Tuesday 18 January 2011

N Staffs Against Cuts Conference: 26th January

Press release and statement of conference aims. I'll be going, are you?

North Staffs Against Cuts Press Release 17/01/2011
North Staffs Against Cuts (NSAC) will be holding an anti-cuts conference on the 26th January at the Forum Theatre, Hanley Museum, 7pm.

Speakers invited from local anti-cuts groups and trade unions

Everyone who wants to fight back against the cuts are invited to attend this very important conference for the local anti-cuts movement.

NSAC Chair Matthew Wright says: "We must prevent the government's and local council's inevitable attempts to divide the anti cuts movement by playing off one campaign against the other (“If we save this swimming pool we will have to close that children's centre”) .

Therefore we will maintain a firm commitment of opposition to all cuts not just in words but also in deeds. “Not a Single Job Lost Not a Single Penny Cut!”

As real concrete cuts are revealed and their effects are felt, campaigns will spring up across the area. NSAC will offer support to these campaigns and strive to link them together into a general anti-cuts movement."

Press contact:
Matthew Wright (Chair) v1w02 at students.keele.ac.uk 07817772531
Jason Hill (Organiser) nstuc at burslem.demon.co.uk 07778913528

Conference Statement


- To assist in the struggle to Stop ALL CUTS

Two sections are key to stopping cuts
a) Trade unions, still with a potential power of 6 million organised workers, have a crucial role to play together with workplaces where no trade union representation yet exists.
b) Anti-cuts campaigns - as well as student groups, welfare claimants, tenants, pensioners organisations, disability groups etc.

For unity in opposition to all cuts, closures and privatisations:
We must prevent the government's and local council's inevitable attempts to divide the anti cuts movement by playing off one campaign against the other (“If we save this swimming pool we will have to close that children's centre”)

Therefore we will maintain a firm commitment of opposition to all cuts not just in words but also in deeds. “Not a Single Job Lost Not a Single Penny Cut!”

As real concrete cuts are revealed and their effects are felt, campaigns will spring up across the area. NSACF will offer support to these campaigns and strive to link them together into a general anti-cuts movement.

For a democratic and effective structure:
A federal type structure, where each affiliated body is free to pursue its own independent campaign but can in turn draw on the support and united strength of NSACF and all its affiliated bodies, is the most effective method of organising a democratic and united opposition.

Each individual organisation, community group etc will be asked to affiliate to NSACF. A committee will be elected to represent all affiliated organisations and campaigns plus a chair, secretary and other officers where necessary. All affiliated bodies will be asked to send representatives to form this committee with each representative having full voting rights.

Raising money to produce leaflets etc will be vital so all affiliates will be asked to make a donation (a minimum of £15). We will set up a bank account and elect a Treasurer to oversee our finances.

Immediate tasks:
• Continue to inform people about the true facts and involve the public in our campaigns against cuts.
• Relentless lobbying of councils, councilors,and other bodies, to persuade them NOT to vote for cuts.
• Organise a march in North Staffs and build for a strong contingent for the TUC demo in March.

Image Source


Boffy said...


I'll definitely be there. There's just one comment for now I'd make in relation to the aims set out above, and that is about the slogan,

“Not a Single Job Lost Not a Single Penny Cut!”

I absolutely support the sentiment that I believe is behind the slogan, but I think as it stands its wrong. Let me try to explain why.

The demand for no job losses is in reality a reactionary demand. If no job were ever lost then no progress would ever be possible, and Marxists and socialists are in favour of progress. At the start of the 20th Century, 2 million people were employed as Miners. If no jobs had ever been lost in Mining, there would have been no possibility of workers having their current living standards, because there would have been no workers available to work producing cars, electronic goods, plastics and so on. Capitalism DOES achieve progress over time by bringing about such transformation, but can only do so through crises that are both inefficient and destructive, and force the cost on to workers. Our aim as socialists is not to prevent such progress, but to demand that it be achieved without the cost being born by workers.

That is why the demand for "Work or Full Pay" was developed by Marxists, which basically says either provide us with a useful job, or pay our wages. It insists that progress continues but that it be done in the planned way that a socialist society would use rather than the chaotic way that Capitalism uses. If a new computer system was developed which, for example, meant that Council payrolls could be done without payroll clerks, it would be ridiculous to oppose its introduction on the basis of opposing the loss of payroll jobs. But, we would argue that the Council either find the payroll clerks alternative useful employment, say as Care Home workers, or continue to pay their wages until it could.

That ties into the second part. Surely, what we are opposed to is not that there is no change in Monetary amounts in Budgets as such, but that actual services are not cut. If a more efficient means of providing a service is devised then again it would play into the hands of the Tories to argue that those workers who have to finance Council services from their taxes should obtain no benefit from that possibility. It would be a demand for Councils to be deliberately inefficient!

I'd suggest that the real point is to demand:

* No redundancies
* Work or Full Pay
* No Speed-up
* No reduction in the Quality or Quantity of Services.

More wordy, but more precise, and less open to the Tories distorting what we are fighting for.

Anonymous said...

Do you have a Twitter I can follow?

Boffy said...


Part of the problem we face, of course, is reflected in this story in the Sentinel 800 Staff Apply To Leave. I was discussing this with a former workmate only a week or so ago, who was telling me how depressed and demoralised the workers were at my former Council. He himself was wanting to leave as soon as possible, but was holding out for the possibility of getting redundancy pay. I was also discussing this with another comrade on Dave osler's site last week. He also worked in the Public Sector and was waiting to be able to get his Retirement settlement.

Back in the mid 90's, when I was UNISON Branch Sec. the national union published a survey of staff, which showed a large majority who wanted to get out as soon as they could. It showed massive levels of stress, and demoralisation. That got even worse in the following years as increased measurement, and the requirement to detail almost every minute of your working day was introduced for the majority of staff - not of course for upper management - and was a good way of Management imposing discipline on workers. Comrades and former workmates tell me that it has got even worse, and all my former members at the Sports centre I used to attend told me that they were not allowed to use any initiative whatsoever without it going through about three layers of management, just so no one ended up carrying the can if anything went wrong.

I was looking at the Satisfaction survey done by the Patients Association the other day, and things don't seem that much better looked at from the other side of the counter. Although, levels of satisfaction with the NHS had risen from the depths they were at ten years ago, even after trebling spending on the NHS the survey shows that there is still considerable dissatisfaction, despite the fact that if anything, the NHs is the service which most people associate with most closely. I was amazed to see that the figure for people who rely solely on the NHS for Healthcare was as low as 61%, though I'd want to see exactly how that breaks down. But, its clear that a significant, and increasing number of people are turning to private health insurance in the aftermath of MRSA, Stafford Hospital etc.

Having said that, the good news is that on a philosophical level the majority of people continue to support the idea of healthcare free at the point of use, and although many people supported the idea of alternative financing for the NHS, a majority continued to support the idea that core services should be financed out of Tax.

Boffy said...

This Guardian report on the results of the Social Attitudes Survey is also useful background.


Chris said...

This just sums up everything that is wrong with Boffy’s position. A total inability to move from the concrete conditions. These cuts are not being made because the Tories have suddenly invented a new machine that can replace public sector workers, the cuts are due to the budget crisis brought about by greedy, penny grabbing (sorry Engels you were wrong!) bankers, employers, politicians and speculators and the wish to preserve the wealth of said greedy, penny grabbing bankers, employers, politicians and speculators by making workers pay instead. That is the story to be told to the workers, not guff about non existent technology.

Your demands are irrelevant to this particular struggle and the reality that faces us and sends out all the wrong signals and gives unnecessary ground to Tory lies, spin and deception.

And local authorities have been through a rigorous process of saving targets since around 2003, when Gershon savings were first introduced. This built into the budget process a systematic requirement that every service submitted not only financial savings but also efficiency savings, i.e. increased outcomes for the same budget. This was not some casual exercise but a robust set of procedures applied to every single section in every single service! Since the Condems arrived on the scene that robust systematic approach has been replaced by blind panic and rushed through proposals. This insanity could never happen if workers and ‘customers’ had democratic control over budgets.

No doubt there is and was a great deal wrong with public services under capitalism but for Marxists to make good judgements and to actually inform workers these things need to be taken into account. What we shouldn’t be doing is giving them the one sided story Boffy dishes up. Like Noel Edmonds on speed!

I also think this contrast between ‘big’ and ‘small’ capital is erroneous. Many small businesses are struggling in this current climate, so the cuts are not in their interests either, but they support it because ideology becomes ingrained and cannot easily be transcended. The same goes for the people who run big businesses. Maybe a better distinction would be between ‘finance’ capital and ‘industrial’ capital. Clearly the cuts we are seeing all over the world (including the USA!) are in the interests of finance capital.

One example of the cuts being made by the ‘bureaucratic’, ‘oppressive’ state is a programme that delivered training to people with learning difficulties. These programmes helped people lead an independent life by giving cookery lessons and the like. What a better of use of money than giving some grotesque banker an extra couple of million to puke up in the street.

Phil said...

Unfortunately I won't be able to come along afterall due to another commitment. :(