Millions of people in the UK are so badly affected by the cuts in services and benefits which many of us rely on, the pay freeze and attacks on pensions in the public sector (pay more for longer and receive less, encouraging private sector companies like Tesco to also attack pension rights), that they cannot afford to wait for another general election, which the Con-Dem (Tory/Lib Dem coalition) government plans to hold in 2015.
Can a video go viral in the space of a few days to mobilise many thousands (or even millions) to participate in a global general strike on May Day (Wednesday 1 May), urging people to strike from work, college, school, shopping and using banks (including cash dispenser machines), as urged by Anonymous in solidarity with the Occupy movement against the 1%?
Well, I’ve tried. My singing isn’t at it’s best, but I’ve got the aid of a professional female singer, and I constructed an awesome video involving clips from other videos posted on YouTube, with the song as the backdrop, so it’s the sort of thing that could go viral. And, as I promoted it on Facebook, and even for a while afterwards, it steadily rose to 100 hits – and then the number of hits ground to a halt.
Watch this video of mine, with a song I adapted from a song from “Billy Elliot” the musical and sang with a professional singer on Tuesday, and share to promote the idea of a global strike (from work, school, shopping and banks) this coming Wednesday – or more realistically bringing down the ConDem coalition government in Britain through a general strike in the longer term.
There are a lot of people who believe in conspiracy theories, particularly that 9/11 was an inside job orchestrated by the Bush administration. For those who don’t, or those who do and want to educate themselves and others, I strongly recommend watching the BBC Conspiracy Files TV programme on the Third Tower (WTC7), aired in July 2008 – either click here (or search YouTube for “BBC Conspiracy Files Third Tower” if that copy has been removed due to copyright issues).
The programme provided the following evidence of a conspiracy:
- The third tower collapsed without a plane hitting it, supposedly due to fire. On no other occasion in history has a building with steel support collapsed due to fire (unless you count the twin towers that collapsed earlier that day with the planes hitting them starting fires before they collapsed, or a later Madrid fire that took hours and didn’t completely collapse).
- There were other buildings between the twin towers and the Third Tower, which collapsed 8 hours later. Continue reading
The timing could hardly have been worse: The Boston bombings occurred the day after an Independent on Sunday exposé of “President Obama’s shame” in not releasing 86 prisoners at Guantánamo Bay cleared for release (that itself was the day after most prisoners clashed with guards) which has led to a mass hunger strike – never mind the plight of others stuck there deemed “too dangerous to release”. It is too early to jump to conclusions about the instigator(s) of the Boston atrocities but Chechens are being blamed in some of the US media. As the IoS article says:
“Today, 166 inmates remain. Three have been convicted, while a further 30 will face trial. Fifty or so are in a legal no-man’s-land, deemed by the authorities too dangerous to release but against whom there is not enough evidence to prosecute. And then there are 86 who have been cleared for release, but who instead rot in a hell from which there is no escape. No wonder yesterday more than 160 of them were involved in clashes with guards that led to what the US said were “less than lethal” rounds being fired.”
The argument that someone on benefits shouldn’t get more than the average wage sounds fair enough ťo some (hence its popularity of 79% according to the BBC News tonight) but what is rarely mentioned is those on the average wage often get child benefit on top.
This time, someone opposed to the cap was able to argue this point as well as making the less persuasive argument that they may get housing benefit too. Of course much higher rents in London and the rest of the south are much higher than elsewhere in Britain, hence Labour’s fudge calling for a regional cap. But with a mere £200 million out of £200 billion (total benefit and pension bill) expected to be saved, it’s a political move that will devastate lives – like the bedroom tax, estimated to save £4-500 million.
My new band Fruity Frank and the Frisky Freaks has recorded a new version of my song “Donovan’s Doorway”, which I have uploaded to the SoundCloud website (click here to play/download it) in memory of the tragic death of Gayle O’Donovan.
I include below the description, which is a sort of obituary:
The Left Unity initiative for a new political party, established by film director Ken Loach amongst others, has already attracted 7,000 supporters – more than the rest of the far left in Britain combined.
The above link is a useful summary, provided by a member of the Fourth International (Socialist Resistance) of the views of the leaders of the Socialist Workers Party, Socialist Party and Counterfire (a recent split from the SWP which includes most of the leaders of the Stop the War Coalition) towards this new development.
Read the comments as well as the article.
Already at number 1 in the itunes chart and number 10 in the national midweek chart according to the BBC, this is our chance to show the country what we think of Thatcher and her legacy. Download the song from “The Wizard of Oz” by Judy Garland (et al) before Sunday, for it to make number 1 in the official Top 40 as broadcast on Radio 1 on Sunday (click on above link for Facebook page).
The above link to a Guardian article contains the following at the bottom. The reference to the problems councils had collecting small amounts (although with over 18 million people who hadn’t paid a penny or were in arrears at the height of the anti-poll tax campaign in the summer of 1990 meant it wasn’t just unemployed people and students, who only had to pay 20%, who were participating, and the campaign’s slogan “Pay NO Poll Tax” urged people to withhold the whole amount) and the potential with the new poll tax (where the poorest will be expected to pay up to the 30%) for building mass non-payment again is telling.
The poll tax, or community charge
Thatcher loathed Labour town halls, which she felt set big budgets because their poor voters would not pay. Rate capping was the early response, but in time she resolved to replace the whole old system of rates on house values with a flat tax on every citizen. Big families got clobbered, while old ladies living alone in big houses cleaned up. At a time when Britain was becoming mindful of the wealth gap that the Thatcher era was producing, the policy ran up against the argument that it was wrong for a duke and a dustman to pay the same. North of the border, the Tories never recovered from trialling the policy on the Scots. Riots followed when it was rolled out in the south. A personal pet project, the tax played a crucial part in Thatcher’s downfall. Coalition ministers would do well to be warned that one crucial shortcoming was an inadequate system of rebates that resulted in town halls having to chase poor families for small sums. With effect from this month, their council tax reform will have the same result.
Sign this petition. The millions of pounds of taxpayers’ money planned to be spent on somebody who was so divisive and hated so widely is an affront in these times of austerity. The Daily Mirror is stridently against this waste of public money and this petition is already going viral with nearly 7,000 signed. Click here.
I include below the contents of a newsletter I wrote in March, mobilising for mass strikes, demonstrations and civil disobedience to bring down the ConDem government in Britain. The newsletter also contains items on the bedroom tax, new poll tax (the poorest having to pay up to 30% council tax), tax avoidance by the rich and international revolution to stop fascism.
Revolutionary Platform News
Number 4b, 30th March 2013
Newsletter of the Revolutionary Platforms of Labour, TUSC, Respect, the Scottish Socialist Party and Solidarity
Editor’s welcome: My name is Steve Wallis. This is an amended version of newsletter 4 (specific to the UK) of the Revolutionary Platform Network, which now has a forum (page) on Facebook at the address above. Visit the website (on which you can also find this newsletter in a variety of formats) or the Facebook page for information about the Network. This newsletter was written by me but feedback on it and future articles are welcome there or by emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Organise mass strikes, demonstrations and civil disobedience to bring down the Con-Dems!
Millions in the UK can’t afford to wait until 2015!
A lot of rubbish has been said about Margaret Thatcher, such that her downfall was due to Europe or that the poll tax riot was responsible. John Major, who followed her into Downing Street, admitted that the poll tax had to be abolished because it was “uncollectable”. Thatcher wasn’t pushed until the autumn after the difficult summer when the Anti-Poll Tax Unions had to defend people who weren’t paying (from the courts, bailiffs and ultimately jail – but they couldn’t jail us all as my song says). Part of that struggle was the People’s March Against the Poll Tax, which I went on – from Liverpool to London (with other legs going from Glasgow and South Wales) – with many meetings, demonstrations and social events on the way to build support for non-payment. And non-payment actually increased during that period, from the initial figures of 14 million (following the 1 million in Scotland where the poll tax was implemented a year earlier) to over 18 million, who hadn’t paid a penny or were in arrears.
My band Fruity Frank and the Frisky Freaks recorded two versions of my new song “The New Poll Tax” on Thursday of last week. I uploaded it on Saturday and posted it to various places on Facebook on Monday suggesting people listen to it to celebrate Thatcher’s death. There is a Bollywood version and an alternative Lenny Kravitz-style version.
This song brings things up-to-date with attacks on council tax benefits (as well as the bedroom tax). As the description of the song says: ‘The ConDem (Tory/Liberal Democrat coalition) government introduced a “new poll tax” on 1 April 2013 – attacks on council tax benefits which will lead to councils making the poorest pay up to 30%, unless we refuse to pay! This song is intended to mobilise opposition to this and the hated bedroom tax, which millions literally will be unable to pay (especially combined). You don’t need to let the bailiffs in, according to the Citizens Advice Bureau: http://bit.ly/ZFgNVf‘.