Wednesday, 23 December 2009
But this Christmas a facebook campaign to wrest the Christmas no1 away from the latest X-Factor winner’s track, The Climb was launched. X-Factor winner, Joe McElderry, whose victory in that competition had been watched by close to 20 million viewers, was pushed aside by the campaign to get anti-capitalist band Rage Against the Machine’s anthem, Killing in the Name, to the top spot. Whilst as the bands guitarist, Tom Morello, has commented, the campaign “tapped into the silent majority of the people in the UK who are tired of being spoon-fed one schmaltzy ballad after another” and would simply be glad for anything different to be Christmas no1. Yet there has certainly been a number of people choosing the song for its overt lyrics denouncing alleged links between the Ku Klux Klan and US Police forces, and the political content of the rest of the bands music.
Of course, the tools used to win this victory are the same ones that have been used to attempt to place past winners at the no1 spot, a concerted campaign which involved large scale purchase of the particular song (physical single sales from 6,500 retail outlets and downloads which cost over 40p from online retailers count towards chart ratings). It is somewhat ironic that Sony both released Killing in the Name originally back in 1992, as well as Simon Cowell’s Syco which released The Climb, and therefore will have profited from the fierce competition between the two tracks.
But the key difference in this case is that such a clash had not been promoted by the music industry, and stands as a testament to people wanting a change to the usual dictatorship of mainstream music. Whilst McElderry’s track had been consciously promoted, both through the build up of the X-Factor competition and the promotion of the newly released single, which was sold in physical copies unlike Killing in the Name. Although the first ever download-only no1 was in April 2006, this is the first download-only Christmas no1, marking the continual development of the internet as a music distribution tool, undermining the traditional role of the record labels.
But the great question is what next? True, that Killing in the Name was an unexpected Christmas no1 will have surprised the music industry and those who have participated in this success have begun discussing on the facebook group that started the campaign whether to keep buying this song to keep it at no1, or to plan to try and repeat this feat next year. Either way, the record companies and Simon Cowell (who seem to have a similar status to the bankers in that we detest what they are doing but seem powerless to stop them) will still be there not just next Christmas where they will undoubtedly come back to attempt to dominate again, but all year round. As great a feeling as you get from denting the dominance of such figures, it is only when their power is permanently broken and the organs for publicising and distributing music are taken into public ownership and democratic control that we can see a blossoming of real musical talent and not just what particular acts that Cowell and his ilk can make the most money from.
Thursday, 17 December 2009
1) Who won this years Formula One drivers world championship?
2) In which sport did the English team come runners up in the world cup final in Finland this year?
3) Welsh rugby league team the Celtic Crusaders are set to move from Bridgend to which Welsh Town?
4) In cricket, who won the Ashes this year, England or Australia?
5) Which country won this years six nations competition in Rugby Union?
6) Hexakosioihexekontahexaphobia is the fear of what?
7) Telephonaphobia is the fear of what?
8) What is Wiccaphobia the fear of?
9) What is Leukophobia?
10) Glossophobia is the fear of what?
11) In which country did the 25 year civil war end this year?
12) Who became this first black president of the United States of American this year?
13) Who became the first Irish Socialist Party MEP this year?
14) Which countries banking system collapsed in January this year?
15) President Zelaya of which country was overthrown by a coup this year?
16) Which country was forced to vote for a second time on accepting the EU’s Lisbon Treaty this year?
17) Who wrote Frankenstein?
18) Which controversial popstar died this year at the age of 51?
19) Which are the two best selling books of all time according to wikipedia? (2 points)
20) What is the name of the TV show that drew record freview ratings on Dave this April?
21) Which student uprising in China happened 20 years ago this year?
22) Which revolution 220 years ago did Chairman Mao famously say that it was too soon to tell the consequences of?
23) The second world war broke out 70 years ago with the invasion of which country?
24) Which group of workers took a year long strike action 25 years ago?
25) Which organisation had its founding conference 90 years ago in Moscow?
26) Which hated figure came to power 30 years ago?
27) Which currently existing international organisation was founded in a pub in London 35 years ago?
28) Which Trade Union was on strike today in South Wales? (NB On Wednesday 16 December)
29) At which company were members of UNITE set to strike over Xmas?
30) The GMB and UNITE won a huge victory for workers in a strike led by a Socialist Party member, where was it?
31) Following successful mobilisations of community activists and anti-fascists, which far-right group has been humiliated in Wales 3 times this year?
32) Which group of people caught with their snouts in the trough by an investigation by the Daily Telegraph?
33) Which trade unions organised a protest against cuts to staff pensions at Bangor University? (2 points)
34) What was the name of the electoral coalition headed by the RMT trade union in the European Elections this year?
35) How many millions of pounds is Gwynedd Council planning in cuts?
36) How many people are currently unemployed in the UK?
Tuesday, 8 December 2009
Socialists do not necessarily support the use of direct action against companies who refuse to support the Welsh language, but we understand the anger of young Welsh-speaking people and see the use of the prison system against them as wholly wrong.
Wednesday, 2 December 2009
On Friday 27th November the Joint Trades Unions (UNITE & UNISON) for support staff at Bangor University called a protest demonstration against the proposal by Senior Management to cut the pensions of Support Staff (BUPAS) whilst increasing the University’s contributions to their own pension scheme. This proposed cut would reduce the pensions of Support Staff by an estimated 40%, taking it to less than a state pension.
Over 300 staff and students attended the protest showing a strong united front against the cuts to the pension. It was announced that further negotiations were to take place and that Senior Management had already backed down on one attack to the pension; however, Unite and Unison said they were committed to pushing for retention of the final salary pension scheme. They also stated that this was only the first step and that more protests and possibly industrial action may be necessary to force management back.
Sunday, 29 November 2009
Thursday, 26 November 2009
University management are now lining up the final salary pension scheme in their sights, and have recently announced they will change it to a career average scheme as well as other cutbacks. This only affects low and middle paid staff, leaving management with their pensions intact!In response, Unite and Unison, who represent the affected staff, have called a protest.
Socialist Students at Bangor University will be supporting the protest and are calling on the Students Union to unite with the campus trade unions to build a campaign against cuts.
As Bangor Students Union senate recently voted to lapse the policy supporting the Campaign to Defeat Fees passed by referendum last year (the votes of 17 people undoing the vote of 271 students), Socialist Students members and other activists will be drafting an updated policy to be debated at the next Students Union senate.
Even if this fails to pass, which is likely given the lack of action or poorly organised action taken by the Students Union, Socialist Students and other Campaign to Defeat Fees supporters will continue supporting action by university staff whilst building a movement against cuts and for free education.
Save Our Pensions protest, called by Unison and Unite. Friday 27 November, 12.30, outside main arts building.
Tuesday, 24 November 2009
Saturday, 21 November 2009
Friday, 13 November 2009
Monday, 9 November 2009
Sunday, 1 November 2009
Trotsky wrote several times about the Paris Commune and the lessons that it gives Marxists in their struggles. As Donny Gluckstein correctly points out in The Paris Commune: A Revolution in Democracy, “Trotsky identified parallels between Paris in 1871 and Russia in 1917,” (pg200), and goes on to elaborate some of these with a series of quotations from Trotsky’s 1921 article, “Lessons of the Paris Commune” (available on the Marxist Internet Archive – despite footnotes citing them as secondary quoatations from other sources the entirety of the text quoted can be found in this document. There is also a quotation from this document in a footnote earlier in the book).
The first point which is elaborated is that of the similarities between the Central Committee of the National Guard (hereafter Central Committee) and the Councils of Workers’ and Soldiers’ Deputies (or Soviets), as Gluckstein points out, “Both were organs of working class power with systems of instant recall and direct democracy. The French National Guard operated its collective control through the battalions which assembled on a daily basis and so could keep representatives under constant scrutiny. In Russia soldiers’ regiments and factories played the same role.” (pg.200). He especially points to Trotsky’s criticism of the National Guard for abdicating power after the 18th March events (when the Thiers government failed in its attempted to remove from Paris cannons that had been paid for by public subscriptions and thereby compromise its defence), noting that Trotsky saw their this decision as a weakness in not gaining a complete victory in the aftermath on March 18th as due to the inexperience of the members of the Central Committee, but also as an attempt so, “…that Thiers would halt respectfully before revolutionary Paris the minute the latter covered itself with the ‘legal’ Commune”. (Trotsky, Lessons of the Paris Commune)
Following on from this Gluckstein goes on to demonstrate the missing element in the situation, a revolutionary party. He points out that such an organisation is able to bring the experience of past struggles to bear in the current situation, as well as having a nucleus of experienced organisers. He further states that, “...[The Soviets] too wished to abdicate power early on…Through patient argument the Bolsheviks won over the majority in the Soviets…” (pg.202), which in general is correct, although it should be noted that until Lenin’s return in April, the Bolshevik party under the direction of Stalin had argued in the same manner as the Soviets and the Central Committee. He also highlights as an example of this the lack of agitation amongst troops fighting in the Franco-Prussian war, who were demoralised by the ineptitude of the French army command and looking for an alternative, obviously such an approach would have made it much more difficult for the reaction headed by Thiers to militarily crush Paris.
The final point which Gluckstein touches on from Trotsky’s document is the to do with the isolation that Paris faced, both the Central Committee and Commune were organised in Paris alone, which despite being the largest town in France, still left it isolated. In his book Gluckstein comments very briefly on the short-lived communes created in other areas. As the quote from Trotsky points out, “It was necessary to enter into contact with sympathisers, to strengthen the hesitators and shatter the opposition of the adversary. Instead of this policy of offensive and aggression which was the only thing that could save the situation, the leaders of Paris attempted to seclude themselves in their communal autonomy: they will not attack the others if the others do not attack them; each town has its sacred right of self-government.” However, a further quote from Trotsky (which Gluckstein does not use) links this in with the point Trotsky makes about the indecision of the Central Committee, “Passivity and indecision were supported in this case by the sacred principle of federation and autonomy… it was nothing but an attempt to replace the proletarian revolution, which was developing, by a petit bourgeois reform: communal autonomy.”
The main problem I have with Gluckstein’s commentary on Trotsky is that it he barely uses any of it. Having printed off ‘Lessons of the Paris Commune’, it fills 9 A4 pages, of which Glucksteins’ quotations come entirely from the 3rd and 4th pages. There is a wealth of other interesting observations that Gluckstein effectively ignores as we have seen in parts already above. This is not to say there is nothing in Gluckstein’s book on some of the points below, but it surely would have been strengthened by considering this material too.
For example, at the beginning of the article, Trotsky, points out that “The Commune came too late. It had all the possibilities of taking the power on September 4th… But power fell into the hands of the democratic praters, the deputies of Paris.” To Gluckstein’s credit he notes that Marx had originally opposed workers taking power in the 4th September, but Marx changed his mind afterwards, realising that such action would have changed the course of events drastically and evolution of the Franco-Prussian war. But Gluckstein leaves his commentary at this point, yet Trotsky develops from here, characterising those who wished to be leaders of the workers at this time. “The Renaudels and the Boncours and even the Longuets and the Pessemanes are much closer by virtues of their sympathies, their intellectual habits and their conduct to the Jules Favres and the Jules Ferrys than to the revolutionary proletariat. Their socialist phraseology is nothing but an historic mask which permits them to impose themselves upon the masses… When the revolutionary babblers of the salons and of parliament find themselves face to face, in real life, with the revolution, they never recognise it.”
As Trotsky goes on to point out, “Six months elapsed before the proletariat had re-established in its memory the lessons of past revolutions, of battles of yore, of the reiterated betrayals of democracy – and it seized power… If the power was found in the hands of the proletariat of Paris on March 18, it was not because it had been deliberately seized, but because its enemies had quit Paris.”
But Trotsky also spends some time on the question of how the National Guard should have been organised, as he comments, “The question of the electibility of the command of the command was one of the reasons of the conflict between the National Guard and Theirs. Paris refused to accept the command designated by Thiers. Varlin subsequently formulated the demand that the command of the National Guard, from top to bottom, ought to be elected by the National Guardsmen themselves. That is where the Central Committee of the National Guard found its support.”
But as Trotsky notes, whilst electibility has its strong sides politically, it can also weaken an army militarily. As Trotsky states, “The political task consisted in purging the National Guard of the counter-revolutionary command… Electibility served as a wedge for splitting the army into two parts, along class lines.” However, “…the liberation of the army from the old commanding apparatus inevitably involves the weakening of organisational cohesion and the diminution of combative power. As a rule, the elected command is pretty weak from technico-military standpoint and with regard to the maintainence of order and of discipline… Before wide masses of soldiers acquire the experience of well chosing and selecting commanders, the revolution will be beaten by the enemy…The methods of shapeless democracy (simple electibility) must be supplemented and to a certain extent replaced by measures of selection from above.” Thus Trotsky attempted to apply his experience of leading the Red Army to the military tasks of the Commune.
Finally, Trotsky notes that the election of the Commune, did not see the end of the Central Committee – rather both existed side by side, both due to their electibility being able to compete against each other, which meant that both to a certain extent paralysed the actions of each other, especially in the military field.
Moreover, there is another text that Trotsky wrote around the same time that contains an extended section on the Paris Commune, ‘Terrorism and Communism’, which replied to criticisms of the Soviet regime by Karl Kautsky. Kautsky attempted to counterpose the democratic Commune to the dictatorship of the Soviets. Several of the points made in there are similar to those in ‘Lesssons of the Paris Commune’, but there are two major additional points Trotsky makes.
The first is in relation to the similarities and differences in the run up to events in Petersburg (the focal point of the 1917 Russian Revolution) and in Paris. Whilst both were more developed than the majority of the rest of the country, Trotsky notes that whilst Paris contained substantial numbers of workers, they were mostly contained in small workshops, whereas Petersburg had huge concentrations of workers in large factories. Moreover, whilst Paris had been the centre of several revolutionary uprisings, Petersburg had just the 1905 experience, although undoubtedly this was much fresher in the minds of Russian workers than previous revolutions had been for French workers. But most importantly, the Russian working class had the experience of the Paris Commune to draw from.
The second point is in relation to organisation, both in terms of the representativeness of the Soviets and the Commune and also measures to suppress hostile elements to them. As Trotsky points out, although the Commune appeared not to be a class based organ at face value, events soon drove it in this way, where bourgeois elements elected to the Commune soon withdrew. Moreover, initially the Soviet regime had released Tsarist generals and the like on their word that they would not rise against the Soviets, a word that they soon broke. Despite the Bolsheviks dissolving the Constituent Assembly (which had been based on an election and electoral lists corresponding to a previous stage of the election – in my opinion a better solution would have been to call fresh elections where undoubtedly the Bolsheviks and Left SR’s would have a majority), there had been elections in November 1917 to municipal Dumas where the Bolsheviks one a majority and these institutions dissolved themselves in favour of the Soviets.
Moreover, despite the severe measures that the Bolsheviks took to suppress the resistance of pro-capitalist elements, the Commune itself moved in the same direction – ordering the demolition of Thiers house and also passing a decree on the execution of hostages in reprisal for executions of Communards. The aftermath of the Paris Commune shows, as Trotsky points out, what happens if counter-revolution is not taken seriously, the bloody week massacres and subsequent executions and banishments are all too great proof.
Friday, 23 October 2009
In Rhyl the strike was 100% solid, with 20 pickets out in force, with a similar situation in Wrexham where only two pickets went in to join the managers. In Bangor, just one picket went in and strikers told us reports they'd received from other delivery offices in North West Wales where the strikes were virtually solid too.
The strikers are worried about the losses of wages, but they know that Royal Mail management are hellbent on breaking the union and attacking their pay and conditions and know this is a fight they can't afford to lose.
Iain Dalton, Bangor Socialist Party
Thursday, 22 October 2009
Friday, 16 October 2009
And the news that comes from this recent article (Rift in the SWP Over Student Work?), is several things which could quite possibly be related. Post 151 in the comments gives us them in summary
1/ 2 leading SWP activists at SOAS have been suspended from membership. (Clare S and James M)
2/ That John Rees initiated a motion at last weekends SWP Party Council on anti-fascist work.
3/ That the suspended students supported the motion intiated by Rees.
4/ Further suspensions of Rees supporters may happen in the North East, North West and Birmingham.
5/ That Rees will declare a formal faction tobe called ‘The Left Faction’.
For a party that was supposed to be recomposing itself after the fallout of the split with Respect, it doesn't seem to be going two well when there's a faction fight hitting off after the party has just finished a democracy review. And this is important for a few reasons, most importantly, that as other activists we will have to work with SWP members in campaigns.
Naturally, as a member of a different organisation I believe that the one I am a member of, the Socialist Party, is a better organisation (ie. its perspectives, ideas and how it organises is more useful to workers) - otherwise I'd be in the wrong one. But I do tend to think about what I'd do in the situation that SWP members might be finding themselves in.
After all, the SWP are no small organisation - they are not some CPGB or Workers Power, they certainly have as many (maybe more, but no-one ever seems to know any reliable membership figures for them) momebers that the Socialist Party. Plus also over the last few months I've become quite friendly with an SWP member whom I have a lot of respect for, and has given me hope that there are some very good socialists in the SWP.
And if we look back at history, in my opinion, there are times where socialists who have held a viewpoint that has subsequently been proven correct by events have been in a minority in the organisation that they belong to. Therefore, as socialists, we should all be prepared to be able to think for ourselves and critically assess the policies our organisation adopts.
So what would I do if I were a member of the SWP? Well I'd start by attempting to assess how the SWP is in the mess it is, what did go wrong with Respect. I would read over the documents that the SWP leadership are producing, and those of other groups (although i've heard how difficult it is to get access to these apart from in the 'pre-conference discussion period'). I would also attempt to read over the criticisms that other groups have produced of the organisation, I know that the Socialist Party have produced 2 in the last 10 years or so (btw, if the SWP have ever bothered to reply to these, let me know, I'd be very interested to read it)
Ultimately, what the revolution needs is comrades who can think indepently and organise in their local area as well as playing a role in their national organisation. Part of this comes from not only having a serious debate on issues at national conference/congresses, but in the local branches themselves.
For example, in my Socialist Party branch, when the discussions were going on about taking part in the No2EU coalition - we had several discussions, firstly in the run up to our congress which had a debate to decide the issue, and then when the two of us who went to that congress reported back on the discussions there, as well as further discussions about the campaign as it progressed. Now, I'm not gonna say there was no disagreements, but it revolved entirely around the name No2EU and how we could try and make sure something better was used in the future.
Thursday, 8 October 2009
On 29 September, trade union reps and activists from across North Wales gathered in Wrexham to found a North Wales Shop Stewards Network. There were trade unionists there from UCU, NUJ, GMB, Usdaw and from several branches of PCS.
Iain Dalton, Bangor
The national chair of the shop stewards network (NSSN), Dave Chapple introduced the meeting and there was a wide-ranging discussion where reps outlined their experiences. This ranged from discussing industrial disputes in colleges and the postal service to the problems of organising shop workers. It was clear there is a need for an organisation that can share these experiences as well as helping rebuild the trade union movement and increasing the participation of young workers.
Plans were made to organise further meetings, particularly in solidarity with the expected national postal strike, as well as to extend the layer of reps attending meetings.
Anyone interested can find our facebook group at: http://www.facebook.com/home.php#/group.php?gid=2644665156&ref=ts (North Wales Shop Stewards Network) or contact the local network co-ordinator Eileen O'Reilly (PCS) at firstname.lastname@example.org
Monday, 5 October 2009
For those who don't know, the jist of what happened is this. Dictatorship of Louis Bonapart loses war against Germany (Prussia) and gets overthrown by a provisional government which fails to do anything and in its turn gets overthrown by an organisation of conscripted soldiers (the National Guard Central Committee). Provisonal government flees to Versaille whilst elections in Paris go ahead to elect local government (the Paris Commune). The Commune passed lots of good laws, but eventually was defeated militarily by troops from Versailles and others realeased by the Prussians to assist with the crushing of the commune and drowned in blood.Theres quite a few things that strike me about it. The military ineptness has to be one of the main causes of the Commune's defeat, for a start they essentially let the Versailles troops into Paris because they didn't plan guarding the gates properly, and on several times they ended up losing positions because reinforcements weren't sent. But also the sympathy throughout France that existed and the attempts to set up their own Communes / stop troops being sent towards Paris. There's more that could be talked about but I think it is an event that is extremely rich in things that one can learn from it, so I may end up writing a long article or doing a leadoff on it at some point.
So far I've read
Civil War in France - Karl Marx
State and Revolution - Lenin
Terrorism and Communism - Trotsky
History of the Paris Commune - P.O. Lissagaray
The Women Incediaries - Edith Thomas
The Paris Commune: A Revolution in Democracy - Donny Gluckstein
I've also found an archive about the Paris Commune on the Marxist internet archive
Theres also another article by Trotsky about the Paris Commune (which Gluckstein uses instead of Terrorism and Communism)
Theres also a short piece by Lenin here
If anyone knows of more good resources I can look at please let me know!
Friday, 25 September 2009
The political content of the songs is anything but from Anti-Flag's past.
Whereas over the last few years Anti-Flag's inspiration has come from anti-war movements and general anti-capitalist angst, this album draws much more from the traditions of workers' struggles.
This is at its most stark in When All The Lights Go Out, which talks of "One million workers stand up..." whereas in the past something more vague like the word 'people' would have been used; and then states "Revolution: the engine of history".
Further on, the song speaks of how "We don't need the CEO's, they need us" and even quotes the Communist Manifesto: "Proletarians of the world unite, you have nothing to lose but your chains". And Marx is quoted elsewhere in the album's liner notes for Sodom, Gomorrah, Washington DC, a song about how religion is used by the ruling class to divide people.
The title of one of the songs is taken direct from the slogans of the May-June 1968 events in France, The Economy Is Suffering... Let It Die, the song itself being a crying indictment of how capitalists and their governments have propped up themselves whilst placing the burden of the crisis on the working class.
The song describes how they have been "Lining up their pockets with the people's cash..." whilst asking "Where are all the bailouts for the homeless and the poor?"
Anti-Flag's lyrics drew me towards the anti-war movement and eventually towards socialist and Marxist ideas, hopefully this album will draw many more young people towards political activity with the Socialist Party.
Saturday, 19 September 2009
Dylan Roberts ag Iain Dalton
Mae’r argyfwng cyfalafiaeth presennol a chynydd yn nghostau cynhyrchu yn cael eu defnyddio fel bwch diahangol, fel ymysodiad a’r dâl a amodau a’r newid o gynhyrchu i weithfeydd nad oes ganddynt undebm, mewn economi tâl isel, er mwyn cynyddu elw.
Yn y rhan fwyaf o sefyllfaoedd, nid oes yna angen mawr i newid cynhyrchiad, mae hyn yn achos arall lle mae elw yn dod cyn y bobl.Mor ddrwg yw’r sefyllfa a wneir y colledion yma i economi’r ynys, bod llywodraethau y Cynulliad a San Steffan wedi eu gorfodi i ymyrryd, gan gynnig £59 miliwn mewn cymhorthdal gwladol dros gyfnod o 4 mlynedd, sy’n gyfanswm enfawr o £1 miliwn y mis.
Beth bynnag, mae rheolwr Aliwminiwm Môn, Rio Tinto (sydd dal yn berchen a 51% o AM) a Aliwminiwm Kaiser (berchen ar 49%) wedi gwrthod y ddêl, yn datgan y byddent angen o leiaf dwbl y ffigwr mewn cymhorthdal gwladol er mwyn cadw cynhyrchu yn Ynys Môn.
Ond mae Aliwminiwm Môn wedi bod yn hynod o broffidol yn y 36 mlynedd y mae wedi bod ar yr ynys. Ymhellach i hyn, mae Rio Tinto a Aliwminiwm Kaiser yn gwmniau ryngwladol ac yn creu elw anfferth.
Mae Rio Tinto wedi cofnodi elw yn 2008, yn dychwelyd elw yn y chwarter cyntaf o 2008 y swm anferthol $2.94 biliwn (UDA). Nid ydynt wedi gwneud mor dda yn chwarter cyntaf o 2009 ond wedi parhau i wneud $1.6 biliwn o dychwelyd elw yn y cyfnod hwnw, neu $177 miliwn y diwrnod!
Yn union fel y banciau, rydym yn gweld mentrau preifat yn gofyn i eu colled gael ei genedlaetholi ond bod yr elw yn aros yn breifat. Er gwaethaf y nodiadau diswyddi yn cael eu rhannu allan, nid yw’r sefyllfa yn un hollol ddiobaith fel a welwyd gan weithredoedd yn safle Vestas Blades yn Ynys Wyth. Yno, mae’r gweithwyr a’u cefnogwyr wedi rhoi pwysau enfawr ar y cwmni a’r llywodraeth i rhwystro’r safle cael ei gau. Maent ar y funud yn cymryd gweithred i atal y twrbinau gwynt sydd ar ol a’r offer gael ei symud oddi ar y safle fel rhan o’u hymgyrch i orfodi’r llywodraeth i genedlaetholi’r safle.
Yn y ddau sefyllfa, mae lefelau elw o’r cwmniau rhyngwladaol, a’r parhad o elw o’r gweithfeydd, yn dangos eu hyfywedd. Dylai’r ddau gwmni cael eu gorfodi i agor eu llyfrau a gweld lle mae’r elw yma wedi mynd, ac os yn berthnasol dylai’r safleoedd eu cenedlaetholi, o dan reolaeth y gweithwyr democrataidd er mwyn sicrhau gwaith ar gyfer y dyfodol a cyfleon ar gyfer gweithwyr a sgiliau.
Friday, 18 September 2009
Monday, 14 September 2009
After having a bit of a nightmare travelling there from Bangor, it was a good experience to spend the weekend with over 100 party activists from across the country. The attendees for the most part were members who have joined over the last year and have begun to help organise the work of their local branches. People like me who have been knocking around for a few years now were definitely in a minority and for the most part were confined to the younger party full-timers and a few of our leading members in certain areas of work. The vast majority of the people there I hadn't met before and I found it really good to meet so many people. To give a good illustration of this, of the delegation from Yorkshire, of which I used to be a member in when I first joined the party, I knew less than half of them, and most of them I'd met in the last year - and this in a region that I have always tried to keep quite effective contact with!
The weekend itself was a mix of commissions and plenary sessions. The two plenary sessions began and ended the weekend, with Peter Taaffe discussing perspectives and Hannah Sell discussing build the Socialist Party. I'm not going to comment much on these apart from note how I seem to get mentioned in everyone of Hannah's leadoffs on party building, obviously I've found favour somewhere!
The commissions were the focus of the weekend, giving more of an opportunity for newer activists to contribute (that said most of the Welsh delegation spoke in the first plenary session). The first day had political commissions on six different topics (which were repeated in the evening) - I went to the role of the State and to Sri Lanka and the national question - both of which were really good interactive sessions. The session on the State took a question and answer style, whereas the Sri Lanka session, featured video footage of the situation there in the camps and a discussion around the current political situation in Sri Lanka, as well as discussing the history of the national question there, which is intimately bound with the history of Trotskyism in the country, all of which deserves one (if not more) posts all to itself to do the subject justice.
On the second day we had two different sessions - one on recruitment to the party and the second set of sessions looking at different aspects of party work. I went along to the session on the role of a marxist in the workplace. The session had a wide range of participants, from those like Rob Williams where the party has a big influence in that particular workplace and has led the struggle to defend jobs and improve conditions at that factory, as well as recently defending Rob from victimisation, to workplaces where we have just one member and there is no trade union at all. It was really good being able to discuss, share and learn from each others experiences.
A few last things, in my opinion the weekend was an excellent experience with just two flaws. The first was the lateness of the reading lists for the political commissions, which no doubt meant that some members where less prepared than they could have been for the discussions and meant those discussions necessarily had to cover a little more ground than they needed (due to mny extensive reading I had already read the materials for the sessions I attended, but if I hadn't I wouldn't have had the time to do so if otherwise). And the second was the lack of preparation at the hostel for the weekend, which meant they didn't have enough staff on and the bar ran out of beer!
I for one thoroughly enjoyed the weekend, and really enjoyed discussing with our new activists from around the country, so much so that I was last up both nights we were at the hostel. And despite how useless I am a football, I even scored a goal in the saturday lunchtime game - a great result all round!
Saturday, 5 September 2009
And then I moved to Bangor. I stopped being a full time student and looked for full-time work - and then got offered a place on a masters course part-time with my tuition fees paid. So I decided to do that as well as work. But what, at least politically, came to the fore was the student part of my life, particularly when I became unemployed and using my spare time helped build up the signatures needed to force a referendum on the issue of tuition fees within Bangor Students Union. Couple that with then going on to win said referendum and on the back of that being the Socialist Students candidate for the NUS Block of Fifteen and you begin to see why people will think of me as a student.
My blogging has reinforced that too. I've found it far easier to write about student politics than about the places I've worked in. And to be honest I'd rather my bosses at work didn't know I was a member of the Socialist Party.
But I don't see myself as a student, in fact, I haven't ever since I left uni full time at Huddersfield. At the moment I only technically count as a student as I haven't finished my masters dissertation yet. And I work full time.
Its not that I see being a student as a bad thing, but there are certain things that I associate with students that just aren't me. For example - sleeping at silly hours, using words most people don't understand, forcing themselves to read books they aren't interested in etc. There's probably other stuff that I can't think of right now too, but the point is that although some people see that side of me as defining me, I feel the complete opposite.
But things are gonna change with this blog, as I'm probably not gonna be in my current job for all too much longer it doesn't particularly matter whether my bosses put two and two together any more. So hopefully in the next few weeks I'll be able to get off my chest some of the observations I've made at work and of my involvement with my trade union too.