Dorset Branch member Pete Treglown has two of his 'NOW' collages appearing in a group show at PS Mirabel in Manchester. These series of works have been previously been featured in this section of the District Website. 

 

 

 

The North Devon Branch of the Communist Party invites you to a day of discussion and workshops on the theme of public ownership. Topics on the agenda include:

  • What needs to be in public ownership?
  • Confiscation or compensation?
  • Workers' control.
  • How do we want public ownership to function?
  • The obstacles to public ownership.

There will also be short contributions from:

Jeremy Bell, Chair of South West on Co-op Ethics and Principles Committee, on the co-operative movement. Gerrard Sables, Secretary North Devon CPB, on the history of the demand for public ownership. Liz Payne, Vice Chair of the Communist Party, on the case for public ownership. Tim Gulliver, National Executive member of the Communist Party, on the People's Assembly.

Saturday the 7th of June, 11:00 - 16:00

Castle Centre, Castle Street, Barnstaple

We suggest participants bring a packed lunch but there are shops and cafes close by.

The recent government announcement concerning the special "minority" status of the Cornish people and their Celtic cultural history coincided with the launch of the EU election campaign and the timing underlines the superficiality of ConDem politics in the South West region, and is a cynical, desperate response to the possibility of UKIP polling success in the UK's poorest county.

This letter from North Devon Branch Secretary Gerrard Sables has appeared in several South West newspapers. Here we reprint it in full.

Dear Editor

Derek Sargeant Chair of the UKIP Torridge and West Devon constituency association is trying to get support for his party by highlighting Maria Miller's greed in claiming too much in expenses.

In 2009 13 UKIP MEPs were elected. Since then five of them have either been expelled or have resigned from the party. So you have a good chance of not getting what you vote for if you vote UKIP.

UKIP are unique in the European Parliament as being the first party to have had one of its members sent to prison for overclaiming expenses. Tom Wise was sent down for two years in November 2009. Other of their MEPs have been forced to repay large amounts.

The latest poem from communist poet Bobbie-Jo Treglown

Many pensioners are suffering 
But others just complain 
Because the world keeps changing 
How could? 
Why should! 
Life stay the same 

A new ethnic group emerges
Elitist, racist, cold
The Silver Nazis numbers grow
Never die
Nor change with the times
They just get old

Is Labour still a labour party? In the excerpts of a new Communist Party pamphlet that follow, CP General Secretary Robert Griffiths asks what recent reforms will mean for working-class representation in Britain.

An important aspect of the struggle for an alternative to austerity and privatisation will be the battle over Labour’s manifesto for the 2015 general election.

The Communist Party is clear that the Tory-Lib Dem coalition must be defeated, which means supporting the election of the only practical and viable alternative, namely, a Labour government.

This need not require support for every Labour candidate, especially where communist and other candidates may be standing on a broad left platform against the worst Labour champions of neoliberalism and imperialism.

That notwithstanding, only a Labour victory in the general election overall would raise people’s morale and determination to fight for left and progressive policies.

The Bristol, Bath and Gloucestershire branch celebrated May Day this year with a very successful pub quiz. Mick reports from a very well attended, and by the sounds of it absolutely hilarious, event.

We (Bristol, Bath & Gloucester Branch CPB) decided to hold a pub quiz as our Mayday celebration. Having checked with the Trades Council and others that no events were going to take place on May 1st, we booked the upstairs room of an historic old pub on Bristol's docks (The Nova Scotia), produced a very good flyer with the hammer & sickle on it and started telling friends and comrades.

Following the election results of the UK Independence Party in the May 2013 local elections, we reprint here the resolution from the 2012 Congress of the Communist Party.

The EU and popular sovereignty

As capitalism's crisis continues and even deepens, the myth of the 'Social Chapter' and a 'Social Europe' – the reason why so many trades unionists decided to back the EU – is well and truly shattered.

Britain’s withdrawal from the EU is a prerequisite to winning democratic control over the economy, saving manufacturing, restoring employment rights and rescuing our welfare state. It is impossible to separate the austerity programme from the unelected institutions that crafted it or the policies created solely to sustain those same institutions. 'Rejecting austerity' means little without a rejection of such institutions as the EU Commission and European Central Bank and of the EU treaties, which legislate for permanent austerity. These institutions and treaties cannot be significantly reformed.

The anti-democratic and pro-big business character of the EU is now fully exposed as it imposes unelected 'technocratic' governments and as the European Central Bank – with its partners in crime the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank – imposes drastically deflationary policies on one country after another. 'Austerity Europe' offers nothing to workers. The 'free' movement of labour has become the new regulator of labour relations, as transnational corporations undermine pay, worsen conditions and weaken collective agreements with the ultimate aim of smashing trade union organisation.

A commitment by left and progressive forces in Britain to demand withdrawal from the EU will strengthen the position of all those in Europe fighting to preserve and defend democratic gains. Attacking the monopoly capitalist character of the EU from a left perspective – and standing in solidarity with the communist and workers' parties and working class movements elsewhere in Europe – is a profoundly internationalist position. Britain's communists reject the ultra-leftist view that seeking withdrawal from the EU is a capitulation to reactionary British nationalism.

The EU has nothing to do with working class internationalism. It is the creation of western Europe's big capitalist monopolies and has been designed to serve their interests. The notion that it can be transformed into the basis for a 'united socialist states of Europe' is an illusion fostered in the labour movement by ultra-leftist elements who refuse to make a concrete analysis of the EU as it has developed to the present.

Exposing the true character of the EU must be central to the battle of ideas within the trade unions and the wider labour movement. While the Communist Party welcomes the prospect of a referendum on British membership of the EU, it is essential that the terms of the campaign be determined more by anti-EU arguments from the labour movements and the left than from the Tory right. The successful motion at the 2011 TUC conference opposing EU use of World Trade Organisation 'Mode 4' trade provisions (which would erode trade union rights even further by reintroducing indentured labour) provides a good basis from which to proceed. So, too, does the successful motion passed at the 2011 Scottish Trades Union Congress calling for an end of compliance with the Stability and Growth Pact and the negotiation instead of a most favoured nation trade agreement with the EU on the same basis as Norway but outside the provisions of the Single Market.

Communist Party members in Devon took part in all three rallies in the county over the weekend.

CP flag on the seafront at Torquay

 

Over one hundred copies of the special May Day Unity! were distributed to the public and forty copies of the Morning Star were sold.

Taken from This is North Devon

Communist Party candidate Gerrard Sables was due to have a hammer and peace dove symbol next to his name on the ballot paper, having agreed as much with North Devon Council prior to the election.

But when he arrived at the Holy Trinity Church polling station at around 7am this morning he found a hammer and sickle symbol alongside his name.

“We’d chosen the hammer and peace dove symbol,” he said, “but instead we’ve got this and for some people it’s a bit negative.

NHS Direct has been named as the preferred provider to deliver the new non-emergency NHS 111 phone number to almost 1.5m residents in the South West.

Subject to finalisation of contracts, the NHS trust will provide the service in Cornwall and Somerset when it goes live next March, replacing NHS Direct's 0845 number.

The deal, thought to be worth at least £21m over five years, is good news for the telephone triage service which faces an uncertain future if it fails to win enough NHS 111 business to make its foundation trust bid viable.

Professor Keith Ewing, President of the Institute of Employment Rights, lays in to the Beecroft Report, a stalking horse for greater legislative repression of workers and their representatives. You can visit the IER site here.

Even the limited rights of British workers are too much for the Tories and very rich Tory donors such as Adrian Beecroft, the pay-day loan merchant who now advises Cameron on how to sack workers.

On the eve of the general election in 1997 Tony Blair famously said that Britain was the most lightly regulated labour market in Europe, and that under New Labour it would stay that way. He kept his word.

But even the limited rights of British workers are too much for the Tories and very rich Tory donors such as Adrian Beecroft, the pay-day loan merchant who now advises Cameron on how to sack workers.

Jane with the Cuban Ambassador to Britain, Her Excellency Esther Armenteros Cárdenas

Exeter and South Devon comrade and artist-potter Jane Yates donated a large coilpot for the recent Cuba Solidarity Campaign (CSC) exhibition, Beyond the Frame (23-28 April in London. 7-13 May in Glasgow).

She explained that the CPB branch has been affiliated to CSC since it was formed and has had Cuban film nights and CSC stalls in Exeter High Street. Last year the branch managed to organize a Plymouth CSC group.

Communists in the South West have condemned the government's plans to introduce regional pay in the public sector.

The South West of England and Cornwall District Committee of the CPB met this weekend (Saturday the 12th) in Exeter.

Tim Gulliver, district media officer, began by quoting figures from the SW TUC which reveal that pay in the region is already amongst the lowest in the country. Devon and Cornwall in particular would be badly affected, with pay rates in Cornwall being £3.59 an hour below the national average.

The public sector makes up around 27% of the workforce in the South West.

"By removing national bargaining agreements the government is taking power away from working people," warned Liz Payne, the District's Chair. "This is all part of a wider plan to dismantle public services at a local level and make them easier to privatise."

The South West has some of the highest house price to wage ratios in the country. The committee also warned that any decrease in the wages of workers would have serious consequences for the wider economy.

Back issues of Communist Review, the journal of the Communist Party, are now online. Links to the currently available issues  are listed in our education section.

Party members were out and about across the bank holiday weekend taking part in marches and rallies. We've been sent in photos from Bristol, Dorchester and Exeter - send in yours!

In Bristol the rally, under the title of 'Save the NHS' was addressed by Nina Franklyn and John MacInally among others, including a women's drama group who and pointed out the irony of a "Virgin" sexual diseases clinic in Milton Keynes!

On international Workers' Day 15 communist parties across the European Union came together to agree a common position against the Treaty on Stability, Co-ordination and Governance in the European Stability Mechanism (ESM). All the parties call upon workers throughout the EU to mobilise and resist these treaties and the anti-people policies of the EU and its allies.

All signatories expressed their solidarity with Irish workers and supported the call for a No vote by the Irish people in the referendum due on May 31.

Eugene McCartan, general secretary of the Communist Party of Ireland

There is strike action planned across the South West on May the 10th. Some of the main rallies are detailed below.

Bristol: Rally from 11:00AM, Armada House, Telephone Avenue, Bristol, BS1 4BQ

Bournemouth: 9th of May Pre-Strike Solidarity Rally Event starts at 7:30PM - speakers, music and food available. Whether your union is involved on the day or not, come along and be part of an important solidarity event. Organised by Bournemouth, Christchurch & Poole Trades Union Council. British Legion Club, 143 Ashley Road, Bournemouth.

Cornwall: Cornwall Anti-Cuts Alliance have arranged a STRIKERS CAVALCADE through Cornwall on May 10.

8:30 Minibus pick-up in Lemon Quay, by the Job Centre.  Support the PCS picket there.

9:00 (until 12:00) UCU activity in Falmouth.

9:00 Support PCS picket at Pydar House in Truro.  Picket outside ATOS premises in Pydar House with Cornwall Disabled People Against the Cuts.

10:00 Cornwall College in Camborne, link up with UCU members and PCS members

11:00 Penzance.  Offer solidarity to Remploy (threatened with closure) and one other site as directed by Penwith ACA and unions.

12:30 UCU from Falmouth, STRIKERS CAVALCADE and PCS meet up for the Unite Rally at Treliske Hospital.

13:30 Truro College to support pickets and meet students.

14:45 Arrive in St. Austell College.

16:45 Arrive back Truro.

Exeter: Stall & leafleting 10:30-11:30, Bedford Square. Rally from 12:00 noon, City Gate, Lower North Street.  Speakers & food available.

Plymouth: MARCH: 12:00 noon assemble outside the Civic Centre, Armada Way. RALLY: 1:30PM at in the Lower Guildhall, Armada Way. Organised by Plymouth Trades Council. 

If your event has been missed, please contact us.

UNISON members in the South West are taking action to highlight the threat to the services provided by NHS Direct.  Nursing and Health advisors providing the NHS Direct helpline services to Cornwall and the South West based at Exeter are today, Tuesday 1 May, holding a ‘work-in’ in protest against the Government’s plans to replace NHS Direct.

NHS Direct protest

From midnight last night until to midnight tonight NHS Direct staff in Exeter are having a ‘work-in’, with extra staff are voluntarily coming in, in their own time to help staff the NHS Direct phone lines in a protest to the forthcoming changes from NHS Direct to the new 111 services, which will result in clinical staff losing their jobs and a reduction in clinical service provision.