A good start – Kingfisher rising!

SCBU

Just got back from Dorchester where a couple of thousand people marched against the closure of the Kingfisher children’s ward at Dorset County Hospital; estimates vary between one and three thousand. Unless you believe the Echo who put it in the hundreds, odd since they are publicly supporting the campaign.

Conspicuous by his absence was ‘Evil Oliver’ Letwin, who has been hedging his bets, he would not have had a pleasant experience, we think. The march was good-natured but shows the strength of feeling in West Dorset about keeping our health services local, it was organised in a week and people required little prompting to turn out.

This is a grass-roots phenomenon bubbling up from the ground. The left are running to catch up; what will it take to get the unions to put their weight behind this? The workers at the hospital would be a good place to start. It’s all very well going to the capital a couple of times a year and trudging round in a giant police kettle, which just confirms the centralisation of power and frankly, is an exercise in hand-wringing. Here is an opportunity to strike back against austerity and let’s face it, save lives.

A couple of things have occurred to us and need to be widely appreciated:

  • It’ been pointed out by a comrade who is a practising midwife that the loss of Paediatric services and the Special Care Baby Unit will make the maternity ward untenable.
  • Next to close will be A & E.
  • They can then have another go at shutting the pathology lab which was only saved after a similar public outcry last year.
  • Then why not just sell off the rest?
  • We are under no illusions. This is a planned, progressive asset-strip. Letwin would not dream of associating himself with this campaign if he didn’t personally believe it was doomed to failure, so the decision has already been taken, somewhere, and the consultation exercise is just to soften up the public.

That doesn’t mean we are going to allow it to happen, if enough people get out to stop it. The health service is a pyramid with a three-cornered base. At its apex are the managers, politicians and ultimately, their corporate masters. At the base are the medical staff, support staff and the patients – all workers and taxpayers. Unite the base and we will cut the top off!

HKCTU June 4th Declaration on 2015

HKCTU June 4th Declaration on 2015

Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions

Under the one-party dictatorship, workers in China are still deprived of the three labour rights: freedom of association, the right to strike, and the right to collective bargaining. Their struggles for labour rights often lead to oppression from government officials and employers. Meanwhile, due to the undemocratic political system and collusion between government and enterprises, workers in Hong Kong are similarly deprived of standard working hours and the right to collective bargaining.

As Chinese workers become aware of their legal rights, they are more courageous in their struggles which are also becoming more frequent. In the meantime, apart from forcing labour organizations to close down their offices, local governments are gradually turning to the use of violence and detention as repressive means against workers who are often forced to accept resignation compensation which is much lower than what is stipulated in the law. In the first six months of 2015, there were at least three cases of labour disputes in which police broke into the venues where workers were meeting. They beat up and arbitrarily arrested staff of labour organizations and workers representatives. At least 7 labour activists are now in prison (see name list below). Some of them are serving life or long term imprisonment due to their support of the 1989 Democratic Movement or organizing independent labour movement. There are also innumerable but undocumented cases of labour activists who are detained or criminalized.

Since the second half of 2014, the Chinese government has been tightening its surveillance of mainland NGOs that receive overseas funding and are stifling the development of the civic society and the labour movement. On June 16th, 2014, the Guangzhou Government passed the ordinance of “Community Organizations Management Directives”, stipulating that any NGO primarily funded by an overseas NGO would be defined as a branch of the overseas NGO, allowing its activities to be restricted or even banned. The draft Foreign NGOs Management Law and the National Security Law will be reviewed by the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress this year. The purpose of the new laws is to block mainland NGOs from building connections and receiving support from overseas. Under the new laws, Chinese people’s right to free association will be further curtailed.

We call on the Hong Kong and International Community to continue to focus on labour rights in China and urge the Chinese Government to immediately:

  1. Release all imprisoned labour activists, and stop all suppression and violent acts against labour organizations and workers’ representatives;
  2. Ratify ILO Conventions No. 87 and No. 98; namely the implementation of the right to organize trade unions and collective bargaining, the elimination of severe constraints on domestic NGOs, the protection of the freedom of association and the establishment of the three labour rights;
  3. Implement strict law enforcement to severely penalize enterprises for labour rights infringement and to protect labour rights

East London Rising

AANThe Anarchist Action Network is appealing for funds to help it put on a temporary anarchist space in East London during the first week of August 2015.

The network, which consists of individuals and autonomous local groups, based in towns and cities across the UK and further afield, says: “During the first week of August we plan to rent a space in East London, give away free food every day and hold workshops, talks and discussions about anarchism, anti-capitalism, anti-racism, feminism, ecology, housing, austerity, workplace and claimant struggles.”

The event follows the AAN’s Newport Rising event last year – see this report on indymedia.

To donate what you can to help make East London Rising happen, go to http://gogetfunding.com/east-london-rising

The fight is on to save Dorset County Hospital’s children’s ward; updated.

Sabo CatA group of around 30 mothers came together today for a flash demo at Vespasian House, Dorchester, outside a meeting of the Clinical Commissioning Group. The protest, which was self-organised through social media, is over a plot to close the Kingfisher children’s ward and Special Care Baby Unit at Dorset County Hospital and move the service to Poole or Bournemouth They were supported by a member of the local Unite community branch and the driver of a bus stopped to show his support.

The protesters were met by someone calling himself an ‘engagement director’, who suggested a small delegation might be admitted to the meeting – and get fobbed off by a gang of suits – but the women were having none of it. The Unite rep told him: “Looks like you’ve got a Spartacus situation on your hands”

Picture from Dorset Echo
Picture from Dorset Echo

We hope the campaigners will stick to their guns and not allow themselves to be split up, intimidated, or worse, co-opted by political interests. The most effective movements come from the ground up. More on this as it develops.

The hospital’s website says: “We have a philosophy of family–centred care in which we see each child as an individual as well as being part of a family.” And: “We encourage parents to stay with their child and there are no restrictions on visiting times.”

Residents in West Dorset are suffering from cuts to their bus services that make it hard enough to get to Dorchester let alone Poole or Bournemouth, there is no longer an evening service and some villages have only two buses a day.

A recent attempt to flog off the pathology service at the hospital was foiled after a public outcry.

West Dorset’s M.P. Oliver Letwin is the author of ‘Privatising the World’ and Britain’s biggest enterprise; his blueprint for selling the NHS.

A fair writeup from Dorset Echo

The bitter harvest: Human trafficking, child abuse and union busting by British American Tobacco.

Further to the post below, here is the report on the slave-like conditions in North Carolina tobacco farms, published on behalf of the Farm Labour Organising Committee by Unite:

BATslaves

“Why do we ban cigarettes to minors, but somehow it’s perfectly OK to have 12-year-olds getting nicotine poisoning in the fields?”

Article: Why Are Children Working in American Tobacco Fields?

Clicktivism: Spam the fuckers!

FLOC Presents Alternative Shareholders Report at BAT Annual Meeting, Outlining Labour Abuses in North Carolina

British_american_tobacco_AGM
FLOC PRESENTS ALTERNATIVE SHAREHOLDERS REPORT AT BAT ANNUAL MEETING, OUTLINING LABOUR ABUSES IN NORTH CAROLINA

Arriving in the pouring rain, representatives of FLOC, IUF, Unite, and Rev. Singh of the Ecumenical Council for Corporate Responsibility, attended the British American Tobacco annual meeting on the 29th of April. Outside the BAT AGM were a group of young activists protesting BAT policies with regards to child labour and youth smoking. Pres. Velasquez met with them and reported the conditions of tobacco farm workers that FLOC is trying to change.

Full story.

It’s a mandate for Civil War!

By Mal Content.

In the 2015 election the tories got roughly 24.4% of the registered voters, comprising the privileged few that benefit from their policies and those wage slaves stupid and selfish enough take their masters at face value. Fair enough; there wasn’t a plausible anti-capitalist alternative and most of us* voted for nobody as usual. The Scots voted overwhelmingly (in representative terms) against austerity and Trident; it will be interesting to see how they react to having these things shoved up them when their representatives cave in.

*Turnout was 66.1%, there are at least seven million eligible voters who either don’t bother to register, or are unable to due to homelessness or being on the run from domestic violence, debt collectors, or the state. Migrants and prisoners aren’t allowed to vote anyway.

In other news it’s no real surprise that 7.9% of the electorate are confused, racist, misogynistic homophobes; that’s not brilliant but it’s probably gone down a bit since I was young. I’ve long suspected the function of UKIP and the funding lavished on it by its wealthy backers was purely to obscure the class issues, giving the tories room to move to the right and drag the others in their wake, and it’s worked, the BBC were in on it as well. When it all kicks off they will use these mugs as scab labour, if we let them.

The bourgeoisie aren’t stupid or they would never have got away with robbing us blind for centuries; they know exactly how to work the electoral system they invented to keep themselves in power forever. Before 2010 the lib dems had positioned themselves very slightly to the left (whatever that means) of Labour so Cameron invited them into his minority cabinet with the promise of setting up their miserable carcases for life – which is all anyone goes into politics for – and ritually humiliated them for five years. As you’d expect he now has all their seats and no more hung parliament, he will now use this majority to pursue the interests of his corporate sponsors in defiance of every civilised value.

The phrase ‘one nation’ and the concept of national interest have never been less valid. The population is split into two irreconcilable camps whose interests lie in diametrically opposite directions, what’s good for us is bad for the them and vice versa, one side must perish. We were never represented in government and never will be, we have nowhere to place our trust but in ourselves and each other. The good news is that there are more of us.

What matters now:

We recognise our class interest and put it first in everything we do.

We understand who our enemies are, and who they are not, don’t allow ourselves to be distracted by prejudice or self-interest. That means working with those with whom we feel nothing in common, whose lifestyles don’t appeal, or whose survival tactics make us uncomfortable.

Have absolute faith in ourselves and our abilities. Look around, we the Working Class are responsible for everything that ever was and will be, when we accept that responsibility and harness our strength to our imaginations, we will do a lot better than this.

Communicate and work together, reach out to and inform the politically naive and misdirected.

We support each other right or wrong; it doesn’t matter what the fight appears to be about. The lesson of the Miners’ Strike is the importance of total class solidarity in the face of a concerted attack. The ruling class are hardly going to let you in on their long-term plans.

Act locally; define your sphere of influence and get a grip on it. Taking everyone into the capital a couple of times a year just confirms the centralisation of power and gives the state free crowd control training at very little risk.

Build support mechanisms outside of the economy, based on mutual aid and mutual respect; think about how we are going to feed each other, keep the lights on, and care for the vulnerable. Abandon the concept of transaction.

Organise within the infrastructure, we’re still going to need it.

The only thing that matters in a war is who’s left standing at the end of it.

Mal C x

Autonomy film show in Bridport, Sat. 2nd May 2015.

1505 Four Horsemen (1)

Events organised by others.

23rd April.
Frome Friends of Palestine. Peace Building in our Community – Stories from three Palestinians. The Ammerdown Centre, Ammerdown Park, Radstock, Somerset, BA3 5SW Tel: 01761 433709

Between Frome and Radstock.

Bar opens 7.30, starts 8:00. Admission free.

​Sat 25th April.
38 Degrees NHS Day: Meet Bucky-Do Square at 11am to leaflet and get signatures for petition*, drawing attention to what is happening to the NHS and to encourage Election candidates to see the groundswell against privatization.​

*didn’t we do all that 5 years ago? – ed.

28th April
South Somerset Peace Group. Journalism and Solidarity, Passion and Bias. Minster Rooms, Ilminster. 7.30pm ; all welcome – £3 appreciated, including tea/coffee .

Support independent anti-capitalist Cubans of the Observatorio Critico.

Please share this campaign to raise money to support the trip of anarchist comrades from Cuba to Europe in June:

Gofundme – Observatorio Critico Cubano

Now that the border is opening after many years a time for change is coming, full of possibilities and danger for Cuban society and perhaps for all of us. We want to make our voices, our social views and proposals for self-managed co-operativism heard. We ask for your help to cover the expenses for our network of collectives and social initiatives in Cuba.

We are the Observatorio Crítico Cubano. Our projects include years of work for non-violence, the struggle against racism, LGBT rights, the recovery of our Indigenous and Black original heritage, Ecology, the development of Open Source computer culture, communities for mutual aid in mental health, support for childhood education by means of non-competitive and non-adult-centered child play, cultural research, promoting self-managed socialism, and the crafting of proposals for building Cuba’s future from an anarchist perspective.

We work towards a world where the public space is the birthright of all the people, not just a few powerful minorities. A world where those decisions, which affects the people, are not discussed and arrived at out of sight of the majority. In this world the highest praise is reserved for those initiatives where neighbors gather spontaneously to give their communities the best they have to offer, via the arts, ecological activism, the remembrance of historical and cultural traditions, the promotion of popular education. A world where the workers are the true owners of the means of production. Contrary to today’s prevailing logic, profits, manipulation and the rule of the mightiest are not prioritized; instead we advance dialog and the search for consensus on the important issues of social life. In this world we are building all consciences are respected, and in ecumenical fashion the representatives of the different manifestations of spirituality participate as equals.

What we are attempting:

In July this year we are organizing a tour of several European countries (France, Spain and maybe a couple more still to be decided) in order to take part in various international forums we have been invited to, where we will be able to show Cuba’s social and cultural reality, for the first time in many years, straight out of the hearts of the people of the Island and outside the official discourse of the Cuban government or international interests which seek to silence the people’s daily struggle for a better and more just world for ourselves and for humanity. For that we need your help.

What we need:

  • Visas, custom duties and air fare to France for two members of our collective: 3000 EUR.
  • Transportation for four people by land to three or four countries: 1000 EUR.
  • Room and board expenses for those four people in those countries for the 20 days the tour will last: 1000 EUR.

Why we ask:

We receive no financing from any government, official institution, or NGO. We don’t want it either, in order to safeguard our total independence and not be subordinate to any external agenda. Occasionally we get small donations from collectives and people close to our principles, unconditionally and with no strings attached. Our activity doesn’t generate profits of any kind rather it is the opposite.

It is also well known that with the Cuban median salary ($20 per month) it is impossible to cover the large expenses a trip like this incurs.

What we will give in return:

  • We don’t have material things to give in exchange, just our gratitude and good vibes.
  • For those who wish to make their names public, we’ll have a list of appreciated  donors in our website with the names of those people who helped make our effort real.
  • Also, if you will allow us, we will include your email addresses in our distribution list, so that you will receive the newsletters our collectives publish.
  • We will give you a recap of our trip, as well as a thorough report regarding the way donations have been spent.

Salud y Anarquia!

apoyoalobservatoriocritico – wordpress blog