Meeting this Friday: Socialism in China, report from CPGB-ML delegation

China report back_mar 2019In February a three person delegation from the CPGB-ML travelled to China to participate in the 27th Wanshou Forum. Whilst in China our delegates had lengthy discussions with the Communist Party of China and visited workplaces and historic sites associated with the communist revolution. We also took the opportunity to meet up with the Honorary President of the CPGB-ML, comrade Isabel Crook.

Isabel Crook

CPGB-ML delegates with Party President Isabel Crook

One speech by a CPGB-ML delegate is already online and can be read here: https://www.cpgb-ml.org/2019/03/05/news/theory/chinese-forum-discusses-humanitys-shared-future/ . This meeting is an opportunity to hear first hand from one of the delegates, Ed Renyard, National Organiser of the CPGB-ML.

 

Council Tax to go up nearly 5% this April

council tax rise 2019.jpg

Council Tax to go up nearly 5% this April

This April Birmingham resident’s will see Council Tax up by 4.99%. That will mean at least £70 for many households.

The Labour council takes no responsibility for its mismanagement of the city finances. Below is an idea of how much Birmingham’s workers are going to be expected to pay, and a few examples of how the Council has spent our money so far in 2019.

Council Tax 2019-20

  • Band A is £1,062.67
  • Band B is £1,239.77
  • Band C is £1,416.88
  • Band D is £1,594.00
  • Band E is £1,948.23
  • Band F is £2,302.44
  • Band G is £2,656.67
  • Band H is £3,188.00

Money wasted

In the recent dispute with bin men Birmingham city council spent money rewarding those who worked during the 2017 strike, these payments were ‘secret’. When the news broke the Council spent £1.45million on legal advice to defend their position rather than apologising and settling quickly. They even attempted to prevent workers going on strike by taking them to the courts in London, and losing!

Determined to have a war with workers at any cost the Council paid £2.6 million to private contractors to clean up the city whilst they dragged the bin men through legal proceedings. In the end the Council have had to come to the negotiating table at a total cost of £5.85 million!

Birmingham has a council who say they need to make another £46m in savings this year, who have announced another 1,000 job losses by 2023 and have the temerity to take another 5% off hard-pressed residents.

Unless workers get organised they can expect to be well and truly rinsed by Labour party careerists and money grabbing privateers.

 Get in touch with Birmingham Worker and fight for socialism:

 

 

Birmingham in Top 50 cities to live in

The Birmingham Mail proudly declares Birmingham in the Top 50 cities to live in, worldwide. In a piece sandwiched between a story about hour-long traffic delays and another concerning a woman being shot, the Mail notes with a straight face that Birmingham is rated higher than Damascus in Syria and Bhagdad in Iraq.

Reading the Mail any day of the week you could be forgiven for thinking we lived in an actual war zone like Damascus, where terrorists sent by Britain and aided by our secret services (many of them from Birmingham) have been terrorising the population. But despite daily stories in the Mail of stabbings, muggings, robberies, burglaries, beatings and muggings, Birmingham remains a decent place to live, and if we ever manage to replace the arrogant anti working class Labour politicians running the Council we’ll take a huge step towards making our city genuinely one of the best places to live in the world.

Read the Mail piece here: https://www.birminghammail.co.uk/news/midlands-news/birmingham-one-best-places-live-15962778 https://www.birminghammail.co.uk/news/midlands-news/birmingham-one-best-places-live-15962778

Birmingham solidarity with Venezuela

We held a successful meeting in solidarity with revolutionary Venezuela on 19 February in Birmingham. The meeting was well attended and heard from leading Venezuelan trade union leader Marcos Garcia, and Helena Menendez of the embassy of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela.

Introducing the meeting for Birmingham Worker our comrade said,

“The recent escalation of US aggression against Venezuela has been dressed up in the language of ‘human rights’, ignoring, as ever, the fact that human rights abuses by or on behalf of the government are as imaginary as were the ‘weapons of mass destruction’ in Iraq.

The real nature of US imperialism’s concept of human rights was demonstrated by the country’s psychopathic national security adviser, John Bolton who, “Perhaps most brazenly … appeared in an interview on Fox Business and disclosed that the US government was in talks with American corporations on how to capitalise on Venezuela’s oil reserves, which are proven to be the world’s largest.

“We’re in conversation with major American companies now,” he said. “I think we’re trying to get to the same end result here … It will make a big difference to the United States economically if we could have American oil companies really invest in and produce the oil capabilities in Venezuela.” (see Inside John Bolton’s month-long PR campaign against Venezuela’s government)

Venezuela has foolproof election arrangements that cannot be manipulated in any way (in contrast to what those of the United States!) Yet all elections in Venezuela since the government of Hugo Chávez and his successors (aka the ‘Chavistas’) took over the government and started to use the profits of Venezuela’s oil to improve the lives of ordinary people (rather than to enrich US multinational oil companies), have been pronounced ‘fraudulent’ by the US – except the one parliamentary election that opponents of the government happened to win!

In attempting to remove Nicolás Maduro and his government, US imperialism wants new elections to be called – but only ones that it is able to manipulate to produce the results it wants.

For the last two decades, the US government and its various agencies have spent huge amounts of money trying to bolster the election prospects of Venezuela’s anti-government minority, all to no avail (which, incidentally, does not prevent it moaning on about totally fictitious Russian meddling in US elections).”

For more information read: It is imperative to halt the imperialist military adventure against Venezuela

To get in touch and participate in Venezuela solidarity work in Birmingham, fill in the form below:

Birmingham bin strike day 1

Perry Barr depot this morning

Montague pickets and Howard Beckett

Redfern road pickets

Lifford Lane all out

It was a solid start to picketing and strike action this morning as bin workers escalated their action against Birmingham city council. The Council, controlled by the local Labour party continues to set aside £350,000 a week for private contractors to enrich themselves rather than settle the dispute with Unite.

Cameras at Tyseley depot this morning are indicative of a rising sentiment of disbelief that the cash strapped council remains so insistent in pursuing it’s mad policy. The media reports will be watched attentively by all those in the labour movement.

Solidarity with the striking workers will be key to winning the dispute.

To get involved with our campaigning work in defence of the bin men, leave your details below:

Cllr Majid Mahmood resignation as Labour wages war on the bin men.

labour stab worker in the back

Confirmed reports today are that Cllr Mahmood has resigned as Cabinet member for waste and that the Labour led city-council plan to seek a court order against industrial action by both Unite and Unison in an attempt to batter the workers into submission.

Cllr Mahmood today tweeted:

cllr mahmood resignation

If indeed he has stepped down, it will be sad for many to see Cllr Mahmood depart from the field of battle so quickly, not least because in the eyes of many bin men he had appeared so genuine in promising to resolve the dispute and fight to the very end for the workers. On reflection it looks as though his ‘socialist convictions’ have gotten the better of him and he has thrown the towel in. Now that it is clear that a real fight is on for the Birmingham bin men, Cllr Mahmood’s only reward (if he stuck to his guns) was to be political martyrdom.

Hope may yet reside in the belief that Cllr Mahmood will now expose these rotten careerists from the outside, but that has little effect on the dispute and a man that cannot challenge them from the inside has even less chance on the outside. Clancy may go, Trickett may be moved, but the Labour party is full of Ian Ward’s ready to replace them. The idea that there are Labour councillors ready to fight to the death for their trade union or socialist principles is utter clap trap as we have repeatedly seen since the strike in 2017. The only way to beat them is in battle.

Labour declaration of war

The Labour led city council today openly declared that it intends to use legislation (so-called ‘Tory legislation’ which incidentally was never taken off the statute books when the Labour party were in power) to break the bin men and their trade union. The bin men will now have to fight this battle without Cllr Mahmood (who has to prepare his bid to be Labour Mayoral candidate). Meanwhile the Labour party has to meet with its solicitors and lawyers in order to prepare the assault on trade unionism in Birmingham.

Howard Beckett (not one for waiting to consult with the membership) is reported this afternoon by Birmingham Mail as saying:

“They have made a declaration of war against their own workforce and the people of Birmingham will be affected by the decision they made today…”

“The dispute will be escalating to a full strike.”

Victory to the bin men!

A speedy end to all false hope in Labour councillors!

More info: https://www.birminghammail.co.uk/news/midlands-news/live-updates-bin-collectors-set-15681091

To give us your feedback or to get involved with our campaigning work in defence of the bin men, leave your details below:

Three cheers for Unison bin workers out on strike! What next for the bin men?

cash for scabs.jpg

Unite have accused Birmingham city council of rewarding those who worked through the 2017 Birmingham bin strike

The Birmingham Mail has reported that Unison have today announced that their members will join with Unite members currently in dispute with the city’s waste services.

Whats happening with the dispute?

Is there a difference between Ian Ward and John Clancy? Is there any difference between Lisa Trickett and Majid Mahmood? Is there a difference between coke and pepsi?

Some people believe there are two Labour party’s – a good one and a nasty one. Howard Beckett considers himself a member of the good one. Then there is Councillor Majid Mahmood who also considers himself a member of the good one, being a supporter of Jeremy Corbyn. It’s not that long ago that Howard Beckett was able to tell picket lines that he had been assured by John Clancy that John was a ‘gud old fashioned Labour party man and the workers could trust him. Comrade Clancy stabbed everyone in the back, and he himself was stabbed in the back by his comrades in the Birmingham Labour party.

Workers have to ask themselves – is there any difference between Majid and Lisa, between Ian and John? Birmingham Worker says that there is no fundamental difference between any of these career politicians; they all serve themselves. The Labour Party is a party, it is not the will of one person. In Birmingham the Labour party is rotten to the core, it has stabbed the bin men in the back before and it will do so again. Being in a trusting relationship with the Labour party is like having a cheating spouse.

What’s going on at the top?

Cllr Majid is surely a candidate to get Ian Ward’s job, and no doubt Howard Beckett and the Unite Labour party members would be very supportive of any aspirations he might have. If Cllr Majid could just get a couple of thousand pounds each for every bin man then no doubt Unite will back him for the top job once Ian Ward is out of the way. To do this Majid may possibly have to expose Ian Ward and others for the deals they’ve done with council officers, unfair appointments to jobs and blacklisting are just a few of the accusations currently circulating throughout the council.

If a deal is done, Unite the Union’s Labour party leadership will say that Cllr Mahmood is a decent man who has done a splendid job for Unite’s members, and everyone will celebrate a huge victory, just like before. The bin men may receive a payment in the short term, but it will be extremely difficult to wage a later struggle against the unjust agreement that was implemented in the first place. The struggle for the return to the compressed working week, the collective task and finish will be lost and the public support for industrial action in the near future will be low. Workers shouldn’t sell themselves short, why not demand:

  • jobs for the agency workers
  • the payment of the money for all TU members
  • A return to the compressed working week
  • A return to the collective task & finish

To be kept informed with the activities of the Birmingham Worker Party please get in touch:

Birmingham spends more burying the poor than any other city

labour budget birmingham worker.jpg

Earlier this year we reported how our Labour council’s progressive labour budget had frozen the cost of burials. Now it is revealed that the council stood to benefit the most from such a move – because Birmingham buries more paupers than any other city.

bbc birmingham pauper burials

Our city spent nearly £1 million on funerals known as ‘public health funerals’. These are given to those who have died alone, in poverty or without relatives to cover the cost of the burial. Birmingham buried 395 such people, that’s one for every 22 who were buried in the city. In the light of this, Labour’s generous budget commitment to keep the cost of burials low is shown up for what it is, pure self interest.

For more information see https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-46796036

and https://birminghamworker.org/2018/04/05/poverty-on-the-rise-as-birminghams-labour-council-freezes-burial-fees/ 

Don’t let JLR blame Brexit; job cuts are driven by the profit motive.

Today, despite huge profits last year, an increase in Jaguar sales and plans to employ thousands more in Slovakia and China, JLR announced 4,500 job cuts. The media, the trade union leadership and the Labour party all want to join with JLR in blaming Brexit. But that is not even half the story. We reproduce here an article recently published by Birmingham Worker.

JLR, Bentley, Aston Martin and many other big players in the car industry are fighting an anti-Brexit propaganda war, blaming everything on Brexit. If you listened to these powerful giants whose businesses are worth billions you would be led to believe that before the British people voted to Leave there had never been any problems in the car industry! The facts are different. The facts are that there is a huge crisis in the car industry, not because of Brexit, but because of two main factors. Firstly, the manufacturers have made more cars than they can shift.  Whilst the overproduction crisis preceded Brexit and will get worse with or without Brexit, Bentley are not lying when they warn about possible disruption of supply lines, e.g. engines imported from Germany. However, disruptions or no disruptions, there’s too many Bentleys and not enough millionaires to buy them.

Secondly, the large, powerful car producers are constantly looking for excuses and opportunities to outsource jobs and export their capital to foreign countries where labour and costs are cheaper. The manufacturers and their shareholders are motivated by making bigger profits. Just now, having made more cars than they can sell the manufacturers see their opportunity to jump ship and blame it all on Brexit!

In recent years JLR, Aston Martin, Bentley and other manufacturers have made billions of pounds in profit. These companies must not be allowed to throw hundreds of workers who’ve generated these huge profits straight onto the dole. Workers must be kept on full pay and manufacturing jobs protected. Companies who’ve made huge profits must not be allowed to undermine the democratic will of the British people to Leave the EU.

Defend manufacturing jobs

Defend Brexit!

More info on suspected job losses: https://www.cpgb-ml.org/2018/12/21/news/ft-leaks-plans-by-jaguar-land-rover-to-axe-5000-jobs/

Brexit Paralysis : https://www.cpgb-ml.org/2018/12/31/news/brexit-paralysis-government-and-opposition-in-a-shambles/