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

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…

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: