Wednesday 11 August 2010

TUC Must Call Demo!

Tonight's meeting of North Staffs TUC decided to back this initiative of the National Shop Stewards' Network. With a national campaign against the cuts launched and trades councils making the running in many localities, it's time the TUC nationally took more responsibility for organising the resistance too. To this end, the NSSN is distributing a leaflet (text below) calling for a lobby of the TUC General Council on Sunday 12th September at 12 noon outside the Manchester Central Convention Complex. North Staffs TUC will be organising transport - if you're local and interested please get in touch via the website. If you're from outside the region but would like to know what the transport facilities are from your area, get in touch with the NSSN here.

TUC Must Call Demo
The Coalition government dominated by millionaires is driving a juggernaut over workers’ lives. They announce one lot of cuts after another. 25% becomes 40% cuts. Some schools could be privatised by September. The NHS is made ready for greedy private profiteers. Meanwhile profits keep rolling in for the banks and the rich. With each vicious attack on living standards workers ask what our trade unions are going to do about these threats. Unfortunately so far the TUC general council has been ominously quiet.

It’s time to break the silence. We cannot wait any longer – otherwise the government will draw the conclusion that we are buying into their idea of long-term poverty wages, unemployment and reduced pensions – and start piling on more cuts. We need a national demonstration to kick-start a mass campaign to stop this government in its tracks.

A national demonstration would serve two purposes. It would signal to the government that the organised unions will put up resistance; and it would act as a beacon to all workers that a fightback has begun.

• Demand that the TUC calls a national demonstration against the ConDem government's vicious cuts!
• Join the lobby of the TUC General Council: 12:00noon, Sunday 12th September, Manchester Central Convention Complex
• Come to the NSSN Fringe Meeting at the TUC: 5:30pm, Wednesday 15th September, Friends Meeting House, Mount Street, Manchester (5 mins walk from conference venue).

Speakers include Bob Crow, RMT general secretary

Fight ConDem Cuts!

Hundreds of trade unionists, along with unemployed and retired workers, community campaigners and young people, attended the National Shop Stewards Network (NSSN) Conference in June just a few days after the Coalition budget was announced; the following statement was put as a guide to action:

“800,000 public sector jobs to go; child benefits frozen and housing benefit cut; pay frozen for three years; VAT increased to 20%.

No matter how they try to dress it up as “fair” and “progressive” this is a massive attack on the working class by the rich. These cuts will axe jobs and reduce services. Cuts will impact upon the lives of millions of ordinary people in every community and workplace up and down the country.

We say the working class should not accept these cuts, and we the NSSN will organise to assist in the fightback.

The working class should not and will not pay for a crisis caused by the bankers and the capitalist system.”

We appeal for maximum unity in defence of the public sector and support the PCS call for a national demonstration on October 23rd, supported by CWU and NUT, and further endorsed by general secretaries of FBU. BFAWU, NAPO, NUJ, POA, RMT, and URTU.

However, the General Council has so far not gone for this initiative. Instead it has proposed a week of activities around the Comprehensive Spending Review including a lobby of parliament on 20th October. Whilst the NSSN will do everything to help make these events successful and lively, they are just not enough!

We need a national demo in London on a Saturday with all TUC affiliates giving it top priority.

A national demo could set the tone for a one-day public sector strike, marking the beginning of a serious fightback against these vicious cuts.
We urge trades unionists and campaigners everywhere to lobby the General Council with us at the start of TUC in Manchester Convention Centre on Sunday 12th September at 12 noon.

Also at
North Staffs TUC Blog


Gary Elsby said...

Gee up!
I wrote all this stuff in my election manifesto.

No VAT increae.
No job cuts.
No cuts in services and expenditure(in a regenerating area it doesn't add up).
No home repossessions.
No Trident.
Elderly care provision, free for all.
1 Million new Council Houses.
Mass creation of building jobs and apprenticeships.
it goes on and on....

If you like, I can write it up for the Trades Council?

And remember, I wrote this BEFORE the General Election and before Dianne Abott was invented.

catherine buca said...

Let's just clear this up: Gary, are you suggesting Diane has taken these ideas from you (as you appear to be suggesting here and even more strongly on Pits'n'Pots), or am I misinterpreting, and you're merely saying you have also had these ideas? Because, you know, someone could take it the wrong way, and I'm sure you wouldn't want that.

Liat said...

I think he is trying to suggest the whole of the left has taken those ideas off him. Which is good. It's nice to know who to thank for them! =]

Chris said...

Yes those policies seem to have been around for a while Gary!

He does make a good point with no cuts in a regenerating area. Regional development agencies have been the first part of local government to see actual cuts.

Lawrence Shaw said...

I do agree that such a demonstration should take place, and should be the number one priority for all trade unions - beating back this mantra that cuts are inevitable is the single biggest argument all unions must have.

But I am hesitant as well. I do fear that we haven't yet seen the full force of the cuts impact yet.

I predict any set-piece demo in the near future, even with full TUC backing, would not go a great deal further than pulling in the usual faces and activists - not drawing in the wider public in the way the big anti-war demonstration did, for example.

I would also caution against this notion that "if only the TUC were to raise the call, then the masses will rise". This is not 1926. Most people now think the TUC is just a type of biscuit. It will take a great deal more than goading some union bureaucrats into organising an event to overturn the ConDem cuts consensus.

Chris said...


The top heavy structure of society is even worse in the private sector. So I think both sectors should be tackled. That would require some fundamental reorganisation of production along the lines argued by Boffy, you would need to train and educate workers to take on that management responsibility. But if the right are opening up this discusssion then that is certainly one positive outcome of this economic downturn. I do wonder how much they mean it though.

To answer one of your questions, it is front line operations that are being cut in the main. Councillors where I work regard the finance division as 'lean'. Also a number of nation wide reviews of local authority structures are taking place and have taken place, looking at things such as management. These reviews were instigated under New Labour.

So the **fact** is you are being confronted with cuts to front line services. So TGR do you still support them, will you be joining the campiagn against them? Or are you just another right winger muddying the waters?

Gary Elsby said...

I think you may find that Dianne Abott has the usuals in her election material which circulated AFTER the general election.

You will find nowhere.....

any of the other material that I have put up on this site.

Free elderly care via a ring fenced NI increase for all in need is NOT a Labour policy of any kind.
Cuts in a regenerating area doesn't make sense in Stoke.

There is bound to be a bit of common ground between us (us) leftists but I could write this stuff forever and a day with meaning and not just wishful thinking. My sums add up or I don't write. Simple. I wrote the care response because of Labour's 'death tax' (it has merit on private housing funds but is unnacceptable in the long run).

The criticism of me for being a socialist reminds me of the funny argument to the preamble to Labour's national Policy Document on immigration.
The opening (hilarious) line was:
"Since 1997, we have welcomed all genuine asylum seekers"(words to that effect).
As an officer of Stoke Central (secretary) and having nothing at all to do other than read everything about policy and writing my (our) own for the CLP, we protested.

You see, Labour appeared to be invented on the day Tony became Leader and not the 1000 years of history that preceded either him or Labour!

If Dianne or others agree with me and I agree with them, then so be it. But who writes the most?

Boffy said...

I'm in favour of building for a "Big" demonstration against the Cuts, but I recall Trotsky's criticism of the German Communists in the 1920's, who having missed the revoluitonary upsurge, then made a call for a General Strike. The result was a disaster. The working class was weak and in retreat. The call didn't seem to chime with the climate of working class opinion, few responded, and it simply emphasised the weakness of the left, and the Labour Movement. Trotsky argued that before you call such demonstrtaions you first have to have a good implantaion in the working-class, you have to guage your reactions by what you determine the mood to be - a lesson the Bolsheviks learned in 1917.

I see reports of anti-cuts meetings taking place, where it thought that a good turnout was 20 people! Judged by the number of people who nowadays turn up to TU meetings it might seem that way, but objectively its abysmal, and does suggest that those opinion polls showing widespread support for the Cuts are pretty accurate.

I'd suggest that its necessary for a hell of a lot more groudwork to be done by local TUC's, by LP Branches, and by socialists in TRA's, and other grass roots organisations to take place, to build support before calling such a demonstrtaion, or it stands the risk of demobilsing a national Movement at birth. One thing necessary is a National rank and File Steering Committee, to share information on anti-cuts struggles taking palce, particularly strikes, and to be able to mobilise support for those taking action. But, calls I've seen demanding Labour Councils refuse to implement cuts given the current abysmally weak condition of the Labour Movement, and lack of popular opposition (for now) to the Cuts are just Ultra-Left lunacy that would simply isolate any Councillors or Councils that followed that policy - and in any case most New Labour Councils are not going to do that - with no noticeable advantage. The Tories would simply install rule by diktat over such Councils with an even worse effect on local people.

As I've said before if we are going to build real opposition to the Cuts, it requires a far more intelligent strtaegy than just "more militancy" and calls for people to launch fruitless assaults over the top.

catherine buca said...

I'm sorry Gary, pardon me for being dense, but I'm having difficulty in actually deciphering any of what you wrote above.

Please, help my obviously addled brain out: could you succinctly and clearly answer whether you believe Diane Abbott (and any of the other leadership hopefuls, if you like) specifically got her policies from YOUR policy. No need to go round the houses, just a "Yes, I believe Abbott et al copied their policies directly from me" or "no, I don't believe that" will do.


Anonymous said...

"calls I've seen demanding Labour Councils refuse to implement cuts given the current abysmally weak condition of the Labour Movement, and lack of popular opposition (for now) to the Cuts are just Ultra-Left lunacy that would simply isolate any Councillors or Councils that followed that policy"

But if you accept that councillors have to vote through cuts budgets that surely means you will oppose industrial action taken against these councils to protect jobs, as the budget would be the the best they could do?

Phil Brighton

Boffy said...

Not at all. Workers taking industrial action against Cuts do not face disqualification as Councillors, do not provide the Government with the pretext for sending in Commissioners, and so on. There is nothing preventing Councillors from attempting to mobilise as much support to oppose Cuts as possible prior to any such vote, there is nothing preventing them attempting through such a Movement to put forard, with the Unions, TRA's and other groups, alternative proposals, and so on.

Provided they do all that honestly, and make clear from the beginning that unless a sufficient "extra-Parliamentary" opposition is created to defeat the Cuts, they will have to vote for them as a tactical measure, in order to retain some control, and retreat in an orderly fashion, then I think that such a strategy can be udnerstood by workers inside and out of the Council Chamber. If no such movement CAN be mobilised we should not ask Councillors to simply be martyrs, and engage in some individualistic adventure. In fact, under such conditions the workers in the Trades Unions would have to question what was there best tactic too. As lenin said to the Ultra-Lefts,

"“If you want to fight now, say so openly. If you don’t wish to retreat now, say so openly. Otherwise, in your objective role, you are a tool of imperialist provocation. And your subjective “mentality” is that of a frenzied petty bourgeois who swaggers and blusters but senses perfectly well that the proletarian is right in retreating and in trying to retreat in an organised way. He senses that the proletarian is right in arguing that because we lack strength we must retreat (before Western and Eastern imperialism) even as far as the Urals, for in this lies the only chance of playing for time.."

Gary Elsby said...

No Christine, what I am saying is that David Miliband or Ed or Ed, Andy or anyf***** else is FOR
job cuts
no elderley care
Home repossesions
Taxing Stoke
Cutting Stoke......

That's why Stoke votes David, Ed, Andy and anyone else other than Dianne.

Don't believe me?
Ask them.

Gary Elsby said...

Well at least Bob Piper's recent blog 'collaborators and spots' tells the truth of Stoke!

Anonymous said...

ESA medical to be much harsher in time for IB transfer

Dear Subscriber,

We hadn’t intended to publish any newsletters in August, but the latest move by the coalition really does need an urgent response from you if you’re claiming incapacity benefit or employment and support allowance.

Back in April, when new labour was still in power, we warned that the secretary of state for work and pensions had approved plans to make the work capability assessment, the medical test for employment and support allowance, much harder to pass. Our news was greeted with considerable scepticism on many forums and blogs, especially when we warned:

“The shock plans, for ‘simplifying’ the work capability assessment for employment and support allowance (ESA) include docking points from amputees who can lift and carry with their stumps. Claimants with speech problems who can write a sign saying, for example, ‘The office is on fire!’ will score no points for speech and deaf claimants who can read the sign will lose all their points for hearing.

“Meanwhile, for ‘health and safety reasons’ all points scored for problems with bending and kneeling are to be abolished and claimants who have difficulty walking can be assessed using imaginary wheelchairs.

“Claimants who have difficulty standing for any length of time will, under the plans, also have to show they have equal difficulty sitting, and vice versa, in order to score any points. And no matter how bad their problems with standing and sitting, they will not score enough points to be awarded ESA.

“In addition, almost half of the 41 mental health descriptors for which points can be scored are being removed from the new ‘simpler’ test, greatly reducing the chances of being found incapable of work due to such things as poor memory, confusion, depression and anxiety.

“There are some improvements to the test under the plans, including exemptions for people likely to be starting chemotherapy and more mental health grounds for being admitted to the support group. But the changes are overwhelmingly about pushing tens of thousands more people onto JSA.”

That’s what we warned back in April. Well, those same new labour ‘simplifications’ have now been adopted by the coalition and the regulations have been put before the social security advisory committee (SSAC) for comment. SSAC can make recommendations to the government about whether changes to the law should go ahead, but they cannot force the government to back down.

Very few ESA claimants will be left unaffected by these changes which will come into force on 28 March 2011, in time to disqualify thousands more incapacity benefits claimants transferring to ESA.

This is labour present to people like myself I suffered an accident at work which left me in a wheelchair. Pity a few people within the labour party remebered us a bit, I know we are now non human.