The end of the year is always a good time to reflect and it's quite amazing looking back over the last year to see how much has happened locally. Kicking off with the Power to the People event, we've organised many demos, including taking the fun of the fair to town with the Mayday Mayday parade, we've lobbied the council, taken action at political party conferences, travelled together to national demos, supported lots of other local campaigns and been entertained at Small Revolutions. What will 2016 bring?
Our next meeting there will be an opportunity for all members to review the last year's accounts, elect a Treasurer and Secretary and make any changes to the constitution if we want to. There will be tea and cake, and the AGM discussions will be followed by an organising meeting, so if you come along there'll also be a chance to propose campaigns and action and get involved with organising with other people.
The AGM will kick off with a reminder of all the actions and events we've organised this year, and a chance for everyone to take part in evaluating what's gone well and the challenges we've faced.
We will then discuss and vote on some amendments to the constitution that have been proposed. It would be really useful if you could spend a few minutes looking over the constitution and proposed amendments before the meeting, to help us have an efficient and fruitful discussion.
We will then have a quick look over the accounts, and elect the officers for the coming year. Finally, we will have a think about the different bits of work that need to be done to keep Brighton People's Assembly going, work out what our priorities are and allocate roles and jobs to members of the group.
The AGM will be followed by an action planning meeting. Bring your ideas for anti-austerity action, or come to hear other ideas and get involved!
The campaign for fair taxes continues, focusing on the Council Tax Reduction scheme 2016-17 - Brighton & Hove City Council proposals that will mean much higher bills for people on benefits. 15,000 poorest households in our city - one in 12 - are set to be hit by another big increase in the council tax they have to pay from April 2016. People on very low incomes will have to pay at least 33% more council tax next year, while the general council tax bill is likely to increase by no more than 2%.
Many groups took to lobbying the full council yesterday and our petition was presented at this meeting at Brighton Town Hall alongside other petitions on Learning Support Service for children with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities and welcoming refugees to the city. See below photos for some of the action.
Union Branch presentations~ As part of building better networks across the city, we're offering to go and speak at union branch meetings. John & Bethan recently went to University of Brighton Unison branch and had some good discussions with members about our campaigns. If you are part of a union and want us to come and speak at a meeting, let us know.
The 99% Festival ~ April 2016!
Planning is still in motion for the anti-austerity festival. We are now working with the Synergy Centre to put on a day of speakers and films followed by a Big Revolutions night with music, dance, poetry and comedy! If you want to get involved, please email us to connect with the planning group.
Local Campaigns: Actions, Events & Meetings
Love Activists Brightonhave brought together solution-based proposals to end homelessness from their consultation into a petition on 38 Degrees - please sign & share the petition here
The 'Love Kitchen' is still being set up every Sunday where possible. See the facebook page for details. Donations of food and equipment welcome. No cash donations accepted. If you would like to be part of the Love Kitchen Crews or Coordinate please Email email@example.com
Brighton Citizen's Health Service - a chance to share what you think about local healthcare commissioning
My name is Carl Walker and I am an academic based at the University of Brighton. A group of us are launching a Brighton Citizen’s Health Services Survey. The Brighton Citizens Health Services Survey aims to make sure that public attitudes on issues like NHS privatisation and health cuts are taken into account by the people who commission our local health services.
It is a 6 monthly, public consultation drawing on a large sample of people from Brighton and Hove and concerns some of the broader questions about local healthcare commissioning like funding cuts and privitisation of local NHS services. Whereas Healthwatch tend to focus on people’s immediate experiences of using health services, we are undertaking a survey oriented around specific commissioning practices and public values. The results will be analysed and made public to try to inform the CCG and Council (which buy in health services) of any disparities between their commissioning decisions and what the people of Brighton and Hove want.
I would be very grateful if you could complete the survey and ask as many people as possible who live in or work in Brighton and Hove to complete it. It only takes a minute or so to complete and is very quick.
THIS SUNDAY! Blyth Power & John Hegley - Bring Back British Rail benefit gig, Sunday 20th Dec 7.30pm @ Green Door Store
This benefit gig will not only raise funds for the group, it will also see bands, poets and performers joining up with activists, trade unionists and trainspotters to celebrate the railway and raise awareness about an issue that is fast gaining traction in the UK. All this is taking place at the Green Door Store, underneath Brighton Train Station. Support from Lovely Brothers Tickets £8 available here. More details on Facebook event page.
Voluntary Sector Workers' Group
A small group of us met on the 10th December in Brighton for an hour. Our idea was to see if there were common issues we could work on with our limited time and resources. We had a positive meeting and prioritised (a) step by step contributions to 'Boycott workfare and Keep Volunteering Voluntary'; (b) keeping in touch with conditions of service for voluntary sector workers - contributing to other organisations' work coming out of privatisation; (c) contributing to the People's Assembly charter on voluntary action. Our style for these early meetings will be to build up slowly. Contact Mike for further info:firstname.lastname@example.org
Brighton and Hove’s Sanctuary on Sea (SoS) group is calling for help with the next stage of fighting the Immigration Bill. The Bill goes before the Lords next Tuesday, 22nd December. SoS has produced template letters to Lords, and also to city councillors, to ask them to push the council to lobby against the Bill, in line with our standing as a City of Sanctuary. Click here to take action.
There is plenty in the Bill to object to - it contains unprecedented expansion of the powers of immigration officials to detain individuals and to seize property as well as measures which will encourage discrimination against minorities. For a full briefing see Migrant Rights Network
Paris Climate Change talks ~ A big shout out to the cyclists, Brighton Climate Action Network members and all who made it over to Paris - one local campaigner even made it into a 2-page spread in the Observer (see above photo)! Despite the ban on protest, activists have been finding creating ways of getting their messages across - for some good examples see Global Justice Now article. The weeks of talks have just finished, it is being hailed in the media as a success, but many activists feel differently - see New Internationalist article for some discussion on this. And we look forward to hearing what our local campaigners have to say on their return back....