Atos Lost

Standard

We are not fit for work
They were not fit for purpose
All they did was hurt us

Who gives Atos?
We gave Atos?
Atos lost!
Atos lost!

Played with our lives
Haunted by the righteous
Another fallen soul
Surpise! Surprise!

Who gives Atos
We gave Atos
Atos lost!
Atos lost!

Their currency was death
A debt we came to collect
The people rise in anger
Nothing left to lose

Who gives Atos
We gave Atos
Atos lost!
Atos lost!

Victory was claimed
Justice had been served
A small measure of peace
Yet we have been fleeced

Atos lost!
Atos lost!

Advertisements

Left Unity; A new party, a new politics

Standard

Left Unity is a young political party but we have to be greater than a political party, we have to be greater than an election force. Unlike the politicians of today, unlike the parties of the day – We cannot talk about problems and solutions, we have to be providing solutions while highlighting the problems, we have to be working with communities and helping people. We are in perhaps one of the most important times in human history, the world is going through drastic changes, the country is going through drastic changes, people are crying out for a new politics, a new way of doing things and we have to be part of that.

How then do we achieve this?
1. Being part of the social movement
2. Providing substanial community support
3. Providing education and advice
4. Work alongside communities to help them with their needs

Left Unity must stand shoulder to shoulder with the oppressed, the downtrodden and those in need, that is why we must be part of the social movement. We cannot set ourselves outside or above the people we are fighting for, we have to be fighting with them, we have to be sharing in their victories and in their defeats. We must be on the front line in the battles that hold dear to us as an organisation, we must be at the protests, the occupations, the sit ins, we must take part in and lead our own campaigns for change and justice. Martin Luther King points out “He who passively accepts evil is as much involved in it as he who helps to perpetrate it. He who accepts evil without protesting against it is really cooperating with it.”

Left Unity must be engrained within communities providing help and alleviating the symptoms of the capitalist system through real substanital help. It must be helping those that cannot eat, it must be tackling the things it says it is against, if we are to carry out a new politics, we must be doing more than saying we want to help people, we must be helping them. We need to be fighting poverty, we need to be fighting for the poor, when people think of Left Unity, it should not be as a party of talkers but as a party of doers. We must be associated with being the champions of the oppressed in more than just words. The Black Panthers carried out a breakfast program ensuring that poor children were not going without food in the morning, it is this kind of action that we need to be doing within communities.

We must act as educator and advisor to those that need educating and advising, education is important in improving our own lives, and there is a time when we all need advice. With the cuts to services, with the attacks on education, what is happening to us as a class? An educated populace is harder to manipulate, harder to control – we need to be at the forefront in educating communities, so they can organise to defend themselves and their own interests, we need to be at the forefront of providing advice, be it legal, benefit related, or even working on a budget. Knowledge is power and we have to provide the knowledge to the people so that they can have the power. It is the little things which make the big things, and if we can do these little things right on the ground, Left Unity will be seen as a revolutionary political party in how it conducts it self. If we provide the education to the people, they wil be empowered “People have only as much liberty as they have the intelligence to want and the courage to take” (Emma Goldman).

We must be listening to community needs and acting on what communities want, each community is different and Left Unity has a local agenda, with local branches – We must understand then the needs of our communities. There is not a one size fits all answer to helping a community, needs are diverse and our approach to addressing community problems needs to be also. We can only come to understand the needs of a community by being part of that community ourselves, and acting upon the will of that community, if Left Unity has to stand for anything, it must be for the community! We  must stand for helping local people with the problems they are faced with, at the same time carrying out a national agenda, local issues must be at the forefront of our agenda for substanial change.

If Left Unity focuses only on electioneering it will fail, it will lose sight of its goals and it will be hurled into the dustbin of history, if we focus solely on campaigning, we wil be seen as little more than a pressure group, which is why our strategy must be in multiple directions, we cannot focus solely on one or the other, but work in a direction where they compliment each other. If we are helping people, if Left Unity is seen as an organisation which cares for the people, listens to their needs and provides answers to their problems with actions, we will get voted for, because we will be known as an organisation which is doing what it says on the tin. We have to be it all, or we are nothing, we have to be advocating change and at the same time instigating it!

Call to Arms: Creating a student/youth caucus (Left Unity)

Standard

Student-protests-as-minis-007

The student youth movement burns brightly and Left Unity must help fan those flames to ensure that the fire does not burn out. Which is why we (students/youth) need to begin formally organising with LU, in order to:

1. Share ideas
2. Communicate and co-ordinate
3. Create youth/student materials to share on campus/school
4. Ensure LU has a student/youth voice
5. Create a solid youth foundation within the party

Within the constitution it allows for the formation of a student caucus, and now is the perfect time to get this up and running. Left Unity students have been at the forefront of the battle in Birmingham, Glasgow and Exeter – now we need to begin working together nationally in order to concentrate our efforts in the battle for free education and the wider problems facing society, the cuts.

First and foremost we must be formally recognised within Left Unity as a section, then we must arrange to have a youth conference, and create a student broadsheet. This will ensure that a clear youth voice will be heard within Left Unity, and youth problems are not forgotten but kept to the forefront of the party as it grows. We must begin co-ordinating with one another now so that the student voice is not drowned out in the sea of voices at conference and beyond.

The student movement in recent years has fluctuated, we have witnessed mass demonstrations in London against the rising of tuition fees where hundreds of thousands of students up and down the country either gathered in London or took part in occupations, to more recent events with various occupations and student action. Therefore Left Unity must begin to water the seeds of the student movement which has already shown shoots of growth. This should not be carried out by anyone but the students and youth themselves which is why I call on all Left Unity students to begin organising within a youth caucus with immediate effect.

Historically, today and beyond the movement has been kept alive and furthered by the youth, from the Vietnam anti-war movement to the Arab Spring, the young have been carrying the torch of freedom and equality that step closer to the realisation of a just, free and fair society. No one can understand the problems faced by the young but the young themselves, therefore with this caucus Left Unity will be ready to aid in the battles of today, and the battles of tomorrow. The importance of the youth in any social movement is paramount, in the words of Huey Newton “The revolution has always been in the hands of the young. The young always inherit the revolution.”

Education is a right not a privilege: Left Unity at Birmingham Occupation

Standard

Image
On Friday evening we travelled to the occupation being carried out by Defend Education Birmingham, to show our support  to the brave students standing up against wave after wave of attack by the university management, the police and the government.

Left Unity must stand shoulder to shoulder with students involved in direct action, we must organise with them to defend occupations and protest action against the continuing attacks on our education system, not only in Birmingham but across the whole country.

Birmingham University like all higher educational institutions have been hit with rising fees, creating a system where thousands upon thousands of young people are starting their lives in debt. Increasingly education is being made into a privilege, when it should be a right. The students at Birmingham are also occupying in support of the staff at the university, where conditions are increasingly getting worse. This has to stop!

Defend education Birmingham’s demands which we support  wholeheartedly are:

1. That David Eastwood and the University of Birmingham should publicly take back their position that fees should be increased and that bursaries should be cut. Instead, they should lobby the government for fees to be reduced, and bursaries to be increased

2. That the University of Birmingham make a public statement against the privatisation of student loans and in defence of the public university.

3. The Vice Chancellor should sign up to the Council in Defence of British Universities or the Campaign for the Public University.

4. That the University’s total income per student place from halls should be frozen next year, and that the cheapest fifth of halls should have their prices decreased.

5. That all staff working for the University of Birmingham- including those employed in house, by external contractors, and the Guild of Students- should be paid a living wage.

6. That the pay ratio between the lowest paid and the highest paid staff in the university should be reduced to 10:1.

7. That a body should be set up made up of elected students, academic staff, and support staff. This should have ultimate oversight over the restructuring of departments, the University’s investment decisions, and its lobbying positions.

8. That the University produces a publicly available Ethical Investment and Procurement Policy which is reported on annually with plenty of opportunity of engagement with staff, students and other key stakeholders.

9. That financial statements of the University’s academic departments, and non-academic services should be published so that they can be scrutinised and the University’s decisions be properly held to account by the community

10. That the Nursing course faces no loss of investment and no redundancies.

We immediately call for the university of Birmingham to repeal all suspensions and provide a caste iron decree that no students involved in recent protests will face any repercussions for their brave actions.

Left Unity’s Bianca Todd had been given the honour of being invited to address those at the occupation, she was accompanied by Stephen Miller of LU Northampton and Sharon Mccourt of LU Birmingham, other LU members were also involved in the occupation it self. She started her speech by giving words of solidarity from Nottingham and Northampton Branches before entering into a talk about the importance of unity and solidarity with the 98% Reflecting on historical student occupations of the past such as France in 1968, examining why that was successful and how Left Unity can support students to build the party electorally and through grassroots activism. On socialism she talked of a socialism of the heart, of socialism being like a family and that we should work together in unity against our attackers.

Afterwards a discussion was held by all involved where the idea of an alternative student union was debated, placing the emphasise away from supporting university management to supporting university students, additionally challenging the corporate image of students lifestyle. The importance of the role of liberation struggles within Left Unity and the part we choose to play in them was highlighted as very important to some of the students at the occupation. We also touched upon Left Unity’s strategy being greater than a narrow electoral focus, while talking of a new pragmatic left and how political parties can be brought into the 21st century.

We all left feeling inspired for the future, and hopeful of what we can achieve through working together. Thank you for having us Defend Education Birmingham, you are doing the movement proud with your defiance of the heartless, soulless attacks on education, the working class and real people. Let this be one of many in a long line of actions which brings power back to the powerless! We do not know what the future holds for the movement but Left Unity cannot and will not stand idly by, it must get involved in the struggles of the students and of the people.

Peace, love and solidarity

Video of the speech to follow
Defend Education Birmingham website: www.defendeducationbrum.org/