Sunday, 9 December 2012

Osborne launches another attack on working class in Autumn Statement

It is easy to see the cracks in George Osborne’s autumn statement. It was a ‘smokescreen budget’, designed to fool people that the well off are going to be contributing their fair share, yet in reality they will be contributing very little compared to working class families, pensioners and benefit claimants who will still pay the real price for the failures of capitalism.
In addition to this, where is the necessary investment from Osborne to kickstart our economy and help drive us out of recession? Simple it’s not there. This country could be at the forefront of a green economic revolution with more than 1 million jobs created in the green sector alone. Personally I would like to see encouragement of public and co-operatively owned businesses to lead this sector with the necessary investment and support coming from the government. In addition to this I would like to see greater support for small businesses and sole traders in general – ordinary people who are trying to make a living in this country instead of gambling on the stock market or driving wages to the bottom through hiring lower waged labour. I do differentiate between good and unscrupulous employers in small businesses. Such companies who are unscrupulous and keep wages down by exploiting their workforce I feel deserve no support, as their loyalty is not to the country or their workforce, but to their bank balance instead.
Moving on to Osborne’s attack on benefit claimants, which I feel represents another giant leap towards Victorian conditions in this country. This is all part of the neo-liberal plan to divide and destroy any solidarity within working class communities.  Their aim is to stigmatise those on benefits and making conditions even harsher for them. We cannot let Osborne and the capitalist class to destroy our communities and we need to build greater solidarity within the working class in order to defend ourselves against the purges of the government and its allies in the mainstream media.
It is a fact, when people are desperate they will break the law in order to survive or to support their families. It is a matter of survival and I would challenge even the most law abiding citizen to challenge this. Through this purge on benefits and the working class more and more people are going to be forced into petty crime in order to survive. No doubt this will be picked up upon by the ‘hang em and flog em’ brigade readers of the Mail and the Express and other right wing papers who will claim crime is getting out of control and call for stiffer penalties. This is why we need to defend working class people and communities and those on benefits and point the blame at those who are creating the economic and social conditions for crime. How can we totally condemn those committing anti-social behaviour when all they can see before them is a no hope society and a dog eat dog world.
Our message has to be to invest in both our economy and the people and to oppose the capitalist divide and rule and social cleansing policies wherever they are implemented. We have to expose the greed, self interest and dog eat dog nature of the capitalist system not only to people in our communities, but to those active in the wider labour movement. As those to blame do not solely rest within the Tory party and their Lib-Dem buddies in the coalition, but with the Labour leadership and careerists within the Labour Party, Trade Unionists who have become so accustomed to their luxury lifestyles they have detached themselves from the people they are supposed to represent, and councillors who have been elected on an anti-cuts manifesto yet when in office simply carry out the dirty work of the government. In our fight to overthrow this rotten government and the capitalist system such people are nothing more than the enemy within our own camp. 

Monday, 22 October 2012

Supporting striking RMT workers

The RMT has confirmed two strike dates and further action short of a strike following a massive mandate from members in a ballot of groups of staff on First Devon and Cornwall buses in a dispute over pay.

Relevant members are not to book on for any duty commencing between 00:01 and 23:59 hours on Friday 26th October 2012, and again between 00:01 and 23:59 hours on Friday 9th November 2012. Relevant members are not to work any unscheduled overtime or rest days between 00:01 hours on Sunday 11th November and 23:59 hours on Saturday 17th November 2012.

The action follows the rejection of this year's long overdue pay offer. The company proposal is self-funding – meaning it would have no cost impact on the company and ring-fences their profits.
It includes the loss of paid walking time, the removal of time to do a visual "walk round" check when taking a bus over mid shift and the dilution of the sick pay benefits. This follows on from the removal of the final salary section of the pension scheme, already implemented despite fierce union objections.
In this weeks ballot result RMT members voted by almost 85% for strike action and by over 90% for action short of a strike.

RMT General Secretary Bob Crow said: “This weeks massive mandate for action by RMT members on First Devon and Cornwall buses reflects their anger at the failure to come up with a serious pay offer and the attempt to bind up what is on the table with a whole load of strings to make it self-financing at the expense of the workforce.
"The fact that we have been forced to ballot and put this action on is solely down to the failure of the management side to understand the anger of their workforce. The company must take this situation seriously and get round the table with RMT to negotiate a settlement and the sooner those talks commence the better.
“Bus services and bus workers in the South West are under a series of attacks as the companies attempt to ramp up and protect profits at the expense of the staff and that situation cannot continue. "

South West England  Cornwall Green Left will be sending messages of solidarity to striking workers and where possible joining picket lines to distribute copies of The Eco-Socialist.

South West Green Left head for London

Devon Green Left member Lynton North, spreads the eco-socialist message

Saturday October 20th saw members of the Green Left in Devon carrying placards, boarding coaches and to London for the TUC’s ‘A Future that Works’ demonstration.

The march, estimated at 150,000 strong, brought the centre of the capital to a standstill and was a massive show of strength and solidarity in opposition to the ConDems assault on the ordinary people.  Hundreds of Green Party placards were clearly noticeable amongst the marchers, with the first issue of ‘The Eco-Socialist’ newspaper being distributed and well received.

The battle against austerity measures and the evils of capitalism needs to be at the heart of Green politics and coupled with the fight to bring about an egalitarian, eco-socialist society. South West England & Cornwall Green left recognise this will not come about from the niceties of politics or holding tea parties, but only through struggle and positioning ourselves at the heart of that struggle. In this we recognise action and fighting cutbacks is perhaps more important than simply targeting electoral success and being just another political machine.

Romayne Phoenix on the march

Saturday, 6 October 2012


Pictured are Green Party activists, including Green Left supporters,  joining Labour and Independent councillors and trade unionists in support of the TUC Living Wage Campaign.  The issue has now been referred to the policy development group for further consideration. At the same meeting of 27 September, surprisingly Torbay's Tory executive Mayor expressed his opposition to regional pay !!

The campaign goes on. Now the focus turns to the October 20 and the TUC's 'A Future That Works' London March and Rally. Show your opposition to the ConDems - be there !

Barrie Wood
Secretary - Torbay TUC
Torbay Green Party and Green Left

Saturday, 22 September 2012

Ecosocialism: Ten essential articles and five essential books

Ecosocialism is not a new theory or brand of socialism — it is socialism with Marx’s important insights on ecology restored, socialism committed to the fight against ecological destruction.
These articles and books provide an introduction to that perspective,  focusing on works that are brief, clear, and readily available.
The authors don’t agree on everything. They don’t even agree on whether “ecosocialism” is an appropriate term. You may call this perspective ecosocialism or ecological Marxism or socialist environmentalism, or just socialism: it’s the ideas, not the labels, that count.

10 essential articles
  1. John Bellamy FosterThe four laws of ecology and the four anti-ecological laws of capitalism
  2. Ian AngusHow to make an ecosocialist revolution
  3. Chris WilliamsWhat would a sustainable society look like?
  4. Ian AngusEcosocialism: for a society of good ancestors!
  5. Ecosocialist International NetworkBelem Ecosocialist Declaration
  6. Daniel TanuroHumanity, society and ecology: Global warming and the ecosocialist alternative
  7. Phil WardThe ecological crisis and its consequences for socialists
  8. John Bellamy FosterEcology and the transition from capitalism to socialism
  9. Joel Kovel: Why ecosocialism today?
  10. Ian AngusThe spectre of 21st century barbarism
5 essential books
  1. Ian Angus and Simon ButlerToo Many People? Population, Immigration, and the Environmental Crisis
  2. Ian Angus (editor)The Global Fight for Climate Justice
  3. Fred Magdoff and John Bellamy Foster: What Every Environmentalist Needs to Know About Capitalism
  4. Joel Kovel: The Enemy of Nature: The End of Capitalism or the End of the World?
  5. Chris Williams: Ecology and Socialism: Solutions to Capitalist Ecological Crisis 
Article courtesy of Climate & Capitalism Blog

Friday, 21 September 2012

October 20th should just be the start

There is an old socialist fable, about a man who has gone into work and noticed the bins had not been emptied and the floor had not been swept. The story continued with the bins not being emptied and the floors not swept the following day. On the third day, once again the bins were overflowing, and by now the floor really needed sweeping. So the man decided to go into the office and ask to see the manager and find out what was happening.
“Oh”, the manager’s secretary replied to the man’s question, “I’m afraid the manager has been away on a cruise for the last two weeks and is not due back for another fortnight. But I did mean to pass the message on that Janice the cleaner has sprained her ankle, and you will have to empty your own bins for a few days”.

The moral of this story is that when the boss is away work continues as normal and nobody notices the difference. However when the cleaner is away, the effect is immediately recognised.

But there is perhaps another moral which is extremely relevant to the weeks ahead and it is something we all need to reflect upon. That moral is the fate of this government is really in our hands, as we are ‘the cleaners’ and when our labour is not there, it certainly will be noticed.

This is why October 20th is so important. We need this to act as a catalyst for co-ordinated strike action as part of the process to topple this right wing ConDem government. No doubt such action will prove unpopular in the right wing gutter press and other elements within the media which prop up the establishment. But nevertheless we have to seize this opportunity and demand union leaders take such action, and ensure there is solidarity amongst the workers.

There is no doubt economic emotional blackmail will form part of the anti-strike campaign. We will be told strike action will drag the country deeper into recession; it will put more jobs at risk and bring greater hardship upon us. To answer this let’s look at the outcome of not striking? More job losses, more pay cuts or freezes, cutbacks in benefits, financial attacks on the most vulnerable in society, deterioration of the NHS. In other words things which will affect ordinary working people.....the millions and certainly not the millionaires. As for the recession getting worse if we strike, I have not seen the same argument being used by the right wing gutter press when company directors take their businesses overseas to exploit cheaper labour markets. In addition to this, how many jobs could be created through government investment in the ‘million green jobs’ initiative, to help drive this country out of recession? ‘They’ are responsible for the recession and not ‘us’ and to coin a phrase we are definitely not ‘all in this together’.

If we fight this government through strike action, civil disobedience and if necessary other forms of non-violent direct action we have a chance of preserving and protecting jobs and the services ordinary folk rely upon.

What is needed is to strike a massive blow towards those at the top, one which will be so powerful it will bring this rotten system to an end. Here I may differ from many of those in the Trade Union movement who simply wish to replace one capitalist regime with another in the form of Ed Miliband’s Labour Party. There are still some good people in the Labour Party, but its leadership would simply deliver a form of anesthetised austerity with cutbacks which again will hit ordinary people, whilst the millionaires escape paying their fair share.

If we can bring this right wing coalition tumbling down, this will simply be the first skirmish in what we need to ensure is an ongoing campaign for social, economic and environmental justice. The red flag of peace, equality, fairness and socialism is no longer enough if we do not also grasp the green nettle of ecology and forge an ecosocialist future for our country, one which will act as a beacon to others throughout the world

However we have to begin this process somewhere, and October 20 is an opportunity for us to begin this process. If we are indeed the ‘cleaners’ in the socialist fable, then we need to take this opportunity to sweep this rotten pile of capitalist rubbish from government.

By Rick Heyse
Torbay Green Party  & South West England & Cornwall Green Left


Sunday, 16 September 2012

Devon Greens support Living Wage Campaign

Green Left members at a meeting of Greens from throughout Devon pushed for the inclusion of the objective of securing the Living Wage demand in the published in the Green Party manifesto for the Devon County Council elections next May.

We are delighted to report enthusiastic support from party members. Green Left supporters will endeavour to ensure that this becomes a key pledge for the upcoming elections !