Tuesday, 30 August 2011

How do we combat fascism

RCT Socialist Update no. 29

In recent years we have seen the rise of neo-fascists like Nick Griffin along with his far right racist BNP who now have two MEP's. More recently we have seen the tragic bombing and shootings which took place in Norway and carried about by an individual with connections and sympathies with fascism. In recent years the BNP and many of their european counterparts had made significant ground by tapping into the ex labour or other social democratic heartlands as those parties have turned dramatically to the right.

This week at our weekly branch meeting we will be discussing the subject of fascism, exactly what it is and how it is able to grow by taking peoples rightful grievances, such as unemployment and twisting it into a hate filled ideology that others no solutions. Most importantly we will discuss how we can stop fascism movements in their tracks, drawing on the lessions of history. You can read some background to the discussion here http://yre.org.uk/about.html

We will also be discussing our preperations to join the National Ship Stewards Network (NSSN) lobby of the TUC on September 11th including the details of a coach from South Wales to London for the event.

Come along to the meeting
Wednesday 31st, 7.15pm
Otley Arms, Treforest

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Tell the TUC - call a 24-hour public sector general strike!

´The following is taken from the socialist issue 682

"If these attacks on our jobs, services and livelihoods go through there will be riots on the streets". Anti-cuts campaigners will have lost count of how many times they have warned politicians of all parties of this since last year's general election.

I went to the council budget-setting meeting in Brixton this spring when Lambeth's Labour-led council passed over £70 million worth of cuts in a side room behind police lines after protesters had occupied the council chamber. Last week in those very streets - some of the poorest in the country - the riots came to Brixton. The question is now posed, what next?

For working class people, while the anger and frustration is understandable, the riots are a blind alley. Cameron is trying to jump on the violence and looting as justification for even more hardline measures which will be used against organised protests in future. They hope 'law and order' debates will distract us from fighting the cuts. Cameron and Co are really terrified of organised resistance, particularly on a mass basis.

Now is the time for the organised trade union movement to act as a powerful alternative force. Who else will? New Labour is compromised by its agreement with the cuts and its echoing of Cameron's hypocritical moralising. In the Evening Standard, ex-Blairite Charles Clarke called for "proper policing to be put above civil liberties"!

TUC leader Brendan Barber warned of riots in 2009 but has not so far thrown the full weight of the TUC behind coordinating mass working class resistance. If the union movement of still over six million takes decisive action against the attacks of this government of millionaires, it could inspire all those who are both angry and frightened at the moment.

Anyone who has watched the incredible movements of workers and young people throughout the world this year from Egypt to Greece and to Israel/Palestine can see the positive effect of a mass movement of strikes and demonstrations.

The mass demonstration on 26 March of well over half a million in London shook the Con-Dems and resulted in their wobble on their NHS privatisation plans.

The strikes on 30 June against the attacks on public sector pensions mobilised 750,000 workers and has posed the prospect of millions joining the strike action in the autumn. A 24-hour public sector general strike would not only heap pressure on the government on pensions, it would show everyone that there is a powerful alternative force that can fight for ordinary people. But a failure to act, particularly by the TUC and the biggest unions could let this creaking coalition off the hook.

On Sunday 11 September, the NSSN is organising a lobby of this year's TUC conference in London to increase the pressure for all unions across the public sector to coordinate strike action. We will be meeting at the Friends Meeting House in Euston for a rally to hear speakers like Mark Serwotka and Bob Crow - general secretaries of the civil service union PCS and the transport union RMT respectively as well as rank and file workers and young people facing the worst of the cuts.

Help us build a massive rally of workers and anti-cuts fighters, young and old, to send a clear united message to the union leaders - it's time to give a positive fighting lead to defeat this government.

Sunday 11 September

Assemble 1.30pm, Friends Meeting House, Euston Road, London NW1. After the rally, march to lobby the TUC

For details of transport to the lobby from your area, email: info@shopstewards.net

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Youth Fight for Jobs public meeting today!

This evening at 7.30pm in Riverside Community Centre (5 minutes walk from Cardiff Central station) Youth Fight for Jobs will be hosting a public meeting on the current situation facing young people. You can RSVP to the event via Facebook and you can also join the facebook group for Youth Fight for Jobs Wales.

Here is what Youth Fight for Jobs have to say about the event.

"The latest riots in Britain have sparked a wave of media attention. A lot of questions have been raised about what has happened to Britain's young people. Were these riots a result of bad schooling? Broken families? Light sentences for anti-social behaviour? With the government cutting jobs and youth services all over Britain the Youth Fight For Jobs campaign say it's no wonder young people have reacted in this way. However only... a day before the riots the Youth Fight For Jobs campaign organised a successful march from Merthyr Tydfil to Cardiff in protest against the appalling levels of youth unemployment. Unlike the rioting the protest gained a huge amount of public support and didn't result in any criminal damage.

The Youth Fight For Jobs campaign is therefore calling a public meeting in Cardiff for anyone who wishes to voice their views on the riots and contribute to the campaign to ensure that we can reach out to those young people tempted towards taking violent action to vent their frustrations. We believe that organised action is the way forward. Come along and bring friends and family too!"

The Socialist Party fully backs the campaign and many young members of the Socialist Party will be in attendance and we encourage others to come along as well.

Monday, 22 August 2011

What does the Socialist Party stand for?

RCT Socialist Update no. 28

All throughout the world there is an economic crisis caused by the greed of the rich, yet without exception in every country it is ordinary working class and young people who are being made to pay the price, with cuts in services, jobs benefits and education. At the same time the richest in society are laughing all the way to the very banks who caused this crisis with bonus' in the billions.

All the main political parties agree with this! They all except the logic than in order to maintain this very system ordinary working class people should be made to pay the price.Such an unfair and grotesque system has made many people question its very existence and agree it needs to be replaced with something else, many people have looked towards the ideas of socialism for a viable and fair alternative.

This week at our regular branch meeting we will be hosting a question and answer session on that very subject, What is Socialism and more to the point What does the Socialist Party stand for? Come along hear the discussion, and particupate! If you have any questions you would like to ask come along and here is your chance.

Young Members of the Socialist Party will also be participating in the Youth Fight for Jobs (Wales) public meeting on Tuesday you can find the details here

Come along to the weekly meeting
Wednesday 24th, 7.15pm
Otley Arms Treforest

Thursday, 18 August 2011

Who are the CWI?

The CWI stands for the Committee for a Workers' International and is an international socialist organisation to which the Socialist Party is affiliated. With members in over 46 countries spanning all continents. You can visit the website of the CWI socialistworld.net for more information.

At the recent CWI school a video was produced which shows just a glimpse of the work and scope of the various parties affiliated to the international. We have posted the video below as it is inspirational to see the various struggles our sister parites are engaged in throughout the world.

At the CWI summer school there were several discussions on world events and below we have posted links to reports on those discussions

Revolution and Counter-revolution in North Africa and the Middle East
World capitalist crisis
Greece in turmoil
Economic, social and political crisis maturing together in Europe
China on the verge of social explosion
The Spanish revolution and the lessons for today

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

Youth Fight for Jobs (Wales) Press release

Below we have reproduced a press release sent out by Youth Fight for Jobs (YFJ) in Wales.

Youth Fight for Jobs Press Release

Contact: Glyn Matthews 07931 955007

For immediate use Tuesday, 15 August

After the march from Merthyr to Cardiff, Youth Fight for Jobs continue to fight against youth unemployment

After completing the Merthyr to Cardiff march against the levels of youth unemployment in Wales, and also against the comments of Iain Duncan Smith, the members of Youth Fight for Jobs reflect on the march itself, and look at the riots as an example of anger that young people have against the current system.

Whilst riots are regrettable, they are, under the current circumstances, inevitable. Young people feel like they have been left on the scrap-heap. Left with no prospects and seeing their youth centres being cut all around, young people are revolting.

We see the politicians in Westminster condemning the riots without talking about the root of the riots themselves. To prevent future scenes, we must look at the root problem and solve it, instead of ignoring the demands of young people.

Youth Fight for Jobs are a group that are essential to young people. Young people need a voice, a voice that is loud enough to get their opinions aired and listened to by the inactive politicians that govern this country.

As many young people are nervously awaiting their A level results, universities across Britain have already declared themselves full, leaving potentially thousands of young people with nowhere to go. With no university places and no jobs, what is left for young people? These are issues that Youth Fight for Jobs is addressing in their fight against the current state of affairs.

Youth Fight for Jobs will be holding a day of action on A levels results day, which is Thursday, the 18th of August. The day of action will commence at 12pm and will begin on Queen Street, Cardiff. Youth Fight for jobs are also holding a public meeting on Tuesday, the 30th of August at Riverside Community Centre, Cardiff. The meeting will begin at 7:30pm and will discuss the aftermath of the riots, the cuts to job, services and education and how young people can organise and fight against the cuts,

Contact Glyn Matthews 07931 955007 for further details.

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Video: Youth March for Jobs

Below we have posted two videos from the Youth March for Jobs from Merthyr to Cardiff. The first video is a speech by Jaime Davies, one of the march organisers at the opening rally in Merthyr. The second a speech by Socialist Party Wales Secretary, Dave Reid who spoke at the rally in Cardiff. You can also view several other videos of the march here

Monday, 15 August 2011

As inner cities erupt - A mass workers' movement is needed to defeat the government

"The scenes of despair and explosions of anger like those of 1981 will be back on our streets.
"Deprived areas of major cities - if not the central areas, then the 'banlieus' or outskirts as in France - will be the scene of new conflagrations."

This is the warning that the Socialist Party gave just four months ago, in our article on the anniversary of the Brixton riots. This morning thousands of people have woken up to the devastation of their communities.

Today is a tragedy for the small shopkeepers whose businesses have been looted or set alight, the workers whose cars have been burnt out, and perhaps worst of all for those who have seen their homes go up in smoke.

Firefighters have faced horrendous problems trying to fight the fires in the midst of the riots.

The current outbursts of street anger are the biggest Britain has seen since the mid-1980s. Belatedly government ministers have dragged themselves back from their holidays in order to try and 'restore order'.
Parliament has been recalled for Thursday, but so far the only response of the capitalist politicians has been to shriek about "the mob", "criminals" and "mindless violence".

Workers living in the communities affected are inevitably angry at the destruction that has taken place, but will also be enraged by the government's attempts to absolve itself of responsibility for the situation.

Unfortunately, New Labour's response has been essentially the same as that of the Tories. Ed Miliband has simply called the riots "disgraceful criminal behaviour" and has demanded that David Cameron orders "the strongest possible police response".

Diane Abbot, MP for Hackney North and historically on the left of the Labour Party, has called for a curfew to be considered.

The leadership of New Labour has done nothing to point out the reasons why
young people are rioting. This is not surprising.

Mass unemployment, cuts in public services and police harassment and stop and search all grew when New Labour was in power. Despite all the capitalist politicians' attempts to ignore reality, it is no coincidence that Britain is burning in August 2011 - it flows from the social conditions faced by a generation of young people in the inner cities.

During the 1980s disturbances, the then Tory government decried those on the streets as "hooligans". Now that those riots are a distant memory, Edwina Currie and other Tories are willing to recognise that the rioters had the legitimate grievances of mass unemployment and police prejudice, but claim everything is different today.

In reality nothing fundamental has changed for youth in inner city areas.

The present events are a cry of rage and despair by members of a generation that has been thrown on the scrapheap. They are not race riots, but involve poor young people, living in the inner-cities, from every ethnic background.

Mare Street, Hackney, 8.8.11, photo Paul Mattsson
Mare Street, Hackney, 8.8.11, photo Paul Mattsson   (Click to enlarge)

Angry and deprived


The motives of those involved vary, but they centre on a single theme, summed up by one woman interviewed on the Today radio four programme: "I am not a thief but I am angry.

"What have we got? - nothing." Unlike her, others had taken part in order to loot shops. Electrical goods and sportswear shops were targeted in many areas, but so were supermarkets.

In Tottenham, Aldi was emptied, in Lewisham, Morrisons. It was not only 'luxury' goods, but the most basic necessities of life that people were queuing up to take.

What does it say about Britain, an 'advanced' capitalist country, that so many people are desperate enough, and unconcerned enough about the consequences, to take part in mass looting of shops? Young people with a job worth having, and prospects for a future, do not generally take part in such actions.

But in Britain today there are almost a million unemployed young people who have been effectively told they have no prospects for the future. As the world's stock markets tumble, the feeling that capitalism offers no prospects for the 'lost generation' is inevitably growing.

Already, across London youth unemployment is 23%, in inner city areas it is far higher.

Hackney and Tower Hamlets have the highest youth unemployment in the country, with Tottenham not far behind. These young people live a very few miles from the millionaires and billionaires of the City of London, yet have little prospect of earning the minimum wage, never mind getting a decent job.

The real looters are the city financiers who have made billions from gambling on the world's stock markets and looting the economy of whole countries, driving entire populations - as in Greece - into dire poverty.

Is it any wonder, in a society that encourages private entrepreneurs to make a profit by any means necessary, that unemployed youth decide to try and obtain a few goods by whatever means they can?

Tottenham buildings burning, 6.8.11, photo Paul Mattsson
Tottenham buildings burning, 6.8.11, photo Paul Mattsson   (Click to enlarge)

Ethnic minorities

While the riots are not 'race riots', and involve young people from all ethnic groups, it is true that many are black. The capitalist politicians try to dismiss the idea that racism still exists in Britain today, but that is simply not true.

All ethnic minorities in Britain still earn less, on average, than white people, with differences amongst men ranging from earning an average of 10% less for Chinese men, to 27% less for Bangladeshi men.

Even those ethnic minority communities with very high levels of higher education qualifications still suffer worse pay. All ethnic minorities have higher than average rates of poverty.

Rates of poverty are highest for Bangladeshis, Pakistanis and black Africans, reaching nearly two thirds for Bangladeshis.

At the same time ethnic minorities are barely represented as the managers and employers of big companies. None of the 98 high court judges come from ethnic minorities, and only four of the 563 circuit judges.
Less than 1% of the army come from ethnic minorities. There are pathetically few black and Asian MPs.
British capitalism has proved itself incapable of qualitatively improving the living conditions of all but a tiny minority of black and Asian people.

Anger at police harassment is a major factor in the explosion that has taken place. In Tottenham the spark was anger at the police shooting of Mark Duggan.

The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) has already had to admit that, despite police claims that Mark Duggan had fired at them first, the bullet embedded in a police radio was actually police issue.
People in Tottenham are right to have no faith in the IPCC to carry out an independent investigation. The trade union movement must demand a genuinely independent inquiry, made up of elected representatives from the local trade unions, community organisations and especially the youth.

A similar enquiry is needed into the riots that have taken place and their causes. Many of those interviewed taking part in the riots across the country express fury at the endless police stop and searches that they face.
From 2005 to 2009 police searches of Asian people increased 84% and black people by 51%. Now the state wants to go even further using 'Section 60' to extend their powers to stop and search without grounds for suspicion.

Peaceful protests have taken place on these issues, but nothing has changed, leading to a feeling that 'more' is needed. In Tottenham the family and friends of Mark Duggan had marched to the police station and waited in vain for hours for a senior officer to address them.

This was not an isolated occurrence. One young man in Tottenham told NBC: "You wouldn't be talking to me now if we didn't riot, would you? Two months ago we marched to Scotland Yard, more than 2,000 of us, all blacks, and it was peaceful and calm and you know what? Not a word in the press.
"Last night a bit of rioting and looting and look around you."

Riot police in Hackney, 8.8.11, photo Paul Mattsson
Riot police in Hackney, 8.8.11, photo Paul Mattsson   (Click to enlarge)

Cuts in services


Mass unemployment and police harassment have created an explosive situation. For many, the final straw has been the taking away of the few crumbs which were designed to at least ameliorate the effects of mass youth unemployment.

The government has abolished the EMA grant, despite mass protests, which had at least made it possible for working class young people to attend college.

Despite endless demands on young people to 'better themselves' and 'get an education' the one concrete measure that made it possible to get an education has now been taken away.

In addition, the raising of university tuition fees to £9,000 a year has deterred many working class youth from considering the avenue of higher education.

Other government cuts in already overstretched public services, implemented by Labour as well as Tory and Liberal councils, have also contributed to the situation.

Rather than defend their local communities and refuse to implement the cuts, as the Socialist Party demands and Liverpool City Council did in the 1980s - every single Labour council has slashed public services.

In Tottenham the youth service has been cut by 75%. Nationally, Connexions, the service that provided careers and benefits advice for young people, has been destroyed.

Many local authorities now provide no advice service at all for young people. Yet this is only the first year of cuts; councils plan to implement far more in the coming years.

The government is now trying to dismiss any link between cuts and the riots, yet just weeks before the general election, Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg warned that Tory cuts would lead to riots.

It is a sign of the extreme short-sightedness of the current government that it has encouraged cuts in the services which provided an element of 'social control' by the government over young people.

The relatively small sums saved by the cuts will now have to spent ten times over in dealing with the consequences of the riots. In the wake of the riots, community campaigns to demand immediate reopening of all closed youth facilities and of Connexions, funded by central government, could force the government to reverse these cuts.

Hackney, 8.8.11, photo Paul Mattsson
Hackney, 8.8.11, photo Paul Mattsson   (Click to enlarge)

Rioting- no solution


However, rioting is not the means to defeat the government, but, on the contrary, only damages the communities in which working-class people live, and gives the capitalist class an excuse to increase the repressive apparatus of the state.

The Socialist Party does not agree with those on the left who condone the riots, such as the Socialist Workers Party, whose posters in the areas affected by riots declare them to be a step from 'riot to revolution'.
The present disturbances are an indication of blind rage against the system. Undoubtedly, some of the young people involved will have taken inspiration from the revolutions that have overthrown dictatorships in the Middle East, and the movement of the squares in Greece and Spain.

However, these movements were of a very different character to the riots. While each country has had different characteristics, all the occupations of the squares - from Spain to Egypt - were relatively disciplined mass protests which both opposed and largely prevented acts of violence against local shops etc.

This is one reason that, while all the movements largely began with young people, they were able to reach out to, and win the support of the wider population.

By contrast, while the riots have received huge media coverage, they are allowing the capitalist media and the government to further demonise young people, and to potentially divide the struggle against the government.
However, the government can only be defeated by building a mass, united movement of all those under attack from it. The organised working class in the trade unions have the key role to play.

In Egypt it was when the working class organised general strike action that Mubarak was finally defeated. Historically in Britain, Thatcher's poll tax was not defeated, as some on the left claim, as a result of the March 1990 riot, but because of an organised mass campaign of non payment, involving 18 million people.

Trade union action


This year in Britain, the day that has frightened the government most was 30 June, when 750,000 public sector workers took strike action. Unfortunately, however, on 30 June it was only around one fifth of public sector workers who were called out by the trade union leaders to take strike action.

The leaders of the biggest public sector unions argued against participating, despite widespread demands for action from their members. The failure of the leadership of the trade union movement in Britain to lead a serious struggle to defeat all the cuts is a central reason why the riots have erupted.

Riot police in Hackney, 8.8.11, photo Paul Mattsson
Riot police in Hackney, 8.8.11, photo Paul Mattsson   (Click to enlarge)
Brendan Barber, general secretary of the TUC, warned that the cuts would lead to riots, but has not been prepared to take the action that could have prevented them.

If, as we demanded, the TUC had conducted a serious battle to defeat the government, mobilising its seven million members, the government could have been forced from office by now.

If the TUC had called a national demonstration against cuts in October last year, mobilised for joint action with the students in November, and called a one-day public sector strike, it would have mobilised huge popular support, and would have been able to act as a pole of attraction for the most oppressed sections of young people.

Having delayed, the TUC needs to act decisively now. It should immediately call a national trade union demonstration to oppose all cuts and demand a future for young people.

This should be a step towards the next day of coordinated strike action in the autumn, which this time should involve all 4 million public sector workers, and be combined with a one-day strike of school, college and university students.

A trade union demonstration needs to show clearly that the trade unions stand together with young people. The widespread trade union support for Youth Fight for Jobs (YFJ), and its Jarrow March against youth unemployment in the autumn, is one important means to demonstrate this.

However, it is also important the demonstration is called around clear demands. These should include the immediate reinstatement of EMA and abolition of university tuition fees.

It should also oppose any attempts by the government to use the riots in order to increase harassment of young people.

On the contrary it should demand the withdrawal of the stop and search laws being used to harass young people, and clearly oppose any attempts to increase the repressive apparatus of the state; Teresa May previously made clear she would like to bring water cannon and teargas to Britain, and the immediate use of rubber bullets is being considered.

If this is done it will be used in the future against workers and student demonstrations, just as police brutality was used against the students last year.

The trade union movement should also call for control of the police to be placed under the auspices of democratically elected local police committees.

The explosion of anger on Britain's streets is above all a condemnation of capitalism, and its inability to offer the next generation even the measly standard of living that workers have had in the last twenty years.

The trade union movement needs to act to show it is on the side of young people, but to be fully effective this needs to be linked to the struggle to develop a new mass party for workers and youth which stands for a socialist society.

Only by taking the big corporations that dominate Britain's economy into democratic public ownership would it be possible to begin to provide a real future for young people.

Capitalism is incapable of providing even the basics - a decent job, a home, an education - to the next generation. Democratic socialism would mean production could be planned to meet the needs of all and not for profits of a few.

The Socialist Party demands:

  • An independent trade union-led inquiry into the death of Mark Duggan and into the causes of and policing of the riots. Scrap the IPCC. We need police accountability through democratic control by local people.
  • End stop and search. No to section 60.
  • For control of the police to be placed under the auspices of democratically elected local committees involving representatives from trade unions, councils, tenants associations, and community organisations.
  • For the government to immediately cover the uninsured losses and repairs of all small businesses and homeowners affected by the riots.
  • For councils to immediately re-house those who lost their homes in the riots. For investment in social house building and renovation, creating jobs and improving health.
  • For the immediate reversal of the closure of local youth and Connexions services. Funding from central government to pay for it.
  • No to all cuts in jobs and public services. Free education and training for all. Reinstate EMA and abolish tuition fees. We demand huge public investment in job creation and services.
  • Build a mass campaign to fight for these demands but also to fight for socialist change in the way society is run, with democratic planning of how we use the wealth and resources of society - under working class control and management, not that of the millionaires.

Struggles across Europe

RCT Socialist Update no. 27

As the capitalist crisis is engulfing to world, where government after government is attempting to make working class people pay for the ciris caused by the rich, we have also witnessed mass movements develop against this. From North Africa and the Middle East to Wisconsin in the United States. Closer to home in Europe we have also seen mass movements develop in particular that of the 'Indignatos' in Spain and the 'engraged' in Greece but along side this movements in many other Europe nations including here in Britain such as the March 26th demonstration of 700,000 trade unionists. All this as well as a crisis within the Eurozone.

As socialists with sister parties around the world it is important for us to understand these developments and to learn lessons from these events. This week at our regular branch meeting we will be discussing the unfolding struggles throughout Europe. You can read some background on the topic here http://www.socialistworld.net/doc/5212

At the meeting we will also be discussing our future plans within Youth Fight for Jobs after the highly successful march from Merthyr to Cardiff.

Come along to the meeting
Wednesday 17th August 7.15pm
Otley Arms, Treforest

Friday, 12 August 2011

Unite to fight all cuts

The following is taken from the socialist issue 681

"We can't afford a pay cut or losing our increments. People are beginning to see what they've lost and for some its £1,000. We are being prepared for privatisation and don't want it. The Tories are living on another planet and Labour are no different. The country is crying out for change."

These were some of the views of refuse workers back out on strike in Southampton after the council imposed new contracts on 11 July which meant massive cuts in pay.

In a significant escalation of the dispute they are being joined in a one-day strike by the entire social care department of over 450 workers.

50 social workers in the Adoption, Fostering and ARC Children's Centre will continue strike action for a week. Social workers are angry that after they signed their new contracts, the council attempted to bribe a select few with a £1,400 one-off payment.

Demo in Southampton City Centre by striking Unite and Unison workers, including refuse, toll bridge and port health authority workers, amongst others, photo Andrew Howe

Pressure is mounting on the council, some streets have not had bins collected for over nine weeks with public support for the strike still strong.

Selective action throughout the dispute has been well supported. To ensure these cuts are reversed this action should be bought together in a council wide one-day strike and linked up to all local authorities fighting cuts.
Southampton Tory council is undoubtedly getting national backing from the Con-Dem government for its stand. In response Unison and Unite should call a national demonstration in Southampton.

This dispute is an attack on national terms and conditions and should be met with national action. The growing number of local authority disputes and the support for Southampton from branches around the country shows the potential for this exists.

Elsewhere in the city, other cuts are coming with 433 Southampton NHS admin workers facing redundancy.
Workers at the BBC in Southampton came out on strike on 1 August against redundancies. Medirest hospital cleaners are continuing their fight for unpaid wages and sick pay. Locked out workers from the massive Fawley oil refinery are continuing their battle.

With cuts facing the public sector countrywide and a squeeze on private sector workers too there is an urgent need to bring these battles together into a national campaign that could defeat the Con-Dem plans.

Anger is growing, support for the Con-Dem cuts is falling. It is urgent that trade unionists seize the time and prepare for a one-day public/private sector general strike to defend jobs, services, pay and pensions.

Lobby the TUC!

National Shop Stewards Network lobby of the TUC on 11 September

For a 24-hour public sector general strike
The 30 June strikes were a fantastic start. We need the whole public sector out in the autumn.
Opening rally at Friends Meeting House 1.30-3.30pm, 173-177 Euston Road, London, NW1 2BJ. Speakers include RMT general secretary Bob Crow and PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka. Then march to the TUC at Congress House.

Thursday, 11 August 2011

Socialist Party member on the radio

RCT Socialist Party member appeared in the studio on the radio wales phone-in show on Monday 8th August, speaking on behalf of Youth Fight for Jobs. The show is available on the BBC iplayer and available to view for the next week.

Click on the link here to listen

Wednesday, 10 August 2011

Youth Fight For Jobs march for jobs ends in Cardiff

The march of Youth Fight For Jobs Wales ended today in Cardiff to a terrific reception. The marchers, footsore and hoarse, were applauded into Queen Street in Cardiff where a rally was held by the Nye Bevan statue. Then more than 100 people, with the PCS union prominent, marched through the city centre to Caradog job centre which is threatened with closure by the Tories. People leaned out of pub windows shouting their support.

17 young people have marched from Merthyr to protest against the scandal of youth unemployment. Tory DWP secretary, Iain Duncan Smith had criticised the unemployed of Merthyr for not just getting on a bus to Cardiff. But as the marchers explained, for every job in the job centres in Cardiff there are nine unemployed Cardiffians - there are not enough jobs anywhere. And the situation is so bad in Merthyr the equivalent figure is 84 for every job!

So the Youth Fight For Jobs march set out from Merthyr on Thursday. Rhys Harrison, one of the organisers asked "why is it that every student on a loan and every young person looking for work is a scrounger, but every banker with a golden handshake and gigantic bonus is a legend?" It was raining as the march began, but the sun came out as it reached the edge of Merthyr. The marchers paused briefly at the Hoover factory which ended production in 2009 adding over 300 workers to the dole queue, before heading to Troedyrhiw and then Merthyr Vale, Treharris and Cilfynydd. The first day ended in Pontypridd where the marchers camped out overnight.

Setting out in Merthyr

On the second day the march delayed leaving Pontypridd job centre, making a detour to show its support for the struggle of REMPLOY workers in the Rhondda valley who were occupying the Porth factory for 48 hours as part of their action to defend their plant against government plans to close it. At a meeting outside the plant Youth fight For Jobs and REMPLOY workers pledged support for each other's campaign. The march continued their progress by marching through Porth before heading back to Pontypridd to continue the march.

The march continued through Treforest, Rhydyfelin, Hawthorn (where the marchers were kindly supplied with free hot dogs), Nantgarw, Taffs Well and Tongwynlais before arriving at the Conservative HQ in Whitchurch where a young Tory boy in a suit was waiting to receive a letter of protest. Local young people joined in the protest at the Tories' policies.

Day three continued with the march from Whitchurch into the city centre to a great reception, a number of trade unions and a battery of TV cameras. The march had firmly put the issue of youth unemployment on the agenda in Wales. So much for lazy young people!

Join us!

As one of the march organisers, Jaime Davies, a young shop worker from Caerphilly, said "We will not be oppressed by capitalist society. We march for our future."

The campaign continues with the build up for the Jarrow march to London which begins on October 1st. You can join in here

Tuesday, 9 August 2011

UK Riots: Youth demand a future. What do socialists say?

RCT Socialist Update no. 26

Over the last few days with no sign of ending with have seen riots errupt around London and spreading across other parts of Britain with no end in sight. It is important for us a socialists to discuss these events in order to understand them. Whilst there have been awful instances where working class people have lost their homes it is also clear that the is a mass outburst of anger from working class and young people who can see that their future has been stolen from them and at the same time that the top of society has been shown to be thoroughly corrupt. The government, the banks, the media and the police. The task of socialists is to direct this genuine anger into an organised form which united we can bring this government down together.

We will be discussing this issue at our weekly branch meeting on Wednesday come along and discuss the issues and ask any questions if you have any. You can RSVP to the facebook event. There is a good article about the Tottenham riots on saturday on the Socialist Party website here .http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/articles/12498/08-08-2011/tottenham-riots-fatal-police-shooting-sparks-eruption-of-protest-amp-anger. You can also listen to Socialist Party member Glyn Matthews speaking on Radio Wales about the riots of Radio Wales here http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b012s1p6/The_Radio_Wales_PhoneIn_08_08_2011/  it starts about 3 minutes in.

We will also be reporting on the fantastic Youth March for jobs from Merthyr to Cardiff which took place last week from Thursday to Saturday. You can a report of that here http://www.socialistpartywales.org.uk/news74.shtml

Come along to the meeting
Wednesday 10th August 7.15pm
Otley Arms, Treforest

Tuesday, 2 August 2011

What the frack?

Hydraulic Fracturing or “fracking” is a technique for extracting gas from deep within shale rock and coal beds. It looks set to become big oil’s newest gold rush and, as usual, their desperation for profit makes them blind to the environmental costs of their folly.

The process of fracking involves using high pressure to inject massive volumes of water, plus sand and chemicals into dense rock formations. This breaks the rock and natural gas is released and captured. The basic technique has existed for several decades but recent advances in technology have made it possible to frack the gas out of deeper and denser rock.

Gas and oil companies are looking to buy or lease land in countries throughout the globe where they can exploit this gas. However, the pace at which this land grab is taking place is out of keeping with the continuously emerging evidence that fracking is unacceptably environmentally destructive.

In the recent film “Gasland”, about fracking in the US, there is a scene where a resident living near where the practice is taking place sets the water from their kitchen tap on fire. It’s a stark and symbolic illustration of how dangerous and destructive fracking is.

The water can be set alight because a nearby aquifer has been so contaminated by chemicals which have escaped during the fracking process.

The main issue with water though, is that it takes billions of gallons of it to carry out the process of fracking. If the process begins to extend throughout the globe, hundreds of billions of gallons of water will effectively be wasted on a dangerous and unsustainable process because it suits the interests of some of the most powerful companies in the world.

What we need, is not to indulge the folly and greed of the oil companies who will do anything to get further profit out of the ground, but to invest in clean, safe and sustainable energy that can provide for people’s needs and protect the environment.

Written by Socialist Party Australia - our Australian sister party

Monday, 1 August 2011

Celebrating 100 blog updates

Today we celebrate the first 100 posts on this blog since it was launched. We thought we would mark the occassion by reminding everyone where we can be found on the internet.

We have a facebook page RCT Socialists

Find us on Twitter @RCTSocialists

A youtube channel here

A podcast channel here

We upload various PDFs here

You can also contact us by e-mail, or by contacting us on 07931955007

you can also take a look at the Socialist Party and Socialist Party Wales websites.

Most importantly though, get in touch with us to get involved with our campaigning work. We hold weekly meetings generally Wednesdays at 7pm in the Otley Arms in Treforest, but check the calender on the right hand side to check for meeting details.