Homeless crisis in Birmingham – Labour, tory, same old story…

Labour councillor Sharon Thompson admits that rough sleeping has been on the rise in Birmingham for the last seven years, although we can’t agree with her head count of 57, it’s clearly more. Cllr Thompson is Labour’s “homelessness spokeswoman” in Birmingham. Since Labour has been running the city council you might think that Cllr Thompson and her colleagues would take some responsibility for the awful plight of so many people who rough sleep on our city streets every night, but you’d be wrong. Their solutions are to spend money on policy documents and scribble up a fanciful ‘Charter of Rights’ – an academic solution by a party full of academics and careerists.

Cllr Thompson like most Labour Cllr’s can only blame Tory cuts for every evil visited upon the town. It wouldn’t be so bad if every now and again they admitted that the capitalist system itself inevitably drags millions to poverty, destitution and war – but the Labour party doesn’t even pretend to work for a new social order anymore, they long ago abandoned all pretence to socialism.

Whilst hundreds of people in desperate need of support find themselves sleeping on the streets, they can take great solace from Cllr Thompson and her Charter of Rights,

“We are committed to creating better outcomes and lobbying Government for properly funded initiatives to help people back into sustainable permanent homes. Our MPs are committed to challenging Tory Government broken policies and unfair cuts.”[i]

If only Labour could find a few extra quid to help the homeless as readily as they could hand over the taxpayers £6.6million to private haulage firms last summer during the bin dispute. Labour managed to overspend on waste services to the tune of £12.3m handing over millions of pounds of our money.

Birmingham remains full of huge buildings which the council sells off to religious groups posing as community organisations, no doubt payback from the local councillors to their “constituents”. Why not take one of these buildings for the homeless? How about the grand Friends Meeting House on Moseley Road? £6.6m spent on that building would have housed each and every one of the 57 rough sleepers found sprawled across the city pavements last Autumn when the pen pushers and policy people went out and took their head count.

If you are fed up with the way things are – change them. Get in touch:

 

[i] https://www.birminghammail.co.uk/news/midlands-news/homelessness-labour-birmingham-rough-sleeping-14449188

Birmingham Worker candidates fighting for women and children

Not a single great movement of the oppressed in the history of mankind has been able to do without the participation of working women.

Working women, the most oppressed among the oppressed, never have or could stand aside from the broad path of the liberation movement. This movement of slaves has produced, as is known, hundreds and thousands of martyrs and heroines. Tens of thousands of working women were to be found in the ranks of fighters for the liberation of the serfs. It is not surprising that millions of working women have been drawn in beneath the banners of the revolutionary movement of the working class, the most powerful of all liberation movements of the oppressed masses.

Working women – workers and peasants – are the greatest reserve of the working class. This reserve constitutes a good half of the population. The fate of the proletarian movement, the victory or defeat of the proletarian revolution, the victory or defeat of proletarian power depends on whether or not the reserve of women will be for or against the working class.

That is why the first task of the proletariat and its advanced detachment, the communist party, is to engage in decisive struggle for the freeing of women workers and peasants from the influence of the bourgeoisie, for political education and the organisation of women workers and peasants beneath the banner of the proletariat.

The second and decisive task of the working class is to forge an army of worker and peasant women out of the women’s labour reserves to operate shoulder to shoulder with the great army of the proletariat. (‘1925 International Women’s Day address’ by J V Stalin)

WE DEMAND AT THIS LOCAL ELECTION

High-quality, safe, pre-school childcare and education, and the protection of ALL the Children’s Centres at risk from Labour party cuts. Oppose all attempts being made by the Labour party to encroach on provisions made for women and children in Birmingham!

Stirchley Forum organise a Ward hustings for the local elections 2018

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The following is the statement of Reuben Lawrence made to a hustings meeting organised this evening by Stirchley Forum as part of Birmingham’s 2018 local elections. Our thanks to the Forum for inviting our candidate. As Reuben was at work he was not able to attend. Unfortunately no other member of the CPGB-ML or Birmingham Worker was allowed to speak on his behalf. We were allowed to submit an introduction lasting not more than 1 minute, and a 2 minute concluding remark. Both are reproduced in full below:

“Dear friends, I am unable to be in attendance this evening as I work until 8pm, I hope to make the end of the meeting. Despite this, my comrades are in the audience with my campaign materials which I hope you will take and read.

I come from a working class family, originally from West Bromwich. I have never been well off and have always lived by my means, that being very little in the beginning. In the hopes of a better life and escape from abject poverty I enlisted in the British Army at the age of 16 and served as a guardsman from then on. Life in the army taught me discipline and gave me an iron will along with a fierce determination to see things through.

Politically for most of my (short) adult life I’ve always felt that politics is not for the working class, the wretched of the earth as we’re seen from above, and I’ve felt the exclusion and alienation which so many of my generation suffer from. However, since I left the army and became a socialist I now have a fierce determination to see the working class, the majority of the British Public have the loudest voice in politics. To that end i campaign as part of a new electoral group, the Birmingham Worker, a socialist organisation which forbids its members from pursuing  a career in politics, rather it demands service on behalf workers.”

Final Statement

“I’ll be brief and straight to the point, we the British Public bear the brunt of all the rubbish decisions made by our government, both national and local, and we also suffer the consequences.

From British involvement in Iraq to Syria our Government takes the decision to murder innocent people and are not held accountable by us, squandering millions on illegal and unjust wars, waged by a rich few who’s lives are never at risk but fought by the children of the poor like myself. Local governments are in the hands of the junior partners of the big political forces, the Tories and Labour. Policies in Birmingham by a Labour council such as the closure of 14 children’s centres is unjustifiable on the basis of a lack of funding when we consider the £6.6 million which was found to pay private contractors and scabs in a vain attempt to defeat our bin men in 2017. Our citizens are not given any say nor voice in the matter and our children suffer as a consequence. This election is our chance to voice our disaproval.

We’re told by the local Council there’s no money and yet when I look at the combined wage package of a handful of top council executives, which for 6 people is a combined wage package of nearly £800,000, I think back to the bin dispute, where the labour council wanted to cut the wages of our bin men, to save a mere £300,000 a year. Those workers were rightfully striking to save their livelihoods, put food on their children’s tables and I ask myself is this right? How can it be right for a Labour council to break the law by employing scabbing workers?

I come to one conclusion and one conclusion only; its Labour, Tory, same old story.

The British Public know what’s best for us, our families and our future generations and it’s high time we did something about that, voting is important but it is not enough, so I hope everyone in Stirchley and everyone they know will consider getting politically active, challenge and question those in power not just at election time but all the time, fighting for a socialist Britain.”
Reuben Lawrence

Stop Labour wasting public money! Vote Birmingham Worker!

IT IS TIME WE STOP THE LABOUR PARTY IN BIRMINGHAM WASTING PUBLIC MONEY

No more attacks on the terms and conditions of Council workers. Millions in taxes has been wasted in senseless attacks on bin men, care workers and others who provide essential services for the city whilst earning less than £20,000 p/a. If any wages are to be cut, it must be the wages of the top Council executives. The Labour led council currently pays:

Chief Executive £180,000

Change and Support Services Strategic Director £135,000

Finance and Legal Strategic Director £135,000

Legal and Democratic Services Director is on £100,000

Customer Services Asst Director £100,000

Corporate Strategy Asst Dir £90,000

For a saving of £300,000 a year the Labour Party spent £6million in an attack on poorly paid bin workers making private haulage firms from Telford veritable overnight millionaires. 2017 was the straw that broke the camels back. It’s time that ordinary working class people in Birmingham ditch the Labour Party and their trotskyist hangers-on. It’s time to elect communists.

Vote Birmingham Worker on 3 May.

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Poverty on the rise as Birmingham’s Labour council freezes burial fees!

Poverty on the rise as Birmingham’s Labour council freezes burial fees!

An article carried in the Independent newspaper says the “Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF)[i] found that Britain’s record on tackling poverty had reached a turning point and was at risk of unravelling, with nearly 400,000 more children and 300,000 more pensioners living in poverty than five years ago. Their report showed a total of 14 million people in the UK currently live in poverty – more than one in five of the population.

Now the latest figures, collated by the End Child Poverty coalition through analysis of tax credit data and national trends in worklessness, estimate that child poverty in Manchester and Birmingham stands at 44 per cent and 43 per cent respectively. In the London borough of Tower Hamlets this reaches 53 per cent.

When broken down into constituencies, the figures indicate that Bethnal Green and Bow in London has the highest child poverty rate at 54 per cent, while in Ladywood in Birmingham 53 per cent are living in poverty. Among the 20 parliamentary constituencies with the highest levels of childhood poverty, seven are located in London, three in Birmingham and three in Manchester.[ii]

Our Labour councillors last year wasted more than £6million of tax payer’s money attempting to attack the wages of local bin men, £6m that could have been spent on child services, looking after our elderly and preventing the worst effects of poverty in Birmingham. Now they announce plans to cut a further £53m off the budget despite hiking up the Council tax this year.

The Birmingham Post reported Council Leader Ian Ward saying “We have listened and, even at a time of continuing government cuts, we are investing in the services that matter most to the people of Birmingham.”

According to the Post “Labour bosses said they had listened on several key issues, including reducing the tax hike, freezing burial and cremation fees and not introducing charges for library book reservations.”[iii]

It will be little comfort for our poor and needy to know that what wasn’t spent keeping them alive has been kept back for their everlasting interment.

What you can do

If you want to fight for a better Birmingham, and a better world, join the campaign to elect Birmingham Worker candidates to the city council:

[i] http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/poverty-britain-joseph-rowntree-foundation-report-theresa-may-social-mobility-commission-million-a8089491.html

[ii] https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/child-poverty-uk-cities-london-birmingham-manchester-welfare-cuts-benefits-food-parents-households-a8174436.html

[iii] https://www.birminghampost.co.uk/news/regional-affairs/birmingham-council-storing-up-tax-14280869

Promoted on behalf of SammI Ibrahem, Reuben Lawrence & Katherine Cremer by Birmingham Worker 274 B12 0BS

VOTE FOR SAMMI IBRAHEM VOTE BIRMINGHAM WORKER IN BALSALL HEATH

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Sammi Ibrahem gives his support to striking workers last summer

BIN COLLECTIONS AND VERMIN

Our bin collections must remain weekly and there should be no cuts to our waste services. Our streets are filthy; the attacks on bin workers last year only benefitted local rats. For a saving of £300,000 a year the Labour Party spent £6million in an attack on poorly paid bin workers making private haulage firms from Telford veritable overnight millionaires.

STOP THE LABOUR PARTY WASTING PUBLIC MONEY

No more attacks on the terms and conditions of Council workers. Millions in taxes has been wasted in senseless attacks on bin men, care workers and others who provide essential services for the city whilst earning less than £20,000 p/a. If any wages are to be cut, it must be the wages of the top Council executives. The Labour led council currently pays:

Chief Executive £180,000

Change and Support Services Strategic Director £135,000

Finance and Legal Strategic Director £135,000

Legal and Democratic Services Director is on £100,000

Customer Services Asst Director £100,000

Corporate Strategy Asst Dir £90,000

HOUSING

Our city needs decent, cheap, secure public housing, and not the allocation of more city land to private developers building expensive flats for the purpose of ripping-off students. Restrict the growth of “houses of multiple occupancy” and help families into affordable homes.

WOMEN AND CHILDREN

High-quality, safe, pre-school childcare and education, and the protection of ALL the Children’s Centres at risk from Labour party cuts. Oppose all attempts being made by the Labour party to encroach on provisions made for women and children in Birmingham.

LOOK AFTER OUR ELDERLY RESIDENTS

Bring to an end the conversion of large domestic houses into private care homes where the elderly are left in squalid conditions by capitalists who profit from not looking after our elderly. The city council must protect existing services, AND fund more services to look after our elderly. This money can easily be raised from small taxes – thousands of businesses pay no rates at all in Birmingham due to the system of “small business rates relief”, a system which is being abused by hundreds. Everybody should pay their way to look after our children and the elderly folk.

FREE BUS TRAVEL FOR PARENTS & CHILDREN, THE UNEMPLOYED & LOW-WAGED

Access to a free, fully integrated public transport system. Children up to the age of 10 are allowed to travel FREE by bus and tube in London, why not in Birmingham?! We demand the same, and why shouldn’t we get it when the Director of NX Buses took home £309,000 in 2016! This bus company makes millions from Birmingham workers, if it can’t give anything back to our women, children, unemployed and low-wages, we can find a bus company who will – or take the Company into public ownership and run it on a not-for-profit basis.

To support our campaign, get in touch:

Remembering Bhagat Singh

Comrade Reuben of the CPGB-ML spoke at this meeting to honour the martyrdom of Bhagat Singh, Rajguru and Sukhdev, who gave their lives for the freedom of India from British colonialism today.

The speakers at the meeting highlighted the history, ideology and legacy of the Hindustan Socialist Republican Association and the rise of communalism in India, as well as looking at the crisis in the NHS and the rise of racism in Britain.

Speakers:
Avtar Jouhl (Indian Workers Association)
Bhagwant Singh (Indian Workers Association)
Sheera Johal (Jallianwala Bagh Masssacre Centenary Committee)
Reuben (CPGB-ML)
Sachdev Virdee (Asian Rationalist Society, Britain)

Poets and singers:
Ashwani Kumar, Daljit Nijran, Surinder Pal Virdee, Jaspal Singh, Sohan Ranu, Nirmal Singh Sangha, Rawal Rath and many more.

Organised by the Indian Workers Association (GB), Birmingham and Sandwell branch.

BIRMINGHAM GKN WORKERS NEED SUPPORT IF THEY CHOOSE TO RESIST

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John Bull – long record of hypocrisy and back-stabbing, is clearly concerned only with the future of the British arms industry; the wokers should ditch him and look to the Communists who are the real allies of workers in struggle.

THE INTERESTS OF SHAREHOLDERS AND WORKERS ARE NOT THE SAME

On GKN’s website we are told that the company is “a global engineering business. Every time you travel by road or air almost anywhere in the world it is likely that GKN is helping you on your way. We design, manufacture and service systems and components for original equipment manufacturers around the world.” The company, which employs 58,000 globally and 6,000 in Britain, works with Airbus and Boeing on defence projects and supplies equipment to the RAF and the Army, whilst its automotive division supplies parts to around half the companies manufacturing cars and trucks. But right now all is not well with GKN.

Rumbling financial problems at the global company came to a head in the US aerospace sector when news broke at the end of 2017 that the company “would have to write off mountains of overvalued inventory and unpaid bills”, revealing a black hole in the company’s finances which has given shareholders the jitters. Subsequent panic-stricken management switches have failed to calm nerves, exposing the whole of GKN to a series of hostile bids from Melrose, a band of vulture capitalists. Melrose specialises in sniffing out businesses in trouble, breaking them up and selling parts quickly on. Unite calculate that if Melrose’s hostile bid succeeds GKN will end up over £1.3 billion in debt.

Hoping to forestall this ignominious conclusion to an industrial career which began in the eighteenth century, GKN first announced plans to hive off its automotive division, then days later proposed that said division be merged with Dana, a company with which GKN had previously collaborated. Whilst some see this as a smart move by the GKN board, others caution that separating the automotive from the aerospace sector could weaken the ability of the latter to resist being snaffled up in a future hostile bid.

Undeterred Melrose made what it said was its final bid for the whole of GKN on 12 March, hoping to get support from key shareholders.

Whatever the fat cat shareholders decide about the Melrose bid, and whether or not the merger of GKN’s automotive business with Dana goes ahead, what is clear is that the fate of thousands of workers depends upon decisions being taken in boardrooms and back offices by unelected managers and bureaucrats and shareholders for whom nobody voted. These decisions can affect not only the jobs and pensions of those in Birmingham and the West Midlands, but also can have a knock-on effect on those working for plants relying on parts and systems supplied by GKN such as Toyota and Jaguar. This is the real face of British “democracy”, in which the lords of capital dictate the whole productive existence of society on a throw of dice.

Workers need to organise to defend their jobs, their pensions, their rights. Resistance to capitalism will flourish when it is fought out as class against class, not “British jobs” versus “foreign jobs”, and certainly not “national security” versus the world.

PROTECT JOBS NOT PROFITS

Sri Lankan MP urges local community to support Sammi Ibrahem as candidate in Balsall Heath West

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Comrade  Sunil Handunneththi Sri Lankan MP visited Birmingham and gave his hearty and enthusiastic support and best wishes to the branch and our candidate in the 2018 local elections comrade SammI Ibrahem for Balsall Heath West.

At the visit to party offices in Moseley Road, comrade Sunil said, “Sammi Ibrahem is a wonderful man, a terrific comrade and the people of Balsall Heath West could trust in him to look after their class interests”.

If you can help us campaign, please get in touch. Birmingham needs councillors who aren’t careerists but ordinary Birmingham workers.

 

Support Home Care workers :: Oppose Labour council cuts

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Our city’s Home Care workers, employees of Birmingham City Council and members of Unison have justly voted for strike action. These workers provide adult social care across the city. Birmingham’s social care workforce was 7,000, now’s it’s a mere 2,000. Birmingham city council now plans to make 40% of care home enablement staff redundant and introduce a ludicrous 3 split shift a day system! How can any self-respecting socialist, or indeed any self-respecting worker, support Labour Councillors introducing such a system?! Each day workers will be expected to work 7-10am, 12-2pm, and 4-10pm!

Such a system will bring about a 15 hour day – an utterly disgraceful proposal rightly rejected by workers. This is the same Labour council who just took away 50 rest days a year from bin men after having threatened many with redundancy, because nobody has stood up to these councillors they feel empowered to continue attempting to implement such reactionary measures.

Lessons from the bin strike

2017’s Birmingham bin strike was heroic, and it should have ended in total and utter defeat for the council … and the Labour party careerists. However, there are reasons why so many workers have ended up worse off.

When the Birmingham bin men went up against the Labour run council in 2017, it was in defence of terms and conditions. The workers had to fight a Labour council, every bit as bad as any Tory council. Unions try to prevent strikes against Labour councils, they prefer to make deals with Labour councils because the union bureaucracy is full of Labour party members. The full time officials all have comfy jobs and don’t want to derail the gravy train.

All summer the bin strike proved that the cuts were not being implemented by a “few bad apples “inside the Labour Party, the cuts are not coming from the Tories they are prepared and implemented by Labour councillors.

Despite this obvious fact, many full time trade union officials like Caroline Johnson, the Birmingham Branch Secretary for Unison, continue to blame the Tories or give the story of the “few bad apples”. Nobody should be fooled by this rubbish. Everybody associated with the Labour party is the same, they are careerists and when push comes to shove, be they local Labour councillors or Labour supporting trade union bureaucrats, they all want to get Labour re-elected and keep the gravy train steaming ahead. They directly benefit from not rocking the boat for the Labour party.

Support our Home Care workers

A successful strike by Home Care workers in defence of terms and conditions will not be won by officials trying to do deals and reach agreement with the city council. The city’s Labour councillors are hell -bent on introducing cuts to services and attacks on workers terms and conditions.

Home Care workers need to expose the wretched nature of the Labour party, mobilise their patients, friends and family and drive these careerists from the political scene. It’s time Birmingham workers stood up to the bullies in the council chamber.

 

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