Tuesday, 27 April 2021

LabourStart: Come, join us on May 2nd - demand freedom for jailed trade unionists!


Eric Lee writes:

A few days ago we learned that the Arthur Svensson International Prize for Trade Union Rights for 2021 was awarded to the independent trade union movement in Belarus, represented by the Belarusian Congress of Democratic Trade Unions (BKDP) and its affiliates. According to the prize committee, "They receive the award for their fearless struggle for democracy and fundamental trade union rights in Europe's last dictatorship." (More details here.)

Their struggle - and that of the trade union movements in Hong Kong, Myanmar, Iran and Turkey - is the focus of this year's LabourStart May Day event, which we're holding on Sunday, 2 May at 15:00 GMT.

We have an incredible lineup of speakers:
  • Monireh Abdi, the wife of jailed Iranian teacher trade unionist Esmail Abdi, who has been the focus of a number of our campaigns over the years.
  • Lizaveta Merliak, international secretary of the Belarusian independent unions, who was herself arrested during the recent months of protest following the rigged Presidential elections in her country that kept Alexander Lukashenko in power.
  • Khaing Zar Aung, the president of Industrial Workers Federation of Myanmar (IWFM) and a member of the executive committee of the Confederation of Trade Unions Mynamar (CTUM) -- who will be speaking on behalf of a trade union movement and indeed an entire nation facing severe repression at the hands of the military dictatorship.
  • Ömer Ongun is a diversity, equity and inclusion consultant and performing artist now living in Canada who will also speak. His partner, Cihan Erdal, a sociologist, peace and LGBTI+ activist and a member of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), is currently imprisoned in Turkey. Following his arrest last September, CUPE has campaigned for his release.
  • And finally, we’ll have Cheung-fung FAN from the Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions whose leader, Lee Cheuk-yan, has been subjected to ruthless persecution by the state.
Sign up here to register for the event.

Can you please encourage other members of your union to sign up to participate in this event?


The signup form is here: https://www.labourstart.org/go/1may2021.

And finally, we've designed a logo for the event (see top of page) and I encourage you to do as I've done and change your image on social media (Facebook, Twitter, etc) to this image -- until our event on May 2.

You will help to raise awareness throughout the international trade union movement if you publicly identify with the struggle to free jailed trade unionists in Belarus, Hong Kong, Iran, Myanmar, Turkey and elsewhere.

Monday, 26 April 2021

Riding The Rock Machine: British Classic Rock In the Seventies (Cherry Red Records)

The latest compilation from Cherry Red Records on their Grapefruit Label is this three CD collection of early Rock numbers from the seventies that includes many of the songs and bands that influenced my musical tastes. This was the age of prog Rock and Metal as it grew out of the late sixties music scene. 

This compilation includes so many well known bands from the time such as Uriah Heap, The Spencer Davis group, Medicine Head, Nazareth and many more plus so many bands I don't recall or have heard of including Agnes Strange, Duffy and National Flag. 

I'm sure depending on one's age the memories of this period will differ. My interest in music began whilst in secondary school and listening to the Old Grey Whistle Test and Radio Luxembourg.

In fact this compilation contains one of the three songs that really set the scene for my record buying including In My Own Time by Family the first single I ever purchased after nagging my dad to buy me a record player. Also included in this compilation is God Gave Rock And Roll To You from Argent's fourth album In Deep, whose previous release All Together Now was the first LP I ever got.

The third song which set my musical taste is not appropriate for this collection being from the American Band The Doors which I used to listen out for on the ever fading signal of Radio Luxembourg. 

There's so much variety on this album including tracks from Blackfoot Sue, Roxy Music, Thin Lizzy and others that make this one of the best compilations I picked up for a while which joins an ever growing collection of such releases from Cherry Red Records.


I also have their New Moons In The Sky and Peephole In My Brain compilations which cover records released on the Prog Rock scene in 1970 & 71 respectively plus Bubblegum Rock Is Here To Stay which covers pop music from 1970 to 73 is also a worthwhile buy.

Available from:  www.cherryred.co.uk

Wednesday, 21 April 2021

Gerard Coyne for Unite General Secretary


Gerard Coyne, Candidate for Unite General Secretary 

I believe Unite the Union needs to change. Our culture must change and our Union must modernise in order to be successful, effective and relevant.

If I am elected as your General Secretary, I will do far more to:
  • protect our members’ jobs and pay
  • support our reps and branches
  • respond to the changing world of work
  • organise in growing sectors of the economy

Gerard grew up in a trade union household and has been a trade unionist all his life. His dad was a firefighter and union rep, and his mum was the caretaker at a local school.

Gerard has always stood up to bullies. His first job was at Sainsbury’s, where the store manager was a bully.

Gerard joined the Union, recruited the other workers at his store, organised a new branch and stopped the bullying. That was over 35 years ago.

Gerard has been fighting for workers’ rights ever since.

Gerard served 28 years as an officer of Unite and its predecessor unions. He has deep industrial experience, supporting reps to win better pay and conditions for members across every sector of our Union, and fighting for equality and against discrimination in the workplace.

He has played a leading role in major industrial disputes, in company rescue deals, and in investment and regeneration projects.

Gerard was Regional Secretary for sixteen years until he was sacked by the Union after standing to be General Secretary in 2017.

He has continued to campaign for members and now he will stand to be the next General Secretary of Unite the Union in the 2021 election.

Gerard will focus Unite on its most important job: defending our members, standing up to bad employers, recruiting more workers into the Union, supporting our reps and branches so we can improve pay and conditions.

He is sick and tired of Unite messing about with Westminster politics and trying to be a backseat driver of the Labour Party.

Gerard has heard from reps up and down the country that they are not getting the help they need, when they need it. Many members have had to work hard through the pandemic, but they don’t feel their Union has worked for them.

He will focus on supporting the members, not playing political games or wasting their hard-earned money.

Unite has spent nearly £100 million building a hotel and conference centre in Birmingham. Gerard has called for a full, independent and published review into this project.

He will introduce a clear and transparent procurement policy and process, a code of conduct, a register of interests and a requirement to declare all gifts and benefits. These will apply to everyone in Unite including the General Secretary.

Gerard will make Unite a fairer, more transparent and more democratic union.

Gerard will not only change the culture of our Union, he will also modernise how we work and improve the services and support we deliver to members.

Our economy is changing fast, and facing the effects of Covid, different trade deals after Brexit, new technology and the need to address climate change.

He will make better use of technology and training to support reps and make membership of Unite better value for money, so we attract new members into our Union.

Gerard is developing industrial strategies to improve pay and conditions in consultation with reps for every sector of our Union. You can join the conversation and he wants to listen directly to your views.

Gerard will empower members and reps and will dedicate more resources to the branches and elected representatives of the Union.

Please vote for Gerard Coyne and sign up for his campaign: gerardcoyne.org.uk

Monday, 19 April 2021

Zionism: Jewish Self-determination


The time has come to start fighting back against the abuse and racism that the antisemites and their allies throw against Israel, it's people and it's supporters.  Although I would not describe myself as a Zionist (being a Freethinker) I do not believe the abuse the term gets is justified and will be supporting this month of action.

I fully support Israel's right to exist and will defend it against those who wish to destroy the world's only Jewish state whether it be through racism or more to the pont these days so-called anti-imperialists and the far-left who have appropriated a conflict they deliberately distort as part of their anti-capitalist world agenda.

Zionism Month 2021 Starts Today

Zionism Month is a month of positive promotional activity about the concept of Zionism, which is being promoted jointly by We Believe in Israel (WBII) and the Zionist Federation (ZF).

We want to spread an understanding both of the historical logic and context behind the Zionist movement and the creation of Israel, and the contemporary necessity for Jewish (and other peoples’) national self-determination.

How do we define Zionism?

There are many different strands of Zionist thought. All of these can be celebrated during Zionism Month.

One aim is to promote Zionism month to audiences outside the Jewish Community, promoting a simple core understanding of Zionism that all Zionists can agree on, but which may not be familiar to people in the UK who have only heard the word Zionism used pejoratively by Israel’s enemies.

We are therefore describing Zionism as support for Jewish national self-determination through the creation, existence, and continued support for a Jewish State in Israel.

When is Zionism month 2021?

April 12-May 14 seemed the most appropriate period because it coincides with Theodore Herzl’s birthday (2 May), Yom Hazikaron (Israel’s Remembrance day 13-14 April) and Yom Ha’atzmaut (Israeli Independence Day -14-15 April) as well as the Gregorian anniversary of Israeli Independence (14 May).

Out of respect for the Royal Family, and to observe the mourning period for His Royal Highness Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, we chose to delay the launch of Zionism Month to today, Monday 19 April.


We are organising this month of activity with these objectives:

Objective 1: To re-establish the core arguments for Israel’s legitimacy as a state and the core case for the Zionist project with key political stakeholders and the wider public.

Objective 2: To reinvigorate the conversation around, and engagement with Zionism.

Objective 3: For people to be able to talk about their identity and beliefs in a positive way

Further Reading:

Case for Israel flyer: download here

Israel and Zionism Know Your Facts booklet: download here

Campaign Pack: download here

Join the Campaign: www.webelieveinisrael.org.

Wednesday, 14 April 2021

"Militant" stands 330 candidates under the TUSC banner in local elections

The Socialist Party one of the three remaining fragments of the old Militant Tendency has announced that it will be standing 330 candidates* in the various local, devolved and London Assembly elections including a couple of Mayoral positions including Liverpool. In this they are assisted by the RMT trade union and have picked up Chris Williamson's micro outfit "Resist" plus a few ex-Labour Party members.

This intervention is much weaker than in the past as the Socialist Party had a major split before the pandemic losing perhaps some 400 members plus the bast bulk of their version of the Fourth International though Peter Taffe managed to hang n to the CWI's money much to the chagrin of his former allies around the world.

The SP also managed to lose the bulk of it's experienced and well placed trade unionists inside the PCS union who now organise around Socialist Voice and remain cheerleaders for Mark Serwotka. The remains of Militant's supporters have rallied around Marion Lloyd who failed in her challenge against the leadership though remains on the unions NEC

The new breakaway group Socialist Alternative is barely able to publish a regular newspaper and the other grouping Socialist Appeal remains buried in Labour  operating against party rules with sme 400 plus supporters and a fortnightly paper.

The TUSC state that:

Candidates now agreed include an executive council member of the Bakers, Food and Allied Workers Union (BFAWU); four members of UNISON's national executive; two members of the UNISON Local Government Service Group Executive, plus the secretary of Glasgow Unison, the branch which led the magnificent equal pay strike in 2018; a former member of the RMT transport workers' national executive; leaders of the 'NHS workers say no' campaign and two of the original McStrikers.

And along with a number of former Labour councillors standing as TUSC, we now have two TUSC candidates who were previously general election candidates for Labour in December 2019, just 14 months ago.

The TUSC candidate for Gloucestershire County Council, Alan McKenzie in Cirencester Park, previously Labour's parliamentary candidate for The Cotswolds, has been joined by James Osben, standing for TUSC for a seat on Devon County Council, who was Labour's candidate for Newton Abbot constituency in both 2017 and 2019.

James's campaign increased Labour's vote in 2017 to 11,689, it highest ever in the constituency. Explaining his decision to stand under the TUSC umbrella, James said: "I can't support the Labour Party under its current leadership. I am not willing to sacrifice my values and principles to try and fit in with the neo-liberal establishment".

The TUSC has also decided to back Thelma Walker of the Northern Incidence Party in the Hartlepool by-election. In the London Assembly elections they will be competing against the Communist Party for the hard core far left vote.

It seems that Corbyn's departure has returned so many of his supporters and opportunistic followers to the fringes of political life. These candidates will get the derisory votes they deserve and show their true political nature that of an unpalatable extremism that never had any place in a democratic party. Communists and Trotskyists only care about ideology not actual people as the history of their murderous movements has shown. 


*Full list of TUSC Candidates can be found here: www.tusc.org.uk/txt

Tuesday, 13 April 2021

The Communist Party launch electoral challenge to Labour

After having "stood aside" for Jeremy Corbyn  (which says a lot abut the movement around him) the Communist Party is today launching it's Manifesto for the local elections today . The Morning Star   reported yesterday that:

The party is standing its biggest slate of candidates since the 1980s after six years in which it didn’t stand — calling, as did much of the revolutionary left, for maximum support for Labour during the Jeremy Corbyn years.....

The Communist Party’s election campaign will be a significant contribution to the revival of a militant and combative socialist movement.

The Communist Party of Britain is standing 9 candidates in the London Assembly (lists) elections and in selected areas across the UK where it still retains members and a small level of organisation as the parry is a pale refection of itself from the old CPGB days, even having it's original name nicked by a tiny faction around The Leninist who now publish the Weekly Worker.

The CPB not only recently celebrated it's own centenary but also decided to praise the anniversary of the founding of that paragon of working class freedom the Chinese Communist Party. In fact of late more than a few Mao quotes have found their way into tweets.

That the Chinese are under the spotlight for oppressing the Uyghurs and have even been accused of genocide. This is either dismissed or ignored by the comrades who also fully support the continued occupation of Tibet.

So much for their credentials as paragons of virtue but what would anyone expect of a party that lives in the tradition of Lenin and Stalin whose Soviet Union and the Communist movement they sponsored is responsible for more starvation and mass murder than even the fascists of the Second World War. 

Why these charlatans continue to be given any credence in light of all the evidence of the crimes of Marxism-Leninism in all it's forms is something the chattering classes have a lot to answer for.

Of course It's unlikely that the CPB will make much of an impact and will find itself competing with a number of other far-left and equally deranged outfits including the bizarre Northern Independence Party and the Militant backed Traded Unionist & Socialist Coalition starring Chris Williamson as their latest ally.

Sunday, 11 April 2021

Hartlepool By-Election, 16 Candidates and a National Socialist in the Northern Independence Party


The forthcoming Hartlepool by-election promises to be interesting even if only for te number of candidates vying for the vote. Currently a Labour held seat a recent poll has put the Conservative Party on target for picking up the seat. In that quest the Tories have found unlikely allies in the for of former Labour MP Thelma Walker and her Corbyn supporting friends who are setting out to prove Keir Starmer unelectable.

According to the local paper Walker is standing as an "Independent" candidate rather than a Norther Independence Party which the comrades have formed to bring a new nationalism into the political mix as they have run out of other ways to attract attention for their ches-thumping socialism.  There was a problem with the new party being "nipped" in the bud as they didn't even manage to fill in the registration form properly when applying to the Electoral Commission.

The full slate of candidates announced in The Northern Echo are

David Bettney, Social Democratic Party; The Incredible Flying Brick, Monster Raving Loony Party; Hilton Dawson, The North East Party; Gemma Evans, Women's Equality Party; Rachel Featherstone, The Green Party; Adam Gaines, Independent; Andrew Hagon, Liberal Democrat; Steve Jack, Freedom Alliance; Chris Killick; Sam Lee, Independent; Claire Martin, Heritage Party; Jill Mortimer, Conservative Party; John Prescott, Reform UK; Thelma Walker, Independent; W. Ralph Ward-Jackson, Independent; and Paul Williams, Labour Party.

One disturbing little feature about the Norther Indpendence Party which simply crows old failed Corbyn policies such as boycotting Israel and Trans-rights which must be the two most important issues facing Hartlepool and Norther voters) is their Press/Media Officer:


Nassour seems to have changed his Twitter profile since originally published as someone probably told him to lose the descriptor National Socialist. Now he describes himself as:

I'm Maher Nassour. I was born in England to 2 Syrians, An English identity and a Syrian identity. I am a Ba'athist, Bennite, and a Republican.

Nassour also thinks : "Syria is the only progressive country in the Middle East". 

Tell that to the victims of Assad eh comrades. Ba'athism is he Arab version of Stalinism as practised by Assad and Saddam Hussein. 

Oh and the charming National Socialist has been deleting dodgy tweets about erm guess who..... I wonder what he has to hide?

Nassour lives Battersea by the way...... capital of the North it would seem!

Sunday, 4 April 2021

The Labour Campaign for Free Speech censors criticism without debate!


"We stand for unrestricted freedom of speech and publication. Open debate and the right to question ideas, conventions, rules and laws are fundamental democratic rights."

"If free speech doesn’t include the right to offend it is meaningless"

Labour Campaign for Free Speech

These basic tenets of free speech as proposed by the comrades of the so-called Labour Campaign for Free Speech sound highly laudable except they don't actually believe in them.

This group organised a demonstration to support David Miller whose aggressiveness towards Jewish tudents at his University would be clearly racist if aimed at any other ethnic group. Now Free speech is important but we as a society do have limitations especially when hate speech leads to discrimination and puts individuals and groups in potential and real physical danger.

Miller can say what he likes but whether his campaigning is compatible with his role in an academic which brings him into contact with the very people he dismisses as "agents of a foreign power" is something which is highly questionable.

The groups which back him also include Labour In Exile (LIE) who have been shy about a proposal to set up a neo-fascist Anti-Zionist Action campaign seeking out the personal details of where people like me and my family live so others can act. 

Along with Labour Against the Witch Hunt (LAW who campaign for the re-admission of those expelled for antisemitism and other offences plus the equally dangerous Labour left alliance established by renegade members of the Communist Party Of Great Britain (CPGB/Weekly Worker) fail to recognise another problem that actually that no one is censoring them it's just their views are incompatible with membership of the Labour Party.

I already challenged LIE and found my comments removed despite an initial response from one of their admin (believed to be Tina Werkman ex CPGB who accidentally clicked on a friend request after trawling through my personal Facebook timeline. I challenged their removal and found myself banned from commenting. 

Werkman is active in LIW. LAW, and all these other little front organisations including the "Labour Campaign for Free Speech" who I challenged firstly by asking if they would defend Alison Chabloz (who was was imprisoned for holding some views similar to their own) and attaching the Daily Mail article reporting this. A sarcastic comment I admit but rather than debate they removed so I responded thus:

So much for "free speech" and educating through debate if you remove my comment and challenge eh "comrades". It's clear that your campaign isn't about anything but Jew, sorry Zionist bashing defending the worst individuals the so-called "left" has produced. Not sure Miller is on the left in any shape or form. Seems far right to me. I expect you'll block me next like when I challenged your sister organisation LIE.

You can guess what happened.

The Labour Campaign for Free Speech is a fake. Along with the other groups which include individuals who tried to drive the Jewish Labour Movement, one of the Party's oldest affiliates out of the Labour Party. Free speech is only for them and the Jew baiters they seek to defend.

The members of these groups do no belong inside the Labour Party nor frankly decent society. That their views are abhorrent I wouldn't seek to ban them any more than the BNP or National Front with whom they have so much in common. 

Concentration camps or Gulags? Neither thanks!

Thursday, 1 April 2021

Antisemites marching in defence of David Miller


A collection of individuals who have been expelled or suspended from the Labour Party for a variety of reasons including antisemitism proved why they remain unfit to be in a mainstream political party by marching in defence of David Miller whose aggressive campaigning against Jewish students can only be seen as racist. 

Miller, like his supporters attempt to dehumanise Jewish Students by references by trying to pretend this is all about so-called "Zionism" when their actions if aimed at any other ethnic group would be condemned as racist expose these so-called left wingers for what they really are.

The demo organised by Esther Giles on behalf of the laughably named Labour Campaign for Free Speech which coronations individuals who want to expel the Jewish Labour Movement from the Labour Party and seek to ban Jewish Societies in Universities. The irony seems lost on them.

Labour Against Antisemitism issued the following statement yesterday:

"The failure of Bristol University to effectively address David Miller’s antisemitic comments continues to place their Jewish students at risk. The group of hard left extremists about to descend on Bristol, in an apparent show of support for Professor Miller, should not be allowed to step foot on campus. Some of those involved have recently threatened antisemitism activists online, and are reportedly currently under police investigation.

Instead of prioritising student welfare, Bristol University have shown they cannot guarantee the safety of minority groups. They complacently allowed a member of their teaching staff to promote racist conspiracies in their lecture halls, which in turn put Jewish students at risk, and now we await what could be a dangerous confrontation between students and violent political agitators.

It is beyond time that the threat of left wing antisemitism was properly recognised. As with the Labour Party, the Bristol University authorities have been slow to act - except now it is Jewish students, and not the wider community, who bear the brunt of others incompetence."

Left-wing antisemitism must be recognised as a threat to the Jewish community and cannot be hidden under the guise of so-called anti-Zionism. Both concepts are racist!