Over the past two decades youth have faced a jobs massacre. Over 1 million 18-24 year olds are unemployed. As public sector cuts starts to bite and businesses close down, the situation can only get a lot worse.
The government does not have nor does it desire to have any solutions to what the vast majority of young and working class people see as a blight on society. What they actually do is use the situation as an opportunity to get jobs done for big businesses for free. The government proposed work programme is actually a massiveslave labour racket.
They use raving fantasies about workshy and feckless unemployed and the need to deal with the defi cit as a cover. Under the work programme young people will be forced to work for their dole. While big business will get huge bungs of over £2,000 to take JSA claimants on temporary contracts.
ONE RULE FOR US AND ANOTHER FOR THEM All this while bankers and bosses are still raking it in. The banks have been bailed out to the tune of over £180 billion and bankers are still receiving huge bonuses. The big corporations are still making huge profits. Like the Arcadia retail group which made £133 million profits last year but is closing 250 of its high street stores, shedding thousands of jobs. We say that if a company claims that it hasn’t got enough to keep on staff then they should open the accounts and prove it!
FIGHT THEIR SYSTEM Young people should not be forced to pay for a crisis of this rotten capitalist system with our living standards and rights. If the jobs are there that need doing, then people should get a living wage for doing them. It will also have a huge impact on the conditions of existing staff who will be forced to look over their shoulder at JSA claimants.
DEMAND YOUR FUTURE Young people should not be used as fodder by a ruling class ravenous for profi ts. If businesses cannot provide jobs and decent wages and conditi on for workers then they should be nationalised. The government should also unroll a programme of public works to provide young people with the jobs and training that they need to get into work.