Sunday, 11 October 2009

Notes for speech on The way forward for the working class- re political representation

1. Socialism and Green as political terms have many things in common notably that they are and have been applied to a wide variety of things, from fascism to washing powder.

2. Socialism is possibly the more coherent of the two, in terms of political movements, it usually refers to political movements and/or organisations that seek to replace and/or reform capitalism with a government which operates with the explicit aim of using the profits of capitalism for the benefit of those seen as the real generators of wealth under capitalism, the working class.

3. Green usually denotes political concerns which identify which identify the physical environment of this planet as being under threat from a variety of sources that are mostly human in origin e.g.: Pollution, the destruction of species and ecosystems. The one that is currently seen as most threatening is climate change impelled by increasing human -caused Carbon emission. Some contemporary Green media pundits (eg Monbiot & Lynas), suggest that unchecked the impact of climate change might lead to the extermination of humans or at least the destruction of most contemporary industrial societies.

4. Greens advocate various solutions or even adaptations to an inevitable catastrophe. Jonathon Porritt insists that capitalism is the only workable economic system and therefore the only one that can avert eco-cataclysm. Other Greens think that capitalism cannot provide the solution because it will continually pursue increasing profit and economic growth. (Sharks’ reputed need to continually swim is usually mentioned here).

5. Some of the latter (e.g. Kovel) come from a Trotskyist wing within a Marxist tradition which means that they could account for the ecological damage caused by historically existing socialist societies such as the USSR in terms of them not being Truly socialist.

6. Be this as it may most of the damage was done and is being done by societies which are capitalist.

7. Global warming is often evidenced by the ‘ hockey stick’ graph of readings same time as European industrial Revolutions and coinciding with continuing world industrialisation from that point.

8. This marks a technological change which some suggest was preceeded in Europe by cultural changes, eg max Weber argues that the advent of Protestantism which changed attitudes and laws regarding ususry thus making capitalism possible.

9. It is also possible to argue that the problem has deeper roots than this . Anthropologists (eg Harris and Diamond) have commented on human societies can cahnge organisation and technology to cope with existential needs and threats (eg food supply, disease, climate. Predation, war etc).

10. seen from this perspective capitalism combined with industrialisation is the latest (and perhaps most effective) means of coping with these threats but arguably it not only does this but also to expands its scope to increase the profits of its dominant classes.

11. There a number of ways in which it does this
a)using new technologies and often thereby exploiting more natural resources
b)making previously free or shared goods and/or services into saleable products
d)reducing workers’ abilities to organise in defence of pay and conditions in an attempt to minimise labour costs
e) Increasing workers and consumers insecurity. In the British context mortgages, other debt and pensions create powerful incentives to curb union militancy and even union membership. Globalisation, Privatisations, marketisations, advertising and aspects of culture all play their role in this.

12 . Insecurity fuels continuing consumption, which encourages compliant labour and a fuels incessant pressure on natural resources which in turn causes climate change and other ecological threats.

13 hence Greens must advocate changes in lifestyle especially for the more affluent sectors of populations in industrailised nations (which does include groups of relatively better paid workers).

14 the only feasible way to do this is by enhancing workers rights and their abilities to defend them and the only feasible way to do this is by replacing capitalism.

15 a strategy to achieve this is by making what Trotskyites some times term ‘transitional demands’ which might be at least partially granted under capitalism. The GPEW has its only version of this its Mfss and policy pointers contain both reformist demands to the current system (eg a minimum wage of a level compatible with literally earning a living) and a wish lists of proposals that a Green gov’t might one day enact, (eg a citizen’s income).

16 Therefore Greens defend existing workers rights and call for their extension recently in the following ways
 GP Conference Autumn 2006 Emergency Motion Support for NHS Logistics workers’ strike
 14 August 2007 support for low paid City cleaners
 23 August 2007 Support for RMT anti privatisation lobby of Downing St
 24 September 2007 Lambeth Green Councillor Rebecca Thackray & Jean Lambert MEP Supports the Remploy Campaign against factory closures
 Support KEEP the NHS public campaign 3.11.2007
 12 December 2007 support protest against the dismissal of Karen Reissman
 Green Party of England and Wales (Response to consultation on welfare reform, ‘No-one written off’.) By Alan Wheatley and Anne Gray October 2008
 Green Worker - November 2008
- MEPs Demand Recognition for Green Union Reps.
- Green Success Makes Southwark A Living Wage Employer
 Support PCS Strike 10TH Nov2008
 8 October 2008 Green Euro Mps call for legal recognition of green reps
 Tuesday, 23 September 2008 support CWU dispute
 Tuesday, 23 September 2008 support camapaign against Victimisation of Trade Union Official, East North East Homes, UNISON Convenor, John McDermott
 Friday, 19 September 2008 GPTU statement on public sector pay dispute “GPTU notes that the NUT, and PCS, are balloting for strike action over public sector pay and that Unison still has the possibility of calling strike action over this issue. GPTU supports industrial action over this issue when relevant Union members decide it is appropriate, especially as the pay settlements now being discussed are below current inflation rates”
 Thursday, 11 September 2008 Protest UCU derecognised at Nottingham Trent University
 Sunday, 7 September 2008 Green Party Minimum Wage Motion (Passed At Green Party Conference 6/9/2008)
"Trade Unions and their branches will have the right to establish workplace environmental representatives, who will have the same rights at work as other trade union representatives. This will include appropriate facilities and time off to undertake their duties. Such representatives should play a decision making role in the development of strategies and implementation plans for making workplaces, companies and other public, private and third sector organisations greener and more
sustainable." (This text to be inserted in the Manifesto for a Sustainable Society, the main GP policy document)
 Thursday, 28 August 2008 Support RMT LONDON´S TUBE CLEANERS campaign
 24 August 2008 affiliate to Campaigning Alliance for Lifelong Learning
 19 August 2008 Support RMT tube strike ballot
 Thursday, 24 July 2008 Derek Wall, the Green Party's Male Principal Speaker, has called for trade unions to put increased pressure on the Government and public sector employers by uniting to carry out sustained strike action, in opposition to attempts to impose pay cuts.
 Support for Campaign for reinstatement of PAT CARMODY shop steward at Pell & Bales Tuesday, 22 July 2008
 21 July 2008 Darren Johnson, Green Party London Assembly Member, has called on London's Mayor to lobby Tubelines, the employer, to follow Transport for London’s lead and pay cleaners of its section of the network at least £7.45 an hour.
 Friday, 18 July 2008 Support For Unison Strikers in Norwich by Green Councillors
 Wednesday, 16 July 2008 Vauxhall Green Candidate Supports Local Unison Strikers , also statements of support from Jean Lambert MEP and Darren Johnson AM, and Brighton & Nottingham Councillors Richard & Sue Mallender
 Saturday, 16 February 2008 EMERGENCY MOTION PASSED AT CONFERENCE 14/2/08 “The Green Party is extremely concerned to learn that a private American health firm (United Health Europe) has won control of three GP surgeries in London. We fear that this is the first step in an attempt to corporatise health care in the UK. “(Continues)
 20 September 2009 The Green Party Trade Union Group supports the postal workers’ Union, CWU
 GPTU Fringe meeting at GP Conference, Hove 5/9/2009 "Welfare Reform & Low paid Workers "
 GP conference plenary on Just Transition with Cllr Romayne Phoenix, Caroline Lucas MEP, Chris Baugh (PCS), Chris Rapley (Director, Science Museum),
 July/September support Vestas campaign
 Tuesday, 1 September 2009 Support all out strike at Tower Hamlets College
 Green Party wants full railway nationalisation From Gp website 01 July 2009
 July 2009 campaign against sacking of Stalin Bemudez & Removal of SOAS cleaners

Wednesday, 23 September 2009

Thursday, 30 July 2009

PUBLIC MEETING: Campaign to Safeguard Brent Residents 12/07/2009 St Mary & St Andrew’s Church, Dollis Hill.

notes by p>murry

This meeting was advertised to me by a handbill which came through my door, it was not immediately clear from this document that this was a Labour Party meeting but it was and it carried the legally required “printed & promoted by…” rubric. One speaker suggested a cross party campaign against the proposed Cricklewood development, so I asked why a one party slate with an MP (Dawn Butler), speaking in a neighbouring MP’s constituency. It was tit for tat for an earlier exclusively Lib Dem meeting on the same subject.

The platform was Anne John (Brent Labour group leader), Dawn Butler MP for Brent South and Navin Shah AM for Brent and Harrow . Invited speakers from the floor included Dawood Perez , Director and Company Secretary of Bestway, (the cash and carry group whose premises are threatened by the proposed Cricklewood development), Leah Evans of FoE, Ben Tansley of Brent Cycling Campaign, John Cox (Campaign for Better Transport), Cllr Ralph Fox and the Chair of the Dollis Hill Residents’ Ass’n.

In summary it was explained that the proposed development would allegedly result in involve creating 2700 jobs, 750 homes, a new station and three schools.

Bestway’s main beef appeared to be that it would also involve the relocation of a new waste processing station to the Brent side of the main railway out of King’s Cross possibly endangering the Bestway operation. Several Bestway workers turned up with three neatly produced placards, one of them and their manager both assured me they were doing this voluntarily in their free time. Bestway was not unionized because, Dawood Perez, assured me, it treats it workers so well.

The platform speakers seemed to object to the scale of the scheme and the amount of extra traffic it might generate. Anne John asserted that this was a wider approach than that taken by the Lib Dems who, she alleged only objected to the proposed Waste transfer station, whilst (according to Dawood Perez) bidding for some of the gov’t funding associated with the development.(“section 106 money”)

The apparently more holistic Labour approach was to complain about the inadequate consultation by Barnet Council and insist (how ?) that the development be Carbon neutral, although Dawn Butler required reminding by FoE the term was, which did raise the question in my mind as to whether she knew what it meant.

Never mind, FoE thought that “you can’t stop progress” and Dawn thought that Bestway brought “social and economic benefits to local people” whilst he new scheme did not deal with the relative shopping deprivation of Brent. “We don’t have a major shopping centre in Brent, the developments round Wembley will address that to some extent.”.

Like Obama, Dawn believes in change, but perhaps only the kind found in shopping centre tills. However, as John Cox pointed out even if the Cricklewood is topped there are more similar developments planned for Colindale, Wembley, Barnet and Park Royal adding to the new White City mega shopping mall. Further more it is apparently the opinion of my neighbours as expressed by the Secretary of the Dollis Hill Residents Ass’n that they want a new bridge across the railway so that they can drive around more quickly.

Wednesday, 27 May 2009

Industrial accidents demo April 2009