Should workers vote in Birminghams council elections?

Poster_Birmingham workerThe picture above probably answers that question for you! But this is the first time a radical, Marxist-Leninist working class organisation has stood in elections of any form in many years, so here’s a few words about why communists should bother.

As far as communists are concerned, whether to vote or not to vote, and whether or not to put up communist candidates for election, are not questions of principle, but of tactics – to be decided according to the situation in which we find ourselves and by the general level of engagement of the workers.

Given the fact that so many people still have great illusions in the system of bourgeois democracy in Britain, our party is at the present time in favour of the principle of putting up communist candidates for election. In most places, owing to the relative weakness of party organisations, standing candidates, even for council elections is an unnecessary burden. In Birmingham it’s a different situation. We’ve got experienced comrades, a strong local organisation, and in some places a bit of support from the local community.   For that reason, there will be communists standing for election in Birmingham, and the campaign that is being run is not the shoddy CPB-style Graham Stevenson for Mayor type of affair. We’ve distributed, not via Royal Mail but via our own members and supporters, more than 25,000 flyers to local residents and over 10,000 copies of our local newspaper the Birmingham Worker. We’re not apologising for the dictatorship of the proletariat either, our message is clear, bourgeois dictatorship is an evil which must be overthrown, and the workers must become masters of British society, they must establish their own dictatorship over the rich. Whilst it seems that’s not going to happen any time soon(!) it is the inevitable outcome of the class struggle.

Standing candidates gives us an opportunity to bring communist politics into the wider debate and to spread the influence of a revolutionary understanding.

Get in touch:

Sammi Ibrahem, our candidate in Balsall Heath West

A message to voters in Balsall Heath West

SAMMI IBRAHEM FROM GAZA TO BALSALL HEATH – INTERNATIONAL MAN OF PEACE

Sammi Ibrahem is no stranger to conflict and hardship. Born in a Palestinian refugee camp, Sammi Ibrahem was repeatedly shot by Zionist troops but lived to survive the ordeal and spread his message of uncompromising struggle against imperialism. Sammi who has been cruelly separated from his family for many years by the Israeli occupation of Palestine escaped Israeli detention on a scholarship programme and has, since his youth, been a champion of the oppressed ever since.

Man of peace

Sammi knows that hatred can only be challenged head-on. In his years as a community activist in Balsall Heath, Sammi has looked after the interests of hundreds of local workers and residents, many of whom have faced unfair eviction orders from the Council bailiffs as a result of crushing poverty, or the bullying threats of slum landlords, rapacious bosses or street hoodlums. But Sammi Ibrhaem says that workers and oppressed peoples can stand up to bullies and they can win, not only here in Balsall Heath, but around the world, whether it’s in Gaza or Seoul. As a champion of the oppressed, Sammi has been invited by countless organisations to visit them in the pursuance of peace and socialism.

South Korea and the threats of nuclear war

This April Sammi Ibrahem is a guest of the South Korean workers and peace loving people when he visits Seoul on a two week trip to promote friendship, peace and reunification. At the invitation of the Peace and Democracy Party, and the Korean peace organisations, Sammi will deliver a message from the socialist and peace loving people of Birmingham to our south Korean friends who face the threat of nuclear war as a result of the maniac Donald Trump and the aggressive plans of US imperialism.

As Sammi Ibrahem says,

“Korea was unjustly divided after the second world war as a result of US imperialist occupation of the south. It is high time that injustice was reversed.”

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Sammi, recently returned from a peace mission to Columbo given the support of Birmingham’s Sri Lankan community by visiting Sri Lankan Member of Parliament Sunil Handunneththi
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Sammi Ibrahem welcomes comrade Marcos Garcia, from the Venezuelan Embassy, to Birmingham in 2018

Birmingham Worker candidates fighting for our elderly

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Source: https://www.statista.com/chart/4101/where-is-pensioner-poverty-the-most-prevalent/

Reuben Lawrence, Birmingham Worker candidate in Stirchley ward, speaking to a meeting of local supporters this week outlined the position of all Birmingham Worker candidates to the elderly at this election. He said,

“It is high time we 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 existing taxes – we’ve all been made to spend more on the Police and Crime Commissioner who does NOTHING – why not take this money and spend it on our pensioners?! Lets look after our children and the elderly folk rather than the pen pushers.”

To support our candidates get in touch:

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

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Graphic from BCC

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!