The Violence in Society

I was speaking to a friend recently about last Saturday’s march.  She may not have known precisely what the marchers were marching for – despite being a very able professional –  beyond it being the unions “anticuts”.  She may not have known how large  it was as a demonstration, maybe second only to the Iraq one in size.

She may, also, not have heard of the Robin Hood Tax: she may not know there is NO tax on international finance deals despite these wrecking the global economy in 2008.  Despite being really proud to pay taxes herself,  she may not know that those on £150,000 and over have not paid their 50% tax for a year, or of the 13,000 jobs to be lost at HMRC, nor that most of this money won’t be recovered. But she certainly knew about the violence, the attacks on property and the thugs.

But there’s lies in all this. From the highest levels. And they will be repeated ad nauseam by people who should know better – or who choose not to. But we ALL should know better because we’re all targets of current government policies and hyping violence at a demo really aimed at them is their way out of having to answer for their own social violence.

In this Newsnight report, according to the nice female police Asst. Commissioner, there were arrests at this demo beating a record of 5 years for a public order event. She talks about the fear of customers as Fortnum & Mason was invaded by over 100 protesters from the group UKuncut.

The trouble is – there wasn’t any trouble!

The Guardian has video of a nice female police inspector, on the scene, saying they were “non-violent” and “sensible” (as confirmed by other independent reports like Green Party Adam Ramsay or this 15 year old girl’s account, and other video). The inspector even says on camera “that’s why people were kept in here” implying the police were dealing with actual violence outside and so prevented peaceful demonstrators leaving the shop!

Yet there were 149 charged with 138 arrested at F&M.  –  Just watch these charges disappear when it gets to court in a few months time! This is purely for headlines now! It’s propaganda. This was a peaceful sit-in that not even the shop has protested, nor were customers harassed or even prevented from shopping!

Only a few days ago MPs voted to support the No Fly Zone over Libya. Supposedly to defend the rebels there, only 13 of the 670 MPs voted against this. Really it was a rubber-stamping of the decision already taken by Cameron to back it. This despite polls showing the public very ambivalent about getting involved in Libya.

But  where’s the No Fly Zone over Gaza? There isn’t one. And there never will be one while Israel remains backed by America – no matter how many Palestinians suffer or die – or rebel.

Choosing to back the banks, choosing to cut public jobs, welfare, DLA, EMA, housing benefit, youth organisations, day care centres, essentially protects the rich and the powerful who will become richer and more powerful through these policies. They will get the money that is being “saved” – not some deficit balance!

The estimated total of one million jobs beginning to be lost by these policies (500,000 public sector jobs and another 500,000 estimated to be lost from knock-on effects) will have effects to last for years – not a few days of clearing up mess or replacing windows.

We must be aware of violence in all its forms – not just what the media, or the powerful who control them, choose to show us.

Or else we are the manipulated ones merely bowing to thought control in a democratic society.

Miliband’s new campaigns!

In the wake of yesterday’s historic march, Labour’s Edward Milibland announces his new campaigns:

  • NO taxes on the banks!
  • NO taxes for the wealthy!  (these haven’t been collected for over a year anyway…)!
  • NO closing of tax loopholes!
  • DON’T chase major tax avoiders!
  • DON’T re-regulate the financial sector!
  • CUT all the services anyway! (just spread them out a bit more).

The Labour Party leader, Ed Milibland, was very poor yesterday! His was the total hypocrisy of equating  the 500,000 marchers (figure via police announced by Len McCluskey from stage) with apartheid and the civil rights movement, etc – WHILE he fails to share the ACTUAL policies the march was about!

A Real Alternative? Unbelievable, isn’t it? And major Unions think this is where hope lies?!?

Hull, on the other hand, was rather splendid. Somewhere around 17 coaches went, including the (Fire Brigade) FBU’s 3 from the area. (Twice the number of coaches that went for Iraq in 2003).

We had a great time. The demonstration was massive, very good-natured and determined. But we all know the battle goes on.

The message must get through: tax the banks, tax the ultra-rich, make the cuts history.

—————

Update: After rumours of attack on Fortnum and Mason’s, a mob of tweed-clad old Etonians retaliate and vandalise Lidl in Slough. #mar26

Tw: Best placard so far: ‘there are two things I don’t like about nick clegg: his face’ #26march #march26

Tw: The march was a total success – 500k. Pity the ‘alternative’ is cuts over 72 months instead of 54 months. Ed is not the alternative.

Workers may March but Labour isn’t the alternative!

The biggest march this decade, to be held on Saturday, will have only one political party speaker: Ed Miliband.

Is Saturday’s huge demonstration really going to be a March for an Alternative? Or a march for more failed policies from a favoured party?

The TUC March for the Alternative on the 26th, calls for a Robin Hood Tax on banks, for closing tax loopholes and for policies for jobs and green growth.

Caroline Lucas MP, the one Green MP in Parliament, has been calling for these policies for over a year! And more: for an end to tax avoidance and evasion, for increased taxation of the rich, for closing tax loopholes for banks and big business, and not for destroying a million jobs through cuts but for creating one million jobs in green industries instead!

The policies the TUC March is calling for are from her manifesto!

But they’re not in Ed’s! Ed Miliband wrote Labour’s manifesto which called for these same cuts over 6 years, just not 4 1/2! How much history are people expected to forget to think that Labour are the answer?

Greens today call on the TUC and trade unionists to really fight the cuts, to put real pressure on politics and invite a greater representation of anticuts parties and politicians.

———————————————————
Martin Deane
Letter to TUC
info@tuc.org.uk, media@tuc.org.uk, bbarber@tuc.org.uk

Dear TUC,

As a teacher, an active anti-cuts campaigner and a member of a political party, I am utterly dismayed to hear today that Ed Miliband MP is to be the only party political speaker from on 26th March.

I am ashamed and disgusted by this sectarian move to allow a platform to a leader of a political party who has been advocating almost the same cuts as well as supporting the privatization of our beloved public services for over a decade.

Caroline Lucas MP is a sane voice in Parliament who has been calling for the policies this March is promoting for over a year! For an end to tax avoidance and evasion, for increased taxation of the rich, for closing tax loopholes for banks and big business, for creating one million green jobs instead of destroying a million. The policies the TUC March is calling for could be from her manifesto! But they’re not in Ed’s!

Is this really going to be a March for an Alternative? Or a march for more failed policies from a favoured neoliberal party?

I write to urge you to reconsider your decision. The March is important but if it’s simply pro-Labour then it will then be the TUC which is selling out the people. The trade unions monopolising the anti-cuts movement for the Labour Party line would be a failure of pluralistic politics, and bowing to the conservative ideology of present Labour policies. It will be truly and simply un-trade unionist.

It will be a shame if the TUC acts in this manner.  Please act immediately to provide a range of political representation for people who will reeally fight these cuts.

Sincerely,

Martin Deane

Hull

Create jobs not destroy them

The Green Party doesn’t accept the prevalent propaganda that it’s necessary to have cuts to pay off the deficit.

The deficit has been at higher levels in history without being used as an excuse to launch an attack on ordinary people across the country. This attack is the most blatant, at this time, after just paying up to a trillion pounds to the banks to bail them out.

In the General Election last year we attacked the parties and their plans for cuts. Since then after people arguably voted for a hung Parliament, we have seen the Lib Dems unashamedly sell out the voting population (and the others!), jump into bed with the Tories and prepared to destroy a million jobs.

Our platform last year, the Green New Deal, showed how we can raise billions of pounds by taxing simply where the wealth is in society. Instead we see a rise in VAT which taxes everyone and taxes the poorest disproportionately. Our plans create a million jobs in vital green industries like energy conservation and renewable production, instead of destroying tens of thousands of jobs in the health service and more in council services across the country.

The cuts are “Disaster Capitalism” as Naomi Klein might call it. The disaster is the deficit, and big business has spotted a way to make money from it. It doesn’t matter that maybe a trillion quid has been given to the banks. Nor that the deficit has been higher with no great problems. All that matters is that they convince us the cuts are necessary. It’s propaganda. Once the cuts are in then they can move in companies to take over parts of the NHS or social services roles. And make another killing…

Past victory. New wars.

The Allied victory in World War II is very important to remember and indeed to celebrate. It is arguably the single most important victory in history. But have we learned the lessons, when we hear of over 200 wars since that global conflict? Do we see what it means when modern conflicts kill 90% civilians and only 10% military?

It’s one thing to celebrate an important victory from a generation ago. It’s  another to  reflect on how we see wars in recent years and the challenges to come.

The Green position is radically different. Remember, the Greens are not a bunch of Tories – or even Labourites – who clearly have little or no problem with war, or how or why it’s launched. From recent history you would think their members, and their MPs, knew nothing (or cared less) about the rules governing war, or what makes a Just War, or what the International Law on war actually is. The launching of war on Iraq was an utter disgrace. The level of lying and manipulation was astounding, and  occasioned the biggest peace marches in history in the UK and around the world. Yes Blair, Straw and others will argue it was a legal war; they have no other choice. But scholars around the world were and still are decrying it.

What was it in the end? It was Blair committed to following Bush into a war Bush and his cronies had planned years before. And why? Because of the supreme advantage major bases would give in the centre of the oil-rich Middle East. Forget “liberating” people, that’s just smoke, unless you mean liberating people from their lives. It was a war for oil.

Our Armed Forces follow orders, that’s their job. But it is also their leaders’ job to question orders which may be immoral or illegal. And they did that to some extent and their backs were covered by the politicians. But let’s remember why we hanged the Germans – because they launched a war of aggression. And we joined Bush when he launched his on Iraq. And we helped kill the reliably estimated, on the ground, 1.3 million Iraqis, to add to the horrendous death toll from sanctions.
And killing works both ways. How many people know that by 2002 the death toll of Falklands veterans taking their own lives outstripped the deaths in the actual war?
And how many people know that immediately after 9/11 Bush was blaming Iraq and looking for ways to wage war on them? It didn’t matter that there was no evidence. Even for Osama, and the invasion of Afghanistan, it didn’t matter that there was no evidence (despite promising lots of it). This is what a superpower does.
We’ve left Iraq but let’s not think that we’ve brought peace. Look at the place. We have 10,000 in Afghanistan. The Americans have 20,000. Russia had 300,000 and could not control it. For all sorts of reasons we will not win there. And now we are approaching our 300th death there, let alone the tens of thousands of deaths of people who actually live there.

On the other hand, the major challenges ahead require a real need for global cooperation and not competition, or deadly grabs for resources. The challenges for Britain today aren’t that it’s going to be invaded by France or Russia or China! Rather it’s things like the decline of oil which will cause major disruption globally and we’re not ready for it. The growing scarcity of freshwater, the decline of topsoil, the overfishing of the seas, the threat of GMOs all mean we have to change our way of thinking, from one of taking what we want by force to one of live and let live, living within our means, living within the bounds of nature that we are now hitting up against.

So what about a World Development Day or World Progress Day? What about the challenge for Beverley to think in ways fitted to the demands of the 21st century rather than 20th century thinking – a century where humanity killed more of its own kind than ever before.

These are the things we are thinking about. They are of major importance for the next generation. Waving at Spitfires doesn’t cut it for us anymore.

Here’s an alternative from Gabriel Carlyle –

http://unarmedforcesday.wordpress.com/

Connaught workers protest

Martin Deane, Hull and East Riding Green Party,  supporting Hull workers when Connaught workers – many who used to work for Hull City Council before privatisation and “outsourcing” – were threatened with all  losing their jobs.

Where is the party of opposition!?

TJ White, Hull, writes from a piece first posted on the Labour fb page. 

Here is my post where they can’t delete it!

I have joined this page to support John McArdle and all the other people at Black Triangle (facebook cause): YOU are our official party of opposition. Start OPPOSING!!!!!!

We, as disabled people, are being told that … if we can push our own wheelchairs 30 yards on a flat surface we have no mobility problems, how many places in reality fit that description?… We will be trapped in our own homes, sanctioned by the DWP on income based benefits because we can no longer leave the house to get to work OR go to work focused interviews.

Atos healthcare is stealing taxpayers’ money in their disability denial factories; they have been given a blank cheque and the consent to harass and persecute those who are too sick to work. What did you think would happen when you told them if they wanted to they could reassess people every three months and you would pay them to do so? Appeals have rocketed and as soon as people have won their appeal they are being reassessed again!

It’s money for old rope, it’s persecution. And you couldn’t give a damn because all you care about really is the Daily Mail readers that you have been partially responsible for whipping into a frenzy to win votes from them.

STOP the lies, make a fair test, and yes test us, test us in a fair evenhanded manner, remove profit from the testing or you will always skew the figures.

Start OPPOSING!