Spoons strike solid.

From Bristol SolFed on twitter

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Help Bristol Care Workers Network!

Hello comrades!

We are Bristol Care Workers Network. We an autonomous collective of healthcare and social care workers. We are contacting other organisations in Bristol to ask for help.

The charity Mencap have gone to court to demand that the government overturns its recent ruling on sleeping shifts counting as work for the purposes of calculating workers’ entitlement to the minimum wage. Because of Mencap, millions of low-paid workers will now be denied the minimum wage for their sleep shifts.

This has come at a time when non-payment of the minimum wage is at its worst ever level. The care sector is already one of the worst affected. Even for workers who are paid legally, studies have shown that it is almost impossible to make a living on the minimum wage. And now, Mencap want to make it even harder for workers to get the minimum wage.

The social care sector is a precarious sector where workers are routinely denied their rights and where union presence is very low. Although the situation for care workers is dire, this makes it an ideal sector for grassroots organising. We’ve found our campaigns around home care workers pay to be very successful and popular, and we’ve generated a lot of support by fighting this issue.

Precarious workers in other sectors are getting organised in an unprecedented way recently but at the moment the care sector has not caught up with what’s been happening among couriers, hospitality workers and other precarious sectors of the economy. The law around home care is changing rapidly and the TUC unions can’t keep up, so there is a real need for grassroots and DIY organising in the care sector. The home care sector is reaching crisis point due to austerity and Brexit will make this worse, so now is the time to start focusing on this sector. This is also an intersectional issue, as home care workers are overwhelmingly women, and a high proportion of care workers are people of colour and/or migrants, so as well as being an issue of class struggle, this is also a feminist issue and an anti-racist issue. This is why we think it’s important to start fighitng this.

We are a small organisation with limited capacity and influence, so we need other organisations to help make this event a success. You can help us by attending on the day, bringing your banners, and making a lot of noise, and/or publicising and sharing our event on your social media.

Thanks,

BCWN

Useful links:

BCWN website: bristolcareworkersnetwork.org

Stand up to Mencap event: https://www.facebook.com/events/1974568829267337/

BCWN’s critique of Unison and the TUC, and our arguments for grassroots organising in the care sector: https://bristolcareworkersnetwork.org/2018/08/26/unison-social-care-seminar-report-and-actions-the-workers-respond/

Background info on the Mencap court case: https://www.unison.org.uk/news/press-release/2018/07/sleep-shifts-judgment-huge-mistake/

Article about non-payment of NMW: https://www.bbc.com/news/business-45608993

Clean water for the Jordan Valley in occupied Palestine

You can donate here:

https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/jordanvalleywaterwells

Water. Something we all take for granted until it isn’t there. Unfortunately, for many of the Palestinian residents of the Jordan Valley in occupied Palestine, they can’t take it for granted. Not because of natural disaster or scarcity, but because the Israeli occupation is using access to water as a strategy to drive Palestinians from their land and into the cities.

We at Jordan Valley Solidarity are working together with Palestinian communities and NGOs to rebuild water pipes, re-dig wells and to bring piped, fresh water to isolated communities so that these communities can continue to resist the ethnic cleansing of their land.

Where is the Jordan Valley?

The Jordan Valley is the easternmost third of the occupied West Bank and runs from the border with 1948 Israel in the north to the Dead Sea in the south. It is part of the Great Rift Valley that stretches all the way from Kenya to Syria and, at more than 400m below sea level, forms the lowest inhabited place on the planet. It is also completely occupied by the Israeli military.

95% of the Valley is designated as Area C, meaning that it is under the direct control of the Israeli military authorities. This 95% excludes the largest towns and town centres but includes numerous Palestinian villages and Bedouin communities. At least 58,000 Palestinians reside in this jurisdiction but deliberate Israeli policies have caused this to decrease from 300,000 in 1967.

The Jordan Valley is situated on a natural aquifier. Hot summers and ready access to underground water mean that it is perfectly situated for mass agriculture. Since 1967, huge Israeli agribusiness settlements have increasingly colonised the land and overwhelmingly dominated access to resources whilst forcing Palestinian residents off the land. Israel has made no secret of its intention to annex the Valley permanently in the eventuality that it is forced into a two-state solution, citing both security and business desires.

What has this got to do with water?

The West Bank, including the Jordan Valley, sits on top of a huge natural aquifier. This means that water should be a readily available natural resource.

Yet, the inhabitants of this same territory are deprived of it. In Area C, Palestinians are routinely refused permission to build the infrastructure for clean water. When they build it anyway, the occupation sends soldiers and bulldozers to fill in the wells and destroy the pipes. This means that Palestinians have to buy tanks of water from the Israeli state water company at exorbitant prices.

The vast majority of villages, communities and farmers have seen their access to water destroyed by the occupation that steals this ‘blue gold’ for the benefit of settlers, as well as Israeli civil society through big companies such as Mekorot. By denying access to water, the occupation hopes to force Palestinians into exile in the cities or abroad, thus, clearing more space for Israeli-only settlements.

There is a law established by the occupation in area C, which says that when a Palestinian does not cultivate land for 3 consecutive years, then it no longer belongs to them and becomes property of the occupation.

But how can a Palestinian farmer cultivate their land when their access to water is made almost impossible? They will be a farmer who will no longer have the energy to fight the occupation. A farmer who will have no viable and secure land to ensure the future of his family, to pass on to his descendants.

What can we do about it?

Jordan Valley Solidarity (JVS) has teamed up with six international charities, local communities and a network of Palestinian NGOs to complete a campaign of building works bringing clean water facilities to communities in the Valley. We are looking for £7000 to pay for materials and the cost of paying local labourers a fair wage (and thus putting money into the economy) for their work.

Palestinians have an Arabic word, Samoud. Samoud translates most clearly as ‘steadfastness’ and is used by the Palestinians to express their desire to resist the ethnic cleansing of the occupation by staying exactly where they are. This means finding ways to live, work and live family lives in the midst of the violence and harassment of the occupation.

Israel wants to make life impossible for the Palestinians of the Valley so that they up sticks and leave. By donating towards the Water Campaign you are directly contributing to the resistance against the occupation. To Exist is to Resist.

What is JVS going to do about it?

We are going to dig a new water well, 150 metres deep to access the falling water table. This well will be accessed by 40 large Palestinian families who are currently forced to buy the water from under their feet from Israel. This well will also provide emergency water to other communities during the hot, dry summer months. If the occupation destroys the well, we will dig it again.

Half of the cost of this work is being donated by Palestinian civil society groups and we are raising the other half. The more we raise, the more work we can do.

Who is Jordan Valley Solidarity?

Jordan Valley Solidarity campaign is a network of Palestinian grassroots community groups from all over the Jordan Valley and international supporters. Our aims are to protect Palestinian existence and the unique environment of the Jordan Valley by building international support and supporting communities on the ground.

www.jordanvalleysolidarity.org

Message from the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, Southampton Branch.

Dear All

Thank you to everyone who came to the barbecue last Sunday. It was a lovely occasion and raised £400 for the PSC national appeal.Thank you to everyone who contributed in any way. A particular thank you to Isabel and Chris for the use of their home and for all the preparation they did.Also our thanks to Rev Stephen Sizer for his extremely stimulating presentation.

On Sat 15th we will be campaigning outside HSBC in the city centre. Please let me know if you can join us. Placards will be provided. Please come. Lets make a noise and tell HSBC to stop arming Israel. We will meeting outside HSBC at 10.30 and plan to stay until 12.30. If you can join us for 2 hours that is excellent but if you can only do an hour that is also great. Please let me know if you are coming.

If you also willing to hep with the regular Saturday stalls help is urgently needed.

Many thanks everyone
Regards
Cathryn Spiller

Branch Secretary Southampton PSC.

e-mail

Website

Blog

Message from the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, Southampton Branch.

Dear All

The ship Freedom, which was the ship 3 members of Southampton PSC, along with about 200 others, welcomed to Brighton back in June before she sailed to Gaza, has been boarded by the Israeli Navy and taken to Ashdod. This occurred on Friday 3rd August at about 8pm in the evening. Eyewitness account of Dr Swee Ang, please share widely

Richard Sudan who is a British Journalist working for Press TV and based in London is one of those detained. Please watch his SOS video and share it. This story about the illegal boarding of ships of the Freedom Flotilla needs to be shared. It is not being told by the mainstream media so please share the video far and wide on social media. www.facebook.com/richiesudan

Please contact Mr Jeremy Hunt at the foreign office fcocorrespondence@fco.gov.uk Also contact your own MP. Ask them to protest to the Government of Israel and ask that the ship freedom be allowed to sail to Gaza and to unload her supplies of medical materials.
Ask Mr Jeremy Hunt to use the influence of the UK to demand that Israel ends the blockade of Gaza. Ask Mr Hunt to protest at the treatment of both Dr SweeAng on the Awda and of Mr Richard Sudan on the Freedom.Both of these people were effectively kidnapped against their will while in international waters and posing no threat to Israel.Dr Ang was tasered and hit by members of Israeli forces. Ask Mr Hunt to demand that Israel investigates this and brings charges against those responsible. Also ask Mr Hunt to demand the immediate release of Mr Sudan and that he be allowed with the other members of the group travelling on the Freedom to return to the ship and sail to Gaza.
Also ask Mr Hunt to remind the state of Israel of their responsibility to protect a free press and therefore to not restrict Mr Sudan in his efforts as a journalist to record the events that took place on Friday evening on the Freedom.He must be released with all of his property, including all technology and information storage devices.

I would be very grateful if as many of you as possible could contact the foreign office and ask for these representations to the government of Israel to be made.
Also please share the story on social media.

www.facebook.com/freedomflotillacoalition

I would be grateful if you do contact the foreign office that you send me a quick email to let me know.

Thank you for your support of Palestine
Regards

Branch Secretary Southampton PSC.

e-mail

Website

Blog

UVW cleaners STRIKE PICKET times on 7th, 8th, 9th August at RBKC and MoJ.

Via  Anarchist Action Network

There will also be surprise actions at various others sites throughout the 3 days so stay tuned for updates. Emma Dent Coad MP will be joining the picket at RBKC on Tuesday.

Tuesday 7th

7.30am – 10am – picket Ministry of Justice HQ, 102 Petty France
12pm – 2pm – picket Kensington town hall
6pm – protest RBKC council meeting – Kensington town hall

Wednesday 8th

8am – 11am – picket Kensington town hall
12pm – 2pm – picket Ministry of Justice HQ, 102 Petty France

Thursday 9th

8am – 11am – picket Kensington town hall
12pm – 2pm – picket Ministry of Justice HQ, 102 Petty France
5pm – 6pm – Protest and closing rally at Ministry of Justice HQ, 102 Petty France

Please make a donation to their strike fund if you can

facebook event

Bloody hell it was hot! Tolpuddle R.W.B. 2018

A rather laid back Tolpuddle with everyone seemingly subdued by the temperature. It was good to see Brighton SolFed take up a stall, and a pity the IWW didn’t manage to book one as we had loads of local Wobs on hand to crew it and plenty of IWW-related literature, which made our table a bit cramped. Les did us proud as ever, Theresa’s innovative engineering solution with the sacktruck made the Wob Kitchen table more strong and stable than her gormless namesake. Misty in Roots was sublime as I remember them from the 70s and I Destroy from Bristol is a band to watch.

We’re definitely past peak J.C., I only heard three desultory chants of “Ooh Jeremy Corbyn” Some geezer in a ‘wake up Labour’ T shirt came by the stall, seemed normal enough then handed over a leaflet – I can’t remember what it was about – full of anti-Semitic conspiracy bollocks. “What is this rubbish? Who cares if George Soros is Jewish or not?” Bloke shrugged and I gave him a pamphlet about anti-Semitism. Later on the march, the crank was spotted wearing a Guy Fawkes mask carrying a portrait of Vladimir Putin with the caption ‘peacemaker’. At the end of the village, the ‘friends of Israel’ we oiked off the site a couple of years ago stood brandishing vast British and Israeli flags, shouting something about Hamas.

Meanwhile the Labour party squabbles over two ‘examples of anti-Semitism’ from the I.H.R.A. code:

 g. Denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination, e.g., by claiming that the existence of a State of Israel is a racist endeavour.

j. Drawing comparisons of contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis

Now usually in anti-oppression politics, the hegemonic group doesn’t get to define what constitutes oppressive behaviour, but this is more complicated. Religion is a species of ideology, and ideology is an excuse for doing what you like and/or a palliative for those you’re doing it to. Worse, it’s a cross-class alliance. Caution should be exercised over cultural identity for the same reason; both these things often have implicit hierarchies embedded within them.

Racism is anything that materially or socially disadvantages members of a racialised group, or makes it more likely they will be targets for violence and oppressive behaviour. It’s a methodology for maintaining a power relation so it only works where such a relation exists. Anti-Semitic oppression falls on Working Class Jews who don’t have the protection of the state of Israel or the U.S. government, it doesn’t fall on Netanyahu and co. They are part of the hegemonic group, not because there is a conspiracy, or because Judaism exerts undue influence, but because they are the ultra-nationalist leadership of a state engaged in military-industrial capitalism. States are cross-class alliances; they don’t represent any people, just a mode of production.

I would say the state of Israel is a racist endeavour, so is the European Union, the United Kingdom, the United States and the Russian Federation. Almost all states were founded on racism; they began with a cultural majority carving out a piece of territory, imposing their language and customs and excluding outsiders; they invaded and robbed their neighbours. The economic and political dominance of North-Western Europe and North America was achieved through the pillage of Latin America, Africa, and the Indian sub-continent. That is the context in which the state of Israel was founded.

So what do you think, if a state grants an absolute right of citizenship to Jews and only Jews, is it racist?

Allowing displaced Palestinians to return to Israel-Palestine would deny the Israeli state a Jewish voting majority, without which it could not guarantee such rights in perpetuity. Is it racist to give Jewish people a greater right to self-determination than Palestinian people?

Is it racist to contend that all Jewish people must make this moral compromise?

Is it racist to take sixty to a hundred Palestinian lives for every Israeli one lost?

Is it racist to claim that a body of privileged individuals speaks for an entire Diaspora, or even that anybody needs to? A Diaspora that comprises a range of ethnicities, religious and secular traditions, proletarians and bourgeois alike – including anarchist comrades – especially when clearly, it doesn’t, as many Jews on this island profoundly disagree with it?

Would it have been anti-Semitic for J.C. to refuse an invitation to a cultural event from a group of young Working Class Jews in his constituency on his night off?

Is it racist to conflate anti-capitalism with anti-Semitism, implying that all Jews are supporters of capitalism?

Is it anti-Semitic to call Jonathan Arkush an arrogant prick?

There is a noble tradition of Jewish anti-capitalist movements, anarchist, socialist and atheist in Britain, Europe and the U.S. and Jews have been active in antifascism as long as there have been fascists. The board of deputies is a deeply reactionary clique that opposed every grassroots Jewish antifascist initiative of the 20th century. It opposed the action at Cable Street, and the work of the 43 and 62 groups, which effectively confounded three waves of British fascism, and if you take these things as seriously as we do, undoubtedly saved many lives. There’s a reason for this, self-organised Working Class Jews kicking their persecutors around threaten the vicarious victimhood of their self-appointed representatives. Wouldn’t the board of deputies be buggered if people stopped being anti-Semitic? These wankers are literally playing politics with Working Class lives.

In practice, nobody represents anyone but themselves, communities do not need states or leaders, and many Jewish people agree. We disdain bourgeois Jews because they’re bourgeois not because they’re Jewish. Just as we have no time for black cops, gay fascists or female prime ministers. Where is the clamour about anti-Palestinianism?

I don’t know if it’s actually anti-Semitic to accuse a Jewish person of acting like a Nazi, but it’s pretty fucking tactless, just as I wouldn’t describe an African-American employer as a slave-driver, use your noggin, Ken. You shouldn’t say stupid things like “Hitler supported Zionism” in the sense that “Hitler supported Arsenal”, because he didn’t. The Nazi state cut a deal with one section of the Zionist movement in August 1933 because they shared part of an agenda – getting European Jews to move to Palestine rather than be comfortably settled in Europe. It meant breaking an embargo on German exports. Other Zionists were violently opposed to the idea and fought valiantly against the Nazis. Haim Arlosoroff, one of the architects of the Haavara settlement was subsequently assassinated.

Anti-Semitism certainly lurked below the surface of anti-capitalism, for example in the Occupy movement; it’s faulty politics and bad history. Using ‘Zionist’ as a pejorative is unhelpful and I wouldn’t recommend it. Historically Zionism was diverse, including utopian socialists, religious groups and of course the right-wing nationalists that eventually took it over.

These aren’t problems capitalism can solve. Jews will be free when everyone is free, when identities don’t have to compete on the market and we’ve done away with the bourgeoisie and their toxic state idea.