Monday, 27 June 2016


Socialist Party members and supporters were out in Stafford on Saturday campaigning for a general election to get rid of all the Tories. David Cameron is a gonner but the Tories are planning a coronation with the leadership of the country passed from one former Etonian to another. This is totally undemocratic and we want a general election now, not in 2020.
Post EU ref Stafford 25 June 2016 B
Supporters of both remain and leave signed our petitions and took leaflets. One woman asked for four leaflets so that all her children could have one each.

Unlike most political parties in Britain we are not frozen like rabbits dazzled by car headlights. We know what to do. We are energetically throwing ourselves into getting rid of the Tories and stepping up the fight against austerity, racism and the capitalist system.
We urge you to get involved in this struggle. Interested? Fill in the form here and we will be in touch.
For further analysis click here to read an article from our national website
There will be an open meeting on Thursday to discuss the situation after the referendum and how we can get the Tories out. It is taking place at 7.30pm in the Village Tavern, 513 Leek Road, Stoke-on-Trent ST1 3ER. We hope you can make it.

Tuesday, 26 April 2016


Despite Jeremy Hunt’s bluster, Junior Doctors are still in defiant and confident mood. Socialist Party members were there supporting their action and later did a campaign stall in nearby Newcastle-under-Lyme to build support for the action they are taking in defence of our NHS.
The backing of local people coming up to our campaign stall hasn’t diminished at all, in fact their backing and support is growing. As one fella said, “It’s about time somebody stood up to the dismantling of the NHS. These young junior doctors are an inspiration.”

Saturday, 9 April 2016


15,000 steel jobs are on the line, but the call to nationalise Tata is growing louder and the political pressure on Cameron to act is building!
In recent days, politicians of all the establishment parties in Cardiff and London are moving their positions, but we have to keep the heat on them. On 2 April hundreds came on a 'Nationalise Tata' demonstration inPort Talbot organised by the trade union rank and file National Shop Stewards Network (NSSN).

On 4 April, NSSN national chair and Socialist Party member Rob Williams spoke at a lobby of the specially recalled Welsh Assembly to discuss the steel crisis:
"We marched around the simple demand that steel benationalised to keep the furnaces firing in Port Talbot and around the UK. That is the only solution. Not to bribe another vulture capitalist to asset strip the company.
Tata reckon the business is losing £1 million a day. But that's just half what Osborne gave to the super-rich in tax cuts in the budget. It's nothing when you consider the social costs of the steelworks closing.
Assembly members should vote through a motion calling on Westminster to immediately nationalise Tata.

Labour Welsh First Minister Carwyn Jones seems to be coming round to nationalisation, on a temporary basis. But the industry should be permanently nationalised along with the other privatised industries like rail and energy.

We need a real socialist economic strategy. As we protest here, Tata union reps are meeting in London. Let's give them the confidence to take the action that is necessary to keep the furnaces firing, to keep the steelworks going, to keep the communities alive!"

Thursday, 7 April 2016

Next Meeting of Stafford Socialist Party Branch

100 Year Anniversary of the Easter Rising in Ireland

  • 100 years ago an uprising against British rule in Ireland took place - what did it represent? What were the lessons?
Come along for friendly discussion and debate
The Vine Hotel
Tuesday 12th April 2016


Despite horrendous rain, Stafford Socialist Party and Unite Community members were once again out on the picket line supporting the junior doctors as they continue industrial action against the government’s   imposition of unwanted contracts.

outside the main entrance of Royal Stoke University Hospital.

Despite the bad weather the mood was still buoyant and determined and by the continuous honking of car horns, they still have lots of support from the general public too.

Wednesday, 1 July 2015


Around 100 members of staff at Stafford College staged an unprecedented walk-out last Friday in protest against mismanagement and cuts. This followed a meeting of around 300 in a lecture theatre where they twice voted for no-confidence in the management of the college.

Teachers and other members of staff at the college are demanding the resignation of principle Beverly Smith. Ms. Smith and the management are blamed for a culture of fear, bullying of staff, increased workloads and unrealistic target setting, as well as general bad organisation.

Even Ofsted inspectors identified the need for improvement in 'effectiveness of leadership and management'!

Although the protest was mainly focused at these areas of incompetence and treatment of staff, the protest follows the recent announcement of a swathe of cuts and redundancies. The college will face a drop in funding from September, which workers and students are being made to take the brunt of. It is telling that Ms. Smith has been quoted as saying, 'Our transformation will allow the college to be more efficient and gives the opportunity to continue to improve and meet the needs of our stakeholders'. Yet again, we are seeing the consequences of privatisation - the greed of a few over the needs of the many.

A 30-day 'consultation period' is currently underway with unions and staff. Cuts and redundancies will be announced after this, the main attacks likely to be on adult education. This is on top of redundancies and funding cuts from central government from previous years. $1 million was cut at the same time last year with 69 workers facing the axe.

No confidence in management

UCU Rep Robert Trimmings, who campaigned for TUSC in the May elections, highlighted the anger, citing the example of e-mails being sent out to all members of staff threatening redundancy even though no decisions have yet been made. It is no wonder staff are protesting a 'culture of fear' and refusing to tolerate this bullying by management.

Marina Bowler, also a UCU rep, made a statement in the local paper, The Express & Star, saying:

'Staff feel they are operating in a culture of fear and they feel like they are being bullied. Workloads have gone up, stress levels have gone up. Staff are not being listened to and skills are not being utilised. Good staff have left the organisation and been made redundant.
The issues have been ongoing since Christmas and staff have now reached the point where desperate action is needed.
I think initially we were viewed as a small militant faction of lefties but it is totally not the case as proven by events today.
This is a lobby with a view to further action. We have been trying for six months to negotiate with the college. We don’t want to go down the route of industrial action. We are passionate about the college, it is an amazing place to be.
But that care is not being supported by a positive culture and it is not being supported by principal Beverley Smith.'

Some of the protesters present were those who had left their jobs in recent months. Since September 19 full-time workers, 11 part-time staff and 16 sessional employees have handed in their notice.

In recent months, staff have also marched on a board of governers meeting demanding the standing down of management, following a vote of no confidence in a union meeting of around 100 staff. Union membership has increased rapidly in this short period.

It is workers; teachers, technicians, cleaners and so on that know how to do their jobs to the highest standards and know how best to run the service they provide day-in-day-out. Beverly Smith and the management have proved they are not capable of running Stafford College. By exercising their collective power, staff have demonstrated that the management have lost their confidence, and are no longer fit to lead. Beverly Smith must 'do the right thing', as a speaker at the protest put it, and stand down. If she refuses, workers should push for official strike action, as well as inviting students for their support. With united action we can build a quality college that serves the needs and rights of workers and students and not the 'stakeholders'.

Thursday, 25 June 2015

City of London fills with defiance against austerity

A vast mass of people compressed into the streets next to the Bank of England on Saturday 20 June, eager to show their anger and opposition to the Tory government's vicious austerity agenda.

Estimates of the huge turnout ranged from 70,000 to over 200,000. The mood was very buoyant, as the size of the demo brought home to everyone that the fightback against Cameron's plans has really begun, and this just six weeks after the shock result of the general election.
 20.6.15, photo Paul Mattsson
20.6.15, photo Paul Mattsson   (Click to enlarge)
After an opening rally of speakers invited by the demo organisers - the People's Assembly - the march set off through the City ofLondon, packing the streets through to Blackfriars and then along Fleet Street towards its destination - Parliament Square.
Many of the individuals and groups - who came from all over the country - were new to demonstrating. Young people were strongly present. All clearly felt that they can't sit back and watch a renewed onslaught on people's living standards, while the richest get richer.
Trade unionists were also key participators, though not on this occasion in a highly organised form with large blocks of union contingents, which are an inspiring and important hallmark of TUC-led demonstrations.
Isai from Tamil Solidarity speaking from the TUSC stage near Bank, 20.6.15, photo Paula Mitchell
Isai from Tamil Solidarity speaking from the TUSC stage near Bank, 20.6.15, photo Paula Mitchell   (Click to enlarge)
Self-made placards were prominent, with inventive and humorous messages condemning austerity - from the carefully polite to the rude or crude.

The hundreds of placards on offer from the Trade Unionist andSocialist Coalition (TUSC) and those of the Socialist Party were eagerly snapped up, until all were gone.
Thousands of Socialist Party leaflets headed "Organise! Strike! Resist! to smash Tory austerity" were also enthusiastically taken, with their message on the need to build for a 24-hour general strike meeting widespread support.
A number of the anti-cuts candidates who stood for TUSC in the 7th May elections spoke from a TUSC stage while the marchers were assembling, attracting a lot of interest.
Later, the Socialist Party hosted a stage on Whitehall, with speakers from it including former 'Liverpool 47' councillor Tony Mulhearn who was in the leadership of the major Liverpool anti-cuts battle in the 1980s that achieved victory.

Niall Mulholland reports on the Parliament Square rally:

Trade union leaders, singer Charlotte Church, comedians Russell Brand, Mark Steel and Francesca Martinez, and politicians addressed many thousands crammed into Parliament Square. They lambasted the Tories' plans to continue with the brutal austerity policies that have brought so much suffering to the poorest and most vulnerable in society and the working class as a whole.
Marina Prentoulis, representing Greek party Syriza, appealed for solidarity with the Greek people in their struggle with the austerity-imposing Troika - the EU, ECB and IMF.
People's Assembly demo, 20 June 2015, photo by Paul Mattsson
photo by Paul Mattsson   (Click to enlarge)
Jeremy Corbyn, the left candidate for Labour Party leader, got a rousing response when he rounded on the grotesque inequalities in society and pointed out that the richest 100 people now have the same wealth as 36% of the population.
Speakers were at one in pointing out that the Tory government, voted into power on only 24% of those registered to vote, has no mandate to continue with viciouscuts and new assaults on trade union rights.
Sixty four per cent voted against the Tories, Unite general secretary Len McCluskey pointed out. A government "with no legitimacy" to continue attacks "will be responsible for the consequences" of more austerity, he warned.
The cruel effects of austerity were expressed by speaker after speaker but what concretely should be done next to stop the new Tory government assault?
John Rees, from the People's Assembly, correctly said we "cannot win with one demo" and called for mass action to "make society ungovernable" by organising "protests, meetings, direct action".
But his proposals did not go beyond calling for protesters to "lay siege" to Tory party conference later this year, and to build resistance across the country.
People's Assembly demo, 20 June 2015, photo by Sabah
photo by Sabah   (Click to enlarge)
Similarly, Len McCluskey, leader of the one of the biggest trade unions, said the "fight goes on" but left it at a call for "solidarity" and "community spirit".
In contrast, Mark Serwotka, PCS general secretary, said it was necessary to "say not just what is wrong but what to do". He got a rousing response when he posed the question: "Six and half million in trade unions - why not strike together?" He pointed out that by "stopping all work" we can "turn the government back".
The Socialist Party agrees. Mass actions, including more big demonstrations, are very important in building mass resistance to austerity but this needs to be linked to a plan of industrial action against cuts and attacks on trade union rights. The Socialist Party calls on the unions to start building for a 24-hour general strike. The organised working class, with a bold anti-cuts policy, can lead the campaign to force the Tories to back down and even kick them out of government.
People's Assembly demo, 20 June 2015, photo by Paul Mattsson
photo by Paul Mattsson   (Click to enlarge)
A successful anti-austerity movement also needs to be 100% against cuts. There cannot be any 'acceptable' or compromise levels of austerity, as every cut affects someone's family, work colleague or neighbour, and indeed, society as a whole.
The Labour MP for Edmonton, Kate Osamor, said she would use her seat in parliament to speak on behalf of the anti-cuts movement. But she had nothing to say about the huge cuts passed on by Labour run councils without a semblance of resistance, or Labour's support for the Tories' £30 billion worth of new cuts during the life of this parliament.
Socialist Party placards (centre): Organise, Strike, Resist!, photo by Judy Beishon
Socialist Party placards (centre): Organise, Strike, Resist!, photo by Judy Beishon   (Click to enlarge)
Caroline Lucas, the Green MP, got a rousing reception for her anti-cuts stance but she has had to distance herself from Green-controlled Brighton council's cuts.
Martin McGuinness, deputy first minister in the Northern Ireland Assembly, claimed that Sinn Fein is "an anti-austerity party". He said Sinn Fein is "proud to say" it "blocked the welfare bill" in the Assembly.
But as part of the Stormont power-sharing executive, along with the DUP, Sinn Fein has voted through attacks on the rights of workers and cuts, in particular major cuts in pension entitlements for public sector workers. Sinn Fein is disputing only some of the new cuts measures, while at the same time calling for lower corporation tax for big business.

Sinn Fein's current 'anti-austerity' rhetoric has more to do with the fright it got during the Westminster elections, when its vote fell, partly as a result of its unpopular cuts.
photo Sabah
photo Sabah   (Click to enlarge)
The question of political representation for the anti-austerity movement and the working class was left hanging in the air in Parliament Square.
Jeremy Corbyn, who did not refer to his Labour leadership bid, spoke eloquently about 150 years of class struggle in Britain and how it created the Labour Party and won important reforms for the working class.
The Socialist Party wishes Jeremy well in the Labour leadership election, but does not believe there is a realistic prospect of the left gaining control of the Labour Party. Labour has long ceased to be an organisation of the working class, at least at its base, and slavishly follows an openly pro-capitalist agenda.
A new mass party of the working class, which can bring together anti-austerity activists, trade union fighters, environmentalists, housing campaigners, etc, is urgently needed. And to be successful, a new workers' party has to not just oppose cuts but offer a bold socialist alternative to austerity and capitalist crisis.
People's Assembly demo, 20 June 2015, photo Paul Mattsson
photo Paul Mattsson   (Click to enlarge)
Altogether there were 30 speakers during the demonstration's opening and closing rallies, but unfortunately TUSC, which stood over 748 anti-cuts candidates in May's elections and collectively received over 118,000 votes, was refused the chance to speak.
Speakers at Saturday's rally talked in general terms about the need to "rebalance and rethink" our society, called for "social justice" and the need to "change our society". Julie Hesmondhalgh, the Coronation Street actor, used the 'S' word, correctly stating that "socialism is not an anachronism".
The Socialist Party agrees. Only socialist policies - such as opposing all cuts and calling for the nationalisation of the main pillars of the economy, under democratic public ownership - can start to reverse the attacks on the working class and poor and bring about a society for the many, not the capitalist elite.