What would Corbyn do?

June 20, 2017

Che Guevara is so last year. It’s Jeremy Corbyn on the T-shirts now. And he has a gig coming up at Glastonbury.

Corbynismo has turned the British political circus upside down.

The Tory party, having been reduced to a parliamentary minority after its disastrous election campaign, is struggling to contain the anger provoked by the Grenfell Tower fire. People are reacting to the cruel injustices on which this vile government thrives.

Some Tories see continuing Theresa May’s “leadership” as the best hope for at least retaining a hold on government. Others have the knives out for her. None of them seem to have a clue about how to deal with the Brexit talks. The Tory Read the rest of this entry »

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Voting as counter revolution

June 20, 2017

How the politicians who gave us the vote saw things one hundred years ago. A guest post by ANTI-WAR

One hundred years ago, the British ruling class decided to extend the vote to most women over 30, and to almost all working class men. By expanding the franchise from a minority to a majority of the adult population, they hoped to restore people’s faith in parliamentary government and thereby counter any revolutionary tendencies inspired by the Russian revolution. Sylvia Pankhurst, the feminist communist, put it this way in 1923:

The legal barriers to women’s participation in Parliament and its elections were not removed until the movement to abolish Parliament altogether had received the strong encouragement of witnessing the overthrow of Parliamentary Government in Russia and the setting up of Soviets. … The upholders of reaction … were by no means oblivious to the growth of Sovietism when they decided to popularise the old Parliamentary machine by giving to some women both votes and the right to be elected. Read the rest of this entry »


Collective rage, collective care

June 19, 2017

More on the Grenfell Tower aftermath, from DAVID BERRIE.

When we talk about communities of care and collectivised social reproduction, THIS is what we mean. Me and a few other art therapists, some who live just a stone’s throw from Grenfell Tower, went down to the estate and just provided materials and emotional support. Two hundred teenagers then spontaneously and collectively made this memorial. The care and support they showed each other was so moving. And their anger was furious.

Yesterday’s protest was the most powerful one I’ve ever been a part of. This has woken a collective rage and collective care I’ve never witnessed before.

This is working class power and it is not going away.

Read the rest of this entry »


A feeling of persecution that runs deep

June 19, 2017

AL MIKEY writes about the aftermath of the Grenfell Tower fire

I wrote this on Friday after I visited North Kensington, and after residents stormed Kensington Town Hall. For those people not able, or who haven’t had time, to go down to the area to help or witness (witness is what I did), I hope it’s useful. Been an emotional few days like so many people in London that feel this.

FRIDAY JUNE 16th. A lot of really raw anger and hurt, it’s hard to convey the emotions. When I got out of the tube, every 10-15 metres there’s random groups discussing what happened, who they knew, latest updates, and audiences gather. The streets had around 300-400 locals there. An ice cream van was giving out free ice creams (compliments from a local estate agent apparently). All along the street were hundreds of photos of people missing (i counted around 60 different people) a lot of children, whole families.

The residents are a real mixture, a lot of Middle Eastern arabs, Muslims, north Africans, but also white working class, a lot of women and children in school uniform. There’s nothing segregated about it. Everyone is out and talking with each other. Must be 100 Read the rest of this entry »


Free Nurbek Kushakbayev! Support independent workers’ organisation in Kazakhstan!

April 19, 2017

Trades unionists have launched an international campaign for the release of Nurbek Kushakbayev, who was jailed this month for his part in organising strike action in the western Kazakhstan oil field.

A court in Astana, the Kazakh capital, sentenced Kushakbayev to two-and-half years in jail, followed by a further two-year ban on organising.

Kushakbayev is a trade union safety inspector at Oil Construction Company (OCC), an oilfield service firm based in Mangistau, western Kazakhstan. He is also deputy president of the Confederation of Independent Trade Unions of Kazakhstan, which the government banned last year under a law designed to straitjacket unions not controlled by the state.

In January, workers at several oil companies in Mangistau staged a hunger strike in protest at the ban on union federation, to which their workplace

Nurbek Kushakbayev, in the cage for defendants, and his wife, after the verdict. Photo by Radio Azattyk.

organisations were affiliated. Dozens of participants in the hunger strike were arrested. Most were released without charge, but Kushakbayev and another union organiser at OCC, Amin Yeleusinov, were arrested and Read the rest of this entry »


Investors who profit as oil workers face repression

April 19, 2017

The companies that this month helped to jail trade union leader Nurbek Kushakbayev are linked, via Kazmunaigaz, Kazakhstan’s state-controlled oil and gas firm, to Chinese and international capital.

While workers in the western Kazakhstan oilfield suffer repeated waves of state repression – from the notorious police massacre of strikers at Zhanaozen in December 2011 to this year’s fines, arrests and bans on trade union organisation – investment funds based in New York and London profit directly from their labour.

Kushakbayev worked at the Oil Construction Company (OCC), an oilfield service company, where workers staged a two-week hunger strike in Read the rest of this entry »


Scotland: “We encourage everyone to speak, even if their voice shakes”

April 3, 2017

CATHY MILLIGAN is standing as an Independent candidate in the Glasgow City Council elections on Thursday 4 May, in the Linn ward. Here she writes about how Castlemilk Against Austerity, the community group she represents, is organising on one of the city’s largest housing schemes

I have always been politically minded, in that I think that how we live every day is dictated by politics and the powers that be. I was active politically when I was a teenager. I left school in 1979 when Thatcher came to power so there was a lot to be politically active about. But I wouldn’t say I have been active since – until the past five years.

In 2009 I lost my job due to ill health. I had to claim employment and support allowance, that really woke me up to how badly people on benefits are being treated. It’s horrible, and I am of the mind that no-one would

Castlemilk Against Austerity campaigners

willingly put themselves through this, which is contrary to the many TV programmes portraying the opposite to be true. Life on benefits is full of misery and despair. At one point I was left to live on £47 per week, for ten months.

I was too ill to fight it, and it really pushed me to the edge. I felt scared, alone, worthless. Thankfully, family and friends pulled me through it, but Read the rest of this entry »