Too busy to blog! Fascist manifestations this weekend.

First of all, respect to all those who turned out at short notice to oppose the EDL in Westminster last weekend, there’s a bit of comment on it below, and if you can make the counter-BNP action tomorrow, you will be most welcome. If not, you will probably find an EDL demo within gobbing distance of your living room! They are springing up like mushrooms – check social media for details.

What is going on is basically a turf war between far-right groups to exploit the horrific death of Lee Rigby. The eddles are holding simultaneous ‘wreath laying’ events at war memorials all over the land as a spoiler for the BNP’s march. Wherever they get sufficient numbers, these will most likely turn into piss-ups and drunken rampages so it’s important that none of them are unopposed.

If your area has a mass mobilisation, please support it; if they are coming to your neck of the woods and you’re the only anti-fascist in the village, you have a choice of attending one of the others or mobbing up with some of your mates – who may not agree with your politics but may not want their town centre controlled by right-wing extremists either. Failing that, if you can do so inconspicuously, hang around and take pictures, or notes, and pass your observations to the network through your local group.

Also be aware that left and radical meetings, cultural events, anti-austerity demo’s etc may be attacked and will need stewarding; union offices and Muslim businesses are also possible targets for the fascists. Whatever you do, don’t just sit at home and watch it all unfold on the Internet.

The present spike in fascist activity ought to kick us out of bed, anti-fascism is not a hobby, it’s a necessity. One observation from Monday was that whilst they outnumbered us massively, few of them were up for any contact beyond throwing stuff and threatening bystanders. The fact that they stood in the sun for hours listening to a bunch of old con-men who all hate each other indicates that many of them are completely new to this, it beggars belief that anyone would give the time of day to an arse-bugle like Yaxley-Lennon if they’d been following what’s gone on in the last few years.

So for now, it looks like the EDL have managed to pull the disaffected UKIP voters on to the streets, the facebook fascists have become fair-weather fascists, they must be discouraged before they get a taste for it.

Fascist manifestations are expected in the following locations:
Leicester, Luton, Peterborough, Dereham, Ipswich, Cambs, Sheffield, Stoke, Halifax, Leeds, Lowestoft, Wolverhampton, Islington, Manchester, Aldershot, Burton on Trent, Rochdale, Ashford (Middlesex), Stevenage, Loughborough, Bromsgrove, Preston, Sunderland, Dudley, Coventry, Takeley, Wootton Bassett, West Bromwich, Oldham, Romford, Macclesfield, Cardiff, Lewisham, Southampton, Glasgow, Ayr, Colerne, Walsall, Scarborough, Hemel Hempstead, Conwy, Chingford, Doncaster, Rotherham, Huddersfield, Bristol, Southampton, Portsmouth, Exeter, Brighton, Weymouth, Bournemouth, Slough, Reading, Oxford, Northampton and Basingstoke.

Drummer Lee Rigby’s family reject “extremist” groups using Woolwich murder for political gain – The Independent

Why take direct action against fascism?

Press release: National Garment Workers Federation of Bangladesh.

Dear Comrades,

NOT ONLY PROFIT and EXPLOITATION — WAL-MART and OTHERS MUST COME AND SHARE RESPONSIBILITY FOR SAFE WORK PLACE
National Garment Workers Federation ( NGWF )
24.05.2013

Press conference

In a press conference at 11 a.m in Dhaka Unity Hall reporters room , NGWF president Amirul haque Amin mentioned this on behalf of the NGWF. He also added that Wal-mart and other companies – those sourcing from Tazrin fashion and factories in RANA plaza must compensate the Dead’s families, Injured workers and take responsibility for proper treatment , Compensate all workers of Tazrin and 5 factories in rana plaza. NGWF also added Wal-mart , Gap and other companies must sign the Fire and building safety accord , these have yet to sign . They mentioned yesterday 23.05.13 , 38 companies signed the accord. NGWF mentioned today 24th may is 6 months since  Tazrin Fire and 1 month since Rana Plaza collapse. In the press conference , besides NGWF other leaders , 42 injured and family members of the dead of Tazrin and 35 of Rana plaza were present.

In the press conference NGWF raised 7 points as :

1. Proper and sufficient treatment for all injured of Rana Plaza and Tazrin.
2. Immediate support for all victims – families of the dead, and injured of both Rana plaza and Tazrin.
3. 3 month salary as compensation for all workers working in these factories.
4. Compensation for all dead families and injured in the line of Loss of earnings.
5. Murder cases should be filed for the highest punishment against the owners of Tazreen Fashions, Rana plaza and 5 factories in rana plaza.
6. Wal-Mart, Gap and others  companies must sign the Accord to ensure SAFE WORPLACE for the garment workers .
7. For ensuring Living wage the MNC,s must pay fair price for the garment products and have to build long term business relationship.

In the press conference NGWF also demanded withdrawal of all legal , written and unwritten barriers for the exercise of trade union rights in the garment sector.

Press secretary
National Garment Workers Federation

Tolpuddle and Captain Swing: hidden history? Saturday 1st June 2013. Dorchester 1:30 p.m. Bridport. 7:00 for 7:30 p.m.

Tolpuddle_Swing Flyer

Dr Ball will also be giving this talk at Dorset Socialists meeting in Dorchester 1:30 p.m. on the same day: Colliton Club, Colliton House, Colliton Park, Dorchester, Dorset DT1 1XJ Council car park is free at weekends.

Some interesting local events organised by others:

Tuesday, 4th June 2013.
West Dorset & Yeovil UNITE Community Group An Open Meeting (non members and other union members welcome)
7.00 pm Unity Hall, Central Road, Yeovil, BA20 1JL
(opposite the bus station).

Thursday, 13th June 2013.
Yeovil TUC + Autonomy Films present Ken Loach’s film ‘THE SPIRIT OF ’45’
7.30 pm Unity Hall, Central Road, Yeovil. BA20 1JL
(opposite the bus station). Entry by donation

Statement from the Anti-Fascist Network on the Woolwich murder.

The Anti-Fascist Network deplores the murder of a young man in Woolwich yesterday and our condolences go out to his family and friends. We also deplore the use of this incident by the far right to stir up Islamophobia once again.

By calling a ‘terrorist alert’ the government has shamelessly sought political capital from what was clearly an isolated act of brutality by a couple of lone psychopaths claiming to be Muslims. There are maniacs in every community and grouping, not least the far right. The loss of a life in such horrific circumstances is always a tragedy for those involved, just as it was when fascists killed Altab Ali or when the police killed Blair Peach.

Meanwhile the Muslim community has conducted itself with dignity, and a huge number of individual Muslims have spontaneously taken to social media to disassociate themselves from any kind of sectarian violence.

Unlike the EDL, now virtually a spent force, who have chosen to use this man’s death to go on a recruiting drive and encourage attacks on minorities. The Internet is now buzzing with ‘patriots’, nationalists and fascists eager to exploit the situation – please don’t encourage them by carelessly repeating their drivel.

We will all need to be vigilant, and work with our communities against any rise in fascist activity.

We reproduce below a statement from the Muslim Council of Great Britain:

“This is a truly barbaric act that has no basis in Islam and we condemn this unreservedly.

Our thoughts are with the victim and his family.We understand the victim is a serving member of the Armed Forces. Muslims have long served in this country’s Armed Forces, proudly and with honour.

This attack on a member of the Armed Forces is dishonourable, and no cause justifies this murder. This action will no doubt heighten tensions on the streets of the United Kingdom.

We call on all our communities, Muslim and non-Muslim, to come together in solidarity to ensure the forces of hatred do not prevail.”

– Muslim Council of Great Britain

Swanage Workers Forum – on Facebook.

swanWFSwanage Workers Forum

Forum for the workers of Swanage to air issues, seek help and advice. Membership of a Union is strongly recommended although not mandatory.

A place where you can learn what being a member of a Union can do for you

For most workers Swanage has a hire and fire low wage long hours economy servicing the tourist trade.

This forum is for workers who want to find how to organize in their own best interests. Racism, Sexism, Homophobia, Islamaphobia or any form of prejudice will not be tolerated.

If you join this forum please be prepared to commit both time and resources, within reasonable limits and better the conditions for workers in the Swanage area.

Members from Wareham and the Greater Isle of Purbeck also welcome

End Metroline race to the bottom: Reinstate Oscar Alvarez now!

iwwlogo-buttonWe, the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) want to express our deep concern and strong condemnation of the unfair dismissal of Oscar Alvarez, Union Representative of the IWW at the West Perivale garage.

Oscar Alvarez has been a London bus driver for 8 1/2 years. He reached the 10th position nationwide in Blackpool Best Bus Driver of the Year 2007 competition, which to date is still unbeaten by any Metroline driver. But Oscar’s sacking is far from being an isolated occurrence. This is part of an escalating wave of sackings on the buses over the last few years, which has seen all London bus companies imposing terrible contracts on new starters, often without union agreement or any serious attempt to fight this ‘race to the bottom’.

Beginning in December 2012 new contracts for all bus drivers began to be rolled out, first Brentford garage and then West Perivale in February. Whereas the Brentford contracts were all accepted, in West Perivale there was a furious rejection by the drivers who refused to sign, apart from a half-dozen or so.

Oscar Alvarez was one of those drivers, bravely opposing these blatant attacks to their terms and conditions, only to be sacked soon after following a minor altercation with a car driver on the road who had cut up his bus.

What is worst, during the disciplinary that resulted in his dismissal there were a number of breaches in procedure which rendered the process unfair and disproportionate, most notably, the withholding of crucial CCTV footage which Oscar could not access prior to the disciplinary. We are certain that, far from constituting gross misconduct, Oscar’s behaviour ought to be construed as an attempt to correct the driving behaviour of a another driver who had not only endangered her own safety, but also that of her baby and other road users. As such, we urge Metroline to reconsider the merits of this case and to reinstate Oscar Alvarez

Now Oscar needs all the support he can get in order to win reinstatement, as it was already achieved by fellow worker Gerry Downing last Tuesday 30th April following his successful appeal against dismissal. Gerry, from the Cricklewood garage, was also sacked on spurious charges. Gerry Downing is a Unite member and the Chair of Grass Roots left

Understanding that these gross misconduct verdicts were undoubtedly management revenge for the strong reaction to the attempts to impose new contracts on all drivers, an impressive demonstration of support was gathered in a public meeting that took place last Monday 29th of April, called by the Brent Trade Union Council.

Several sacked bus drivers attended and their stories were similar; harsh dismissal decisions for what were minor incidents. And the reasons were identified by many of the speakers and from the floor; new contracts from January 2012 took on starters on far lower terms and conditions than existing bus drivers.

For these reasons it has now been articulated wide ranging support for a bus driver defence campaign as a rank and file body on the London buses to fight these increasing victimisations.

The Industrial Workers of the World joins forces with this rank and file initiative and demands not only for the immediate reinstatement of our member and union representative Oscar Alvarez, but for all the London bus drivers to keep the resistance going and REFUSE to sign any new contracts.

Whichever union you belong to, we must hold together, because they can’t force us if we ALL refuse

For Oscar’s case, the IWW are mobilising our members and supporters by encouraging people to send letters and make phone calls this week expressing their dismay at Oscar’s sacking to the Metroline Bus Company. Supporters will also be leafleting outside the Cricklewood Bus Garage.
Oscar Alvarez

Please visit:

For all updates on the campaign actions

Download and distribute:

The flier of the campaign.

TAKE ACTION. SUPPORT OUR BUS DRIVERS. END METROLINE RACE TO THE BOTTOM

REINSTATE OSCAR ALVAREZ NOW!

Groups: London General Membership Branch  ERA

B.P.A.C.C. Demo’s against the Bedroom Tax – Tuesday 18th June – 6pm.

sitelogo1

We are calling on Bournemouth and Poole councils to give assurances that no social housing tenants will be evicted due to arrears accrued through the Bedroom Tax and will be holding demonstrations outside both town halls prior to full council meetings on Tuesday 18th June. Please show your support and assemble outside either Bournemouth Town Hall or Poole Civic Centre from 6pm. Thank-you

Demo’s against the Bedroom Tax – Tuesday 18th June – 6pm

Some ideas to fight the bedroom tax.

The ‘Pop-Up Union’: Sussex University.

PRESS RELEASE: Sussex ‘Pop-Up Union’ to fight outsourcing

The Pop-Up Union

press@popupunion.org

07813 507501

Workers at the University of Sussex have formed a new union in a bid to halt the outsourcing of 235 campus jobs. The initiative comes from rank-and-file members of the three recognised campus trade unions, with the support of students from the now six-week old Occupy Sussex movement.

Announcing the move at a mass demonstration on Monday 25th March, a spokesperson said: “The Pop-Up Union is a result management’s refusal to engage meaningfully with staff, students, and the recognised trade unions for over 10 months. We are now taking things into our own hands.”

“A recent poll found that 70% of students oppose the plans. Numerous academics have voiced their opposition, and the local MP has sponsored an Early Day Motion in the Houses of Parliament. But university management are pushing ahead with this unpopular and unnecessary proposal.”

“We are urging all Sussex staff to join the Pop-Up Union so that we can stand together against the attack on workers terms and conditions that outsourcing represents.”

Notes for editors

1. Outsourcing background. University of Sussex management proposed in May 2012 to outsource 235 campus jobs, including porters, cleaners, security and catering. The Pop-Up Union believes outsourcing will lead to erosion of workers terms and conditions and is calling for the services to remain in-house.

2. Legal background #1. Trade Unions are defined in law under the  Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992. The Pop-Up Union has been formed in accordance this definition. 

3. Legal background #2. The Pop-Up Union is in the process of becoming ‘listed’ with the Certification Officer, who maintains a  list of all known Trade Unions.

4. Campaign info. Occupy Sussex have been in occupation of the Bramber House conference centre since 8 February 2013, and have received support from well over 300 academics, trade unions and public figures including comedian Frankie Boyle, actor Peter Capaldi, and public intellectual Noam Chomsky. Letter to Staff at the University of Sussex

5. Local MP. Local MP Caroline Lucas has tabled an Early Day Motion in the House of Commons opposing the plans, which at the time of writing had attracted 11 signatories:

6. Campus trade unions. Three trade unions are recognised by the University of Sussex – UCU, Unite, and Unison. The Pop-Up Union includes members of all three, and does not intend to replace the recognised unions, but to provide a means for workers across campus to lawfully oppose the outsourcing proposals.

7. Union fees. Dues are set at just 50p per month, making the Pop-Up affordable to every staff member on campus.

May Day in Caen.

As parts of Britain wallowed in UKIP xenophobia, members of Solent Solidarity Federation joined our comrades in CNT-AIT Caen for their May Day celebrations as guests of the local. The annual parade through the historic town was well supported with a significant Anarchist bloc, though we understand general attendance was a little down on previous years.

The Babylon were mostly conspicuous by their absence, only a handful of cops about, in contrast to the enormous police operation that would inevitably accompany such a rally in the U.K.

Our parade was followed by a picnic in the sun; we enjoyed great hospitality, had many political discussions, sang a bit and generally had a good laugh.

This is what May Day is all about; the Working Class has no country, Solidarity Forever!