As Covid cases and job losses mount – build support for the People before Profit Emergency Programme!
The Covid crisis continues to escalate with devastating consequences for both health and jobs. A report by the Royal College of Emergency Medicine estimated that 96 percent of all hospital beds in the NHS in England were already full on 1 October as we see not rising cases but evidence of rising hospitalisations. Independent SAGE do a useful weekly video briefing (available from its FB page – latest one from last Friday is here) – they suggest the Covid cases are now increasing being seen in older age groups which will inevitably increase deaths (we of course don’t know enough about the long term impact of the Covid on the young).
The headline job losses just announced over the last week paints a grim picture. The figures include 5,500 jobs gone at Cineworld, 900 at Manchester Airports Group, 1,300 at the National Trust and 24,000 jobs going from the Edinburgh Woollen Mill Group which owns the Peacocks, Jaeger, Ponden Mill and Austin Reed as well as its own stores, see the SW story here.
All these were announced after Rishi Sunak’s ’Job Support Scheme’. His limited ‘furlough lite’ extension plans only offer two thirds of wages for firms directly ordered to close by the government. And the economic bounce back with the easing of the lockdown slowed dramatically in August. The most recent Office of National Statistics’ figures published on Friday show the economy grew by just 2.1 percent in August, down from July 6.4 percent. Overall that left UK GDP still 9.2 percent lower than it was in February.
A public health emergency and an onslaught on workers are intertwined and have to be tackled together.
Pushing for more radical measures to protect health must be combined with a fight for the defence of workers’ living standards – or the anti-lockdown arguments being put by the Tory right, section of the Tory press and the far right can gain increased traction.
As infection rates continue to rise there is talk today of a new government announcement of a three tier plan of restrictions to replace the myriad of local restrictions currently in place. The fact that all the details this morning in the press are based on leaked reports shows the chaos at the heart of the Tory government and a sense of policy regarding Covid being made on the hoof.
Meanwhile the Tories face a revolt from mayors and councilors in northern England arguing that the new Furlough scheme announced by Rishi Sunak last week is not enough to protect people against the impact of further restrictions.
The scale of economic crisis is further underlined by reports today of the Bank of England asking banks about their readiness for zero or negative interest rates.
This is why the People Before Profit Emergency Programme is timely and urgent – and well received where it is raised.
Some of the latest backers for the programme include Aberdeen Trades Council, Dundee Trades Council, Glasgow Unite Retired Members, York Unite Community, Leeds & District Revenue & Customs PCS, Portsmouth Trades Council, Birmingham NEU, London Fire Bridge Unison (if you pass it left PBP know).
Unfortunately the level of struggle in Britain in no way matches up to the scale of crisis. Rather than give a lead the trade union bureaucracy has been pulled to accepting that firms must be viable and their difficulties taken into account. The response from Bectu, the union representing Cineworld employees shows this. Head of the Bectu union Philippa Childs said, “It is our expectation that Cineworld will continue to fulfil its legal obligations with respect to its employees, retain as many as possible, and that those it has to let go will be done so on as positive terms as possible.” This is far from fighting talk and offers little sense of resistance.
The Emergency Programme for Jobs, Services and Safety, needs to be used to popularise a fightback in workplaces, university campuses and across the community.
PBP can provide a pole of attraction for all those who want to see a fightback – and the Emergency Programme can help provide an ideological alternative to the paralysis and acceptance of redundancies by much of the trade union bureaucracy. See below for details for how you can support the Oxford TU Covid action group oxfordshire launch of the Emergency Programme.
Next Oxford SWP online discussion - all welcome.
Black History Month
Meeting ID: 818 0026 2694 Passcode: 967537
The Black Panther Party was founded by Huey Newton and Bobby Seale in Oakland, California. They were enraged by the racism they saw – particularly police brutality – and inspired by Malcolm X and the anti-colonial liberation movements of the time.
At its launch in 1966 the Black Panther Party for Self Defence issued a ten-point revolutionary programme. Members had a striking visual image – with black leather jackets and black berets. Their first activity was “patrolling the pigs”. Members would follow police patrols around Oakland and observe as any black people were stopped. The Panthers were careful to be polite and obey the law – but they carried both law books and shotguns.
The FBI could not tolerate the Panthers’ revolutionary challenge, and declared them the “top domestic threat”. They were relentlessly persecuted. Many of their leading members were either arrested or killed in gun battles.
With Trump encouraging fascists in the US and the Tories whipping up racism here - what lessons can the inspiring Black Lives Matter movement learn from the Black Panthers? Come and join the discussion.
11AM - 5 PM Saturday 17th October & 5 - 7PM Sunday 18th October
Stand Up To Racism is holding its International Conference online via Zoom and Facebook Live events over the weekend of Saturday 17 and Sunday 18 October, with the theme ‘Black Lives Matter – No to Trump & Johnson’s Racist Offensive’.
BOOK YOUR FREE PLACE HERE
JOIN, SHARE & INVITE TO THE FACEBOOK EVENT PAGE: https://fb.me/e/3DMmUYKYl
Diane Abbott MP | Bell Ribeiro-Addy MP | Kate Osamor MP | Kevin Courtney, NEU joint General Secretary | Roger McKenzie, Unison Assistant General Secretary | Jacqueline Luqman (US), host and producer The Real News Network | Danny Haiphong (US), Black Agenda Report | Thanasis Kampagiannis (Greece), Anti fascist lawyer in Golden Dawn trial | Martvs Chagas (Brazil), PT’s National Secretary for Combating Racism | Petros Constantinou (Greece), KEEFA | Christine Buchholz (Germany), MP/ Aufstehen Gegen Rasismuss | Mahamadou Camara (France), Justice Campaigner | Baba Aye (Nigeria) | Shaka Hislop, former footballer & Show Racism The Red Card Honorary President | Eyewitness testimonies from victims of police violence including Andrew Boateng, Ryan Colaço, Neomi Bennett and Mina Agyepong | Anna Rothery, Lord Mayor of Liverpool | Louise Raw, Author | Talha Ahmad, Muslim Council of Britain, SUTR Vice-Chair | Omar Begg, Senior Policy Analyst, Muslim Engagement and Development (MEND) | Edie Friedman, Jewish Council For Racial Equality | Sabby Dhalu & Weyman Bennett, Stand Up To Racism | David Rosenberg, Julia Bard, David Landau, Jewish Socialists’ Group | Mohammed Kozbar, Chair Finsbury Park Mosque | Virgil Bitu, GR8 Movement | Ged Grebby, Show Racism The Red Card | Salma Yaqoob | Zita Holborne, PCS Vice President | Wilf Sullivan, TUC Race Equality Officer | Daniel Kebede, NEU Senior Vice President | Khadija Mohammed EIS (Educational Institute Scotland) | Brendan Woodhouse, Seawatch/ FBU firefighter | Clare Moseley, Care4Calais | Lindsey German, Stop The War Coalition | Kate Hudson, CND | Fayrouz Kraish, medical scientist & Unite Scotland BAEM Committee | Argyri Erotokritou (Greece) Doctors’ Union | Ramsis Kilani (Germany) Student BLM activist | Victoria Showunmi, UCU executive & Black Workers Committee chair | Venda Premkumar, Redbridge NEU | Dinah Mulholland
PLENARIES (Live on SUTR Facebook & Youtube Channels)
Saturday 17 October 5pm
Black Lives Matter Vs Trump – A Decisive Moment in the Anti Racist Movement
Sunday 18 October 5pm
Covid19, economic crisis- why we say black lives matter
WORKSHOPS (Via Zoom Webinar – register for link)
Saturday 17 October 3pm to 4.15pm
- Economic Crisis, Disproportionate BAME Deaths: Why we need Zero Covid
- Scrap section 60 – End Stop & search BLM
- Decolonise now – confronting Britain’s colonial legacy
- Trump, Salvini & Le Pen – Unite Against Fascism & the racist right
- Love music, football & culture – hate racism
- Refugees welcome – end the hostile environment
The conference comes in the wake of the victory of Greek anti-racists and anti-fascists over the Nazi Golden Dawn, and is a great opportunity to hear about how they organised to defeat a nazi organisation that won seats in the Greek pariament while waging murderous and violent attacks on migrants, refugeest and anti racists.
7 PM THURSDAY, 22 OCTOBER 2020
Zoom meeting ID: 854 2960 2728 Passcode: 869873
To mark the cinema release of White Riot, Oxford Love Music Hate Racism and Oxford Stand Up To Racism are hosting a panel including Rock Against Racism co-founder Roger Huddle who features in the film.
Rubika Shah’s award-winning and energising film charts a vital national protest movement. Rock Against Racism (RAR) was formed in 1976, prompted by ‘music’s biggest colonialist’ Eric Clapton and his support of racist MP Enoch Powell.
White Riot blends fresh interviews with queasy archive footage to recreate a hostile environment of anti-immigrant hysteria and National Front marches. As neo-Nazis recruited the nation’s youth, RAR’s multicultural punk and reggae gigs provided rallying points for resistance. As co-founder Red Saunders explains: ‘We peeled away the Union Jack to reveal the swastika’.
As well as discussing the lessons of Rock Against Racism for today, the event will also feature music from local artists.
White Riot will be showing at the Ultimate Picture Palace in Oxford from Friday 23rd October http://www.uppcinema.com/film/white-riot
SUNDAY, 25 OCTOBER 2020 AT 18:00 UTC
Live online Black History Month event discussing Black British Rebels with:
• Hassan Mahamdallie, playwright and author of Black British Rebels
• Brian Richardson, author of Say It Loud: Marxism & the Fight Against Racism
• Moyra Samuels, Grenfell justice campaigner
• Elizabeth Adofo, anti-racist activist
This event will be broadcast live on Facebook, Youtube and Instagram
The Black Lives Matter movement has put the issues of decolonisation and recognition of Black history to the fore, and rightly so. There is a hidden but unbroken thread that runs through the history of the British working class, stretching back and forward over 300 years—the black radicals that led British workers into the struggle for freedom, justice and a better world.
Olaudah Equiano, William Cuffay, Claudia Jones, Jayaben Desai - at key moments in the British working class struggle for rights and freedom black leaders have emerged.
At a time when the racism and brutality of system has been laid bare, these Black British rebels remind us of the radical struggles that changed things in the past.
This #BlackHistoryMonth event will be discussing the legacy of each of these figures.
The coronavirus crisis has exposed and accelerated the deep seated inequalities of capitalism. From the destruction of ecosystems to institutional racism, now more than ever the failures of capital are visible.
As we head towards a deep recession, the Tories want the working class to pay for the failures of their system and the failed handling of the virus.
But the resistance is inspiring. Following the tragic murder of George Floyd millions of people took to the streets as part of the global Black Lives Matter movement demanding radical change against systematic racism. In Belarus, Lebanon, Bolivia and Palestine the struggle on the ground has continued the global fightback.
In Britain actions by NHS staff and protests over pay show the potential for resistance in the workplace. And protests by A-Level, GCSEand Btec students over the exam grading fiasco forced Boris Johnson into a U-turn.
Socialist Worker is the paper and the websiteat the heart of the resistance, seeking to connect the struggles of today to the fight for a different kind of world. We want a world which meets people’s needs, not one directed to satisfying the lust for profit of a minority.
Covid-19 has forced us to change the way we operate.
Socialist Worker has put out more online content than ever while continuing to produce a weekly print edition throughout the lockdown. Despite losing a substantial part of our income from street sales we have continued to keep all of our online content free.
It is increasingly vital to have a newspaper, a website, videos and social media that don’t just challenge the capitalist narrative but link up struggles internationally with reports and articles on the side of those fighting back against their oppressors.
Due to the risk of infection we cannot distribute Socilaist Worker as normal and are encouraging supporters to take out a subscription to support Socialist Worker being an independant voice for the working class. You can subscribe online here