Trade Unions and the fight against the 1%

In my N30 Strike speech today, I talked about this graph:

It shows union membership over the last 100 years. AND it shows the wealth of the top 1%.  The lines of those graphs are diametrically opposed!

100 years the unions were young as the labour movement began to catch on and fight the gross injustices around work. The rich were powerful; their wealth, stratospheric. But as the unions grew, so did the gains of the people as a whole, and the wealth of the 1% diminished.

Union membership reached its height in 1978. And the wealth of the 1% reached its lowest point in the last 100 years.

When the people are strong, the unions are strong and the rich can’t take as much from us.

In 1979 that all changed with the election of Thatcher. As she attacked the unions, the NUM especially, she brought in anti-union legislation and union membership fell.  Since 1979, almost every year,  it has continued falling, including through the Labour years.

Interestingly, now in 2011, union membership is about where it was in 1940! There’s a long way to go! So join a union!

If you’re in one become active in it. If you know workers who aren’t in a union show them this. Explain THIS is how we take on the bankers and win! For our future and for generations to come.

AND – if you don’t like the way the unions support the Labour Party – which did *NOT* support this strike –  then join the Greens and bring that voice into the labour movement too.

There’s a future to fight for.

Together we can win.

BAE Systems to move 900 Yorkshire jobs to America

Friday’s announcement that BAE Systems will be building Hawk trainers in America comes as no surprise to us.

BAE Systems is largely owned by American stockholders and the majority of its contracts are for the Pentagon. So why shouldn’t an American company be providing American jobs?!

But nothing in these developments is part of the Green Party vision for society.

In the 1970s, British Aerospace used to provide employment for over 10,000 people at Brough, East Yorkshire. The corporation has reduced those numbers year by year to the meagre 1350 left – and now reduced by a further 900 to the skeleton crew that’s left.

It is a stark reminder of how we are at the mercy of big corporations and the banks, somehtting the Green Party has been warning about for years. The Lib-Lab-Con are not going to rescue our communities from these giants.

Corporations, like BAE Systems, will happily wreck entire communities based around the work and industry those communities have performed for them for years. There should be no doubt that this skeleton crew is left with the intention of closing the plant down and selling it off.

We have been warning for decades about the predatory actions of corporations across the world, to societies, to the planet – and now even on our doorstep. Many people accept this as inevitable. But in fact they are all down to political choices. Arms manufacturers have thrived for decades under whatever government Conservative or Labour.

It would be different if we had representatives to tackle them and rein them in, rather than politicians who cosy up to them, who give them the key to Downing Street – literally – who arrange a biillion pounds in hidden subsidies for them. What we have is corporations abusing their power.

The Green plan would see places like Brough, instead of being destroyed by an international giant, retooled for industries which really serve society, like transportation, trains and renewable energy development.

Martin Deane

10 Reasons to vote Green

1. Fight the cuts!

The Green Party stands full-square in opposition to the cuts. They’re totally unnecessary. This is ideological bias by the Con-Dem government for the banks, for bailouts, for corporate tax avoidance – and against the rest of us.

2. Tax fairly!

After 13 years of “Labour”, inequality is greater in Britain now than any time since World War II. This will worsen with 20% VAT, as young people lose many existing options through cut youth services (especially in Hull with its high youth unemployment), and as up to 1 million lose their jobs.

The changes we fight for are for banks and corporations to pay their way: a Robin Hood Tax on banks, the closure of tax loopholes, the collection of high-earner tax (many high earners on £150,000 and over, have not been taxed for over a year!), and ultimately for the 50% rate to apply to those on £100,000 and over. Our taxes will be fairer and redistributive, not with the heavy bias to the rich that we see now.

3. Free University Eduction.

No to tuition fees. The LibDem u-turn on this was stunning – as is their complete sell-out, so far, to a highly right-wing Tory agenda. This is NOT what people voted for last year, especially with the Lib Dems’ centre-left policy then.

4. Renewable energy for Hull.

Kirklees has lots of it – solar panels, ground source heating, why not us? Energy prices are no joke. Oil decline is about to become a reality. Hull City Council should use its power now to promote wind capability WITHIN the city and/or CHP (Combined Heat and Power) plants – for the people.

5. Anti-capitalist.

One we thing we can be certain of: the 3 leading parties are as pro-capitalist as they come! The Green Party doesn’t promote itself as anti-capitalist, or pro-socialist, because the terms get in the way. But essentially we put people – and planet – before profit. Politics is for people, families and society; it’s about the Earth we live on, about equality and the sustainability of the way we live now, and the coming generations.

6. Hull needs the best.

A vote for the usual suspects means yet another voice for Labour or the Lib Dems – and, in Hull, all the bigotry that’s associated with it. A Green councillor will work equally with both sides for the best outcomes regardless of party camps.

7. To help protect the NHS and other health provisions, from creeping privatisation, from mass redundancies and from the plans to make all surgeries into consortiums with doctors as managers.

8. An increase in the Green vote will make the other parties stop and take note that people are responding to the pro-people policies we are fighting for, and help decrease their increasing right-wing stance.

9. So little is being done to really protect our local environment. A green voice will make a big difference when it comes to planning applications, for example, and other initiatives to promote nature over unthinking human destruction.

10. Greens are promoting a YES vote to AV. It’s not PR, true, but it’s a step in the right direction. By ordering your preferred candidates, it favours the most widely acceptable candidates and so excludes extremists. AV will create 44 new marginal constituencies.

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.

The god that must be satisfied.

After the recent announcement that:  “… UK unemployment rose by 49,000 to almost 2.5 million in the three months to the end of November 2010, according to the latest Office for National Statistics figures.” – we are starkly reminded that the prospects are a million job losses over the next few years.

The ConDem cuts are estimated to cost 500,000 jobs in the public sector and a knock-on effect of 500,000 jobs in the private sector. Some commentators estimate 1.2 million jobs lost.

But the cuts are unnecessary. The Greens have been saying this for some time –  we all stood against them in 2010.

If we tax fairly we can halve the deficit by 2014 and even create a million jobs and training places.

In the last year the 1000 richest people in Britain INCREASED their wealth by £77 billion but yet the deficit is only £85 billion. Will they be taxed at a greater rate? No.

Adding insult to injury, over vthe past year, HMRC have failed to collect the 50% income tax due to the Treasury from those on £150,000 OR OVER! Due to being unable to process tax codes in time or some such feeble-minded excuse. This is scandalous.

Now, instead of a Robin Hood Tax, where a micro 0.1% tax on international finance trades would WIPE OUT the deficit, we get the Sheriff of Nottingham.

The ConDem millonaire-bankers plan will be the “tax heist of the century” where profits made abroad will no longer be subject to tax here.  This favours the banks in particular. This will cost tens of billions to the state and guess who will make up the shortfall?

This major attack on British civil society has been contrived by propagandising the deficit as a god that must be satisfied at all costs. By our sacrifice.

The high priests of all the major religions – Conservative,  Labour and Liberal Democrat all agree on this. They just disagree on the “scale and pace”.

Of course, as usual, the élite are exempt.

Belief in “mammon” isn’t a new religion. Today’s gods are the banks and “the bottom line”. Profit clearly comes before people. Wealth comes before “the wealth of the nation”, goods come before the Common Good.

Cast out are pagans and heretics such as the Greens and socialists, who dare to question these clearly self-evident truths.

But as Egypt shows us, if you exploit and sacrifice people mercilessly for years and decades, they will “rise up like lions” and your days of selling pyramids will be over.

The point of life is not to enrich the banks! Or to make the rich and powerful more rich and more powerful! Nor to believe in these self-serving religions of money, banks and power, nor their priests, acolytes and altar boys.

It is to live in harmony with others, with other states, with the physical world and its limited resources. And the chief enemy of this is selfishness.

But the days of believing in money for the sake of money are over.

“I have never seen such visceral anger in Hull”

Lobby of Hull City Council, Guildhall, 20 Jan.

– by a Hull Trade Unionist

For years a lobby of the council in Hull has been a sedate affair with a good crowd a few slogans and then going off home.

Tonight a protest took place involving 350-400 people.

Workers decided to march round the Guildhall and then went into the building. They marched up to the council chamber finding the doors locked.

As people pondered what to do the doors to the public gallery were forced open and people poured in.

Initially people kept quiet as the councillors continued their business. Then a Labour councillor spoke to oppose a motion put forward by the Liberal Democrats who run the council. He had barely finished his first sentence when the workers erupted into applause and chants of shame on you to the Lib Dems.

The meeting was brought to a halt and the ashen faced Lib Dems finally got to know what anger is there. The vast majority of them slunk out of the chamber to the chants of  “The Workers United Will Never Be Defeated!”

I have never seen such visceral anger in Hull and people came out confident and bouyed up by the protest. We must use this to build for strike action and the maximum possible attendance at the TUC demo on March 26th.

– Hull Trade Unionist

Green Party – a Double Issue Party!

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The audio!

Hull and East Riding Green Party had our launch last Monday. the TV covered us.

After the mandatory segment on windfarms… in which Bill did splendidly… the telly cut to us up here in Beverley by the  Minster*. We had about 20 members and supporters come out to play and the presenter wanted to talk jobs.

Too often the Green Party is seen  as a single issue party.  In fact we’re a double issue party!  Environmental justice and social justice! I talked about jobs and money. We want jobs in Hull. The Green Party has plans for a million jobs across the country in housing:  insulation and energy-saving, renovation of housing to green standards, jobs for engineers, plumbers, joiners decorators, etc, and we’ve costed plans to spend £4 billion a year on this. After energy saving comes the renewables, people making energy within the city – an energy producing democracy like Greens are spear-heading in Huddersfield.  But for those not working there’s Green money too:  we pledge £170 per week pension, to end pension poverty. We  also provide for the young: by doubling Child Benefit to end the disgrace of 4 million British children in poverty.

Vote Deane! Vote Green.

Why not join us on Saturday, 12.30pm, at our Mammoth Jumble Sale fundraiser!

Next Events:

Jumble Sale, Sat 17 April, Spring Bank Community Centre, 12.30-2.30pm, with cakes!!  *** Thu 29th: Hustings at Hull University, 6pm.  *** Sunday 25th: Hustings at Hull Baptist Church, 7.30pm, top of Chants Ave.

* We had to move to the Minster cos the BBC’s satellite van had no signal at Market Cross.  🙂  Oh the vanity of technology!