Greenman's Occasional Organ

Ecosocialist. Syndicalist. Critical Techno-Progressive.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Green Party in Brighton Votes to Defy LibLabCon Austerity

BREAKING NEWS! Brighton Green Party passes motion supporting 'No Cuts' budget - Join the resistance

(Hat tip to Wembley Matters Blog)
Breaking news from Brighton

This is the full and final text (below) of the No Cuts motion passed by a large majority at a quorate and wellattended meeting of the Brighton & Hove Green Party today.  The General Meeting sets policy for the party, but cannot "instruct" Green Councillors. However, given that the General Meeting is "the prime decisionmaking and organisational body for the BHGP", and has now made this vital policy decision, the party expect Green Councillors to abide by it, and if they feel they cannot, to step down.  It remains to be seen what will happen when the Budget comes up for decision in late February, but the local party has now made its position very clear - Green Councillors should not vote for any cuts budget or abstain so as to allow one to pass; and after this the party and councillors should lead a campaign of resistance to imposed cuts. If Green Councillors vote for a cuts budget of any kind, then they would be defying the clear and democratically expressed wish and policy of the local party.

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This General Meeting notes the Motion passed unanimously (with one abstention) at the December 2015 General Meeting that the Brighton & Hove Green Party supports the production of an alternative Budget for 2015-16 that would protect local services and employment, not cut them. 

The cuts to local services required to "balance the budget" for 2015-16 are the direct result of massive and unprecedented cuts by central government to the local government support grant, cuts which could mean a further cut to the Brighton & Hove budget of over £100 million by 2020.  This will effectively destroy local services as we know them.

The cuts required to balance the budget for 2015-16 alone would require  a restoration of more than £20 million of government grant or a Council Tax rise of over 20%. The proposed 5.9% Council Tax increase is therefore not viable as a means to fight the cuts or defend the vulnerable. It is a regressive tax on the poorest, and it would hardly dent the massive cuts still required. To propose this rise in Council Tax in conjunction with a cuts budget would fatally undermine the Green Party's anti-austerity stance locally and nationally.  It is the worst of all worlds.

We are now seeing a "Green surge" and rising membership especially amongst younger voters, the primary reason for which is our inspiring anti-austerity message. If the only example in the UK of the Green Party in office were to implement a large cuts budget just before the 2015 General Election that would disillusion and alienate many of those new supporters. It is likely it would severely damage not only the local party but the national party's prospects in the election.   
The Brighton & Hove Green Party will not support any Brighton & Hove Council Budget for 2015-16 that makes further cuts to local services. We support a no cuts budget identifying how much government grant now needs to be returned to Brighton & Hove to avoid horrendous damage to local services. It is therefore the policy of Brighton & Hove Green party that any budget that makes further cuts to local services should not be voted for by the Green Group of Councillors, nor abstained upon to allow it to pass.

The Brighton & Hove Green Party advocates a strategy of complete resistance to implementing further cuts to local services, including
  • A massive communications campaign to explain a) why the Green Party is adopting this policy, b) the devastating effect of the level of cuts suggested for 2015-16 and the years beyond, and c) that Labour and the Conservatives will deliver those cuts because they have no policy or strategy to resist them. 
  • Refusal to assist any officials sent by DCLG to enforce a cuts budget upon Brighton & Hove, and wide publicity to explain this refusal.
  • Working with the Brighton & Hove People's Assembly, local campaign groups and trade unions to publicise and implement this strategy and to create a focus of resistance to cuts and the austerity agenda.

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Saturday, December 06, 2014

Green Party Trades Unionists Support Firefighters in Dispute

The union representing Firefighters in England has announced a further strike on Tuesday 9th December.
Starement of The Green Party Trade Union Group:

The Green Party Trade Union group sends support to those FBU members who will
be striking on Tuesday next. We know that firefighters are dedicated to
ensuring public safety and saving lives, so they will not be taking this
step lightly. It is absurd, but regrettably not surprising, that the
government cannot reach or even approach a settlement to the pensions
dispute with the FBU in England whilst settlements and negotiations which
the FBU finds more acceptable can proceed elsewhere in the UK. This is
another sad example of the inept and dangerous handling of vital public
services by the current government. We hope the firefighters will be able
to win the just settlement that they deserve.


blogged at
http://gptublog.blogspot.co.uk/2014/12/firefighters-in-england-announce.html

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December Industrial Worker Reports on Upsurge in Workplace Organising in The USA

The paper of the IWW reports on global labour struggles, with particularly detailed information on events in North America.

Download a free PDF of the December 2014 issue from this site:

http://nottsiww.wordpress.com/2014/12/06/industrial-worker-december-2014/

This blog is proud to support the growth of the IWW and industrial unionist and syndicalist ideas in the UK and Europe.

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Thursday, November 27, 2014

More on the Green Surge

More on the Green Surge with comment from Natalie Bennett -
on the Green Party Website

Interesting article in the Independent also.

More from the Independent's "Green week"

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Thursday, November 06, 2014

Green Party TU Group Statement on NHS Industrial Action

Nine NHS trade unions are holding a four hour strike (7-11am) on Monday 24 November, and working to rule from 25-30 November by not doing unpaid overtime and taking their breaks. 

The unions involved in the action are:

- Unison
- Royal College of Midwives
- Union of Construction, Allied Trades and Technicians
- Society of Radiographers
- British Association of Occupational Therapists
- GMB
- Unite
- Managers in Partnership
- Prison Officers Association

 
Green Party Trade Union Group Statement 


Unite the Union have announced that “NHS workers have had their wages cut by up to 15 per cent since 2010 thanks to the government's draconian pay policy of pay freezes and minuscule below inflation pay rise”. 

 
The Green Party Trade Union Group believes that this is characteristic of a nation where neo-liberal economics has run riot, penalising the poor, the sick, the vulnerable and also those who provide their health care.

Unlike Cameron’s cronies, nobody who works in the NHS expects to become a billionaire, but NHS workers will be striking again for decent pay on November 24th. The Green Party Trade Union Group sends it support, we all need the work that these workers do and they need a decent wage!

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Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Green Surge!

This is an exciting time to be a member of the Greens in the UK.  Starting with the upsurge in political debate around the Scottish Referendum this summer and leading into autumn and the major parties' panic over the rise of UKIP there has been a marked surge in Green Party membership and support on both sides of the border.

This has been recently assisted by the massively supported online campaign for Greens to be represented in forthcoming UK election debates on TV and radio.  The desire of the Tories and Labour to ape UKIP (to - so far unsuccessfully - win over some of their support) and the continuing decline of the Lib Dems as the coalition "mudguard" have played a part in this.  Another factor is the increasing move amongst left of centre younger people to see the Greens as a viable expression of many of their progresssive and egalitarian views.  The unfortunate floundering of the "Left Unity" project (sadly locally now tagged "Left Disunity" due to ongoing quarrels) has led some towards, or back towards, the Greens as a relatively well established and internally democratic option  that can actually have some success in local politics.  It is my opinion that Leninism is a long term brake on the development of left and progressive politics in the UK and all projects that allow Leninists of whatever stripe to take a dominant role are doomed to failure.  The Greens do not have this baggage and the main left currents in the Greens are eco-socialist and libertarian socialist - currents that are far more in tune with the online, connected and eclectic activist world of today than the centralism and sectarianism of UK Leninists.

Whilst problems remain in the Greens in England and Wales (lack of political education, a shoestring organisational budget, off message councillors and the odd careerist,  and some infuriating administrative and financial communication barriers would be my personal bugbears) the Party remains the best short term option for anyone wishing to make a noticeable impact on British politics and create a space for dissemination and discussion of ideas outside the neo-liberal consensus.

The Greens face a major struggle to keep Caroline Lucas MP in Parliament (largely due to Labour now openly targeting the Greens for "elimination" - perhaps resenting us as an unwelcome reminder of the Labour Party's increasing inadequacy as a Party of the Left - and also some of the aforementioned "off message councillors"in Brighton).  But it should be possible to retain her seat and possibly even gain more next year if the current momentum can be maintained or improved upon, and particularly if we can get Natalie and/or Caroline onto televised and radio debates.

Austerity, fracking, attacks on civil liberties and sucking up to corporate and financial interests remain very unpopular despite the efforts of all the recent "governmental" parties to support them.  The reservoir of Green support is there for tapping into and articulating.  A key aim should be to strengthen all the movements fighting these things regardless of the election result next year.  So the Greens can play a key role in both building the fightback and putting forward positive alternatives.   Come and join us....

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Saturday, June 21, 2014

Support the People's March For The NHS

Support The People's March for the NHS

The march leaves Jarrow on 16th August and Arrives in London on 6th September - more information here -
http://999callfornhs.org.uk/home/4583720355

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Wednesday, May 28, 2014

June 21st Anti Austerity Demonstration

Join the Saturday 21st June Anti Austerity Demonstration and Festival organised by the People's Assembly:

http://www.thepeoplesassembly.org.uk/national_demo_21_june


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