Left Unity Wales – January 2019 newsletter
Dear members and supporters
The far-right is on the offensive across Europe: the biggest upsurge since the 1930s. From street attacks and mobilisations to government office, they use Islamophobia, anti-Semitism, xenophobia and racism to spread hate and fear. They attack trade unionists and the left, and the rights and liberties of us all.
The conference link above includes a version of the calling flyer in Welsh and further links to register. Please register to attend as individuals or through your party, trade union or other organisation.
Could people write to their MP (if don’t have details can do so via www.writetothem.com) and ask them to sign Early Day Motion 1959 on the Kurdish Hunger Strikers, currently Jo Stevens (Cardiff Central) is the only MP to have supported.
Kurdish MP Leyla Guven has been on hunger strike for over two months in a Turkish prison and is now in a critical condition.
Brexit Parliamentary arithmetic makes it possible that no general election or no referendum will take place. But who knows, by the time this is posted the situation may have changed. Wales mobilised well for 12 January People’s Assembly demonstration calling for a general election, with two coaches going from South Wales. Despite our enthusiasm and support the demonstration was well below expectations. It is difficult to come up with a reason although we thought more could have mobilised if we had local actions across the UK.
As Left Unity we oppose the ‘Lexit’ position. We are clear that Brexit will bring unnecessary and self inflicted hardships to workers across the UK as well as legitimating xenophobic and right wing nationalist politics that cut across international unity and solidarity. We see it as a matter of principle that socialists must not support political change that will worsen the situation of working people. We don’t accept that 3.7m EU citizens in the UK and 16m remain voters should be seen as ‘collateral’ damage and we will do all we can to make our voice heard. We opposed Brexit, support Another Europe is Possible and call upon the Corbyn led Labour Party to move to the next stage of their conference policy for another referendum if other votes of confidence are not to be tabled and support extending article 50 to achieve this.
If general election or another referendum takes place Labour should fight it on the basis of the ‘remain and reform’ the internationalist and socialist policy that Corbyn supported in 2016. We would argue that it is also critical that we don’t lose sight of the need to fight the Tories continuing austerity and privatisation policies and the dangerous global rise of the right and fascism. As a consequence we are prioritising the importance of the international No Parasan conference that takes place in London 2 March. Please register to attend as individuals or through your party, trade union or other organisation.
Let’s build a socialist programme – Facebook group and weblog now up and running. This is about going beyond just saying ‘no’ and taking positive and practical steps to say what we think a socialism should look like. Taking these policies forward as actions and demands wherever we can as well as using them to show how much more radical politics could be locally and across Wales.
“This is an initiative that started at a Left Unity Wales sponsored workshop in Cardiff 1 December 2018. A report of that meeting can be accessed here.
We are suggesting that there are two interlinked stages to the development of this programme.
First, we can identify how, those few who own the wealth internationally are exploiting us and the planet, controlling our lives to enrich themselves and making us pay for the social and economic crises they create.
Second, with this understanding we can develop action, policies and demands that directly challenge their neoliberal and climate warming strategies by posing radical and socialist alternatives now, at all levels, local, community, at work, in Wales, the UK, Europe and wider.”
Sections with suggestions that came from the workshop are up and everyone is welcome to make a contribution.
We will look to start a debate about answers to different problems on a weekly basis. We are going with ‘housing and homelessness in Wales’ as the first one – is that OK? Please let us know the areas you wish to debate next.
Tory austerity cuts are being passed down to us in Wales by the Senedd approving the Welsh budget for 2019-20. Over the next few weeks local councils around Wales will be announcing further cuts affected all services. Schools budgets, such as special needs are under pressure; social services across Wales are reducing face to face contact with those who need domiciled care; the Wales Independent Living Grant remains under council control and is breaking up the universal provision; libraries and leisure centres continue to face a bleak future and as in the case of the Muni in Pontypridd, the social enterprise option predictably struggles with less council support. The NHS in Wales is planning three years of further ‘savings’ as revealed in this analysis of the strategic plans of the seven Welsh NHS boards.
Left Unity Wales continues to argue that Assembly Members and if need be councillors, should challenge the Tory cuts and refuse to implement a cuts budget setting one based on needs instead.
Extinction Rebellion campaign. This international campaign has started to put the imminent threat of global warming moving beyond our control back on the agenda. Here is the UK website and the Wales FB page. The most active presence in Wales seems to be in Cardiff. As Left Unity Wales we fully support this campaign as the best chance at the moment to be involved in the fight against global warming and make the point that not only does capitalism destructively exploit workers but also the planet.
The Better than Zero Wales trade union organising and direct action campaign is still alive but at the moment more of a campaigning body than an organiser of action. The FB page has 250 supporters and is well viewed, providing information about trade union action and successes that are really covered in the MSM. There is not a problem with keeping this going as it provides a needed service but later in the spring we will produce an updated version of the advice leaflet and will get Bryan Simpson, the Scottish organiser down to speak again. If any member or supporter is interested in being more involved, please get in contact.
Len Arthur Left Unity Wales secretary
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