"Philosophers have only interpreted the world, the point however is to change" - Karl Marx

This blog is my interpretation, I will do everything I can to change the world along those line

Wednesday, 29 September 2010

Campaigning against cutbacks

This article was orginally posted on the GlamSU website, However since publishing some details have changed. The demonstration reffered to October 23rd in Pontypridd is no longer taking place, however there will be a demonstration against cuts in Cardiff on that day organised by the Wales Shop Stewards Network. Below is the article

On the 20th of October the ‘ConDem’ government as it has come too referred as will announce its spending review. In Orwellian fashion this spending review will only review how to spend much less across the entire public sector. In reality this will equate to huge job losses, particularly in Wales where a third of the workforce is in the public sector, along with the jobs cuts will come the inevitable slashing of public service provisions, including provisions in the education system.

In light of this there has been resistance emerging from trade unions, student groups and community campaigners alike. Already several joint initiatives have been announced. The National Union of Students (NUS) and the University and College Union (UCU) (the trade union for lecturers and other academic staff) have announced a joint campaign called ‘Fund of Future’ and have planned a joint demonstration for November the 20th against cuts in university funding.

There have also been moves for a national demonstration against all cut backs. The National Shop Stewards Network organised a demonstration of over a thousand people outside the Trades Union Council (TUC) Conference to put pressure on the TUC to call a national demonstration against cuts. Such a demonstration organised by the TUC which has over 6 million members in Britain could be a huge rallying cry for a campaign to defeat the cuts!

On a more local level in the last week a meeting organised by Cardiff Trade Union Council agreed to set up a campaign against all cut backs. The meeting was well attended by members of a variety of public sector trade unions as well as those working in the private sector. Of note to us as students is that in attendance at this meeting there were staff and students present from both the University of Glamorgan and Cardiff University. At the meeting the need to unite campaigns together soA all the variety of campaigns against these cutbacks was stressed heavily. A sentiment I completely agree with, if we let ourselves get divided into saving our own services and our own jobs then we will all loose out in the end. This was something that Cardiff Council attempted to do a few years ago, when they attempted to divide individual campaigns against school closures. This was done in an attempt to get some campaigners to support the closure programme but campaign solely for their school to remain open. This would have led to smaller sectional and therefore weaker campaigns.

It is therefore important that we as students wishing to defend education cuts should support any campaigns in the area against public sector cuts. There is a demonstration on the 23rd of October in Pontypridd against public sector cuts organised by the Wales TUC. All students at the University should attend that demonstration and campaign alongside public sector workers, but we should also appeal for those on that demonstration to come along with us to the demonstration in London against cuts in University funding.

We have been constantly told there is no alternative to the cuts by the government and the media, and the old saying that “If a lie is told long and loud enough then it will become the truth” is very appropriate in this situation as there is no basis for this assertion whatsoever. The only reason that we have a deficit is because all the money was given to the banks, yet the banks are still able to make millions in profits and still give out millions in bonuses to the top city bankers. So why not demand that the bankers pay for the crisis instead, why not demand that the government nationalises the banks and put the profits into the education system and other public services.

Even if we accept this debt from the bankers it is not true that we need to cut public sector spending at this rate, in fact we do not need to cut spending at all. After World War 2 when the British government was racked by debts much bigger in fact than the current debt crisis it was still possible to invest heavily in public services including the introduction of the NHS as well investment in many other public services, which led to a period of economic boom. Contrast that to the response of governments after the Wall Street crash which was to drastically reduce public spending which led to the great depression, showing that making public sector cuts on this scale can only make things worse!

Wednesday, 22 September 2010

Cardiff anti-cuts alliance

This Tuesday just gone (21/09/10) Cardiff County Trades Council held a public meeting. The purpose of which was to discuss the impending public sector cuts, those which have already been announced, some of which have already been carried out and those cuts expected to be announced next month as part of the government’s spending review on October 20th.

The meeting was well attended with n seats left over for any late comers. A definite sign of the mood to fight back against the public sector cuts. There were platform speakers from a variety of trade unions including the PCS, RMT, CWU and Unison and speakers from the floor representing a variety of other trade unions, student groups, community campaigners and many others. This alone should reflect the scale and the desire to fight back against these cuts.

Speaker after speaker explained how the cuts will affect them; CWU members spoke about postal privatisation and the need for the whole community to campaign to stop this from happening. Pensioners explained the change that moving pensions from the retail price index to the consumer price index pointed out that this will reduce the living standards of pensioners and stressed the need for trade unionists to fight for pensioners rights. Youth fight for jobs activists stressed the need for all workers to help them fight against rising youth employment which is clearly linked to the fight to stop jobs cuts. The list went on and on.

Throughout the evening it became more and more clear that there was a desperate need to link up the struggle to save jobs and services with other campaigns. Some campaigners pointed out the lessons learned in recent years in Cardiff, when the council proposed to close 22 schools in the city and then attempted to play campaign off against each other, in an attempt to get campaigners arguing for some schools to be closed in order to save their own. It was pointed out that if this did happen and different campaigns were divided then we would all loose out.

More and more speakers were making it clear that there was a need to set up a campaigning body which included all sections of the community to oppose all cuts. Other speakers disagreed, pointing out that we should support cuts to the banks, the politicians, to the replacement of trident nuclear weapons and to the military funding which allows young working class people to be sent to fight a rich man’s war in Afghanistan.

It was agreed at the end of the meeting to setup Cardiff anti-cuts Alliance which will start its campaigning activity very shortly and will aim to unite all campaigns that spring up against cut backs in the area into a united campaign to oppose all cuts to public services. Towards the end of the meeting one speaker from the floor said, I want to see council staff on demonstrations to oppose postal privatisation I want to see postal workers on demonstrations to oppose cuts in education; I want to see students standing side by side with striking workers. Only by standing together and supporting our individual struggles will we be able to stop these cuts.

This is clearly a big step forward for anti-cuts campaigning in South Wales, particularly as this initiative as followed in the footsteps of a recent initiative by Swansea Trades Council.

Wednesday, 8 September 2010

Making the Top Ten!

Despite a recent lapse in my blogging when it came to the Total Politics Blog Awards for the Top 50 Welsh blogs I managed to scrap into the top ten.
In the run up to the announcement I was pretty confident that I would make it into the top 50, not because I thought my blog was that great but because quite frankly you would be hard pressed to find 50 active blogs in Wales. However making it into the top ten was a definite surprise, beating the likes of Leanne Wood and Bethan Jenkins easily with 2,200 voters in the poll, quite a significant result in the blogging world.
It really shows the grasp for ideas, as one of the only blogs in Wales which not only comments on events but actively promotes a viable alternative to many issues it shows the grasp by the welsh blogosphere for the need for an alternative.
It hasn’t all been good on the blog awards front though. I made it to number 82 in the top 100 worst political blogs, not an accolade I was particularly looking for, however judging by the obscure blogs I voted for which polled high I can only assume that the voting in the poll was quite low. I can only speculate why anyone voted for me, I will will assume its because of the recent low frequency of the posts appearing so I will try and rectify that now so I do not appear in next years poll.

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