Friday 30 September 2011

Brighton demo against ATOS

Photos and video from the latest production of Dick Whittington and his Work Capability Assessment and the funeral procession in memory of the victims of ATOS.

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Africa demands climate justice Monday 10 October, Brighton

More than ever before, rich industrialised countries are using the UN climate talks as an excuse to advance corporate interests. In the run up to the climate talks in Durban, South Africa, this December people across Africa and the world are demanding climate justice.

As part of our climate justice speaker tour, join us to hear Desmond D’Sa, coordinator of South Durban Community Environmental Alliance and Deborah Doane, World Development Movement director.

When: Monday 10 October, 7pm
Where: Brighthelm Centre, North Road, Brighton, BN1 1YD

Find out how you can take action against the UK’s unfair policies that are prioritising corporate profits via discredited institutions such as the World Bank. Not only will this fail to tackle climate change, but it will also deepen existing global inequalities.

Desmond D’Sa is coordinator of South Durban Community Environmental Alliance, which mobilises local people against industrial pollution. A veteran campaigner on local and global environmental justice issues, he’s centrally involved in organising the alternative civil society space during the UN talks. He will be speaking in Brighton, Bristol, London and Eastleigh.

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Thursday 29 September 2011

Day of action against the poverty pimps

From Brighton Benefits Campaign

Friday 30th September – Churchill Square – 12 noon

Performance of Dick Whittington & His Work Capability Assessment – join in & shout at the computer!
Funeral procession for those who have died because of Atos. Wear black!
Leafleting & picket of Atos Healthcare testing centre in Upper North Street.


Atos Healthcare, a division of IT giant Atos Origin, is the private provider employed to administer the Work Capability Assessment for the Department of Work & Pensions, testing sick & disabled people who apply for benefit.

In 2005 Atos introduced a computer system to assess claimants’ incapacity to work. Almost immediately concerns were raised about assessments performed using the Logic Integrated Medical Assessment (LIMA) software. Advice agencies such as the CAB complained about the inflexibility & inaccuracy of the tests.

More recently the Harrington Report and the Work and Pensions Select Committee, found the Work Capability Assessment implemented by Atos Healthcare to be mechanistic and Atos’ ‘medical reports’ far too often did not reflect circumstances and discussions that had taken place during the assessments (Harrington Report, pp. 40-41).

A large number of those tested are told they are able to work, but many have the decision overturned on appeal. Yet even those who win their appeals are dragged back within a few months for another test. Small wonder that some have decided to commit suicide rather than continually go through this cat & mouse process. Seriously ill & even dying people have been called for assessment, & the recommendations of family doctors & specialists are apparently ignored.

In addition, twelve doctors working for Atos face being struck off for improper conduct, and other members of Atos’ staff are under investigation over allegations of obscene criticism of benefit claimants.

Over time sick & disabled people & their supporters have grown more militant & more vocal in their condemnations of Atos. In return Atos threatened legal action against the Internet hosting companies of three websites – ‘Carerwatch’, ‘After Atos’ and ‘Atos Register of Shame’, attempting to silence those claimants and their small organisations who have had the courage to speak up.

It’s time for a more human medical assessment & the abolition of Atos’s mechanised methods. Time for the dismissal of Atos and the return to a professional medical service, publicly run, and not for profits!

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Monday 26 September 2011

Brighton 9 - State comes unstuck

Two weeks and a hundred grand for some damaged dummies.

One of the best pieces of news this week was that the Prosecution case against the Brighton 9 has largely collapsed.

It was ruled that superglue on windows was not "criminal damage", although some of them were convicted of reckless damage to some mannequins.

UK Uncut has been a breath of fresh air in the anti-cuts movement. Their direct action has focussed attention on corporate tax dodging very effectively.

But chief dummy turns out to be Hove Tory MP Mike Weatherly, who denounces Caroline Lucas for giving evidence for the nine (like it's any of his business). Mike doesn't like direct action - apart from when he's doing it of course.

Sunday 25 September 2011

Come to the European Conference against Austerity!

Saturday 1st October 2011
10am to 5pm
Camden Centre
Bidborough Street
London WC1H 9AU


Those who were hoping that the summer would bring some relief to the crisis must be cruelly disappointed. Share values continue to fall and the Eurozone bail-outs are hitting the rocks. In Britain, the political and social crises roll on with the revelations about News International and the riots in August. The outlook for the ruling class is bleak as they have no solution, and the economies are teetering on the edge of a recession. We can expect more appeals that “we are all in it together” and that there is no alternative to a radical programme of austerity. As the crisis is international, so must be the response of all those who refuse to make the working class and society pay for this crisis.

That’s why the Europe Against Austerity conference in London on 1st October is so important. It will be the first event since the start of the crisis in 2008 where all those who want to oppose the attacks will meet. The conference will not only issue a declaration against the austerity programmes but plan a movement of resistance across Europe.

The Coalition of Resistance is hosting this conference jointly with the other organisations and individuals sponsoring the event. These include the European Left Party, Die Linke, Attac, CADTM, Union Syndicale Solidaires, Tony Benn, Ken Loach, Jeremy Corbyn MP, Caroline Lucas MP, Len McCluskey Unite, and Bob Crow RMT. Olivier Besancenot of the New Anticapitalist Party of France has also accepted an invitation to attend.

There will be plenaries and workshops on topics such as The Crisis and the Debt, Ending the War, Students and Youth Fighting for a Future, Women against Austerity, and Mobilising against Austerity. The information on agenda will be updated on the website.

Back on the blog!

It's been way too long but I am determined to get this blog back up and running again after a rather sporadic service.  Stand by..........

Thursday 8 September 2011

Imminent Victory in Libya – the struggle will continue

*Socialist Resistance *celebrates the imminent victory of the Libyan rebellion through the recent advances. This has the potential not only to carry through the democratic liberation of Libya people but to be an
important boost for the rebellion in the whole region – not least in Syria where it has already had a major impact. The Libyan uprising from the start has been not only a genuine uprising of the of the Libyan masses but a
product of, and an integral part of, the wider rebellion in the Arab world which began, and continues to be centred in Egypt.

SR’s position from the outset has been full support for the Libyan uprising against the Gaddafi dictatorship and against the involvement of NATO. We
advocated instead the arming of the rebellion itself – preferably by the Arab regimes.

Our fears over NATO’s involvement have increased during this new phase of
the conflict as it has become clear that NATO has deepened its involvement at every level – which was an inevitable process. This has not just involved
the use of NATO air power against Gaddafi’s defences but the involvement of special forces on the ground from at least Britain and France and probably
the USA.

The recent offensive against Tripoli was planned in conjunction with NATO, which provided the intelligence and air support. Cameron and Sarkozy are already organising a conference on post-Gaddafi Libya in which oil contracts
will be the central subject. Libya has not only the seventh biggest oil reserves globally (with a trillion dollar a year capacity), but a scarce grade, suitable for aviation fuel.

NATO, or the Western powers operating through it, hope to hijack the revolution. In these circumstances it is urgent for the revolution to establish its political and military independence in the process of the transition of power and to end the involvement of NATO and the Western Powers as the new democratic regime is established. To this end we support the TNC’s call for genuine elections to a Constituent Assembly that will decide on Libya’s future constitution. However we call on the Transitional National Council (TNC) to stand by its earlier decisions of opposing any
NATO forces on the ground and therefore end all military intervention now, including the withdrawal of NATO military advisors.

To fill the political and administrative vacuum we support the formation of local committees and other structures separate from the Gaddafi state and for the maintenance of the armed people. No to the disarming of the people!
We favour the bringing to proper and fair trial those charged with war crimes and atrocities – no to vengeance killings.

We also call for the defence of and immediate funding of any social gains, welfare provision, national health service, etc against privatisations.

All the assets of Gaddafi’s regime held outside of Libya should be handed over to the revolutionary forces, without strings or conditions, so that
they can rebuild their country and meet the people’s needs. No to any "structural adjustment programmes" requiring privatisation and favourable
treatment for western corporations.

All oil and commercial contracts with the Gaddafi regime should be cancelled, and zero-interest credit should be given with no strings to the Transitional National Council.
There should be no imperialist forces in Libya nor the establishment of military bases.
The form of government in Libya is to be decided by the Libyan people, with no outside interference, and by means of a Constitutional Assembly elected
through universal suffrage and full democratic rights for all. Mass popular mobilisations of the Libyan people will be necessary to continue the
struggle for a society based on democracy and social justice, not private profit.

The fall of the Gaddafi regime is celebrated not only in Libya itself, but throughout the region because his dictatorship had all the normal trappings of a repressive regime. The existence of some elements of a welfare state in Libya no more made his rule defendable that the situation in Iraq under Saddam Hussein.

We call for the completion of the victory for the uprising, which is
underway and for, an end to the NATO intervention, and for the future of Libya to be determined by the Libyan people themselves free of pressure and exploitation by the Western powers.

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Monday 5 September 2011

Kill the Bill

Time to get Lansley worried.

I went out petitioning yesterday with Keep Our NHS Public and Stop the Cuts. Some 50 people showed up to help and within 3 hours we had gathered 2500 signatures against the innocuously-named Health and Social Care Bill. This is the legislation which will effectively hand NHS budgets to GP consortia and allow private companies to pick over our NHS.

It is always gratifying at an event like this when the people I don't know outnumber the people I do know, and this was certainly the case yesterday. This, and the sheer number of signatures, demonstrates the strength of feeling.

The Government has no mandate for these changes - the Tory manifesto said there would be no changes to the NHS. Shirley Williams' intervention at the weekend reveals the depth of the divisions in the coalition over Lansley's proposals.

Public pressure can stop the Tories in their tracks.

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