Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Supporting the national strike against cuts today in London

Having spent Monday at the Coalition of Resistance office calling up volunteers to help distribute placards today at the SERTUC (South East Region TUC) rally at Lincoln's Inn Fields in central London, I will be down there today distributing those same placards. The Green Party is affiliated to COR and several prominent Greens, including me, are on COR's national steering committee. The rally is timed for 12 noon and then there will be a march down to Embankment. I will also be marching with 'Queers Against the Cuts' the LGBT group, which is campaigning against the cuts agenda. The Green Party Trade Union Group will also have a stall positioned beside COR's and we will be working together.

I went to the very well attended 'Eurozone in Meltdown' meeting on Monday night, organised by COR, where we heard some very good speakers, including the Assistant General Secretary of the NUT, and speakers from both Italy and Greece, giving accounts of what is really happening there on the ground. One of the contributions from the floor was from a woman teacher in Camden, who described how the children in her class spontaneously started producing banners and materials for today's demonstration because they recognise that those marching today to protect our public services and against cuts are also marching for their future. As Kevin Courtney, the NUT Asst General Secretary, said at the meeting: "They wonder why there is so much youth unemployment, yet they are calling on older workers to work for many more years."

The news yesterday from Osborne's Autumn Statement is effectively that the Tories and their Lib Dem allies have declared class war on all those working in the public sector, pensioners and the unemployed. The statement that there will be years of cuts and austerity ahead, with no sign of real government intervention to create jobs or build a green economy means, in effect, as many journalists have stated, a lost decade. Some even speculate that it could mean two lost decades. The real impact of this on the lives of those plunged into poverty and unemployment is incalculable. And as Will Hutton said last night on BBC News, this could be worse that the 30s.

I am not on strike today, as I work in the voluntary sector, where we do not even get a pension of any kind, but this strike is far wider than protecting public sector pensions - important enough as that is - but is also the struggle to protect public services against the cuts. That is the reason why I have taken a day off work to march alongside all of those who are fighting for the real "big society". As Thoreau said: "Justice is sweet and musical; but injustice is harsh and discordant." And harsh and discordant sounds are what we are hearing from this government of the bankers, by the bnakers and for the bankers.

Friday, 25 November 2011

Eurozone in Meltdown meeting on Monday - Rally in support of the national pensions strike and against cuts on Wednesday

I will be attending this meeting on Monday and also assisting COR on Wednesday at the SE Region of the TUC rally in support of the national strike and against cuts. Later I will be marching with 'Queers Against the Cuts' and the Green Party Trade Union Group

Eurozone in Meltdown rally with Tony Benn

As crisis spreads through the Eurozone at a rate that no one could have imagined, the ruling financial elite offers nothing but further austerity measures. The need for a Europe-wide mass movement in defense of democracy and social welfare has never been so important.
Join us at this meeting just two days ahead of the biggest strike and day of action in Britain for decades.

Eurozone in Meltdown

No Cuts - No Privatisation


Tony Benn

John McDonnell MP

Ntina Tzouvala (Synaspismos youth, Greece)

Kevin Courtney (Deputy General Secretary, NUT)

Arianna Tassinari (Co-President, SOAS Students Union)

James Meadway (senior economist, New Economics Foundation)

Kate Hudson (Coalition of Resistance)

Lee Jasper (BARAC)

Monday 28 November, 6:30pm

University of London Union, Malet Street, London WC1E 7HY

Click here to download printable flyer

Invite your friends on Facebook

N30 Central London demo

Alongside the hundreds of local events happening across the country on November 30th, SERTUC has called a Central London demonstration. Coalition of Resistance is asking for as many volunteers on the day as possible to help with distributing materials on the demo.

The demonstration assembles at 12pm, Lincolns Inn Fields. We are asking volunteers to arrive at 10:30am. If you can help please email or phone Sam on 07872 481769.

University of London Union have called a student feeder march leaving from Malet Street at 12pm. We are asking volunteers to get to Malet Street at 10am. If you can help please let us know.

Leaflets for the demonstration can be picked up from Housmans Bookshop, 5 Caledonian Road, London N1 9DX. There are a number of stalls and leafletting sessions being organised this weekend accross London. If you can set one up in your area please get in touch.

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Ten Years of Stop the War Coalition and the rising costs of War

Tonight, together with several other members of Green Left and the Green Party, I will be attending the 10th anniversary dinner of Stop the War Coalition. The dinner is not just to mark a decade of activism but also to fundraise for the campaigning work of the UK's leading anti-war organisation. It is appalling to think that the UK, along with the US and others, has been involved in a decade of wars. The situation is beginning to resemble the plot of 1984 where Eurasia is in a state of permanent war with Oceania. And at a time when the costs of wars continue to rise while our leaders tell us that there is no funding for anything else.

The links between the anti-cuts movement and the anti-war movement are obvious, and are made abundantly clear in this video appearance by David Swanson, noted US anti-war activist, who draws the clear links between Occupation Wall Street and the anti-war movement. These are the two campaigns to which I am politically dedicated at present as the fate of humanity and of the planet depend on the outcome of both of these titanic struggles agains the military industrial complex, aided and abetted by its corporate sponsors, and paid for, both in blood and cash, by all of us.

Monday, 21 November 2011

The argument against homophobia

Publishing his video, he fights against homophobia

More about: vidéo, homophobie


A young Argentinean gay’s personal engagement is published on a video on YouTube: It is a long argumentation against homophobia translated in 17 languages.

At the age of 19 he made the experience of young gay student who came from Buenos Aires to Europe. Today Nicolás is 28 years old, is a Spanish teacher and at the same time studies Linguistics in Vienna, where he has been living for five years now. During that time he started to think about homophobia and its origins.

Gay-friendly rhetoric

Nicolás tells us «I visited a lecture about history of Judaism and the professor, a catholic theologian, explained that that you cannot develop any kind of relation between religion and violence. This made me very furious. I immediately argued that there are many violent passages in the Bible and spoke about the way this book treats homosexuals. We continued discussing the topic on e-mail and I think I succeeded in changing his mind a bit!». This debate turned into a talk for the seminar. «I even mentioned sad anecdotes of my adolescence», the young Argentinean remembers.

Step by step Nicolás developed a taste for the art of rhetoric. He wrote a text and sent it to German, Austrians and Swiss theologians. And one of his friends, a student of communication sciences, suggested spreading his message even more. That’s how this video came to life. It is already translated into 17 languages, and soon will be available in even more languages. «I think this can help many people» he says. In any case it is an original way to share a speech of defense against homophobes of any kind.

Watch the video:

Two days to save LGBT rights in Russia

In 48 hours, political leaders in Russia will vote on a law that makes speaking out as a gay, lesbian or trans person ILLEGAL. Because Russia is a large and powerful nation, the international community has stayed silent. If thousands of us raise our voices, they will be forced to speak out and stop this horrific law:

Dear Joseph,

We've been talking all weekend with our friend Sasha - a teacher and mom in Russia - and what we're hearing is horrifying. On Wednesday, political leaders in St. Petersburg are voting on a new law that will make it illegal to speak in public about being gay, lesbian or transgender.

Sasha and a broad coalition in Russia are doing everything they can to stop the bill. Yesterday, they organized one of the biggest demonstrations ever in support of equality - but still the international community is not paying attention. They need support from around the world - and they need it fast.

Because Russia is powerful, most world leaders have stayed silent. But if we raise our voices now, we'll shine an international spotlight on the issue that will be impossible to ignore.

Will you take 2 minutes to add your voice to our urgent call? We'll deliver the petition to Russian embassies around the world and push the issue to the top of the international agenda:

If the law passes this week in St. Petersburg, it could quickly lead to a crushing of freedoms throughout all of Russia. Moscow, the largest city in the country, already said they were looking into passing the same law - paving the way for officials to make it national. Our friends in Russia believe that stopping the bill in St. Petersburg can derail the plan to take this law nationwide. Many around the world have been reluctant to criticize the ruling party led by President Medvedev and Prime Minister Putin, but their party appointed both the mayors of Moscow and St. Petersburg and they've gone on record in support of the proposed laws.

Russia is already a dangerous place to be out and open as an lesbian, gay, bi or trans (LGBT) person. Courageous pride marchers were brutally attacked and detained by Moscow police last summer - for the simple act of holding their heads up high in public. If this bill passes, even the small victories that the LGBT movement in Russia has won will be wiped out - and pride marches, cultural festivals, and even the distribution of leaflets in the streets will be considered illegal.

Moments like this highlight exactly why we launched All Out just under a year ago: to stand with our friends around the world when they’re under attack, and to keep opportunistic governments from playing politics with fundamental rights. Please sign this urgent call, share it with your friends, and stand in solidarity with our brave friends in Russia - Coming Out, Side by Side LGBT Film Festival, and the Russian LGBT-Network - who are refusing to be silenced:

All the best and All Out,

Andre, Emmy, Erika, Flavia, Guillaume, Jeremy, Joseph, Nita, Oli, Tile, Wesley and the rest of the team at All Out


Russian lawmakers back fines for gay 'propaganda'

Russian's protest: detained by police

Tolerance, not gay bans

Russia's war against rainbows

Russia’s gays under attack as MPs back fines for ‘gay promotion’

All Out is bringing people together in every corner of the planet and of every identity - lesbian, gay, straight, transgender and all that’s between and beyond - to build a world in which everyone can live freely and be embraced for who they are.

Our mailing address is:

Purpose Foundation

224 Centre St

New York, NY 10013

Copyright © 2011, All rights reserved.

Saturday, 19 November 2011

Leafleting in Soho for November 30th

I am off this evening to leaflet the LGBT venues and meeting places in Soho with 'Queers Against the Cuts' and South East Region of the TUC LGBT Group to encourage members of the LGBT community to come out and support the strike and rally on November 30th being called by the TUC and many of the anti-cuts groups. LGBT organisations are being decimated by the cuts and, despite a great deal of propaganda and spin about the pink pound, many LGBT people are also vulnerable to these savage cuts, particularly young people and disabled people along with those working in the public and voluntary sectors - not to mention the many young homeless and unemployed LGBT Londoners.

The struggle on November 30th is a struggle for all of those marginalised and attacked by this government and its supporters in the right wing press. The struggle for one is the struggle for all.

Appeal Court judge slams "murky dealings" in Southwark

I have had not had a chance to post this as I have been busy with a myriad of things but here is a press release that was issued by my friend Raymond Stevenson at the end of last month, following his unsuccessful attempt to have his case against Southwark Council heard by the Court of Appeal. Raymond was the proprietor of the cutting edge nightclub 'Imperial Gardens' in Camberwell. I posted about this some months ago following the failure of his appeal against Southwark Council in the High Court last year - which I attended as an observer. Raymond was also a campaigner for the rights of BMER people and particularly for small black and minority owned businesses in Southwark. I supported him in his campaign in Southwark some years ago and in the 2006 local elections in Southwark, he gave me his endorsement as someone who supported the anti-racism campaign when I stood as a candidate in Camberwell Green ward, where I live.

Raymond's story is in this week's issue of 'Private Eye' magazine in the appropriately named 'rotten boroughs' section and he and his business partner Lucilla Hilton, continue to run a successful recording studio and agency for up and coming young black talent in Camberwell. Raymond was effectively shafted by both Labour and Lib Dem administrations in Southwark, and the behaviour of some council officers was deeply suspicious. It is clear that there are still many questions to be answered and the Appeal Court judge is clearly sympathetic to his case. I wish him luck with his brave and tenacious campaign for justice stretching over nearly a decade now, where many others would have given up.


Dated: 31.10.11
Appeal judge slams council’s ‘murky dealings’
Southwark Council ‘s “exceptionally murky dealings” have been slated by an appeal court judge.

Lord Justice Thomas was giving judgment in a case brought by the former owners of the Imperial Gardens nightclub in Camberwell, Raymond Stevenson and Lucia Hinton. It followed their high court action seeking damages for misfeasance by the council, following alleged corruption by a former planning manager.

Lord Thomas said it “involves what can only be described – and I use these words deliberately – exceptionally murky dealings in the London Borough of Southwark. I am satisfied this is a case where there would have been very, very strong evidence of mal-administration. The question is: does what happened amount to misfeasance?
“The murkiness arises from the conduct of Mr [Mark] Dennett [former area planning manager].” Outlining the background, where a planning application by Fairview Home s for a residential development was within three metres of the nightclub, Lord Thomas said he thought it was obvious that it would be incompatible.

He also said it was quite clear that no steps were taken to involve the claimants in the planning application, believing that “one of the obvious possible explanations is ... corruption”.

However, referring to the way the high court case was conducted, Lord Justice Thomas said that despite the council’s “distinct murkiness” the claimants “have to show that the action of Mr Dennett in not putting the file before the committee was deliberate misfeasance. The judge found against them on that and the allegation of corruption is disavowed.”

His lordship said he could not allow the appeal because of the findings made by the high court judge. However, he made the decision “with considerable reluctance, and underlining the fact that there appears to be a very strong case of mal-administration against the London Borough of Southwark”.
Appeals must be based on points of law, and not a re-examination of facts already decided by the trial judge. However, there was no mention on the £500,000 offer made by former council leader Nick Stanton, despite two council representatives confirming that it was made in their presence. Only Stanton said it had not occurred.

Raymond Stevenson commented following the judgment (full copy attached) that Lord Thomas’s views about Southwark were damning. “In particular, it shows the weakness of the decision by the local government ombudsman in accepting the council’s arguments that the flats would have been given permission had all the information been available. Lord Justice Thomas refuted that assertion.”

Stevenson believes that “numerous council officers attempted to mask their behavior in a deliberate and dishonest way”. He also compared his case with Southwark’s recent decision not to approve an application for flats to be built 60 metres from the Ministry of Sound nightclub at Elephant & Castle.

“Even though we believe the MOS outcome is correct, what is clearly of concern is that black businesses are not afforded the same protection. Who are we to suggest that Southwark Council only considers businesses relevant if they are run by white corporations with deep pockets?”

He also recalled that Lord Herman Ouseley’s inquiry in 2005 highlighted discriminative treatment by the council in regard to Imperial Gardens. “We have always believed that part of the council’s motivation for treating us this way was due to its consistent discrimination against black businesses in the borough.”

Stevenson also referred to his company’s huge success in producing the anti-gun crime film Don’t Trigger for the Home Office, and in developing the talent of singer Jessie J. He believes that had Imperial Gardens continued as a talent factory, many more young people could have found fame and fortune.

For further information: 0207 701 9950/ 07956101387

Friday, 11 November 2011

Patients Forum for the London Ambulance Service - Equality Delivery Systems for the NHS in London

I missed last month's meeting of the London Ambulance Service Patients Forum as I was on holiday in the US and it was on the subject of Healthwatch, the new bodies being set up to replace LINKs (Local Involvement Networks) which are the principal bodies for public and patient involvement in the NHS. This month we are looking at the issue of equalities - an issue which has been close to the Forum for a very long time - and which regular readers of this blog will know has caused some friction in the past with the London Ambulance Service. The Forum continues to push hard for an improvement in the represention of BME workers in the LAS, particularly among front line staff - paramedics etc. The main presentation at Monday night's meeting will be by Mary Clarke, one of the people leading the equalities team in the NHS in London. This is a public meeting and I will be chairing it.

Mary Clarke CBE, Associate Chief Nurse and Lead for Equalities NHS London

Equality Delivery Systems for NHS London - Goals and Outcomes

Monday, November 14th 5.30pm to 7.30pm
London Ambulance Service HQ Conference Room
220 Waterloo Road, London SE1

Refresments available
BSL Signers will be available
Nearest Tube: Waterloo     Nearest Rail: Waterloo East

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Feed the World without destroying the planet - Socialist Resistance/Green Left Seminar

Feed the world without destroying the planet

Saturday 12 November, University of London Union, Malet Street

Seminar organised by Socialist Resistance and Green Left


10.30 Registration

11.00-1.30 Introductory plenary with Graciela Romero (War on Want), Rehad Desai (South African Climate activist), Pierre Rousset (NPA, European and Asian Socialist Forums)

Maria Pampilo (Conzarrd, Philippines) Room 3E

1.30-2.30 Lunch

2.30-4.00 Workshops

Land Rights not Land Grabs Deepak Rughani (Biofuelwatch), Pierre Rousset Room 3E

Women and Food Sovereignty Maria Pampilo, Terry Conway (Socialist Resistance) Room 2A

Agribusiness and the supermarkets Derek Wall (Green Left) Room 2B

Climate Change and Food Sovereignty Room 2B Rehad Desai , Jamie Moloney (Socialist Resistance) Room 2C

4.00 Final Plenary Derek Wall, Terry Conway, Maria Pampilo Room 2E

Monday, 7 November 2011

You have the prisons and the newspapers - Eisler Song

The wonderful Nina Hagen sings the lyrics of Brecht and the music of Hans Eisler. A song for our times. The lyrics state that the poweful have prisons, press, police etc but what good will it do them in the end? An ode for all those protesting for justice against power and wealth.

Euro Chaos and the Crisis of Capitalism

After witnessing the failed G20 Summit in Cannes and the barefaced way in which Merkel and Sarkozy bullied the Greek Prime Minister in submission,when he had the temerity to suggest that the Greek people might have the democratic wish to vote on a package which will saddle them with debt for decades to come - here is the economist Leo Panitch on the historical and economic significance of what is happening in  the Eurozone and in the EU.

Pannitch's views are sobering enough but are reinforced by a report that the Far Right is growing across Europe. Dangerous and challenging times for the Left and the progressive movement in Europe.