Monday, March 25, 2013

Sussex ‘Pop-Up Union’ to fight outsourcing

The following is a repost of a press release originally published on the Sussex Against Privatisation blog.

press@popupunion.org
http://www.popupunion.org
07813 507501

Sussex ‘Pop-Up Union’ to fight outsourcing
Workers at the University of Sussex have formed a new union in a bid to halt the outsourcing of 235 campus jobs. The initiative comes from rank-and-file members of the three recognised campus trade unions, with the support of students from the now six-week old Occupy Sussex movement.

Announcing the move at a mass demonstration on Monday 25th March, a spokesperson said: “The Pop-Up Union is a result management’s refusal to engage meaningfully with staff, students, and the recognised trade unions for over 10 months. We are now taking things into our own hands.”

“A recent poll found that 70% of students oppose the plans. Numerous academics have voiced their opposition, and the local MP has sponsored an Early Day Motion in the Houses of Parliament. But university management are pushing ahead with this unpopular and unnecessary proposal.”

“We are urging all Sussex staff to join the Pop-Up Union so that we can stand together against the attack on workers terms and conditions that outsourcing represents.”

press@popupunion.org
http://www.popupunion.org
07813 507501

Notes for editors

1. Outsourcing background. University of Sussex management proposed in May 2012 to outsource 235 campus jobs, including porters, cleaners, security and catering. The Pop-Up Union believes outsourcing will lead to erosion of workers terms and conditions and is calling for the services to remain in-house.

2. Legal background #1. Trade Unions are defined in law under the Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992. The Pop-Up Union has been formed in accordance this definition. See: http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1992/52

3. Legal background #2. The Pop-Up Union is in the process of becoming ‘listed’ with the Certification Officer, who maintains a list of all known Trade Unions. See: http://www.certoffice.org/Nav/Trade-Unions/Active.aspx

4. Campaign info. Occupy Sussex have been in occupation of the Bramber House conference centre since 8 February 2013, and have received support from well over 300 academics, trade unions and public figures including comedian Frankie Boyle, actor Peter Capaldi, and public intellectual Noam Chomsky. See: http://sussexagainstprivatization.wordpress.com/2013/02/09/letter-to-staff-at-the-university-of-sussex/

5. Local MP. Local MP Caroline Lucas has tabled an Early Day Motion in the House of Commons opposing the plans, which at the time of writing had attracted 11 signatories: http://www.parliament.uk/edm/2012-13/1216

6. Campus trade unions. Three trade unions are recognised by the University of Sussex – UCU, Unite, and Unison. The Pop-Up Union includes members of all three, and does not intend to replace the recognised unions, but to provide a means for workers across campus to lawfully oppose the outsourcing proposals.

7. Union fees. Dues are set at just 50p per month, making the Pop-Up affordable to every staff member on campus.

Liverpool Labour Councillor Squirms Over Bedroom Tax Evictions

Image: https://www.facebook.com/AndrewBennettPhotogtaphy
At the Labour Party-organised Bedroom Tax demonstration in Liverpool ten days ago, the vice chair of Venture Housing made an astonishing claim from the platform - that no-one would be evicted from the association's houses as a result of not being able to keep up the rent post-Bedroom Tax. In a quick interview afterwards however, Louise Baldock told me she'd only said because "I wanted you not to keep shouting".

As others have written elsewhere, the Labour organisers maintained the pretence that the event was "a people’s demo not a political demo". However, the political focus was made clear by the parade of Labour politicians who took to the stage, while Combat The Bedroom Tax activists who had been putting in the hard miles since end of last year were not only denied a speech, but loudly condemned by named organiser Claire Chapple.

I took up a position stage right, and used my megaphone to let Labour know they would not have things their own way, constantly asking the local councillors amongst them if they had voted for the devastating local cuts package the previous week (none answered; they all had), and what their strategy for combating the bedroom tax was. After all, each one was droning on and on about how bad the Bedroom Tax will be for tenants, without offering any perspective whatsoever for effectively opposing it.

Apart from party political capital, some Labour people present had an unspoken agenda. Deputy Mayor Paul Brant makes many thousands per year as chair of Riverside Housing Association, which has a very large stock in Liverpool. However, he did not mention this fact in his speech. Baldock's Venture is much smaller, but still owns and manages 1300 homes in Liverpool and the Wirral. As I mentioned in my article in the days leading up to the demo:
"Like all 'social landlords', Venture is caught between what is transparently an attack on the very idea of 'social housing', and the need to collect rent in order to make money. Vice chairs of housing associations can expect to take home around ten thousand pounds per year for attending a few meetings."
Doubtless Baldock and Brant - and many others like them in the Labour Party nationwide - do actually resent the Bedroom Tax. After all, it could seriously affect their own financial interests. But they are tied to ruling class legality, and cannot make any more of an appeal to those affected than to vote Labour. Even then, national Labour is very far from making a commitment to repealing the Bedroom Tax in 2015 - long after the evictions have happened if working class people do not make a community-based stand.

Fortunately, that's exactly what an ever-increasing number of us intend to do.

You can view my intervention in Baldock's speech from 12 minutes in here, and my interview with her is below. 

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Liverpool Combat The Bedroom Tax Demonstration Announced

The following is a repost from the Combat the Bedroom Tax blog:

Here are the details for the Liverpool bedroom tax demonstration on Sat, 30th March. Please note meeting point change for South Liverpool groups.

Please circulate to friends, colleagues, family & community:


Combat the Bedroom Tax - Sat, 30th March - Liverpool City Centre

On Saturday 30th of March, Liverpool grassroots anti-bedroom tax campaigns will take to the streets of Liverpool to combat an all out attack on working class people.

We have seen that Government, whatever suit it wears, does not support working class unity and it is up to us to work together and smash this bedroom tax outright.

We are not just faced with the attack on working class people disguised as the bedroom tax: the benefit cap, personal independence payment, council tax support cut, the benefit up-rating bill will all decimate the working class.

The bedroom tax is pushing people to the edge, and there are far more cuts to hit people who are both in and out of work.

It is up to us, our friends, our neighbours, our communities to stand together in working class unity, without politicians or councillors, and combat this attack on working class people, on what it means to have a home and to be a human being.

Tenants have reached the point now were they are swerving the disempowering and ‘traditional’ methods of protest --And we don’t need parliament stooges calling us to action. We’ll do that ourselves.

From North Liverpool & Bootle - Sat 30th March

There will be a pre-meeting event for the more mobile and willing Stand Up In Bootle members and supporters on Saturday 30th March 2013. This will be at: Great Homer St Market meeting at 11:45am and leaving about 12:15pm marching onwards to St George's Hall for 1PM.


From South Liverpool - Sat 30th March

People from South Liverpool bedroom tax groups will now be meeting at Victoria Monument, Derby Square (outside Crown Courts) at 12noon instead of Myrtle Parade, Liverpool L7 7EL to march on St George's Hall

or Assemble at St George's Hall

If you can't make the feeder marches, for whatever reason, then we'll see you at St George's Hall (plateau-side) at 1pm

Let's combat the bedroom tax and the rest of the attacks on our welfare on the 30th of March!

combatbedroomtax@gmail.com

Monday, March 18, 2013

Liverpool Labour Bedroom Tax Organiser Makes False Claims of Online Personal Threats

This afternoon I learned I was the subject of extremely serious allegations made by Claire Chapple, the named organiser of the 'Liverpool Against the Bedroom Tax' rally this weekend. According to one eyewitness:
"as she walked off the platform (as she announced the protest was at an end) you were already up on the wall with megaphone.... several of us surrounded her and started arguing with her.... She was really nasty about the grassroots campaign and our behaviour online. She said "and him with the long hair is the worst" -pointing at you. She added, "he has been sending me personal messages on facebook, threatening me".... so I asked her what threats, she declined to answer and tried to divert the subject...I talked over her and asked her 5 or 6 six times, until she backed down and said, "alright then, he was rude and insulting"... she then made a quick exit"
Furthermore:
"when she said it, there was people tutting and shaking their heads, as if they beleived her, so good she backed down..."
If Claire Chapple found my megaphone intervention at the demonstration and my keyboard intervention on its Facebook event page extremely annoying, I am glad. That's not for any personal reason. It's because of her role at the demo, and the elite interests she - perhaps unknowingly - served (for more on this, see my article Bedroom Tax: Labour Tries To Police Tenants' Revolt). She consistently denied it was a Labour Party demo, yet as Anarchamoose described in her report of the day:
"Becoming irritated by repeated shouts and chants, the compare / co-organiser declared “it’s a people’s demo not a political demo” where only Labour opportunists and careerists were given platforms. The compare then said “I can shout a lot louder than you lot can” down her microphone which just happened to be attached to a few big fucking speakers. She proceeded to invite Labour councillor Paul Brant, Louise Baldock, Barry Kushner and Maria Eagle Labour MP to the stage. She also thanked the “quiet people” while she demonised the angry groups of Combat Bedroom Tax campaigners as “disrespectful” for opposing the blatant attempt to hijack the existing Liverpool Combat the Bedroom Tax campaign. So, in brief, people who have decided to protest against the bedroom tax over the past few weeks with a blatant Labour incentive (who, according to Helen Goodman MP, aren’t even against the tax) have decided that people who have been challenging the bedroom tax over the past year are the “disrespectful” ones. I think fucking not."
When I heard about these allegations, I tweeted Claire Chapple to ask her about them, but got no response. I then tweeted:
"While I was scaling a high wall to find platform Labour had denied me on Sat, was lying that I'd personally threatened her. While I obviously have massive political differences with her, I wouldn't be stupid enough on any level to do what she was accusing. And it's kind of ironic since the stewards on her and 's demo had protected fascists - who really do pose a physical threat. I was physically threatened by one of those fascists, pushed by one Labour supporter, and hit on the head with a placard by another. In short, Labour are scum, and community-based direct action for the win!"
But organisational politics aside, threats need to be taken seriously, especially in a patriarchal society where (*trigger warning for link*) male violence against women is pandemic. It could be considered that Chapple felt intimidated by the group of my comrades surrounding her, and retracted her allegation for that reason. In that case, since the offending message would still be in her Facebook inbox, and she would therefore have a way of proving it, I would ask her to do so. Otherwise, the only thing I said to her online was - in the context of politely pointing out Labour's hypocrisy - "See you on Saturday". This - along with all the comments mentioning Labour in any kind of negative light - was removed by administrators of the event page.

At the time of writing, Claire Chapple's Twitter page is listed as "Sorry, that page doesn't exist!"

Merseyside Combat The Bedroom Tax Publishes First Newsletter

The Merseyside Combat The Bedroom Tax group has published its first newsletter, which is intended to be given out at demonstrations and posted through letterboxes. Please click this link to access the file on Google Drive.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Labour Bullshit Fails To Satisfy Liverpool Bedroom Tax Demonstrators

This awesome pic of Labour politicians has its own caption included!
It was the Labour Party-organised, astroturfed demo 'against' the Bedroom Tax yesterday. Despite the platform speakers' repeated claims that it was about "Liverpool coming together", the ultra-rich's second favourite party had arranged near-identical protests in almost every major UK city, and no doubt very similar cross-class messages were put out everywhere. Not surprisingly, the various Labour politicians droned on and on about how bad the Bedroom Tax will be, but offered no wider perspective than blaming the coalition government, or any kind of strategy on how to stop evictions.

The crowd of maybe two hundred - small even compared to the recent Bootle anti-Bedroom Tax demo - was very divided, with a large percentage being Labour politicians, local party members or otherwise loyalists. But maybe half were activists from the growing Combat The Bedroom Tax movement, or otherwise unaligned real people looking for a way to fight against the destitution of themselves, their friends or family. This last group proved very receptive to our message that no political party can be trusted, and that community-based direct action is the only way to prevent the Bedroom Tax being implemented. More will come to our side once Labour disappear, the money doesn't stretch far enough and the bailiffs come a-calling.

I'll say no more about it for now, because excellent reports and reflections have already been posted on the Combat The Bedroom Tax blog, and here, here, and here.

Upcoming Combat the Bedroom Tax meetings:
Dingle (with Canning): 7:30pm, 19th March, Tuesday, The Florrie, Mill St.
Croxteth: 7pm, Tuesday 19th March, Croxteth Sports Centre, Altcross Rd.
Garston: 7pm, Wednesday 20th March, Methodist Church Hall, Banks Road.
Clubmoor/Norris Green: 7pm, Thursday 21st March, Broadway Pub, Newhall Lane.
Granby: 7:30pm, Thursday 21st March, The Greenhouse, Tiber Street.
Kirby: 7pm, Tuesday 19th March, Sacred Heart Club, Briery Hey Ave.
Wallasey: 7:30pm, Wednesday 27th March, Park View Social Club, Liscard Rd
There are also several other groups in Merseyside, including 2 in the Wirral and the large Stand Up in Bootle campaign. 
A Public Assembly will be held on April 6th to bring all the various bedroom tax community groups together. Details to follow.

Friday, March 15, 2013

"I'm going to keep saying that Cameron has blood on his hands"

The following is a repost of a Facebook post by Bethan Jones:

Today I was found guilty in the Oxford Magistrates' Court of causing "harassment, alarm and distress" following a peaceful and legal political protest in Witney in December. The judge said "I can think of nothing more alarming than the statement that 'Cameron has blood on his hands.'" I will continue to say that Cameron has blood on his hands, whenever the opportunity presents itself.

30 people have died as a direct result of the government's 'welfare reforms'. Thousands have died after being found 'fit for work'. Over the long term, as more and more is taken away there will be increasing harm and death, including many hidden ones. The fine and costs come to more than I earn in a month, the judge said that on a whole £700 a month of course I'd have no trouble paying it back. After rent, travel to work, food and paying off loans I don't have money left at the end of the month, and my salary is going down soon, so I'm not sure what will happen next. Except that I'm going to keep saying that Cameron has blood on his hands.

Here's some notes I wrote earlier on what happened:

On the 30th November David Cameron was booed as he came on stage to turn on the Witney Christmas Lights. You can watch a very funny video of him trying to drown out any criticism by awkwardly getting the crowd to cheer everyone from themselves to the Queen here. When there's some background heckling during the countdown he appeals to the crowd to "come on, shout louder!" Kind of funny. Also, kind of not funny.

I find it very weird watching the video, because while this was going on I was being beaten up by the police on the other side of the stage. I have never been so scared. My face was being pushed into the ground, I could feel blood coming from my nose, there was someone putting their whole weight on my back while someone else was stamping on my knees, along with various people grabbing and twisting my limbs. And then the officer on my back moved a knee up onto the back of my neck. Up until then I'd been shouting "I'm not resisting, I'm cooperating," trying to ask them to stop, but from the moment I felt someone pressing their body weight into the back of my neck I gave up trying to communicate anything to them, I realised the police officers on top of me either couldn't or wouldn't hear me. Instead I began begging anyone who was nearby to intervene, to tell them to stop. Images flashed into my mind of what could happen. I was in pain, I couldn't see what was going on, I was crying and bleeding, I couldn't properly breathe, and I thought that they might leave me seriously injured. I've worked supporting people who've badly damaged their necks or back, and I can't believe that any police officer was taught that kneeling on the back of someone's neck is every an acceptable thing to do.

So that was one of the background sounds that Cameron was trying to drown out with his calls for round after round of applause. One of the things Cameron asked the crowd to cheer was "the Paralympics, that was great." Well yes, the paralympics was great, but he should remember that his ministers were booed loudly whenever they appeared at paralympic ceremonies, and that it had the least popular sponsor possible, ATOS. The government gave ATOS the contract to kick disabled people off benefits they need to survive, and despite some of its staff quitting on grounds of conscience, they've done an admirable job of swiping those benefits away. To rub salt into the wound the government justify their cuts with misleading press releases about what percentage of disabled people they've deemed "fit for work". These are taken up by the press, who spin them still further from reality and stir up public hatred of "scroungers" and "shirkers". A survey by Inclusion London found that the general public believe that between 50% and 70% of disability claims are fraudulent. The reality is that the fraud rate for disability benefits is 0.5%.

The words that the government and media are using is the indirect part of their attack on disabled people. Disability hate crime, which ranges from comments in the street through vandalism of motability cars up to imprisonment, torture, rape and murder (yes, in the UK, this happens) is growing. A Comres study found that 66% of disabled people in September 2011 said they experienced aggression, hostility or name calling compared with 41% in May 2011. That's a huge increase in a short amount of time. I knew about this through hearing and reading stories about the people who are being affected, I also knew that these stories weren't being given the front page spreads that 'scrounger' stories get. I think it's important to show that some of us are refusing to buy the rhetoric that would have us scapegoat disabled people. So I held up a placard that said "Cameron has blood on his hands," and I shouted that "disabled people are dying because of Cameron's policies." I didn't expect that to be a big deal, I only wanted to do my bit to show that we're not all taken in by the rhetoric that disabled people are 'scroungers' and 'shirkers.' I didn't think that it would lead to being beaten up, arrested, held overnight and then taken to court on two ridiculous charges.

Since December there has been a little more attention slowly coming to focus on the horrific way that this government is treating disabled people. MP Micheal Meacher told the House of Commons that Cameron has blood on his hands (he didn't get arrested). We've heard more about how the bedroom tax is going to hit disabled people. But still, there's very little media coverage of the disability campaigners who are also in court today, in London, challenging the cut of the Independent Living Fund, which will force people into residential homes? We had a huge amount of coverage of one large family getting one large council house. Where are the front page stories about the far more common experiences of people who are losing their independence, their ability to meet their basic needs, even their houses? Where are the front page stories about the people who have killed themselves, seeing no other option as the support they need is pulled away from under them? There are now 30 cases listed on the website Calum's List, a memorial site for those who have died because of the welfare reforms, either through suicide or through ill health and hardship. Aren't any of those 30 people as newsworthy as one large family getting a large house? We must do what the mainstream media will not, and resist the government's attempt to divide and rule.

We can listen to the voices of the people who know what's going on, the people on the frontline of the cuts, and share them with our friends. Calum's List is hard reading, but important. It lists the deaths caused directly by welfare reform. Disabled People Against Cuts campaign tirelessly, provide an endless amount of information and analysis, and receive hardly any media coverage, or even the recognition they deserve from the wider anti-cuts movement. The Black Triangle Campaign tells it just how it is, read their about page, read some of their blog posts, and you get a sense of just how violent the government's two-pronged attack on disabled people is, and how dangerous it is for the rest of society to stay silent.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Bedroom Tax: Labour Tries To Police Tenants' Revolt

There are just two days to go until demonstrations take place against the Bedroom Tax in cities throughout the country. Called by Eoin Clarke and the 'Labour Left' faction of the party, they are part of an attempt to capitalise on the massive unpopularity of the coalition government's policy, while Labour refuses to pledge they would repeal it. No doubt a fear of the growing grassroots rebellion plays a part in their manoeuvres.

This week, Labour MP and Shadow Cabinet member Helen Goodman admitted that a Labour government would keep the Bedroom Tax, should the party come to power in 2015. This must be particularly embarrassing for Labour councillors in Liverpool - arguably capital of Bedroom Tax resistance so far - where 11,000 households will be affected, and will have to find at least 15% of their rent from already overstretched budgets. Pro-cuts Mayor Joe Anderson has tweeted about it in recent days, pathetically blaming "Fib-Dems". And in today's Echo, Kensington and Fairfield councillor Louise Baldock declared that:
"This will be the most important and damaging change people have endured in the last two decades. The Labour Party nationally has not been particularly forthcoming on what it would do about this after the next election."
Baldock has ample reasons to make a public show of opposing the Bedroom Tax. For one thing, 367 households in her ward will be hit by it. But for another not mentioned by the Echo, she is the vice chair of Venture Housing Association, which owns and manages 1300 homes in Liverpool and the Wirral. Like all 'social landlords', Venture is caught between what is transparently an attack on the very idea of 'social housing', and the need to collect rent in order to make money. Vice chairs of housing associations can expect to take home around ten thousand pounds per year for attending a few meetings.

As the Combat the Bedroom Tax blog posted this morning:
"Its worth mentioning all this because many of the protests on Saturday have been called by those referring to themselves as the 'Labour Left'. They have NOT been involved in the grassroots campaign and many of them will have known about the bedroom tax for over a year, indeed Labour councillors sit on the boards of the housing associations. In the case of Riverside Housing a Labour councillor is the chair of the board. Not to mention they oversaw the disastrous 'Pathfinder' housing scheme that saw swathes of housing demolished, long-standing residents moved from their homes, and failed 'gentrification' empty communities."
Furthermore:
"We need to keep up the pressure and we need to keep matters in our own hands. Labour want to ride the wave of anger into office where they can take the baton from the Tories. Let's not forget Labour continued the privatisation of council housing, they opened the gates of the NHS to corporate vultures, they introduced tuition fees, they took us to war and they are doing the work of the government by implementing budget cuts (point any of this out on the facebook event and you are banned immediately)."
That last sentence is very definitely true. Yesterday I was personally banned from the 'Liverpool Bedroom Tax Protest' Facebook page for posting Helen Goodman's statement. A few hours later, the event was changed from 'open' to 'invite only', and the following conversation took place:
So this is the Labour Party summed-up. While some profit from the 'social housing' gravy train, others dismiss working class people with concerns as being Tories, while still others wish they could legally shoot them.

The Combat The Bedroom Tax movement in Merseyside has got politicians and Labour activists running scared precisely because it is about working class people taking power into their own hands. Long may that continue! We have a very positive story to tell on Saturday!

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

The Challenge of Building a Merseyside Anti-Cuts Movement

Anti-Bedroom Tax groups are being organised in many Mersey communities
As I wrote last week, "There is a real sense that a mass opposition movement is starting to build on Merseyside." That doesn't mean it's the talk of the town exactly. It's not trending on Twitter yet. But every demonstration seems to be bigger than the last, and get more public support, both in terms of honking car horns and online comments on websites such as the Liverpool Echo.

To give you some idea, the last couple of weeks have seen Labour councils across the region pass massive cuts to vital services, and in all cases try to shift the blame to the national Tory/LibDem coalition. Noisy anti-cuts demonstrations have taken place in Wirral, Sefton, Knowsley and of course Liverpool.

The Wirral struggle has been growing for a few months now, culminating in a large march and rally on Monday 18th February, and an angry lobby of the cuts rubberstamp meeting on 5th March. On the 18th, the Cabinet had frequently been drowned out by the anguished screams and shouts of service users anticipating pain ahead. On the 5th, eyewitnesses claim they were shut out of the meeting, and the councillors approved the cuts package in whispers. Within Wallasey Town Hall at least, the council clearly feel like they are under siege.

The Wirral protests have largely been organised by the Unison and Unite bureaucracies - each of which are seeking sectional deals with the council, in return for the enforcement of still further "efficiencies" - i.e. cuts. Beyond that, there has been little grassroots organisation. A Birkenhead meeting called by 'Save Our Services' was dominated by Labour and union lefts, and meekly sent a letter asking councillors not to make the cuts.

Class anger is at boiling point in many areas
In contrast, the Liverpool demonstrations have been ongoing for a couple of years, and have little overlap with either specific service users' groups or affected workers. In general, most participants would consider themselves would-be revolutionaries, and are either associated with the Liverpool Against The Cuts group, the Trades Council, various left parties, or anarchist tendencies. Until recently, an apparent inability to make much headway amongst the wider public, combined with often brutal police repression at the town hall, had seen numbers dwindling. But now the various Combat The Bedroom Tax groupings are feeding into the anti-cuts struggle.

The intervention against the Sefton council cuts meeting took place in the hours immediately following the furious anti-Bedroom Tax march in Bootle, with many of the same people taking part. The Stand Up In Bootle group is entirely grassroots-based, having been organised in neighbourhoods with meetings publicised on social networks and through word of mouth, and their council intervention was the most militant seen locally in many years. But the Bootle Bedroom Tax organisation is far from alone. Communities are starting to get themselves organised all over Merseyside, and the level of class anger is palpable.

All the councils have passed their cuts, as they were always going to do. Our task now is to make them unworkable. To do this, we will need everyone genuinely opposed to austerity locally, for whatever combination of political and directly material reasons. Threatened service users must be organised, but in a way that opposes all cuts. Threatened workers must be organised, but in a horizontal way against the sectional interests of trade union bureaucrats. And neighbourhoods must be organised, to make them places that representatives of the rich fear to tread.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Far-right on campus: National Culturists exposed

The following is a repost from Liverpool Student Media, exposing racist student Jack Buckby and his now openly fascist former associate Craig Cooke:

On their website the National Culturists claim to be against racism but on his personal blog “boy wonder of the British far-right” posted Obama image captioned with “n****r” and boasted of connections with Nick Griffin.

University of Liverpool politics student and National Culturists Chairman Jack Buckby caused a stir in the national press and on twitter recently after being profiled by Vice magazine.

Buckby hopes to build a presence for his controversial organisation on campus, with the declared aim to “promote love and a desire to preserve culture.” Other contributors to the National Culturist website include self-declared fascist Craig Cooke and John Press, an American far-right activist. Cooke left the group a few weeks ago to form the “New British Union” which Buckby denounces.

However, articles by Cooke (including one on how Unite Against Fascism is “promoting government genocide”) have still not been removed from the website.

craigcookeThe new campaign launched by former National Culturist activist Craig Cooke. Buckby has distanced himself from Cooke and says he has been gone from the group “for weeks”.

Despite the claims to be a home for moderate right wing students and against racism LSMedia has been sent screencaps of Buckby’s now deleted personal Tumblr which contain racist, homophobic and sexist language.

Buckby captioned a poster of President of the United States Barack Obama with the term “n****r”, used homophobic slurs, and posted a white pride cross.

He bemoans “white meat” (his term for “indigenous” white women) courting “gangsta black guys” and refers to mixed race children as “little imps.”

Buckby says that these quotes have been taken “out of context” and were “in retaliation to a black supremacist who posted pictures of white people with ‘cracker’ beneath the image … the point was to show racism cuts both ways.”

The National Culturist website says “any instances of race hate found amongst our members will be dealt with by permanent expulsion from the movement.”

“I’ve been talking to BNP members and officials for a long time about effectively engaging young people”


The deleted blog provides insight into the scope of Buckby’s political ambition. He uploaded a picture of himself in a youtube video with the caption “will be coming to an office in Westminster eventually.”

He boasts having been in conversation with BNP (British National Party) officials “for some time” about “how to effectively engage young people.” He adds that Nick Griffin took a personal interest in his earlier political project “the new nationalist.” Buckby does not deny this, but claims to have talked to “officials from a number of parties.”

Local anti-fascist campaigners claim that the National Culturists are a front for the British National Party to gain traction on campus. The BNP is covered by the National Union of Students’ “no platform” policy. Buckby says this is “rubbish” but does not deny being a member.

The organisations attempt to leaflet last years freshers fair was met with protesters chanting “nazi scum off our streets.”

Before moving to Liverpool, which Buckby refers to as an “ultra-left stronghold”, he appears to have developed a fear of the anti-fascist activists. He made several posts about hiring bodyguards, adding that “growing up with hells angels” was “paying off.”

Jack Buckby with his "security" at last years freshers fair.

Jack Buckby with his “security” at last year's freshers fair.

At the freshers fair Buckby and Cooke turned up with a minder who wore an “infidels” badge. Anti-fascists believe it to be a reference to the violent North West Infidels group, five of whom have been arrested by North West Counter Terrorism Unit for attacking musicians outside an anti-fascist fund-raiser on Bold Street.

American influence: who is John Press?

 

Alternatively described as a “doctor” and “professor” on far-right websites, John Press is cited as the National Culturists main intellectual inspiration, and has given his blessing to their efforts in Liverpool.

 

He has also written articles for another marginal far-right grouping, the British Freedom Party, in which he argues that the movement should transfer its rhetoric from “race” to “culture.”

“When they call you a racist, say you are a culturist.”

An anti-fascist campaigner said: “The National Culturists, like much of the so-called ‘New-Right’, use the coded language of ‘culture’ and ‘religion’ to deflect accusations of racism, but scratch the surface and you find the same old fascist politics rebranded for the 21st century.

“The Culturists use the same narrative as that of Norwegian fascist Anders Breivik, who massacred 77 people in July 2011, in claiming that institutions of society are dominated by ‘cultural marxists’ who promote ‘destructive’ ideas such as multiculturalism, women’s liberation and sexual equality.”

Far-right connections

 

Although yet to make many waves in mainstream politics, ‘culturism’ has caused a stir in the international far-right. Members of the National Culturists, including Buckby, addressed the Alliance of European National Movements. Attendees included the infamous French Front National and the anti-semitic Jobbik from Hungary.

The group also have links with the English Defence League. Buckby says “ideologically I am totally on their side.”

In reply to this article Buckby continues to insist he finds racisim “abhorrent.”

Since making that statement, he has published a poster on his twitter urging students not have sex with “blacks or bisexuals.”

“We need these posters for campus” he adds.

Chairman says student society is “next step”

 

Buckby has said in an article on the National Culturists website that him aims to make another push to build his organisation on campus next September. He says his plans are “on a national scale” but will take “years.”
“We are yet to open our first University society but believe me, that’s our next step.

“We will perform a nationwide attack on liberal, leftist hatred of culture”.

Anti-fascists have vowed to oppose any attempt: “This is not just a debating society, in Liverpool over the last year or so there have been fascist attacks on trade unionists, the bookshop and women’s co-op News From Nowhere, and the far-right have been involved in stoking up sectarian violence against the Liverpool Irish community.”

Saturday, March 09, 2013

My Open Letter to Councillor Steve 'Feudal Lord' Radford

At the anti-cuts demonstration in Liverpool this Wednesday, Liberal pro-cuts councillor Steve Radford called one protester a "peasant". Here is my open letter to him; I'll repost if I get a reply. If I don't get a satisfactory one, his electorate will get a reminder from me next time he's after their vote:

Dear Earl Radford of Tuebrook and Stoneycroft,

I can only most humbly petition for your forgiveness of us lower orders, for our most disrespectful display of animalistic passions last night. Of course, we are not worthy so much as to gather the crumbs under your table, but your nature is always to have mercy, and most truly did the rebuke of "peasant" teach us to know our place in the feudal system.

It must be difficult enough walking into a building to kill innocent women, men and children, without being made to feel uncomfortable by an angry mob as you do so. I beg you not to smite us, but if you do, it will be all that we deserve.

Your obedient servant,

Adam Ford

Friday, March 08, 2013

Furious Liverpool Demonstration Scares Axe-Wielding Mayor

The scene outside the town hall before the arrest provoked resistance
On Wednesday, around three hundred gathered at Liverpool town hall, to demonstrate against the brutal cuts being pushed through by the ruling Labour council, and mayor Joe Anderson.

Under Labour's newest budget plans:
  • More than half of the city's libraries will close
  • Funding for housing "socially excluded" people at risk of homelessness will be withdrawn
  • Youth and play services will likely be turned over to volunteers
  • School uniform grants will be cut
  • Four nurseries will be sold
  • The council centre providing short breaks for disabled children will be sold off
  • Rubbish collections will be halved in many areas
  • Two municipal golf courses will be closed
  • At the same time, council tax charges will rise, and exemptions for many of the poorest will be abolished
The local anti-cuts movement has tapped into popular anger against the national government's impending bedroom tax, and pledged bedroom tax resisters marched from the Dingle area of the city to the town hall to express their anger, following a van used in the explosive Bootle protest last week. There is a real sense that a mass opposition movement is starting to build on Merseyside.

Pro-cuts councillors were on the receiving end of much well-earned rage from many protesters. At one point, Liberal councillor Steve Radford responded by calling one campaigner "a peasant". As the peasant in the famous Monty Python scene replied to the king, "Oh what a give away!"

We soon saw the violence inherent in the system. When a barrier protecting the blood-soaked axe-wielders was pushed, several cops pounced, and arrested one man. Having taken him to the van, police must have expected they'd make a quick getaway, but a breakaway group of demonstrators surrounded the vehicle. Its path was blocked for over an hour, and the heavily outnumbered cops seemed reluctant to make any further arrests, perhaps on orders from the politicians. Horses were dispatched however, and two activists were hospitalised.

The feeder march from Dingle arrives at the town hall
Eventually, people drifted away, the police drove away, and the protests ended. But if the latest round of cuts are to be stopped, this Wednesday must only be the opening shots of a battle. No political party - and no trade union hierarchy - will come to our aid. Affected workers and service users must form rank and file committees to defend jobs and vital services.

Joe Anderson must be fearing we will do exactly that. Last night he tweeted that: "People demonstrating outside Liverpool Town Hall have every right to be angry so am I. I salute them and support them nothing wrong with it." He followed this with: "The country has a proud tradition of peaceful civil disobedience to make a point especially when no one is listening long may it continue."

This was yet another salvo in Anderson's ongoing attempt to shift the blame for his cuts onto David Cameron, the man he gladhanded at the Museum of Liverpool only ten weeks ago. But judging by the widespread loathing for Labour and the whole political class displayed at the town hall this week, and indeed in the comments section of the Liverpool Echo article about it, many people in Liverpool hold him personally responsible for the misery he is inflicting whilst taking a large pay packet and receiving an OBE for his trouble.

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