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Join us: #ourNHS National Demo – 4th of March

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Join us: #ourNHS National Demo – 4th of March

Many of you will have been hearing about the devastating financial cuts the tories are making to the NHS. They are constantly talking about how they are “giving more money to the NHS” when the reality is they are giving less and expecting more work from NHS staff. They are restricting funding to places where it is vitally needed to keep people healthy. They are hoping that this will result in some nasty accidents and possibly deaths, at which point they will say “we told you so” and will call the NHS a ‘failed project’ and move to sell off the whole of the NHS to private sector bidders, who will always put profit before the needs of people’s health. These hawkish private sector bidders will have been big donors to the tory party at the last election and they are waiting for a return on their money….

What will a society look like without the NHS? Well it will be a system similar to that of the U.S.A. where people need private health insurance that covers you for some ailments and not others depending on your ‘tariff’ or how much you pay. Your health insurance will also cost more if you have long term health complaints or disabilities, putting already vulnerable people in our society in an even more financially vulnerable position. The reality is that most working or unemployed people wont be able to afford health insurance as an extra cost, and even if they can, is it right that you should pay a financial penalty for being ill? (Something that is outside of your control). The government has a duty to make sure that all of it citizens are in as good health as they can be, and this duty is currently not being met.

#ourNHS will be the campaign of a generation. If the NHS is wilfully destroyed by the tories on our watch, then future generations will never forgive us. We have a duty to the people who created the NHS (in a time of post war, where there was even less money than now!) and also to the lifeblood of the NHS, all the doctors, nurses and other staff who have helped to keep it alive against all outside interference by successive governments.

The media always try and black out big marches by giving them no coverage, but if we make this march big enough they will be forced to take notice and report to the nation that it is a massive majority of us who need the NHS, for the health of ourselves and our families, friend and communities in the future. If we all turn up, it will send shockwaves that even the tories will not be able to ignore.

What can you do?
1) Join us on the march. Coaches have been organised by Keep Our NHS Public and UNISON. Tickets can be purchased from News From Nowhere bookshop for £10 wages or £5 unwaged. If you are a UNISON or Unite member, contact your local office or branch for details of pre-paid travel.
2) Let people know about the march and how important it is. Details and flyers can be found here. Get as many people as you can to come along as possible.
3) For people who cannot afford to come, send us an email to [email protected] and we will do our best to secure a free place on transport for you.
4) If it is not possible for you to attend, then please consider making a donation to us on the link below. Also you could promote the demo among your circles and also on social media before and during the demo.

Let us together show the tories that WE WILL NOT let them dismantle a national treasure, #ourNHS !!!!!

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**If you cannot attend the march then donate now to secure a place for someone else who cannot attend.**

James Harrison, Secretary
On behalf of the Merseyside People’s Assembly steering committee

Tories out! Blog on the national demo on 2nd October in Birmingham

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Emotions were high at the national People’s Assembly march in Birmingham last Sunday. The march, entitled ‘Tories out, austerity has failed’ was planned to coincide with the Tory party annual conference. The same conference where people in suits stand on platforms to talk about vile ideas of how to ruin normal people’s lives, whilst they benefit from it. After years of austerity, with this government stealing form the poor to give to the rich, people from around the country had decided they have had enough and wanted to show their anger at the nasty party, in person.

The route was straight through the centre of Birmingham high street, which was great for increasing the profile of the march in the city. This was thought to be the biggest demonstration Birmingham has seen in 15 years. Unfortunately this year the march route was not near the actual conference itself. We can only speculate that the local council wanted to keep us away from the conference to protect the government. However this itself reflects badly on the tories. They don’t like criticism and they don’t like people pointing out where they are going wrong. What they want is to give minimal limelight to their critics and carry on as if there is no problem. They do this because, if people actually realise what was happening then the game would be up for them. People at the march knew that if the tories had exercised their influence to keep marchers away from the front door of their conference, then this meant they were afraid of our message. This led to people being even more enlivened and a lot of local interest from passers by. There were a number of excellent local groups who came out to protest too alongside us, which was great to see in a multicultural working class city. It’s clear that ordinary members of the general public are fed up with austerity.

Austerity is the lie that is always spun when the rich mess up and have to convince wider society that we all need to tighten our belts. The madness of it is that the rich are the ones who loosen their belts whilst we all tighten ours during a period of austerity. They say that we are all in it together, but if that was true then they would be cutting MP pay and executive pay and giving it to the staff who are desperately needed on the ground of our public services. This is why austerity is a lie. It’s designed to make us think that cutting back is a collective effort, whilst the rich are topping up their bank accounts at our expense. So what do we need to do? Reject it outright. It is not needed. If it was then the wealthiest would be first to pay their share. What we really need is proper bank regulation to stop this kind of crash happening again. We need tax to be collected properly from multi-national corporations, and when they threaten to move country and make people who work for them unemployed, tell them to leave, followed by swiftly investing public money to save the jobs of the people effected. Once we get all the tax that is owed to us, austerity will not be needed, as there will be no deficit! (The figure of deficit and the figure of uncollected tax are, not so spookily similar).

The People’s Assembly are a non-partisan group who wants to bring together all organisations, groups and parties who reject austerity. With recent fractious debates around Brexit and the internal strife of the Labour party, now appears to be a period of calm where if we coordinate properly we really can take the fight to the tories. Regardless of political affiliation, it’s clear that all those on the left will benefit from a mass coordinated movement to push for this on all fronts.

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Marches are good for morale and breaking the isolation which our society is great at manufacturing around those of us at the sharp end of society to stop us from having the confidence to stick up for ourselves. As fun as marches are, they should always be a starting point. The enthusiasm that is generated from them should always be harnessed properly, as if we don’t harness it then marching can become a flash in the pan. We cannot let that happen. We have a duty to all the people present at that march to do what we can in our spare time to take on austerity and its movers in our local region.

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There were some excellent speakers at the end of the march, who spoke from the various disenfranchised groups across the country, whose voices all desperately needed to be heard by members of the general public. The day ended with an air of optimism that positive times are just around the corner. We need to put the effort in to push back on austerity and its movers before we can see our optimism realised in to a proper fair society. Today the tories have dropped their austerity ‘lines’, but be under no illusions, they will definitely still be charging on with their nasty policies which will continue to see people die in the name of their greed. They will just be doing it more covertly.

We need to turn the enthusiasm of the march into positive action. We need to talk to each other about the issues effecting us locally and get behind the causes effecting the majority of us to bring about real change. You can do this by engaging with the Merseyside People’s Assembly. Come to any public meetings we hold, volunteer for us by emailing us at [email protected] Get involved with local campaigns like Save Liverpool women’s hospital. Donate to your local food bank. Write to your MP or local councillor and let them know how austerity is effecting you and you’re family here https://www.writetothem.com/ With hope, determination and a sustained consistent effort to fight back this government, one day we will see a better day for us, our families and our children. If not us then who?

Personal thanks to the Regional Secretary of Unite the union for allocating some seats on their coach to the people of Merseyside, without which we would not have been able to attend the excellent march. Thanks also to all the volunteers and stewards on the day who had to deal with the honorable duty of looking after all people who were marching on the day.

 

Save Liverpool Women’s Hospital March 25th September

Liverpool Womens Hospital

On Sunday the 25th of September the people of Merseyside congregated at the Liverpool Women’s hospital in order to march to show their anger at the proposed closing of Liverpool Women’s hospital by the local NHS trust.

For a while now the Liverpool Women’s NHS foundation trust have been making noises that keeping it open is ‘all very difficult’ as they are claiming that money is running out. This is the same trust that made the decision to burden itself with huge amounts of debt through something called private finance initiatives (PFI) which essentially are big loans off banks at rates which would make your eyes water. This on top of the fact the neighbouring trust (Royal Liverpool and Broadgreen University Hospitals NHS trust) took a decision to knock down Liverpool Royal Hospital in favour of a totally new build shows that the message from the local trusts seems inconsistent. So… let me get this right….there is money for a brand new hospital when the old one was still fit for purpose, but no money to keep open a flagship maternity hospital that is looked upon across Europe as one of the best and effective maternity units across the continent. There is money to pay board members of Liverpool Women’s £100k plus per year, but not enough to fund vital services to the community? The People’s Assembly Merseyside cannot help but feel this could seem like incompetence to the average onlooker, but the more you scratch beneath the surface, the plot thickens. One of the unusual circumstances is that the trust launched a public consultation about closing the hospital and when people turned up and told the trust they didn’t want the Women’s to be shut, then the trust ignored it and launched a less well advertised consultation later on, presumably in the hope of getting a more preferable answer (or silence) from the community. Are we going to allow them to paint silence as consent? We think not.

Liverpool Women’s is one of the best hospitals to encourage breast feeding which is thought to improve the general health of babies not only through infancy but the effects of which are also thought to help improve health of the parent and the child into late adult life by reducing rates of certain kinds of cancer. Is it a coincidence that the chairperson of the trust who wants to close it, owns a large stake in dairy farming? Its seems to us that is a conflict of interest. Also for a number of years now there have been changes to Liverpool Women’s Hospital which have made parts of it private (pay for the service instead of free at the point of use, like normal NHS services) within the same building instead of being properly publicly funded. This is of course partly the fault of successive governments to not properly fund the NHS, but there also appears to be gross negligence (or perhaps malice) in the mismanagement of the trusts funds.

It seems that people who own businesses (privateers) are more interested in circling like vultures to see what easy pickings they can get at the expense of the public and the service to the public. The chair of the trust represents an interest in the private sector. There is a dependence on PFI which represents privateers not only making a profit through their loans from vital public services but likely waiting for a default on the loan so they can re-negotiate terms of the loan to be even more damning for the trust. Also there are private contractors making money off the new Royal Hospital build, and must be laughing all the way to the bank. We wonder if the owner of these construction firms is related to anyone on the Royal’s trusts board? Or if any of them own shares in the company? This remains to be seen, but we should be watching these management boards like hawks and where possible getting on to these boards to ensure the corrupt are held to account, as they rely on us to stay asleep in order for them to pick the public pocket in increasingly complex ways.

When People’s Assembly Merseyside heard about the Save Liverpool Women’s campaign we immediately realised the relevance to all people on Merseyside. In Liverpool most women will have, or will use the services of Liverpool Women’s Hospital at some point in their lives. Those living on the Wirral also rely on services which are linked to those in Liverpool Women’s too, so if Liverpool Women’s goes then the cost of care on the Wirral will also rocket and/or degrade. With Wirral having rejected a private model of home maternity care because it was found to be unsafe for others, positive maternity services are on the brink of being eroded and privatised across the whole region in favour of private models which will never be as effective as they suck money out to subsidise privateers pockets instead of going to the women that need it, something we on both sides of the water need to realise and react against together.

The march on Sunday was reassuring, as it showed how many people are already rightfully angry about what is happening. Whether Liverpool Women’s Hospital will be outright closed, or whether the services will be slashed and placed on a couple of wards in the new Royal Hospital, it is a choice between a vital public service lost, or a vital public services eroded, and a handful of wards can in no way replicate what the current Liverpool Women’s hospital is capable of delivering in terms of supporting the choices of Women and the care and guidance that is needed before, during and after having a baby. People at the march knew this and were willing to take to the streets to show the public their anger in an attempt to show people what is happening. Unfortunately the general public don’t realise there is a problem unless they hear it on the news or unless they see people on the street protesting. Police estimates were that 3,000 people in total marched on that day, a number which is only usually seen on trade union marches or anti-racist marches in the city. The public are increasingly becoming aware of the campaign and are starting to get active about it.

The Merseyside People’s Assembly are going to keep going on this campaign. One of our dedicated volunteers Natalie Denny spoke at the rally before the march, whose positive and informative message was met with much applause. We had many speakers from different anti-austerity groups speak before and after the march. It was great to see that cross party and cross group coordination is possible in Merseyside on an issue as important as this. This is something which the People’s Assembly hopes to build as time goes on. The People’s Assembly is a meeting place for people from various anti-austerity groups, as well as for members of the public who do not have anything to do with politics but rightfully care enough about the issue to want to see what they can do about it. This ability to meet, talk and coordinate people power through direct action will be vital in building the bridges which are required to take on the establishment locally properly and with an overarching strategy to win.

Marches do not change the world in of themselves, but they are a good meeting place for people and they do reassure people that they are not alone in their beliefs. It is the confidence that this brings which is of key, that people realise there is momentum behind the idea and their time and effort will not be wasted in volunteering their time for the cause.

We will keep you updated on the Liverpool Women’s Hospital campaign as we continue to meet with them. What you can do now is search for them on twitter @LWHstays and on Facebook ‘Save Liverpool Women’s Hospital’ or go to their website https://saveliverpoolwomenshospital.com/2016/09/05/why-we-need-a-womens-hospital/ to keep on top of what is happening directly with them. If you want to get more directly involved with the Merseyside People’s Assembly on this issue then please email us on [email protected] and we will be in touch to get some work done on the issue.

James Harrison
On behalf of the Merseyside People’s Assembly

Merseyside People’s Assembly Re-launched

So, where have we been? At the end of 2014, due to various other commitments that were upon the previous steering committee, it unfortunately went quiet. I would personally like to thank the efforts of the previous steering committee, as they delivered some excellent meetings, with great speakers and superb turnouts. Moving forward it is important for us to draw from the strengths of the previous Merseyside People’s Assembly, but equally it is also important to have a critical awareness of its shortcomings if we are to become just as, if not more effective.

Since October 2014 there were a number of people that have been in touch with the national People’s Assembly. During the run up to a national Peoples Assembly march last year, it became clear that there was a significant amount of people in Merseyside that were interested in re-forming the Merseyside PA. Those of us who were in contact through the national PA convened a meeting about re-forming the local group. The small group of people present agreed that we should re-establish a local PA and they nominated an acting chair, secretary, treasurer and member (Martin Kelsey, myself James Harrison, Sarah Evans and Natalie Denny). This formed the new steering committee. We have had meetings throughout the year as part of our small steering committee, making enquiries into the old groups website and contact list, as well as establishing our own and spreading the word about a re-launch by distributing printed materials at protests & events. This was slowed down slightly by the fact that my girlfriend and I had a beautiful baby girl in August, which, as you can imagine, has very much taken a priority. None the less, slow and steady wins the race. As some of you now know, we have the old website back in our possession. We are in the process of amalgamating all the social media accounts into one for each medium and also consolidating the email contact lists so we can send emails from the registered Merseyside PA email. We will give plenty of notice before any of these are phased out, so that you can stay up to date with what is happening.

For several months we were planning for a public relaunch in February this year. The steering committee paid for the use of the room in the Casa out of our own pockets, mainly due to the fact that we have no funding, something we are hoping to resolve. Due to some more volunteers stepping forward to assist, this has very much helped us to deliver the event on the 3rd of February. Thanks to everyone who promoted this event, but special thanks to Ben who helped us with the website, Natalie whose determination & hard work have been indispensable to our promotion, and Neil for tenaciously plugging away in promoting us across the board. I would also like to thank Sam who has come on board with us since this meeting and made an outstanding contribution to organising demonstrations in support of the local NHS. We are always looking for skilled and dedicated volunteers in order to do more good work on Merseyside. If you are interested in getting involved you can either message us through the Facebook page, or email us at info@merseysidepeoplesassembly.org

I would encourage people to consider making a donation to Merseyside PA, either personally or by encouraging their organisation to donate. Donating is of course on a voluntary basis, as we understand that the people disaffected by austerity are those with no money and we wouldn’t want this to be a barrier to being involved, as those who are unemployed or underemployed are probably those with the most time to get things done for our cause, a donation of your time is even more valuable than a donation of money, as ultimately local action is one of the key aims of the newly reformed Merseyside PA, and we can’t do that without our greatest strength, people. This need for people to get involved and take forward some local campaigns led us to consider what key things we should be focusing on. As such we decided that this was a decision for the people to make. We therefore ran an online consultation with a number of examples of what could be priorities for our local community in terms of the fight back against austerity. The results came back 1) NHS 2) Public sector cuts 3) Poverty, and 4) Homelessness. Also we have received some miscellaneous ideas from this survey, which the steering committee is going to be looking at in greater detail over time.

At our most recent public meeting in May, we discussed the problems that the local NHS is having due to privatisation and cuts, as well as homelessness being on the increase for those in poverty in the city. On another note, it is going to be incredibly important for us to work together with other groups who have the same broad aims of anti austerity as us. As such we are starting a calendar and planning tool. We hope this will be as useful for us as it will be for everyone locally in the anti-austerity movement, so that 1) We are not duplicating each others work, and 2) So that we are all aware of exactly what is happening in the region (and sometimes nationally) at a glance. If you have an anti-austerity group or meeting to suggest for our calendar, please submit it here: http://www.merseysidepeoplesassembly.org/events/

I can’t stress enough that people getting involved is the only way for us to achieve anything. Its very easy in this day and age to rely on social media. Social media can be great, especially for those who cannot get out the house due to personal circumstances like disability or child care issues. However, although its a useful tool, it isn’t going to depose an austerity government in isolation. The real core of what we need to bring back into the ring in this society is humanity, practical compassion and community. We have a very proud history of this on Merseyside and a proud history of fighting back for better conditions, that is why the Tories hate us so much. This is why they are starving the city of the vital funds it needs to operate its key services. This is also why the Tories are trying to devolve austerity to the local council,to cause desperation and disarray so we aren’t as likely to reject austerity and win. The only way we can keep fostering and encouraging our proud legacy of community is to talk face to face with people, in our roads, towns, the corner shop, in the pub etc. Finding out what the issues are, engaging in local democracy to make our presence felt when people are making decisions that will effect our livelihoods. If the councillors and politicians don’t feel our political will, then how will they act? Corporations and businesses will always lobby local councillors and MP’s. It is in the very nature of corporations to extend their influence. So who is going to exert and extend our influence? Something that I often ask myself is “if not I then who?” but in this case I pose the question to you… Who will save our NHS? If not us then who? Who will campaign to stop our public sector jobs going and our economy suffering? If not us then who? Who will highlight the absurdity of working people needing to visit food banks in modern Britain? If not us then who? Who will work to put an end to local poverty whilst businesses are buying up our city? If not us then who?

In terms of these four key areas, what we need is for people to get involved to start the fight back. I think during the last year, despite our best intentions, progress is very slow with only a small handful of dedicated (and very busy) people working to keep things going. What we really need are some sub-committees for these top four priorities, which then feed in their ideas and work back to public meetings and the steering committee. We also want the steering committee to grow with a proportionate and representative membership of those effected by austerity in our local area. So if you feel as though you either have the skill set, or the anger at what is happening just gives you the passion to get involved, please get in touch with us via email or via the website. If you have no experience or only have a bit of time, don’t worry, we will work with anyone who wants to get involved and work hand in hand to get all our projects off the ground (no one ever did anything without support from others in some way). Additionally if you can let us know your preference of the type of group you want to work on, that would be very useful. I look forward to working with you all going forward and doing our utmost best to understand what is happening, get angry and do something positive about it, to start the practicalities of a fairer alternative.

 

James Harrison

Merseyside People’s Assembly Secretary

Merseyside Rally: No More Austerity with Owen Jones, Billy Hayes & more

When: Wednesday 11 June, 6:30 – 8:30pm

Where: Adelphi Hotel, Ranelagh Place, Liverpool
What: Public Rally – No Cuts – No Privatisation – Hands off our Unions – Demand the Alternative

Speakers:
OWEN JONES
JOHN HENDY QC
BILLY HAYES, CWU general secretary
ANITA WRIGHT, Women’s Assembly/NAW
SHEILA COLEMAN, Unite Community North West Region.

Chaired by: CAROLYN JONES, Institute of Employment Rights

Organised by: The People’s Assembly, Institute of Employment Rights & Campaign For Trade Union Freedom Supported by: Unite, NUT, CWU, RMT, FBU, Unison, UCU, UCATT & Morning Star

Facebook event: click here 

Register here: http://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/merseyside-rally-no-more-austerity-with-owen-jones-billy-hayes-more-tickets-11777614161?aff=eorg

Feeling depressed following the recent EU and local government election results? Fed up with hearing the narrative …..’if only we had fewer immigrants’….. ? In the North West we succeeded in getting rid of the BNP. Now we need to get rid of austerity and the neoliberal ideology behind it. 

We know where the problem lies. It’s capitalism that causes the crisis –  not poor people, not immigrants, not the disabled, not those on benefits. And the biggest capitalists on the political scene at the moment  are those arrogant posh boys in power. They want to smash trade unions, remove employment rights, impose cuts to jobs and pensions and then sell off our public services to their tax-dodging mates running big private sector companies.

We need an alternative and the People’s Assembly has been providing that alternative ever since its amazing launch in London just under a year ago. Since the 22 June 2013, People’s Assemblies have been springing up all over the country and Liverpool is playing its part.  In the run up to the National Demonstration in London on 21st June, Liverpool will be hosting a Hands off Our Unions/ People’s Assembly Rally in the Adelphi Hotel.

So come and join us. Tell your friends and work colleagues. Bring your families. Make your voice heard. We need to inspire people to believe another world is possible and that by standing together, change can be won.

 

The Peoples Assembly – Liverpool September 5th

How a diverse platform of speakers can pull in a diverse audience of over eight hundred people on a Thursday evening in Liverpool, should be a salutary lesson for everyone looking for a radical political alternative. From the opening remarks of the Chair of the event, Sheila Coleman, in respect of putting social justice at the centre of any radical alternative, the meeting never looked back. The organisers of the event need to be congratulated for creating a space whereby the normal sermonising and predetermined attitudes of a lot of the Left and their speaking at people rather than to them, was thankfully missing.

Steve Turner of Unite reminded the meeting of the importance of linking both community and work-based struggles. Owen Jones, Colette Williams, speakers from DPAC and anti-bedroom tax campaigns provided the variety of responses needed for any fightback. All this inter-dispersed with the satire of Mark Steel (killer line? How the country is being run by Ryan Air.) Martin Kelsey of PCS also reminded us of how the debt crisis was being used as an excuse to eliminate the public sector.

However it hasn’t taken long for some of the ‘politico’s’ to begin griping. No doubt that it was probably the biggest meeting since the Liverpool Dockers Dispute has helped fuel a tinge of jealousy. Plus another criticism has been based on the failure of the meeting to finish with a clear strategy. I do not accept this point. It is similar to some of the complaint about Occupy Wall Street. For me the idea for the Peoples Assembly is to provide space for ideas and discussion rather than for groups to impose programmes and strategies using a form of language indecipherable to anyone under thirty. Utilising a construction of a working class: male breadwinners working in mines, shipyards or manufacturing ignores the salient points of de-industrialisation, finance rather than factories and that the new demographic of the average worker is one of a female working as carer or a nurse. The error of the Left, lies in importing the past wholesale into the present. The point of history is to learn from it and not to proceed as if still living in it.

For the times we are now living in whereby the financialisation of every aspect of life is both corrupting and corrosive, also mean that there are multiple circuits of exploitation felt by diverse and multiple people, from rents, student loans, health, housing , to food and pollution: everyone is being stiffed in an avalanche of debt. So the possibility of glimpsing an alternative future will not be solely based on a class consciousness but also on a ‘mass’ consciousness.

The People’s Assembly can open up spaces whereby industrial and community based struggles can link to demands for social justice, incorporating rights to housing, education, health, transportation, sustainable living, clean environments and the right not to be spied upon by the State. There is no longer a one size fits all solution. We should welcome the opportunity for widening and combining all elements of solidarity, social justice and resistance. As one door closes another one opens… even on RyanAir.

STEVE HIGGINSON
BRANCH SECRETARY,
UNITE 567 CASA COMMUNITY BRANCH.

Unite CASA 567 Community Branch

Written by Steve Higginson – Branch Secretary

We are delighted to be part of this new initiative, in terms of creating a new political space whereby a new movement can be developed in opposition to this coalition government and their policies of mass destruction.

Unite Community Membership is like the People’s Assembly a new initiative. The intention being to reach out to areas of the population previously untouched by trade union activity. Being part of Unite is not just about having a voice in the workplace, it is about being part of a movement to create a better society.

Community Branch Membership is open to members of the community who are not working, for example, students, unemployed, volunteers, carers, women/men who run community support groups, plus those who find themselves in what is now called “precarious employment”.

We look forward to playing a role within this new movement. But it has to be a movement that moves. We have to remember that millions of people are outside of the labour movement, we have to remember that age old family, community and industrial links to trade unionism have been substantially severed since the 1980s.

To reach the young we need a newer language to engage with them. We now live in a society were the “social” has been replaced by the individual. Young kids today lead very individualistic lives, and the challenge for any new movement is to re-engage them with a social and collective ethos. This ethos rejects a society that says “You must take from the needy and give to the greedy”. This ethos also says that “We are all our sister’s and brother’s keeper”. And as Dr Martin Luther King Jnr reminded us “The road to social justice begins with one step”. So the Unite CASA 567 Community Branch hopes that the People’s Assembly will begin that step.

Bay TV Interview Alec McFadden and Babs Hennessy at Sleepout Demonstration

Many assume that housing benefit is a drain on resources as ‘scroungers’ exploit the welfare system.

In reality many low paid workers and vulnerable members of society are being hit hard by the adjustment in payouts implemented by the policy.

full interview and writeup: Liverpool ‘Big Sleep Out’ protests against ‘Bedroom Tax’

Guardian Piece – “Our pilgrimage to the Atos centre, where miracles happen”

Many people have died within weeks of being declared fit for work. They spent their past few months living in fear and constant stress over the assessment. Sick and disabled people are being failed by a system that should protect them and look after them. Instead they are being labelled scroungers and skivers. What sort of society does this to their most vulnerable?

full article available at The Guardian

Special Thanks to UNITE Northwest

Unite Northwest have given us a donation of £250.00 for our assembly event at the Adelphi on Thursday 5th September. Many thanks to them for this.

Minutes of Meeting on 27th July

Minutes of Merseyside People’s Assembly Meeting

Saturday 27 July 2013 at Jack Jones House

Chair: Andrea W

Minute Taker: Terry C

Introductions were made, around 80 people in attendance.

  1. AW: Liaison with National People’s Assembly continuing. The movement is not a political party, rather a growing political movement of people trying to bring together all people on the left who are against austerity. We are in existence to help fight the cuts on behalf of people from all groups and the ordinary person and feed into the growing national movement.
  2. We attended a lobby of Liverpool City Council on Wednesday 17 July, when a motion was carried condemning the Bedroom Tax and committing to a non eviction policy. However, there is some doubt its effectiveness, as LCC are no longer landlords. Registered Social Landlords are.
    A concern from the floor was raised about the fate of children whose parents are evicted.
  3. Our Assembly event is on 5 September 2013, at the Adelphi Hotel to launch the Merseyside People’s Assembly. Amongst the guest speakers, who have agreed to attend, are: Lawrence Clarke, Collette Williams, Mark Steel, Owen Jones.
  4. AW asked the floor to suggest ways to recruit more members to the assembly and for promoting this event, 500 places are available. People wishing to go need to register as soon as possible as places are going fast. The following ideas were mooted:
    • Demos at Evictions
    • Obtain Councillor’s support
    • Obtain MP’s support
    • Contact Shelter
    • Registered Social Landlord Unions, ask workers to boycott eviction procedures. Mike K from PCS pointed out this could be deemed as gross misconduct, resulting in staff dismissals
    • Appoint an Information/Internet Officer
    • Fight zero hours contracts / Recruitment of staff on zero hours contracts
    • Martin C supported direct action. The PCS has taken a lot of action up to now and will continue to do so
    • Confront MP’s, councillors by seeing them face to face at surgeries etc.
    • Email all our contacts asking them to join MPA
    • Volunteer list to be created. Names to be given to Terry C at end of meeting
    • Mike K offered his admin services and is willing to assist in making press statements, producing leaflets etc.
  5. Several members from the floor called for the election of a committee and officers. The following were elected after agreement.
    Chair: Andrea W
    Secretary:
    Gary K
    Treasurer: Terry C
    Committee members: May M (Merseyside Pensioner’s Association Delegate), Janet D
    Members of Unions to go back to their Union for nominations for non executive committee members.
  6. Tory Party, Demo on 29 September, ask Unions to fund coaches to event and fundraise ourselves.Leaflets need to be distributed outside supermarkets, jobcentres etc. Stall in Church Street, Liverpool every Saturday.Create postcards? Ask postmen to deliver as a show of solidarity with us against the cuts.May M offered to help, as did Margaret P, both from Merseyside Pensions’ Association. May is to check out Unite for free transport.Martin K (PCS) offered to assist in production of publicity material and/or press releases.

    Ben W is building a website for us free of charge. He is a website designer and developer.

  7. Upcoming events: 11am August 15th, Pilgrimage to ATOS Miracle Healing Centre, Mann Island, Pier Head, Liverpool24th August 7pm. Mass sleep out to demonstrate the future number of homeless sleeping rough if Bedroom Tax and benefit cuts continue.The meeting finished at 12.45pm and we then marched to the Enuf is Enuf Demonstration and took part in a sit down protest to block the road into Liverpool City Centre.
actions speak louder than words