Archive for the ‘Local government’ Category

Confederate statue comes down in Durham, North Carolina during anti-racist/anti-fascist protest. Picture: CNN.

by The Spark

Trump tweeted that “our history and culture” are being “ripped apart” by the removal of Confederate monuments and statues.

Which history? Whose culture?

These monuments to the “Confederacy” were not erected out of respect to the hundreds of thousands of laboring people, North and South, black and white, who died in the Civil War.

Nor do they commemorate the many poor whites and ex-slaves who joined together to run local Reconstruction governments after the Civil War – establishing medical clinics for the poor population, setting up the first ever public schools for the children of the poor.

The “Confederate” monuments came later, a quarter to a half a century after the end of the Civil War. They were paid for by the same plantation aristocracy whose money supported the growth of (more…)

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Earlier this week (July 23) marked the 50th anniversary of the urban rebellion in Detroit, Michigan.  This was the era of explosions in the deprived black communities of urban America, opening with the rebellion in Harlem (New York) on the east Coast in 1964, the Watts ghetto (Los Angeles) on the west coast in 1965 and continuing in many places in between through the rest of the 1960s, with the biggest explosions coming with the assassination of Martin Luther King in 1968.  Below, we’re running a piece by the comrades of the US Marxist group The Spark; this was the editorial that appeared in the current round of all their fortnightly workplace bulletins. 

by The Spark

In 1965, Detroit’s then mayor declared that the revolt in Watts couldn’t happen in “his city”. In 2017, Detroit’s current mayor declared that 1967 wasn’t an uprising. But it DID happen, and it WAS an uprising, an uprising of oppressed people. Before it was over, the Detroit revolt of 1967 would become the largest of any uprising in 20th century America. It was “the fire next time” that James Baldwin had written about in 1962.

In 1967 – no matter how many marches, how many court cases, how many laws – unemployment continued. Impoverishment drained people. Cops went into neighborhoods like an occupying army. There was a vast powder keg of unmet needs and grievances.

All it took was an “ordinary” incident of (more…)

Below is the text of a talk delivered by Dani in Dunedin on Friday, July 21.

by Dani Sanmugathasan

Good evening! My name is Dani Sanmugathasan, and I am a member of the British Marxist and Leninist organisation called the Revolutionary Communist Group. The following talk will be on the topic of ‘Corbynmania’ – the opportunist phenomenon that’s swept through the labour movements in core economies over the last two years – and a good place to start is at the events in London earlier this month.

INTRODUCTION

“Oh, Je-re-my Cor-byn!” rang out the chants of many on the streets of London on the 1st of July at the People’s Assembly’s ‘Tories Out’ march. The People’s Assembly, Momentum, Radical Housing Network, the Socialist Workers Party, the Stop the War Coalition, the Socialist Party, and the large trade unions (PCS, RMT, CWU, Unison, Len McCluskey’s Unite the Union…) were all rallying round the Labour Party leader, the holy Son of Attlee, the man who would save Britain from the iron grip of Tory austerity.

But beside these organisations, a distinct second current of marchers – composed of such organisations as Class War, the Focus E15 Mothers, Lesbians & Gays Support the Migrants, Architects for Social Housing, Movement For Justice, the Revolutionary Communist Group, and trade unions like the IWGB – led a different chant: “Labour, Tory, same old story!” These groups made (more…)

London News Pictures

Statement of November, 2016:

“Grenfell Action Group have reached the conclusion that only an incident that results in serious loss of life of KCTMO (Kensington & Chelsea Tenants Management Organisation) residents will allow the external scrutiny to occur that will shine a light on the practices that characterise the malign governance of this non-functioning organisation.

“We believe that the KCTMO have ensured their ongoing survival by the use of proxy votes at their Annual General Meeting that see them returned with a mandate of 98% in favour of the continuation of their inept and highly dangerous management of our homes. It is no coincidence that the 98% is the same figure that is returned by the infamous Kim Jong-un of North Korea who claims mass popularity while reputedly enslaving the general population and starving the majority of his people to death.

“It is our conviction that a serious fire in a tower block or similar high-density residential property is the most likely (more…)

by Phil Duncan

Last week local government elections were held in many parts of Britain.

As expected Labour did very badly and the Conservatives did pretty well.  In addition, the Welsh nationalists advanced and the Scottish nationalists stalled.  And UKIP was annihilated.  The Liberal Democrats’ ‘resurgence’ failed to emerge.

The Conservatives gained 563 council seats and Labour lost 382.  Plaid Cymru gained 33.

The Conservatives made progress in some traditional Labour heartlands, including the poorest council area in the whole of Britain, which went Tory.  Labour also lost control of Glasgow for the first time in decades.

The Tories displaced Labour as the largest party in terms of council seats in (more…)

This is the first in what will be an ongoing series on militant and revolutionary women

glasgow-rent-strike

Working class women played key role in 1915 Glasgow rent strike

by Marianne Kemp

The partial commodification of state housing – mainly through the imposition of market rents – and the growth of precarious and low-paid work, along with bare existence-level benefits, mean state house tenants today face very hard circumstances.  In the early 1990s Auckland state housing tenants, with the assistance of the Communist Party, formed the State House Action Committee and fought back through rent strikes and occupations.  Both SHAC and the CPNZ  are long gone and, although there have been tenant protests since, there has been no significant tenant movement to carry on the work of SHAC.  It would certainly be a contribution to the struggle if someone produced a reflective history of SHAC – ie an account of its strengths, weaknesses, successes, failures and the lessons for the future.

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Working class women and men organised physical defence against the lackeys of the landlords

It can also be helpful to learn about and reflect on previous struggles by working class tenants in both private and state sector rental housing.  There are some important differences between state-owned and privately-owned housing – for instance, it’s a lot easier to put more pressure on a few private landlords than on the state with all its power but, on the other hand, the state has a lot more tenants who can be mobilised against it.  However the changes in state housing, in particular the imposition of commodification via market rents, means there are now increasingly significant similarities between these two forms of rental housing.  This means state housing tenants today can draw inspiration and lessons from earlier struggles against private landlords as well as against the capitalist state as landlord.

One of the most dramatic and significant struggles by working class tenants, certainly in the English-speaking world, took place in (more…)

_89618677_8In the last NZ elections, most of us at Redline saw no point in voting.  We argued that there simply wasn’t anything to vote for and that non-voting at least indicated disillusionment with the system.  New Zealand is not the only place with falling voter turnout – indeed, it’s an international trend.  Ironically it is often accompanied by a greater number of political parties.  It is almost as if there is a new rule – the more political parties, the fewer the real choices.  Instead, we have a kind of tyranny of the centre.  In the article below prominent Irish republican figure Sean Bresnahan of the 1916 Societies look at last week’s elections for the Stormont Assembly, the body which pretends to act as a parliament for the northern state in Ireland.  He reflects on the low turnout there and the crisis of legitimacy it should herald for the Sinn Fein-Democratic Unionist Party regime there.  One positive from the election, not mentioned by Sean, is that two candidates from the leftist People Before Profits Alliance, were elected to the Assembly. 

by Sean Bresnahan

Following yesterday’s elections to Stormont, many reports, and indeed complaints, about low voter turnout are beginning to surface, with some arguing if you didn’t vote you have no right to complain and others suggesting voting should be mandatory and people compelled to vote or be fined. So much for free choice (as if one exists in the first place).

In my opinion a low turnout is a good thing. Were the turnout to fall below 50 percent then the Sinn Fein-DUP coalition could not claim a mandate for the austerity programme they are inflicting on our communities on behalf of their bosses in London. This is why I sat at home, as I will not allow my vote – not even were it to be spoiled – to legitimise the attacks they are perpetrating on working people.

While some claim it incredible that people complained but didn’t vote, for me what is incredible is that people still believe voting in a liberal democratic system can change anything of note. Maybe those who sat at home have realised this and thus refuse to participate in an organised farce, set up to secure consent for that which has not in fact been agreed to: austerity.

In reality, decisions are not taken within the outward framework of liberal democracy. They are reached and implemented elsewhere, with politicians thrust forward every so often as paid perjurers to (more…)