Monday, 30 March 2015

Taxpayers Against Poverty ELECTION SPECIAL

TAP ELECTION SPECIAL 

It is the tenants of the UK who have been made to pay for the failures of the banks and the housing market;  and the failure of Parliament to create a just housing policy.  


“Lifting the lid on austerity Britain reveals a perfect storm - and it’s forcing more and more people into poverty.” 

The Charity Commission rapped OXFAM’s knuckles saying they "should have done more to avoid any misperception of political bias". 

TAP is not a charity – our political bias is with and for the poorest tenant citizens of the UK who pay 30% of their income in indirect taxes, pay ever increasing rents and since 2008 have had their benefits reduced and then taxed in April 2013.  

OXFAM UNDERSTATED THE DEPTH OF POVERTY INFLICTED ON BENEFIT CLAIMANTS IN WORK AND UNEMPLOYMENT SINCE 2008. 

The poster listed zero hours contracts, high prices, unemployment, child care costs 

In fact it understated the depth of poverty inflicted on UK citizens by Parliament in the name of austerity since the collapse of the banks in 2008. OXFAM could have added sanctions, bedroom tax, £500 CAP, council taxation of benefits, ever increasing rents and food banks. 

The consequential impact of shredding benefits on income after rent and council tax have been paid creates unmanageable debt, despair, mental and physical illness  at great cost to NHS, employers and the tenants themselves. 

Women are being denied a healthy diet before they conceive and while they are pregnant so increasing the risks of low birthweight and permanent damage to the mental and physical health of their babies. The cost a healthy diet,  keeping warm and cooking, cannot be met due to ever increasing rents. 

It is the tenants of the UK who have been made to pay for the failures of the banks and the housing market;  and the failure of Parliament to create a just housing policy.  

TENANTS ARE PAYING AN EVER INCREASING PROPORTION OF THEIR INCOME IN RENTS. 

Based on the 2011 Census data we know that 33.1% of households in England live in rented accommodation (social and private rented) 47.8% in London and 58.2% in Haringey where I live – most of them in Tottenham

The banks caused their own collapse by lending recklessly to home buyers and buy-to-let landords in a housing market in short supply since the 1980s. The price of housing, land values and rents therefore escalated upwards. Home owners and landords got ever wealthier and still do today. 

Parliament caused the rise in the welfare bill by paying out billions in housing benefit to the profit of landords. £22 billion in 2008 and £24 billion last year.  Now help to buy, right to buy, a flood of pension cash and the freedom of landowners to hold the public to ransom before building more homes continue to stoke up the price of a home and therefor the rents of the tenants. 

If you are property tycoon, a home owner or a landlord you are sitting pretty getting wealthier. 

If you are a tenant in Tottenham all you have to look forward to is increasing rents, demolition of your council estate, food banks or eviction out of town because you cannot pay the rent.  

The developers bandwagon is rolling over the security of tenure of the tenants of the UK with the support of the powers that be both local and national. 


​                                                                     from the ​
Rev Paul Nicolson

Taxpayers Against Poverty
No British citizen without an affordable home and an adequate income in work or unemployment. 


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Sunday, 29 March 2015

"Boom Bust Boom Bust: Why Economics is for Everyone"

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You are invited to attend:

 

"Boom Bust Boom Bust: Why Economics is for Everyone"

This is your reminder, tickets are now selling out!

 

Tuesday, March 31, 2015 9:00 AM until Thursday, April 2, 2015 5:00 PM
“Boom, Bust, Boom, Bust: Why Economics is for Everyone” is an (un)conference running from 31st March-2nd April at the University of Manchester, Speakers include Martin Wolf, Ha­Joon Chang, Claire Jones, Paul Mason, Vicky Pryce, Diane Coyle, Alan Kirman, Nick Mathiason, Jill Rubery, Victoria Chick and many more. We are holding the premier of Terry Jones’ new documentary on financial crises Boom Bust Boom which includes life size singing puppets and economics themed spoken word workshops run by Young Identity, this has however unfortunately not sold out. However, the most important part of an (un)conference is the participants who bring life and energy to it all.
We believe that all citizens in the UK must have a basic knowledge of economics and the confidence to use it both as a requirement for democracy to function effectively and for our own well-being. Understanding a bit about economics and fostering a civil society in which it is vigorously discussed can help us feel more in control of our lives. This is why economics is for everybody.

We hope to see you there,

Post-Crash Economics Society & Rethinking Economics
 

Saturday, 28 March 2015

London Federation of Green Parties speakers meeting 24/3/2015 “The first Swedish Green government is here but how green is it?”



 London Federation of Green Parties speakers meeting 24/3/2015

 PETER GILLJOM: “The first Swedish Green government is here but how green is it?”

 The last Swedish election resulted in a historic victory for the Green Party, not in figures but in the outcome: Finally the Green Party is part of a governmental coalition. This presentation will explain the Swedish political landscape as of the last election (Sep 14, 2014) and the critique that the Green Party has received since.

 Peter Gilljom has been an elected member of the board of public health and sports for the Green Party in the city of Borås and coordinator for the borough of Östermalm in Stockholm for the Green Party.

Bristol Councils Austerity Budget and media silence

from https://agreentradeunionist.wordpress.com/2015/03/28/bristol-councils-austerity-budget-and-media-silence/ by William Quick

propaganda
The cornerstone of a healthy democracy is a well informed electorate.  To be able to have an objective view on the key
issues that effect our lives and how our representatives (or
would be representatives as we enter the election period)
respond to these issues people need information.  Without
this information how can people claim to be making an 
informed choice and doing anything other than ‘tribally’ 
voting for the person or party they like best? Our media supposedly fulfills this key societal function of informing 
people as to what’s actually going on in the world around 
them, and what our elected officials are doing (or not doing)
about it.  Sadly our media lets us down.
There are countless examples both nationally and locally of
how our media fails to hold the powerful in our society to
account; and how by outrageous bias in presenting the facts
(or simply not presenting them at all) it enables politicians
and corporate interests to get away with horrendous injustices.
In recent years this can be seen most starkly in the way the
popular press runs a plethora of articles focusing on benefit
fraud by people at the bottom of our society whilst ignoring
tax avoidance by people at the top.  Benefit fraud, whilst being repugnant, is an extremely marginal activity that costs the
treasury inconsequential sums when compared to industrial
scale tax avoidance by the super rich and multinational corporations, which in comparison receives almost no
coverage.  This then creates an atmosphere in which
politicians can attack  the benefits (and wider welfare state) the disadvantaged and vulnerable in our society rely on
whilst ignoring the crimes of the elite (who just so happen to
be their friend, peers, and in many instances financial pay-
masters).  It also creates a symbiotic relationship between 
politics, press and people, where the government cuts 
benefits to disabled people, the press increasingly only 
refers to disabled people in ever more negative ways,
and people responding to this negative messaging 
increasingly turn on the disabled.  Since 2007/8
there has been a 213% increase in reported hate crime
against disabled people.
Innumerable social thinkers have come back to this issue,
to me one of the most enduringly persuasive accounts of
this is in Edward Herman and Noam Chomsky’s 
Propaganda Model. Chomsky and Herman outline the 
structural propensity for a marketised for profit media to marginalise alternative views and set the terms of reference
for debates.  Far from being a conscious conspiracy by the
elite, it is more the natural result of the functioning of the 
market economy in media.  George Monbiot’s recently 
touched on the issue during his talk in Bristol where he
examined some‘socially constructed silences’. These are 
important issues (such as the role of fossil fuel
extraction in climate change – a subject which has never
been discussed at any of the international talks on limiting
greenhouse gas emissions) around which artificial silences
have been created in the media (and society at large) to
protect vested interests.  Say what you will about Russel
Brand but some of his ‘TREWS’ videos highlighting the 
abject corruption and bias of much of the media, especially
the Murdoch empire and the Sun are extremely compelling
and convincing (it's especially heartening to see how many 
views his videos on this subject can get, bringing these issues
to new and wider audiences) e.g.
This is an issue that isn’t going to go away and we need as
 many people vocally challenging this state of affairs as
 possible if we are to have any hope of it improving.
For me, what has really highlighted how poorly we our
served by our media locally was the reportage of this years
budget setting meeting of the Bristol City Council.  I say
reportage but that’s probably a strange term to use as there
was none.  Previous budgets were reported in all the local
press, the Bristol Post, Bristol 24/7, even the Jack FM
website ran a piece of ‘churnalism’ on the core facts.
Previous budgets even made it into national news outlets
(not surprisingly as Bristol is one of the largest cities in
the UK) like theBBC and the Guardian, etc.  Yet this year
there was nothing.  (The BBC decided to report on the recent extension of the Resident Parking Scheme –
which will have a small impact on a lot of people and may
be extremely important to a very small minority, but surely
must be less important and is going to have less of an impact
than a budget with millions of pounds worth of cuts to local services?).  Before the actual budget setting meeting itself
the local media posted a few token articles from quiet narrow
party political positions, explaining various parties position
 on council tax (inconsequential rises or complete freezes)
– without any consideration of the context of the wider
austerity budget. For example:
The only immediate releases in the wake of the budget
passing, was in relation to the threatened closure of 
Libraries.  Obviously the closure of libraries is a very
important issue that impacts on a lot of peoples lives, 
so it’s only natural it should be reported on. But again, 
without the context of the large budget cuts of which
the cuts to libraries are just a small part, the reports
were quite useless; and would give the uninformed
observer a verymisleading impression of which of their
elected officials were the most responsible.  Why is
there such silence?
Someone has suggested to me that the local media to
some extent is prepared to downplay stories overly hostile
to the mayor.  Such an explanation would seem far too conspiratorial for me, but the complete lack of coverage 
for what to me seems to be the most important meeting and 
event in the council calender does make me wonder what
on earth is going on? I suppose part of the answer must be
that because its the second year of a three year budget this individual year could seem less important.  But even so, 
you’d think they’d give it at least a cursory glance.
If you wanted to know about the budget, the only coverage
has come from the websites of local political parties (who are naturally going to have a bias in favor of their Councillors
and the position they adopted), or the council website itself,
 e.g.
These of course just uncritically post rose tinted views about
how great the mayor and council have been in managing to
pass a balanced budget, and their efforts to ‘modernise’ services whilst delivering ‘fiscal responsibility’.  An insultingly disproportionate amount of text is devoted to outlining the
one off additional spending as a result of the extra council tax
that was collected last year.  Whilst I’m sure this extra £3m will
be very appreciated, compared to the £90m (and nearly 1000
 jobs) lost over the 3 year period (and the £90m already lost)
its completely inconsequential, and these cuts are only 
glossed over in passing.
A local press worth its name wouldn’t allow the mayor and council’s official exposition of the events to go
unchallenged.  We have to be critical of political authority.
Its the only way we can ever hope to challenge corruption
and vested interests within our society.  The council budget,
and the lack of press interest makes me despair.  When
Bristolians go to the polls in May, to make an informed decision surely they need to know how their representatives stood up for them (or didn’t) in this most
important issue?  I’d like to offer some in depth analysis of
how the different parties voted on the budget, but fear I
have made this post already too long.  In short, for very
 different reasons the Liberal Democrats and the Greens
(the latter on a principled anti-austerity line) voted against
the budget; the Mayor’s austerity budget passed with the
support of an unholy alliance of Conservative and Labour councillors (who for their part exacted slight tokenistic
 amendments in return for their support).
The mainstream press can’t be relied on.  Our only hope is
the development of independent media (like the Bristol Cable)
and social media (blogs like Another Angry Voice).  These
allow us to see events free from the corrupting corporate
influence that so dogs the mainstream press, and offers a
place to keep radical and alternative ideas alive.  Read these,
create your own media, complain to the Bristol Post and
Bristol 24/7 for their shocking lack of coverage, and question everything.  The power is in our hands
.

Friday, 27 March 2015

Mitchell Abidor and Ian Birchall present Jean Jaurès' A Socialist History of the French Revolution



Bookmarks the socialist bookshop
1 Bloomsbury Street, WC1B 3QE London, United Kingdom
Tuesday 26 May, 6.30pm, £2

'Every revolutionary party, every oppressed people, every oppressed working class can claim Jaurès, his memory, his example, and his person, for our own' - Leon Trotsky

Jean Jaurès was the celebrated French Socialist Party leader, assassinated in 1914 for trying to use diplomacy and industrial action to prevent the outbreak of war. Published just a few years before his death, his magisterial A Socialist History of the French Revolution, has endured for over a century as one of the most influential accounts of the French Revolution ever to be published.

Mitchell Abidor’s long-overdue translation and abridgement of Jaurès’s original 6-volumes brings this exceptional work to an Anglophone audience for the first time.

Written in the midst of his activities as leader of the Socialist Party and editor of its newspaper, L’Humanité, Jaurès intended the book to serve as both a guide and an inspiration to political activity; even now it can serve to do just that. Abidor’s accomplished translation, and Jaurès’s verve, originality and willingness to criticise all players in this great drama make this a truly moving addition to the shelf of great books on the French Revolution.

About The Author
Jean Jaurès (3 September 1859 – 31 July 1914) was a French Socialist who became the leader, in 1902, of the French Socialist Party, which opposed Jules Guesde's revolutionary Socialist Party of France. The two parties merged in 1905 in the French Section of the Workers' International (SFIO). An antimilitarist, Jaurès was assassinated at the outbreak of World War I, and remains one of the main historical figures of the French Left.

Mitchell Abidor (Translator) books include anthologies of of Victor Serge, the Paris Commune, the left of the French Revolution, as well as the novella A Raskolnikov by Emmanuel Bove. He lives in Brooklyn.

Ian Birchall is a Marxist historian and translator, and author of numerous articles and books, particularly relating to the French Left and the Rebel's Guide to Lenin.

Thursday, 26 March 2015

Protest: Monday 30th March, 9.30am, Barnet County Court, St Marys court, Regents Park Road, N3 1BQ

The People's Assembly Against Austerity
Peter --

As the housing crisis deepens across the capital with more and more evictions taking place, so does the housing movement campaigning for decent affordable housing for all.

The Sweets Way estate in Barnet has been occupied by activists in protest against the evictions which have taken place there by Annington Homes Ltd, the owners of the houses and land.

Annington Homes have responded with a County Court Possession Order but also an attempt to put an injunction on all the land.

We need your support on Monday morning at the courts. Annington have a well-paid team of lawyers who will use every trick in the book to not only evict the Sweets Way social centre, but also to criminalise protest across the whole estate (where families are still living).

Protest: Monday 30th March, 9.30am, Barnet County Court, St Marys court, Regents Park Road, N3 1BQ

For more information on the campaign, read & share this article from Janette Evans(one of the organisers of the campaign)



End Austerity Now
National Demonstration: Saturday 20 June
Assemble 12pm, Bank of England (Queen Victoria St) City of London
Nearest tube: Bank
Organised by The People's Assembly

More info | Invite your friends on Facebook

leaflet_front_demo_20_june.jpg


The People's Assembly Against Austerity
http://www.thepeoplesassembly.org.uk/
The People's Assembly Against Austerity · United Kingdom
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Stand Up to Racism Day

 with acknowledgements to wembley matters http://wembleymatters.blogspot.co.uk/



Today was Stand Up to Racism Day in London, part of the UN's International Day for the
Elimination of Racial Discrimination. It is celebrated on March 21st because that is the day
in 1960 when 69 people were killed by police who opened fire on an anti-pass laws demonstrators
in Sharpville, South Africa.

Sharpville was an event that seared itself on my memory as it did many of my generation. LINK

It was fitting that in an event  founded on marking the crimes of South African apartheid that
Friends of Al AqsaLINK were in Trafalgar Square collecting messages calling for the end of the
apartheid wall in Israel that separates Palestinians from each other and from Israel.

The public were asked to write a message on the wall which included the statement from
Nelson Mandela: 'Our freedom is incomplete without the freedom of the Palestinian people'.






















Rebecca Johnson, Green candidate for Hampstead and Kilburn Stands Up to Racism

Although I marched with the Green Party is was good to see
Brent Anti-Racism Campaign on the march with their much admired banner.