Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Stop the War updates/Gaza - keep up the pressure/Nato protests/Anniversary of First World War

Stop the War

Israel's attacks on Gaza - keep up the pressure

Gaza demoThank you to everyone for making the solidarity protests with Gaza such a huge success over the weekend. There were protests across the country, and another huge London demo which even the police put at 45,000. There is outrage at the continued attacks on Gaza by the Israelis, the killing of demonstrators in the West Bank, and the weasely support for Netanyahu from the western leaders, backed up by the media and especially the BBC.

Against Israel's Attacks on Gaza - Free Palestine!
Israeli Embassy, London - 5.30pm-7.30pm
Friday 1st August
Nearest tube: High Street Kensington

Israel is resisting a ceasefire which actually forces them to withdraw, because they want to continue destroying the tunnels under Gaza which are a lifeline to the people there. 

The solidarity movement is absolutely essential as a counterweight to this narrative. We have shown that it is a growing and international movement with many people linking the issue of Palestine to wider issues of war.

There will be a protest outside the Israeli embassy in Kensington this Friday evening and a number of local protests across the country. We are asking everyone to hold a protest where they are to ensure that the voice of Gaza solidarity keeps being heard and reaches new audiences.

Stop the War local groups and becoming an activist

If you want to get involved with Stop the War, contact us. If there is a local groups in your area get in touch because particularly at times like this they will need your support. If not, why don't you help set one up? For more details, advice and materials to get you set up phone 0207 561 4830.

The latest on Gaza from the Stop the War web site:

Free Gaza merchandise and the Gaza Emergency Appeal

T-shirt and badgeThe popular Free Gaza badges we sold last Saturday are a great way to raise the profile of our campaign and raise money for the movement.

We are asking local Stop the War groups to hold stalls this week to highlight the issues and build the protests.

Stock up with merchandise for your stall by calling the office, or you can purchase individual items at the Stop the War shop.

The Gaza Emergency Appeal is helping us to build a strong campaign. If you haven't already, please consider donating below. Every penny counts.


You can donate in the following ways

  • Online Make a payment on the Stop the War web site
  • Telephone 020 7561 4830
  • Post Cheques made payable to Stop the War Coalition, 86 Durham Road, London N7 7DT

Nato protests

Just a month away from the Nato summit in south Wales, we need to draw together different strands of anti war and solidarity protest together to create a series of protests which show the opposition to Nato policies.

Nato expansion in eastern Europe has created a new cold war, with growing tensions over Ukraine. Policies in Afghanistan have been disastrous. Libya, hailed as a successful intervention three years ago, has descended into chaos and conflict. Palestine and the wider Middle East are war torn.

Coaches are going to Newport from across the country.

See the Stop the War web site for full details

Anniversary of First World War 

6.30-8pm Monday 4th Parliament Square
actors, activists and celebrities reading, speeches, and music
Nearest tube: Westminster

No Glory will be holding an event in Parliament Square next Monday to mark the anniversary. Unlike the government backed events, it will be saying that there is no glory in war, and calling for a future based on peace. Please attend or hold your own local events to send a message that we do not want the sacrifice of so many used to defend present and future wars.

See the No Glory web site for full details

Stop the War Coalition | office@stopwar.org.uk | 020 7561 4830

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Monday, 28 July 2014

London Protest Against Israel's Attacks on Gaza - Free Palestine!

London Protest Against Israel's Attacks on Gaza - Free Palestine!

London Protest Against Israel's Attacks on Gaza - Free Palestine!

5.30pm –7.30pm Friday 1 August Israeli EmbassyKensington High StreetLondon W8 4QB

Nearest tube: High St Ken. For travel check here

Details here on Facebook

Sunday, 27 July 2014

Wembley mums set up Eid supermarket boycott campaign for the children of Gaza

A group of Wembley mothers, sickened by the sight of children being murdered in Gaza, have set up their own campaign over Eid  to boycott large supermarkets that sell Israeli produce.

This is what they say on their Facebook page:



This group has been created because of the affinity mothers and grandmothers feel for the plight of the people of Palestine. In this month of July 2014 Israel has mercilessly bombed Gaza resulting in countless deaths, suffering, trauma and horrendous injuries, mental and physical.


We feel helpless as we do not have much power to effect justice for the Palestinians, who have suffered for decades. But what power we do have is our spending power. We often make the decisions in our families on what we purchase for our families and homes. And now we are using this power to force change.

In the first instance, we want to use this power to transform our buying patterns and to boycott companies, supermarkets and other outlets that sell produce from Israel and the Occupied Territories. We are bringing our local Mums together to effect real change - because money speaks!
We have had enough of British companies propping up Israel economically, which allow it to act with impunity. We will no longer be complicit in this genocide because we will no longer buy Israeli & OT produce. We will run Total Boycott Strikes targeting all the supermarkets until they comply with our demands.

We are demanding that all supermarkets:

• Stop sourcing all their produce from Israel
• Stop sourcing their produce from the Occupied Territories
• Support Palestinian Farmers and other ethical producers around the world

We are an organic movement of Mums of all backgrounds and this is only the beginning. We are not going to stop until children of Gaza can sleep safely in their beds in a free Palestine and there is a JUST resolution for the Palestinians.

‪#‎FreePalestine‬ ‪#‎FreeGaza‬ ‪#‎Boycott4childrenofgaza‬


Follow on Twitter @Mums4gazakids

acknowledgements to http://wembleymatters.blogspot.co.uk/

Thursday, 24 July 2014

Funding crisis threatens Kew

Globally important conservation and science are under threat at Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew due to government cuts

Globally important conservation and science at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, andWakehurst Place, its Sussex estate, are under threat because of a steep reduction in funding from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.
More than 100,000 people across the globe have signed a petition calling on the UK government to urgently reverse existing, proposed and further cuts to Kew’s annual operating grant in aid.
Protesters deliver petition to Downing StreetKew’s most important global contribution is its plant science. It maintains the world’s premier plant and fungal collections, including 30,000 living plants, one billion seeds and the DNA of 20% of the world’s plant species. Without these collections and expertise, plant conservation stops.
In 1983, 90% of Kew’s funding came from the UK government as grant in aid. By 2014, this had fallen to below 40%. Funding was reduced by £0.9m in 2009-10, £1m in 2010-11, and by an extra £0.5m year-on-year thereafter.
Prospect wrote to the environment secretary Owen Paterson in June 2014 calling for:
  • additional interim funding for Kew
  • an assurance that Defra is opposed to Kew making any compulsory redundancies
  • a review of Kew’s funding arrangements to ensure long-term clarity and security.
The union said it was incongruous that the Department for Business, Innovation and Science is investing over £1bn in life sciences, yet one of the UK’s pre-eminent life science institutions is being irrevocably compromised by short-sighted cuts.
Kew has already lost approximately 50 posts, vacancies are not being filled and management is planning the loss of a further 50-70 posts. Most of the endangered jobs are in the areas of science and public engagement.
Cutting staff reduces Kew’s capacity to fulfil its statutory obligations, to carry out its leading science and conservation, and to generate its own revenue.
Successive independent reviews of Kew have praised the quality and value of its scientific work and recommended that its public funding be maintained or increased.
Broadcaster and naturalist Sir David Attenborough said: “Kew has an absolutely crucial role in looking after out botanical heritage and our botanical future. The important thing to remember is that it is the premiere botanical gardens in the world scientifically.
“People who think it is just a place to go to look at pretty flowers and flower beds are mistaking the importance of Kew Gardens”. He added that the Seed Bank is of world importance and should be supported by the government like a proper institution or university. 
  • The earth is losing one major drug plant every two years – yet we’ve researched less than 3% of tropical plants for new drugs.
  • 80% of the world relies on plants for medicine, yet 15,000 medicinal plants are threatened with extinction worldwide.
  • 70% of the top-selling pharmaceutical drugs are directly or indirectly derived from natural sources – primarily plants and fungi.
What you can do
Sign the petition: http://bit.ly/save_kew
Visit the campaign website: http://kewcuts.org
Follow the campaign on Twitter: @KewCuts and Facebook: Stop Kew Cuts
Hashtag: #kewcuts

from Prospect website acknowledgements to Martin Francis

Green Party Calls For a Wealth Tax

Green Party Calls For a Wealth Tax

24 July 2014
THE Green Party, the only party committed to progressive policies that tackle Britain’s persistent inequality problem head on, is calling for a Wealth Tax on the top 1%, those with assets of more than £3million. 
The Green Party, which is already fighting for a Living Wage for all (1) and fairer company-wide pay ratios, says a tax on wealth would help to ensure that the richest 1% (300,000 people) pay their fair share back to society. 
The richest 1000 people have doubled their wealth in the last five years (2). Meanwhile, the number in poverty has risen (3) and the queues at food banks have lengthened (4). 
Policies that tackle the disparities in income do not necessarily address the problem of excessive wealth. That is why an annual wealth tax which taxes the assets of the wealthiest at a rate of 1% which would raise approximately £21billion is needed. 
Natalie Bennett, Leader of the Green Party of England and Wales, revealed the Party’s commitment to a Wealth Tax ahead of the General Election live on LBC’s Duncan Barkes Show. 
Bennett said:
“Our strong General election polling (5) and surge in membership (6) goes to show that the Green Party’s commitment to people over profits policies are really hitting home. The Green Party is prepared to take principled stands and an increasing number of voters recognise and value this. 
“Other political parties are offering business as usual, only minor changes to our failed economic system and policies that are helping the super-rich and making the poor pay for the economic crisis that they did not create.   
“A Wealth Tax is part of the Green Party’s policy programme that will deliver real change for the common good. It is this change that British politics and British society desperately needs.” 
For more information please contact press@greenparty.org.uk or 07889 809 070 
2 Rich double their wealth in five years: http://www.thesundaytimes.co.uk/sto/news/article1412257.ece

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

The government has dropped its plans to privatise the student loan book

Fiona Edwards2:38pm Jul 22
The government has dropped its plans to privatise the student loan book in an announcement made by Vince Cable, the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation & Skills yesterday.

This government u-turn represents a major victory for the student movement. If the student loan book had have been sold off to private debt collectors there is no doubt that in a bid to maximise profits interest rates on repayments would have soared. To put it bluntly, privatising student loans would have been a retrospective hike in tuition fees.

But students and graduates have shown that we won’t tolerate being burdened with even more debt without a fight.

The Student Assembly Against Austerity (the student wing of the People’s Assembly) has been at the forefront of the campaign to #StopTheSellOff. Alongside hundreds of student activists across the country, we have organised national days and weeks of action involving more than 50 campuses which has resulted in over 76 MPs signing our Early Day Motion against the privatisation of student debt.

With the General Election just around the corner and the student movement on the rise it is no surprise that the Lib Dems have decided to back off on their assault on students.

Well done and congratulations to everyone who took part – all the banner drops, occupations, mass petitioning, stunts, protesting and lobbying together made a huge difference and proves once again that campaigning works!

There are, however, many more fights ahead.

There will be those who will want to revisit plans to privatise student loans in the future – we need to make sure they never succeed.

As a result of the trebling of tuition fees, higher education in the UK is the most expensive in the whole of Europe and student debt is rocketing as a result. At the same time the slashing of EMA and savage cuts to education are hitting students hard.

With a General Election just months away, now is the time for the student movement to step up our campaigning efforts and loudly raise our demands for free education - against all fees, cuts and debt.

That is why The Student Assembly Against Austerity is joining a coalition of groups to organise a national student demonstration this autumn onWednesday 19 November.

Join the fight back – get active with the Student Assembly!

If you would like to get involved in organising the national demonstration or would like to set up a
Student Assembly on your campus get in touch with us today oninfo@thestudentassembly.org.uk

Read the story on our website here: http://www.thestudentassembly.org.uk/news/weve-won-student-loan-sell-off-stopped

TUC march and rally in london on 18 October 2014,

Britain Needs A Pay Rise
Let's increase Britain's pay packet, and see it shared more fairly.
Join us for a march and rally in london on 18 October 2014, to help call for an economic recovery that works for all Britons, not just those right at the top. Britain needs a payrise!
We want:
  • A properly enforced minimum wage.
  • Higher wages from employers who can afford to pay.
  • Increased commitment to the living wage.
  • A crackdown on excessive executive pay.
This march and rally has been called by the TUC, but coach places need to be booked direct with those organising them. Check what’s in your area and get in touch with the listed contact.