Posts Tagged ‘nssn’

Remembering Bob Crow

March 11, 2014

A heavy loss to all in the labour movement – the leader of the RMT union, Bob Crow passed away last night, at the all-too-young age of 52. He fought tirelessly for his members and never shirked from a struggle – with the result that union membership in the RMT increased from 50,000 when he was elected leader, to 80,000 today. My thoughts are with his friends, family and comrades today.

The RMT union has a political vision and funds the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition, which looks to build a new, mass working-class party. It stands against all cuts carried out by councils is looking to stand 625 candidates in the forthcoming elections in May – please support TUSC, but also consider standing yourself  in memory of Bob Crow – see for more details.

Amongst tributes, Dave Nellist, ex-Coventry MP and former Socialist Party councillor paid tribute to Crow’s fighting spirit –

I saw Bob Crow speak eloquently at last year’s Socialism 2013 event about the need for a new workers’ party, which he played such an important role in building, as the leader of TUSC and one of the key voices in the RMT union, arguing for a combative, left-wing voice in politics, as opposed to the bankrupt policies of the Labour Party, which is complicit in passing-through Tory cuts.

In this respect, it is extremely hypocritical of Nigel Farage, to jump on the bandwagon of eulogies from Tories, who were Crow’s enemies in his lifetime. Crow was implacably opposed to racism and stood for workers’ unity, and an exit from the EU on socialist principles. Farage would introduce a flat-rat tax, and stands for the rich. His party is xenophobic, racist and would be just as eager to privatise the railways and public services which TUSC and No2EU Yes To Workers’ Rights seek to protect.

The best way to remember Bob Crow’s massive achievements in winning gains for his members, and the socialist policies he fought for, is to get involved with the Socialist Party, which is part of TUSC – the electoral coalition which was initiated by and supported by the RMT union.

“Do not go gentle into that good night”.


Complaint to BBC on biased coverage of Bob Crow’s death –

Your Complaint

Type of complaint: BBC News (TV Radio Online)
What is your complaint about: BBC News Online
Complaint category: Factual error or inaccuracy
Contacted us before: No
Complaint title: The obituary on the railway union leader Bob Crow.
Complaint description:
There is a factual inaccuracy on the report on the sad death of Bob Crow, leader of the railway workers’ union. You report that “he was not a member of a political party”. However, he is on the steering committee and is a founding member of TUSC – the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition. You report views from a number of politicians, including many of his opponents, but do not give space to anyone from TUSC, such as ex-Coventry MP Dave Nellist, or any of the hundreds of trade unionists standing in this year’s local elections. Please apologise and correct this inaccuracy.


No to the bedroom tax

June 30, 2013

Notes from Tommy Sheridan’s speech at the National Shop Stewards Network Conference, Saturday 29th June 2013.

Tommy had been to 73 meetings all over Scotland, where 80 local anti-bedroom tax capaigns have been set up. Affiliations from union branches and trades councils had been built – it was necessary to put demands on the official movement. The Scottish Trades Council is hosting a conference against the bedroom tax. The anti-bedroom tax movement is growing.

Tommy said he was not personally affected, but he was personally offended by the bedroom tax. “You stand with me, I’ll stand with you” – is the motto of the movement.

He gave the example of a couple in Inverness – one was suffering from multiple sclerosis, and had to be confined to a wheelchair as a result. Her husband gave up his job to be a full-time carer, saving the state £10,000s a year. She has a special bed, which she needs for pain relief, so they have to sleep in separate rooms. They are now being asked to pay £60 a month from their benefits in bedroom tax. 2,000 families affected in Inverness – the number of council homes available is 164.

Likewise, an amputee has an elderly mother who is 78 and suffers from Alzheimers, so had to move to a care home. They are now deemed to be under-occupying, and are being asked for £60 a month. 5,300 families affected in South Lanarkshir. Number of homes available – 40.

Housing benefit is means tested, therefore it is the poor who are suffering the most from this tax. 660,000 people affected across the UK; 2/3 of these families have a disabled person in the household.

The penalty for non-payment is not prison, but is eviction. We need civil disobedience, we need to form human walls to stop people being evicted. It is scandalous that 500,000 people in the UK, the 7th richest country in the world, rely on food banks, while the income of the top 1,000 people is £400 billion – a rise of £35bn. This is obscene. In the words of the great Irish socialist Jim Larkin, “The powerful appear powerful because we are on our knees. Let us rise up.”

I would just add that we also need to campaign for massive investment in affordable council housing to meet our needs. This would also provide jobs for the thousands of building workers who have been made unemployed by the property crash. Otherwise, more and more families will find themselves on the streets in breadline Britain. It is no use just blaming the Tories and waiting for a Labour government. Labour have made it clear that they will not reverse the cuts made by the ConDem coalition. We need to build an alternative party, to stand up for ordinary people and not the rich. I support TUSC in its attempt to do just that.


You can help support the Socialist Party by buying a short book of my poems, ‘Little Red Poetry’: Support independent publishing: Buy this book on Lulu.