Thursday, 31 October 2013

Stop Allowing Badger Slaughters In The UK!

care2 petitionsite actionAlert
action alert!
Despite evidence and public opposition, the government wants to continue its slaughter of badgers. These killings are senseless and costly, and won't actually control Tuberculosis!
Please sign the petition today!Tell The UK Parliament: Stop The Badger Culls!
take action

Right now, badger culls are taking place throughout the UK. In the past, however, several rounds of these culls have failed to lower TB in cattle. Are the two even related? The government seems to think so. That's why along with allowing cage-trapping, they are giving out licenses to shoot and gas these animals in an effort to stop TB in cattle.

These badger culls are not working. Tell members of Parliament to stop these killings.

Badger culls have been costly and only seem to be a distraction from finding real solutions, like improving vaccinations and cattle movement. But with the support of UK residents, biologists, and Care2 members like you, we can stop the government from extending these badger killings, so that they can finally move forward with other solutions.

Join us in taking this action today. Let Parliament know, these badger killings are useless and need to stop! 
RoseanneThank you for taking action,

Roseanne C.
Care2 and ThePetitionSite Team

Wednesday, 30 October 2013

The full appalling story of the "delta affair" in the SWP

It had been my intention to write a piece about the Socialist Workers Party and the PCS union tonight after being horrified to see two members of the SWP appointed as Chair (Sue Bond) and member (Marianne Owens) of the unions equality committee.

An action by the PCS National Executive Committee I found hard to swallow given the atrocious "delta affair" and the behaviour of the members of the SWP towards women.

I was going to urge the PCS Left Unity organisation which meets in Manchester to break with SWP formally as many members of the Unison United Left have already done in their union.

Then I was going to call on the PCS NEC to withdraw affiliations and support from the Unite the Resistance and Right to Work campaigns that are nothing more than front organisations for the SWP.

I was going to conclude that no member of PCS should use their positions in the union to support or speak on behalf of in any shape or form for the SWP.

Then I came across this document, which I have reproduced most of for your information which outlines the way the supposedly Socialist Workers Party treated the woman and others around the allegations towards "delta".

Remember this is not the only case of its' kind that has come to light over the last year about rapes and the SWP (the most recent being outlined here ).

Also remember the woman who raised the allegations was just seventeen at the time.

When you have finished, you will never want to hear the words Socialist, Workers and Party ever again.

Moving forward means acknowledging mistakes and holding our leadership to account

by Simon F (Birmingham), Viv S & Rita M (Hackney)
This document is a narrative of the events leading up to and following a Disputes Committee (DC) hearing in October 2012 in which Comrade W accused a then CC member (M) of rape. We do not go into the detail of the case here but focus on the mishandling of the situation by the CC and their deliberate campaign of misinformation and intimidation, supported by a layer of leading comrades, once the case became known in the wider party. In producing this narrative we hope to elucidate the issues needing redress before the party can move forward.
Before the hearing
At Marxism 2010 two woman comrades (Sadia J and Donna G) approached former CC member Viv S to discuss a serious allegation regarding sexual harassment involving the then national secretary (M) and a young woman comrade (W). This allegation surrounded incidents that had occurred a year earlier.

The two comrades discussed the incidents with Viv and, on behalf of comrade W, asked if she would approach the CC and ask for their intervention. At this stage comrade W stated that she did not feel emotionally able to take part in a formal dispute hearing.
Viv raised the issue with Charlie K that evening. Charlie was the CC member whose department Viv worked in. He took the matter extremely seriously and said as the CC was about to enter into the post Marxism international meeting that he would meet with Alex C to discuss how to proceed. Viv asked Charlie to confirm what steps were going to be taken to resolve the situation and to keep her informed. She asked Charlie to agree that neither M nor the CC would be told the identity of the women who had come forward on behalf of comrade W. He agreed.
Charlie informed Viv within 24 hours that he and Alex had confronted M on the Tuesday following Marxism and that he had denied any knowledge of comrade W’s claims. In the days that followed Charlie informed Viv that the CC had asked Hannah D to meet comrade W to find out more about her situation and what resolution she was seeking. At the meeting comrade W disclosed a great deal of information including details of text messages from M to her. Sadia attended the meeting at comrade W’s request.
Following this meeting Charlie and Hannah were sent to comrade W’s district by the CC to meet with comrade W to discuss what resolution she wanted. Again Sadia attended the meeting at comrade W’s request. At the meeting Charlie apologised on behalf of M and stated that M’s position would be reviewed. She was told that she could go to the DC at any point should she wish to.
Looking back, we think it was a great burden to put on comrade W. She was making accusations of sexual harassment at the very least. Yet the CC abdicated all responsibility and made her entirely responsible for deciding the political outcome of the situation. She was clearly emotionally distressed and unable to think through how she wanted the situation resolved beyond saying that she needed M to leave her alone and to stop being the national face of the SWP. In retrospect, we recognize it would have been helpful with comrade W’s consent to have approached the DC rather than the CC, especially considering the case was concerning a CC member.
The day after M was confronted, Sadia and Donna began to receive telephone calls from Weyman B who left messages demanding that they return his calls. When Donna answered, Weyman told her he knew that they were the two comrades who had come forward and he was angry with them for doing so. He declared, “nothing is hermetically sealed” and “I know all about your plans and your little meeting with Viv”. Weyman met her and accused her of being a traitor and told her she was wrong to approach Viv and should have spoken to him instead. Sadia spoke to Viv and Hannah and asked why their names had been exposed. Hannah confirmed that the CC had not discussed who had come forward to report the case and immediately reported the situation to Alex C asking for an explanation as to the leak and that Weyman be confronted. Additionally, Viv reported Weyman to Charlie who said he would raise the matter. We have as yet still not received any information regarding how the information was disclosed, and Weyman has not apologised for his behaviour.
Following this Weyman led a sustained campaign of bullying against Donna, who was working for UAF at the time. She was later sacked from her role in UAF which she felt was a result of coming forward to raise comrade W’s case. Donna took Weyman to the Disputes Committee the following year – a case she lost and which led her to leave the SWP.
Unfortunately, comrade W pulled further and further away from the party and during the pre-conference period and in autumn 2010 she resigned because, although M would no longer be national secretary, he would remain on the CC. She felt she could not continue to be a member while M was on the leadership. She described her distress at receiving bulk party emails signed by him, or being invited to events he was due to speak at.
In the run up to the 2011 conference it became clear that some comrades were already organising to defend M and had been informed about the case, even though the case was confidential. They set about undermining comrades W, Sadia and her partner Simon F who was the district organiser in W’s district at the time. Pete J, a member in comrade W’s district, went as far as to question why Sadia and Simon were still in communication with comrade W.
The conference in 2011 was one of the lowest points in our party’s history. Alex C introduced the CC slate. When it came to the question of M’s position he used the words “sexual harassment” to describe the complaint raised against M. However, Alex started his introduction by referring to the postings on Socialist Unity, thus posing the situation as a matter of party loyalty and unity against a scurrilous attack by sectarians. For many people this is what initially registered, not the question of “sexual harassment”. Alex also fudged the issue of whether M had been moved from his post as national secretary because of the sexual harassment charge, claiming that while the CC had promised to look in to M’s role, M was tired of being national secretary and wanted to return to the industrial department – implying it was his choice.
M was allowed to stand up and make a grandstanding speech, under the disguise of responding to sectarian attacks by Socialist Unity, while comrades clapped and stamped their feet. The issue of women’s oppression was dismissed and undermined. Instead of a serious discussion of M’s role, the session degenerated in to a cheerleading session in which a leading member, who conference had been told was accused of sexual harassment, made himself out to be a victim and received a standing ovation by people who claim to stand against women’s oppression. Comrade W had no voice and no chance to correct this one sided account of events.
We had no idea that this would take place and were shocked and unsure of how to respond. Sadia spoke to stop the question of W being swept aside. She did so in a careful and considered way yet she was attacked by many leading members for doing so. A leading comrade told her partner Simon that she should be shot for making the contribution. Helen S climbed over chairs to confront her stating “how dare you make a contribution like that without giving anyone the chance to come back on it” – despite herself having made a contribution in defence of M in the same discussion. She was later forced to apologise by a member of the CC although she still told the comrade she thought her contribution was wrong.
A number of members contacted Alex C and Pat S that evening to ask for clarity and demanding that the situation be addressed at the conference the following day. A statement was made which, while attempting to address the problems caused the previous day, was unable to address the damage done by M being allowed to grandstand at the conference.
In Autumn 2011 comrade W re-joined the party because, as she told the DC later, she did not believe that there was anywhere else a revolutionary socialist could turn if they wanted to be active. In the interim, Sadia and Simon had kept in touch with her. She had been through a course of counselling to deal with what had happened to her. In the months that followed comrade W was given further confidence by the party’s brilliant handling of the political discussion surrounding the Assange case. As a result she felt more strongly than ever that she wanted to come forward and resolve her case and felt she could trust the party’s structures to handle it seriously.
In September 2012 she asked Sadia to speak to Hannah and inform her that she wanted to take out a disputes case against M and that she was accusing him of rape. It took a very long time and a great deal of courage for comrade W to reach this point. Hannah advised her to contact Pat S immediately. Comrade W asked Sadia to be her advocate and to speak to comrades on her behalf. Sadia phoned Pat and Charlie the following day to inform them.
As soon as the calls were made to Pat and Charlie things began to move towards a DC hearing. In the run up to the hearing there were numerous problems:
    1. Comrade W was not contacted by the CC to be told that M had been suspended pending the hearing, so was anxious that he may come to her district or confront her.
    2. She was not told that when she sent her statement to the DC it would forwarded to M.
    3. She was told that she would not have access to M’s statement, which meant that he was able to prepare his defence while she had no knowledge of what he would say against her.
    4. She was not advised as to who his witnesses were or what their statements contained – yet M had access to her list of witnesses and statements.
Pat tried to make the process as painless for comrade W as possible. She was told beforehand about who would be sitting on the panel and was asked if there was anyone that she did not want involved. She asked that Rose C be removed as she had knowledge of the case and had been approached for advice by Sadia and Simon as a DC member, yet had failed to provide any support or guidance. Comrade W did not know anyone else on the panel – it was starkly clear that this was not a committee of her peers. Pat also phoned comrade W to talk her through the procedures and ask if there was anything that could be done to make her feel comfortable. But none of these actions could make up for the hearing itself and the fallout thereafter.
The hearing
We were asked to arrive at the venue at 10am that morning in October 2012. We were told that the committee would have a discussion and they would then call comrade W when they were ready. Over 4 hours later, we were still waiting. This took its toll on W. There did not seem to be any regard for the fact that the long wait would be highly stressful for her. She kept pacing the room wondering what was happening.
Esme C read out the legal definition of rape – saying that this would be the DC benchmark. At no point was there any sense that the DC was ill equipped to attempt to make a judgement on a rape allegation.
The initial questions following comrade W’s evidence were agreed between the committee and asked by Pat alone, at comrade W’s request. The questions initially focused on trying to establish the facts and clarify dates.
It was following M’s evidence the questioning become inappropriate and at times reactionary – the questions were asked by individual panel members rather than through Pat.
Comrade W was given no warning about the nature of the questions. She had not seen M’s statement or been able to hear what his witnesses were saying. The questions ranged from a supposed relationship she had had with an older comrade in her district to asking why she had gone for a drink with M and about her previous boyfriends, with specific people named and whether the relationships had been full sexual relationships.
Rita sat through the hearing with comrade W offering support and intervention when she became distressed. Rita confronted the panel over the inappropriate questioning, noting that questions about previous or other sexual or personal relationships were irrelevant to whether M had raped comrade W.
Comrade W was also continuously asked if she had been “in a relationship” with M, and this was asked of her witnesses too. There did not seem to be an understanding that rape can occur within relationships and therefore that this line of questioning was inappropriate and ignorant. She was also asked about an incident with M which she had tried to forget . Comrade W became very upset and left the room in tears saying that they thought she was a “slut who asked for it”. Rita made the point that people who had suffered this kind of trauma did not always remember in a linear manner and that this form of questioning was not helpful.
The hearing took place over two days and comrade W was left waiting for hours on end while the DC deliberated. The verdict was delivered at 10pm on the Sunday night, just before we had to leave the venue. There was no explanation as to how it was reached, no offer of support or guidance, no clarity on how she was meant to handle the outcome. The verdict was simply that the accusation of rape was unproven and a statement would follow in a few days. It took over three weeks.
After the hearing:
1. Another woman comes forward:
Following the hearing a second woman (comrade X) came forward having heard about comrade W’s case. She met initially with Viv having heard about her role in comrade W’s case. Viv suggested that she meet with Pat to raise her allegations.
Comrade X met with Pat to discuss her own complaint against the same comrade, M. She said that she would like to give evidence on behalf of comrade W and herself in a reconvened hearing. M was called on to answer the case.
Following a full day hearing, she was simply told that her evidence was not relevant. She was given no advice or support and the allegations she raised were simply ignored. Considering that she was accusing M of sexual harassment, it seems utterly irresponsible for the DC and CC to simply pretend that this information did not matter. If any member brings a charge of sexual harassment against another, especially a full time employee and leading comrade, the leadership should out of political prudence and principle take action to resolve the situation as quickly as possible.
X also faced inappropriate questioning by some members of the DC. CC member Amy L asked if she had misconstrued M’s approaches as he was a friendly man who often bought her coffee, while DC elected member Maxine B asked her about her drinking habits.
2. Political undermining, bullying and intimidation of comrades involved in the hearings:
Comrade W’s treatment following the hearing is nothing short of shameful. In her district she was simply ignored as if she ceased to exist. When she did see members and tried to talk to them, her experience was one of abuse and bullying. Geoff D informed her “It is not appropriate for me to speak to you”, while Bridget P who confronted her on the street near her home called her “a silly girl” stating that 14 year olds get groomed not 19 year olds.
Comrades also accused her of going to the Daily Mail when the story was leaked, despite comrade W’s clear distress at the press coverage and fear of exposure. Some comrades even arranged meetings in the café area at comrade W’s workplace, despite her having asked them not to do so. This caused her great distress and considering the number of cafés in the city was cruel. Charlie, when confronted with this, argued it was not fair to the comrades to ask them to meet elsewhere, despite W’s distress – part of his argument was that it would appear that W’s allegations were true if he intervened. After repeated complaints the CC were forced to intervene and stop the comrades meeting there. There were even reports that she was a member of another political organization and in league with former members deliberately trying to smash the SWP.
Each attack on comrade W and her supporters was reported to the CC but there was no intervention to calm the situation down and no consideration of how to support W’s continued political activity. There was no consideration for the fallout in the district – rumour and gossip were allowed rather than political clarity.
At the same time, it became clear that there was a concerted effort to undermine Simon and Sadia for supporting comrade W. Many district members stopped answering their calls and refused to work with them on building the district appeal event which they were organising. It was clear that undermining the credibility of the people supporting comrade W was more important than building the party. The new district organiser also ignored them and they felt undermined at meetings. It was only following repeated complaints by local comrades that the CC was forced to intervene – and again this had no effect to resolve the situation.
In addition, in the weeks that followed the hearing it became clear that a faction had emerged within the CC and the party to defend and exonerate M. Leading members like Weyman B, Amy L, Judith O, Helen S, Doug M, Maxine B, Rhetta M, Mark K, Roddy S, Paul H and Rahul P to name a few led the campaign. Following the first conference in 2013, Anna G even launched a financial appeal for M, sending emails around asking for donations.
The lies spread included accusations that we were in collusion with the state to destroy the party, that W was a women scorned because M broke up with her, that it was just a relationship that ended badly even though W had made clear no relationship had occurred, and politically we were labeled autonomist feminists with a secret agenda to undermine democratic centralism and the Leninist tradition.
We sent numerous emails to the CC asking for the lies and slanders to be acted on. Numerous comrades sent personal emails to the CC following being told these lies personally by CC members and leading comrades or after witnessing bullying in branches and districts first hand. The CC did nothing.
Charlie did however find it appropriate to ring and question Sadia, who had most closely supported W, and to email her threatening her and the rest of W’s witnesses with disciplinary action should we discuss the case with anyone. And while the CC failed to intervene, they allowed M to continue his work and even refused to act when M spoke at a UAF rally in Waltham Forest while suspended.
3. Blocking our democratic rights:
The CC took extraordinary steps to block our democratic right to challenge the DC report and to gain clarity on the outcome of the hearing.
Comrade W supported by the four comrades involved in the DC hearing as her witnesses and support informed the CC of their intention to challenge the hearing outcome. We asked on numerous occasions how we should do so, and sought clarity with both the CC and DC on what information could be raised with comrades within the boundaries of confidentiality. We approached Charlie and the CC on numerous occasions requesting that a solution be sought so that the situation could be resolved. The CC at no point met with any of us to try and resolve it. Viv wrote to the CC as a former CC member asking for intervention – no intervention was forthcoming.
In order to ensure that a full, informed debate took place at conference, we asked the CC to allow us to submit a short motion to conference for the DC session asking for a DC commission to be established and a review of procedures for rape and sexual harassment cases. Charlie and Shaun D from the conference arrangements committee informed us that we would be not be allowed to do so because we had not passed the motion through a relevant party structure. This is despite the fact that we had been told not to discuss the case under threat of discipline which made it impossible to raise in a branch. We asked the CC to reconsider this position and to allow us to put forward a motion. The CC refused to allow us to put forward a motion.
Finally, in desperation and in an attempt to end the rumors going round the party, which were already causing serious political damage, we submitted a statement to IB1 for conference 2013 simply clarifying why we were challenging the DC outcome. In it we made explicit W’s request that she did not want a second hearing or the outcome of the case revisited. Comrade W felt unable to take part in a second hearing following the emotional trauma of the first and because she felt betrayed by the process. At best we hoped we could learn from the mistakes made, and end the culture of bullying and intimidation. In the document put forward to the IB we asked for conference to demand an investigation into the practice of the DC and to set procedures should future cases of a similar nature arise. The CC refused to print it.
As a result, we formed a faction of 30 comrades to ensure our right to put forward the statement. The CC refused to allow us to form a faction. The statement is below at the end of this document.
Throughout the pre-conference period the CC and the M faction organised across districts to stop us being allowed to go to conference. Despite conference being the only place where challenges to the DC can be brought, attempts were made to exclude us. We were all active comrades who had in three of our four cases worked for the party until quite recently and were leading district members who had been to every conference throughout most of our party membership. Yet in our aggregates we were called liars for not discussing the case or the challenge in our districts and this was used as an argument to stop us going to conference. We were accused of having ulterior political motives. The CC members in these aggregates did not defend our rights to go to conference and challenge the DC. The lies about our motives were allowed to continue – that we were driven by a political agenda and wanted to challenge perspectives rather than simply wanting to ensure that mistakes which could
destroy our party’s reputation for fighting women’s oppression were addressed.
Moving forward
We believe comrades should know the position of comrade W: she has been severely damaged by the mishandling of the case and the fallout which followed. She came forward to the CC and DC trusting that her organisation would behave in a principled fashion. She has been hounded, isolated and ostracised. As a result, she has left the SWP and feels she has no choice but to leave the city she lives and studies in because she cannot bear constantly seeing or being afraid of seeing the comrades who have played a role in making her life so difficult.
The rest of the document is about proposals to reform the SWP internally. In my opinion these people are not fit to be considered to be part of the Labour and Trade Union movement.

Tuesday, 29 October 2013

Free Sherif Gaber Now

Press release:
Waleed Al-Husseini of the Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain just informed me that a young Egyptian atheist who posted on his Facebook page has been arrested for his atheism yesterday after his university informed on him to the police.
This is what Sherif published:
Hi, my name is sherif gaber (Yamirasu) from Egypt. I was taught to be a Muslim; for that my dad sent me to some Sheiks, so I memorised the Quran and more than 1000 (Hadith) until I became very religious but then I started to see the contradictions between the Quran and scientific facts, and day by day for 2 years after searching and reading I knew the truth. Then I became an atheist and hid it for a few months. Then I admit it despite knowing that I might get killed any moment .. My family hasn’t talked to me for more than 4 months and I lost the majority of the people I thought were my friends and for about a year now half the people on my street don’t talk to me .. I’ve got threats every single day on my phone and my Facebook account… Here in Egypt, a lot of young atheists were sent to jail for 10 sometimes 20 years and if they have evidence that you insulted Islam you will be executed! That’s if the Islamic organisations don’t murder you & your family before that! .. Even though I’m not afraid to say I’m an atheist to everyone who asks about my religion… To die for the truth is much much better to live in a lie!
Finally I would say to every atheist .. Be brave, stay strong .. U r holding the truth .. And of course .. Proud to be an atheist .. Proud to be rationalist.
Clearly Sherif has done nothing wrong and must be released immediately. The right to religion, belief and atheism are absolute rights, which cannot be denied.
Also, Egypt better get used to it. Atheists in Egypt as in the rest of the Middle East, Asia and North Africa are on the rise.
Free him now.
Here is a news report which is apparently about him without mentioning his name.
To support Sherif:
Tweet Free Sherif Gaber. #Atheist #Egypt.
Send appeals to:
Interim President
Adly Mahmoud Mansour
Office of the President
Al Ittihadia Palace
Cairo, Arab Republic of Egypt
Fax: 011 202 2 391 1441
For further information on atheism in Egypt please go to: Secularism is a women's issue

Monday, 28 October 2013

How to avoid being hacked

Guest Post by Kevin Cowell

A couple of videos which might be of help you with your internet use.

Have a look at this. It's useful information which also enlightens you on various scams which hackers use to gain access to your account. 

You may want to get a pen and a pad before you watch.

Not forgetting Facebook of course!

For more on line safety information and videos to create an effective on line presence, please visit Kevin's You Tube channel:

Defend secularism and trade unions in Turkey!

Rights for All – Turkey is being established

by Maryam Namazie

The Rights For All – Turkey (HERKES ICIN AYNI YASA – TURKIYE) affiliated with One Law For All is being established to promote a secular legal system and challenge religion’s increasing role in the judiciary in Turkey.
The campaign will highlight discrimination against women, charges of blasphemy and government “reforms” that aim to weaken Turkish secularism, amongst others. It follows the Gezi protests which began as an environmental protest and developed into a call against Islamism and a defence of secularism.
Cases the campaign will focus on include several rape cases in which the perpetrators have gone unpunished. In Spring 2013, pianist and composer Fazil Say was convicted of 10 months imprisonment for blasphemy and “insulting Islamic values” for posting a Tweet of a poem by Persian poet Omar Khayyam. The government has also stated that a woman who doesn’t wear a headscarf is like a house without curtains and that Turkish women should have three children. The government’s repeated attacks on freethinking journalists, artists and intellectuals will also be highlighted.
Aims and objectives of the campaign:
• One secular law for all citizens living in Turkey regardless of their political ideologies, religion/beliefs, sex and background.
• An end to religious laws and norms in the judicial system, including with regards discrimination against women and blasphemy.
Rights For All, Turkey is affiliated with One Law for All Campaign against Sharia law in Britain.
For more information, please contact: Sinem Koc, or Maryam Namazie at
305 workers sacked for defending the right to strike - protest now
Labourstart appeal by Eric Lee
Turkish Airlines workers have been on strike for more than five months. 

Their employer is refusing to accept any of their collective bargaining proposals and refuses to reinstate 305 workers who were dismissed illegally for defending their right to strike.

Need I say more?

This is a campaign called by two global union federations, the IUF and ITF.

Learn more about it and send off your message of protest here:

Please spread the word about this important campaign in your union.

Sunday, 27 October 2013

International notes and updates

Saudi Arabia

Sixteen women detained as a result of driving protest

October 26th saw a number of women taking direct action against an unofficial driving ban in Saudi Arabia (see post below). The campaign was a small, but brave attempt at obtaining women's rights in Saudi society which operates a form of sexual apartheid, with women having next to no rights and subject to the oppressive for of male "guardianship" entrenched in the Wahhabi form of Islam promoted by the state.

In addition their website being hijacked by hackers, several of the women have been arrested as this report from Gulfnews outlines:
Riyadh: At least 16 Saudi women have received fines for taking the wheel on a day set by activists to defy the kingdom’s traditional ban on female driving, police and reports said on Sunday.
Only few women braved official threats of punishment and drove on Saturday in response to an online campaign headlined "Women’s driving is a choice".
"Police stopped six women driving in Riyadh, and fined them 300 riyals (Dh293.67) each," said the capital’s police deputy spokesman, Colonel Fawaz Al Miman.
Each of the women, along with her male guardian — who could be a father, husband, brother, uncle, or grandson — had to "sign a pledge to respect the kingdom’s laws", Miman told AFP......
The absolute monarchy is the only country in the world where women are barred from driving. Public gatherings are officially banned.

These women must not be abandoned by those of who fight for human rights. Women's rights are human rights!

South Korea

Teachers union "banned"

Earlier this month I published an appeal by Eric lee of LabourStart calling on trade unionists world wide to stop the South Korean Government "delegalise" one of the teaching unions. The Korean Times reports that this has now gone ahead:
The government stripped the nation’s biggest teachers’ union of its legal status Thursday for not abiding by an order to evict nine members who were fired by the previous government.
Employment and Labor Minister Phang Ha-nam said that the ministry notified the progressive Korean Teachers and Education Workers Union (KTU) that the union was no longer a legal entity because it refused to change a clause in its charter that allows teachers who are fired to retain membership.
“We cannot grant legal status to an organization which does not follow the law,” said Phang at a press briefing.
According to the Teachers’ Union Law, a union cannot accept teachers who have been fired as members.
The KTU criticized the government for depriving it of its legal status and filed an injunction with a Seoul district court to appeal the decision and have it nullified. The union also said that it will continue to fight against the government to regain its legal status.
“We will continue our efforts to improving the country’s education system regardless of whether we are a legitimate or outsider union,” said Kim Jung-hoon, chairman of the KTU.
This comes at a time when Public Sector unions in particular are under pressure not just in South Korea, but Britain and Canada as well.


Civil service unions right to strike under threat

The following and disturbing report appeared on CBC News last week:

The federal government is moving ahead with plans to strip certain public servants of the right to strike.
The second budget implementation act, which was introduced by Finance Minister Jim Flaherty Tuesday, will make it illegal for any bargaining unit declared to provide an essential service to strike.
Instead, such workers will be forced into arbitration in cases of a contract dispute. The rule will apply to any union where 80 per cent or more of the positions are considered to be necessary for providing an essential service.
The proposed legislation goes onto say that "the employer has the exclusive right to determine that a service is essential and the number of positions required to provide that service."
In other words, the government decides when the rule applies. "A democratically elected government should have the right to identify what Canadians consider 'essential services,'" read an email sent to CBC News from Treasury Board President Tony Clement's office.
The Harper government also defended its intent to set public service pay and benefit levels. "The proposed amendments will bring savings, streamline practices and bring them in line with other jurisdictions," said the government's emailed comments. "Our government will sit at a bargaining table on behalf of the taxpayer where the rules are fair and balanced."
Canada's largest union representing public-sector workers says it was caught by surprise by these changes.
The Public Service Alliance of Canada says it is too early to say exactly what the impact will be — but they know they don't like it.
"This bill represents a far-reaching attack on public service workers and the unions that represent them," said PSAC President Robyn Benson.
"The government is upsetting the balance of labour relations, and is showing a callous disregard for due process, health and safety and the collective bargaining rights of every single public service employee," Benson said.
"The collective bargaining rights and the protections of workers who face discrimination, who do dangerous work, or who are treated unfairly will be undermined by the proposals in this bill." 
No doubt Frances Maude will be watching these developments with a view to enacting them in this country following severe cuts to civil service trade union facilities implemented by the Coalition Government earlier this year.


French Prostitutes demonstrate against new sex laws

Tendance Coatsey reports a demonstration by French Prostitutes:

We are Whores, We are Proud, with the Socialist Party, it’s War!
Some 300 prostitutes, many of whom wore white or red masks, demonstrated on Saturday in Paris against a bill tabled by the Socialist group in the National Assembly (Parliament) which will penalise penalise customers, said a journalist from AFP.
Holding placards “Customers penalised = murdered prostitutes” and chanting “We are whores, we are  proud, with the PS it  is war ,  prostitutes, including   trans,  marched in Paris.
More on this can be found at the Sex Workers Union website.

Saturday, 26 October 2013

Support the Saudi Women's Campaign to end the driving ban

Today Saudi women are taking part in a mass campaign of direct action to end the de facto driving ban on women. I had hoped to provide a link to their website but it has been hacked by Islamist extremists and is not available. The hacking message is in Arabic so I have no idea what they are are saying, but everyone should be aware of the views of these misogynist monsters.

The following article is cross posted from Saudiwoman's Weblog which is itself continued at Amnesty Livewire:

If there was one word to describe what it is like to be a Saudi woman, it would be the word patronizing. No matter how long you live, you remain a minor in the eyes of the government.

In Saudi Arabia we take patriarchy to the extreme. The fact that the culture, like many others around the world, is male-dominated is not the major challenge. The real challenge is that the government has allowed this patriarchy to dictate how it deals with citizens. 
To read more, CLICK HERE… 
The BBC also reports this story: here 

Update from the New York Times

Musical Interlude - Sylvia (Focus)

There were a number of Dutch bands having hits in the UK in the 1970's, the first that I remember was Shocking Blue with the excellent Venus, which "younger" readers will recall was covered by Bananarama in the eighties. The other s included Golden Earring (with Radar Love) and Focus who had a big hit with Hocus Pocus.

This single from 1973 reached number 4 in the UK charts and was from their album Focus III.

Friday, 25 October 2013

End of the "Bradford spring"

When George Galloway took a parliamentary seat in Bradford West by-election back in March 2012 the "indefatigable one" claimed as the BBC reported:

Mr Galloway, who co-founded the anti-war Respect Party after being expelled by Labour because of comments he made as part of his opposition to the Iraq war, said the result represented the "Bradford Spring"

He said the "mammoth vote" represented a "total rejection" of the three major parties in the British political system.

He said Labour "must stop imagining that working people and poor people have no option but to support them if they hate the Tory and Liberal Democrat coalition partners.

On the strength of this Respect went on to win five seats on the local authority in May, but things were not as rosy as they might seem. Back in August they quit the party whip and sat as independents in a row over Galloway's plan to stand as Mayor of London.

Now they have decided to quit the Respect Party altogether. The Yorkshire Post reports:

The statement said discussions with Respect officials had failed to address their concerns.
“After much deliberation this has left our group no choice but to fully resign from the Respect party with immediate effect and hence forth we will continue to operate as a group of independent councillors for the remainder of our term. This decision has not been made lightly and we are saddened that certain ‘gatekeepers’ involved in Bradford Respect appear to have no interest in transparency, accountability and equity”
The statement added: “Needless to say we will remain committed to the electorate and will continue to advocate for the citizens of Bradford and work hard for the interests of our constituents and we will continue to represent them in Council on the issues that affect them in the district. 
Of course the Trotskyist types at Respect's "Central Office" issued a retaliatory statement:

This is not about principle, or policy, but self-interest and a naked attempt by the five councillors and one ally to control the party in Bradford. They proposed a constitution which would have given them absolute power in the party in the city. It came to a head when they proposed installing their ally in what they considered to be a safe seat at the forthcoming May election. These machinations were rejected by the national party. Since then they have continued to act against Respect.”

“If they had a shred of principle they would now resign their council seats and stand again in their new colours. Or will they instead continue to draw thousands of pounds of public money until they are removed by the voters?

No love lost there then.

Local Labour Party councillor Ralph Berry sums up these developments succinctly:

I think the manner of the whole Respect situation is typical of the conduct of hard left Leninist authoritarian politics where the cult of the Leader rules.
I think the councillors are now doing the right thing. It means the aspirations George claimed to be supporting were cynically used and then dropped.”
Didn't all this happen in Tower Hamlets? And whatever happened to Salma Yaqoob?

As for George he is busy flogging his wares over at the odious Press TV station, the mouthpiece of the Iranian clerical fascists.

Thursday, 24 October 2013

Updates on two previous posts about the SWP

I have received a couple of updates to two posts about the continuing crisis in and around the Socialist Workers Party which I thought worth drawing to your attention.

Comrade Delta goes to university:

The campaign launched by the Angry Women of Liverpool website has been responded to by Hope University. Unsurprisingly they are not happy and have issued the following letter:

To the owners of the Angry Women of Liverpool website,

Over the last week your website has made a series of allegations about Professor Lavalette, Liverpool Hope University and the appointment of a PhD student. 

As Professor Lavalette knew one of the candidates for a part-time PhD place he backed off from the recruitment process. Two proposals were reviewed by four professors (three from Hope and one from an external university) and four members of staff in the Social Work Department. For clarification, none of these people were members of the Socialist Workers Party.

The eight reviewers all thought the University should accept both proposals.

The two applicants were then offered places at Liverpool Hope University. One of these is a qualified social worker and is based in the Department of Social Work. The other is based in another Department at Liverpool Hope.

The version of the appointment of these PhD students that has appeared on the web is therefore quite inaccurate. The University and Professor Lavalette believe it is libellous and they would ask you to remove your post and stop your campaign. The University and Professor Lavalette reserve the right to pursue legal means if you fail to do so.

Kind regards

Graham Donelan
University Secretary
Liverpool Hope University

Unison United Left split over SWP:

The Socialist Workers Party have responded to Jon Rogers and others who quit the UUL over the continued involvement of the SWP in the organisation. It's quite clear from their response the comrades still don't get it!

SWP reply to Jon Rogers
Many of you will have seen a statement put out by Jon Rogers a well know Unison activists and seven others withdrawing from the Unison United Left and citing their relations with the SWP as their reason.
This is a reply that’s been worked on by the SWP Unison fraction committee and the industrial department. It will be posted up as a reply to Jon Rogers’ statement on his blog today.
SWP statement on Unison United Left
Recently a statement was made by eight members of the UNISON United Left in London, including NEC member Jon Rogers, announcing their decision to resign from the UNISON United Left because they are not prepared to work alongside members of the Socialist Workers Party.
We believe that this decision is highly regrettable.
The decision to leave the United Left with the aim of setting up a rival grouping in the union will make it harder for the left to intervene effectively in Unison. It will make it harder to keep up the pressure on the union leadership to lead the fightback and to build support for the battles that are taking place.
It is just three weeks since the magnificent TUC demonstration in Manchester in defence of the NHS in which our union played such a prominent part. The size and mood of the UNISON delegation showed clearly that our members are angry and want to fight against the Tories and their austerity policies.
The teachers and fire-fighters’ strikes and the votes for action at Royal Mail and in Higher Education show that this mood can generalise across the working class.
There are signs in our union that the leadership is at last recognising the need to fight. They seem more willing to approve strike ballots in many parts of the country and provide branches with the resources they need.
It would be at tragedy if the left in our union becomes more divided and allows the opportunity to build resistance to pass us by.
The Socialist Workers Party has recently been through a major internal crisis.
We don’t agree with Jon’s outline of that crisis, and believe his version of events contains some serious factual errors. Our party is doing its best to resolve an extremely difficult situation.
We are proud of our record over many decades of standing up to all forms of oppression. We have been in the front line of the fight for women’s liberation, LGBT rights and against racism and fascism.
A united left by its nature will involve organisations with very different traditions, backgrounds and experiences. Sometimes these organisations will have arguments. Sometimes organisations will go through internal debates and crisis.
Some on the left have argued that Labour’s record on war and austerity means that we cannot work with the party’s activists. We have always argued this was a completely wrong approach.
As SWP members in UNISON we are committed to continuing to work with everyone in the union on the left and beyond that is serous about fighting against the Tory attacks and all the forms of oppression that they use to divide us.
Just read the post below and tell the SWP to get stuffed!

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

The final nail in the coffin of the Socialist Workers Party

The following and quite disturbing comment was made on Facebook

"We believe comrades should know the position of comrade W: she has been severely damaged by the mishandling of the case and the fallout which followed. She came forward to the CC and DC trusting that her organisation would behave in a principled fashion. She has been hounded, isolated and ostracised. As a result, she has left the SWP and feels she has no choice but to leave the city she lives and studies in because she cannot bear constantly seeing or being afraid of seeing the comrades who have played a role in making her life so difficult."

I never again want anything to do with the people who let this happen. This was done by people who would go on to argue that their revolutionary morality and integrity was literally beyond questioning. Monsters.

You may also be interested in a thoughtful short essay published today by Jim Jepps:

Go to his website here

Tuesday, 22 October 2013

PCS backtracks on planned strike

The PCS National Executive Committee met today to consider the results of the consultation exercise over the future of the (current?) dispute. They received feedback from nearly four out of five of branches which means around a fifth did not take part.

Most of us were expecting the announcement of further strike action following the NEC meeting today but none has been made. In fact if you actually read the report placed on the PCS website you will hard pressed to know what the actual outcome of the consultation was. They write:

The national executive wishes to thanks branches for their positive and serious engagement in the consultation exercise.
The executive discussed how the consultation could inform the campaign strategy. 
First, it was agreed to step up attempts to build co-ordinated joint action with other unions over the public sector pay freeze and pension cuts. Approaches will be made urgently to unions currently engaged in campaigns of action. The national disputes committee will meet to consider whether effective co-ordinated action is possible.
Secondly, the executive agreed a strategy of national and targeted action aimed at exerting sustained pressure on the employer in the civil service and related organisations. The national disputes committee will identify key operational areas where action can have a serious impact and persuade the employer to negotiate a settlement on our national demands. The executive agreed to divert resources to these areas and a national levy will be implemented to raise funds to support members taking action in the targeted areas.
Political campaigning will be built up to increase pressure on politicians in their constituencies to support PCS members.
Lastly, the executive agreed to issue encouragement and guidance to members to take part in the day of action called by national anti-cuts forum the People’s Assembly on 5 November to protest against the government’s damaging and unnecessary austerity programme.
There has been a suggestion that the result was "narrowly against" further action which would explain the lack of resolve on the leaderships part. I say this because the Janice Godrich the PCS President and other members of the  Socialist Party on the NEC have continually campaigned for a "General Strike" since the consultation exercise was launched.

The NEC should either publish the full report from the consultation exercise or at the very least circulate copies to Branches. Reps need to know the details.

If the Socialist Party are unable to get the only union in their control to take action then their whole strategy is exposed for the political joke that it is and they are. There was a call for a strike at the NEC meeting from a minority (probably the SWP) but it was roundly defeated.

The PCS leadership are off to find out what other unions might be interested in doing, if anything "fruitful" comes out of it they will reconvene the NEC. More likely they'll try and revive all this closer to the internal union elections next year.

Watch this space.